Thursday, January 24, 2013

Citizen Ellie Has Returned !

      Yes, I'm back after a sabbatical of just over a year.  I've been travelling, training a new canine companion, giving up some volunteer activities, learning a completely new computer operating system   and advancing my education at Carleton University.   I've also made the decision to broaden the scope of this blog -- yes, I will still comment on municipal politics, but there are other matters/happenings in today's world which also deserve comment.
      Where have my travels taken me ?  Most notably, to some of the Balkan states -- Helsinki in Finland,  Tallin in Estonia and St. Petersburg in Russia, along with Amsterdam, Berlin and Stockholm last August.
      I wonder if other westerners share the same  picture in their minds of the former east bloc countries similar to the one I had prior to my travels.  I did not expect the streets of St. Petersburg to be jam-packed with expensive cars.  Nor a Lada in sight.  Cadillac dealership right downtown.  Everyone seemed to be driving BMW's, Mercedes, Audi's and Jags.  Same in Helsinki and Tallin.  Well-dressed, stylish women, men in well-tailored business suits, fancy shops, a gorgeous outdoor market in Helsinki where fresh fruits,vegetables, furs, hand-crafted jewelry and other items were on display in abundance.
      One cannot do justice to St. Petersburg in a couple of days so I am heading back to that part of the world in July.  This next journey will also take me to Poland and Latvia.

                                             Tax Dollars At Work

      Don't know about you but city council's decision to give more money to the Great Canadian Theatre Company because the cost of construction of its new theatre has gone way over budget is grinding my gears today.
       Whose fault is it that construction costs on this project went out of control ?  Surely not the taxpayers.  The city had committed $1.5 million to the project --which is the 25% of capital costs of arts and cultural infrastructure for which the city usually pays.  Somewhere along the line, costs soared and the initial $1.5 million ended up covering only 11% of said construction costs.  So we -- the taxpayers -- are coughing up another $250,000 to help an organization which doesn't appear to take cost control seriously.
      This isn't the first "extra" funding this outfit has received from the city.  Back in 2010, when the city gave the GCTC an additional $175,000, they said they wouldn't be back for more.
      Seems to me that council should appoint a qualified person to do some oversight on this project because whoever is looking after it now apparently could use some help.  And us taxpayers could use some relief !
                                                                   New Post Soon


Saturday, December 10, 2011

War On The Home Front

'Tis the season for Christmas concerts -- except in certain public schools in the Ottawa area where the political correctness brigade has put an end to another Canadian cultural tradition enjoyed by generations of kids and their parents. Concerts can be held in February but not too close to Valentine's Day -- St. Valentine, after all, was a Christian, and the political correctness brigade has declared open season on anything which remotely smacks of Christianity.
In Kingston, school bus drivers have been warned off displaying any Christmas decoration on their vehicles -- on penalty of death -- or the Canadian equivalent -- loss of job. They better not be wearing any elf hats, reindeer antlers or Rudolph noses either !
Apparently disciples of political correctness go into a slavering frenzy of anger when they spot a Christmas wreath wired to the grille of a school bus. The sight of a kid dressed in dad's bathrobe, gotten up as one of the Three Wise Men, causes disciples of political correctness to grit their teeth while their eyes bulge and the veins in their heads pop out. It's a wonder more of them do not succumb to apoplexy which would, in Citizen Ellie's opinion, be a good thing.
The war on Christmas seems to have heated up this year. Sadly, not enough of us are standing up to the political correctness bullies.
That's right. The disciples of political correctness are the worst bullies in our society today. Schoolyard bullies (about whom Premier Dad is having fits) are pikers compared to the adults who get themselves elected to school boards and other official bodies in order to shove their ideas down our collective throats -- whether we agree or not. And those of us who disagree do so at our peril because there are Human Rights Commissions out there just waiting to slap us into submission as journalists Ezra Levant and Mark Steyn learned -- but they fought back. Statues should be erected to honor these guys. They are heroes for standing up to the bullies !!
It's not just Christmas that's under attack. The political correctness brigade moved against Halloween this year. Kids can wear orange and black clothing, but no costumes please. Remembrance Day is in their sights -- the cowards on both the Ottawa Catholic and Public School Boards gave in this year, using the guns are forbidden in schools policy as an excuse to cancel a program which brought veterans and students together. Citizen Ellie has no problem with the policy -- of course guns should be forbidden in schools. There are a lot of things which should be forbidden in schools but where's the common sense when it comes to firearms which have been disabled, LAVs and tanks which are out of service and old jeeps ? Another piece of Cnadian history and culture flushed down the drain.
Wonder if Sir Robert Borden ever thought this would happen in his Canada as he wrapped his hands around Lord Kitchener's throat and shook the former supreme commander when the two met up after the armistice --The Canadian PM was incensed at supreme commander Kitchener's waste of colonial manpower in the trenches of France. Bet they don't teach that in schools today. Not important. Social engineering is where it's at !
Yes, there are a lot of things which should be forbidden in schools. Premier Dad's new sex-ed curriculum would be a good place to start. Think about it. Why on earth should Grade Two kids be taught how to put condoms on sex toys ? What purpose does this serve ? Why is time which should be spent teaching kids how to read, write, spell and count wasted on this nonsense ? Because the political correctness brigade is promoting it.
Citizen Ellie feels like waging war against school taxes. Obviously there are far too many school board members and school administrators who have too little to do. So to justify their fat salares, pension and benefit plans they find ways to make it look like they're working full tilt !
Social engineering has replaced teaching. That's why those of us who wrote the provincial exams and graduated from Grade 13 back in the 1950s received an education the equivalent of what a BA gets today after four years at university ! And somehow we managed to succeed in life without having learned how to put condoms on sex toys in school.

New ;post soon.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Political Movement Or Hobo Jungle ?

Is the "Occupy Ottawa" camp currently situated in Ottawa's Confederation Park a political movement/demonstration or simply a hobo jungle ?
Citizen Ellie is of the opinion that it's the latter.
While the camp may have begun with the best of purposes, it is more and more evident that it has become nothing more than a haven for people who want to break laws; a haven for the intoxicated and the addicted; a haven for those who want to prey on the weakest in our society.
There have been reports of physical and sexual assaults, thefts and other activities which fall within the purview of the Criminal Code. Sanitary facilities are minimal and there is reason to be concerned about the risk of disease.
Similar camps in Halifax and London, Ontario have been closed down. The squatters in Toronto have been given until midnight tonight to move on. They've been told to remove themselves from Olympic Plaza in Calgary. And similar action is expected in Vancouver. In New York City, where the "Occupy Wall Street" movement started, the camp in Zucotti Park has been closed. Protesters may return during the day but they will not be allowed to set up tents and camp out.
So what's happening in Ottawa ?
You could have knocked Citizen Ellie over with a feather last week. Wonder of wonders ! A response from Mayor Jim within 24 hours of her sending him an e-mail regarding Occupy Ottawa. Clearly there's a new approach being taken at City Hall in regard to communication with taxpayers.
Mayor Jim explained that Confederation Park is National Capital Commission (NCC) property and it would be up to the NCC to ask the Ottawa Police to step in and clear the park. He suggested that Citizen Ellie contact the local MPs who currently occupy government benches. So e-mails went off to John Baird, Gordon O'Connor etc. etc.
The feds passed the buck back to the city. They say the Occupy Ottawa camp is a "demonstration" and because Ottawa Police are responsible when demonstrations occur it's their job to take the appropriate action.
Mayor Jim's position is correct. The "Occupy Ottawa" camp is not a demonstration in any sense of the word. Ottawa Police can't just walk in without being invited. So citizens of Ottawa who are sick and tired of the hobo jungle and its scofflaw denizens will have to wait until some high hiedin at the NCC decides enough is enough.
Ottawa ratepayers can take comfort in the fact that they will not be alone when it comes to picking up the tab for the cleanup and repair which Confederation Park will require once the hobo jungle is gone. The burden will be shared with taxpayers across the country.
Citizen Ellie has a couple of questions about this whole "occupy" movement in Canada, and especially in Ontario. In the past 12 months Ontarians have had three opportunities to go to the polls and cast ballots in elections at the municipal, provincial and federal levels. Voter turnout on all three occasions was dismal. So where were all these protesters on election day ? Too drunk or drugged to make it to the polls ? If the desire for revolution is as strong as those squatting in the parks (and their big labor backers) would have us believe, how come McGuinty in Ontario and Harper at the federal level weren't summarily turfed out of office ? How come Ottawa ratepayers put the boot to the socialists who controlled council ?
And how come these protesters can only talk about cororate greed as if corporate greed is the root of all evil ? Their only solution is to further tax the rich. In Canada the top tax rate is already 29 per cent. Keep jacking it up and the few really rich in this country will move to one of the many tax havens available around the world. Why aren't they talking about entitlements ? Why aren't they talking about waste and government programs which have outlived their usefulness ? Could it be because they're all swilling at the entitlement trough and their big labor backers fear their membership will sharply decline when governments at all levels start implementing much-needed austerity measures ?

New posts soon.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Hide And Seek.......

RICE POINT, PEI: The invisible woman remains invisible.

Social Services Minister Madeleine Meilleur has declined an invitation from the Municipal Taxpayer Advocacy Group to attend the Hydro and Municipal Affairs debate the group is hosting on September 12 from 5.00 to 8.30 p.m. in the Council Chamber at City Hall.

One would think the minister responsible for welfare in Ontario would be prepared to participate in a public forum where welfare will be one of the topics under discussion given that there's a provincial election on the horizon. What could possibly bemore important than the chance to explain what's happening with welfare reform (or the lack of it) in the province.

Perhaps Mme. Meilleur's decision not to present herself at this forum has to do with the fact it has a highly Anglophone tinge to it -- what with Steve Madely and Nick Van Der Graft from CFRA being involved and the other sitting provincial government members and the candidates opposing them who are participating in the event may very well be bilingual, but they are Anglophones or Allophones just the same.

Mme. Meilleur might do well to review the latest demographic figures for her riding of Ottawa-Vanier which can be found by accessing Statistics Canada's web site. She's in for a surprise.

It might also behoove her to instruct her constituency office staff regarding the boundaries of her riding and what areas of the city are included in Ottawa-Vanier. It ain't just Vanier, kids.

A friend of Citizen Ellie's who resides in New Edinburgh recently had occasion to call Mme. Meilleur's constituency office, seeking assisstance with a problem. Citizen Ellie's friend was repeatedly told that they could not help as New Edinburgh did not lie within Ottawa-Vanier's boundaries. After insisting that New Edinbugh did indeed lie within Ottawa-Vanier's boundaries, the staffer told Citizen Ellie's friend that she would have to look into the matter and call back. A somewhat chastened Meilleur staffer indeed called back and admitted error.

The only knowledge of Mme. Meilleur's existence posessed by many Ottawa-Vanier residents is the fact a street in the riding has been named after her. What has she done to receive this honor ? Inquiring minds want to know.

The provincial election looms. Will Mme. Meilleur carry the Liberal banner yet another time ? Again, inquiring minds want to know. If so, does she think that just having her name on the ballot will be enough ? Or the old line, "Vote for me because I'm French" (used by Liberal candidates throughout the years) will cinch it for her ? Hope she's ready for four years in opposition. That's where many of her constituents fervently hope she ends up -- across the floor where she'll truly be invisible.


Citizen Ellie has frequently had occasion during the past weeks of her sojurn on PEI to leave her little piece of paradise at Rice Point on the Northumberland shore, and venture to other parts of the island.

Driving across the island, heading north-east to the beach at Greenwich (part of the National Park system on the Atlantic shore),Citizen Ellie once again used the Charlottetown by-pass and marvelled at the foresight of that city's elected representatives as compared to the lack of it on the part of Ottawa's city council during years past. Sadly, Ottawa lacks a ring road.

In the old days before the bypass, one had to negotiate Charlottetown's University Avenue through the downtown core to get to the bridge across the Hillsborough River which would take one to points east such as Greenwich, St. Peter's, Montague or Souris.

In Ottawa, we still must drive through the city core to get from west to east and vice vesa. A ring road would go a long way to solving congestion in the downtown core in addition to changing the Queensway from a parking lot in both directions during rush hours to a free-flowing autoroute.

More posts. Soon.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Is There A Doctor ....... ???

RICE POINT, PEI: Glancing through newspapers on line @ National Newswatch, Citizen Ellie noted several references to a new campaign promise by "Deceiver" Dalton -- if elected, his government will reinstate physician house calls in Ontario.

Citizen Ellie has this question for Mr. Tax and Spend: considering that probably half of Ontario's population doesn't have access to a family doctor, where will these physicians be found who are willing to make house calls ?

Perhaps you saw the photo in the Globe and Mail a couple of weeks ago. Hundreds of people lined up outside a newly-opened medical practice in Barrhaven, hoping against hope they would be among the lucky ones to make it onto one of the doctors' rosters. Citizen Ellie's daughter-in-law was one of those in the queue.

We tend to adopt a sneering, supercilious attitude towards our neighbors to the south when it comes to discussions about health care and which country's system is better. We happily point to the fact that over a third of the U-S population does not have access to health care because they cannot afford to pay for it. We loudly proclaim that our system is better -- everyone has access to health care -- and it's free.

Except it's not free. We pay for it through our taxes. Compare our income tax rates with those of our American neighbors with similar incomes. We pay heavily. And in Ontaario, we pay even more, thanks to "Deceiver" Dalton's health care tax which he implemented shortly after he was first elected -- on the promise of no new taxes. Some Ontarians, Citizen Ellie included, pay as much as an extra $950 per year to the Ontario government -- allegedly for health care.

Excedpt there are no doctors. There's a serious doctor shortage in Ontario. Why ? Think back to the NDP government headed by Bob Rae -- yes, the very same Bob Rae who's now interim leader of the federal Libs. During his period as premier, health care costs were eating up quite a chunk of the provincial budget. Who was to blame for this ? In the socialists' minds, it was the fault of those highly-paid doctors. How to solve the problem ? Cap admission to medical schools.

Problem was that there was a serious lack of forward thinking on the part of the Rae government. They conveniently forgot it takes ten-plus years to make a doctor. They conveniently forgot that Ontario's population was aging, people were living longer, and health isues attendant on the aging process would increase as a consequence.

Then there's the doctors' union -- otherwise known as the Ontario Medical Association. The OMA and the Ontario College of Physicians and Surgeons (the provincial licensing body for doctors) determine who gets to practice medicine in this province. These folks run a closed shop -- just as closed a shop as the old craft unions ran in the early days of the labor movement.

They make it extremely difficult for foreign-trained doctors to practice in Ontario. Even if the foreign training was received at a prestigious, world-class medical school such as Glasgow University in Scotland or Trinity in Ireland. The powers in control in Ontario look upon institutions such as these as third world outfits and doctors who've graduated from these institutions have to jump through hoops to have their credentials recognized in Ontario.

But Ontario is not alone in this. The same thing happens here in Prince Edward Island. The public here recently learned that a board certified, experienced physician who had years of practice in Boston was being required to go through the qualification dance established on the island to control admission of foreign-trained doctors. This -- when the doctor shortage on the island is desperate.

Given our level of taxation and the fact we in Ontario carry the extra burden of "Deceiver" Dalton's health care premium, are we getting what we're paying for ? When Ontario residents have to queue up for hours in the hope they might make it onto a family doctor's roster, Citizen Ellie would have to say that we're not.

This should be a major issue during the coming provincial election. Get off your duffs, get out to the public meetings in your area. Sit close to the floor mikes. Get up and challenge your sitting MPP. What is he or she personally doing to bring more family doctors into the province ? Demand an answer. Vote accordingly.

More posts. Soon.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Return From Hiatus -- Random Thoughts

RICE POINT, PEI -- Citizen Ellie's been a bit of a slacker since April. Fact is, Ottawa's municipal scene has been downright boring since last October's election. Mayor Jim controls council with the alacrity of a well-trained border collie managing a herd of sheep. Not a murmur of dissent heard from any quarter. Even Councillor Peter Clark, never known for his reticence when he was regional chair, has been strangely silent.

So here sits Citizen Ellie, enjoying all that her personal paradise on earth, Prince Edward Island, has to offer, including gas at $1.18 per litre. (Note to "Deceiver" McGuinty: if the PEI government has the balls to take on big oil and implement price controls, what's the matter with your lot ? Lack of will ? Testosterone ? Or just plain scared contributions to the war chest will dry up ?)

While waiting for Hurricane Irene's possible arrival, Citizen Ellie has been following the activities of the Glebe NIMBYs who call themselves "Frinds of Lansdowne Park". Having lost their case, based on the fact they had no evidence to support their claims, they are planning to waste more of the court's time and taxpayers' money by launching an appeal to a higher court. To date, we taxpayers are on the hook for $1.3 million in legal fees, with more to come as the city must once again defend its position.

Should the unthinkable occur, and these folks win at appeal, Citizen Ellie has a solution to the problem posed by Lansdowne's sea of concrete. Mayor Jim wants more social housing -- he not being of the mindset that we should be doing our utmost to get folks out of social housing. Why not use Lansdowne Park for social housing ? The city already owns the land, thus eliminating one of the costs. The site is large enough to accommodate at least a thousand units of social housing along with several homeless shelters. Bus stops are handy, as is the beer store. Makes perfect sense to Citizen Ellie -- plus it would give the Glebe NIMBYs an issue about which they could really get their knickers in a twist !

More to come ! Soon !

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Granny Was Right !

My Scots granny 0nce told me there were two kinds of people in the world -- the "McGie's" and the "McTakes".
The "McGie's" are those folks who give, give, give -- to all levels of government through incresingly punishing levels of taxation, and to support charities when they have any spare change left after our federal, provincial and municipal governments have taken their pound of flesh. The "McGie's" take care of themselves and their families. They understand what the words "duty" and "responsibility" mean.
The "McTakes" are those folk who want others to provide them with free or subsidized housing, free food, free school supplies for their kids, free snowsuits for their kids, free skates for their kids, free Christmas dinners and gifts for their kids, free Easter dinners, free or subsidized bus passes, free home care if they're sick -- the list goes on and on. "Duty" and "responsibility" are not in the McTakes' lexicon.
The "McTakes" would appear to have a lot of champions among those currently vying for the Prime Minister's position. Iggy, Jack, and Gilles (he only in Quebec) are promising all sorts of goodies without clearly and honestly telling us how much this electoral bribery is going to cost.
If you believe this bullshit, there's a choice piece of swampland in Florida awaiting your purchase !
Let's take a look at Iggy and the Liberal "family pack". They've trotted out their national daycare program again and again-- when did they first promise this ? Back in the 80s ? Where is it ? The Liberals gave us Pierre Trudeau who in turn gave us multiculturalism -- a move blatantly designed to guarantee a supply of Liberal voters into perpetuity. And what about his National Energy Policy ? Nearly drove the country into bankruptcy and even worse, led to western alienation. Then there was Jean Chretien. He promised to cancel the GST but immediately forgot about it the day after his government was elected. Needed those GST dollars to pay for monogrammed golf balls -- certainly didn't spend the money on his promised national day care program. And then he proceeded to screw over countless thousands of seniors by cancelling the universality of the Old Age Security pension program and implementing a means test. So much for protecting a sacred trust. Iggy is of the same political stripe as Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty -- the man who promised there would be no new taxes if he was elected, then went on to tax everything he could lay his eyes on. Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson is cut from the same cloth -- he says there are 10,500 more McTakes in the city who are in dire need of social housing or subsidized rents. He is obsessed with social housing.
And what about Jack ? Fortunately the NDP has never held power at the national level. We know what happened when they had a term in office in Ontario under Bob Rae's leadership. I well remember Rae Days, not to mention living with the wage freeze he imposed on all non-unionized staff working for the provincial government, in health care and in education. We took the bullet while Rae's unionized supporters continued to receive their wage increases and pay equity hikes. Rae has since become a Liberal and is positively salivating at the thought of replacing Iggy should Iggy not win a majority for the Libs and hotfoot it back to Harvard.
Iggy and Jack tell us they can achieve the promised land by raising corporate taxes, cancelling the purchase of jet fighters (badly needed for defense of Canadian sovereignty), and scrapping plans for additional jails. The Libs actually have a candidate running in an Edmonton riding, a former judge, who doesn't believe in sending criminals, especially sex offenders, to jail.
What they don't tell us is that even if they do all these things, there still won't be enough to pay for all the promised goodies. The only way they can meet the nut and continue to reduce the deficit would be to increase income tax rates, hike the GST and find other things to tax. When they say they will only tax the wealthy, don't believe it. There are not enough truly wealthy in this country -- what they really mean is that they will tax the middle class because they see the middle class as being "wealthy".
I'm a Depression baby -- one of the few Canadians born during the Dirty Thirties. We grew up in tough times and we learned this mantra at the same time we were learning to walk: "Debt is bad. Save your money. Pay off your mortgage as quickly as possibly. Educate your kids. Plan for your retirement. Pay for your funeral in advance. Save. Don't spend. You must look after yourself. There is no free lunch."
Because we did all these things, now that we are retired we are looked upon as cash cows by politicians at all levels. And we get nothing in return for the taxes we pay. I cite personal examples: back in 2000, when my late husband was in the last stage of esophogeal cancer, there was no home help for us unless we opened our wallets. In 2008, when I had major surgery for endometrial cancer followed by radiation, there was no home help for me unless I opened my wallet. More recently, in 2010, when I had a total knee joint replacement, again there was no home help for me unless I opened my wallet. Fortunately I have adult children who were able to help but there's nothing like the thought of losing one's independence to get one off the couch, and work through the pain in order to regain one's mobility.
If someone was to ask me what life is like for a senior in Canada, I would reply that it would be pretty good if we weren't being taxed into the poorhouse by governments at all levels. I would talk about how much I resent Iggy's Rosedale elites or Jack's chardonnay socialists dictating how my money (hard earned after 42 years in the work force) should be spent. I would prefer to make my own decisions on that score -- that is, if I had any money left after Iggy's Rosdale elites and Jack's chardonnay socialists got through picking my pocketbook in order to provide for their constituency of McTakes who won't take responsibility for themselves.
If someone was to ask me what Mayor Jimbo and the sheeple on council should have done with the $22 million windfall resulting from the province uploading social services, I would say that a good portion of it should have been returned to its rightful owners -- residential property ratepayers who carried the burden of these social services after the province downloaded them in the first place. Mayor Jimbo and the sheeple on council should be looking at ways to get people out of social housing rather than building more of it. Mayor Jimbo and the sheeple should be promoting hand-ups rather than hand-outs -- encouraging old-fashioned "up by the bootstraps" initiative, stressing that while society has an obligation to help the less fortunate, the less fortunate also have an obligation to get back on their feet as fast as they can and start giving back to the socity that helped them. Iggy and Jack should do likewise.
In case you haven't guessed, I will be voting Conservative on May 2. I hopeand pray Stephen Harper gets a majority. A Liberal/NDP/Bloc coalition would be the worst thing that could happen to this country. Don;t kid yourself. The Libs and the NDP won't have the numbers to form a coalition without including the Bloc. It's not beyond the realm of possibility that Gilles Duceppe could end up being Prime Minister -- a perfectly legitimate demand he could make in return for his support. What a horrible thought !