Radio Story #7 – Gotta Love the Listeners

Back in the day, being a radio DJ meant that you were going to have lots of fans. And some detractors too. Listeners had their favourite announcers and they were both loyal listeners as well as followers of all the dances and personal appearances you were going to make. On most occasions it was quite super to meet your loyal listeners. Because ratings were your life and blood to keeping your job, building relationships with listeners both on the air and off the air was important. As a young man it was a joyful part of the job. Listeners were, by and large, simply wonderful people.

But every so often you could count on a strange set of circumstances that kinda made the hair on your arms stand up.

One night, I think it was a Friday night, about 10 pm I had this sultry young lady on the phone and I was expecting her to give me a song request but instead it was a request for me to come over to her house, after I got off the air, and keep her company. Here parents were away, they had a pool and a big house and she just wanted some “company.” Fire alarm bells started to go off in my mind. As soon as she said she was in a filmy negligee I knew this could only spell trouble. The kind where someone with a gun arrives on the scene, I end up jumping in the pool and ending up at a police station because she was underage. I thanked her very much and, reluctantly, let my better judgement take control. Phew!

Not exactly as advertised!

One of my shifts was Sunday mornings, 7 am until 12 noon. It was part live and part recorded, so it was a pretty laid back shift. I quite liked it. Wander in about 6.15 am, get set up and have a pretty easy morning on air. My favourite half hour was called Gold and Great, written by Nevin Grant our music director at the time, it feature an artist or group and Nevin wrote the story and selected the music to go with the script. I looked forward to that show each week.

Little did I know that the gentleness of a Sunday morning would be broken.

We had a loyal, rather rabid listener, who kept sending the announcers passionate notes, containing very severe sexual overtones … accompanied by knives. Each time the message would arrive with a new and very different knife, but basically the same story line. While we had some

It all started one Sunday morning in the late summer of ’63.

Idling and ominous

In the half light at about 6.30 am, I noticed a car on the other side of the road, about 300 feet from the station. It was idling. I didn’t think much of it at the time. The next week it was there again. The third Sunday it drove down the street as I was walking into the station. It drove by very slow and as I glanced at it I could see that a woman was driving.

This went on for about two months. I was getting a little bit creeped out, but I didn’t mention to anyone in the station for fear they would think I was a imagining things.

I started parking at the back of the station. You drove down an alley and there was a parking area between the wings of the station. Problem solved.

Problem solved, until one Sunday the car started to follow me down the alley towards the lot. I made a hasty move from the car, into the station and then, from the second floor control room window, peered out at the car idling in the parking lot below, next to my car.

I really thought the car was going to wait me out, or that something would be done to my car. Blessedly, everything was quiet, just after the noon hour, when I came out of the station. I was pretty creeped out.

I’d had enough, I was nervous. I spoke to the program director, who in turn talked to all the announcers who had received letters. It escalated up from there. The station’s lawyer and police department got involved and after a few days a restraining order was issued against the early morning stalker, letter writer.

The truly odd part of the story is that it turned out that this was a well-educated woman, with a husband and son in higher education. I never knew more than that. Eventually, it dawned on me that this lady had emotional problems, and we were simply the avenue for her strange fascination. Over the years I often wondered if she had found a better place for her energies and her passions.

Oh, and then there was Gina. Gina was the ticket girl at a local Italian theatre. During the week it got pretty boring for her as the evening wore on and so she would call the radio station to find someone to talk to. I ended up as her favourite chat box, despite the fact that I was trying to run a show. She would always ask me to meet her for coffee after her shift, which coincided with the end of my show. Being a little gun shy, I said I didn’t think that was such a good idea.

The phone-a-thon went on for about a year. One day I was doing a remote broadcast from our fancy broadcast trailer at a car dealership. It was a Saturday morning and a lovely sunny day. About an hour into the remote this fabulous lady in a red dress came towards the trailer and, by her knowing smile, I just knew this was Gina. She was a gorgeous vision. An Italian beauty.

Coffee time??

We had a nervous conversation, and I finally got enough spit in my mouth to be able to ask her to have a coffee with me. That famous coffee break, the one that she had been asking me for, for the past year. She said she would have loved to but she was moving back to Italy in three days and she had so much to do, but she was so glad she finally got to meet me. Whaaaa?

Over the years there have been countless encounters with listeners and the vast majority have been with normal, interesting people. People who like listening to their radio and like to have someone they can relate to on the other side of the microphone. Whatever that formula is I don’t know, but I do know that it makes the job of creating good radio all the more fun.

“All of this is absolutely true, and the parts that aren’t should be”

Portugal. 50 things I learned on my travels.

My wife, Jane, and I got back from Portugal 3 days ago, and we’re just about back to normal after struggling with the time difference and travel. While we were away I kept a little journal so that I wouldn’t forget the wonderful sites we saw and the places we visited. I made the decision not to share any photos on Facebook because I didn’t want to turn it into a “Bragbook” and bore everyone to tears. In the coming days I’ll be putting a good selection of photos up on Pinterest for those who might find images of Portugal interesting, along with appropriate comments. I’ve included a few of my favourites in this post.

Beach front at Olhos de Agua on the eastern outskirts of Albufeira
Beach front at Olhos de Agua on the eastern outskirts of Albufeira
Oh yes .. and of course I have to pop on to Trip Advisor to give comments about some of the restaurants and cafes.
As we prepared to come home, and on the flight too, I made notes about the things that I learned on this journey. I’ll try to be as succinct as possible so as not to overstay my welcome.
1. On departing, I learned that Toronto Terminal 3 is akin to a cattle farm. The departures area in particular was loud, and littered with bad eating spots. I took 2 bites of a sandwich (beef on marble rye, with lettuce, mayo and pickle) and threw it away. It was soggy, past it’s edible date, and to make matters worse it cost me $14.00. My advice, take your own sandwich.
2. In Portugal, I didn’t have a wine I didn’t like … and we sampled many.
3. A good bottle of wine can cost as little as $4 to $7.
4. Breads and buns are to die for. Fresh bakeries abound they far surpass the “big brands”.
5. Even the smallest bistro will sell you outstanding baked goods and sweet treats.
Small cafe near Oura.  Excellent food
Small cafe near Oura. Excellent food

6. Coffee with steamed milk was a new experience for me … I will miss it, for sure. The Delta Cafes served a great selection of coffee servings.
7. Virtually all the people we met were friendly and helpful. Nice people. We did meet one or two who didn’t fit the profile, but that’s to be expected.
8. The geography is wonderful and varied .. it is an artist’s paradise.
St. Jerome.  Western most spot in Europe.  I
St. Jerome. Western most spot in Europe. I

9. Beaches (and there are hundreds of great beaches) have sand that can be like baker’s sugar or are rugged and granular. Every one is picturesque.
10. Portugal’s history is well documented wherever you travel, and it is fascinating to see and read about.
11. People are proud of their heritage and they display that in their festivals, markets, homes and their street art.
The Saturday market in Loule is great sport and full of great produce.
The Saturday market in Loule is great sport and full of great produce.

12. Streets and highways are very clean. I didn’t see a lot of litter. I finally realized it’s because they don’t have a lot of fast food joints pumping out food and drink containers that, in North America, some dolts toss out their window. In Portugal you go to a neighbourhood cafe, sit down for your coffee and talk to your neighbours. It’s a social thing.
Jane and Lynne enjoying a sidewalk cafe
Jane and Lynne enjoying a sidewalk cafe

13. We travelled on the Metro subway system in Lisbon and I was amazed at how very clean and in good repair the subway cars and stations were.
Many of the Metro stops had wonderful art on the walls
Many of the Metro stops had wonderful art on the walls

14. Graffiti artists create a blight in some areas of Lisbon. The defaced walls are in contrast to some of the wonderful art that abounds in the city.
15. Highway food (Super Highway A2) is just as bad as it is in Canada.
16. On the super highway, aside from trucks, the vast majority of cars were Mercedes, Audi, Porsche, BMW’s … estate vehicles are very popular.
17. At $2.00 a litre for gas, you better have a good reason for driving.
Lovely streets in Silves, north of Albufeira
Lovely streets in Silves, north of Albufeira

18. The A2 highway from Lisbon to the Algarve is a training ground for people who would like to set the land speed record.
19. Sheep love to share roads.
20. Shepherds tend their flocks by day as well as night.
21. Dogs are hugely popular in Portugal and it appeared to me that most of them were barking.
22. Throughout our stay we enjoyed very good to excellent meals at fair and affordable prices. We had one unfortunate incident with a place that said it served the best pizza. They lied.
The Moor Castle sits on the high ground in Silves
The Moor Castle sits on the high ground in Silves

23. Some of the rocks washed up on shore are ballast from fishing boats. My good friend, Bob Morrow, a geographer, noted that the rocks types in many instances are not from shore types.
24. In the towns and cities of Portugal they make some great sidewalks on the main streets. Some were 15 to 25 feet wide. That encourages a pedestrian lifestyle. Many were made of 3″ by 3″ squared stones, arranged in attractive patterns. It was a joy to be on foot.
One of the main street sidewalks in Loule
One of the main street sidewalks in Loule

25. If you take the Metro (green line) to Cais do Sodre, go across the street to what looks like an old market building. There is a food court there that will blow you mind. It’s all good food, available with wine of course.
26. The Portuguese love to talk to each other and often it is lively and passionate … easily heard a block away. I loved it.
The rear porch of the home that we were staying in.  Perfect for that morning coffee.
The rear porch of the home that we were staying in. Perfect for that morning coffee.

27. I was sad to hear that, for an industrious people, they have about 20% unemployment.
28. Their president just got 11 years in jail for dealings that were not in keeping with the office. Did anyone go to jail for the gas plant fiasco in Ontario? No, I don’t think so. In fact, if I remember rightly, our premiere got out while the going was good and got a plum job at Harvard. Hmmmm.
The old city of Albufeira.  Not an inch of wasted space.
The old city of Albufeira. Not an inch of wasted space.

29. Girls on highways are not hitch hiking. They are working for pimps. Many of them have been kidnapped or coerced from other countries, or are runaways. Police are diligent about routing out the criminals and send the girls back home. Shocking to know these criminal acts exist.
30. In the Algarve the toll highway is the A24. If you don’t have a transponder you pay at a post office. This can be time consuming if the workers are engaged in convivial conversation with their customers.
31. The toll highway from Lisbon to the Algarve costs about $28.00 … and it goes 10 times as far (I think) as the ETR. Much better value for money.
Every corner reveals an new and fascinating street.
Every corner reveals an new and fascinating street.

32. I don’t know if was the change of diet, the increase in wine consumption, or different water, but regularity was never a problem.
33. I was shocked to learn that you can make just about anything out of cork. Men’s ties, aprons, bags, hats, watch bands, purses, dresses … and yes, wine corks. Cork products abound but they are not cheap. Cork comes from the lower portions of the cork tree and it takes about 9 years for the tree to resurface its bark. Cork tree farms are interesting to see.
34. Ceramic tiles are an art and they are found everywhere, facings for homes and businesses as well as interiors. They are beautiful.
If it weren't for the fear of excess baggage you could go wild in all the shops.
If it weren’t for the fear of excess baggage you could go wild in all the shops.

36. Supper time doesn’t get rolling for most people until after 8pm. It wasn’t unusual to see families coming into a restaurant (kids included) as we were leaving.
37. Orange trees, lemon trees, fig trees, tangerine trees, cumquat trees are everywhere. Mmmm, great oranges. It wasn’t unusual to see hedges of bougainvillea. Lovely colour where ever you go.
I don't know what this multi-coloured bush is but I want one!
I don’t know what this multi-coloured bush is but I want one!
A close up of the mystery bush
A close up of the mystery bush

38. Our mouths dropped open at the sight of storks nests on top of huge hydro towers. Sometimes there were 4 and 5 nests on a tower .. like apartment buildings.
Stork on nest on top of tower.
Stork on nest on top of tower.

39. Fish and more fish, and lots of pork on menus. It was all good and at times great.
40. Piri Piri chicken can make your eyebrows sweat. But it’s worth it.
41. You can spend Euros at the same rate as dollars … just remember, there’s a 30% hit on your wallet with each Euro.
42. It broke my heart when we had to leave a fresh bag of almonds on the airplane … I’m afraid of the Canadian Border Service.
Ornate gates and security walls all commonplace.
Ornate gates and security walls all commonplace.

43. It strikes me that to learn Portuguese would be challenging … particularly for a guy who struggled through high school French.
44. You drive on the right hand side of the road, so there’s no adjusting for North American drivers.
45. A GPS device (Garmin) really helps if you’re driving … or walking.
The Gypsy Market in Loule was quite a unique and fun experience.
The Gypsy Market in Loule was quite a unique and fun experience.

46. Lisbon Airport (Terminal 1) makes you go through duty free to get to the departure gates .. pretty sneaky, but smart.
47. Departure gates are away from the shops and the food and, as a result, they tend to be quieter and with less confusion. Nice airport.
48. We flew on SATA. Very nice people. No video or audio services so take a book. Bonus, they offered wine with every meal at no cost. Stopping in the Azores was brief but interesting.
49. There are lots of Brits and many Canadians who have found Portugal great for extended stays. I can understand that.
50. One visit to Portugal is not enough. Would we go back? In a heartbeat.
A windmill home sits on one of the many rolling hills.
A windmill home sits on one of the many rolling hills.

Momma’s Got a Whole New Gig (apologies to James Brown)

Jane has been painting up a storm … wine glass after wine glass. And now people are saying “hey, can I pay you to make some for me?” She is having such fun painting each one, and every one of them is an original design. No two of them alike … I don’t know how she does it.

Jane is working on about 4 dozen for a community fundraising event, and every wine glass is different. Pretty super stuff. Jane has a recent one that is wolf in full howl … and on the other side of the glass is a pine tree so when you look at it the wolf has a backdrop from the far side of the glass. Inventive. Here’s one she finished a few days ago of a monarch butterfly on a sunflower.

It’s such a thrill

To see a new entrepreneurial business emerge and be embraced by a customer base who’ve been waiting for the service is indeed a thrill.  Step of Grace began business at the business incubator in Haliburton beginning of April and within days they were booking new clients.  Now that the better weather is arriving, seasonal residents in need of the service are also signing up.  As the medical community becomes more familiar with service, and its high level of excellence, further growth is assured.

As we all know, word of mouth is the most powerful form of advertising (assuming it’s GOOD word of mouth), and it has been paying dividends for Jane and Heather.  Their delight with the early response is so gratifying.

The formula is very textbook:  A great idea, qualified people, a service unique to the region, a large potential customer base, affordable pricing and outstanding customer service.  Powerful stuff.

Flyer pdf

An Amazing Sunrise .. May 8th

Sitting at my desk, 5.30 am, prepping for this morning’s program on Canoe FM and the daybreak outside my window (facing ENE) is spectacular .. crystal clear sky of blue to beige and a rosy hue is the back drop to a land of dark shadow and streams of light in the perfectly still lake.  I pause to drink it in.

7 am this morning, Lorraine McNeil and I will be on the air, sipping our first cup of coffee and sharing the news and information you need to start your day.  Hope you can spare the time to join us.

After the 8am news we’ll be talking with Carol Moffat, Reeve of Algonquin Highlands.  It’s always a lively conversation and full of information of interest.

Good morning great day!Can We Talk?

May 8th on Canoe Fm.

Tomorrow morning is expected to be another wonderful Highland sunrise.  Hope you can join us on Canoe FM.  We’ll be live from 7 to 9 am and, the ever ebullient, Lorraine McNeil will be with us.

Carol's picOn the Reeve’s Report after the 8am news, Carol Moffatt, Reeve of Algonquin Highlands will be our guest on the phone.  Join us for up to the minute news about the township and the most current news on the flood recovery in the highlands.

Grab a coffee and join us for a fun way to welcome the sunrise.

Celebrating Birthdays

Today is my birthday.  I share that to set the stage.  As you add years to your CV,  it become less about the actual event and more about the sentiments from people who care about you.  Not everyone can be in attendance at your happy occasion, but their good thoughts and intentions are known.  It’s fun to watch those that are able come to as they recognize the “special” day.

Family members fuss over meals, plan the campfire, anticipate the lighting of the birthday cigar, laugh at old stories and make jokes at the expense of one another – and this is the true celebration.

A birthday is a reason for people to come together, and the fact that they want to come together is a joy in itself.  So, if there is any reason to celebrate it’s not about a birth date it’s really about reaching out to one another, and reminding each of us that kindness and love are the greatest gifts of all.

Mike at Chamber

No Silence. Not in my lifetime.

I offer this as a caution to young people.

For more than 20 years I have suffered from Tinnitus.

Tinnitus is the perception of sound within the human ear. In my case it’s like the sound of eascaping gas right in the middle of your head … and, using this as a reference, it’s about a 26 volume level on your car radio.  It’s loud.

Tinnitus is not a disease, but a condition that can result from a wide range of underlying causes.  In my case, I think it was those years as a disc jockey during the rock n roll years with high volume on the control room speakers and blaring earphones. And my reward is this internal sound and it is with me 24 hours a day, every day.

Tinnitus is common: about 20% of people between 55 and 65 years old report symptoms on a general health questionnaire, and 11.8% on more detailed tinnitus-specific questionnaires.  Life catches up with you.

More recently, about 5 months ago, I noticed some hearing loss on one side, accompanied by a mid-range hum.  It can be as loud as the tinnitus or, on good days, it’s about half volume.

Two problems.  The first, and perhaps the saddest issue, is the fact that I am unable to enjoy the absolute peace that comes from silence. This is something that we hold so dear in the Haliburton Highlands of Ontario.

A few weeks ago I was sat by the family campfire with my son and his family and they remarked how absolutely thrilling the quiet of the evening was.  I was very saddened to realize that I would never again know that kind of tranquility.

The second problem comes when trying to follow conversations in a group.  With two competing sounds in my head it becomes a real challenge to separate conversations.  The strain of not being able to hear easily is hard to deal with.

After four doctors appointments and different befuddled opinions, I am scheduled for an MRI in October and then I have a speedy appointment with a hearing specialist in November.  We need to figure out why the mid-range hum is occuring.  The tennitus, sorry to say, is a given and will likely never be fixed.

When I see young people with ear buds and I can hear the volume spilling out, or when I hear the whum, whum, whum, of a base speaking pounding inside a car, I know that they are prime candidates for tennitus.  I’ve talked to others who have the same condition.  One chap drove truck and had the window open on the good weather days.  The pounding of the wind can create this kind of damage.  I remember reading about a fighter pilot who suffered from tennitus as a result of the incredible whine of the jet engines … despite the head gear that was supposed to protect him. Entertainers who perform in high volume setting, i.e. concerts, also are prone to this injury.  Of course, workers using noisy heavy equipment wear ear protectors because they know that this is the way to protect their hearing and avoid the curse of tennitus.

It sounds such a small thing but, trust me, until you have a constant hisssss in the centre of your head, you have no idea just how precious silence can be.

Do yourself a favour. Think about your long life ahead and turn down the volume, or at least enough so that you’re not abusing your hearing.

I’d give just about anything to hear the sound of silence once again.

Should We Be Frightened? I think so.

If you feel the government has forgotten what the people of Canada value and believe in, here is your proof.  Consider all that will be taken away by this new, strange form of government we currently enjoy.  Bill C-38 is a 420 page document affecting 70 pieces of legislation. Here is a letter with good list of it’s contents.  Thank you to Eric Lilius for passing this along.

Ryan Leef
Member of Parliament, Yukon
Open Letter #14
June, 2012

Dear Ryan,

Conservative MP David Wilkes recently told his constituents that he had serious concerns about the omnibus budget bill C-38. He said that backbenchers weren’t allowed to look at this 420-page document until it was released to the public. How can any Member of Parliament vote on something this large and important without proper review?

I’d like to bring to your attention a list of worrying Bill C-38 clauses for your perusal.

–  Budgets for Libraries and Archives have been slashed throughout different departments.

–  Rights and Democracy, an independent agency that monitors human rights and promotes democracy abroad, will be cut.

–  The Canadian Artists and Producers Professional Relations Tribunal will be shut down.

National Round Table of the Environment and the Economy is shut down. It was an important round table of industry leaders, environmentalists, First Nations, labour and policy-makers. Their research and advice are being dispensed with because the prime minister is next to God and knows all there is to be known.

–  The Auditor General’s area of oversight will be reduced, thus decreasing opportunities for government embarrassment. Reports from Human Resources Council, Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council, Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council, Northern Pipeline Agency and Canadian Polar Commission will report directly to ministers who are not likely to be experts, be willing to listen to experts or be transparent.

–  Charities may no longer spend more than 10 per cent of their budgets on political advocacy. Since the promotion of environmental stewardship is now considered a political activity, this provision will harm environmental groups. (It is important to note that environmental stewardship has only become politicized under the current Conservative government. Both the Progressive Conservative and Liberal Governments, at the very least, pretended to endorse good stewardship.)

–  Elections Canada has had its investigative effectiveness compromised by a cut by $7.5 million. That is just slightly less than the $8 million allocated to harass environmental groups. (See below.)

–  $8 million in public money has been allotted to investigate environmental charities and organizations. (Now public money will be used by the Conservative Party in its campaign to persecute environmentalists while the Kluane Lake Research Station is scraping by on $80,000 of its $100,000 former budget and must crawl on its hands and knees to beg for adequate funding in the future.)

–  Due to budget cuts, Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council has ceased funding for the Polar Environment Research Laboratory, the Experimental Lakes Area Research Project and many important scientific research facilities and projects across Canada.

–  The Canadian Foundation for Climate and Atmospheric Science, with its economical $1.5 million budget, has been cut.

–  Adaptation to Climate Change Research has been cut.

–  The group within Natural Resources who maintain Arctic ice cores has been disbanded.

–  The new Fisheries Act will no longer protect fish habitat but will instead focus on the protection of economically viable fisheries.

–  Amendments in Section 142 of Bill C-38 propose that industries are no longer required to notify the Department of Fisheries and Oceans of their projects nor are they held liable for habitat harm, thus exempting them from responsibility.

–  Amendments to the Fisheries Act in Section 35 give industry, developers and provinces the right to authorize adverse harm to waters and wetlands.

–  Bill C-288, the Kyoto Implementation Act, will be repealed.

–  The Canadian Environmental Assessment Act has been repealed and will be replaced by the ineffectual Environmental Effects Act that favours the desires of industry over the health of the land, air and water.

–  The Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency has been gutted, allowing the federal government to cherry pick which projects will require assessment. Substitution rules allow the federal government to offload assessments onto provinces and territories. (Given the Yukon government’s cavalier attitude towards the environment, this is not reassuring.)

–  The Canadian Environmental Protection Act has increased time limits on waste disposal and includes an open-ended clause covering protection for species at risk. This Act has been made toothless.

–  Amendments to the Navigable Waters Protection Act have exempted pipelines and power-lines.

–  The National Energy Board has been rendered toothless. Its reviews will now be limited to two years regardless of the size of the project. Cabinet is allowed to reverse its decisions willy-nilly.

–  The National Energy Board is exempt from having to protect critical habitat, thereby undermining the Species at Risk Act.

–  Large cuts have been made to Parks Canada.

–  The assessments done by the Nuclear Safety Control Act are to be handled by theNuclear Safety Commission, a body not equipped to do assessments.

–  The Canadian Seeds Act is to be privatized. It doesn’t bode well for heritage seeds.

–  The Wastewater Survey is cut so we will no longer monitor water use in Canada.

–  Environment Canada’s Environmental Effects Monitoring Program is to be reduced by 20 per cent so we will have a less effective effluent discharge monitoring.

–  The Fair Wages and Hours of Labour Act is repealed. No longer are contractors who bid on federal projects required to pay fair wages and overtime.

–  The age of eligibility for Old Age Security Pensions has been raised from 65 to 67 years.

–  Changes to the immigration rules and temporary workers program will make it easier to bring in foreign workers.

–  Changes to the Employment Insurance program will force EI recipients to take lower-paying jobs in areas outside of their fields.

–  Amendments to the Employment Equity Act exempt federal contract workers from protection. It is a direct attack on equal rights for women and minorities.

–  $31 billion is to be removed from health-care transfer payments to provinces.

–  The Office of the Inspector General at the Canadian Security Intelligence Servicehas been cut, thereby removing an important watchdog.

–  Changes to the Food and Drugs Act, under the guise of “Marketing Authorizations” and “Incorporation by Reference,” will allow the ministers to fast-track approvals to new foods and drugs. This leaves Canadians vulnerable to harm caused by hasty and incomplete investigation.

–  Changes to the Telecommunications Act increase opportunities for foreign ownership.

–  Amendments to the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act will wipe out a backlog of 280,000 applications under the Federal Skilled Worker Program. Applications made before 2008 will be deleted and the application fee refunded. Xenophobes everywhere are cheering.

–  Amendments to borrowing limits for the Territories will devolve what used to be legislative power back to the federal government. How different is this from the old practice of requiring federal approval on borrowing for First Nations groups which seriously crippled their efforts towards self-government?

–  The CBC has had its budget cut by 10 per cent. This is on top of previous cuts that have already crippled this national treasure.

–  A 5 per cent cut to the Office of the Information Commissioner will further cripple the already over-taxed Access to Information Office.

Debate on Bill C-38 has been limited. Committee work has been rushed and, in at least one case, sabotaged. Many of the amendments have not been given the thoughtful, research-based work they require in order to make good policy. The bill is an assault on the environment and workers’ rights with the intention of promoting industry at the expense of Canadians. “Long-term prosperity,” as applied to this bill, is an oxymoron.

In a letter to your constituents, you said: “The environment, particularly as it impacts the North, is an extremely important issue. My commitment is to continue to work towards a sustainable future for Yukon, and ensure that voice is heard in Ottawa.”

David Wilkes said that that if 12 other Conservative MPs stood with him and voted against the omnibus budget bill, it would be defeated. Ryan, it is time to walk the walk. Will you please vote against the omnibus budget bill?

May your time in Ottawa be constructive and may you walk on the high road.

Respectfully yours,

Linda Leon

Should we be frightened?  I think so.  This harkens to a different kind of governance in Canada and the brutality of it is very unsettling.  Obviously majority governments are not always the best option.

— What you people call your natural resources, our people call our relatives. Oren Lyons, Onondaga elder

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