Tuesday, July 7, 2020


They know their way around any and all attempts to make themselves either transparent or accountable. But then why shouldn't they? After all it was their colleagues and contemporaries who wrote the rules in the first place. They sure as heck didn't want to be cornered or inhibited when it came to making decisions that would help themselves, their friends, family or political supporters. It's all about maintaining the status quo. Clearly our society (or at least those at the top of it) have thrived by always having an underclass willing and able to follow the rules and do the very necessary but dirty jobs out there. From grossly underpaid Personal Support Workers to garbage men, roofers, asphalt pavers, bathroom cleaners, maids, contract workers with poor pay and zero benefits, migrant agricultural workers, the list goes on and on. Our society depends on everyone possible contributing but our upper echelons clearly discriminate based upon family name, financial status, income, property ownership and a host of other social variables. The masses are there to be exploited as much as humanly and legally possible. If you wish to exploit them even more than is legal, for example by paying less than minimum wage or working them extra long hours with little or no compensation then the rules are in place to help at least a few of them. Token accountability if you will. The Ministry of Labour through its' Employment Standards Act might, after a long wait, insist that you pay some back wages. That's it, there is no real downside. Just like most of our environmental legislation you can pollute to save yourself millions of dollars and one in a thousand will get caught and have to pay a small part of the cleanup. But real, serious consequences? Extremely unlikely and especially if you are a big boy. Severin Argenton (Varnicolor Chemical) in Elmira, Ontario was a local big fish but in the Region he was little or nothing. Jail time for him. Three and a half months of an eight month sentence. Meanwhile literally a couple of hundred metres away, Uniroyal Chemical, its owners and management never saw the inside of a jail cell despite decades of illegal behaviour, obfuscation and anti-social toxic waste dumping that adversely affected the environment, wildlife and human life. It was of course our local and regional politicians who went to bat for them whenever citizens got a little too pushy for environmental justice. How dare we riff raff call their integrity and ethics into doubt. How dare we demand accountability.

Today's Waterloo Region Record advises that a WLU prof (Karin Schnarr) has been appointed to a three year term on the Waterloo Regional Police Services Board. What a joke. First of all if she had a reputation or career background and lots of knowledge of police issues, problems and misbehaviour, rest assured she'd never have gotten the appointment. Secondly I expect that she is a very smart person and presumably has the normal human characteristics of empathy, common sense and decency. The key is the other six people on the Police Services Board. Even in the scenario that she was a hard nosed, independent thinking person wanting to dramatically improving local policing she'd be outnumbered six to one. And those six have all been selected carefully to be full fledged members of the Do Not Rock The Boat club. The status quo is just fine here in waterloo Region and don't you forget it. Lastly the term of her appointment is a joke. Three years is barely enough to get her up to speed and that's assuming that she's got lots of time to dig deep and to dig up all the local skeletons. Kelly Donovan and the other police women who have been treated badly are but one issue. The Police Board did nothing for them. Carding has been an issue. Driving while Black has been an issue. And on and on and nothing ever changes. Court Settlements with confidentiality clauses are a problem. When the police screw up badly enough and harass the wrong person and then get nailed by both lawyers and courts (civil case), far too often the police pay out even more in return for a confidentiality clause so that the public never learn of their misbehaviour.

It's all about managing what little laws, rules and regulations there are. Municipal Elections Act? Nobody and I mean nobody municipally or regionally wants to touch it with a ten foot pole no matter how egregious the contraventions are. And on and on.

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