Tuesday, June 30, 2020


So exactly what are the responsibilities of member municipalities within the Region of Waterloo to fully and completely inform regional council and its members of all relevant facts pertaining to their local matters being decided by regional councillors? Is there a broad gentlemen's agreement that as much as humanly possible, regional council will avoid stepping on individual members' toes? After all it was the Region who approached the member municipalities (Townships & Cities) soliciting "rationalization" of their urban/countryside boundaries. Or was it? Is this entire "rationalization" process simply a scam to legitimize various sketchy or otherwise urban expansions? Certainly the one in Elmira is way beyond ridiculous yet to date all the Woolwich and regional politicians appear not to have the slightest problem with it. This includes not even answering the questions and concerns of a number of local citizens who have spoken against it at public meetings. Nothing but bland, deflecting statements about the public good and of reducing development costs on the east side of Elmira versus the west side which appears again ridiculous. Where are the numbers to back up these outlandish claims? Development upon the very broad floodplain of the contaminated (even if it wasn't) Canagagigue Creek simply makes no sense. Roads, bridges and buildings will require greater engineering controls (and elevation) to avoid flood andf water damage forever.

The Director's Order (Control Order) laid upon Mr. Stroh whose farm is on the immediate east side of Uniroyal/Lanxess is a Ministry of Environment Order laid in July 2017 demanding access to his property in order to "investigate" toxic contamination which flowed via both ground and surface water onto his farm decades ago. As with most "investigations" in and around Elmira, Ontario it was conducted by GHD, consultants to Lanxess Canada. As usual it intentionally did not sample the most likely areas of contamination but intentionally focused on those areas closest to and most accessible to the Lanxess property i.e. right along the property line. This also minimized the inconvenience to Mr. Stroh's longtime growing of crops on these contaminated soils.

Soil sampling on Mr. Stroh's property was to a depth of 15 cm. or 5.9 inches. Yes even at these shallow depths and despite decades of wind erosion exacerbated by ploughing and turning over of the soils on the active farm, both DDT and dioxins/furans exceeded all safety criteria. They would have done so even more if the testing had been both deeper and further south where overflow from the east side pits settled in the lowest lying areas to the immediate east of the Stroh Drain, Ditch & Berm (SDDB). Groundwater sampling 240 metres to the east of the Lanxess/Stroh property line has found NDMA in both a shallow and deep aquifer. Interestingly these monitoring wells are cross gradient from Lanxess not downgradient which is more bad news. As stated the "investigation" as usual was typical of GHD's predecessor company (CRA) and of their efforts since they took over from CRA.

Meanwhile the Director's Order was kept hidden from TAG, CPAC, the public and probably the Region of Waterloo. This is exactly how politicians manipulate process and procedures in order to achieve their self-serving goals versus the public interest.

Monday, June 29, 2020


I posted here last Tuesday about Wilmot mayor Les Armstrong. I suggested that I agreed with Regional Chair Karen Redman that Mr. Armstrong was "tone deaf". It's all about hot button issues and most professional politicians are experts not at resolving them but at avoiding them. Mayor Armstrong not so much. Talk about incredibly dumb timing with his American video suggesting that the Black Lives Matter movement is fake and not about negative Black life experiences and in particular negative Black experiences in dealing with the police.

Mayor Armstrong has been interviewed by a couple of Waterloo Region Record reporters and while both condemn his bad decision making and initial attempts to justify posting an offensive video, overall I sense that they feel sorry for him. They view him as a 71 year old, out of touch, privileged white dude who just doesn't understand. I tend to agree. That said I am an almost 71 year old, hopefully not out of touch, definitely not privileged white dude. By not privileged I'm suggesting that unlike Mayor Armstrong I have not had above average income for my entire life as he has both as a former police officer and as a long time local and regional politician.

But is there another form of white privilege such as in my dealings with the Waterloo Regional Police? Many years ago while embroiled in an unnecessarily confrontational issue with the Waterloo Region District School Board, I was treated like crap by both the Board members and by those in charge of the Waterloo Regional Police Service. Their harassment, legal and financial threats and legal manipulations were the acts of gutless wonders and cowardly bullies. To this day I look upon school board anti-bullying campaigns as hypocritical posturing along the lines of do as I say not what I do. The biggest school bullies were the senior Board staff and their victims included students and parents.

Notice I said that I was treated like crap by "those in charge of the Waterloo Regional Police Service"? As a middle aged, at the time, white guy usually dressed in a suit with two children in the school system, I was treated very well by any and all rank and file cops that were sent by their superiors to harass me. I even was told by one officer that he enjoyed being sent to deal with me because knowing that I was both dressed up and reasonable he felt that there would be no wrestling on the ground or even having to carry me off the premises because I didn't want any officers to injure their backs by having to carry me. In other words I didn't incite the police officers as they were not the source of my issues with the school board. That said would those same rank and file white police officers have treated me as well if I had been black? I like to think that they would and yet I suspect that after interactions with numerous officers eventually I would have run into a racist and things would have gone bad.

The winter before last I had another interaction with a young, white police officer. By that time I was around 69 years old, had an artificial hip, arthritis in my knees, feet and other hip and was moving pretty slowly. I had for the previous seventeen years tolerated the ridiculous snow ploughing by Woolwich employees that deposited not just snow from the street in front of my house into my double driveway but much worse. The snowplough operator would drop his blade onto Church St. a hundred metres or more ahead of my home on Carriage Hill Dr. He/she would then pick up the snow on Church St., come around the corner on Carriage Hill, continuing to fill his blade to the maximum and then hit the end of my double drive where it was all pushed into the approach to my driveway. The result even with a moderate snowfall was from two to four feet high by twenty feet long.

I had been shovelling the first batch of such a deposit when the plough came around the corner with his second batch. That was it. I stood my ground and refused to move. The plough stopped. I indicated that he could lift his blade and turn away from the curb and go around me. No response. I walked to his side window and indicated for him to roll it down. No go. O.K. I thought I'll just keep shovelling right here until he decides to go around me. Instead he used his radio to call for help. Eventually the police officer showed up. Now I'm not stupid. As the officer approached me on foot I was holding not a wide, plastic snow shovel but a steel bladed, narrow soil and gravel shovel which quite frankly would make an awesome weapon. That shovel was necessary in order to be able to dig into the already heavy, packed snow in the approach at the bottom of my driveway. The officer of course had likely a billy, a gun, maybe pepper spray etc. I was prepared to go to court over this issue but certainly not to physically harm anyone. Hence before the officer got to me I turned and buried the blade of the shovel into the very high snowbank behind me. As I said I'm not stupid and certainly wasn't going to give the officer the slightest impression that I had a weapon in my hands.

I opened the conversation by insisting that he was going to have to ticket me or charge me with something because I was fed up with the snowshovelling situation and wasn't going to voluntarily move from stopping the snowplough emptying its load into my drive. At that point the officer being much younger, larger and armed could likely easily have physically removed me. He chose not to and attempted to deescalate the situation. He was so calm and reasonable that at one point I accused him of being too reasonable and rational making it difficult for me to stay angry. He only smiled. Eventually a compromise was reached that included assistance from him after the plough did its' dirty deed. Since then the plough operators have actually taken an extra two or three minutes to put most of the snow onto the boulevard before my driveway saving me shovelling the bulk of it.

So this interaction occurred when I was much older but just as white. Would every single Waterloo Regional police officer have handled it as well? I doubt it. Would every single Waterloo Regional police officer have handled it as well if I had been Black? I doubt it even more. So without intellectualizing the situation beforehand was I counting on my white privilege or was I just like Mayor Armstrong, blissfully naive?

Saturday, June 27, 2020


Has anybody noticed a disturbing trend? A "suspect" gets beaten up by the police and then, in order to justify the extent of the beating, the police charge the suspect with resisting arrest. Talk about adding insult to injury. The case of Dafonte Miller has been a cause celebre since his assault in 2016 by two off-duty police officers. The 18 year old suspect of a minor offense was left bleeding, semi-conscious and totally blind in one eye after the two brothers, both police officers, were done with him including chasing him down in order to continue the beating.

What was also extremely disturbing was the approach of both the Toronto Police Service and the Durham (Regional) Police Service in their attempts to shield the Theriault brothers from being held to account for their actions. Charging the victim has become standard operating procedure for police forces and is yet one more reason to continue with calls for some form of police defunding. When it turns out that police actions have caused citizens to be in fear of their lives then drastic action is long overdue.

There was criticism of both law enforcement (police) as well as of the justice system. Both officers were acquitted of obstruction of justice and of aggravated assault. The one officer was convicted of assault only. The judge appeared to make it clear that the self-defence claims by both officers were "razor-thin" and unlikely although they could not be categorically disproven. It's hard to believe that non police officers in the same position would not have been convicted on more charges.

Friday, June 26, 2020


What a complete waste of time. Over and over again I went on-line looking for either general e-mail or individual e-mail addresses for our regional councillors. The good news is that I kept finding them, the bad news is that after sending my message I kept getting the same crap, namely it didn't go through possibly because the Region have a new website? Well for God's sake take the old one down then. Or have a gd e-mail address that works. Boy this sure is one way of achieving plausible deniability. Post e-mail addresses for regional councillors that don't work. Anyway what I was trying to tell our regional councillors is that the recent approval that they gave Woolwich Township for their proposed expanded (east side) Elmira urban/countryside line is based on incomplete information. Information that there was a Director's Order laid on this east side property (i.e. Stroh farm) for access to investigate toxic contamination nearly three years ago. Yes that information was kept hidden from TAG, the committee of Woolwich council responsible to oversee the cleanup of the aquifers, creek etc. I expect that it was also kept hidden from Waterloo Regional Council. Oh my Sandy you certainly do like to play with fire, don't you?

Thursday, June 25, 2020


Yesterday I suggested that any failure to distribute the July 26/17 Director's Order to TAG was likely the result of human error. To date at least one knowledgeable CPAC member has a different opinion. Their strong opinion is that the Director's Order was given to Woolwich Township with strict orders not to distribute it to TAG members. Considering that TAG members are all appointed by Woolwich Council you can understand the very serious implications if that opinion is correct. Essentially it would be a glaring example of non-transparency and non-confidence in TAG by Woolwich Council or their mayor. It could also be viewed as an example of tokenism when it comes to public consultation by Woolwich Township. TAG have some wonderful members but if they are only being spoon fed partial and selected information, the results of public consultation can at best be limited. So are the options honest, human error by a staffer or did say the mayor specifically advise that staffer not to distribute the Director's Order? Have other similar orders been passed along regarding what TAG can and can't see?

I have somewhat put the cart before the horse here. To be clear I have communicated with some TAG members and to date they have all stated that they have never seen the Director's Order and either had no knowledge of it at all or like myself heard it mentioned verbally at a meeting but then assumed that Mr. Stroh had complied voluntarily.

This whole scenario is very strange. Mr. Stroh and his lawyer and his consultants (Stantec) have been involved in both the Wellesley and Woolwich alleged "rationalization" boundary plans for many years. Mr. Stroh has had Township staff and councils on board for a very long time. Why would he jeopardize the highly favourable to him Woolwich industrial/commercial development plans for his property? Is there any chance that he was simply going through the motions in order to throw close observers off the scent? He did not appeal the Director's Order although he certainly had the opportunity as well as the means to do so. If he had appealed the Director's Order that he apparently was so adamantly against then that appeal would have been public along with the possibility of other stakeholders (TAG for example?) asking permission to become either a party or a participant. That scenario might very well have been a non-starter for either Lanxess Canada or the Ontario Ministry of the Environment... There is a very strong odour of backroom deals in all of this. Backroom deals to eliminate public input, public participation and public consultation. After all the very public Canagagigue Creek runs through these two properties (Stroh & Martin) and it is highly contaminated (dioxin/furan, DDT, mercury, PCBs, PAHs & more). It is a public issue and the private parties involved are doing their best to keep it out of the public venue.

Wednesday, June 24, 2020


Back in September 2017 RAC (Remediation Advisory Committee) was advised by the Ontario MOE/MECP that they had laid a Director's Order on Mr. Ron Stroh demanding access to his property in order to do soil and groundwater testing. Unsurprisingly we had been told earlier that Mr. Stroh was not enthusiastic about Lanxess orr their consultants GHD sampling on his farm near the border with the Uniroyal Chemical/Lanxess site.

The next thing we know Lanxess and their consultants are doing their sampling of the Stroh soils (and groundwater) and no further mention is made of any Control Order (Director's Order). I figured that Mr. Stroh resisted access until he ran out of time and options and then finally said O.K. Turns out that was not the case. The Control Order was signed by Amy Shaw of the Ministry of Environment, Conservation & Parks (MECP) on July 26, 2017 and then served on Mr. Stroh.

My curiosity was aroused when I was rereading my posting here in the Elmira Advocate for September 8, 2017 which mentioned the Control Order. I knew darn well that I had never seen that alleged document and contacted the TAG Chair and support staff about it. After a very brief suggestion that it was not needed or served on Mr. Stroh, as I had originally assumed, it was found and a copy was sent to me immediately. For that I thank TAG personnel.

At the moment it appears that the document was not handed out to TAG members as well although I am in the process of confirming that. If so, then I am going to assume that it was human error i.e. an honest mistake. I've read the Control Order and other than a couple of glaring errors in the MECP's text, there is nothing that I have seen that is any kind of smoking gun or anything that really needed hiding. Hence my concern. What else has either TAG or the public not received?

Tuesday, June 23, 2020


Oh boy, here comes a little bit of stereotyping. Mayors, M.P.P.s. M.P.s etc. of larger communities i.e. cities tend to be a little smoother and more polished than those of our rural communities. I'm particularly thinking of former Mayor Bill Strauss up here in the wilds of Woolwich Township. Easily forgotten is his extensive business background in the petroleum industry. Easily remembered is his less than smoothest public presentations and speeches. In one sense, likely a major sense, we elect our politicians more on how they look and sound than on their qualifications. "Qualifications" not just of education, experience, volunteer work but also of class, colour, appearance, dress, speech and gender. Clearly locally reasonably attractive and short men have no problem getting elected and similarly reasonably attractive females can get elected.

What I'm wondering is if Mayor Les Armstrong of Wilmot Township fills the mold of a less smooth, more blunt talking individual getting elected as Mayor than would likely happen in Kitchener, Waterloo or Cambridge. I don't know the man personally however I do know that his words in Saturday's Waterloo Region Record were not smooth or as politically correct as were many of his colleagues. Colleagues whom I do know and do not particularly care for. Unfortunately for Mayor Armstrong, today's Record article is even more damaging for him as it turns out that he posted a video on Facebook framed with the title of "White Lives Matter". Oh boy! That is not good. Regional Chair Karen Redman has referred to Mr. Armstrong's posting as being "reprehensible and tone deaf". Well I certainly have no doubt that it is tone deaf. I would find it reprehensible if in fact he was not tone deaf and fully realized the implications of his posting that video. If he's just not keeping up to what's going on in the U.S. and the world right now then maybe he could claim that he wasn't agreeing or disagreeing with the video and simply passing along a different viewpoint. Something like former mayor Todd Cowan's defence in court that he was both dyslexic and not very knowledgeable about numbers, budgets etc. That is one hell of a defence to a Fraud charge when one's job includes being a guardian of the public purse.

Coincidentally I put Mr. Armstrong in the naughty column here in my post on Saturday in regards to his quoted position regarding defunding the Waterloo Regional Police and putting the money instead directly towards social programs including poverty, employment issues, racism etc. Today's article in the Record is titled "Wilmot mayor unapologetic for sharing "White Lives Matter" video". I hate to praise smooth talking horse manure artists (most politicians) but sometimes they actually do need to listen carefully and then spout what most of the public want to hear even if they themselves (politicians) disagree with it. At least that is if they want to get re-elected which is the raison d'etre (reason to be/purpose) of most of them.

Monday, June 22, 2020


My title above does not pertain to all the responses from regional councillors, merely some. Words are important but actions speak so much louder and the actions to date from our Police Services Board, regional councillors and Waterloo Region Police Service have not been adequate, equitable or what should be expected from a modern police force. It is my opinion that there will always be a few bad apples but they should not be repeat offenders. Minor infractions deserve minor discipline but serious infractions, oh lets say firing a handgun six times at the back of a fleeing unarmed suspect (Sgt. Richard Dorling), deserves serious discipline including criminal charges and dismissal. Last Saturday's Waterloo Region Record carried responses to defunding from our regional councillors in an article titled "Regional councillors share views on police defunding".

I found some of the councillors' responses very bland to the point of milk and apple pie such as Mayor Shantz, Karl Kiefer, Helen Jowett, Kathryn McGarry and to the extreme Geoff Lorentz who used the occasion to praise the Police services Board, Chief Larkin and Regional Chair Redman. Joe Nowak sounds totally regressive as does Mayor Armstrong, Mayor Jaworsky is a tad defensive, Jim Erb in no hurry for immediate change/improvement.

Less offensive are the comments from Chair Redman, Elizabeth Clarke, Sue Foxton, Tom Galloway, Sean Strickland, and Mayor Vrbanovic. First prize goes to Tom Galloway for his comments regarding reallocating resources and for his honest comments about our "expensive and ineffective courts and corrections system". The problem: Mr. Galloway was Chair of our woefully ineffective Police Services Board for many years. Go figure.

Saturday, June 20, 2020


Please notice carefully that the title above is formed as a question. That is not either for legal purposes or to wimp out. It is exactly because while I may have long term suspicions regarding planning processes as practiced in Ontario and Waterloo Region, I am not convinced of anything in regards to Wellesley Council's credibility, competence or integrity. Generally speaking I like to assume the best of people while understanding that many politicians are all about themselves, their status, their influence and power and yes this includes Township politicians as well as city, provincial and federal politicians.

My knowledge of Wellesley Township's handling of the so called "rationalization" of urban /countryside boundaries is based upon reading a few Council Meeting Minutes and possibly a story or two in the Woolwich Observer about Wellesley Township over the last few years. Not exactly an in-depth "investigation" and certainly not even a tiny fraction of the effort I put in to observing, studying, and learning about Woolwich Township and Councils, where I have lived for the past 28 years.

So why am I so concerned with goings on in Wellesley? Firstly I don't believe in coincidences. Mr. Ron Stroh has been handed a gift over here in Woolwich Township with his contaminated (by Uniroyal Chemical) property directly beside the former manufacturer of Agent Orange (dioxin/furans), DDT, Lindane, NDMA (albeit not by design), parathion, and many more goodies. His property has received a superficial only "cleanup" and has been included in the Elmira Urban Area expansion on the town's east side. I believe that that east side expansion is wholly political in order to "solve" environmental, political, and economic problems up to and including perhaps Lanxess threatening to bail and leave Elmira otherwise. Then Mr. Stroh appears to be handed another gift over in Wellesley. Is this a quid pro quo of some sort i.e. a further sweetener to get/keep him on-side in regards to Lanxess Canada contamination and probable reduction of his property values?

I have learned the hard way in Woolwich that Township Council has an incredible ability to deflect, delay, obfuscate, disparage the good and praise the bad. Is Wellesley Council the same or better?

Friday, June 19, 2020


Last Monday's Waterloo Region Record carried the following story titled "Waterloo officer charged with assault". The officer, Sgt. Paul Tranter, is a twenty year veteran of the WRPS. Oddly, this "incident" was not made public until more than three months after it occurred on March 5, 2020. A 44 year old man (no name given) was arrested in Kitchener on King St. East and taken to central division's detention unit in Kitchener. The Ontario Special Investigations Unit (SIU) issued a news release last Sunday June 14/20 which appears to be how the media finally learned of this incident. That in and of itself is concerning. My understanding is that there are supposed to be regular (daily or weekly) incident reports available for public consumption yet no mention publicly until after the SIU issued their news release.

The next huge problem is this: According to the SIU "The man was transported to hospital where he was diagnosed with serious injuries." So an arrested individual in the police station was assaulted by a police veteran to the extent that he was transported to hospital with serious injuries. Three months ago! What was the outcome of his injuries? What were the injuries? Was a weapon used? If we assume that the arrested man was non-compliant or belligerent then first of all was he in handcuffs at the time? If not why not? If he was in handcuffs then why couldn't two or three police officers simply have carried/transported him to a cell without assaulting him? The SIU only step in to investigate when police officers are involved in deaths, serious injury or allegations of sexual assault. Will the SIU's assault charges be shown the same contempt and disrespect that their attempted murder and other charges laid against Sgt. Richard Dorling recently received. He was the WRPS officer who thought that it was just dandy to fire six bullets at a fleeing suspect's back, hitting him once.

Woolwich Mayor Sandy Shantz: Are you getting a little nervous? You once sat as a Trustee with the Waterloo Region District School Board and hid behind their shield while they both abused parents and allowed their employee (Ron Archer) to abuse children in their care. Now you are sitting, with the emphasis on sitting not doing, on the Police Services Board while Black Lives Matter supporters take on the WRPS. Why didn't you and the Police Services Board fix the behaviour of the WRPS a long time ago? Did you ignore Kelly Donovan and other female police officers when they approached the Police Services Board for help? Was this recent incident involving serious injuries while in police custody even brought to you and your regional colleagues? If not then why not? Are you Demanding answers from Chief Larkin or simply being quietly polite believing that he will voluntarily fix things just because you wish/hope that he will? Do you have even the foggiest notion as to what accountability means? How about transparency?

Thursday, June 18, 2020


Is this typical municipal/regional response to off-site contamination? Both Lanxess Canada and the Ontario Ministry of Environment, Cons. & Pks. have found a way to stickhandle around a proper cleanup of the Stroh and Martin farms. Change their zoning from residential/agricultural to industrial/commercial and thus reduce the soil and possibly groundwater criteria strictly for the purpose of saving millions of dollars in cleanup costs. Funny thing though how those parties allowed food production both for humans and livestock for fifty years, long after they already knew that they were contaminating the Stroh fields via overflow leakage (i.e. surface flow) and groundwater. I was shocked several years back when I understood that the Stroh Drain was the source of water to the Martin swimming pond. In hindsight should I have been even mildly surprised that smoking gun toxic contamination including dioxins/furans, DDT, NDMA, lindane and so much more could be effectively swept under the table by local (municipal), regional and provincial politicians (via MOE/MECP)?

They have no morals, no ethics and little or no humanity. They mute their consciences by hiding behind polluter bought and paid for consultants. They pretend that there is no proof via soil and groundwater testing despite the fact that they and their co-conspirators have made the decision NOT to test in the specific, most likely locations of highest contamination. A friend of mine believes in karma. He feels that they will burn in hell for eternity. I think that that is inadequate. They need to be publicly exposed and punished as a deterrent to future wrongdoers. Todd Cowan "pilfered" $3,000 in expenses although he was only eventually convicted of a $30 dollar (breakfast) Breach of Trust charge. He was pilloried for his sins. It's long past time for the big time and long time Woolwich self-servers to pay for their sins. Being elected should not confer immunity from prosecution.

Wednesday, June 17, 2020


I was surprised by the headline and more surprised by the authors. David Field and Moya Teklu represent the Ontario Legal Aid plan. He is the President and CEO and she is a special adviser to Legal Aid Ontario. If anyone had asked me I would immediately have said that our justice system does not treat whites equally nor actually any specific race equally. It's all about money and whose got it. If a larger proportion of whites have money than Blacks then indeed I have no doubt that Blacks are not treated overall as well as whites.

Then I read the rest of the article. These authors know of what they speak. They work everyday in the justice system. They represent poor whites, poor blacks, and presumably every other ethnic minority. When they stated that police are more likely to arrest Black people than white I was unfortunately not surprised despite the fact that I am white and have been arrested. More than once and even woken up in the middle of the night in police custody (Kitchener) and advised that my provincial offence charge of trespassing had been upgraded to now include a criminal charge of "Obstruct Police". Such incredible crap. Both charges never even made it to court as my lawyer, Wayne Rabley, approached the Crown with evidence implicating police behaviour and possibly even a set up. My "crime" was insisting upon my legal rights within the education system but without a lawyer right beside me at the time. Thank you potentially Ken Seiling and or like minded political and police cronies who are both cowards and bullies.

Then I read more: Oh my God the authors state unequivocally that "...members of the bench (i.e. judges) are less likely to grant bail and more likely to impose strict bail conditions. Black people spend more time behind bars awaiting trial than white people charged with the same categories of crime." These statements are coming from the CEO of Legal Aid Ontario. Wow!

There are many more alarming statistics including the names and numbers of Blacks shot and killed by police in Ontario. Normally the police are cleared of criminal conduct in the few cases in which they are even charged whatever the ethnic background of the victim. It makes news when a policeman actually gets convicted such as Officer Forcillo for the "attempted" murder of Sammy Yatin in Toronto. Sammy died after being shot and hit by eight of Officer Forcillo's nine shots fired at him yet the police officer was only convicted of attempted murder. Go figure.

So now we know categorically that the problem is more than just ignorant or angry white police officers. The problem includes our courts. If our judges are racist then what else are they biased against? Other ethnic minorities, social justice activists, environmental critics, socialists, or maybe just anybody who is different from them? Say poor people in general for example. The awakening comes first. Make real change now or perhaps the reckoning will follow. Some are claiming that the riots and protests in the U.S. are just the start of the reckoning there. Why should anyone be surprised by that behaviour under the circumstances?

Tuesday, June 16, 2020



The "Deal" does however include Ron Stroh, Woolwich and possibly Wellesley Council, Lanxess and the Ontario Ministry of Environment, Conservation & Parks. My conclusion is based upon the less than clear conclusion of this Public Meeting held on-line this morning. It appeared to this eye that the Planning & Works Committee (RMOW) accepted the recommendation of their planner to proceed with these proposed amendments to the Official Plan. If so then that was particularly disrespectful and rude and clearly shows me that this whole process has been a done deal for many years. I was surprised by this apparent acceptance as the paperwork I received clearly stated "Delegations will be heard, but no decisions will be made." It is likely that after acceptance by the Planning Committee that the Official Plan Amendment needs to be ratified by the whole Regional Municipality of Waterloo (RMOW). My guess is that that is a done deal/rubber stamp. I hope that I am wrong but this whole process spread over eight years and counting stinks.

The Control Order allegedly governing the cleanup of the Elmira Aquifers and of the Canagagigue Creek states that Uniroyal Chemical (now Lanxess Canada) are on the hook for all cleanup on their site but only on the financial hook for 50% of the off-site cleanup. This has led to a conflict of interest with the MOE/MECP whereby it is in their financial interests to blindly and deafly agree with each and every self-serving report and "investigation" produced by Uniroyal/Lanxess consultants regarding minimal work required for said cleanups.

Not one regional councillor had so much as a single question of either myself or the other citizen delegate this morning. My delegation in particular referenced various reports and professionals with concerns about developing off-site on the east side of Lanxess (Stroh & Martin farms) as well as maps and technical data provided in advance to all the councillors. Any serious read of the data and text provided in advance should have elicited intelligent questions from some councillors if this wasn't an already longtime done deal.

Mr. Stroh appears to be a double winner as he presumably profits from the Official Plan amendments in both Wellesley and Woolwich Townships. Such incredible good fortune???

Monday, June 15, 2020


This episode (Part 6) in the Waterloo Region Record points out the disparities between the American and Canadian workman's compensation systems. In Canada workers basically have zero "rights" and are at the mercy of a bureaucratic, technical and slow system which insists that the burden of proof to show that their disease was work related is solely upon the workers themselves. Is it any wonder that sick workers either don't start the process or walk away in disgust with such a pro-employer system whose conflict of interest includes reducing employer premiums for that same compensation system. Large employers constantly lobby politicians and governments and sure as hell not to increase their costs.

The Association of Workers' Compensation Boards of Canada claim that there are between 500-600 deaths per year in Canada from work-related disease. That in itself is exactly 500-600 deaths too many if those numbers were even accurate. In fact a recent University of Ottawa study puts the death toll closer to 8,000 deaths per year from occupational diseases in Canada. Shame on employers and governments and all their fellow travellors who both minimize and justify the alleged economic need for these unnecessary deaths.

There are U.S.-based trust funds set up after litigation to compensate employees of certain industries such as asbestos related industries. Even Canadian workers of those U.S. based companies can sometimes access those funds and one example is given of a Canadian worker of the Canadian International Paper Co. (a U.S. subsidiary?) in New Brunswick whose family filed a claim with a U.S. trust fund for employees suffering from mesothelioma (asbestos caused lung disease). This compensation/reparation was much quicker than any corresponding actions likely to have occurred by Canadian government agencies. This particular Canadian worker (Ambrose Casey) isn't even recorded as a work-related fatality from on the job exposure to asbestos. Again shame to both employers saving nickels by not reducing work exposures and shame on our governments who are in bed with those employers versus being on the side of workers and their rights to their health and lives.

The title of last Saturday's Record article is "Compensation system hides the real toll of industrial disease".

Saturday, June 13, 2020


Really is it any surprise that we are not going to achieve the mandated (at least until the MOE/MECP rewrite the rules) 2028 deadline for restoration of the Elmira Aquifers to drinking water standards? Speaking of rewriting the rules the polite term for that is an Amendment. Perhaps an Amended Control Order. Perhaps nothing more than an informal, by the way if it pleases you Lanxess, would you be O.K. with moving your legally mandated (i.e. written in very soluble stone) 2028 deadline for restoration of the Elmira drinking water aquifers to say 2048? That unlikely date for success would however make myself and a few other still concerned citizens within a whisker of a century old. Surely by then we will no longer still be poking, prodding and making pests of ourselves as a few of us have for the last thirty plus years.

On June 5 here in the Elmira Advocate I posted about the March and April Progress Reports (or at least their groundwater pumping rates). Eight days later I'm posting about the May Progress Report received yesterday. On-site pumping is O.K. I guess although it's never really achieved Jeff Merriman's (Chemtura) verbal promise of 6 litres per second. Off-site pumping however, as the title above indicates, is back in the crapper. As you may recall February 2020 was completely in the crapper, March was back to the old Target Rate (close to 53 l/sec) and April was at the current off-site Target Rate for all off-site wells namely 65 l/sec. Well guess where May is? You got it... back around 52 l/sec still shy of the wholly discredited 53.5 l/sec Target Rate way back in November 2012 going on eight years ago. What the bloody hell?

Lanxess Canada (former Uniroyal Chemical) for every excuse in the book really in my opinion aren't even trying. Have they already privately negotiated the new agreement with the Ontario Ministry of Corporate Pollution (MECP) also known as the Ministry of Environment, Conservation & Parks (MECP)? Do they have guarantees from their so called "regulator" that they will not be charged for their environmental failures? How can anyone justify such totally crappy results over such an incredibly long time period? It makes the MOE/MECP look like nothing more than corporate shills.

Friday, June 12, 2020


That relationship is being examined via the lens of the School Resource Officers assigned to various schools in the Region. I have to assume that it also includes the separate (Catholic) school board as well. Black community activists as well as a local Black M.P.P. have made strong accusations about the program being used as form of surveillance of minorities and marginalized students. Frankly I was shocked when I first heard that as I had assumed that it was a benign, well meaning program. Of course my source of information was all one sided i.e. police & schools. Then I thought back to the reprehensible behaviour and bullying of both students and parents that I witnessed first hand from the Waterloo Region District School Board (WRDSB) twenty-four years ago. Boy talk about the "Blue Wall" protecting police officers. The WRDSB had it in spades in order to protect one of their own. And they had the full support from the very top of the Waterloo Region Police at the time. Individual officers I dealt with were both reasonable and professional but the police brass were totally and completely in bed with the jerks in charge of the WRDSB. The Education Act giving parents the RIGHT to participate in their children's education and the RIGHT to attend school functions was totally ignored based on no more than professional, educational liars whining and crying for unneeded help from the police. Those liars manufactured false claims without any evidence whatsoever and the senior police jumped at every opportunity to harass a parent protecting his child. Unknown to me and the public at the time was the two decades ongoing Ron Archer scandal in which the WRDSB were also protecting him (teacher) while throwing young children and their parents under the bus. He eventually did jail time while the same jerks and liars who were harassing me never lost their jobs, were reprimanded, or held in the least accountable for professional coverups of child molesting here in Waterloo Region by a teacher known to be inappropriately involved with minors. Parent and student complaints followed him for decades and the WRDSB did what they did best namely blame the victims.

Eventually with the aid of a lawyer, the Crown threw out ten charges for trespass against me as well as an asinine criminal charge of Obstruct Police. All those charges were motivated because of a coverup by the school board, aided and abetted by senior police administration. Cowards and liars, the lot of them. I repeat that individual officers who arrested me behaved very well. The rest not so much. Eventually even a $604,000 Libel award against me by another biased twit, the dishonourable Robert Reilly, got tossed and replaced with a Settlement filed with Superior Court (Kitchener) in 2004. I learned the hard way that individuals need lawyers to protect them from overzealous, incompetent and biased individuals in the Judicial System, including judges. Keep in mind however that there were some decent Crown Prosecutors who did drop charges when it became clear that they were improperly laid in the first place. Actions such as police giving me permission (tape recorded) to pick up my young son from school and then immediately sending a squad car to charge me again with Trespass blew up in their faces when my lawyer presented the recording to the Prosecutor. My lawyer (Wayne Rabley) advised the Prosecutor that he was quite eager to take the charge to court and expose police misbehaviour. The Prosecutor dropped the charges.

Home cooking in court decisions exists in Waterloo Region. Bringing in out-of-town prosecutors for sensitive or political prosecutions to me almost screams an admission that our courts are not truly independent. The shame of it is that the protected bad apples whether police officers, teachers, judges, school administrators etc. reflect badly on all the good ones. When self-regulation of bad apples is a joke then the entire body becomes suspect. Eventually honest and decent people will no longer apply to work in those professions. Is it any wonder?

Thursday, June 11, 2020


Today's front page of the Woolwich Observer carries the following story titled "Maryhill residents raise concerns about GRCA in gravel pit battle". One of those residents is Bonnie Bryant who served very well with an inexperienced and difficult Woolwich council setting that included Todd Cowan as Mayor. Bonnie also ran for mayor after Todd's implosion as a dyslexic, incompetent money manager. That portrayal of Todd, by the way, is the nicest one possible.

Bonnie has let the cat out of the bag with the disclosure that our very own Grand River Conservation Authority (GRCA) are in bed with the gravel industry. Of course the story is worded much more smoothly and diplomatically than that. It's suggested that there may be a "perceived" conflict of interest. Oh please! Conflict of interest rules are a joke to start with. Woolwich councillors and others (eg. committees of council) pretend that the only conceivable conflicts of interest are immediate and direct financial conflicts of interest. For example if your weekly pay comes from a company appearing before council then you as a councillor should declare the conflict and temporarily step aside. There are hundreds of other conflicts of interest including receiving expense paid trips across North America from the chemical industry lobby (CCPA/CIAC) while ostensibly chairing a committee of council representing the public interest in dealings with a member (Uniroyal/Chemtura) of the CCPA/CIAC. Woolwich Council turned a blind eye to that despite formal complaints to them from multiple citizens.

The Grand River Conservation Foundation (GRCF) is a fundraising charity for GRCA (Grand River Conservation Authority) projects and programs. Who the hell doesn't think that the GRCA are going to be excruciatingly careful with any decisions that impact their own fundraising and finances? Talk about a gross financial conflict of interest. Three of the directors of the GRCF are representatives of the aggregate industry. Oh what a bizarre COINCIDENCE (not) that they are "volunteering" on the fundraising foundation for the GRCA who comment publicly on ...wait for it....proposed new gravel pits! That is gross and more power to Bonnie and Susan Campbell for advising the public.

There folks are other huge problems with the GRCA in general. Years ago I began to refer to them as the Grand River Construction Authority rather than the Grand River Conservation Authority. This had to do with various commercial projects that they approved in the floodplain of local creeks and rivers including the Canagagigue Creek in Elmira. Even today I don't see them opposing the latest expansion for more industrial/commercial development...you guessed it... on the east side of Elmira, immediately on the east side of likely the most contaminated site in Ontario and right up there with others across Canada. Next Tuesday 9-11 am. regional council will be discussing this proposed expansion of the Elmira Urban Area onto Uniroyal Chemical contaminated farmland. Of course the Canagagigue Creek runs right through this proposed development area. Add into this the fact that the GRCA board decision makers are simply local politicians long beholden to industrial interests, financial interests, and development interests. Politics is expensive and backers are required. Backers who expect value for their donations, not tree huggers protecting the natural environment.

Wednesday, June 10, 2020


BBB - bull.... baffles brains

There are a couple of slightly different maps produced by the Grand River Conservation Authority which show 100 Year Floodplain Mapping on the former Uniroyal Chemical site in Elmira, Ontario. Both Conestoga Rovers (CRA) and GHD Consultants on behalf of Uniroyal/Chemtura and Uniroyal/Lanxess have reproduced those maps at different times. For example GHD showed a 2016 photograph of the Chemtura/Lanxess property in a February 2019 report which showed quite clearly that the 100 year flood of the Canagagigue Creek would not go over the top of the 175 metre long Berm erected on the immediate east side of the Stroh Drain, Ditch and Berm (SDDB). Unfortunately however the flood does run around the bottom end (south end) of the Berm and floods all the low lying and probably contaminated soils to the immediate east of the Berm on the Stroh property. Perhaps the Berm does its job by slowing and weakening the eroding force of the flooding Canagagigue and hence mitigating the volume of soils being scoured and carried downstream. CRA's efforts however in a May 27, 2012 map in their May 2013 "Scoped Environmental Impact Study report either pretend that the Berm does not exist (reasonably likely) or they have it submerged during a 100 year flood.
Inconsistency is both concerning and disconcerting. Citizens don't like to feel that they are being played.

The second issue with these maps is at least consistent. That consistency does not absolutely indicate accuracy however. Both CRA's and GHD's maps indicate that the alleged opening at the north-west end of the ridge of high ground in Uniroyal's south-east corner does not exist. This is extremely significant as it is this alleged low lying opening which would have allowed some of Uniroyal Chemical's 175,000 IGPD (Imperial Gallons Per Day) to flow more or less directly into what Uniroyal/Chemtura/Lanxess refer to as GP-1 (Gravel Pit 1). Without this opening allowing more direct gravity flow of liquid waste waters from the further north pits (RPE 1-5), then the claim that GP-1 was the primary recipient of these gravity flowing wastes is blown out of the water. That claim is already very weak based upon ground surface elevation contour lines. They much more clearly indicate that the bulk of overflowing liquid wastes went south-east ontp the Stroh farm. Then after those discharges from pits RPE 1-5 ended (approx. 1970) the SDDB was built around 1983, in my opinion initially to "drain the swamp" which it did but I later felt that it was also constructed to attempt to reduce the amount of contaminated (DDT, dioxin/furans etc.) soil being eroded during flooding and migrating downstream.

If and when there is ever a serious and honest inquiry into the "cleanup" of the Uniroyal Chemical site and of the Elmira Aquifers, these facts will simply pile on and further bury the credibility of any agencies who aided and abetted Uniroyal. This of course includes the Ontario Ministry of Environment among others.

Tuesday, June 9, 2020


To say that a sports league which has so many black athletes in it, has been functionally racist for a very long time is surprising to some. Most of the rest of us, including those like me who are not rabid football fans but do pay attention, are not so surprised. The Colin Kaepernick scandal is merely the most recent, publicly atrocious behaviour by the NFL. Mr. Kaepernick is the former San Francisco 49ers quarterback who took the knee during the national anthem in protest of black deaths at the hands of police. He was not by any means alone but the NFL clearly decided to make an example of him. He was shunned and blackballed by the league while lesser players (quarterbacks) were hired and kept on staff.

NFL Commissioner, Roger Goodell, released a video taken at his home last week in which he publicly stated that "we were wrong for not listening to NFL players earlier,". The Waterloo Region Record published this article by Christine Brennan (USA Today) yesterday titled "NFL knows it's at a critical juncture". Oddly I can't seem to find it on-line today in order to provide you, the readers with the link.

History is funny sometimes. Why does one person's untimely, immoral and illegal death cause a world wide reaction while dozens to hundreds of others don't? I simply don't know unless people have been sensitized to their feelings due to the Covid crisis and accompanying deaths because of it.

The final paragraph in this article is huge namely: "There are owners in the NFL, plenty of them, who are big Trump donors and big Trump guys. They cannot be happy right now. But this is bigger than them, bigger than their league. If it's a choice between Trump and Kaepernick, Goodell made the right call. He chose peaceful protest. He chose Black Lives Matter. He chose his players. He chose the latter."

Monday, June 8, 2020


Following are various exerpts from a number of articles in last Saturday's Waterloo Region Record. These articles were listed in my Saturday posting here along with links to many of them.

"March organizers want police defunded"...."The Waterloo Region is not exempt from police mistreatment and violence toward poor, Black, and racialized people," the group said in a public statement. "I believe there is systemic discrimination within policing. It is something we have been working very hard toward," Larkin (Police Chief) said. I'm not a fan of Chief Larkin for many reasons however that is quite an honest admission. I expect/hope that his comment about "...working very hard toward," actually means working very hard towards eliminating.

"An injustice for anyone is an injustice for all"...."The Black and Indigenous anger over police brutality, as well as with the court system, has been boiling for decades in this country and indeed around the world," Dumas said in a statement. (Grand Chief Arlen Dumas with the Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs)

Record Editorial: "Protesters' message must lead to action"...."But the protesters were not simply finger-pointing at another tragic example of racial oppression in the United States. They were protesting systemic racism in Canada. They were indignant about the abuses of police power that have occurred in this country and that have disproportionately harmed racialized minorities, in particular Black and Indigenous people."

Part 5 Enforcement: "Laws have little impact if companies aren't afraid of the consequences"...."You need to see CEOs in handcuffs." "They would create the veneer of workplace rights and enforcement, but in reality, employers knew there was very little chance of being caught," he said. "And if you did get caught, there was very little consequence." "Employers are economically incentivized not to comply with regulation. If we create speeding laws, but never give out speeding tickets, we'd expect people to not comply with the law. In health and safety, we have laws, but there's little consequence for violating them."

"Minister says reckoning needed on police violence against Indigenous people"....."Frankly along with many Canadians, Indigenous Peoples living in Canada, politicians in Canada, I'm pissed, I'm outraged. There needs to be a full accounting of what has gone on. This is a pattern that keeps repeating itself." (Indigenous Services Minister, Marc Miller). My only comment here is that if the majority of Canadian politicians were against Indigenous racism it would have been either eliminated or at least a rarity a long time ago.

"Protesters vow to sustain momentum".... "Rev. Al Sharpton delivered a fierce eulogy and outlined plans for a commemorative march on Washington in August, vowing that the movement will "change the whole system of justice."

"Police brutality", "racial oppression", "the veneer of workplace rights and enforcement", "police violence", "systemic racism in Canada", "change the whole system of justice" etc. are very strong condemnations of not just the police in Canada and the United States. This appropriate condemnation includes both our political and judicial systems. It is our politicians who set the tone for every single lower tier political system beneath them (municipal, regional, provincial). Those "leaders" set the tone for our courts, our education system, our various boards such as WSIB, OMB/LPAT, EAB/ERT (environmental review tribunal) and of course our police. Here in Waterloo Region, regional councillors to their shame are in charge of appointing four out of seven of the members on our ineffective Police Board. It is our regional council who have allowed discrimination against Blacks and women (within the police service) including the "carding" system of demanding identification disproportionately from Black citizens. Driving while black is not a joke. Nor is walking while black yet it garners excessive police interest. These are not simply rogue officers. These are officers who have either subtly or explicitly been conditioned to view some citizens (white, affluent) differently than the rest of us and especially differently than visible racial minorities. As the one article's title stated "An injustice for anyone is an injustice for all".

Saturday, June 6, 2020


It's all about selective enforcement. Not only selective enforcement against particular races and minority groups (eg. "over policing" of blacks) but selective enforcement in favour of companies and businesses. It's about selective enforcement of laws meant to protect both employees in the workplace and citizens going about their daily lives. Protecting employees in the workplace is supposed to be enforced by Health and Safety Laws. Protecting the general public from bad air, bad water and industrial contamination of foodstuffs normally falls under our environmental laws. Any serious study of workplace health & safety laws as well as environmental laws soon informs the student that these laws are all about avoidance. Basically inspectors must avoid finding/seeing infractions. This results in far fewer charges. Then prosecutors presented with evidence of illegal activities must be able to find alternatives to embarrassing court action. After all individuals have motives such as greed, jealousy, and fear but companies who employ dozens to thousands of citizens must not be hindered in their focus on productivity and the bottom line. Clearly they must have missed something inadvertently in going about their daily business if the company has failed to protect either employees or members of the general public. Surely there was no criminal intention behind their omission or commission of an infraction. Therefore anything from warning letters and reprimands to requests for improvements ordered by the regulatory bodies is more appropriate than dragging the companies into court and publicly humiliating them unnecessarily. It is bias plain and simple. Not just bias against minorities but bias against workers, and individual citizens. Bias against individuals with limited financial means to defend themselves in court is also front and centre be they white, black or brown.

The following articles were in today's Waterloo Region Record titled "Protesters vow to sustain momentum", "An injustice for anyone is an injustice for all", a Record Editorial titled "Protesters' message must lead to action", "Laws have little impact if companies aren't afraid of the consequences", "Systemic racism on full display in George Floyd's death" and finally "March organizers want police defunded". They all share a common theme. Basically our police, justice system and political systems are fundamentally flawed. I note that various laws violated whether they be criminal behaviour by individuals or environmental and health & Safety laws by companies are subject to incredible subjectivity and everyday human bias. They are subject to these human failures throughout all manmade systems that are lacking vigorous internal controls and real accountability by third party, independent oversight. In fact I would suggest that most manmade systems are intentionally made to be able to be circumvented by those in positions of power and authority. Call it a fear by the wealthy and powerful of their own lobbied for laws to be used against them. The rule of law is fine for Sally and Johnny unless of course Sally and Johnny come from very well to do families.

More specifics on these articles will likely be provided on Monday.

Friday, June 5, 2020


Today's posting is the first since March 30, 2020 in regards to Lanxess Canada's monthly "Progress Reports". On March 30/20 I described the absolute horror show of off-site pumping during the month of February 2020 when daily average pumping was at 38 litres per second versus the very old Target rate of 53 litres per second (l/sec). The current Target rate is at 65 l/sec.

The average daily March pumping rate at least got back up to the old (2012) rate of approximately 53 l/sec. Still well below the current Target rate of 65 l/sec. Part of the problem remains pumping well W9 located just off of Union St. near the former Roxton Furniture factory. E7 was also a little lower than its Target rate of 23.9 l/sec although Lanxess/GHD have certainly thrown a spanner into the works by out of the blue declaring that "pulse" pumping of E7 is superior to sustained ongoing pumping. This is somewhat like telling Canadians on a Wednesday that facemasks of any kind are helpful but then on a Thursday staing that they aren't. WTF! The other wells are achieving their Target rates but that is rather ingenuous when your pumping Target rates are so incredibly tiny namely .42 l/sec for wells W6A and W6B, and .08 l/sec for well W8. Also on-site pumping well PW5 did not quite make its Target rate but my suspicion is that might be intentional because heaven forbid that Lanxess spend a nickel more in on-site treatment costs of the pumped water that is necessary to allegedly maintain on-site hydraulic containment with the currently lower off-site pumping rates assisting in maintaining hydraulic containment.

April pumping rates off-site were much better in regards to the Target rates albeit still nowhere near the promises of 2012 and afterwards of first Tripling the pumping rates and then later claiming that they would Double those pumping rates. Total off-site pumping from all wells including E7 was 63.26 l/sec. Hence February was 38, March 53.8 and April 63.26. Of course this is all moot the day that the wells stop pumping and the company hightails it back to either the U.S. or Europe. Then the Ontario MOE/MECP may actually understand that the whole thing has been a game of delay and minimize while ownership plays musical chairs over the ensuing decades. In this case however the last company owning the former Uniroyal Chemical will likely just walk away leaving Ontario taxpayers to pick up the long overdue cleanup bill.

Thursday, June 4, 2020


The shame of it all is that there are excellent police officers, judges, and prosecutors within the system. Unfortunately similar to teachers (in my opinion) the filth, the incompetent and the corrupt are not removed even after multiple complaints, warnings and investigations. The judicial system just like the education system is built to protect all the participants from outside criticism no matter how warranted. By participants I'm referring to the paid members not the parents or children in the education system nor the defendants, plaintiffs or general public in the judicial system. You are on your own including having to pay thousands of dollars in lawyers' fees for the privilege of playing either in the schoolyard against schoolyard bullies such as Board superintendents and other senior administrators or in the legal system whether you appropriately initiated a complaint or whether you've been targeted by either a well off individual or group with an axe to grind. The shame includes the fact that the system exacerbates the ignored or defended bad behaviour of individual members to the degree that it unfortunately tarnishes all the good ones. It is called guilt by association and it doesn't have to be. Vigorous, honest and courageous internal disciplinary systems and measures versus good old boy, blue wall, collegial protectionism and tokenism is desperately needed to stop the erosion of faith and confidence of the public in our various systems.

Waterloo Region has not been spared either police or other judicial members rude, dangerous or disrespectful behaviour towards members of the public. I listed a few incidents of this in my post here two days ago. There are many others some of which have been kept out of the public eye via Confidentiality Clauses in private settlements paid to citizens from public funds. Private settlements based upon police misbehaviour, error, or incompetence.

Last evening thousands of citizens still in the midst of a pandemic put their lives and health on the line for a worthy cause. They marched in downtown Kitchener, Ontario. They marched in solidarity with the protests in the United States over police killing of black citizens and they marched in protest against racism in Canada as well as locally in Waterloo Region. Their signs indicated that they were protesting police brutality and racism across the continent. They marched in order to affirm that Black Lives Matter. My hat goes off to each and every participant. Today's Waterloo Region Record carries the story (and photograph) on their front page titled "Thousands turn up to Black Lives Matter rally".

Wednesday, June 3, 2020


I just started drafting this last evening and have not to date completed it. That said I believe the issues are important and while I do not expect to receive much of a sympathetic audience from most of the regional councillors, nevertheless this matter needs to be stated yet again:

"My comments and concerns today are solely in regards to the proposed expanded Elmira Township Area on the east side of Elmira specifically including two working farms (Martin & Stroh) east of the former Uniroyal Chemical, now Lanxess Canada. These two properties also encompass an alleged agricultural drain known as the Stroh Drain initially and later as the Stroh Drain, Ditch and Berm (SDDB).

It was the volunteer citizen group known as the Chemtura Public Advisory Committee (CPAC) who with my assistance assembled approximately 35 to 40 year old MOE, GRCA, Morrison-Beatty and other consultants reports indicating major contamination had migrated from Uniroyal Chemical directly over to the Stroh farm both via surface and groundwater flow. CPAC also hired MTE Consultants who, after their research including interviewing myself, Ron Campbell (owner of Acute Environmental), and Graham Chevreau (certified chemist and Health & Safety consultant) presented its findings to CPAC in late 2014. Woolwich Council of the day both endorsed that report as well as CPAC members and their efforts. Alas that political support vanished with the new incoming council.

These findings by CPAC and MTE were in contradiction to what Uniroyal plus later ownership, their consultants and the Ontario Ministry of Environment (MOE) told CPAC and the public from approximately 1992 until at least 2015. After Uniroyal/Lanxess conducted very limited testing and some surficial/superficial cleanup of the first thirty feet to a depth of only 5.9 inches (15 cm.) of the Stroh farm from the border between their properties; CPAC's contoversial and highly upsetting findings were at least partly vindicated. Nevertheless Lanxess and their consultants GHD have obstinately and obtusely refused to expand soil and water testing further south on the Stroh property especially including the SDDB and lower elevation soils to the immediate east of it. The large red arrows on the submitted map point to this area which has been the recipient of decades of surface waste water flow from Uniroyal's east side pits which via two pipelines were at one time (1948-1970) receiving 175,000 IGPD (Imperial Gallons Per Day)of toxic waste waters including solvents, NDMA, DDT, and dioxins/furans.

The investigation and study of the extent of contamination both laterally and vertically into the Stroh and Martin farms has unfortunately been similar to the quality of studies and investigations done both on the Uniroyal site and throughout Elmira, Ontario. These "investigations" have been bought and paid for by the polluter and the politest terms to describe them are client driven and self-serving. The cleanup of both the Elmira Aquifers and the Canagagigue Creek have been lackadaisical, unduly delayed and inadequate. The promised date of 2028 for complete remediation of the Elmira Aquifers to drinking water standards has been pushed back to more likely 2050 or 2060. These approximate dates have been suggested by both Eric Hodgins (Region of Waterloo) and by Dr. Richard Jackson, the first Chair of the Technical Advisory Group (TAG) which started in 2015. The later date likely includes a number of years of additional testing required by the Region to ensure that "rebound" of contaminant detections does not occur as well as for drilling of new wells.

There are a number of other reasons for not allowing industrial/commercial development of the east side of Elmira. These have been well covered by other citizens at public meetings and include higher construction costs for roads and bridges due to the routinely flooding Canagagigue Creek which runs north-west to south-east through the Uniroyal/Lanxess property on its way to the Grand River. Also I expect that changing the zoning from residential/agricultural to industrial/commercial will change and weaken the cleanup criteria allowing even more contamination to be left behind to continue to erode for decades and move downstream in the Canagagigue Creek and into the Grand River."

Alan Marshall proud member of CPAC (Citizens Public Advisory Committee) and the Elmira EH-Team

Tuesday, June 2, 2020


George Floyd was murdered by a police officer in Minneapolis. The officer has been charged but to date not convicted. Colin Kapernick refused a few years ago to stand for the U.S. national anthem during pro football games to protest police brutality against blacks. He has since been effectively boycotted and run out of the National Football League. Don't those white team owners also look like a..holes right about now? Judge Toni Skarica presided over a burglary trial in which Waterloo Region Police Officer Dorling was a witness against the suspect. That was the very same fleeing and unarmed suspect that Officer Dorling fired upon six times, hitting him once in the back of the thigh. The province of Ontario had filed multiple criminal charges against officer Dorling including attempted murder and reckless use of a firearm, discharging a firearm with intent etc. I described these events in more detail last Tuesday here in this Blog. The good judge somehow thought it appropriate during the burglary suspect's trial to praise Sgt. Dorling for his bravery and courage in confronting (and shooting) the unarmed, fleeing suspect of a non-violent crime.

Enter stage left an allegedly independent, out-of-town prosecutor by the name of Ian Bulmer. Mr. Bulmer then advised the court and the public that it wasn't fair that some of the same witnesses in the burglary trial (i.e. the defendant, other police officers) would be witnesses in Sgt. Dorling's trial for very serious criminal charges. If that isn't perverse enough then how about Mr. Bulmer quoting Judge Skarica's kind words in court praising Sgt. Dorling for his shooting six times at an unarmed, fleeing suspect of a non-violent crime?

It's crunch time here folks. Waterloo Regional Police have a history of carding people of colour. They have a history of shooting a young male sitting on his front porch (Brybeck Cres.) after calling the police on himself due to mental health issues. They have a history of abusing their own female police officers. They even have a history of abusing handcuffed suspects (Henchmen) inside the police station long ago. Shall we wait until they kill again? Shall we wait until a totally innocent man or woman of any race is killed either by intent or by stray police bullets?

There is a protest march against police brutality tomorrow in Victoria Park in Kitchener. Today's K-W Record unfortunately did not indicate the time.

Do you really want to support a justice system (police, judge, prosecutor) that has at this time in history gone on the record to protect a duly sworn peace officer who thinks that it is just dandy to shoot fleeing suspects in the back? I don't!

Monday, June 1, 2020


This part in the series describing the horrifically unhealthy work environments in various industries across Canada and the second victimization of workers by the Workplace Insurance and Safety Board (WSIB) focuses on workers including millwrights in Dofasco, a major steel maker both in Hamilton as well as world wide. Our health industry also do not look particularly good in this series as they failed over a period of years to diagnose one particular millwright's symptoms until it was much too late for him. This hits close to home as I have a friend in Waterloo who eight months after becoming sick, despite undergoing all tests recommended, has yet to receive either a diagnosis much less any treatment.

Eventually the diagnosis was MDS or Myelodysplastic syndrome, a bone marrow cancer associated with Vietnam War veterans exposed to Agent Orange or workers in industries that expose them to benzene and other toxic hydrocarbons (solvents, fuels etc.). At that point the physicians and specialists all said that it was work related. Dofasco is the non-union steelmaker in Hamilton versus the unionized Stelco plant. This article does suggest that at least some employees at Dofasco were very reluctant to raise health issues or working conditions at work for fear of losing their jobs. Other health issues inside the Dofasco plant included exposure to trichloroethylene (TCE) a formerly common degreaser , heavy metals dust and other particulates in the air.

Our trusty WSIB did their job (delay) and investigated his case after his diagnosis for thirteen months. The individual (Mr. Buckley) hired a lawyer to appeal the decision but four months after his death the WSIB did agree that his blood disease was work related. Workers in the plant describe harmful gases including graphite dust from iron ore along with particulates in the air. Eye protection was mandatory whereas respirator's to protect the lungs were not. In areas footsteps would raise clouds of dust to the point that they couldn't even see their colleagues in front of them. Dofsaco have belatedly made improvements including better ventilation and vacuum trucks to remove some of the dust. Far too little, far too late for many employees.

This is not a hole in the wall company that flew under the radar of either the Ontario Ministry of Labour, Ministry of Health or the WSIB. They and their bosses (Ontario cabinet and government) knew full well what was going on and did little or nothing to save lives and health.