Please Ms. Gignac, do what is right

When did we begin to confuse right/wrong with legal/illegal? It is a sad commentary on society when someone can defend their obviously questionable actions with “but it’s not illegal”.

The mess we call The Senate, and in particular the expelled Conservative Senators Pamela Wallin and Mike Duffy, are excellent examples. Thousands of dollars are being spent to determine if their actions were illegal. No matter the outcome, most Canadian taxpayers agree the disgraced senators were unequivocally wrong. While in the role of credible journalist, either of these individuals would have made it breaking news if they had discovered a sitting senator was doing the things they now stand accused of. Ms. Wallin and Mr. Duffy know what they did was wrong but they defend themselves claiming it wasn’t illegal.

On the local front, we can look at Ms. Joanne Gignac. She made a commitment to the taxpayers of Windsor when she ran for re-election. She made a commitment to the Mayor and City Council. It appears her commitment to our city meant nothing. Remember, she’s not doing anything illegal but her actions are wrong. It is not a case where the government was shaken by a vote of non-confidence causing an unscheduled election. This year’s federal election has been on the calendar of every politician since the Conservatives won a majority four years ago. Ms. Gignac knew the federal election was in the near future and she chose to run for municipal government anyway.

But Ms. Gignac is doing nothing illegal. And now she has a soapbox from which to campaign every week. If you doubt me, watch the city council meetings. Last night Ms. Gignac was in campaign mode, arguing the importance of the community attachment to the Santa Claus and Canada Day Parades and as Windsorites we can’t let go of these traditions. The actual subject was whether or not to waive certain costs the City charges the Parade Corporation. Ms. Gignac wants the city to recognize the two parades as city wide events. She was campaigning.

While she sits on Windsor City Council, she has an legal obligation to represent the interests of Windsorites, even when they don’t coincide with the Conservative agenda (Paul Martin Building). Will she do this? There is evidence to support the accusation that Mr. Harper does not like people to disagree with him.

Ms. Gignac made a conscious choice to be the Conservative candidate in the upcoming federal election; I wish her the best. The right thing to do now is resign her council seat. Don’t be disruptive to our municipal government. Let an individual that cares about city government take over now while the council is still young and establishing its identity as a team. It’s the right thing to do.

** To see what was published on May 8, 2015, check out The Windsor Star.  http://blogs.windsorstar.com/open-newsroom/letters/its-gignacs-soapbox

Movember

In only ten years, Movember has evolved from a group of mates in Australia, chatting about embarrassing health issues, into an international movement. Using the over $500 million it has raised since its inception in 2004, The Movember Foundation has funded more than 800 programs in 21 countries. According to their website, this makes them the single largest health movement in the world.

Movember can no longer be associated with just prostate cancer. The Movember Foundation strives to be “the face of men’s health issues” focusing on prostate cancer, testicular cancer and mental health. One of the foundation’s goals is to be recognized as a change agent in the area of men’s health. “We challenge the status quo, with the result of driving significant outcomes from the conversations we generate and funds we raise”.

Their success has not gone unnoticed. The Global Journal, founded in 2010, examines and reports on the performance of non-government organizations (NGO). The Movember Foundation has appeared on their list of top 100 NGOs in 2012 (#63) and 2013 (#79). It must be conceded that the ranking of The Movember Foundation may continue to slip as The Global Journal grows in popularity and credibility.

In its early years, The Movember Foundation faced criticism for not being well managed. They were accused of donating well below the generally accepted threshold of 80% of raised funds to programs and spending far too much on administrative costs. This not unusual in cases where charities are started by a volunteer base. Since then, The Movember Foundation has focused on their funding ratios with many of their branches (Canada, UK) now committing close to 90% of funds raised directly to programs.

These cash infusions are not injected directly into what is traditionally recognized as a health care system. The beneficiaries are not necessarily doctors or researchers or hospitals. The Movember Foundation does fund globally collaborative research projects but also looks at the needs of communities and neighbourhoods. The foundation has donated to sports leagues for cancer survivors and to the establishment of group homes for young men. It looks to improve the quality of life for men facing challenging health situations.

Interested in supporting the cause but have no cash? Can’t grow a moustache, Mo-Sis? The Movember Foundation suggests you start a conversation with any man you know; it is easier than it sounds. Just ask “When was your last physical?”

*   *   *   *   * 

So… I was asked for a news article around 400 words about Movember.  The above piece was rejected.  I have thick skin and rejections are evidence I am trying hard.  I do struggle with an unexplained no.  I want to know if you don’t like my tone.  Am I too wordy?  Is my language not appropriate?  I’d love any comments anybody out there is willing to leave me.

Fantastic Festival

Sadly, local media didn’t feel it worthy of coverage, so I’ll brag about it. A giant THANKS to all of those individuals that made the Windsor waterfront energizing and entertaining during the W.A.V.E.S. Festival. My husband and myself had such a great time on Friday that we rallied some friends and returned to the riverfront for the after-dark experience on Saturday evening.

We parked downtown and leisurely strolled the waterfront as far as the Food Truck Rally. (My hubby & I had explored past this point on Friday.). We took breaks and talked to participants and just relaxed. Children were well behaved but enjoying being outside with their painted faces. Many, children and adults alike, were participating in a giant JENGA game – it was beside the giant glow-in-the-dark Twister game. A local artist was collecting thumbprints or hand prints on paper to prepare what she hopes will be some home grown art representing Windsor. Bravo! I think a couple of buskers even joined the celebration on an impromptu basis – we saw some jugglers and musicians working the crowds on the hill. I didn’t take notes so unfortunately I can’t recognize all the amazing artists by name.

Efforts were made to make this experience as pleasant as possible. The bathrooms were in excellent shape and additional watering stations had been added along the walkway. EMS and security were present but not so obvious one would feel concerned. Temporary signs had even been erected so you could easily find the exhibits you wanted to see.

If you didn’t get down there, I encourage you to check out the City of Windsor’s event photo album at

www.flickr.com/photos/90638896@N04/sets/72157647494014900/.

This is a festival that should be added to Windsor’s calendar of annual events. Great job, everybody!

*submitted to The Windsor Star, October 2, 2014.  Printed (less the first sentence) Oct. 8, 2014.

Move over Mr. Maghnieh!

Al Maghnieh broke the rules. He was warned about his actions and he misbehaved again. He breached our trust and was never appropriately punished. If that same behaviour occurred in the private sector, he would have been fired; at the very least he would have been convinced to resign. He received a slap on the hand. Since that day, despite my address, I have never referred to him as my councillor.

When all was out in the open and Windsor’s Council was getting tired of explaining to Ward 10 citizens there were no more sanctions they could enforce, a person with respect for the individuals they represent would have resigned. Not Al. He stuck with it knowing if he left office, someone different would do the job better than he, making any attempt at re-election almost impossible.

The library scandal need not be rehashed. He claimed stupidity rather than criminal intent. At his request, let us look at the man as a whole.

Look at his personal life. April 2013, bankruptcy. Somehow he managed to keep his car, his house and be discharged from bankruptcy only 8 months later in December. He is receiving financial help from somewhere. Have you see the glossy finished, full colour, piece of recyclable waste he sent out? It was not cheap to print and then circulate (it was delivered via Canada Post).

He doesn’t openly discuss his employment. I suspect “on contract with Kang Freight” is code for outside sales. I’m not impressed by his claim to work for “a major electronics company that he isn’t allowed to identify because of his politics” but I do see the big, red flag he is waving.

His record? Mr. Maghnieh was stripped of most of his powers and removed from committees. Any improvements seen in Ward 10 are the result of a hard working council with a plan and NOT a direct result of anything done by Mr. Maghnieh.

If you are looking for more reasons not to vote for him, please consider this…

On Monday we received a phone call from a campaign worker who wanted to talk about Al Maghnieh. She knew nothing about the library scandal and was incapable of discussing anything beyond what was obviously on a script in front of her. When asked, this caller/supporter admitted to having never met the man, knew nothing about him and she did not even live in the City of Windsor. I shared this with a friend, also living in Ward 10. When their home got the call, her husband answered. He was direct and asked the caller if they had ever met Mr. Maghnieh or if they lived in Windsor. It was a NO on both counts. Way to go, keeping jobs local, Al.

I am unsure of the bet Ms. Jarvis lost. Perhaps she committed an act so evil she is being punished? I cannot figure out why a respectable columnist such as herself would have wanted any part of this publicity stunt. Is she related? As if her getting sucked in by Mr. Maghnieh wasn’t bad enough, the powers to be decided it was front page news and it required a colour photo.

Mr. Maghnieh barely won in 2010 with more than 60% of the ballots cast actually being for his opponents. This is vote splitting and the residents of Ward 10 cannot allow it to happen again. There are seven other registered candidates on the ballot. Seek them out. Find the candidate that best suits your ideals and is someone you believe you can trust.

Move over Mr. Maghnieh, the residents of Ward 10 deserve better than you.

 

Written in response to:

Judgment Day cometh for disgraced city councillor

  • 3 Oct 2014, The Windsor Star, by: ANNE JARVIS

Since when is no news, news?

RE: Incoming 400-job call centre starts search for new home in Windsor

BY: Dave Battagello, September 27, 2014

So what. By the time I read the morning paper, this news was old news. There is nothing in this article I hadn’t already heard on the radio, seen on TV or read on the internet. If The Windsor Star has any hope of maintaining its paid subscriber base, it has got to give their readers more.

What kind of jobs are coming to Windsor? How many entry level positions and how many management opportunities are there? Is the job to make sales calls, conduct surveys, book appointments or provide support to those who call in? Will shift work be available?

What is going to make HGS Canada any different than Sutherland Global Services? Sutherland continually has openings at its Windsor call centre. If Windsorites won’t/can’t fill these jobs, who is HGS hoping will fill their vacancies?

HGS Canada has over 10 call centres already established in Canada. With a little effort, the answers to most of the above questions could be answered and are of far more interest to readers than a rehash of yesterday’s news.

Give the right way

City aims to get tough on panhandlers,  Doug Schmidt  22-7-14

I must disagree with Mr. Dilkens. Windsor does not need another by-law which will be close to impossible to enforce and have no direct impact on the panhandlers.

If Windsorites want the panhandling problem to go away, people must STOP giving panhandlers money. Panhandlers will not work in areas where they aren’t collecting cash.

A by-law might deter ‘professional’ panhandlers. These folks know they can make more money pulling on the emotional heart strings of generous Windsorites than they can working at a minimum wage job. These people could have a permanent address and can use some of their collections to pay a fine.

A by-law will have no impact on those that are just getting by; the people without an address, the ones that can’t afford to regularly feed themselves. When an individual has no identification nor a permanent address, how will that citation be written? How are these people going to pay a fine?

For those generous souls that often give change or even bills to pay their good fortune forward, keep your money in your pocket and write a cheque to a LOCAL group providing help on the local level (Windsor Downtown Mission, Street Help, Salvation Army). As an added bonus you’ll get a tax receipt. If this doesn’t give you the warm and fuzzy feeling you seek, spend the money on groceries and bring the dry goods to one of the many food banks in the city. Call the Downtown Mission or Street Help and they’ll gladly tell you what they need most. Go shopping and feel good that you’re going to give away everything you buy.

Panhandlers are like everybody else, they are trying to make a living and want to get paid for their efforts. If they are making zero dollars, they will go somewhere else for what they need. When they have no other options, they will eventually find their way to professionals that can provide legitimate help.

As long as individuals are willing to donate in the street, the panhandlers will continue to have their hats out. Passing a municipal by-law does not change this.

* * * * *

Published by The Windsor Star, July 30, 2014

Fiend

 

Chase Daniels and his best friend, Typewriter, lead a troop of meth-heads in a battle against the undead in Fiend by Peter Stenson. The story details how this group fights against the Chucks while battling their own demons and addictions.

I write a brief summary as that’s all there is to tell. It is actually a novella, around 185 pages.

However, buried beneath the predictable story line and immature characters are glimpses of incredible writing which explore the emotions of addiction. In between the gratuitous cursing and often confusing dialogue the reader will find literary gems. Every one of these notable passages, reflect upon the evils an addict is constantly facing.

This book has an identity crisis. The characters never commit to the addiction story line or the zombie battles. It reads much like a crazy Seth Rogen comedy script for a movie you’ll wait and see at home rather than making the trip to the theatre. The same theory applies here. If you have to kill time and you prefer to read than sit quietly, fill the void with Fiend; otherwise it’s not worth the effort.

 

The Summer of Dead Toys

In The Summer of Dead Toys, author Antonio Hill introduces readers to the Agent Héctor Salgado. Originally from Argentina, he now considers himself a native of Barcelona. He returns to Spain from a forced vacation in Buenos Aries to find his personal and professional lives remain in a chaotic state.

While Salgado is being investigated for brutally beating a suspect, his Superintendent asks him to unofficially look into a death already ruled an accident. In recognition of the effort Superintendent Savall is making to ensure Salgado faces no charges, he agrees to meet with the mother of the young man that died. His partner, Agent Martina Andreu, works to clear Salgado’s name but a witness comes forward and more evidence against him is discovered.

* * * * *

Antonio Hill introduces us to a large supporting cast – the ex-wife, a son and an entire department of colleagues – leading the reader to believe this is the first in a series. Unfortunately in this novella, many characters are mentioned with little details. It might be a strategic choice, in hopes you’ll wait on pins and needles for the next book but it made me wonder why they were mentioned at all.

The Summer of Dead Toys is what I describe as an excellent vacation book. It’s an easy read with short chapters. The book can be put down and easily jumped back into. If it’s not finished, it is nothing you think about again.

Some things might be lost in translation; the book was originally written in Spanish. There are peculiarities, such as the many interviews held in lounges. I envisioned small bars, perhaps a bit sleazy. I would have suggested he use living room or den. The odd jargon does not take away from the story, it actually might cause a little chuckle.

If you come across a copy, either e-book or the real thing, it’s worth the read. I wouldn’t rush to the library or hurry to a bookstore.

Unfounded Optimism

RE: Group sees ex-GM plant for hospital

Under Area Briefs, I found a story about a group of individuals that still believe this region will see a mega-hospital. Their faith in a Liberal government, not represented in any local riding, amazes and puzzles me. CAMPP and the hospital site selection committee continue to believe an area, represented by a political party which NEVER supported the idea of a mega-hospital, will see funding from a government that has already attempted to cutback health care services in this region. Those attempts were thwarted by the hard work of many local individuals, including Ms. Piruzza. Ms. Piruzza campaigned on the fact she was the only candidate supporting the mega-hospital and we booted her from office.

Why would an already in deep debt Liberal government fund anything in this area? Because they said they would? The mega-hospital will not be a priority for the provincial government; it will be delayed if not cancelled altogether.

Three years from now, it will once again be dangled like a carrot in front of the voters. The Liberals will discuss, debate and reason for the 12 months preceding the next election the possibility of investing in Windsor. And then we’ll vote.

Meanwhile, nothing changes. If we’d like to see differences that matter to the community, we should learn to better manage what we currently have rather than waste energy thinking about what might be.

Printed in The Windsor Star on June 25, 2014.

Dear Elections Ontario:

 
The election has come and gone. I have some questions I’m hoping you can answer and some thoughts to share with you.
 
What qualifies me to have such opinions? I am a Canadian citizen living in Ontario meeting all eligibility requirements to vote . I also worked as a Revision Assistant in a polling station in the only riding to dump a Liberal. In someone’s mind it was best to put “Help Desk” on the sign on my table; this served as an invitation for pissed off people to share their opinions with me. They didn’t care for the comment box, they wanted a person to hear their complaints. Now, I share with you.
 

  1. There is a difference between politics and the election process. This fact has become lost on the disenfranchised voters in Ontario. This message needs to be communicated to the public.
  2. Many voters that are house bound or in hospital still do not know how to contact Elections Ontario in order to cast their vote.
  3. Voters want the never ending, always annoying phone calls to stop. They are not as offended by the call if there was an actual person on the line but I cannot stress how much people despise the auto announcement. Many, many individuals stopped to ask how they can get their phone number removed from the calling lists. I stopped counting after 30 requests; the total for the day was probably closer to 70.

 
The election process is just a small part of the political engine. There must be some body that is responsible for engaging and educating the public regarding democratic proceedings. The people’s participation in government must extend beyond the 45 days of the election process if we are to ever see positive change.
 
With whom should I make an appointment to discuss these issues?
 
Frustrated & looking for change…