Archive for February, 2012

Should Canada help Canadian on Death Row?

February 27, 2012

URGENT LETTERS are needed.

Serious doubts have been cast on whether Canadian Ron Smith received a fair trial when he was sentenced to death in the state of Montana 30 years ago. In fact, because he was poorly represented and not afforded protection by the Government of Canada, he did not even have a trial. See

Help Return Ron Smith to Canada from US Death Row

The US Supreme Court will not hear Smith’s appeal, and now Smith’s lawyers are seeking executive clemency as a last ditch option. The Government of Canada ought to help Smith. But they won’t unless there is a public outcry.

People can write letters to:
Prime Minister Harper: pm@pm.gc.ca
John Baird, Minister of Foreign Affairs: john.baird@parl.gc.ca
Diane Ablonczy, Canada’s Minister of State of Foreign Affairs: diane.ablonczy@parl.gc.ca
To contact your own MP see:
http://www.parl.gc.ca/MembersOfParliament/MainMPsCompleteList.aspx?TimePeriod=Current&Language=E

Please circulate this to your friends, family, acquaintances. And write letters, comments, emails to newspapers and MPs.

I thank you for your help.
Sincerely,
Jack Locke

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Help return Ron Smith to Canada from US death row

February 24, 2012

Please SHARE this, you could save a life.

Serious doubts have been cast on whether Canadian Ron Smith received a fair trial when he was sentenced to death in the state of Montana 30 years ago. In fact, because he was poorly represented and not afforded protection by the Government of Canada, he did not even have a trial.

Judge Betty B. Fletcher of the US Court of Appeal, 9th Circuit concludes in a dissenting opinion that Smith did NOT receive due process of law. Her findings are certainly strong enough to demand improved Canadian intervention and a return of Smith to Canada.

Guilty pleas must be knowing and voluntary. Smith’s fateful decision to plead guilty and seek the death penalty was neither. At the time of the arraignment, he was deeply depressed because he had been in solitary confinement for some time and subjected to harsh living conditions. He had received deaths threats from Native American inmates and believed that he would be killed in prison. Most importantly, his attorney was manifestly ineffective,” Judge Fletcher writes.

Her full opinion can be read HERE.

The full court’s opinion can be seen HERE.

Please circulate this to your friends, family, acquaintances. And write letters, comments, emails to newspapers and MPs. CLICK HERE to find your Member of Parliament.
I thank you for your help.

Sincerely,
Jack Locke
jjlocke1957@gmail.com

Demand repatriation of Smith from US Death Row

February 23, 2012

Hi Friends

Please circulate this to your friends. And write letters, comments, emails to newspapers and MPs.

The dissenting opinion of Judge Betty Fletcher in the US Circuit Court(see below) should be enough to question whether Canadian Ron Smith had a fair trial, and we should demand Smith be brought back to Canada. The Government of Canada must protect its citizens from injustice.

– Jack Locke

Full Decision at: http://caselaw.findlaw.com/us-9th-circuit/1521659.html

United States Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit.

SMITH v. MAHONEY

Ronald A. SMITH, Plaintiff-Appellant, v. Michael MAHONEY, Montana State Prison, Respondent-Appellee.

No. 94-99003.

Argued April 6, 2009. — March 05, 2010

Before:  B. FLETCHER, SIDNEY R. THOMAS and M. MARGARET McKEOWN, Circuit Judges.

Cliff Gardner and Lazuli Whitt, Oakland, CA, for the petitioner-appellant.Mike McGrath, Montana Attorney General, and C. Mark Fowler, Assistant Attorney General, Helena, MT, for the respondent-appellee.

Ronald Smith murdered two men, pled guilty to the crimes, requested capital punishment, and was sentenced to death. Shortly thereafter, Smith changed his mind and requested resentencing. (more…)

Today I Was Awarded the Royal Runaround

February 22, 2012

If you’ve ever received the royal runaround, let me know how it happened to you. I am trying to understand why it happens to me so often.

I try, I really try to be nice with government officials. I ask politely for information. They are often in possession of information I seek, but I’ll be damned if I can wrestle information out of them.

What am I doing wrong?

Today I sought some information for a piece I am writing. I first approached the City of Calgary’s mayor’s office. Communications officer Daorcey Le Bray was kind enough to pass me to the city’s media relations. I then e-mailed and spoke with James Bailey. He assured me he would endeavour to pursue an answer for me.

Then I received an e-mail from him asking whether I was a journalist with the newspaper to which I intend to forward my story. No, I insisted, I am a lowly freelancer who relies on information to feed his family.

Oh, then you can call the city’s general information number, and someone there should be able to help you. SCREAM!

So, instead of getting help by someone who is paid to help communicate information, I went directly to the City’s (very busy) Solicitor and have bypassed the chain of propriety, because I’m tired of wasting my time. I await his reply.

Dramatic rescue

February 20, 2012

Montreal firemen rescue injured crane worker


Accident happened 80 feet above the ground

by Jack Locke

“It’s a tough way to start the day.”

That’s the way Angelis Koutsos, co-owner of Brioche Dorée described the crane accident at the new 1250 Greene Avenue condo-development worksite in Westmount, Quebec. His bakery cafe is immediately adjacent to the construction site.

“Workers arrive here at 5 or 6 o’clock normally,” says Koutsos.

At 6:46 AM, Montreal’s emergency services received a call of an injured worker.

According to Jonathon Langolf, a worker for subcontractor Geodex, the crane operator climbed to the top and then fell down to the first platform below. The tower is designed with an alternating ladder with platforms to prevent anyone from falling the entire distance from sky to ground.

Langolf estimated the operator fell 15 feet down the safety encircled ladder.

“I lent my gloves to him this morning. I had to climb the tower,” says Langolf.

It was a particularly cold morning with Environment Canada reporting the temperature at Trudeau International at -11, a full 6 degrees colder than the previous morning.

The crane is on lease from Guay Inc. one of Quebec’s more established crane companies.

“He was conscious when we reached him. We talked to him. He had a 2 inch opening on his head and an injured shoulder,” says Langolf. He says the injured man, whose name he did not know, came around better as they waited for emergency crews to arrive.

Firemen give the old heave-ho to raise worker from site

Injured man lifted over worksite fence


The mishap drew at least a half dozen police cars, three firetrucks and numerous support vehicles.

At 8:12, the accident victim was finally placed onto a stretcher and lowered approximately 100 feet down the outside of the crane tower by rope. He was accompanied by a fireman who carefully rappelled down alongside the stretcher.

An official at the site said the injured man was Stephan Lemire. The general contractor for the building is Reliance Construction. Urgence Santé communications chief David Sasson said the man was 44 years old and suffered lacerations, but no other injuries.

Injured crane operator about to be lifted into ambulance


At 8:30, the injured crane operator was loaded into an ambulance and driven to Montreal General Hospital for medical care.

It certainly is a tough way to start the day.

Supreme Leader Harper Stephen Joseph

February 19, 2012

Supreme Leader Harper Stephen Joseph

TRUE NEWS FROM SUPREME LEADER HARPER’S WEBSITE

16:00 AST (Friday, Feb 17, 2012) – Western Economic Diversification Canada

HARPER GOVERNMENT ANNOUNCES SUPPORT FOR NEW INNOVATION CENTRE FOR ALBERTA’S COMPOSITES MANUFACTURING SECTOR

Entrepreneurs and manufacturing companies in Alberta will soon have access to a new leading-edge facility for developing new composite-based products as a result of funding from the Government of Canada….

15:34 AST (Monday, Feb 13, 2012) – Western Economic Diversification Canada

HARPER GOVERNMENT CREATES JOBS AND GROWTH IN SHIPBUILDING INDUSTRY

The Harper Government is taking a concrete step towards positioning Western Canada’s shipbuilding industry as internationally competitive and sustainable through Western Canada’s Shipbuilding Action Plan, announced today by the Honourable Lynne Yelich, Minister of State for Western Economic Diversification….

13:30 AST (Friday, Feb 03, 2012) – Public Works and Government Services Canada

HARPER GOVERNMENT HELPS TO KICK START CANADIAN ENTREPRENEURIAL BUSINESSES IN PACIFIC REGION

The Honourable James Moore, Minister of Canadian Heritage and Official Languages (Port Moody-Westwood-Port Coquitlam), on behalf of the Honourable Rona Ambrose, Minister of Public Works and Government Services and Minister for Status of Women, is pleased to announce that the Government of Canada has pre-qualified 5 innovations that it may buy and test as part of the second round of the Canadian Innovation Commercialization Program….

13:30 AST (Friday, Feb 03, 2012) – Public Works and Government Services Canada

HARPER GOVERNMENT HELPS TO KICK START CANADIAN ENTREPRENEURIAL BUSINESSES IN RICHMOND

Member of Parliament Alice Wong (Richmond) on behalf of the Honourable Rona Ambrose, Minister of Public Works and Government Services and Minister for Status of Women, today announced the Government of Canada’s pre-qualification for SunCentral Inc.’s new innovation, The Sunlighting System, through the second round of the Canadian Innovation Commercialization Program. Through this pilot program, the Government of Canada is helping Canadian businesses get their innovative products and services from the lab to the marketplace….

13:30 AST (Friday, Feb 03, 2012) – Public Works and Government Services Canada

HARPER GOVERNMENT HELPS TO KICK START CANADIAN ENTREPRENEURIAL BUSINESSES IN VANCOUVER

Member of Parliament Andrew Saxton (North Vancouver) on behalf of the Honourable Rona Ambrose, Minister of Public Works and Government Services and Minister for Status of Women, today announced the Government of Canada’s pre-qualification for Aurora Control Technologies Inc.’s new innovation, Decima CI, through the second round of the Canadian Innovation Commercialization Program (CICP). Through this pilot program, the Government of Canada is helping Canadian businesses get their innovative products and services from the lab to the marketplace….

12:30 AST (Friday, Feb 03, 2012) – Public Works and Government Services Canada

HARPER GOVERNMENT HELPS TO KICK START CANADIAN ENTREPRENEURIAL BUSINESSES IN CALGARY

Member of Parliament Michelle Rempel (Calgary Centre – North) on behalf of the Honourable Rona Ambrose, Minister of Public Works and Government Services and Minister for Status of Women, today announced the Government of Canada’s pre-qualification for IntelliView Technologies Inc.’s new innovation, Intelligent Surveillance Platform, through the second round of the Canadian Innovation Commercialization Program (CICP). Through this pilot program, the Government of Canada is helping Canadian businesses get their innovative products and services from the lab to the marketplace….

12:30 AST (Friday, Feb 03, 2012) – Public Works and Government Services Canada

HARPER GOVERNMENT HELPS TO KICK START CANADIAN ENTREPRENEURIAL BUSINESSES IN CALGARY

The Honourable Rona Ambrose, Minister of Public Works and Government Services and Minister for Status of Women, is pleased to announce that the Government of Canada has pre-qualified 2 innovations that it may buy and test as part of the second round of the Canadian Innovation Commercialization Program (CICP). Through this pilot program, the Government of Canada is helping Canadian businesses get their innovative products and services from the lab to the marketplace….

Millionth court case renders poor decision

February 18, 2012

by Jack Locke

It could have been an enlightening opportunity for the Supreme Court of Canada to give some teeth to the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, but instead the millionth judgment loaded into the CanLII(Canadian Legal Information Institute) database was a stinker.

“The landmark was reached with the publishing of the S.L. v. Commission scolaire des Chênes case on Friday,” wrote Michel Adrien, author of the blog Library Boy.

This case will be remembered for its abysmal denial of rights. It dismissed a complaint by a Quebec family challenging the provincial government’s mandatory Ethics and Religion Culture school program. It highlights some of the faults in our legal system that needs change. Pronto.

Let’s start at the top.

First off, it’s called S.L. and D.J. v. Commission scolaire des Chênes and the Attorney-General for Quebec, because the Quebec Superior court ordered a publication ban to hide the identities of the parents who brought the case, ostensibly to protect the innocent, as if the litigants’ children were young offenders.

Hiding the identity of complainants does nothing to protect children, but makes our open, public judicial system appear like an over-censored bureaucratic institution. If the truth shall set us free, we are far from achieving freedom. Whilst government and the courts think we need protection, they are supremely unwilling to stand up for citizens who launch Charter of Rights challenges. “We’ll protect their identities but damn if we’ll protect their rights,” is the story.

This case took approximately three and a half years to be finally adjudicated by the Supreme Court. The legal costs are not insubstantial. Nearly 20 lawyers appeared before the Supreme Court in this case. Yet, there was little need for the case to be brought in the first place if the government or school board had allowed the two little, apparently Catholic, children from being forced to “learn” the government’s version of ethics and religious culture. What harm is done by allowing parents a little control over what their children are taught?

However, once government rigidity digs in, it becomes incumbent on parents to protect their children according to their beliefs, who would expect less?

The Catholic couple had asked that their children be excused from attending state indoctrination classes, because of their deeply-held religious beliefs. Okay, one may debate whether state indoctrination in liberal values is harmful, but the right is not for the state, it is for individuals.

In addition to denying the applicants their sought relief for bringing a challenge against the school board and the provincial government, the Supreme Court awarded costs to the school board and government, meaning that the parents must pay for the board and government’s legal fees. But I note, a minority opinion by Justices Louis LeBel and Morris Fish would have not awarded costs to the government bodies. Good on ya, gentlemen.

Justice LeBel wrote minority opinion

The costs award shows the court punishing applicants for challenging authority. This is reprehensible.

Although, the two heretofore named judges agreed with the majority that the law should not be struck down, they pointed out how woefully inadequate the lower court record presented the case.

If a lower court judge misreports a case, the higher courts virtually cannot untangle the mess, unless they send it back downstairs for a retrial, or an adjustment. Bad cases are often either granted an appeal, or dismissed. No middle ground. Simple, but often unjust.

Justice Deschamps authored the decision

Madam Justice Marie Deschamps, who wrote the court’s decision, said that the lower court had no evidence to show a Charter infringement.

“In this case, given the trial judge’s findings of fact and the evidence in the record concerning the neutrality of the ERC Program, I conclude that the appellants have failed to prove such an interference,” wrote Deschamps. Clearly, a rote written explanation.

Lastly, here was a case of two parents claiming their religious freedom was being deprived, yet the Government of Canada did not intervene. Despite all their talk about the creation of an office for protecting religious freedoms, the Government of Canada was nowhere to be found.

I hope the next million cases entered into the CANLII database demonstrate better justice.

Why I’ve Stopped Listening To CBC Radio

February 16, 2012

(or, Why CBC drives me Batty)

First, I admit I love CBC radio, or at least I used to.

But like many a love affair, I am no longer attracted to the Mother Corp.

Call me a boor for changing channels, but I was compelled to do so.

Sitting at home with a glass of Oppoul red wine, Côtes du Roussillon Villages, 2009, in hand, I nearly spit out a mouthful having to endure another ear-injurious traffic report. Admittedly, I understand that road blockages are a serious threat to our air quality, but how many times must news of traffic jams on Montreal roadways be repeated, how many times?

What difference does it makes if 500 cars are plugging an off-ramp? If I had a heli-car, it might matter, but sitting at home in my easy chair hearing of it becomes merely audible aggravation.

I decided to clock the amount of time the local traffic reports consume. During the hour monitored, I counted more than 6 minutes of chatter by CBC’s traffic reporter Jeremy, chatter that I could not care less about. I posted my finding on Lockeblog.

There are likely hundreds of carcinogens being emitted by each car as they cut through my community, likely a few people killed by autos daily in Canada, yet the focus of CBC radio seems to be on reporting the congestion that repeats itself daily.

If I were sitting in a car on a highway that had been transformed into a parking lot, I would much rather listen to a new Canadian poem than a repetition of the repetition of the repetition of last year’s road report.

How many times do I need to know what Transport Quebec’s cameras are showing? How many times must I hear of an accident blocking traffic in the left-hand lane? How many God Damn times?

My first complaint to CBC provided no consolation. When I posted my findings online, I actually received a response by a CBC reporter. Regardless, they continue to ignore my contribution and feedback. I would say “Scrap the CBC,” but I know I would be considered a Conservative party extremist if I did.

One of the greatest thrills of my life was when I was invited to be on my favourite CBC radio program, As It Happens. I can still remember the date, September 21, 2009. My criticism of CBC radio is thus tempered by a heartfelt 3 minutes of ego massage.

However, if the federal government is considering chopping the CBC budget, please start with the traffic reports. Let listeners be given traffic report freedom—the right not to be assaulted by futile and vacillating accounts of road conditions. Maybe, just maybe, if there is a catastrophic incident, a road report might be appropriate. But reporting daily blockages that are an inevitable occurrence, why?

For motorists and wine drinkers alike, listening to a humorous, thoughtful, insightful, or tender poem would be of immeasurably more benefit than hearing about a minor fender-bender on Autoroute 15, northbound.

It has been said that the CBC possesses a Liberal bias—not so. They possess an anti-poetic bias. Six minutes per hour of traffic reports and nary a mention of poems, poets, nor poetry. No wonder poetry is dying in Canada. It is being choked out by the vacuous voices of traffic report repeaters.

The CBC will not likely mention that it has been 70 years since Earle Birney’s first book of poems was published. Why? Simply because they are too busy reporting on the slick road conditions caused by rain, snow, and Winter. Must we be reminded that Winter causes hazardous road conditions? Come on CBC!

Sadly, Canada’s Base for Culture, for me at least, has become associated with another road update in 10 minutes.

To Be The Head Of A Country—What A Job!

February 3, 2012


To be the head of a country—What a job!
Meeting after meeting with people who smile
It’s not easy to please a hungry mob.

Into every hand some grease I daub
A friendship that sticks is quite worthwhile
To be the head of a country—What a job!

With my supporters I have to hobnob
Never too long ’cause I must remain mobile
It’s not easy to please a hungry mob.

It’s astounding how many seek to rob
A careful note on each I compile
To be the head of a country—What a job!

I detour to drink tea with sweet nabob
The rich donate hoping I am servile
It’s not easy to please a hungry mob.

The internal workings are most macabre
Some days I’d rather work in a woodpile
To be the head of a country—What a job!
It’s not easy to please a hungry mob.