Archive for July, 2014

Foff Quebec

July 23, 2014

Quebec's fleurdelisé

Imagine that your government, the one you pay taxes to, responds to your letter of concern– in a language other than the language you wrote in.  Now imagine Google providing a translation that the Quebec government was unable to provide.  Thanks Goog! Foff Quebec. Passing the buck really sucketh. Here’s the letter I received:
Gov reply July 2014          And here is Google’s translation:

(more…)

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Surely Canada Does Not Support This

July 21, 2014

@MarcGarneau @ElizabethMay @MargaretAtwood @pmoharper @delmarhasissues

http://www.theatlantic.com/infocus/2014/07/bloody-weekend-in-gaza/100778/

The Bees And The Wasps

July 20, 2014

The bees and the wasps are closely related

For close never considers magnitude

One insect is loved the other hated.

When oblivious to sense we are fated

To be stung in the butt for being rude

The bees and the wasps are closely related.

Nasty stingers are standardly equated

When we are mistaken for tasty food

One insect is loved the other hated.

In lavender garden bees are elated

At summer picnic wasps willfully intrude

The bees and the wasps are closely related.

There’s good reason the two haven’t mated

Their parents would disown subsequent brood

One insect is loved the other hated.

Our misunderstanding cannot be understated

It was pushed along with bad attitude

The bees and the wasps are closely related

One insect is loved the other hated.

What our leaders are saying ’bout Gaza.

July 16, 2014

I wish these 4 people had something better to do: Expressing official opinions about something they are obviously touched by. In alphabetical order of their parties…

http://pm.gc.ca/eng/news/2014/07/13/statement-prime-minister-canada-response-situation-israel

Statement by the Prime Minister of Canada in response to the situation in Israel

Ottawa, Ontario

13 July 2014

Prime Minister Stephen Harper today issued the following statement in response to the situation in Israel:

“The indiscriminate rocket attacks from Gaza on Israel are terrorist acts, for which there is no justification. It is evident that Hamas is deliberately using human shields to further terror in the region.

“Failure by the international community to condemn these reprehensible actions would encourage these terrorists to continue their appalling actions. Canada calls on its allies and partners to recognize that these terrorist acts are unacceptable and that solidarity with Israel is the best way of stopping the conflict.

“Canada is unequivocally behind Israel. We support its right to defend itself, by itself, against these terror attacks, and urge Hamas to immediately cease their indiscriminate attacks on innocent Israeli civilians.

“Canada reiterates its call for the Palestinian government to disarm Hamas and other Palestinian terrorist groups operating in Gaza, including the Iranian proxy, Palestinian Islamic Jihad.”

– See more at: http://pm.gc.ca/eng/news/2014/07/13/statement-prime-minister-canada-response-situation-israel#sthash.yneYnH0v.dpuf

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Greens call on Israeli and Palestinian leadership to end hostilities and protect civilians

11 July 2014 – 4:24pm

“We need to immediately put a stop to this terrible cycle of violence which is killing innocent Israeli and Palestinian children.” – Elizabeth May

(OTTAWA)  July 11, 2014 – Green Party of Canada Leader, Elizabeth May and Member of Parliament for Saanich–Gulf Islands calls on both Israeli and Palestinian leaders to put an immediate end to the escalating violence in the Gaza strip and Israel.

“We need to immediately put a stop to this terrible cycle of violence which is killing innocent Israeli and Palestinian children,” stated Elizabeth May.

The past few days have seen the deaths of approximately 100 Palestinians in the Gaza strip, the majority of whom have been civilians and have included entire families. The Green Party of Canada is deeply concerned about potential violations of international humanitarian law by both sides in the conflict, including the punitive demolitions of the homes of Hamas leaders, and the targeting of civilians in Israel by rockets fired from the Gaza strip.

“As an outside observer one cannot comprehend the emotional potency of the conflict between Israel and Palestine; however, policy derived from anger is misplaced and will lead to more violence,” said Ronnie Smith, Green Party Peace and Security Critic. “The mutual escalations and potential violations of international law must be condemned by the world with equal ferocity. My thoughts and prayers are with civilians in both Israel and Palestine who are caught in up in this violent retaliatory cycle and yearn for peace.”

“What history has repeatedly shown us is that the only way to end this violence and come to a long-term, peaceful and equitable solution is through meaningful dialogue,” concluded Green Party Leader Elizabeth May. “Revenge is never a substitute or a solution to ending violence.  I call on both Israeli and Palestinian leaders to step back and immediately end any further escalation of military action before we witness the inevitable and horrific loss of many more lives.” 

With the people of Israel and Palestine still mourning the deaths of the senselessly murdered Palestinian and three Israeli teenagers, the last thing the region needs is to be engulfed in yet another war. The Green Party of Canada calls for the immediate cessation of hostilities and the return to negotiations for the establishment of a lasting peace under a two state solution.

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http://www.liberal.ca/newsroom/news-release/statement-liberal-party-canada-leader-justin-trudeau-situation-israel-gaza/

Statement by Liberal Party of Canada Leader Justin Trudeau on the situation in Israel and Gaza

Posted on July 15, 2014

OTTAWA – The Leader of the Liberal Party of Canada, Justin Trudeau, today issued the following statement on the situation in Israel and Gaza:

“The Liberal Party of Canada strongly condemns Hamas’ rejection of the Egyptian ceasefire proposal and its rocket attacks on civilians.

“Israel should be commended for having accepted the ceasefire proposal, and demonstrating its commitment to peace. The Liberal Party of Canada, and many in the international community including the United States, the U.N. Security Council, and the Palestinian Authority, had urged a ceasefire that could have ended the tragic civilian loss of life in Gaza and the suffering of Israelis under terrorist attack.

“Israel has the right to defend itself and its people. Hamas is a terrorist organization and must cease its rocket attacks immediately.”

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http://www.ndp.ca/news/ndp-calls-canadian-government-to-support-ceasefire-middle-east

2014 07 14

NDP calls on Canadian government to support ceasefire in Middle East

NDP Foreign Affairs Critic Paul Dewar (Ottawa Centre) issued the following statement today on the situation in the Middle East:

“New Democrats are very concerned by the escalation of tensions in Gaza and Israel. We call on the Canadian government to support a ceasefire and urge all parties to exercise restraint and avoid actions that could further destabilize the situation.

On behalf of Canada’s Official Opposition, we have written to Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird and called for Canada to work in support of restraint, de-escalation and civilian protection within a framework of international humanitarian law. To date, neither his comments nor the Prime Minister’s statements get us closer to these important goals.

Since the start of the most recent tensions, we have spoken with Israeli and Palestinian representatives in Ottawa. We have reiterated that Hamas’ continued rocket attacks are unacceptable. We have also voiced our deep concern regarding the escalating violence and reports of civilian deaths.

We will continue to monitor the situation closely and maintain our diplomatic engagement with Israeli and Palestinian officials. The Canadian government must work diplomatically, together with our allies, to help de-escalate the situation, work towards an immediate ceasefire and support a negotiated settlement to the conflict.”

July 14, 2014

Dear Minister Baird,

I am writing regarding the recent escalation of tensions in Israel and the Gaza Strip. No one can remain insensitive to this terrible violence affecting civilians.

I note the following developments:

• Starting last week, over 1,000 rockets have been fired into Israel from the Gaza Strip by Hamas and other armed groups. 754 of these rockets have hit Israel.

• At least three Israelis have been seriously injured since the rocket attacks began.

• In response to these attacks, the Israeli military launched Operation Protective Edge on July 8. The Israeli air force has since struck 1,474 targets in the Gaza Strip.

• An estimated 175 people have been killed in the Gaza Strip by Israeli strikes, with over a thousand reported injured.

 • Following Israeli warnings yesterday of imminent strikes, more than 17,000 residents of the northern Gaza Strip fled their homes to seek refuge in UN buildings and elsewhere.

 • The United Nations Security Council issued a unanimous statement on July 12 calling for de-escalation, respect for international humanitarian law including the protection of civilians and the resumption of a ceasefire and negotiations toward a two-state solution.

 Hamas’ continued rocket attacks from Gaza, which are aimed at civilian centres in Israel, and the use of civilians as human shields are entirely unacceptable. The escalating violence and reports of civilian deaths are deeply troubling.

 New Democrats continue to call on the Government of Canada to support international efforts to urge restraint, de-escalation and the protection of civilians on all sides, in conformity with international humanitarian law. The Canadian government should be working diplomatically, including through the United Nations, to support the resumption of a ceasefire and a negotiated settlement to the conflict.

 Unfortunately, your government’s recent statements do not support these objectives. We urge you to ensure that Canadian efforts are focused on the protection of all civilians and progress towards a ceasefire.

 I look forward to your response.

 Paul Dewar, M.P.

My semi-annual letter from Transport Minister Lisa Raitt

July 11, 2014

Dear Ms. Raitt,

I am so glad we can have this conversation/dialogue every six months. Your letter has warmed the cockles of my freckles. I hope you don’t mind me sharing it with the world, my four followers on Twitter, and 12 Facebook strangers who I call friends. My previous letter to you was posted HERE I don’t mind you neglected to address the issue of the Turcot Train Tragedy and the provision of the Railway Safety Act I expressed concern over. I s’pose these things are clearly not of interest to you….

from: Minister of Transport / Ministre des Transports <MINTC@tc.gc.ca>
to: “jjlocke1957@gmail.com” <jjlocke1957@gmail.com>
date: Thu, Jul 10, 2014 at 1:46 PM
subject: Railway safety

Dear Mr. Locke:

I am responding to your correspondence regarding railway safety. I appreciate receiving your views and want to assure you that the safety of Canadians is Transport Canada’s top priority. Please accept my apology for the delay in replying.

Over the past months, Transport Canada has taken a number of concrete steps to further strengthen railway and transportation of dangerous goods safety that will benefit communities across Canada. On April 23, 2014, I announced decisive actions to address the Transportation Safety Board of Canada’s initial recommendations regarding the ongoing investigation into the Lac-Mégantic train derailment. In this regard, Transport Canada took the following actions:

* issued a Protective Direction removing the least crash-resistant DOT-111 tank cars from dangerous goods service;
* required DOT-111 tank cars used to transport crude oil and ethanol that do not meet the standard published in January 2014 in the Canada Gazette, Part I, or any other future standard, to be phased out or refitted within three years;
* issued a Protective Direction requiring Emergency Response Assistance Plans for crude oil, gasoline, diesel, aviation fuel and ethanol;
* created a task force that brings stakeholders such as municipalities, first responders, railways and shippers together to strengthen emergency response capacity across the country; and
* required railway companies to reduce the speed of trains carrying dangerous goods and implement other key operating practices.

I previously issued two protective directions to further enhance safety in the transportation of dangerous goods: one on October 17, 2013, requiring any person who imports or offers for transport crude oil to conduct classification tests on the crude oil; and on November 20, 2013, requiring any person who transports dangerous goods by railway vehicle to share information about those goods with municipalities to further support local emergency planners and first responders with emergency planning and response training.

On December 26, 2013, Transport Canada approved permanent safety rules, developed and submitted by the Railway Association of Canada, to further enhance the safety of railway operations and the security of railway transportation. These updated Canadian Rail Operating Rules, based on a previous Transport Canada emergency directive, can be viewed online at http://www.tc.gc.ca/eng/railsafety/rules-948.html. The revised rules include a requirement for a minimum of two crew members when operating a freight train carrying dangerous goods.

I have also engaged two key Transport Canada advisory bodies, the Advisory Council on Railway Safety and the Transportation of Dangerous Goods General Policy Advisory Council, to seek input from their members on topics, including possible enhancements to railway safety and transportation of dangerous goods regulations, actions that can be taken to further reduce safety risks, and technological improvements. Advisory body reports can be viewed at http://www.tc.gc.ca/eng/tdg/consult-advisorycouncil-488.htm.

Transport Canada is committed to working with industry; all levels of government, including the Federation of Canadian Municipalities and its National Municipal Rail Safety Working Group; and other key stakeholders, such as the Canadian Association of Fire Chiefs, to examine means of further improving railway safety and the safe transportation of dangerous goods in Canada. Thanks in large part to positive and productive working relationships, progress is being made.

For the most recent developments and announcements, you can view Transport Canada’s news releases at http://news.gc.ca/web/dsptch-dstrbr-en.do?mthd=advSrch&crtr.dpt1D=6695.

Thank you for sharing your views.

Sincerely,
The Honourable Lisa Raitt, P.C., M.P.

I Await The Minister’s Reply

July 5, 2014

Hi there cyberland,
Here’s a letter I sent to Quebec’s Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Public Safety Lise Thériault on June 5, 2014. I await a reply.

Dear Madame Thériault ,

I wish to request a brief meeting with you to discuss a request for a public judicial inquiry into the deaths of Dylan Ford, Mitchell Bracken-Guenet, and Ricardo Conesa who died after being struck by a VIA Rail train on Oct. 31, 2010.

A request for a judicial inquiry was sent to your predecessor, Minister of Public Security, Stephane Bergeron, on March 28, 2013. The letter came from myself and Jamie MacAllan, Dylan Ford’s mother.

He refused our request.

Our letter sought a public or judicial enquiry to look at that tragic event because a recent coroner’s report was filled with factual errors that led to poorly considered conclusions. I attach that coroner’s report(en francais.) One of the major errors was the speed of the train. The coroner listed the speed at 63 mph, whereas Canada’s Transportation Safety Board noted the speed at 70 mph, according to documentation I received from them.

To know conclusively what speed the train was travelling, and the location where the train struck the boys, it is necessary to examine the Locomotive Event Recorder. The Quebec Coroner did not examine, or did not list having examined this data.

Why is a judicial inquiry needed? I acknowledge a judicial inquiry is a very expensive undertaking. However, when three young boys’ lives are cut short, it is very important to know the truth of what transpired and what can be done to prevent future tragedies.

Following the deaths, I conducted a journalistic inquiry that does not compare to the standard a judicial inquiry can bring to the matter. My findings can be seen at https://jjlocke.wordpress.com/turcot-train-tragedy/

For my inquiry, I contacted Montreal police, but was given virtually no information. I received access to information documents from the Transportation Safety Board of Canada. My request for information from VIA Rail was denied. Thus, my inquiry falls short of what is needed to draw a complete picture.

Only a judicial inquiry can compel the provision of documents, information from witnesses, and cross-examination of evidence.

My belief is that the VIA Rail train was three hours late arriving into Montreal, that the train was speeding, and that the train engineer was not driving the train with due care.

I thank you for considering my request for a meeting to discuss this matter, and I look forward to hearing from you at your earliest convenience.

Merci.

Sincerely,

Jack Locke