"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

Saturday, 28 November 2015


Dave has left a new comment on your post "UNFORTUNATELY ........WHAT WE SEE IS WHAT WE GET": 

I agree we should do more for our homeless on our home front.

However, our people fight hunger and the elements.

The refugees flee bombs and gunfire, as well as brutality and tortur 

Posted by Dave to  Our Town and Its Business at 28 November 2015 at 08:15

Oh ....our people fight more than that. Cruelty, brutality and indifference to suffering is all around us. 

Freedom is far more apparent than real. 

As well, there is no question about the generosity of Canadians.

The main concern raised in this conversation has Ben the competence of  our politicians or lack thereof. 

Re-settling refugees has been done before. The outstanding question may be ...has it been done well?

Etobicoke might  be a good place to look.The Borough was forefront in the news last year. 

How well were Ethiopians assimilated in the borough in the thirty years since their arrival?

I don't raise the question as a reason not to rescue Syrian refugees or to slow Canada' s response to the  tragedy. 

I just worry the obvious solution is not always as simple or obvious as first appears. I remember a feature  in the Star Weekend Magazine about the government re-settling Ethiopians in a condo building and impact on non- Ethiopian condo owners in the same building. It wasn't pretty. 

It's been years since I have had newspapers delivered to my home. i got tired of the bulk and crises content in places that I could do nothing about. 

I dread week-ends and faces of heart-broken mothers in Toronto whose sons are stabbed or shot to death on city streets and even by stray bullets going through the wall of a home into the bedroom of a small child.

Years go by and the situation does not improve. Now we have videos  added of police brutality to horrify our senses. 

Last year, the police used  a helicopter to tail the  City's Mayor. Charges were laid against the Mayor's  companion. They were dismissed recently. 

They videos the Mayur peeing  against a tree and putting empty liquor bottles  in the trash. 

Tom Friedan,an award winning  New York journalist has been writing about Asia for years. Last  week he was a guest of Charlie Rose, talking about the logic of home-grown terrorists being responsible for the Paris atrocities. 

He pointed out the high percentage of Muslims in France and limited opportunities for the young. 

They have many of the benefits of western upbringing and none of the rewards. They are without employment or hope for a future and represent an easy target for recruitment to ISIS .Who train them, pay them, provide them with wives, a purpose in life and rewards in paradise in the certain event of their death,

More young women are joining  than before. 

Of course , I don't know these things in my own right. I am obliged to listen to a man who has made
a career of peering jnder rocks and into the nooks and crannies of Asian lifestyle, as varied as that is. 

But I am inclined to believe everyone needs to feel they belong where they live.Whether at home with family, in the classroom, the playground, the work place, in a place of worship and in the world around them. They need to feel hope.

With evidence at hand, I'm not sure we've done  or can do a particularly good job of that assurance. 

Simplistic solutions of the past solved the immediate problem and created a different one down the road.

And it was not for the want of good intentions. 

Friday, 27 November 2015


Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "BE CAREFUL WHAT IS PROMISED ...FREEDOM ?.....TO DO...": 

You must think members of the new Canadian cabinet, while inexperienced in that role, are a bunch of idiots otherwise.
This denigrating attitude gives no credit for the real desire to help.
Maybe the Scottish people were so negative to the Hungarians that the latter returned to their homeland.
This is a delicate and fragile human story and the callousness of the press complaining because every little detail has not been fully worked out is just an expression of its ignorance. 
So give a B+ for trying, more than many countries are 
Posted by Anonymous to  Our Town and Its Business at 27 November 2015 at 09:07


The criticism above is not acknowledged. The refugee crisis described as a "delicate and fragile human story" being most ridiculous. 

Millions driven by fear and desperation to risk their children's lives migrating from a homeland to the unknown is human tragedy of catastrophic proportions. 

Empty political  imagery is all that's at work here. 

The slightest sense of how we are governed indicates towns and cities must be involved in planning settlement for 25,000 people within any period, let alone five short weeks with Christmas included. 
That no less than two cabinet ministers conveyed such abject ignorance in a press conference is
positively  electrifying.  

No comfort in the fact that  within days, the two had to eat their own braggadocio and admit they could  not accomplish what they previously insisted they could.Only after the Prime  Minister's conference with the Premiers was there acknowledgement.

Even since, the boss is abroad boasting to European media that political rivals had to eat his dust
in the recent campaign. 

Generosity  of spirit inherent in the government's willingness to immediately absorb twenty -five thousand souls in desperate need  is indeed impressive.

If it is to be believed.

I would be impressed by half that level of concern for Canadians in desperate need. 

Aboriginal children  living in squalor without basic necessities, in an environment filled with drugs and alcohol. 

Students in our education system, identified by grade 5 with a future in jail  because they leave school without basic skills. 

Food  banks because  government social assistance is insufficient to provide for food and shelter  for Canadian children, while public sector wages are 22%  higher than private sector and the gap in Ontario continues to grow. 

Manulife survey just this week shows 38% of Canadians unable to cover household expenses  in 2014. 

If governments at their many levels recognized the problems under their noses   I would easily be convinced  of their sincerity. 

As it is, I will take them as I find them and say so accordingly. 

Thursday, 26 November 2015


Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "SO MANY TROUBLING QUESTIONS": 

Given that the source of that snarl was our own nasty bit of business, I think it important to note that he/shedoes not like anything much. Freeland is going to be very helpful to the new government, Not only does shehave a flexibility with languages to deal with other countries , she has spent time studying the subjects thatmust all come together to develop our economy.
She may not live up to the high expectations. But she is out there trying, not chipping away on a blog.

Posted by Anonymous to  Our Town and Its Business at 26 November 2015 at 09:50

Chipping away or commenting to a blog may be the only part of our so-called freedom still available.

There are days and circumstances when it's not  apparent.  

The Minister's academic background is an assurance of intelligence. The requirement for her new responsibilities however, is judgement. Not the same thing. By any measurement, better to be slow and sure than make mistakes and have to spend time recouping loss. 

The new government has been given a shot by the electorate at improvement and there's plenty of room for that. For our own sake, probably most of us have a vestige of hope. 

Mistakes are cumulative. Sometimes it only takes one to sink a career. Politics and academics are not the same. Truism has never been more true.

The refugee crisis was the first test. It wasn't contrived by opposition parties. It was real

Schwashbuckling  swagger was absolutely the wrong approach. They did it anyway.

Then they talked to the  Provinces and discovered they didn't know what they didn't know.There were  partners who needed to be consulted. 

wonder if the Feds know about food banks and how many Canadians, including seniors, are relying on them and food drives and hostels and homeless shelters. 

Perhaps more to the point, do the refugees know about food  banks, lack of affordable housing and opportunities for young people in Canada to make a living.  

The Honorable Eric Hoskings reminded me of the Hungarian Rebellion sixty years  ago when he proposed de-commissioned hospitals for refugee housing. 

In 1956, Hungarian borders opened for a brief period and thousands made good on an exit. 

Some found their way to Scotland. 

They  were housed in hostels. 

Fed typical Scottish fare of porridge  and mutton broth with barley .Healthy but ever so humble. 

Hospital orderly jobs were available to them. 

Behind the iron curtain, people tended to be  educated. 

As opposed to capitalists,socialists think of skill training and education a sound investment of public 

Anyway, Hungarian refugees who landed in Scotland didn't take long to decide they were better off at home in Hungary.

They returned forthwith.

A headline going across the screen today notes a Manulife survey found 38% of Canadians in 2014
did not have enough to cover household expenses. 

Wednesday, 25 November 2015


Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "EVERYTHING YOU NEEDED TO KNOW": 

@ 13:15 you definitely have your facts wrong
Freeland's education is in Russian and Slavic studies.
Her business background revolves around writing about it.
Makes her well qualified to get business to come to Canada
No wonder Maher exposed her as nothing but an idealist with no grounding in pragmatism.  

Posted by Anonymous to  Our Town and Its Business at 25 November 2015 at 19:02

**************.    ******************

This comment provokes.

Maybe  because I just sat with eyes closed listening to a discussion on PBS about Einstein's Theory  of Relativity. My eyes needed a rest.

So.. Now we know the Honorable Ms Freeland was educated in " Russian and Slavic studies" 

For the benefit of the great unwashed, does that mean politics, geography ,economy, religion,history 
societal issues  or all of the foregoing?

If so .... does writing make it a business or an occupation?

By what stretch of imagination is the Honorable Member equipped to entice Russian and Slavic business  to locate in Canada ?

 How much does she know about Canadian studies?

If there is  logic in the comment ...how does it equate to Bill Maher exposing an idealist rather than a pragmatist? 

Does  pragmatism reside  in anything but character ? 

Is Bill Maher staging comedic entertainment  or what?  

Is the sole and principal objective of the brand new youthful and diverse Liberal government to celebrate wrapping over substance?

Is power andauthority a concept beyond their competence and experience?     

Do they even know what they don't know ?

Certainly  it's the first impression and it didn't take long to create it. 

Power and authority are not entry level positions. Learning on the job is not an option.Too much is at stake.  

 It's not what was  advocated. 

It will not be accepted . 

Tuesday, 24 November 2015


Christopher Watts has left a new comment on your post "MESSAGE RECEIVED AND UNDERSTOOD": 

If you bothered to check 13:58 I never claimed Maher was "awarded" I wrote he was the recipent of.

The Hollywood Walk of Fame is indeed on wikipedia here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hollywood_Walk_of_Fame

The nomination process outlined there states that 20 recipients are selected from 200 by the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce Walk of Fame Selection Committee. Maher recieved his 5 years ago.

I read that a $30,000 fee is usually paid by the nominating organization, which may be a fan club, or a film studio, record company, broadcaster, or other sponsor involved with the prospective honoree.

Nowhere do I read that stars are "purchased and maintained by the recipient". If you have evidence that Maher received his star this way then share your source.

Maher is not just a comedian, he is a writer, producer, political commentator, actor, media critic, and television host. With respect to his television gig on HBO ratings from late September are 4 million.

I fail to see how he is a "character trying to keep his relevance" simply because his live standup comedy tour includes casinos. There are 140 reviews of his comedy show on Ticketmaster, some as recent as last month, with an average rating of 4.2/5: http://www.ticketmaster.ca/Bill-Maher-tickets/artist/821441

To recap in the last 5 years this "something of a failure" has produced 3 television specials, appeared as himself in multiple television shows and films, hosted his own well received television show and a schedule of live comedy stand-up accross the US and Canada has done nothing lately as a comedian.

Furthermore the star he received on the Hollywood walk of fame was soley because he needed an ego boost, where John Gallo represented the Province of Ontario at the Remembrance Day wreath-laying ceremony at the cenotaph because he has done so much for the Province 

Posted by Christopher Watts to  Our Town and Its Business at 24 November 2015 at 09:10

************. ***********. *************

Well ..that's  interesting.
 I'm trying to re-call why Mr Maher's name came forward on the blog.

Ah yes ...I remember it  now.

Canada's brand new Minister of Industry appeared on a show called "Real Time "to discuss the merits of diversity with the artist 

As a result ,we know more about Bill Maher than  Canada's Minister of Industry.

Diversity itself is taking a beating on the world stage.

It seems some cultures blend better than others.

Sunday, 22 November 2015


To the last comment:

It's true the Member of the Legislative Assembly represents two towns. And Remembrance Day Services are held at the same time in both. Also true , the Riding Assistant is logical replacement when  MLA is not available.Failing  that, the Town's Mayor may also represent the Province in official capacity. 

It's not petty, it's protocol. The question is legitimate.

Everything that happens has happened before.

Stuff that happened  in the UK in the second war comes back to mind as we talk about current hostilities. 
UK government immediately  formed a coalition. For all intents and purposes, politics were suspended.

Propaganda  went into high gear.  

 Under  no circumstances could  national security ever be subject to political exploitation.

Treason became a word familiar. 

All  that kept German tanks from rolling into the U.K. as in every other European country, was the English Channel .

Tanks were not amphibious. Amphibious vehicles were developed for invasion of Europe five years later, along with Bailey bridges. 

The Irish were not conflicted. England was not their mother country. German u-boats found 
harbour in South Ireland. Irish nationals were not considered aliens..Ireland did not declare Itself  to be part of the axis. 

Everyone had an identity card.....ration books..... gas masks. 

Windows  had to have blackout curtains. Air raid wardens patrolled the streets and shouted obscenities that could likely be heard in Berlin, at the slightest chink of light.

Children were punished for failure to carry the gas mask at all times. 

Except for the obvious, certainly most of what happened during the war was written about after. 

Government  lied if it had to, or to be precise, withheld the truth. 

" Walls have ears"  "Loose lips sink ships" were warnings on walls. 

People had to believe the government knew what it was doing at all times.

 No matter how long it took, defeat was never contemplated which is bloody amazing. 

I can't believe the business discussed by important government officials on talk show TV these days. 

The American President , arguably Leader of the Free World , is undermined a hundred times an hour every day of the week. 

Everybody knows better than he does how to protect the American people.

My God, they have private militias organized in Oregon ,ready to take over the government if need be. 
We learned about them during the O.J.Simpson trial , along with "planted"evidence.

The cop who retired and went where good old boys go, to prepare to protect the homeland from the government. 

My  experience in the second world war  is maybe what made me a skeptic. 

I have trouble believing Dr Ben Carson is or was a brilliant brain surgeon. I find myself speculating why he iretired. 

As for  Donald Trump... Dear Lord,  who needs enemies with friends like that and so many others who believe the Donald would make a good Commander -in -Chief. 


Television offered a kaleidoscope of images this Sunday morning.

Eagles of Death Heavy Metal Band had an emotional interview about slaughter at their Mataclan concert in Paris. 

Canada's Minister of Industry debated  "Diversity" with Bill Maher, an American comedian on "Real Time " I don't know what that is.

 A perfectly beautiful fairy sprite in filmy white costume, elevated herself in flight, in figure-skating competition .

Except for heavily-armed men in military uniforms, streets and squares in Belgian cities are silent and foreboding ,while people hide at home in fear of further atrocities. 

Canada's Prime Minister was greeted by squealing teen-agers as the newest heart-throb. 

In the snippet of the interview I saw, a small one to be sure, the question was not heard about the meaning of the band's name; Eagles of Death Heavy Metal Band. Think of the impression of our times when history records that terrible event. 

Music is culture and a creative exercise . If culture influences ,what effect is intended on the fertile imagination of the young by naming a band "The Eagles Of Death. "

Can we talk?

Bill Maher makes a living out of shock. He is the jock of shock. He says something outrageous and his body language conveys the impression of looking back to see if Satan is gonna get  him. Furtive comedy best describes him. His sparkle sputters. He's never sure what he can pull off in the name of humor. 

Why did  Canada's Minister of Industry risk an encounter with risk-inclined  Maher on Real Time T.V. 

This new and youthful government of ours has yet to establish an image of substance.

Yesterday's supporters will be four years older and Americans will still not be voting in our next election. 

Does it matter for the world to take Canada seriously? Never more so.  

It's not at all certain a teen-age heart-throb image is an asset to Canada's Prime Minister on the world stage either. In age, our nation is on par with the U.S. In terms of maturity, the record is spotty
at best. We are different but we should be equal. 

I recall a moment early in his late father's career. His age had been given out as forty-eight years. Turned out to be fifty-two. His political image suffered no injury but the playboy persona was ever so slightly impacted. 

Upon such trivial wherewithal, images are chiseled .....and sink like stone. 

A wraith-like figure elevated and pirouetting on ice in filmy white gauze and heavily armed military personnel with masked faces, guarding subway station entrances in Belgian cities heretofore known for chocolate and lace and a King who chose to wear with Jews an armband with the Emblem of David, Nazi -ordered in war-time occupied Belgium, in stark contrast, they compete for our attention.

Outside, snow has begun to fall. 
Grass is green and lush. 
Yesterday, the first brilliant red Cardinal strutted around the bird feeder on the round table on the deck outside my window, in appreciation of an expressly intended invitation. 


Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "IGNORANCE OF THE LAW IS NO EXCUSE":

Loosen up, 17:49. The existing house was falling down. It had been on the market for ages. The purchaser was allowing the sale to be accomplished and there were no heritage designation at that time. The "funny "part comes from the rapid move of the incomer to prevent the planned designation. Council tried to sneak itthrough on him and he out-did them. The house was there when I went past with the dog that evening, gonethe next morning before noon. 
So, yeah, we all laughed as we met on passing. 
Today there are three decent looking, quite different houses on that property. 

Posted by Anonymous to  Our Town and Its Business at 21 November 2015 at 20:20


And.....as a result of having three instead of one; cost of  lighting, street cleaning, snow plowing, police protection ,fire protection, finance department,legal department, planning department human resources division, recreation department, Communication department, customer service division, building services and bylaw department ,Clerk's department ,library, culture services,  a myriad other boons it takes to operate a thoroughly modern municipal corporation and the burden of a multi-million dollar administration are now shared by three properties instead of  one. 

New revenue gets swallowed and still taxes, water rates,sewer and storm rates rise exorbitantly while affluent residents have not a care. Municipal appetite for new revenue are not addressed in any way until vacant land abutting their lot lines is proposed for development. 

Not  a whimper heard from those  abutting the "plundered" golf course except that the town should buy and maintain it for their private enjoyment and virtual solitude  for twelve  months a year instead of eight.

It's an attitude  that prevails and politicians are nurtured by the majority to cater to it. 

Decrying a lack of backbone in the circumstance is a bit of a hollow pretext. 

It's not why this Council was selected. 

Saturday, 21 November 2015


 has left a new comment on your post "IGNORANCE OF THE LAW IS NO EXCUSE":

The lot in question was located within lands designated "Suburban Residential" and in that context was required to have a frontage of 100.' The actual frontage was 155'.

I do not agree that "The comment is an example of nothing useful." Nor do I agree that the OMB was justified in its decision because they were following the province's dictate of "infilling." Is a golf course going to be plundered and turned into a future slum because of infilling? You really should see a large copy of the plan. And are the neighbouring houses going to appreciate in value or do the opposite?

The town is going to rake in millions of dollars in development charges so it can say we are all better off for this.

I'd like to see someone make Frank Stronach an offer that even he couldn't refuse, buy his golf course and turn it into four story high condos. The town would be licking its slathering lips as it applauded. Zoning be damned. 

Posted by Anonymous to  Our Town and Its Business at 21 November 2015 at 19:22


I've been finding it hard to stop thinking about Paris, young people at a concert,murdered in unimaginable horror ......Syrian refugees streaming along country roads ,children in their arms wrapped in blankets against cold and wet....everything they own in a plastic bag.... no idea where they are going .......no hope but for the kindness of strangers.

 And many of the strangers ready to blame the victims for the crime against them. 

I look at young faces of terrorists and wonder what turned them into monsters and the broken hearts of their mothers and fathers.  

I need to be distracted. 

An argument about a golf course being "plundered" and "slums" being built on lots with less than a hundred feet of frontage is hardly that. 

But it's what there is. 

So I published it.  

The first municipal conference I attended as a regional Councillor was in St.John's, Newfoundland. 

Cod had  vanished with factory fishing and times were very bad. Outport communities seemed paralyzed by the problem. Faculty at Dalhousie University went into communities  and video-recorded what people had to say about the problem.They brought the film back to the university for editing and months later went back to show the finished product to  participants. 

It was as if they took thoughts out of their heads....for scrutiny and finding obvious weakness in arguments and barriers to problem solving. 

I was impressed.

In my judgement, the argument in the comment  possesses no merit. The  opposite in fact. 

I  thought it might be interesting for readers to consider  arguments presented to Council and likely  to the Ontario Municipal Board by opponents of the development plan. 


UAnonymous has left a new comment on your post "IN AND OUT GO THE RUSTY WEEVILS": 

There was one time when the OMB came out here with all the excitement from a bunch of neighbours and council to
decide the mighty question of whether or not a lot could be divided into two. I think several lengthy council meetings
had already gone into the process. Those from the OMB knew zip about the local politics and cared less. No one knew
them. They looked at the plans, consulted with " their " staff, and uttered the magic words.
" Infilling " So because of the proximity of a major arterial road, one lot became two.
I think Highland is going to fall into a similar situation. 

Posted by Anonymous to  Our Town and Its Business at 21 November 2015 at 15:57


The comment is an example of nothing useful.  

The Committee of Adjustment divides property up to three lots. Anything  above requires subdivision

The situation referred to was a double lot divided  by the Committee. It was infilling. 

The town is always asked to comment. There was no reason  to refuse the application. The lot had access and frontage and servicing from two streets. Extra assessment to help defray cost of servicing. was a win-win situation. 

A  neighbour collected a petition in opposition for reasons not apparent.

The only objection I recall, is the property owner would make money from the second lot.  

The existing house straddling the lot was frame construction, without foundations. 

It was demolished and the lot cleared without a trace within hours. 

Neighbours appealed the Committee's decision to the OMB. Which body was obliged to hear the appeal. 

In the circumstance,the town had no reason to appear at the hearing. 

The property owner was the only one  inconvenienced. No doubt cost would be recovered when the lot sold. Last time I checked, it had a beautiful brick home built on one side of the property.

The OMB hearing was a complete waste of time and little more than harassment. 

At the time, connection to such from within the council was easily discernible. 


Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "KEN AND BARBIE A LA MODE": 

I agree with you when “stating the obvious, a penalty will be imposed.” But why is that? I think, when it’s not done, the consequences are worse. The developer wants the build, Government wants the build. The build was established as soon as the developer got involved in this project. The OMB is sometimes used as a negotiating resource, but that can be risky, depending on the demands made by the residents. Anything that could have been agreed upon can go out the window along with all the money and time. How’s that for stating the obvious? 

Posted by Anonymous to  Our Town and Its Business at 21 November 2015 at 11:12


Before York Region was created, municipalities were required to have a Planning Board

The appointed body was responsible for planning decisions. 

Elected persons bitterly complained about  non-elected persons having that authority. 

Under regional government, both local levels  were given authority for planning.

Early in Ontario's history, municipal councils were responsible for education.Councillors mostly represented  local  business. Educating  the children of workers was not seen as advantageous. 

So ...mostly....they didn't. 

The Province created School Boards. 

Libraries were seen as an extension of education. Board members  were appointed by school boards. 

The Mayor was the only political representative on the library board. 

School  Board Trustees always felt superior and  above the political fray. 

When the Region was created, planning departments were soon established at both levels of local government along with the inexact science of land use planning. 

A Planning Act was created and rules established. 

Official plans were required  to pre-designate  land use.

All in the interest of taking politics out of the planning process. 

Only.....as we see on a regular basis....it doesn't. 

Councils , as a matter of strategy, avoid making decisions with the slightest hint of controversy and  despite horrendous cost of employing an army of planners to process plans according The Planning Act.

Huge blocks of time and resources  that create nothing of value, are expended.  

The OMB makes decisions if they must. 

Municipalities, in turn, scream bloody murder about the OMB usurping elected  authority. 

And so the wheel goes around and around. 

A comment  this morning asked if the last post was a new game put out by Mattel, the toy- maker.