Friday, December 15, 2006

The Train Has Left the Station - For Good

I have talked already about our Mayor (Mayor F/F for Flip Flop) changing his tune on the Light Rail transit plan now it's time to drag the whole council into it. Yesterday council voted on whether to continue with the plan and it was defeated 13 to 11. This leaves the city open to a possible lawsuit by Siemens, the previously announced winner of the bid process, which may cost in excess of $ 100M. I'm not too happy about the prospect of that large sum of our tax dollars going to someone as a settlement over a contracting issue - but it seems better than the $ 1B that was about to be spent on the project.

A light rail plan that doesn't include a downtown loop does not make environmental or business sense. I'm glad the two senior levels of government both indicated their unwillingness to support such a bastardized plan and that it has died. It also became apparent quickly that a subway approach for the downtown core didn't make sense for a city the size of Ottawa.

We have a transit system that works now, that enjoys peak time ridership volumes that are acceptable for its cost. Maybe what makes sense is to push it further into the suburbs with additional park/ride facilities deeper in Barrhaven, Kanata and Orleans. This would encourage additional riders for the peak times when our road network is crowded to capacity.

Keeping the cars off the roads and increasing ridership should be the goal of council and Mayor F/F. Perhaps offer pricing incentives that would make the transit system look like an even better financial alternative to driving times/parking costs/gas costs.

Cheers from the Valley.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Will I Glow in the Dark? - A Further Update

The CNSC (Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission) has issued their decision, albeit a temporary one. They have decided to extend the license of SRB Technologies to continue processing tritium at their Pembroke, Ontario facility. You can read the news release at this URL:

While this blogger does not agree with the decision I agree that further review is required and that by extending the current license there will be continued controls on the company with respect to the processing and disposal of this radioactive material.

For your education here are some links to background articles and to another action group that is worried about the radioactive highjinx of SRB.

Let's hope that the final decision will be to prohibit the activities that are so obviously negligent from an environmental perspective.

Cheers from the Valley.

Monday, December 11, 2006

It's a Jungle Inside - I'm Not Sorry

I read that a convicted wife/unborn child killer was rushed to hospital suffering from knife wounds on the weekend. Am I sorry? I can't say that I am. If that individual had been a "normal" citizen I'd have said, that's awful that he was attacked, and hope that authorities would find whomever did it. But this is not the case here.

Michael White was just convicted last week of killing his 29 year old wife, Liana who was carrying their unborn second child. The story had gripped the western media as it closely resembled the Scott Peterson case in the US. White was convicted of second-degree murder, I'm not sure why it wasn't first-degree murder because I would have thought it was premeditated. Our weak criminal code gives a minimum sentence of 10 years before possible parole for second-degree murder. Not enough in my opinion.

I believe the Canadian judicial system is not tough enough on the most violent offenders that move through the courts today. Murder is murder and in my opinion there should be no possible parole for a convicted murderer. That White will possible be eligible in 10 years for parole after what he did offends my sense of dignity, and it should offend yours.

We're not sure whether White injured himself or whether he was attacked by other inmates but I'd bet on the latter. The criminal code of conduct ranks sexual crimes, murder of children and spouses as the lowest of the low. I believe White was punished for what he did and can only assume that other attempts will be made to carry out the sentence that our courts are too weak to impose - death.

It's a jungle inside a prison and I'm glad.

Cheers from the Valley.

Friday, December 8, 2006

Last Train to Clarksville?

(With Apologies to the Monkees and to Tommy Boyce and Bobby Hart who wrote the tune.)

City council does it again. I think we need to nickname our new Mayor - Mayor Flip Flop (Mayor F/F) Within a week of being sworn in Larry O'Brien has changed his tune on two issues. The first was on taking a raise for himself and his councillors and now the second is on the Light Rail issue.

(As an aside to the first issue - the Mayor and councillors will still get a raise, don't kid yourself, but it just won't be as much as proposed. Mr. O'Brien has repeated the comment that he isn't Mayor for the money (he is a decidedly wealthy man in his own right). Also note that he has turned down the environmentally friendly city-provided car for his own Mercedes-Benz.)

During the campaign Mr. O'Brien came out against the proposed commuter rail project but Wednesday he cast the deciding vote at the council meeting that gave the go ahead to the project. The vote was 12 to 11 for proceeding with the project. One councillor was absent and he has now said that if he had been there he would have voted no which would have killed the plan (a tie vote is counted as a no vote). What's worse than continuing is the fact that they are continuing with a plan that does not have a downtown rail section, it was removed from the final plan.

Now I'm no Einstein (Please don't rush to agree!) But don't you think that if they run a rail link from Barrhaven to Baview/Transitway and succeed in getting ridership up where it should be they'll be pouring people off the trains onto the platform of the Transitway and will need to have lots of buses queued up to move them down Slater Street into the core? Wouldn't it be environmentally more acceptable to continue running the trains downtown to say Ottawa University then loop them back to Bayview, than to have even larger number of buses moving along what is an already crowded corridor?

Mayor F/F and council have decided to look at a tunnel for the downtown portion. This "look" will cost the city millions of dollars and will likely result in the decition not to proceed. Edmonton and another western city (Vancouver I think) have considered tunnels in the past and decided they were not worth the cost.

What council and Mayor Flip Flop have done, in my opinion, is to move forward with a partial solution. This is a handicapped plan which will not serve the commuting public they way it should.

Shame on the Mayor and Councillors for making this city look like the city in that Monkee's song. We'll be the laughing stock of Canada with this solution.

Cheers from the Valley.

Monday, December 4, 2006

It's Just a Little Sour Milk!

The police and Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) gestapo descended on a family farm west of Toronto this past week. Their goal to remove illegal unpasteurized milk which has been sold by this farm for the past 10 years to an ever-growing list of clients. Farmer Michael Schmidt has been selling his product to a community of believers which seems to be constantly growing. Why it even includes one of the highest level Cabinet Ministers in the Ontario provincial government - Greg Sorbara (Finance minister) who has been buying it for his family.

Schmidt had been circumventing the law by selling shares in his herd and then charging a fee per litre for the feeding and milking of that herd. At last count he had a waiting list of several hundred potential owners clamouring for a piece of the action and a source of unadulterated milk.

Both the dairy farmers organization and the health community have been quick to support the status quo arguing that unpasteurized milk was full of harmful or potentially harmful bacteria. After all it comes directly from a live animal - it can't be good if it hasn't been treated, eh?

Farmer Schmidt has many supporters, including celebrity chef Jamie Kennedy and US milk activist Sally Fallon who came to a Toronto news conference to lend their support to Schmidt. What remains is for the Agriculture minister in the provincial government to decide if a change could/should be made to the legislation allowing this milk to be sold. There are many states in the US that allow it as well as some of our European friends. Why should supposedly forward thinking Ontario be left in the dust?

I say let the milking begin and those who want to have it fresh and raw go ahead and enjoy it! The rest of society can continue to enjoy pasturized milk if they choose. But let's not make a criminal of someone who is genuinely providing a product that a segment of society deems to be both fit and preferential.

Cheers from the Valley.

Thursday, November 30, 2006

Will I Glow in the Dark? - An Update

This past Monday SRB Technologies went before the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC) to gain approval for their approach to disposal of radioactive tritium. Please revisit the following link for a detailed update on the review and the proceedings. I do not believe the CNSC had rendered a decision yet. But stay tuned.

Cheers from the Valley.

Alright Keep Your Knickers On - Please!

It has come to my attention that the latest trend with lady celebs is to be seen in public with no underwear on. Whether it's to ensure there aren't any panty lines under that skin tight new chemise or whether it's a matter of "If she can do it so can I." one-upmanship (or is that one-upwomanship?) I don't care. It is rather tasteless if you ask me.

Witness the rapidly falling star of Britney Spears. She's just divorced, recently a mother (by chosen c-section I hear) and was photographed by the paparazzi sans knickers with enough of her lower torso on view to reveal her c-section scar. Now come on Britney, are you just trying to better Paris (that's Hilton if you're not sure)? Or do you really think that by revealing your womanhood it will make your few remaining fans rush out and buy your latest album?

It seems that the drive by celebrities to get more and more publicity requires that they show more and more of their impossibly formed bodies. Low-cut bodice's aren't enough. Fashion accident's aren't enough (sorry Janet J.) so we have to stoop to revealing the rest of our genitalia.

I'm not even going to talk about hygiene - not going there folks. But come on, if you were all Scottish and were wearing kilts that happened to get caught in a breeze I'd understand. But you're not! So keep it under wraps and let those millions of pubescent males dream of what might be -- not actually see -- what is under your dress.

I for one don't even own a kilt even though my ancestry is Scottish! But if I did..... well you'll have to guess yourself!

Cheers from the Valley.