Tag Archives: News

Time for Southern New Brunswick to build one central airport #nbpoli

Posted on January 7, 2011 by

WestJet just announced it is cancelling its summer service to Saint John, NB because it was not profitable. This should be a wake up call to everyone that the time has come for one large, centralized international airport for the province, and I suggest Sussex.

It will be a hard sell. There are too many egos involved and not enough cooperation, particularly within the municipalities, but it is a necessary step. Our entire province barely qualifies as a mid-sized metropolitan city elsewhere. We don’t need an airport in every hamlet. Southern NB only has about 500,000 people between the 3 major cities and surrounding areas, yet we have three competing airports??? That’s absurd.

Sussex is accessible from all three major Southern NB metro area in less than an hour, which is more than reasonable for access to a decent-sized airport with international travel capabilities. Most of us already drive to Halifax or Bangor to take advantage of cheap flights because the Saint John airport is less than useful in many cases. Why would a 45 minute jaunt to Sussex bother us?

Take a look at the outlying areas of Toronto. Most of them are larger than the entire Southern NB area, but they don’t each have their own airports. They travel, sometimes several hours, to Pearson Airport in Toronto without question.

Building one large airport in the Sussex area would build business opportunities in the Sussex area, as well as foster spin-off enterprises such as shuttle and parking services elsewhere, not to mention the added incentive of larger companies having better access to the area. New Brunswick must begin to acknowledge we are a very small fish in a very big pond, and to survive we must streamline how we do business and change the way we think or we will die off fast in the modern, global economy.

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Twain classics to drop racial slur is purely #censorship

Posted on January 5, 2011 by

According to this article, “NewSouth Books in Alabama is to publish a combined volume of the books in February that will make the alteration.”

According to their blog post

“In a bold move compassionately advocated by Twain scholar Dr. Alan Gribben and embraced by NewSouth, Mark Twain’s Adventures of Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn also replaces two hurtful epithets that appear hundreds of times in the texts with less offensive words, this intended to counter the “preemptive censorship” that Dr. Gribben observes has caused these important works of literature to fall off curriculum lists nationwide.”

“Bold move”??? Hogwash. Censorship by any other name remains the same. While I understand the desire to "not offend", Twain’s writings are more than just works of literary genius, they are a representation of a period in time. During his time, this was how the people spoke and wrote. We should not try to hide this, we should educate people so that it never happens again! To change his work is to attempt to change history. Stalin was a master of this practice. I don’t suggest anyone follow him as a role model…

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Mandatory census change will hurt survey #nbpoli #canpoli

Posted on December 30, 2010 by

telegraphjournal.com – Census change will hurt survey | New Brunswick, Canada.

“The information collected by this form is playing a critical role in mobilizing citizens and organizations to tackle issues in their local communities – bringing philanthropic, voluntary and corporate resources to the table to address some of our communities’ most pressing problems,” the letter said.
Mr. Harper’s Conservatives have ideas that seem to pander to their core supporters they would like to implement. Unfortunately, these ideas are based on ideology that is not backed up by statistics (i.e. increase in prisons while overall crime rate is actually dropping). By removing the mandatory census, it allows them to cast doubt on the statistics they already don’t (can’t?) read…
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CBC Top 10 Miracles of 2010? No miracles, but lots of science, medicine, and chance

Posted on December 27, 2010 by

A friend sent me a link to this article: CBC has a video article article showcasing what they consider to be the greatest miracles of 2010. Wow, I am not sure where to begin with this rather odious piece of journalism, but here goes… Miracles are a funny thing, and not in a way that should make anyone laugh.

Wikipedia defines a miracle as an unexpected event attributed to divine intervention. Sometimes an event is also attributed (in part) to a miracle worker, saint, or religious leader.

While wikipedia is not the final place to go for definitions, it is normally a good place for a general consensus. So, using this basic definition, let’s examine the events surrounding our plane crash survivor. For example, the number one miracle was titled “Sole Survivor”. It is a story about a man who survived a plane crash. He was the only one of 104 passengers and crew to survive. And CBC labelled it a miracle. Do we see the problem here? Where is the divine intervention? I am sure there are 103 families who would disagree that a miracle occurred.

It may seem like semantics, but the word miracle implies divinity and religion, giving undue credence to superstitions and myths that have hindered free thought, blocked scientific advance, and killed countless people in an attempt to remain relevant and force controlling beliefs upon the masses. Religion has followed us since the beginning of our species’ existence, mainly through the indoctrination of our young, when they are the most impressionable. (Here’s an article that explains more about this )

As for the age-old adage about humans not judging events this way, all the dubious, sugar-sweet soothing messages about “god working in mysterious ways” or “it isn’t our place to question him” doesn’t make the foul medicine taste any better or the fertilizer used to grow the story any less offensive.

Our children are permitted to stop believing in Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny, and the Tooth Fairy, but are encouraged – and in many cases forced – to profess belief in outdated superstitious myths with no burden of proof by organizations that don’t even pay their fair share of taxes.

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Red Whale Coffee lockout shows poor business ethics

Posted on December 11, 2010 by

I am writing you to express my concern and anger over Phil Brodersen’s decision to close the doors to Red Whale Coffee in Rothesay, NB. My understanding is that Red Whale Coffee was not behind on their lease payments, so I cannot begin to understand what would make Phil Brodersen want to lock their doors, simply because he wanted to place a different tenant in the location?


Red Whale Coffee is a great example of the type of business the KV should be looking to create and attract. Red Whale Coffee is a KV-based small business that offers the highest quality coffee in Southern New Brunswick, as well as a great atmosphere to sit back and enjoy the company of friends. They also employed 15 people in the KV area. I have seen and met many of Southern New Brunswick’s business and government leaders enjoying themselves at Red Whale Coffee, so I am sure there are many others who are disappointed with these actions. An online Facebook page created to support Red Whale Coffee attracted over 100 people in a matter of hours, showing that Red Whale Coffee has some very loyal customers.


To explain how important this business is to the KV area, I live in Saint John but travel to Rothesay specifically to go to Red Whale Coffee. While in the KV for my coffee trips, I also do additional shopping and eating at several other KV-specific businesses – Cochrane’s, On the Vine, Thai Hut, Pomodori’s, and various shops on the main strip are some examples. All this additional shopping is done in the KV because I make special trips to visit Red Whale Coffee. Much of this additional shopping will stop if Red Whale Coffee no longer exists.


I cannot think of a better example of the type of business than Red Whale Coffee that the KV Chamber of Commerce should be supporting and promoting in the KV area, a business that is packed with locals and also attracts people from elsewhere. Instead, Phil Brodersen locked the doors and forced 15 KV employees out of work two weeks before the holidays.


When someone holds a position such as President of a Chamber of Commerce, sometimes they have to think about what is good for the area and not just themselves. Phil Brodersen is a representative of the KV Chamber of Commerce and as such, this does not reflect well on that organization’s business practices.


***
Above letter was sent to the KV Chamber of Commerce and as a Letter to the Editor at the Telegraph Journal

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Buy Local? Not at Irving / Circle K Stores! #buylocal

Posted on September 9, 2010 by

Yesterday, while on a work trip to Fredericton, I made a quick stop at an Irving / Circle K store in Welsford, New Brunswick. Pretty straight forward stop. I wanted a drink and a snack and rather than roll on over to the junk food aisles, I decided to step smartly up to the “fresh” produce area and help myself to an apple. It is Fall in New Brunswick, that’s apple season, and I love a good, fresh apple! Imagine my surprise when I started to peel the ubiquitous PLU code sticker and noticed it said “Chile”…

So after an initial angry Tweet and a Facebook status rant, a little birdie sent me some very interesting info (I love social media)… Let’s use it to put the pressure on for “Buy Local”! The items in ( italics ) are my additions!

Circle K is an international chain of convenience stores. It is owned and operated by the Canadian-based Alimentation Couche-Tard (here’s the Wikipedia link) – Not Irving. (I knew that part, Irving leased their sites to them in the summer of 2008. But Irving has the power to influence them – I hope!)

All purchasing decisions have to be approved by head office – and since local produce isn’t available year-round, they only allow produce contracts with suppliers who can provide year-round availability. (Lazy Jerks…)

It’s EXTREMELY hard to get approval for a purchasing contract through head office. Apparently the big stop in Miramichi sells local, but he is an anomaly because head office doesn’t like it! (Good to see some of them are doing it the right way)

Their website purports to putting 1% of net earnings to the support of youth, health, welfare, and humanitarian causes. That all sounds great, but by buying our apples from Chile and shipping them thousands of miles to Eastern Canada – particularly when there are magnificent local apples hanging on the trees all around New Brunswick – they are destroying the environment, damaging our health with under-nourished imported fruits and vegetables, and negatively impacting the future for these same youth. My “fresh” apple from Irving / Circle K has made a journey of many thousands of miles to get to me…

From their Operations Team page, it appears Michel Bernard is their Eastern Canada Operations VP, so he might be a great one to send your complaints to!

I am sure if Mr. Bernard was truly interested in helping create a sustainable food supply for the people his company says it helps with 1% of net earnings, he could find a very high-quality supply of local apples simply by contacting the following people:

APPLE GROWERS OF NEW BRUNSWICK
168 Cyr Street
Dieppe, NB
E1A 7Z1
Euclide Bourgeois, Chairman
Paul LeBlanc, Secretary-Manager
Tel: (506) 386-8100
Fax: (506) 461-1627

What does this mean??? Well, it looks like it is time to get a grassroots campaign started! I haven’t pissed off a multinational company in weeks…

Here’s some contact information, let’s get started!

Alimentation Couche-Tard Inc.
4204 Industriel Blvd.
Laval, Quebec, Canada
H7L 0E3
Tel : (450) 662-6632 or (800) 361-2612
Fax : (450) 662-6648

info@couche-tard.com

investor.relations@couche-tard.com

Footnote: Once we are done with Irving / Circle K, we need to start working on Sobeys for the same practices, but that’s a rant for another day!

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My Name is Earl

Posted on September 1, 2010 by

So, the forecast as of noon Wednesday, Sep 1, 2010, places Hurricane Earl over our neck of the woods at 10:00 AM Saturday morning as a Category 1 with winds of 130 km/h (that’s about 80 mph for the metrically challenged out there). Tie down that deck furniture!

Earle_2

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Court martial finds Capt. Robert Semrau not guilty of murder in battlefield death

Posted on July 20, 2010 by

From this article: Court martial finds Capt. Robert Semrau not guilty of murder in battlefield death

This one rips at me in many ways… My comments are likely to stir up mixed responses, but that’s OK, healthy debate makes us a stronger society! 🙂

First, it is wrong to shoot an unarmed person, even an enemy in a theatre of war. Anyone who argues against that doesn’t understand that whether or not you “like” the enemy, there are rules we must follow. Fighting an enemy that doesn’t follow the rules doesn’t give us carte blanch to forget the rules. If we fail to follow our own rules, we have absolutely no moral grounds to be there.

Second, while many good soldiers have been killed by injured enemies through the years, I heard nothing about whether he thought the injured man was a threat, which could have justified the shooting.

Third, even an enemy’s life has value to someone. The enemy is fighting for a cause they believe in, whether or not we agree with it (obviously we don’t, or we wouldn’t have troops there fighting them). Regardless, their zeal cannot be considered any less valid a position than that of the crusaders in the past.

Finally, to debunk his defense argument for the shooting, while I am a proponent of euthanasia for terminally ill people, it has to be at their request, not a decision made by another person. If they opened up “mercy killing” to soldiers, it could really get dicey with regards to wounded POWs, etc. Soldiers are not doctors, they can’t unequivocally state who will survive and who won’t.

Overall, I agree with the guilty verdict for disgraceful conduct. However, if the facts in the story are correct (which isn’t a given by any stretch!), shooting an unarmed man who poses no threat to you or your unit regardless of whether it happens in a theatre of war, really does constitute murder. He is an officer who leads troops. This means he must conduct himself to an even higher degree than the men who serve under him and must also set an example for them. This is not an example I would want to be taught to our soldiers.

His decision was not what I would consider to be one that was well thought out nor did it display leadership. It really is difficult to make the right decisions in many situations, particularly when every decision he makes is likely to be judged by “armchair quarterbacks” not at the front nor in the fight, but it has always been that way in a professional army, and that is the task he swore an oath to perform. This guy didn’t swear to flip burgers or push paper, he swore an oath to fight in a war if required, and to follow a very strict set of rules. Those rules were designed over many centuries to try and maintain a level of professionalism, and lives on both sides are on the line.

The consequences of inappropriate actions by our soldiers, particularly those in leadership roles, can be devastating, as this incident has proven. Thankfully, few of us will ever have to face this.

Just as an aside, if he gets any amount of prison time, the first 2 years will be served at the military prison in Edmonton, which is more like 10 years in a civilian prison, then he will be transferred to a regular prison.

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Another Royal Visit to Canada

Posted on July 6, 2010 by

At the end of yet another Royal visit, I ask myself the relevance of any form of monarchy in the modern world – specifically in Canada – and find none.

Don’t get me wrong, I feel no ill will toward the Queen, and applaud the good things some royal family members do for others. But even if it gives some people a “good feeling” to have the monarchy as a connection to our roots or because of some nostalgia they have, does that make it right?

Though it is now only a symbolic position, in today’s world, the fact that royalty and classes remain – and worse still are inherited positions – is anachronistic, irrelevant, and makes a statement about being born into money and/or power without the requirement of doing anything whatsoever to earn it that I just don’t agree with.

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G20 has created a sad time for civil liberties in Canada

Posted on July 3, 2010 by

I agree with Thomas Walkom on his article “The G20 summit’s grim lessons for civil liberties

I understand why Andrew MacIsaac cried. This is a sad state of affairs in what has always been an open, friendly society. It also brings to mind one of my favourite quotes:

“Any society that would give up a little liberty to gain a little security will deserve neither and lose both”
— Benjamin Franklin

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