Oct 01

We Owe Our War Veterans for Life

My dad was a World War 2 veteran. He served in theatres of war in Italy, France, Holland and Belgium. He was never physically wounded, but I’ve come to believe that what soldiers experience in war changes them for life. He returned to Canada and after the war went on with the life that he should have been having, getting a job, married and family.

When dad entered his later years, he was able to apply for and receive what was called a War Veterans Allowance (WVA). It was a small pension that those who served in theatre of war was eligible to receive as they aged. That allowance ran in tandem with the Veterans Independence Program (VIP) which provided supports to assist aging veterans to remain in their homes.

The dollar amounts dad received wasn’t much but it was enough to allow him to live out his life with a level of dignity and security. He had a green cross card that gave him access to health services like eye glasses, prescriptions and dental care. He could hire someone to cut the grass and plow the driveway and that would be reimbursed. Read the rest of this entry »

Aug 20

One Small Step for Justice

Well, the officer responsible for the death of Sammy Yatim, has been charged with second-degree murder. James Forcillo has been granted bail and also suspended with pay. I call that one small step towards justice simply because it is one thing to charge a police officer and quite another to convict. A charge of second-degree murder implies an intent to kill while not having preplanned the death which is first-degree murder.

The burden of proof of intent is on the crown. To me, it’s pretty hard for there not to be intent when a victim suffers multiple bullet wounds, potentially six of them after he went down. The officer is likely going to claim he believed himself or others to be in imminent peril but he may have a difficult time convincing the court of that considering the amount of video evidence available. I guess we’ll have to wait for the trial which I certainly hope proceeds with some promptness.

Mike McCormack, the head of the Toronto Police union has stated that Forcillo is definitely a casualty in this case. No, he’s not.  He made his choices, as we all do, in the heat of the moment or not. As a police officer there is a duty for him to serve and protect the people and sometimes that calls for a lot calmer response than what is indicated he engaged in during those fatal moments. Read the rest of this entry »

Jul 31

Sammy Yatim: Biggest Question is, will the police officer suffer the consequences?

Just after midnight last Friday evening in Toronto’s westend a streetcar came to a halt, the passengers quickly exited followed soon after by the operator. Left on board was a seemingly distraught young man who in roughly 10 minutes time would be shot and killed by a Toronto Police Service officer. A service that is supposed to serve and protect the people of Toronto.

Normally, I’m willing to wait until an investigation has taken place and more details can come out in these situations. After doing a lot of reading and watching the videos which are available of what took place, I don’t really think the outcome of this should be anything to change the fact that a young man died a senseless death at the hands of an officer who is supposed to serve and protect. Read the rest of this entry »

Jul 24

Lac-Mégantic Stuck With $4million Cleanup Bill

The mess in Lac-Mégantic just seems to get worse by times. The company responsible for the deaths of 47 people when their train barreled into the middle of their community has failed to pay environmental clean up firms they called in to clean up an oil spill in the nearby river.

The firms were ready to pull out with the job not complete rather than wait to be paid by the rail company thus placing the town in the position of being forced to pay. Ed Burkhardt, the owner of the railroad company at the heart of the disaster apparently appeared in town, hung around for a few days (maybe) and then went back to Chicago.

The question in my mind is why did some level of government in Canada not get some money out of the dude before he left Canadian soil? Yes, he claimed to have an insurance package to cover about $25million of the costs but did no government official secure a commitment from the insurance companies that the money would be paid? I know if my house was to burn down, my insurance company is required to pay my mortgage company before I get anything. This seems pretty basic. Read the rest of this entry »

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