Monday, September 26, 2016
O.K. so I've actually been home from court for over an hour but I got involved with some hydrogeological advice to a citizen involved in a local environmental issue (not Chemtura). The decision in court this morning was to adjourn until November 14/16 9 am. back in Provincial Offences Court (77 Queen St.), Courtroom #101. Now a month ago we adjourned because the Crown had not received anything more than the name and alleged offence by Councillor Hahn. Today the Judge (Anderson?) was advised by the Crown Alexander Andres that a Regional Crown was going to be brought into the case allegedly to obtain more insight, a broader perspective etc. etc.. Actually I didn't really find the explanation all that clear.
Once again the Crown (Mr. Andres) made a point of advising the Judge that the "Informant" to the private charges was present in court. I was asked if the proposed Adjournment date was O.K. with me to which I said it was. What is not alright with me is the gross lack of communication with the Crown. He has my phone number, e-mail and home address yet when I send him all of two e-mails in a month asking either a question or for confirmation that he's received data I've sent him, I get nothing back. To date there has been no sit down discussion, interview or questions asked. This is not acceptable. Similarily if the Regional Crown shows up for the November 14/16 Court date without having spoken to me, asked questions or even advised me of my options as the Complainant ie. citizen who laid the charges, I will not be impressed.
I was able to ask Mr. Andres one question after court in regards to whether or not I can proceed with my own prosecution if the Regional Crown for whatever reason chooses not to proceed. Mr. Andres stated that if the Regional Crown decides not to prosecute (he used a term I do not currently recall) then I can proceed with a private prosecuter. Hmm. This is far too much like pulling teeth getting any information at all. One or two brief, stilted conversations in a crowded hallway or even in an office every month or two does not give me much confidence in what is going on. Also the indecent delay, slowness and attitude of court staff at Superior Court (Intake Court) combined with some incompetence when they can't get the file to the Crown prior to the last court date only adds to the bad impression. Then we have interminable adjournments (six?) with Sandy Shantz and now we're heading to the third court date for Scott Hahn and I simply have to shake my head. This whole system and process is miles beyond nuts.
I was interviewed by Liz Bevan of the Woolwich Observer after court and answered her questions as straight forwardly as I could. I advised her of my disgust with the out of town Crown Fraser Kelly in regards to Sandy Shantz's MEA charges. Mr. Kelly brought me to a meeting at Regional Police headquarters allegedly to discuss the Sandy Shantz case three days prior to the next court appearance. In fact he had a detective present and I believe his only purpose was either to charge me for providing the Crown with a taperecording of a public MECAC (Compliance Audit Committee) hearing or to intimidate me into dropping the charges laid against Ms. Shantz. What an asshat! This is how our judicial system enforces provincial legislation apparently when a currently sitting local politician is involved. Are we getting more of the same with Mr. Hahn? The more hoops and loops, roadblocks, delays and refusals of officials to do their duty; the more obvious that something is seriously wrong with our judicial system it becomes.
My experience with the whole judicial process regarding the Municipal Elections Act (MEA) has been disappointing to date. I have seen a deference to the municipally appointed Compliance Audit Committee (MECAC) and their biased decisions which I view as bizarre. Perhaps today we will see how much weight if any the Crown places upon an independent forensic auditor's report. That report by Froese and Partners is highly damaging to Councillor Hahn in a number of different ways. I will likely give a brief followup report here after I return from Provincial Offences Court.
Saturday, September 24, 2016
RAC/TAG - "cringeworthy" This is quoting a truthful Woolwich Councillor who still wishes he hadn't said that.
- "Really Awful Chemtura Truth Avoidance Group" This was my initial take on the names Sandy and Mark gave to the two groups replacing CPAC. A year later after having attended all public RAC and TAG meetings what do I think?
TAG have an incredible Chairman, Dr. Richard (Dick) Jackson who has resigned effective December 31/16. Their membership are a mixed bag including total newbies with little or zero background environmentally or with Uniroyal/Chemtura. David Hofbauer does seem technically oriented and very competent. Sebastian Seibel-Achenbach has nearly five years experience both as a past CPAC member as well as being their vice-chair. Overall less two gross conflict of interest queens, TAG are sincere and trying.
RAC to date have met only five times. They haven't been publicly or blatantly in bed with Chemtura and the M.O.E. except for their reluctance to proceed with a media strategy to poke and prod them into doing the right thing. Their do nothing history and dependance upon talk and communication with entrenched, dogmatic, professional liars while all the time according them respect and courtesy that they respond to with more lies, deceptions and manipulations does not inspire confidence. More of the same is the best we can expect from them. They are all getting paid for their time and are simply going through the motions. All hail the status quo!
Two interesting quotes from the Draft Minutes are as follows:
"The regulators picked a 30 year deadline that was not likely based on scientific analysis."
"Some at the technical experts meeting agree that it will take 50 years or more for the back diffusion to occur before the aquitards can be cleaned up because the NDMA had 50 years during which to infiltrate into the aquitard.".
O.K. the first quote I interpret as the "regulaters" (M.O.E.) being incompetent and or liars. Nothing new here folks.
The second quote was first suggested by Dr. Richard Jackson. He believes that it will be closer to 2048, fifty years after the 1998 start of off-site pumping, before the Elmira Aquifers are fully restored to drinking water standards. Keep in mind folks that this is all moot the day after (O.K. the year after) pumping on the Chemtura site stops and they recontaminate the off-site, Elmira Aquifers.
Friday, September 23, 2016
Pigs at the trough comes to mind. So do the words raping and pillaging our mutual natural resources. Trees and logging have long been battlegrounds in Canada but now water resources are up for sale. Sale is too strong a word. Basically our water is being given away by our governments for profit to private corporations. The irony is that while wood has been a product for use in construction and homebuilding literally for thousands of years, bottled water isn't really needed. While I disagree with Maud Barlow's contention in today's Waterloo Region Record article titled "Nestle outbids small Ontario municipality to buy well for bottled water", namely that tap water is perfectly safe; nevertheless she is correct in that somewhat tested and treated tap water is readily available. I carry a plastic bottle of water with me when I am on my bicycle. That said the plastic bottle will last me a season and I simply refill it indirectly from my tap after running it through a Brita filter. That and a single case of bottled emergency water in the basement is how little I support the bottled water industry.
The new wrinlke in the well being purchased by Nestle outside Elora is that the municipality of Centre Wellington submitted an offer to purchase the well. They wisely decided that it was in their constiuents' interests to have that well and water availble for their local use rather than availble for Nestle to pump and bottle and sell wherever. The original owner the Middlebrook Water Company are named after the road the building and well sit beside namely Midlebrook Rd. which runs from Highway #86 at West Montrose north to Elora. It is necessary for municipalities to pump groundwater for residential use. Bottled water is a somewhat trumped up demand based upon citizens appropriate skepticism of the claims of municipalities that their tap water is just dandy. Chlorine isn't just dandy and the taste of it can sometimes mask other odours and tastes in the water. Sometimes it's just the taste of chlorine necessary to kill bacteria (think E.Coli & Coliforms) but nevertheless it's not pleasant or healthy over a lifetime of ingestion.
Municipalities built up their wellfields decades to nearly a century ago long before industrialization sprinkled our groundwater with industrial solvents and more. Since then industry grew up around these wellfields and government inaction and corruption allowed companies to discharge their liquid wastes into the same ground that we pump our drinking water from. I dare anybody to show me groundwater in any southern Ontario city that isn't polluted with industrial chemicals. That is the sad reality. Hence bottled water companies allegedly and probably drawing their water from rural areas hopefully still unpolluted have sprung forth. Keep in mind that many rural areas themselves have issues with excess nitrogen (nitrates & nitrites) as well as phosphorous from agricultural use on fields and crops. Also let's not forget the rampant use of pesticides in agricultural practices. Add to this manure mismanagement including our city sewage treatment plants disposing of "bio-solids" on farmers' fields and you can see the potential for problems. Maybe Maud has a good point. Should we trust private corporations more than our own governments? Hell they both lie like dogs. Pick your poison.
Thursday, September 22, 2016
On September 15/16 the Waterloo Region Record carried the following story titled "Survey finds bird numbers down by 1.5 billion since 1970". The major causes albeit among many are climate change and habitat destruction. Agriculture to feed the plague of humans disturbs habitat of grassland birds and also introduces pesticides into the landscape. More and more pesticides. Logging fragments forests that birds and other species rely upon both for food and shelter. Even free roaming domestic cats kill birds in astonishing numbers. Unmentioned in the article are bird deaths both by wind turbines and by birds flying into glass windows on high rise buildings.
The loss of birds results in less pollination of plants somewhat similar to recent losses of bee populations. Birds also are huge consumers of insects including mosquitoes. More mosquitoes and less birds is a bad combination with ever rising mosquito borne diseases such as West Nile. The statistics regarding particular bird species loss of numbers are in the article. This folks is the future of the earth as long as self important, self-serving homo sapiens rule. The earth can and has sustained life but it's capacity is not infinite. More humans means less of other species and eventually it will be the end of all of us.
Wednesday, September 21, 2016
Basically with the exception of the Elmira Independent until their closing last year the media have been Absent Without Leave (AWOL) regarding Chemtura Canada in Elmira and the Ontario Ministry of Environment. The last three years have seen incredible news in relation to the public attempting to hold them accountable. Without either the K-W Record or Woolwich Observer attending public RAC or TAG meetings it has been very difficult to get the message out. While CPAC got the ball rolling in a huge way, Dr. Dick Jackson has really hammered the credibility of Chemtura and the M.O.E.. He has presented tutorials at TAG meetings essentially indicting Uniroyal/Chemtura and their consultants for their technical failures over the last decades. Failures to have a Conceptual Site Model, ignorance of the basal gravel unit, lack of sediment transport testing, failure to properly implement ISCO and the lack of understanding of the back diffusion issues have all clearly indicated that Conestoga Rovers sole reliance on pump and treat was misplaced. If only the media had picked up on this in a big way.
Then we get to the Canagagigue Creek. Dr. Jackson has been appalled with Chemtura and the M.O.E.'s failures to remediate the sediments and flood plain soils. They are filled with Dioxins/Furans and DDT. Just recently are we discovering that indeed as long suspected P.C.B.s in the creek are also from Chemtura. While CPAC were hammering Chemtura about this during 2012-14 Dr. Jackson has also lended his decades of professional experience to the cause. And where have the media been? AWOL. For the last year has any media attended so much as a single TAG or RAC meeting? Sure as hell the Woolwich Observer haven't. They will mention Chemtura/RAC/TAG/M.O.E. if they come up at Council meetings. Otherwise Nada.
The Record have a feeble excuse in that they are covering all of Waterloo Region. The Observer have no legitimate excuse whatsoever. To my mind there are but two possibilities regarding their lack of coverage. One they've made a deal with the devil. For a quid pro quo they won't cover Chemtura's dealings in Elmira. Sick and contemptible. Two they've made a deal to avoid legal consequences. Hmm. They were threatened with legal consequences twenty years ago and rolled over. Has it happened again but more directly? Has a lawsuit been filed which will only be activated if they don't stay deaf, dumb and blind regarding Chemtura, remediation and the M.O.E.?
This lack of coverage around CPAC's successes in holding Chemtura's feet to the fire was pathetic and a gross disservice to the public. The lack of coverage by both the Record and Observer regarding Dr. Jackson's public, face to face confrontations with the Ontario M.O.E. has been grotesque. Dr. Jackson has publicly exposed the lies and misrepresentations of the M.O.E. and only the CPAC attendees, RAC and TAG especially have witnessed it. This is but one of the reasons I have been reticent to deny some connection between the Woolwich Council Election Financing Scandal and their behaviour regarding CPAC, Chemtura and the M.O.E.. The media have been covering the Shantz, Bauman, Hahn tribulations and have attempted to link them with Council's contemptible behaviour towards CPAC and while assiduously kissing Chemtura and the M.O.E.s butts. This purported linkage at least keeps Chemtura/M.O.E.'s corrupt behaviour a little bit in the news. Why would I deny it?
Tuesday, September 20, 2016
The issue really is quite simple. The Municipal Elections Act (MEA) is quite clear. There are rules written down that candidates for municipal election MUST follow. If they do not then they are to be charged. The offences fall under Provincial Offences which could be somewhat compared to traffic offences in regards to severity. For example simple speeding results in a charge, a conviction and a penalty usually of a fine, sometimes along with demerit points on your license. That said there are driving offences which if severe enough possibly including serious injury that can lead to criminal charges. Examples include drunk driving, vehicular homicide, criminal negligence etc.. The MEA charges can be upgraded upon certain very strict conditions and are described as corrupt practices. These do not remotely include simple incompetence, laziness or sloppy record keeping. A judge would have to determine an intentional attempt to bypass the law for personal gain and possibly even more.
The MEA includes a clear provision for citizens to take the law into their own hands if you will. It is referred to as a not withstanding clause. Not withstanding the actions of the municipal council, MECAC committee (Compliance Audit Committee) or the candidate themselves a citizen can lay a private charge if he believes and preferably has evidence that the MEA has been broken. In all three cases in Woolwich Township the lawbreakers (Bauman, Shantz & Hahn) all publicly admitted to their contraventions of the MEA. Professed ignorance of the law is not a defence to any of the charges. Yes it certainly speaks to the penalty phase after conviction.
All three candidates/politicians contraventions were way beyond blatant. They could be described as stupid unless of course two of the three had a history or say a "tradition" of bending the rules without consequence. Then "stupid" becomes more "convenience" than anything else.
This coming Monday 9 am. in Provincial Offences Court 77 Queen St. Kitchener, Courtroom #101, we will see what the Crown has planned. As similar with the Sandy Shantz case the Crown has not been communicative with the complainant myself including even acknowledging receipt of materials and evidence sent to him. I have advised the Crown that while my preference is that he takes on the case I am unwilling to see the Hahn case go the same route as the Shantz case. In other words I am willing to step in if necessary to act as the prosecuter if the Crown for some unfathomable or subjective reason is not. Keep in mind that while there was extremely strong evidence that Sandy Shantz still had not fully complied with the MEA and had her charges dropped; Mr. Hahn does have a professional $12,000 forensic audit as evidence against him.