Earth Hour nonsense again………

I first published a version of this post two years ago

Light Bulb

Saturday 28th March 2015 at 8:30 pm local time, houses and commercial buildings all over the world suddenly went dark. No, it’s not a global power outage, it’s Earth Hour! Started in 2007, this annual event has become a worldwide phenomenon, educating people about the threat of climate change, and encouraging a commitment to more sustainable behavior.


If you happened to be in the Collingwood area Saturday evening at around 8.30 pm and were wondering what the shiny beacon of light was in the midst of the darkness. It was the Nobody residence. As per every year at that time I make sure I go around the house and turn on every light, fan, dryer, stove. This year as a pièce de résistance I rented a couple of search lights, which made my place look like a second world war Deutsch Flak 34 station. All that was missing were the Lancaster bombers flying overhead. I also started the lawn mower, weed eater and barbeque let them run unaccompanied for the full hour in the back yard. Much to the chagrin of many of my neighbor’s, who by the looks of there darkened houses, have drunk the Earth Hour Kool-Aid which gets shoved down everyone’s throats by governments, media, teachers and schools.

Mankind has spent the last 10,000 years clawing its way out of the darkness, and some of the worlds environmental movements would love nothing better than to put us all back in loin cloths and mud huts. Some big business concerns have bought into the nonsense also. The NHL decided to dim all the outside lights at its arenas for the hour. Wonderful!!! I wonder if they actually believe this crap or are playing to what they think their audience wants.
This is nothing more than environmental tokenism at its very worst. What bugs me about it is the general masses sign up for it and get a warm fuzzy feeling in the pit of their stomachs. But really they are doing nothing. Here’s a fact: We could completely turn off the grid in all of Canada and the United States for that full hour, shut it down completely and it would be the same as 4 minutes worth of China’s carbon emissions which they dump into the atmosphere. So if you actually want to do something to reduce global carbon emission’s, stop lining up down at Walmart and the various Dollar Emporiums and filling your houses with sweat shop manufactured, made in China unsustainable crap. Let’s also get the other 3 billion souls on to the grid. Instead of heating their houses and huts by deforesting and burning brush and wood or animal dung. The other thing that bugs me about this man made global warming farce, is that it is a completely fabricated crisis and pulls the world’s attention away from some of the real environmental catastrophes that should really be getting our attention. Like certain country’s factory ships sucking every last fish from the worlds oceans. Or the five areas in the worlds oceans full of plastic waste and plastic micro-sludge swirling around in circles as large as the state of Texas. One of them is in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, it’s called the “Great Pacific Garbage Patch” described here: but ignored by most so called environmentalists in lieu of beating the crap out of Alberta’s oil sands.
These ocean gyres are much more of a threat to our planet than this man-made global warming nonsense. But I suppose that subject isn’t quite as sexy as dimming the Eifel Tower or the Houses of Parliament.

Turn out your lights if you must, but don’t think for a second that you are doing anything for the environment. Personally, I love the first world convenience that I get from permanent unfettered access to the grid and I believe that is what the world should be celebrating.

Mad Dog gets in just under the wire……..

Whoa, that was close!! Some of you that follow my petty nonsense, know that Councilor Madigan pissed me off this past week or so. I was just about to press “publish” my version of Bobs answers to my 10 questions and I heard a text come in, it was Bob. I won’t get into why Bob went black on me for a week or so, but here are the 10 questions and his answers. My answers were way better………

1. How have you enjoyed your first 100 days on council?

I have enjoyed it immensely. It has been and will continue to be exciting and thought provoking on many levels.

2. I have teased you in my blogs about your penchant for photo ops. Every time I turn around you are in one of the local papers, on someone’s Facebook feed, Twitter account. What with the constant need to be in front of a camera Bob?

Yes, you definitely do tease a bit, but to be honest I enjoy it. As for your thoughts on my so called “photo ops”, all I can say is that I try to go to every event I can. I try to support as many organizations and businesses that I can, in the town I love. I consider that “doing my job”, not “photo ops”.

3. I heard you snapped at one of the committee meetings a couple of weeks ago, can you explain what happened?

I am a very passionate man and sometimes I think that passion might be misunderstood. I love what I do as my duties as a councillor. I was elected to share my opinions on our diverse municipal issues.

4. What’s the deal with you and Steve Berman? It doesn’t seem like there is much love between the two of you.

I have nothing but admiration for Mr. Berman’s passion for our community. I am excited to see what he can accomplish as an active community member to the local boards he has been appointed to. I wish him nothing but success.

5. One sentence on what you would like to see changed in Collingwood’s downtown?

Collingwood’s Downtown is a diamond in the rough and if the merchants continue to strive for excellence in customer service and selection of products and services, the rest should fall into place.

6. You were recently featured in a blog regarding some questionable dealings and behind the scenes conversation’s with Betty Donaher regarding the BIA election can you explain what happened?

I did read that blog and was very put off by it. I supported Betty whole-heartedly throughout both the municipal and BIA elections.

7. What was that yawning all about in the first couple of council meetings?

The answer is simple: I consume too much coffee at Mad Dog’s during the day!

8. When are you going to burn that old Sheffield Wednesday FC jersey you keep telling me about?

I will never burn it! I know you love it down deep. Let’s get one of my so called “photo ops” with me in my jersey and you in yours. (That’s a damn good answer actually)

9. When we first sat down for a chat during the election campaign you promised me you would get the 2nd or 3rd highest amount of votes. What went wrong?

In the election of 2010, a councillor needed 2738 votes to get a seat around the table. I think a few of us were caught completely off guard by the 3402 votes we needed during this election. That being said, I wanted to aim high. You don’t run for office hoping just to get in.

10. Do you read all the local blogs? Which is your favorite?

I read a few blogs here and there. I will admit that VFAN is the one that constantly puts a smile on my face. You have a way of using wit.

Nothing to see here move along. Bob has found himself a publicist.

Midweek Update VFAN Style 26/3/15

None of the following warrants an actual post but I have a few observations that I thought I would share with you:

1. I nearly fell off my chair laughing Tuesday when I read this in an EB Letter to the Editor “I thank God that there were 3,402 intelligent citizens who voted for Kevin Lloyd“. This was from a chap named Kevin Murray. Kevin must have owed Kevin a huge solid to write this nonsense in a very public forum.

2. Just when I was starting to like Mad Dog, he gives me a swift pejorative kick in the never regions. I visited Bob a couple of Saturdays ago. We had a good chat and it ended up that he agreed to answering a few questions for a blog post. I sent him the questions and he very quickly responded that he was quite busy give him a few days. So I waited, and I waited, and I waited some more……….. Nothing. So last weekend I sent him a quick reminder and he responded very quickly apologized because of March break and said he would get something to me the following day. So I waited, and I waited, and I waited some more…….Nothing. I texted Bob 3 days ago, this time no response. Not to worry I will still get a post out of this. I will still ask the questions and have VFAN Imagine what Bob would say……… so stay tuned for that one, it might be fun.

3. I was sad to hear that Marcus Ferman was leaving Collus for greener pastures. I have had my various axes to grind in this space about him but I think he was very competent at his job and will be sorely missed at our local utility. I wish him and his family the very best of luck in the future.

4. Not sure if this one has any legs or not but there is a rumour floating around that the town is ready to get out of the electrical distribution portion of Collus.

5. I was quite surprised at the views my last two posts received. I wrote about that experience purely for selfish reasons. A few people were upset at my treatment of Mr. Holdout and did not share my “means justified the end” approach. It takes a certain type of arrogant asshole to hang eleven people out to dry for 4 days. As much as can be achieved in cases like this in this country, I believe I helped give those 2 poor kids a certain amount of justice.

6. At Monday evenings meeting of the Development and Operations Services Standing Committee, they voted on whether Mariners Haven will get their gate. Cam Ecclestone was away. Kathy Jeffery voted not to approve and Kevin Lloyd voted to approve. This will now go before council with no clear directive from this committee. Mark todays date down, as this is the first time I have agreed with Kevin Lloyd on something.

7. Finally someone is taking a serious look at a major overhaul, rebuild or expansion of General and Marine hospital. In an EB interview with Guy Chartrand the CEO of G and M and he said “I think you are looking at two years before anything is kicked off”. This is long overdue I hope it happens.

Twelve Angry Men (and Women) Part Two

Deliberations started again at 9am Saturday morning. The focus of the eleven was to convince the one last juror that the defendant was a cruel manipulating liar who murdered his one child and permanently disabled the other in cold blood and knew exactly what he was doing. We sat around a large oval-shaped table with the foreman on one side and “Mr. Holdout” on the other. The foreman said her piece then we all took it in turns to try to convince him of the defendant’s guilt. Mr. Holdout then had his chance to tell us what was on his mind. His issue was that he did not think anyone of sound mind could do such a heinous thing to his own children.
It was decided that we needed to go over in greater detail the psychiatrist’s for both the defense (2 witnesses) and the prosecution (2 witnesses) testimonies. This constituted one and a half weeks of complicated testimony and would take about 2 days. At this point the East Indian lady had withdrawn from the proceedings and was sitting in the corner in her chair rocking back and forth whimpering.
We had finished painstakingly going over the expert witnesses testimony by around noon on the Monday Mr. Holdout was being fairly quiet so we broke for lunch and decided to do another vote after lunch. This was seven days after the judge had handed us the trial. After lunch we voted and Mr. Holdout still would not cooperate. The jury foreman then sent a third note to the judge saying that we were at an impasse with one holdout and could not convince him. The judge sent back two words in capital letters “KEEP TRYING”. By this time 4 people had completely withdrawn from the proceedings, the two homemakers, the unemployed man and the firefighter (good job he wasn’t foreman) were playing crib. Myself and the foreman sat in one of the corners with Mr. Holdout talking quietly and trying to get through to him. We were getting nowhere and at this point had completely withdrawn, not answering or engaging. I then stood up and said we should finish early get a good nights sleep and vote again in the morning. If it was no dice then we would inform the judge that we were hung.
At 9am on the Tuesday we voted again. Mr. Holdout was stone faced. He then announced quite matter of factly that he would accept a second degree murder verdict. Everyone was gobsmacked the foreman said she would take this suggestion to the judge to see if this verdict was a possibility. I then said something like the following to the jury and foreman:

“I will never agree to a verdict of second degree murder in this case. I would prefer a hung jury. The evidence is quite clear that this defendant murdered his two defenseless children in a cold blooded premeditated manner. One person in this room does not have the guts or intestinal fortitude to come to the same conclusion as everyone else. We have indulged Mr. Holdout for four days now I will not indulge him any longer, now is the time to make the right decision”.

Mr. Holdout then had a melt down bleating “I can’t send a man to prison for the rest of his life”

I then threw a full plastic bottle of Dasane water at him, narrowly missing his head and crashing into the door. I yelled “Make the right decision you f—–g gutless piece of shit.” One of the court officials banged on the door and asked if everything was OK. The foreman/woman answered in the affirmative. I thought about this exchange a few times over the years. Had I actually intended to hit Mr. Holdout with the water bottle? It was an easy shot, around eight feet. In fact I just wrote that I had intended to hit him but missed. If I am honest this was merely a ploy to get Mr. Holdout’s attention.

Mr. Holdout sat alone with his head on the table sobbing for ten minutes or so. A couple of people went to engage him but I motioned for them to leave him be. He pulled himself together then announced he would agree to the first degree murder conviction.

I got a great deal of satisfaction as I purposely caught the defendants eye while the foreman gave the verdict of guilty on both counts. Murder in the first degree and aggravated assault. I have no doubt that if I were not on that jury this murderer would probably have ended up being convicted of second degree murder and would be walking free today. This jury including the foreman was done and would have taken the second degree murder option as a compromise to escape the jury room.
After the verdict was received by the court, we were discharged by the judge. Myself, the foreman/woman, the retired teacher, the bank clerk, the retired accountant and the shop assistant, did not immediately contact our loved ones and went to a local pub and got quite drunk. We all pledged life long friendships with promises of reunions and socializing. The reality in the end was that none of this ever happened. Through various twists of fate twelve people that would never normally interact with each other were thrust together in close proximity in a very personal common cause for an extended period of time. As with myself the other members of the jury just wanted to forget about it all after they got home.
Some advice for you if you ever end up on a jury. Pick a foreman with a strong personality, not a quiet consensus builder with organizational skills. It takes a lot to get twelve people to agree on something as important as the fate of another human being.
One last thing. I saw Mr. Holdout doing a street interview on CTV News a couple of years later. He was an advocate for the homeless.

Twelve Angry Men (and Women)

I have been watching with keen interest the ongoing saga of the jury on the VIA terrorism trial. As of this writing in its tenth day of deliberation with no less than 5 notes coming from that jury to the judge for various explanations of the law and legal matters.
The reason for my interest is 18 years ago this week I was selected to be on a jury for a particularly grisly first degree murder trial, which was fairly infamous at that time out on the west coast.

In Canada unlike the US it is illegal for a juror to discuss the happenings and discussions of a closed jury’s deliberations on pain of a contempt of court charge. But I think enough time and distance has passed and I will not mention any names. It was a very interesting experience which I would like to share with you all. It gives a little insight in a very rarely discussed part of our country’s legal system.

The defendant was charged with the first degree murder of his 8 year old daughter and the aggravated assault of his 11 year old son who was left in a vegetative state in a wheel chair. He had attacked both of his children with an axe killing his daughter instantly because she was asleep at the time of the attack. His son was awakened by the noise of the attack on his sleeping sister next to him and managed to hold up a hand in self defense, so the boy survived. I will not tell you the details of the injuries sustained by these poor kids but the horror of the court photos still lives with me today.
There was never any question about his guilt and he was not denying that he attacked his children. His defense team were trying to say that he was not guilty by reason of insanity. I will not do a blow by blow account of the trial but the gist of his motive was he was a very jealous possessive man, his wife had left him and had full custody of the two kids. He was a complete loser who could not hold down steady employment. The wife had also met a new guy and was getting on with her life. He killed his daughter and maimed his son to punish his wife for leaving him. The damning piece of evidence was video footage of him buying an axe at Lumberland six weeks prior to the murder, which showed premeditation. I remember the very brilliant prosecutor grilling the defendant as follows:

Prosecutor: “Do you go camping?”
Defendant: “No”
Prosecutor: “Is there a fireplace in your apartment?”
Defendant: “No”
Prosecutor: “Did you do any brush or tree cleanup for a friend prior to the incident?”
Defendant: “No”
Prosecutor: “Then would you mind explaining to the members of the jury the reason why you were buying an axe in that video? Which is the same style and type of axe used to attack your children.”

The defendant then went into a blubbering diatribe about not remembering anything and being in an out of body experience blah blah blah. Disgusting human being!!!

After six weeks of trial we as a jury were handed the case. The jury consisted of myself a self-employed plumber. Three school teachers (one who was retired) all women. A law school student male around 23 years old. Two female homemakers. A middle aged male bank employee. A retired male accountant. A young man with no specific job skills. A male firefighter. A female shop assistant.

We voted for a jury foreman first. As you all know I can be quite loud an opinionated so needless to say I was not nominated to be foreman (a decision this jury would later regret). Everyone apart from myself decided that the youngest of the school teachers would make the best foreman/woman. I voted for the firefighter. The next part of the proceedings was to take an informal vote to see where everyone was at in terms of the case. It was five to convict on first degree murder, five on the fence and two believed the insanity plea. Believe it or not I was one of the people on the fence. My reasoning was that we had spent six weeks listening to evidence and testimony. I took my place as a small cog in Canada’s justice system quite seriously and I wanted to review some of the evidence and talk about it with the other members of the jury.

The way a trial works in Canada is once a jury is handed a trial it is sequestered in a hotel and escorted and guarded by uniformed court officials until they reach a verdict. We were housed on a floor of the Days Inn Hotel with a guard posted at each end of the hall way. We were not allowed to read newspapers or watch news about the trial while we were sequestered.

By day four of deliberations we were at eleven voting to convict on first degree murder and one person voting not guilty by reason of insanity. A jury in a criminal trial in Canada has to have complete consensus and has to be unanimous either way. Anything other than that is a hung jury meaning a retrial and a judge will try very hard not to let that happen. The judge had handed us this case on a Monday at around lunch time. So we as a jury were now looking down the barrel of a weekend of deliberations. We called it quits early on the Friday afternoon as tempers were getting frayed. One of the jurors (a homemaker) and of East Indian decent had never been away from her husband and family for more than one night and had tried very hard (as most of us did) to not get picked. She was beside herself at the prospect of not going home for the weekend. The one holdout was the law school student. He was getting some credits for his jury time plus it was probably the first time in a year or so he was getting three square meals a day.

(To be continued)

Collingwood Town Council 100 day report card:

What’s that old saying? Time flies when you’re having fun. I have enjoyed the first few months of this new council and it has gone by so fast, the election seems like only yesterday. Alas though it doesn’t look like our (relatively) new town council are having much fun these days. Trying to get the towns finances back into shape is a monumental task. I hear an average $50 property tax increase is in the works, with more bad news coming next year. Plus it seems every week someone is bringing yet another complaint to the integrity commissioner Robert Swayze. The following is my 100 day report card and commentary on all members of council as follows:

Mayor Sandra Cooper: I actually thought Sandra started very strong and I was pleasantly surprised at what a good job she was doing as our towns chief magistrate. The one thing that has bugged me though and I can’t seem to get beyond it, is the fact that our Mayor out and out lied during the election campaign about the towns finances. What bothers me even more is the people that voted for her either have developed collective amnesia about her Pinocchio nose stretching statements or really don’t give a shit. It seems that our elected officials at all levels of government can say what they like during an election campaign and there are fools in our communities that keep falling for the same stupid nonsense. Sandra would have been a solid C + if she had not lied to us. Alas I can now only give her a D.

Brian Saunderson: Brian would have got an A something if it wasn’t for he and the rest of council not dealing with the Elvis festival file and allowing that particular can to be kicked down the road for another 3 years. I am very impressed with Brian on the whole though, and I am positive he will soon be rating up in the A’s. We as a town are extremely lucky to have a bright, intelligent, articulate guy like him putting himself in the firing line as Deputy Mayor. The problem is with the pittance that we pay our elected officials in this town, I fear that Brian might be a one term wonder. B+

Tim Fryer: Nothing has surprised me about Tim. He has been on the right side of all the important decisions and votes. Has a measured approach to most issues, again I expected more from him on Elvis Festival vote. I thought he out of any on council would have had the cajones to take on this hot potato, and at least try to put and end to our towns open book attitude towards this seemingly untouchable event. B

Mike Edwards: I have been very hard on Mike this past couple of years. The last council term I thought he was just mailing it in, very ineffectual and going with the flow. This term has been a completely different story. He has not always voted the way I would have liked, but he has come to some of his decisions with informed thought and salient commentary. He was MC at an event that my daughter was in and it shed a completly different light on Mike for me. He did a great job was funny and articulate. I hope this new found mojo continues. B

Cam Ecclestone: I have been somewhat disappointed in Cam if I am completely honest. But then again I didn’t vote for him so cannot be held in the least bit accountable for his performance. Every banana skin that Cam has had placed in front of him he has managed to slip on and fall flat on his face. A low point for me was when he said out loud that the Collus report was “way too complicated” for him to comprehend. Plus the stupid sending email fiasco about CEO John Brown. Giving Chadwick and Angry Man ammunition to march straight to Robert Swayze. “Amateur Hour” is how I would describe Cam’s first 100 days, which is rather surprising considering he was town reeve in some godforsaken hell hole up north a few years ago. D+ (and I am being generous at that).

Kathy Jeffery: Again no surprises here. Stoic, measured, informed on the right side of all my issues, does not waste her breath waffling on about anything. She does not say very much but when she does you better listen because she always does her research. In this case I did not expect Kathy to make a big song and dance on the Elvis issue, but I did expect more than what she gave us. That’s why she also gets a B.

Deb Doherty: I think Deb has been a shining star on this new council. I loved the motion to bring Rick Lloyd back on the carpet for his conflict of interest, that the voting bloc very clumsily tried to sweep under the carpet last term. I could see the steam coming from an unmentionable ex-councillors ears from Hickory to Oak St. If I have one complaint it would be that she is a bit of an idealist and might end up sorely disappointed after this term in office. She has been on my side of the issues every time with the exception of the Elvis festival vote, but then again she had an idealistic approach to that when she answered my question on it during the election. So Deb gets an A- (The only person on council that gets an A)

Bob Madigan: Where would VFAN have been this term if Bob (Mad Dog) Madigan had not got himself elected? I am glad Bob is on this council. He started slow and looked like he might be all photo op and no substance. But seems to be finally starting to find his feet. He is a little too close to the Cooper clan for my liking but as he told me last weekend he has been pals with Shawn for years and this does not seem to have affected his voting record. Brash, funny, quick witted are all words I would use for Bob. I am not quite ready yet to say that I was wrong about him last fall, but I am almost there. C+

Kevin (Angry Man) Lloyd: Again where would VFAN be without Angry Man this term? It’s strange Chadwick fails to get himself elected and up jumps Kevin Lloyd to take his place as resident asshole on council. Being an asshole was not a new thing for Kevin Lloyd but this term he seems to have honed that skill to a fine art form. Think of any good just decision that this council has voted in the affirmative on and Angry Man Lloyd has had some long-winded reason to vote against it. I can envision many more wasted complaints to the integrity commissioner at 5 to 10 grand a pop. I also see his blood pressure getting the better of him if he isn’t careful. I have never seen someone’s complexion so consistently on the rouge side of the equation for so long and they are still upright. He is a solid F (If he were a few years younger, we would be talking summer school).

Council Meeting 16th March 2015 – VFAN Style:

1. Deb mentioned that she was down at the “Skate with the Mayor” event at the Central Park arena on Sunday with wait for it………. Mayor Cooper and Kevin Lloyd. WTF!!! I also a pig fly past my window yesterday. I wondered what was going on.

2. Bob missed out on another photo op at the Mayors skate because of something called “Irish flu”. Apparently this epidemic hit members of his staff at Mad Dogs Sunday morning. I have also heard this particular ailment called 26oz flu.

3. ‎ I swear to God every time I see Angry Man these days, he gets redder and redder. Today he is the colour of a ripe beet root.

4. Mayor Cooper talked about the dire state of our towns finances. Strange that she wasn’t saying this during last years municipal election. She even invited us mugs in the general public to come down tomorrow to the budget meeting and give suggestions. ‎I’ll start with one simple one STOP PROPPING UP THE ELVIS FESTIVAL.

5. ‎Seems like it’s going to be easier to operate a bed and breakfast in town. Many changes coming down the pipeline. Due to adjustments coming to the official town plan. This was brought on by the nonsense with Deputy Mayor Lloyd’s bed and breakfast debacle last year.

6. Fire Chief Trent tabled a report tonight, he said there were 8 fires in January and February. He also told us that they had to go back to one place twice in one week for a cooking fire. What the hell were they cooking up, meth?

7. Steve Berman got himself appointed to the museum board‎. Is there a board or a committee that this man is not on.

8. Deb was having a nice conversation with Angry Man as I left……..and he wasn’t shouting. Double WTF!!!!

9. Not much grist for the mill tonight unfortunately. If this had been a Chris Carrier council meeting he would have stretched this out to 5 hours at least. And VFAN would have another 6 salient, insightful, observations.