Wednesday, January 31, 2018


Well last night Council and Staff's vacancy appointment scam unfolded pretty much to script. If you're a politician, lying to the voters is simply all in a day's work. It's all about their will and wishes versus what is in the public interest. Two speakers via Delegation advised Council and the public that the fastest, easiest and most responsive to public wishes was to simply appoint the runner-up candidate in Ward 1, Dr. Dan Holt. He was third with 1,036 votes for the two available positions in Ward 1. Lisa MacDonald also advised Council that the Staff Report was inaccurate with its' claim that an official Appointments Process involving advertising for Applicants, interviewing Applicants and then deciding on the winner would only cost $1,000-$3,000. Apparently Staff and Council like to add in Staff wages when they are totaling costs for say Election Financing Audits and Hearings but not so much when it doesn't suit them. They also forgot to add in the wages of the Township's taxpayer funded lawyers (Smith Valeriote).

Dr. Holt advised Council of his interest in representing Ward 1 residents as well as of his and other candidates having stepped forward in the last election, putting themselves out there, speaking publicly and spending time and money in order to get elected. An Appointments Process soliciting applications from far and wide was unnecessary, time consuming (2 months) and expensive. Furthermore the public had already spoken as to whom they wanted to represent them for this term of council.

Two other Delegates spoke. I am somewhat in awe of Jacqueline Hanley. She appears friendly, sociable, confident and out-going. She also speaks very well. The problem was in her message. She confidently advised that results in the last election were not to be a criteria as they did not represent the wishes of the public. She claimed that a wide open new Application Process potentially drawing in lots of applicants was far more democratic than relying on the results of the last election. In other words, unstated by her, was that the decision of five Councillors (actually 3- the majority) was allegedly more democratic than the votes of 1,036 Woolwich voters. Councillor Patrick Merlihan asked her the only question of any Delegate last evening. Could she explain or clarify how Councillors deciding could possibly be more democratic than the votes of over a thousand citizens. She was taken aback and stumped.

Then we had the last Delegate, Julie-Anne Herteis. Oh my. Julie-Anne "resigned" as Chair of CPAC before the very first public meeting ever occurred. This was after she stormed out of a meeting in the Councillor's Boardroom at which I was present. The kindest thing said after her sudden departure was that she was not "chairperson material". Julie-Anne later told Mayor Todd Cowan that she was going to resign as a Councillor. This was in her first year on Council. He talked her out of it. Then she didn't run for Council again in October 2014 to absolutely no one's surprise. Anyone who saw her at Council meetings found her knowledge base minimal and her grasp of the issues even less so.

Last evening she made it clear that she wants to throw her hat in the ring both now and in the fall. What are you doing Julie-Anne? You hated your time on Council. Is this simply for the part time salary available to Councillors? I absolutely do not know her outside her role as a past councillor. I have heard several good things about her work at Chartwell and about her social outings. She may be a wonderful human being but she simply does not have the necessary skills to be voting on issues affecting her fellow Woolwich residents.

Councillor Murray Martin introduced a Motion to accept the Staff Recommendation to hold a formal and extensive Appointments Process. He voted YES and did so without any explanation of his position. Larry Shantz followed him by voting YES also without explanation. Councillor Merlihan clearly explained why he felt that the best, least politicized move was to appoint the next runner-up Dr. Dan Holt. He therefore voted NO. Councillor Mark Bauman explained that he felt that the best decision for Woolwich was to vote NO and then appoint the next runner-up, Dr. Holt. Sandy Shantz as Chair broke the tie by voting YES, without any explanation.

The only surprise for several of us in the gallery was Mark Bauman voting NO along with Pat Merlihan. Then history and memory kicked in. This crap has happened before. In Council's In Camera meeting before they go public they claimed they were discussing an Ontario Municipal Board settlement. It is no difficult trick for even the dumbest of councillors to finish up the proper In Camera discussion and then go on to discussing another issue illegally in private (ie. in camera). This Council and others have been caught breaking Ontario law around In Camera meetings (Municipal Act) before and the most recent was only 2 1/2 years ago.

Setting up a phony vote ahead of time so as not to give the appearance that everybody on Council are against one councillor, Pat Merlihan, is child's play. In fact a few phone calls or e-mails prior to even the In Camera session would work just as well. I saw this done at the end of 2006 when the lame duck Council (after the election) gave the go ahead for the Jigs Hollow gravel pit. Losing Councillor Murray Martin changed his position and then voted against the proposal (Jigs Hollow Pit) knowing there was a majority vote in favour already. All of this is about Woolwich Councillors serving their own interests not the public's. Keep in mind that for the 2006 vote Councillor Mark Bauman had not yet (for years) revealed that he was in a conflict of interest position due to his relationship with Ray Kuntz, one of the proponents for the Jigs Hollow Pit. Mark voted in favour.

Tuesday, January 30, 2018


Today's Waterloo Region Record carries the following two stories titled "Monteiro and Mann are not the real problem" by Luisa D'Amato and "Conversation on gender discrimination disputed in police lawsuit" by Liz Monteiro.

I'm going to look at the bigger picture. First of all the law is an ass. Secondly politicians generally who write laws are asses. Thirdly police, prosecutors and courts are asses. Lastly the so called Rule of Law is both an ass and a sham. The Rule of Law states that all men (& women) will be treated the same before the law and the courts. Really and how pray tell has that been working of late? Do we not have decades of male bullying and discrimination in numerous work places? The Mounties have already been hammered with successful lawsuits. I took the City of Waterloo to the Human Rights Commission. Firefighters have been disciplined long after the fact for their treatment of female recruits and on and on. Same thing in the military and every other male dominated job or profession. For how long were women denied the right to be doctors? How long including the present have women been underrepresented as tenured University professors? And yet our precious laws both provincial and federal say that this is all illegal. Well if it's illegal and it's happening then what does this say about our entire judicial system from police to the courts? For me what it says is that all these human rights laws are second class laws. They were passed by our politicians simply for show. They were passed in order to receive votes both male and female. They were passed either with tacit or explicit communications to those in authority that they would NOT be enforced. They are laws that our male dominated power brokers then intentionally choose to disregard until or unless bones are broken and or concussions sustained. Then the system will step in. Not before. Hence intimidation and discrimination prevails whether denying of promotions, transfers, abuses of authority and personal harassment.

These laws are all around us. Municipal by-laws are "complaint driven". Election Financing laws are a joke. Labour safety laws especially in non-union workplaces only kick in again after horrendous injuries or on the job deaths, year in and year out. Driving laws other than speeding and drinking and driving are constantly ignored. When was the last time you heard of anybody getting a ticket for failing to signal a turn? Maybe AFTER an accident, otherwise never. Driving in the fast lane with the right lane empty never gets a ticket even when motorists end up passing on the right. Last second multi lane changes in order to exit, same thing. Stopping your car on the roadway whether in a roundabout or otherwise when you have the right of way, no ticket. All of these behaviours are illegal but after decades of non-enforcement they are routine.

Today's two Record articles add fuel to the fire raging here in Waterloo Region and elsewhere. The rot starts at the top and works its' way downwards. From Regional politicians, municipal politicians and even here in Woolwich Township where provincial law allows municipal councils to ignore election results and literally appoint anybody to a vacant council seat. Do you think most Councils will choose anyone, no matter how popular with the voters, if they think that person won't go along with the gang? Most Councils are more prepared to appoint those willing to go along in order to get along. Ethics be damned! Independent thinking be damned!

Chief Larkin is in trouble as are Councillors Mann and Monteiro. Our Police Services Board should all be fired. Our Regional Council, especially the senior members, should all be ashamed of themselves for their lack of honest and decent oversight of the Regional Police. Citizens it is housecleaning time. This should include both the upcoming provincial and municipal elections at the least.

Monday, January 29, 2018


In this week's Woolwich Observer, Editor Steve Kannon has written an excellent ode or eulogy to Michael Purves-Smith titled "Elmira activist still had a long to-do list before losing battle with cancer".

I really only got to know Michael through his initial opposition to the proposed Elmira Bio-En facility and then later when he sat on that public committee which I attended for a year or two. Also I purchased his first book "Rocky Mountain Locust" on a recommendation from a friend and then eagerly sought out his second book in the series. I was ready and keen to buy any third book that might have been forthcoming but alas it was not to be so.

Michael was always well informed and always the gentleman. While in hindsight our local biogas facility has proven to be well run, perhaps the initial strong opposition may have helped convince the proponents to go first class on the safety and environmental aspects. I don't know that for sure but can advise that barely a week ago I received a phone call from a gentleman suffering the odour effects of a biogas facility here in Ontario that is not well run or perhaps initially built to the highest standards.

Steve Kannon describes the epidemic of cancer cases in Canada and Ontario and possible causes for them especially the environmental ones. He describes Michael well as being keenly interested in the environment and how humankind has caused such damage to it. That said Steve also indicates that he, Steve, has a pessimistic belief in humanity's future whereas Michael, at heart, felt that mankind would smarten up and turn things around. This is one of those cases in which I share Steve's outlook on the future but sincerely hope that I am wrong and Michael is correct.

Saturday, January 27, 2018


Yesterday's Waterloo Region Record carried the following story titled "Councillors in lawsuit should step down, say residents". The Cambridge residents mentioned are part of a Facebook group called "Cambridge Citizen discussion on local politics". I will also add that there is lengthy discussion and comments on The Cambridge Advocate as well on this topic. The Cambridge Advocate can be accessed by Google or by the link I have on the right side of the Elmira Advocate.

Margaret Barr, a former Councillor herself, suggested that the two councillors named in the lawsuit against the Waterloo Regional Police Service (WRPS) should take a leave of absence from Cambridge Council until the fall election. The behaviour alleged in the lawsuit specifically names now councillor Frank Monteiro as one of the perpetrators and now councillor Mike Mann as one of the senior officers whom one of the Plaintiffs felt did not respond adequately to her concerns and complaints. There was more than one Plaintiff Officer who named Frank Monteiro as a perpetrator.

Both officers, now councillors have denied or at least stated that they would like the opportunity to explain themselves or give their side of the story.

Friday, January 26, 2018


Well the Editorial in yesterday's paper was scathing in spots as advertised but the cartoon was just too precious. The first panel shows Sandy Shantz and David Brenneman (CAO) jointly announcing the new appointment to replace Scott Hahn on Council. The second panel shows the often used ubiquitous jug of Kool-Aid dancing and saying "Oh Yeaah!". This refers back to the often used metaphor about councillors (people) "drinking the Kool-Aid" after they have been brainwashed as per the Jones mass poisoning in Jonestown (Africa) a long time ago.

The Editorial combined with the cartoon indicates why Patrick Merlihan has probably had a lonely time on Council the last three years. Other than the odd support on an issue here and there, he's been very much on his own on Council. That said however I will suggest that from what I have seen, Councillor Merlihan has always gone out of his way to publicly be polite and respectful to his Council colleagues despite huge ideological differences. In fact, in my opinion, even suggesting that some of them have an ideology to start with might be pushing it.

Following are quotes from yesterday's Woolwich Observer Editorial: "...that requires candidates who are willing to act in the interests of the public. That seems self-evident, but in Woolwich particularly that's far too often not the case. As with the bureaucrats to which councillors often defer, the elected officials conflate (pretend they are the same) their interests with those of the citizenry. Co-opted into the bubble , they take on the mindset of the public sector employees whose interests are increasingly at odds with residents' needs, particularly when it comes to spending priorities and keeping budgets under control.".

Well that for me is a strong indictment of our local governance and how it has run Woolwich Township for decades. It is also exactly how I have seen our Council behave in far too many instances. Thank You Woolwich Observer for telling it like it is. Keep up the good work.

Thursday, January 25, 2018


Well both the Waterloo Region Record (Tuesday) and the Woolwich Observer (today) have carried articles about the resignation from Woolwich Council by Scott Hahn. I am unaware of any other councillor ever having resigned from Woolwich Council allegedly due to "time constraints". I am aware of councillors outside Woolwich either having died on the job or resigning due to personal sickness or family tragedies. That said I will admit surprise a few years back that Mr. Hahn was running for Council after I learned that he had a full time job AND a very young family. He had every right to run under those circumstances nevertheless this may serve as a warning to future very young individuals who already have extremely tight family commitments.

The Observer have an Editorial today titled "Put public first in filling vacant council seat". It has several good points to make regarding the public interest and asking candidates to be public and community-minded. Their Editorial however makes it clear that they are not impressed with either the majority of the current crop on Council nor with the bureaucrats to whom they too often defer.

Scott Hahn has not done Woolwich Council any favours by resigning now. His actions may well be interpreted as immature somewhat in line with a citizen's Comment in the Observer's on-line version after their story on Scott's resignation. Others may somehow see Scott's last minute resignation as a shot at his former fellow councillors. Scott has now set up Council to fail. Thousands of votes other than for Scott and Pat Merlihan were cast in Ward 1 in 2014 and those voters obviously would like their candidate appointed. At the same time Council understandably would prefer to have a "fellow travellor" on Council with them for the rest of this term and then take their chances during the October election.

I would like Council to carefully look at both what is most appropriate as well as to which appointee will be most defensible and hence most likely not to provoke a strong backlash. This Council have been on the receiving end of serious public criticism over the last three years and heading into an election is not the time to remind the public of past errors on their part.

Wednesday, January 24, 2018


Well I find myself choking each time I now hear Waterloo Regional Police Services Board Chair Tom Galloway talk about wanting more women and more diversity on that old boys club. Jim Wideman who resigned opening the door for Rosita Tse is an example of the old boys club. Far too many long time regional councillors, past or present, have taken up space and not much else on that Board. Mr. Galloway is just the opening shot of those who should be either resigning or given the boot. As Chairman he's been in the driver's seat and that Board hasn't been doing a good job. What it has accomplished is an entrenchment and continuance of the status quo and that is exactly what the regional police hierarchy and politicians have wanted including the regional chairman who also is a member of that Board.

Yesterday's Waterloo Region Record carried the following story titled "Regional Councillor calls for more women on police board". I agree with just about everything she (Jane Mitchell) says in that article but I've long had a problem with giving her any credibility. Is she just another Tom Galloway jumping on the current "womens' rights" campaign or is she the real deal? She was formerly a school board trustee for ten years and that was at a time when I was paying close attention to the school board. She did not impress. Hence I'm taking her solid support for more women on the Police Services Board with a grain of salt. Could she be angling for that appointment herself? Regardless of whether she would make a good appointee or not the fact is that she is right in that "It's time for change". Our Police Services Board is a disgrace. How much of that can be attributed to recent appointees is debatable. What isn't debatable is that the membership over decades have not promoted transparency or accountability within the Waterloo Region Police Service on many issues including gender equity.

Then there are the very interesting comments by Karen Scian a former City of Waterloo councillor. She is making veiled references to the old guard of established public figures stepping from one appointment or leadership role to another. She compares them to a bag of milk past its' expiry date. For me it's more about their support of the status quo and avoiding change than it is about their age. It's their politician's desire to talk about issues rather than actually deal with them and possibly offend someone important.

The bottom line is that both the Police Services Board and the Regional Police Service are in desperate need of a house cleaning. Unfortunately any housecleaning is likely to be done by the very same people who put these ones in charge in the first place. That would be our regional politicians. An election is coming. Time for citizens to houseclean the pack of them.

Tuesday, January 23, 2018


Scott works as an electrician not as a CEO or in a high powered management job. He certainly had full family support both from his parents and in-laws in his campaign for a councillor's job. This we learned after he was ordered to appear at MECAC (Municipal Election Compliance Audit Committee) hearings as they had anonomously and hence illegally paid for his election signs and brochures. Today's Waterloo Region Record carries the story titled "Woolwich councillor quits in last year of term". Heaven forbid if Scott or a close family member had fallen seriously ill. No one would question his commitment to family coming first. However there were three other defeated candidates all who were willing and able to represent Ward 1 in Elmira for the full term. The fourth candidate, Al Poffenroth, passed away in 2015 after a car accident. I'm sure they have to be thinking about the votes candidate Scott received. Those voters have to be disappointed. Fellow Woolwich councillors have to be disappointed. Scott's resignation letter states that he has a new position and " has become very apparent that it is no longer practical to continue to serve on Council...". No longer practical to continue to serve on Council... There are only nine months to complete the term of Council for which he was elected.

Scott's decision I believe will effectively eliminate him from any further political opportunities. I mean really who's going to waste their vote in the future if they suspect he's not going to last for a full term? There will be blowback on Council. Whether or not they embraced him fully and cooperated fully and effectively with him on Council, there may be questions raised. Could they have lessened his committee workload? Could they have permitted the occasional absence from Council meetings? Were there any personality conflicts? Does Scott's resignation speak to leadership issues on Council?

Politicians are the first to admit that politics is not fair. It's all about appearances and this does not look good. At this point in time it may be premature to express skepticism regarding Scott's explanation for his resignation. If there is more to it that comes out down the road then things may become less murky. If more does not come out then we will be left to wonder. My final comment is this: Scott did have the decency to apologize to his fellow Council members "...for not being able to finish the rest of the term with you.".
That apology was necessary under the circumstances.

Monday, January 22, 2018


Abusing authority is as old as humanity. Also is usurping authority. Instead of using the proper authority invested in a person or group for either the benefit of the majority or the benefit of the business, additional authority is claimed or assumed to accomplish these or other goals. Usurping authority of course means that the individual is claiming authority that they really do not have. They may be taking someone else's authority expanding upon their already known and understood authority. Usually this usurpation involves deception, manipulation or lying. Sometimes depending upon the circumstances it can also involve breaking the law. Of course abusing authority sometimes also involves law breaking. It could be the Human Rights Act of Ontario, provincial labour laws, health and safety laws etc..

What is the motivation for either abusing or usurping authority? Generally it is a nefarious motive. Perhaps during an emergency one could think of circumstances whereby abusing or usurping authority might be for the purpose of helping society. Possibly the October FLQ crisis (1972?) in Quebec occasioned a usurpation of authority via Pierre Trudeau invoking the War Measures Act. Note I say possibly. The vast majority of abuse of and usurpation of authority is all about greed, cowardice, aggrandizement, personal power and authority. it's about putting others down to make yourself feel bigger and better. It is little men desperately needing an ego boost by demonstrating what they can get away with.

Recent price fixing by Weston's is an abuse of authority. It's also illegal. Senators taking advantage of loose expense rules is also an abuse of authority. It turned out however not to be illegal albeit it was close. Woolwich Township's shenanigans including illegally holding closed Council meetings was an abuse of authority. Also their game playing both by individual councillors as well as by the Clerk was an abuse of authority. Permitting contrary to law, elected by acclamation, councillors to avoid submitting election Financial Statements was an abuse of authority. I personally believe that Woolwich Township also indulge in usurpation of authority. If it's not nailed down as regional, provincial or federal jurisdiction and it suits them, they simply go ahead and claim it as under their authority.

Then we have our Waterloo Regional Police Service (WRPS). Anonymous phone calls occasioning middle of the night rousting of families out of their beds and homes is an abuse of authority. Individual officers demanding identification ("carding") from pedestrians minding their own business is an abuse of authority. "Driving while black" pullovers by police are abuses of authority. Coordinated suppression of complainants asking that their human rights be respected within the work force are an abuse of authority. Filing either Police Service Act or inappropriate criminal charges against their employees are both abuses of authority and illegal. Harassment and discrimination based upon race or gender within the workplace is also illegal in the province of Ontario. These are supposed to be the guardians of citizens rights yet they apparently routinely are the violators of citizens' rights.

Non-union workplaces in Ontario run the gamut from hellholes to heaven on earth for employees. Astoundingly (at least for me) so do some unionized workplaces. I would like to believe that the majority of unionized workplaces make for better workplaces but I know that that isn't always the case. If you read Kelly Donovan's book about Ontario policing or the class action lawsuit and accompanying Affidavits laid against the WRPS, you will be hard pressed to have confidence in unions. At least for all their faults the various teachers' unions represent ALL their members to the best of my knowledge.

Abuse of authority is all about personal aggrandizement by little people at the expense of those around them with less influence and power. It is the behaviour of cowards.

Saturday, January 20, 2018


Interesting! Very interesting! There are however exceptions to every rule. Usually all of us can appreciate the innocent until proven guilty aspect of our judicial system. Hence it is unusual for people to stand up and say "whoa there- it's not O.K. for you to publicly deny the allegations of gender inequity, harassment or discrimination filed against the Waterloo Regional Police Service ". Today's Waterloo Region Record carries the following story on the front page titled "chief's comments trouble task force". The Sexual Violence Task Force was initiated by the Regional Police less than a year ago in response to a report indicating that the Waterloo Regional Police deem a greater percentage of sexual assaults as "unfounded" than other Ontario forces.

James Bennett of Madorin Snyder did more than simply proclaim his clients (Police Services Board & Police Association (union)) as innocent of allegations; he attacked the complainants by publicly stating that the allegations were "untrue, exaggerated, misleading and defamatory.". He also said that the Police Services Board "vehemently" denies the allegations. This is especially interesting when Police Services Board Chair Tom Galloway now says that the tone of the lawyer's statement was "over the top". He further adds that "There is no question there has been bad behaviour at the service and other police services. It is not unique to this organization", he said. "Nobody is sweeping this under the carpet and saying the allegations are untrue.". Holy crap! Really! Well your lawyer said it was untrue as in he vehemently said it! So while credit and kudos to Mr. Tom Galloway for saying this, where exactly have you been Mr. Galloway, Chair of the Police Services Board, for the last couple of decades on these matters?

This morning I sent a copy of my July 22,2015 Elmira Advocate post to both the Waterloo Region Record and to CKCO-TV Kitchener. The title is "Former mayor's lawyer is blackmailing me ???". The lawyer in the title is none other than James Bennett. His motive for blackmailing?/intimidating me was to keep me from testifying against his client, Sandy Shantz, in Superior court in Kitchener. This Advocate posting can be accessed through the Blog Archives section on the right side of my Blog.

I am more than 4/5 of the way through the recently released Affidavits of four persons in support of the civil lawsuit filed by three former regional Police officers. The alleged language and behaviour of multiple named male police officers is way beyond disgusting. if those shits (alleged) weren't armed cops with almost the blind support of the courts behind them, they would have had their heads kicked in by brothers, husbands, fathers and friends (including females) decades ago. Perhaps some day we will look into the cases of those imprisoned for defending the rights of family and friends abused by others while the courts piously proclaim that we should not take the law into our own hands. If and when our courts and legal system ever gets within a mile of perfection then there would probably be no need to take the law into our own hands.

Friday, January 19, 2018



This will be an unusual posting in that it is not about the environment in general nor is it about politics in Woolwich Township directly affecting the local environment. It is about the utter failure in leadership and decency within our police service. It is about more than the treatment of women by we pray a minority of males with authority within the service. It is about the institutional failure from middle management right up to the Police Chief over a period of decades and how it has intentionally turned a blind eye to the treatment of their female employees by ignorant and abusive males.

The irresponsibility and blame rises further up the political food chain than just multiple Chiefs of Police. Here in Ontario and Canada we are supposed to have civilian oversight of our police forces. That oversight is exercised through the Waterloo Regional Police Service Board. They can be Googled to find out who exactly the seven members are. I will advise that three of them are on Regional Council namely Ken Seiling, Tom Galloway and Karl Kiefer. Three of them are appointees of the province of Ontario. The last is a civilian appointee determined by Regional Council. It is my opinion that the local members, at least, are all good old boys and sometimes good old girls. They can be depended upon not to rock the boat of which the proof is in the pudding. Female police officers have gone to them in the past for help including Kelly Donovan with her "Fit4Duty - The Ethical Standard" campaign. In other words our police force reports both to the province and most importantly to our local senior level of government, the Region of Waterloo.

I am in the process of reading the Affidavits of three female and one male police officers, namely Shelly Heinrich, Vera McKenzie, Karin Eder and Barry Zehr. Their Affidavits go far beyond merely being powerful. They are a damning indictment of human (mostly male) stupidity, arrogance, cowardice and abusive behaviour. They are a damning indictment of written policies, laws and regulations that are totally and completely ignored by those in positions of authority to enforce them.

On the right side of the Elmira Advocate I have a link to the Cambridge Advocate, run by Debbie Vitez. Once again Debbie has courageously stepped up and posted about this issue involving all of Waterloo Region and hence Kitchener, Waterloo, Cambridge and the Townships. I believe that she has links to these Affidavits and more in her posting of last evening.

One other point for those of us with pro union and or left wing slants. Just like the abysmal behaviour of the union at the City of Waterloo twenty years ago regarding female discrimination in their public works department of which I was involved; the police union have only added to the problems according to these and other Affidavits. The union, known as the Waterloo Regional Police Association, have consistently refused to protect and assist all their members. They too have the bizarre idea that dues paying female police officers aren't real members and or worthy of equal treatment.

Thursday, January 18, 2018


I expect that the following example of local government propaganda is more ubiquitous than unique. I mostly do not blame our local media for aiding and abetting it as they view their jobs as reporting honestly that which they see and hear. Also most media thankfully do have their own Editorials as well as Opinion pieces from their own staff or external writers. Often it is in these opinion pieces that we can see a broader background and context to various government initiatives, proposals, pending legislation and quite bluntly propaganda.

Today's Woolwich Observer, on page 5, has a small article titled "West Montrose wells to close". The Region of Waterloo have been diluting the four wells located in the floodplain of the Grand River, with incoming tanker truck loads of water for many years. Allegedly there was a lack of supply from those wells which makes exactly zero sense. The shallow wells are located approximately 150 feet from the Grand River and are hydraulically connected to it. In fact during high water flows these same wells are actually submerged with river water. I personally lived within sight of the Grand River in West Montrose for a decade and never did the Grand even come close to drying up in droughts or otherwise. This of course was at least partly due to the presence of the Shand Dam upstream at Belwood lake.

There is and has been for a long time a program by the Region of Waterloo (& others) to encourage the use of tap water versus the use of bottled water. Indeed there are a number of environmental reasons as to why bottled water is problematic including the huge amounts of waste plastic generated by single use portions of water. Unfortunately these programs under government control tend to ignore or gloss over significant issues with tap water due to the fact that it is governments who provide tap water to citizens. Chlorine use as a disinfectant is one of them. Chlorine effectively kills most harmful bacteria as well as some but not all viruses. Unfortunately chlorine is recognized as a powerful carcinogen and it combines with organic material in water to produce many harmful by-products of the disinfection process such as Trihalomethanes (THM), Haloacetic Acids (HAA), NDMA and more.

The case of the decades old water supply in West Montrose however is a different case. While often water treatment in Waterloo Region produces levels of chlorine, chloramine, THMs and HAA at problematic levels; the real longtime issue in West Montrose has been the horrible location of the raw water supply, namely the four river wells. They are subject to both high bacteria levels from the river as well as being downgradient from the septic systems in the West Montrose subdivision. Hence the raw water has had very high levels of bacteria including E.Coli on occasion which is what killed seven and injured hundreds or more in Walkerton 18 years ago. This is the real reason that the Region of Waterloo have decided to finally replace the river wells and avoid another potentially fatal outbreak of E.Coli here in Ontario.

Today's Observer relates the Region's story that the closure of the wells in West Montrose is due to "reliability" issues as in reliability of supply. I have spoken in Woolwich council in years past about the dangerous West Montrose water supply as well as here in the Advocate. The Region simply count upon citizens not wanting to believe that their governments are often slow or negligent in looking out for their wellbeing. This is but one of those cases.

Wednesday, January 17, 2018


As indicated in yesterday's post I was unhappy with some of the propaganda that a few of the interviewees spouted in the Documentary tentatively (?) titled "Don't Drink the Water". From Terri Buhlman (M.O.E.), Ken Seiling and mostly Jeff Merriman of Uniroyal/Chemtura; at times it was necessary to be wearing hipwaders to avoid being splashed with the bull.... . I'll give Ken a break here. He was the least offensive of those three. Make no mistake all three deserved to be in the Documentary. They were/are involved and they have an opinion. Jeff's bread and butter for decades was based upon his solid defence of the mostly indefensible. Terri Buhlman thank God has only been with us, offending our sensibilities of common sense and reason, for a very short time. Ken's mumbling in the Documentary surprised me. While I and others at the screening couldn't hear him; at least at home on my computer I could crank up the volume.

An interesting point for me was both Ken Seiling and Susan Bryant defending the decision to send 46,000 tonnes of Uniroyal's toxic waste down to Sarnia (Corunna) for burial in a supposedly secure landfill. Susan talked about 30 metres of clay there. They both talked about a lack of alternative options. Sorry but I didn't buy it then or now. There were alternatives but they were simply more expensive involving on-site destruction or chemical breakdown. I don't believe the long suffering residents of Canada's "Chemical Valley" also deserve to receive our toxic wastes. And that location is way too close to Lake Huron and the St. Clair River.

Jeff Merriman again gave us the company's position for the past five years that they were going to let's see: Triple then merely Double the volume of pumping and treating the Elmira Aquifers. Jeff stated in the Documentary that they would increase it by two and half times. What he didn't say was when. Five years and counting and the December 2017 Lanxess (Uniroyal) Progress Report just came out. Five years after all their promises and bull.... their off-site (ie. the rest of Elmira) pumping is up a scant 20 %. That's it. The latest new well W8 is pumping at the magnificent volume during December of .01 litres per second. Of course this will increase. It has to. At that rate it would be pointless to even have drilled it.

Some progress has been made. Now if only the same effort at propaganda could be channelled into cleanup both on and off the Uniroyal/Lanxess site. At some point that site will be abandoned and everyone in authority will then moan about how little contamination was removed from on site. You've had twenty-nine years since the Elmira wells were shut down to do it and the support of citizens pushing for on-site source removal by our authorities has been negligible.

Tuesday, January 16, 2018


This is all very subjective. How does one judge a screening of a new Documentary? If it is about a subject that one is unfamiliar with, it's probably actually easier. One judges based upon one's gut feeling and emotions. Were you entertained? Were you informed? Was it exciting at least in spots?

It is more difficult to comment on a Documentary that you were interviewed in. It is much more difficult to comment on a Documentary that you've spent a chunk of the last thirty years actually living. That was what occurred last evening in Kitchener regarding the Documentary that's been underway for at least the last four and half years.

I don't expect a film maker to bring fire and brimstone to a possibly controversial subject. Afterall a certain amount of nuetrality is necessary in order to approach and interview the varied subjects necessary for your Documentary. That said deference to parties who have long played games with the public and the laws of the land is difficult to stomach. We are of course talking about Chemtura/Lanxess formerly known as Uniroyal Chemical located in Elmira, Ontario.

It is very difficult to listen to lies, obfuscations, deflections and nonsense for decades, no matter how personable and friendly the speakers may appear to be. Corporations have no souls. This is why they hire human beings to speak for them. Unfortunately most of us give the benefit of the doubt to persons who look normal, speak calmly and are at least rational in their story telling. Also let us realize that the videographers themselves are simply interpreting the answers that they've been given. Sometimes it may be obvious as to who is speaking truth and many times much less so. It is an inherently flawed process. I believe that the current videographers mean well but their audience may be unintentionally led astray. I do not know an obvious or simple solution. If only the longterm ingenuous and guilty parties would wear black hats all the time, life would be so much easier.

Monday, January 15, 2018


That very old metaphor for appearance over substance was used in an Editorial by the Woolwich Observer on June 20, 2015 titled "CPAC shuffle all for naught until MOE takes action". Basically the Woolwich Observer saw CPAC being scapegoated for the sins and behaviour of both Chemtura and the Ontario Ministry of Environment. It's one thing when the dirty polluter, for a second time, picks up his marbles and leaves the game when he's losing; but for the provincial government ministry (M.O.E.) mandated to protect citizens, wildlife and the environment to do the same is beyond contemptible. To aid and abet this manufactured crisis, both Mark Bauman and Sandy Shantz of Woolwich Council destroyed public consultation, as tenuous and difficult as it was always intended to be here in Elmira, Ontario. Yes Mark quoting you speaking irrelevantly to the Municipal Election Compliance Audit Committee (MECAC), I have slammed you and Sandy here many times. You bought and paid for it will your lying, deceptive and contemptible behaviour.

This criticism is not to be construed as anti TAG. They have a number of honest, straightforward citizen members who are sincerely working hard to get up to speed. This includes Bill, Linda, Dave, Joe and Sebastian who's been up to speed for years. The first Chair of TAG, Dr. Richard Jackson was beyond incredible and when TAG was most in need of guidance and leadership he provided it. His departure was a major loss to Woolwich Township. Keep in mind that the last and current CPAC did not blindly lash out and attack the new TAG exactly as Pat and Susan attacked (with numbers) a couple of new CPAC members at the Elmira Library in June/July 2011. That was a shameful episode that spoke to Pat & Susan's arrogance, cowardice and usually well hidden bully tactics.

Speaking of which this weekend I was reviewing the newspaper articles concerning Sandy Shantz's early election tribulations in the spring of 2015. Did you know that BOTH MECAC and Woolwich Staff/Council attempted once again to flagrantly break the law? After I filed formal papers pointing out her multiple failures and errors in her Financial Statements including her failure to file an Audit, the Township AND MECAC failed to demand/issue a Notice of Default to Sandy. The Municipal Elections Act 1996 (MEA) was abundantly clear. Many sins and errors can be remedied with permission after the fact, however a total failure to file legislated documents after the election results in the automatic penalty of forfeiture of office. Staff (Clerk) and Council blatantly and illegally refused to follow the law with Mark Bauman and lo and behold they tried to do it AGAIN with Sandy Shantz. Even MECAC who pretended to be following process, rules and the MEA, conveniently never publicly raised this HUGE point at their hearing! Were they simply grossly incompetent, Carl and Mercedes Corp. (Sandy) buddies or were they corrupt and knowingly hid this from myself and the public? You decide. Once again it was left to private citizens to insist that the law be followed because all our authorities preferred it not to be.

Saturday, January 13, 2018


Or at least the quote regarding history is something like the title above. Back in October 2004 Woolwich Council in all its' splendor decided that they needed to pass a by-law banning any private use of Elmira's groundwater for personal consumption. Allegedly they felt that local, provincial, national and international attention to Elmira's contaminated groundwater just wasn't adequate. There were one or two local households in Elmira who had their own wells and were allegedly still drinking the water from them. The whole rationale seemed very bizarre to me at the time.

Also that month Crompton (Uniroyal) announced that they were going to be excavating contaminated creekbanks and part of an island in the Canagagiogue Creek where it flows through the Crompton property. The idea was to remove Dioxins and DDT that were adhering to the soil particles and which could be mobilized via heavy rains or flooding in the creek. The initial source of the Dioxins and DDT to the creekbanks was disputed with Uniroyal/CRA's usual logic. No they hadn't been transported there via groundwater. They had been put along the banks via dredging the bottom of the creek. So how exactly did these Uniroyal signature chemicals get into the bottom of the creek in the first place? Well they were transported overland via storm water from various waste pits on the west side. The reality of course is that these hydrophobic compounds can be readily mobilized by solvent contaminated groundwater as well as by heavy surface water flows.

In December 2004 Crompton went back to the well one more time trying to get the Region of Waterloo to agree to again treat their ammonia contaminated groundwater in the Elmira Sewage Treatment Plant. The Region did this from 1998 till July 2001. At that point they advised Crompton to get the lead out and build their own damn treatment system. It is now in the works with Yara (Nutrite) agreeing to shoulder some of the costs of the significant upgrade at the Crompton on-site treatment facility. Until then however summer time treatment of the contaminated groundwater is inadequate as warmer water levels are less able to assimilate the ammonia.

Good news for Crompton came late in December 2004. They were able inappropriately to achieve the *Responsible Care" verification. Up until then they had tried unsuccessfully but appropriately on four separate occasions to achieve the standards. Part of the reason may have been the change in leadership with Ron Lackner taking over from David Ash as head honcho at Crompton. In hindsight Ron was simply window dressing and a change perhaps in style from David Ash.

Also somewhat peculiarly a Provincial Officer's Order was handed down to Crompton as well in December. Even more peculiarly, Crompton appeared not to object. Once again for me this is just one more example of private, behind the scenes ongoing negotiations between the two guilty parties (Uniroyal/M.O.E.). The order primarily clarifies details around the proposed new Ammonia Treatment System affecting the treatment of both on and off site groundwater.

Friday, January 12, 2018


First off to my relief we did not have a fire or explosion (to my knowledge) in or around the Bolender Park Landfill during this recent cold spell. Heavy snow on the ground combined with frost tends to make methane gas travel laterally (horizontally) versus directly upwards to discharge into the atmosphere.

I in conjunction with other citizens sent the Township Staff (2), Council (6) and Ministry of Environment (2) a list of fourty questions regarding the Bolender Landfill back on Thursday November 16, 2017. Just about two months ago. What I have received to date is exactly zero answers to these questions although I did get an acknowledgement of the four page list of questions from both the mayor and one senior staffer on December 4/17. It is unfortunate that we had found it necessary to first threaten to file a complaint with the Municipal Ombudsman over their neglect/refusal to obtain this acknowledgement. I was also advised that these 40 questions would be included in the December 12/17 Committee of the Whole package, which they were. Hence if any citizens wish to see these questions they are at the very back of the on-line (Woolwich Township website) revised Agenda package for December 12/17 (approx. pgs 316-319). I was also advised by the mayor that a number of our questions had been asked by another and already answered by the Township. This other is not a CPAC member and hence I wonder why the mayor or staff have not at least passed those answers along to Dr. Holt and myself.

Eight days ago I sent the township, M.O.E. and staff another reminder. I'm quite sure that they do not always appreciate the tone of my communications with them but frankly my dears that is too bad. Delay is the bread and butter of politicians who enjoy the perks but are painfully slow in addressing problems. It appears as if there might be a report to Council on these 40 questions at some point in time and I'm left to wonder if I or CPAC will receive a copy first and or be specifically advised as to when the matter will be discussed. Oh of course no response whatsoever to my latest inquiry. Par for the course. I guess I just have to shake my head and remember that I and all citizens work for Council & Staff, not the other way around.

Thursday, January 11, 2018


The above title is the advice from Thomas Walkom in his article in today's Waterloo Region Record titled "Focus on actions, not cheeseburgers". Mr. Walkom lists a litany of either bad or controversial decisions made by the president in a variety of portfolios from economic, foreign relations to environmental. Following are a few of Trump's adverse environmental decisions. He has been rolling back regulations put in place by his predecessor Barack Obama aimed at reducing carbon emissions. He has relaxed bird protection rules that affect oil drilling in the West and fishing regulations designed to protect whales. He has plans to shrink two large areas of federally protected land in the Southwest known as national monuments. Last but not least he has formally renounced the 2015 Paris climate accord. This folks are the actions of right wing Conservatives whether Republicans in the U.S. or the Progressive Conservatives here in Ontario and Canada.

A friend and colleague has recently advised me of the fruitlessness of Canada continuing to spend time and money on doing environmental work on areas that we share with the U.S., precisely because they are withdrawing from the battle and presumably our efforts may turn out to be inconsequential. While I suspect he is correct I sincerely hope that he is not. Whether our actions can lead via moral suasion or whether stopping our pollution into the Great lakes for example will only reduce the total U.S./ Canadian flow marginally; I still hope we continue to try.

Wednesday, January 10, 2018


I of course presented my Minutes of the December 7/17 TAG meeting, the next day, here in the Advocate. These formal Minutes are now on the Woolwich Township website courtesy of Lisa Schaefer from the Township. There are a number of highlights from these seven pages of Minutes including the fact that TAG appear reluctant to give the O.K. to remove leeches from the bio-monitoring testing. They are used because they readily uptake chlorophenols in the creek water. Several members spoke critically at the meeting in regards to the 2017 Bio-Monitoring report done by AquaTox. The big problem was the large loss of cages of both mussels and leeches due to the severe flooding last June. TAG therefore want the testing redone in 2018. Hmm lets see how well that goes over.

TAG have also publicly asked for suspended sediment testing as was repeatedly demanded by their first Chair, Dr. Richard Jackson. To date all guilty parties have refused to do so. TAG also are requesting yet again for better maps of the creek and the specific testing locations for sediments. This is to ensure that their isn't too much creativity in picking areas for testing which are unlikely to have regular sediment deposition. Finally TAG are already saying based upon both past sediment results and the knowledge that these are new sediments constantly as annual flooding (and more) are moving contaminated sediments downstream on an ongoing basis.

The preliminary soil test results for the Stroh property and the "GAP" are to be ready by mid February. Preliminary sediment and floodplain soil tests are to be ready by mid March. The next public TAG meeting is scheduled for March 15 and RAC for March 22/18.

Tuesday, January 9, 2018


Way back on March 4, 2017 The Waterloo Region Record published an article titled "Great Lakes restoration work faces massive cuts under Trump plan". The tentative budget plan was to cut the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) budget by 25% and lay off approximately 3,000 employees. "President Donald Trump has said he plans to pay for billions of dollars more for the military by cutting spending on domestic agencies and departments.".

President Trump's new appointee to head the EPA is Scott Pruitt a former state attorney general who has questioned the scientific concensus that human activities are contributing to global warming and climate change. The draft proposal would reduce the EPA's budget from $8.2 billion to $6.1 billion. Besides reducing the climate protection budget by nearly 70 % the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative would be reduced by 97%. Senator Debbie Stabenow (D-Michigan) described the cuts as "outrageous" and further stated "This initiative has been critical to cleaning up our Great Lakes and waterways, restoring fish and wildlife habitats, and fighting invasive species, like Asian carp.".

Monday, January 8, 2018


The September 18, 2004 Woolwich Observer carried the following story titled "Calling on feds to join the party". Dr. Henry Regier, current member of both the EH-Team and CPAC, sent a report to the Auditor General of Canada titled "Elmira's Legacy of Agent Orange and Related Tragedies". Henry's report states that the Canadian federal government has a responsibility to clean up the property. This is due to Uniroyal's production of Agent Orange for use in chemical warfare by the Americans against the Vietnamese. The American government had the tacit if not explicit concurrence of the Canadian government for this production here in Elmira.

Lynn Myers, Liberal MP at the time agreed with Henry by stating " was government agencies... that requested these materials be produced. " "...And in my view, the responsibility has to be partially borne by the federal terms of cleanup.".

CPAC members at the time were supportive of Dr. Regier's report asking for federal assistance. Henry stated that Auditor General Sheila Fraser wouuld have 120 days to respond with comments or suggestions to his report. Unfortunately we now know that our federal government did what all governments are experts at; namely bobbing and weaving and passing the buck on to others.

Saturday, January 6, 2018


As is my habit I routinely cut out newspaper articles of significance and interest to me. Usually if I'm going to post about them I do so shortly after having read them and cut them out. Today is a little different in that I am posting about an article (Editor's Notes) in the Woolwich Observer from last May 11, 2017. Steve Kannon, the Editor, wrote the following Editorial titled "Recent heavy rainfall and flooding likely the shape of things to come".

Of course it is during an ongoing unusual weather event that I have decided to post about Global Warming also known as Climate Change. Also of interest, in hindsight, was the timing of Steve Kannon's Editorial. He was talking about unusually cold weather combined with heavy rain in the first week of May. In fact he wrote that the first week of May has dropped "...more rain than we usually see in all of May.". So what is the timing issue I'm talking about? Last June Waterloo Region as well as north of here was inundated with rain during an overnite episode. Normally even with the extraordinary amount of rain that fell, the flooding wouldn't have been such a record breaker. However Steve's Editorial clarifies things. The ground was already saturated hence the huge downfall literally had nowhere to go except into surface waterways, basements, garages and low lying areas which it did with a vengeance.

Currently we are experiencing both unusual cold for this time of year plus it has been of unusual duration. Historically the two coldest weeks of the year have been the last week in January and the first week in February. That is a few weeks away and we've been in this cold snap for at least a week already. Yes the two heaviest snowfall months are December and January, historically. Thus the snow is no big deal although yours truly was secretly (or not) kind of hoping that global warming would lessen that workload.

Now just because Steve Kannon predicted warmer weather (as well as greater flooding etc.) during a cooler than usual April/May and just because we are currently in a deep freeze (-25 C, -13 F) this morning, I'm not going to take a cheap shot at Steve's predictions. Anybody older than 40-45 years knows that summers are getting hotter, there is more rain in winter than we've ever had before and generally less snowfall. Also I believe that overall winters have been milder over the last few decades.

Two days ago I posted about the methane issue in the Bolender Park Landfill. I pointed out that our current unusually cold weather very well might be the straw that allows methane gas to migrate horizontally into nearby homes and businesses where their heating systems (furnaces, fireplaces) will likely be going full blast. We all hope this does not result in a disaster. If it does our local illuminaries will undoubtedly blame a leaking natural gas pipe, ISIS terrorists, tampering (suicide?) and last but not least the weather if they finally have to concede the possibility of methane gas being the culprit. That said Steve Kannon's Editorial makes it very clear that it is not just exceptional weather events that cause disasters. Usually it is "...caused by poor land-use decisions, among other public-policy foibles.". This fellow citizens will exactly be the cause of any such disaster (fire/explosion/vapour intrusion) if it occurs here in Elmira, in and around Bolender Park.

Friday, January 5, 2018


Late last year I posted here about the utter failure to date of Chemtura/Lanxess to honour their pledges to Triple not Double their off-site (ie. Elmira Aquifers) pumping and treating of contaminated groundwater. In fact they have at best increased their pumping rates from their November 2012 pledge by perhaps 20%. Double would be a 100% increase and triple would be a 200% increase (ie. 50 litres/sec to 150 l/sec) approximately.

Today I will make some comments about other issues in their November Progress Report. They are advising that all routine pumping of former workhorse well W4 is now over. What the hell! They have been decreasing the pumping rate there for some time now but actually stopping it while claiming to be increasing off-site pumping seems bizarre. This despite their claims that they have preciously documented their intent to do so is still not appropriate until or unless other wells are up and running successfully and taking up the slack and more.

Table A3 lists chemicals detected in various pumping wells of the Upper Aquifer Containment & Treatment System (UACTS). Some of the concentrations are in the thousands of parts per billion for at least three different chemicals with other chemicals in the hundreds of parts per billion. Both LNAPL and DNAPL chemicals are being found dissolved in groundwater at concentrations indicating that they exist in the subsurface as free phase chemicals namely chlorobenzene, toluene, MBT, Carboxin and Aniline. This is based upon their Effective
Solubilities versus their Lab Solubilities. Effective Solubilities are indicated when there are multiple chemicals in a sample of groundwater. In one sense they can be interpreted as "competing" for limited space as dissolved contaminants in a sample of water. Thus Effective Solubilities are much lower than Lab Solubilities where a contaminant is by itself dissolved in a litre of pure water.

Something strange is happening with contaminant concentrations in the Canagagigue Creek. For years those concentrations have been getting lower and lower to the point that long term statistical analysis barely shows any degradation of the water from Uniroyal signature chemicals as samples are taken at the downstream end of the creek on Uniroyal/Lanxess property versus the upstream end. This month however we have Toluene, m,p xylenes, Mercaptobenzothiazole (MBT) and Benzothiazole (BT) all higher downstream. This is very bad news and could indicate failures, among other things, in the UACTS.

Overall "Progress" is slow, inconsistent and unsatisfactory. In my opinion this is all based upon intentional money saving decisions made by Chemtura/Lanxess, their consultants, the M.O.E. and tacitly/indirectly by our political authorities here in Woolwich Township, for decades.

Thursday, January 4, 2018


Following is the second of two e-mails sent this morning to the entire Woolwich Council, two senior Staff and the Ontario Ministry of Environment. I had sent them 40 questions regarding the Bolender Park Landfill on November 13, 2017. None have been answered to date. These questions followed five public Delegations to Council during the summer and fall in which I pointed out numerous problems with their consultants and their handling of methane gas problems in and around the landfill.

Council, 2 Staff and M.O.E.: P.S. Predictions are risky and fraught with unknowns. That said you need to know that methane gas takes the easiest route available. Normally that is upwards through soil pores where it discharges into the atmosphere. In the winter time however the soil is frozen (frost) plus there is a blanket of snow above it. Also in the current extreme cold you can understand that both furnaces and basement gas fireplaces are running far more than usual even in normal winter months. The frost and snow mean a far greater likelihood of lateral (horizontal) migration of methane gas via the three possible modes of transport. The gas fireplaces and constantly running furnaces means a method of ignition for intruding gas.

Normally methane gas dissipates after thirty or fourty years. According to your 2016 monitoring it is still far in excess of the Lower Explosive Limit (LEL). Likely part of this persistence may be related to the decades long failure of your gas extraction system installed in 1984 with the approval of the Ontario Ministry of Environment.

You can take appropriate steps now for a tiny fraction of the cost after a crisis. I have already advised you in writing of some straightforward actions. Your refusal to date constitutes negligence in my opinion. Heaven forbid that any Elmira residents experience an explosion or fire but your refusal to properly address this problem magnifies their risk. Insurance coverage alone is not due diligence. Liability insurance will not exonerate either elected politicians or senior staff who were advised prior to the unthinkable happening.

Yes there are many unknowns. That is primarily due to your negligence in proper perimeter monitoring and ongoing, regular testing. Those costs, I repeat, are nothing compared to both the monetary and human costs that will entail after a disaster. Do you think that you will walk away unscathed if you do not do everything in your power to protect Elmira residents? Do you think that you will be able to hide behind either your consultants or the M.O.E.? The stage has been set such that the world will know if another crisis hits Elmira that could have been avoided by the responsible actions and due diligence of both our elected representatives as well as our provincial authorities.

Sincerely Alan Marshall

Wednesday, January 3, 2018


Also I'm setting the record straight here. In various media over two and a a half years ago it was stated that I asked/demanded/insisted upon the removal of Mark Bauman from his position as the elected (O.K. acclaimed) councillor for Woolwich Township (St. Jacobs). Other people saying it so doesn't make it so. I would like to see some quote or written words from myself that expressly said that I initially advised the Woolwich Clerk that he had to be removed from office. My recollection is that I pointed out that he had broken the Municipal Elections Act (1996). End of story.

One reason that I did not pursue the Mark Bauman violations rigorously is that I too realized, after the fact, that he had been acclaimed and presumably had no expenses to declare. And yes that is correct, violations as in plural. More on this later.

Nevertheless this story does have some disturbing factors. How many citizens know that Mr. Bauman went to Superior Court to be reinstated (despite the Township Council & Clerk never formally giving him the boot) without the formal complainant (myself) even being advised as to the court date, time or name of court? That's right he went to court asking a judge to give him a break, claiming an honest mistake, without another party being present to at least give both sides of the story. Oh yes, allegedly Woolwich Township were the Respondent to his Application to Superior Court. They however, as best buddies, advised the Judge that they had no position which means they did not oppose his Application. I and Woolwich Township citizens were ignored and back doored. If advised I would have attended on time and given the judge other facts that would have I hope at least given the judge pause. He would not have so naively, publicly declared afterwards how easy a decision it was to reinstate Mr. Bauman. Of course it was an easy decision. The only evidence entered was self-serving and uncontested.

Here is what I would have advised Justice Grant Campbell of the Ontario Superior Court. Firstly the Woolwich Township Clerk, Val Hummel, was in multiple violation of the Ontario Municipal Elections Act. She had NOT, allegedly by her admission, informed Mr. Bauman prior to the filing deadline that he needed to fill out a Form 4, Financial Statement and give it to her. Secondly, contrary to the law, she had not removed Mr. Bauman from office either before or after this or any citizen advised her in writing that he had failed to file his Election financial statements with her. Thirdly that Woolwich Council were also in violation of the law by not insisting that Mr. Bauman be removed from office immediately as demanded by the Municipal Election Act. This automatic penalty I belatedly became aware of. Fourthly that the Woolwich Clerk produced a number of factual fictions for my consumption when I, with a witness present, first advised her of Mr. Bauman's serious violation of the Elections Act.

I am not certain as to whether or not I have posted these factual fictions here previously. For the moment I am not naming the witness present at my request during my conversation with the Clerk . This is because I no longer know their reliability. It was a Woolwich councillor who since has indicated some animosity towards me. The first nonsense out of the Clerk's mouth was that indeed Mr. Bauman's Financial Statements were on-line in the Woolwich Township website. Wow, anything to get out of a spot apparently. They were not on the Township's website whereas the others (less Todd Cowan) were and I made that clear to her. She then claimed that oh she was simply late posting them on-line and Mark's Financial Statements were actually on her desk. That was an easy subterfuge to circumvent and I demanded to see it immediately as was all citizens' right. Literally fifteen minutes went by while she allegedly went looking for it. In fact I believe that she was likely conferring with CAO Dave Brenneman wondering what the hell to do. She came back and advised my witness and myself that as Mark Bauman had been Acclaimed (again) that it was a Woolwich "tradition" not to require him to file a Financial Statement. WOW! These good folks apparently believe that Woolwich "traditions" trump provincial legislation. Astounding!

The final item I would have presented to Justice Campbell was the Waterloo Region Record's Editorial dated May 26, 2015 and titled "Unenforced laws are useless laws". This was prior to Mr. Bauman's essentially secret sojourn down to our hallowed halls of justice in Kitchener. The Record pointed out that the law, while imperfect, was very clear. Mr. Bauman had forfeited his office due to either his negligence or due to his refusal to file Financial Statements. They also pointed out that Woolwich officials (Clerk), Woolwich politicians and even the provincial Ministry of Municipal Affairs all refused to obey and enforce the Elections Act. This flouting the law with impunity means that Woolwich Township believe that they can pick and choose which laws they obey and enforce. These are the people in charge here in Woolwich Township. They are not the best, the brightest or apparently even the most honest.

Getting back to Mark's failure to file after the 2014 election (ie. violations plural). This was not a one off. The very same thing was done after the 2000, 2003 and 2006 elections. He did not file Financial Statements after being Acclaimed and Woolwich Clerks, staff and politicians knew it. The law was blatantly broken over and over again before I spotted it.

Tuesday, January 2, 2018


A few years back I found a beaver in Elmira who had died of lead poisoning. He was however on private property and his construction had flooded a private roadway. While undecided on this solution nevertheless I could certainly understand the frustration of the landowner over the situation. A similar solution however not on private property I find more problematic.

This past summer I and some friends enjoyed watching the construction of the dam and lodge along the Kissing Bridge Trail (Trans Canada Trail) at the north end of Elmira. If one leaves Arthur St. near the Woolwich Observer newspaper and walks west (towards Floradale & Wallenstein), past a few of the pedestrian bridges, one could see the ingenuity and industriousness of a local beaver at work. The dam was built at a location which already had a natural tiny dam in place. The beaver added to it substantially and succeeded in making a larger, deeper area in the creek upstream of the dam. It actually wasn't until the fall and the leaves were dropping that I could see where he had located his lodge. This area is also upstream of the Elmira Golf Course and wasn't affecting their property at all.

Well lo and behold on my last walk out there it soon became clear that the dam was no longer holding back water. In fact a closer look indicated that it had been intentionally broken open and the backed up water all released downstream. What the heck? Who was negatively affected by this dam? In fact I expected that the dam would be helpful this coming summer and other future summers as it would help store water for the dry summer months when Larch's creek gets extremely low. Three or four summers ago the creek actually dried up, flow stopped and there was only water in a number of deeper holes in the creek. To my mind this dam was an attribute to the natural environment both health wise and cosmetically.

Does anyone know whether this action was the result of a complaint to a municipal or provincial ministry or agency? Or on the other hand was this a private action of a nearby property owner with a legitimate concern over possible damage to his property? If anyone knows please feel free to comment below. Thanks.

Monday, January 1, 2018