Seat belts on buses recommended

Apparently seat belts on buses were recommended long ago after a Transport Canada investigation confirmed the fact that occupants are at unnecessary risk when riding on a large bus.  Doesn’t this seem like a no brainer?  It sure does to me.  I’m also pretty sure it must be to the parents of the hockey players killed in the Humboldt Saskatchewan crash last April.

The results of this investigation were kept under wraps for years, but recently outed by The Fifth Estate.  Why the delay?  They (Transport Canada) were waiting for the USA to change their laws so we could just follow suit.  Why does Canada have to wait for the USA to update their laws?  Good question, we shouldn’t.

School buses, coach buses, and possibly even city buses (although their use would be much harder to enforce) should be equipped with seat belts.  We could then add another step to train drivers that their vehicle must not (even cannot) operate unless occupants are compliant.  Surely with the technology available today sensors are available to monitor such things.  Retrofitting buses currently in use might be expensive, but one taxpayers might be willing to swallow.

I can vouch for the fact I would rather pay for that than the expense accounts of former Governors General and the pensions of former politicians.  Are you with me?

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Kitchen Tower by J.L. Woodworking

A kitchen tower is an awesome idea for those of you with small children (kids or grandkids) that love to “help out” in the kitchen.  The ingenious design allows toddlers and small children to be safely at counter height for baking, snacking or just watching (as my grandson loves to do) you cook.

This kitchen tower design can be adjusted for height and folds up for easy storage too. Constructed of painted or unfinished (your choice) wood, they are made just south of Ottawa (North Gower). Scheduled deliveries are currently available to Toronto and Montreal.

My neighbour and friend has one (the original prototype) for her grandson.  Her nephew-in-law makes this line of children’s furniture in his spare time, over and above his day job.  Recently moving the start up business from a single car garage to a more spacious workshop, he and his wife are on their way to their ultimate goal of a full time family business.  The demand for these kitchen towers in particular has skyrocketed.  Please check out their website at JL Woodworking for more information, pricing and ordering.  This hard working couple would appreciate your business, so please be sure to like and share their info

This Grandma has ordered hers!

MMIW: Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women

Information and knowledge about and support for the MMIW database is spreading.  If you are unaware (as I was) what this is, please check it out and add your support.  The number of indigenous or native women and girls that are missing and/or have been murdered is staggering.  Help to spread the word and bring about justice for these women and their families.

MMIW

 

This database, created by Annita Lucchesi, a doctoral student at the University of Lethbridge in Alberta, includes data from both Canada and the USA from 1900 onward.  I learned of the database from my sister, currently the Dean of Liberal Education at the same university.  The MMIW project does not (currently) receive any funding from any government or academic facilities.  Hopefully, that will change, and soon.  So far, 3148 cases have been documented, but many more (close to 25,000) are suspected.

This issue should be treated as a national crisis in both countries! In fact, I remember an election promise by current Prime Minister Justin Trudeau that he would treat these missing women as a priority.  What is the government waiting for?  This MMIW database is a good start.  Hopefully it will generate more support (from the right people)than any previous research on the subject.

Governor General Expenses are How Much?

Here in Canada we have a (some say redundant) Governor General position.  The person to fill this position is chosen by the Queen (or current monarch) of England, with advisement from the prime minister, as their representative of the monarchy in Canada.

Predominantly ceremonial in nature, the necessity of the role has been debated for years.  Tax payers dole out an annual salary of $288K for a current Governor General and an annual pension payment of $140K for former position holders.  That’s pretty lucrative for a short term position.  The issue is even more controversial recently as expense reports (over and above her pension) for former Governor General Adrienne Clarkson were revealed by the National Post as over extravagant.  To the tune of a million dollars overly extravagant.  After her mere six year stint as our Governor General.

Governor General

These expense claims are not currently made available to the public.  In this day and age of promised transparency (at least in an election year) and accessibility to information seeking technology (google), one would think this information would be easy to find.  Doesn’t it make you wonder what other former Governors General are claiming as their expenses?

Our prime minister has promised to “look into it” but that doesn’t give too many people (myself included) a warm fuzzy feeling.  Especially as his priorities do not appear to be focused on the concerns of taxpayers.  I have a feeling Clarkson’s expenses are just the tip of the proverbial iceberg.

Canada going to pot today

Canada is going to pot, literally.  Personally, I have thought so since our last (2016) federal election, but that’s another story.

Today, October 17th 2018, Canada is legalizing marijuana, much to the chagrin of many citizens.  This was an election promise our prime minister made to win votes from the younger age group.  He’s now making good on that promise with as much thought and preparation (not much) as many other ridiculous and ill-advised things he is responsible for.

pot

AKA pot, weed, or cannabis, marijuana can now be smoked anywhere (with few exceptions) regular cigarettes are allowed.  Users are supposed to act responsibly.  Parks, arenas and recreational centers are pot-free, but this will be very difficult to enforce.  As will driving under the influence of pot if roadside testing is as inefficient and flawed as rumored.   So difficult in fact that the mayor of Ottawa predicts legalizing pot will cost the city (at least) a cool 8 million dollars per year.  The federal government has created (another) the mess, but is leaving the municipalities to deal with the fall out.  Great, just what this country needs, more examples of how to fritter away the tax payers’ hard earned dollars.

Hoping to remove the (still) illegal street sources, the new laws say brick and mortar stores must apply for a licence to sell pot.  These licences will not be available until spring, so these stores currently open for business must close their doors and reopen when they have been granted a licence.  Those that do not close while waiting for their licence will be shut down by authorities and will relinquish their right to ever obtain such a licence. Until then pot is only available (legally) through government run facilities.  Yep, that will eliminate the illegal sources. Not.

So, who wins with this new legislation?  The group of individuals that already (not so covertly) smoke pot recreationally.  Partakers have been asked to “use pot responsibly.” The problem is (or will be) that this group of people are not typically recognized for being responsible or their sensitivity to other people’s concerns, more focused on their own wants and needs.  Who cares if pot has been proven to aversely affect the health of children, pets and anyone else with a set of lungs? Not them.

Who loses?  Anyone that prefers and strives to keep their own and their loved ones’ lungs smoke and drug free.  And the tax payers who are left holding the bag.  This YouTube video by Bryan Cox and Jason Leblanc is one of those funny/not funny things.  You either laugh or cry.

 

 

 

 

Extreme summer breaking records

No doubt we have had an extreme summer this year in Ontario.  Extremely high temperatures and accompanying drought conditions were followed by an extreme amount of rainfall over a very short time period, then topped off with an over abundance of annoying, hungry mosquitoes.

extreme summer

We should be moving up this list as our daytime temperatures are still soaring high.  The good news is our evening/night temperatures are currently cooler, much better for sleeping.  Most people will agree, moderate is much more tolerable than extreme.

Despite the extreme weather we have experienced, after last summer’s lack of sunshine and heat, no one can complain we did not get enough of either this summer.  I must admit thought, this extreme summer has limited my time in my gardens!

 

A moose on the loose

There is a moose on the loose on the eastbound 417 in Ottawa this morning.  Well, no longer on the loose, he is hemmed in by police cruisers (as if that would detain him if he really wanted to leave) until wildlife authorities can get there to tranquilize and remove him.  He was first spotted running on the 417 around 630 this morning.  From the pictures I have seen, the moose appears to be a young male.  Reports say he is slightly injured and will be taken somewhere to recuperate by the ministry of natural resources.  Poor little (not really) guy, he must be terrified!

moose.png

photo courtesy of CBC news

 

Only in Canada eh?  Stay at home a little longer this morning if you are headed east, you won’t be getting anywhere fast!  I was headed that way to a garden, but will switch things up and head west instead.

Did we pay a tariff on this heat?

If you haven’t noticed, Ottawa is in the middle of a heat wave, as are many places throughout Canada.  I wonder if we payed a tariff on the heat coming from the US of A.  Perhaps Donald Trump hasn’t thought of that yet.  If he did, we would have to retaliate and charge Americans a tariff on the cold fronts we send you every winter (currently) for free.

Seriously, the heat and humidity are so high that it’s just too hot for me to spend more than a few minutes in anyone’s gardens this week.  So, what else can a gardener do in this heat?  Well, I met a friend for coffee this morning and power washed my front veranda this afternoon.  Even though there was cool water involved, the power washing was a hot and dangerous job. As I was reaching into the back of my van to remove my power washer, I heard a hissing noise just before the back trunk slammed down on my head.  Just what I needed, a concussion to go with the possible heat stroke.

I guess that gives me something to work on tomorrow…getting the struts (that’s what my mechanic told me they are called) on the trunk repaired.  Then I will spend some time with my baby granddaughter.  After that I can continue working on the quilt I am making for my almost five year old granddaughter.  Although quilting is usually a winter passion of mine, this heat wave will give me some time to work on the project that is (still) spread out on my dining room table.

That’s Canada for you.  Heat waves and cold snaps alike tend to make us retreat to the comfort of our air conditioned or heated homes.  Just forget I mentioned the word tariff, I wouldn’t want to put ideas in anyone’s head!

photo from Unsplash

 

 

It’s all about the (farmland) smell

Recently I drove through a portion of the eastern Ontario countryside from Ottawa to the Cornwall area. I purposely took the back roads to enjoy the beautiful greenery of the local farms along the way. As well as the scenery, believe it or not, I love the smell associated with the farmland. I attribute this to my heritage.

farmland
Beaudette family farmhouse

My maternal grandparents were farmers.  They are long gone from this world, but never from my memories.  The farmhouse they lived in has since been renovated and just a portion part of their land still worked by family members.  Down the road from the farmhouse is the cemetery where these grandparents, as well as both of my own parents, and numerous aunts, uncles and cousins are buried.

The main purpose of this recent (road) trip down memory lane was to clean up the memorial garden in this cemetery.  It was overgrown with weeds and other invasive plants.  Thanks to the help of a friend, an aunt and a cousin, we managed to rid the garden of unwanted greenery.  With a few new perennials added as well as the soil and mulch replenished, it looks much better.  I wish I had thought to take a “before” picture;  this is the “after”…

farmland
Pleasant Valley Cemetery

In between the sweltering hot jobs of weeding and adding the new plants, soil and mulch I took a “cool off” break in the form of an opportunity to meet up with a childhood friend with whom I had recently reconnected with on Facebook.  Isn’t it amazing how you can catch up on 30+ years in an hour?

The scenery and yes, the smell of the farmland too, were added bonuses.

Why the tragedy in Humboldt Saskatchewan has rocked Canadians

Humboldt Broncos

The tragedy in Saskatchewan involving the Humboldt Broncos hockey team has rocked Canadians this week. Regardless of whether you are a fan of hockey, this story cannot help but move you. The accident between a bus loaded with young hockey players and a truck loaded with peat moss was a hockey parent’s worst nightmare. The parents, families and friends of the 15 victims of the accident are all currently living that nightmare. The rest of us can only shudder in horror imagining how unbelievably awful this past week must have (and continues to be) been for them.

Whether you live in a large city or a small town in Canada, hockey cannot help but touch your life. After all, hockey is Canada’s sport. Whether you play, watch, or coach hockey, serve as team trainer or manager, your involvement in hockey means you love the sport and cannot help but get emotionally involved with your team.

The hockey community is very tight across Canada.  Whether we know them personally or not, we all cheer for and keep track of our hometown kids as they grow up and follow their dream to play in the big league.  We celebrate and share their victories and achievements.  This week we mourn the loss of these talented, hard working, ambitious, young athletes and the adults with them as the Humboldt Broncos team travelled together on their final hockey road trip.

As the country watches, listens and mourns, Canadians and others around the world have stepped up to show their support for the Humboldt Broncos team.  A Go Fund Me account has raised over 9 million dollars to date to help the families of the victims.  Professional hockey teams and players have offered their condolences. Families are leaving hockey sticks and lights on at their front doors.  Students and parents alike are wearing jerseys to school and work.

Humboldt Broncos
Nokia Kanata on Jersey Day

 

As difficult as this tragedy has been to watch unfold, the heartfelt response has made me (even more) proud to be Canadian!