"Cowardice asks the question...is it safe? Expediency asks the question...is it politic? Vanity asks the question...is it popular? But conscience asks the question...is it right? And there comes a time when one must take a position that is neither safe, nor politic, nor popular but one must take it because it is right." ~Dr. Martin Luther King

Monday 30 September 2019


Global News briefing has a story today about the Liberal Leader being in the Provincial Premier’s backyard in Mississuaga on Sunday. He was taking shots at Ontario’s education policies . Doug Ford is everybody’s target for abuse. But Mississauga is not his backyard.

Mississuaga is Hazel McCallion’s back yard, front and side yards as well. Mississuaga is where  rusty half-built ,gas -fired generating plants are  testament to the power of Hurricane Hazel., AKA  Queen of Sprawl in the development industry.

Hazel persuaded weak-kneed Dalton McGuinty to cancel rock firm contracts , signed by Hydro 1 ,on the eve of a Provincial election. just as she persuaded him to close coal-fired generators in favour of natural gas fire generators on the eve of a previous  election...just as she persuadedvoters to chose Bonnie Crombie to replace her when she finally gave up the Chain of Offuce but not the power, in the city’s  election.

Location is of no significance for an  attack on Doug Ford. If the man took a miraculous stroll on Lake Ontario , Toronto media would not acknowledge prowess. And he’s not likely to do that any time soon.


The Global briefing makes reference to vague statistics from  various communication firms. We don’t
know them  or their main client or if  they are Liberal operations set up specially for the Federal election, Nobody is telling us.

Reference is made to statements from education workers about 10,000 teaching jobs being lost under
Ford’s education policies. Last figures I heard for immigration into the GTA area was 250,000 a year.
People are still coming to Ontario from every other Province in Canada hoping  for employment.
It means more children in classrooms , more schools. More teachers and support workers, not
10,000 less. No way, Jose.Those figures cannot be correct.

What we do expect from a union is willingness to use students to gain their own ends.  At the same time, the more money going in to teachers pockets, the.less left for everyone else including less classroom time for students.

At the same time, the more access students have to search engines in computers, the less time
needed to study the subject. As teachers reduce the subjects they choose or need to teach, the
question that creeps  to mind ,,,,,,,,what is the future of schools as we know them.?

Maybe the only relevant future for teaching is designing computer programs. And how long before computers take over that chore as well.

I’ve seen amazing changes in my time. Instinct tells me there’s more to come.

I have  seen unions with that kind of leverage, price their members out of the market.

Saturday 28 September 2019


It was a struggle when I started writing the blog. Particularly on the edit. I would spend hours writing and re-writing and then somehow, I never knew how, I would lose the whole thing. If Heather Sisman hadn’t been there to sort things out, I might not have persisted. I hated trying to re-call what I’d written. But that too became part of the routine and I'm still nervous about editing.

Confining myself to the town’s affairs meant readership would not grow. Though when I was out and about people would come forward and urge me to keep writing. It made their day, they said. Sometimes I would post three times a day. I’m not sure what it did for readership but it was over-indulgence on my part.

I’ve cut down, almost to the bone, watching CNN because of repetition. For weeks at a time,
hammering away and I do mean hammering, at the same issue. My sense is they are more concerned
with defending themselves against criticism from the Oval Office Orangutang (OOO) than anything
the public needs to know.

It’s a mistake I don’t want to make. At the same time, the blog is an opinion piece so it’s hard to
avoid. I write the way I speak. I remember my first Letter to the Editor and how shocked I was by much more emphatic the written word is over the spoken.

This morning I note in The Auroran, both local Liberal candidates hanging their heads in shame over Boy Trudeau’s gaffe of decades ago in completing an Aladdin Halloween costume with a brown face. They are glad he apologized and are prepared to forgive him.

What a crock!!!

The term “brown  face” is  being interchanged with “ black  face”. It’s sleight of hand to make a point. Black face was a music hall act of a white American singing group who coloured their faces in a way that offended the black community. It bespoke the times. It’s part of America’s shameful past.
Though it’s not yet completely healed... it is the past...

It bears no relationship to Justin Trudeau’s passion for authenticity in a Halloween costume.

I am offended that others are offended by Trudeau’s harmless piece of nonsense, when there are so
many more serious matters needing to be addressed.

Trudeau’s current sack cloth and ashes routine as Prime Minister of Canada pisses me right off.

Friday 27 September 2019


The $5 million contract let by the town  in August for the Wild Life Refuge is what spurred me to  write. the blog again. It’s taken till now to get back in the saddle

The main issue  is cost and where funds are coming from?

First let me say, I’ve known David Tomlinson since weeks of his arrival in Aurora. The Wild Life Refuge is his idea and his alone. It has taken decades for it to seem to have come to fruition. I was a member when he brought a video to Council to illustrate the merits. It represented seasons and  hundreds of dawn-breaking hours to record nesting habits of birds in aparticular  area.It was monumental. It was beautiful.

There were obstacles . Much of the land was in private hands. The ConservationAuthority did not and were not likely to approve damming  the creek to create on-line ponds.Cost of the project would be prohibitive. That the area would be fenced to deny public access would not sell well.

The obstacles were huge. Aurora is urban with an urban population.

A phone call this morning establishes though the contract has been awarded the problems remain.the same.On line ponds are not approved by the Conservation Authority. Cut -and - fill to permit an offline pond is still not resolved. . Trails and boardwalk are being constructed  as we speak...so to speak.People and their dogs will have access . Ground nesting birds will not be protected.  Extinct species will not return..



The money is coming from Lot Levy Reserves. It’s a system  instituted by the Province that allows a municipality to exact a fee for every permit issued to pay for increased demand for facilities. It must be reviewed every year . Master Plans for various facilities must also
be reviewed to establish need.

The town’s website has current particulars. Funds for the Refuge are being taken from lot levy reserves collected from development, other than residential, in lieu of funds for parkland.

Some years ago, when Canadian Tire was still on Yonge Street,they added  a gardening centre, They paid a huge levy . In your wildest dreams you could not imagine the  expansion increased   demand for parkland, ice arenas, community centres, skateboard parks , firehalls or a Refuge for extinct birds.

Yet the town took it and tucked it away in a reserve fund . ..waiting for a purpose.

I think taking these feses is legalized theft.It shows complete disrespect to a taxpayer we are sworn to represent.


75% of  public service budgets are payroll. When new facilities are built,they have to be staffed.
and maintained. Operating costs swell the annual tax bill.


Capital costs may becovered by lot levies

Wednesday 25 September 2019


My grandson Aaron found the right keyboard to use with the Ipad. His sister Robyn found a small
tray table that sits on my walker while I sit on the reclning chair that raises me to a standing position if I need it.  Sometimes I don’t. And when I don’t....I don’t .

Both hands are free to tap the letters and it has almost , once again, become  a mindless exercise.

There are still some tricky bits. Editing still presents some difficulty but it will come with practice.

There are  a few corrections needed at the end of the previous post.

I will fix them to-morrow. I just wanted you to know....that I know....they are there .

Tuesday 24 September 2019


My backyard is 63ft wide by50ft deep. I installed a pool when my children were young. It measures 32ft long by 16ft wide. A concrete deck ,probably 2ft wide surrounds the pool.I have a 12+ft square deck. What’s left has grass and perennials ,cedar hedging and spruce trees grown to substantial height.

 The subdivion was built on farmland. There was  no vegetation on the property other than on the banks of a creek that runs through. Case Woodlot is nearby and the Salamander Pond. Within two minutes of the front door, in whatever direction, we were in the country, surrounded by farm fields.
If homes disturbed the wildlife, it was long gone by the time we arrived.

It’s not like that any more. Subdivision housing surrounds us though Case Wood lot and the Salamander Pond remains. Fields still sweep upwards, mostly green, on the other side of Bathurst Street. It’s not unusual to see a hawk perched on hydro wires looking out over the fields for prey. I saw a Baltimore Oriole on Henderson Drive years ago. It flew in front of the car. Another time, a huge snowy owl swept  silently down past and disappeared into the darkness like an apparition.

On a different occasion, in the dusk, I caught sight of an animal on the road and thought it was a pretty tall hound dog . Then I realized ....it was a deer. Once I saw  a family of guinea hens crossing the road.I can’t explain the excitement I feel at the rare sight of the creatures that share our space.

Years have passed and we hear from new residents  there should be no more development in Aurora.Now they’re here and we should lock the door and throw away the key. We are destroying wild life habitat ,they tell us and  contributing to climate change.

In the meantime, all over town old lots are being acquired, modest homes demolished and massive mansions replace them. They cover half the lot as opposed to 25% .They tower over neighbouring bungalows. They are three  times the size any family needs...they consume three times the energy to maintain...Ceilings are two storys high in reception areas...staircases are majestic, bathrooms number at least  three and storage space for  possessions is more than for a small retail store. Heating, cooling, cleaning ,lot coverage ...everything about them consumes many times the energy needed for human habitat.

But...to get back to the intended theme of this post...wild life habitat. My lot ...one of 750 ...as described above, was originally farm land. No trees were removed. No wild life displaced. My small space provides shelter and sustenance to rabbits, racoons ,black , grey and red squirrels, skunks and chipmunks who come right up to my patio doors to peer in and spy upon me.

Cardinals have lived in my cedar hedge for two decades. Black cap chickadees, yellow finches, robins, blue jays and once a huge grey hawk in my maple tree with  ruffed feathers on his legs ,down that  looked like pyjamas. And woodpeckers, black and white with a red streak on their heads tapping on old bramches that have loost their bark. I never knew of the  variety  of sparrows until they came
to live in my garden.

I went to a party on Saturday night. One of the guests teaches horticulture to high school students in Halton Region. He told me David Suzuki has put out a paper that claims if everyone who has a
yard, no matter how small, planted a hospitable environment for wild life ,we could  bring back
species thought to be extinct for numbers of years.

I know it’s true. I’ve done it without planning  it. I have a pair of mallard ducks that land on my covered pool in the Spring. And singing frogs and croaking bull frogs and redwing blackbirds sometimes in the spring. Sometimes doves, in flight for days will come down to rest on the warm stones that define the flowerbeds from the grassy area.They travel in pairs,one will nestle to rest while the other stands watch.

I know things about the habits of birds and I have a veritable aviary in my own backyard. And I
just  stumbled into it

Friday 20 September 2019


I’m still practising. Reaching down for whatever might be lurking just below the surface of my mind. This may not get published because I’m still groping and no-one is here to help but I find that’s the best way. I’m forced to study the keys and repeat things. Just don’t go away. I will soon get up to speed and into the meat of things. There’s a couple of promising nice mixed metaphors and i just found the key that moves me forward along the line without obliterating what I just wrote.

Bear with me please. Don’t ever leave me I need to do it to get back into the swing of it.

I’ve been writing for more than eighty years. Starting with letters, written by hand of course. I’ve wondered why my bent was not recognized and encouraged. Then realized it was. When my brother’s plane didn’t return from a bombing raid, he was reported missing. I was assigned to write to newspapers for particulars every time we read of airmen in a dinghy being plucked from the ocean. When the war ended and we heard from the father of a flight crew survivor who had been a prisoner of war, that my brother had been killed, I wrote to the War Office to inform them. Whereupon they promptly sent back the information...in a blue-banded telegram. It signified urgency, they were informing us that he had been killed.

Last week someone posted an old Scottish class photo on line. There were forty students in the photo.Today’s teachers think twenty-four students are too many. They are not even teaching them cursive writing and if comments made in social media are an indication, English grammar is a lost art also.

When we came to Canada, there were three Toronto daily newspapers and a section for Letters To the Editor. I took to that like a duck to water. It evolved to a weekly column in the Aurora Banner. The editor was patient and instructive. I learned. I did some reporting.

During...before...and after.... I became involved in politics and my education broadened enormously. NO college or university can teach what there is to learn in politics.

At seventy-five, after a fourteen year absence, I put my name forward again and was re-elected and served three more four year terms. During which time social media presented. To the consternation of some, the delight of many and with the help of Heather Sisman, a young friend at a loose end, I published a blog. 

Never, in a million years could I have ever imagined the opportunity. Without really meaning to, I stopped writing posts and took to commenting on Facebook instead. It’s less work. More casual. But the current state of politics in Canada, from top to bottom is lamentable.

It wasn’t always thus.

I am forever grateful for the opportunities I have received.

The Blog is payback.

Wednesday 18 September 2019


So ...I’m back...It’s going to take a while to get used to a keyboard again and in fact, I’m not using it now. For a reason unbeknown to me the keyboard on my iPad is up and the new one is not responding. I have a feeling my computer literacy is about to take a monumental curve ... up ...or down...It will be a test of my ability. Can’t find the font that changes the size of the print. Can’t take the cursor back to make a correction. Spacing has changed and I don’t know why. I turned a button to 3 but that’s on the new keyboard. Why would that affect the spacing on the iPad touchpad. I don’t even know the words to describe things. I need to look again to see if there is an instruction manual. There is a leaflet telling me how not to start a fire with the batteries...in four different languages. My grandson Aaron found the keyboard for me. He is in his mid-twenties, married and an expectant father. He has never known life without computers. Before he started school, his mother with other mothers had to raise funds to buy computers. And then have a principal tell them how the funds were to be used. Aaron doesn’t need language,he just lets his fingers do the tapping for him. But Aaron’s not here. Hunting and pecking is not good enough. I just thought I would let you know I am up though not quite running on my blog once again.