Archive for January, 2014

Westmounters Bamboozled

January 28, 2014

The good people of Westmount have been bamboozled. And I am not amused.

The City of Westmount has passed its 2014 budget, but I am convinced they did not follow provincial law in doing so.

What’s at issue is the question of whether the city should provide citizens with proper notice, and whether city council should provide citizens adequate opportunity to examine the budget in advance of it being voted upon.

In my case, on or about January 23, I phoned Westmount’s City Clerk’s office and was informed that city budget documents were not available for viewing until Feb. 4. Later, I discovered that — according to an agenda posted on the city’s website — the budget was to be considered on Jan. 27.

It made no sense that the city would not provide the budget for citizens to review in advance. Yet, that is precisely what happened. I was only able to see the $95 million budget summary 5 minutes prior to the council meeting.

The charade was completed when citizens’ question period was permitted only after the budget had been adopted. At this first opportunity, I questioned the city’s practice only to be informed that this is their standard operating procedure. Poppycock, I thought.

Upon arriving home I researched the applicable provincial law, the Municipal Code of Quebec. Here is what it says:

“At least eight days before the sitting at which the budget or the three-year program of capital expenditures is to be adopted, the secretary-treasurer must give public notice thereof.”

Public notice is rendered meaningless if the municipality does not provide eight days advance access to documents.

In my opinion, the City of Westmount did not comply with provincial law in order to pass their budget and bypass citizen input.


What will Snoop Doggy Strahl now do?

January 24, 2014

Chuck Strahl, head of Canada’s KGB(Security Intelligence Review Committee) resigns.
I wished you a happy retirement once before, please stay retired!

January 12, 2014

In honour of Neil Young’s Honour the Treaty concerts, I’m sharing a piece I wrote in 2010 on the Tarsands that was printed in Calgary FFWD:

Reply to letter from the federal Transport Minister

January 9, 2014

Dear Ms. Raitt,

Thank you for your reply to my letter. It has been some time since I sent you my letter, I think you are referring to my letter of July 15, 2013. Regardless…

Yes, Lac-Megantic is a tragic accident. Worse, is that it may have been prevented through pro-active safety measures enacted and enforced by the federal government. Be assured, I am glad the government is taking a few measures to deal with serious deficiencies in railway safety.

What concerns me is one thing you have written:
“I should explain that, as federally regulated private entities, railway companies are responsible for the safety of their rail line infrastructure, railway equipment and operations.”

Perhaps one thing that I should explain, is that the following objective of the Rail Safety Act was removed from the legislation in 2012:
“To recognize the responsibility of railway companies in ensuring the safety of their operations.”

You may say that railway companies are responsible, but this specific objective of the law was deleted from the legislation. It was replaced
by words that don’t even come close to what you have written. If you think that railways should be responsible for railway safety, then the law should say precisely that.

And after the law gets amended, then we can talk about the three railway deaths in Montreal that occurred on Oct. 31, 2010.

Yours truly,
Jack Locke

Under The Alberta Sun

January 8, 2014

There are strange things done under the Alberta sun /
By the thieves who moil for oil;
The Calgary trails have their dirty tales /
Hidden deep beneath the soil.