gordon.dewis.ca - Random musings from Gordon


Archive for the ‘In the news’

Whither the “good news” news stories?

July 20, 2016 @ 12:38 By: gordon Category: In the news, Meta

I started writing an entry about how I listen to the news with a certain amount of dread these days because of all the bad things that are going on, particularly south of the border. As I listed the some of the reasons (e.g., gun violence, violence towards the police, the prospects that Donald Trump could be the next US President, the Brexit vote going terribly wrong), it became increasingly harder to finish. So unfinished it remains.

There must be good news stories out there, but they seem to be few and far between.

Statues in the river

April 26, 2016 @ 12:47 By: gordon Category: Diving, In the news

A story on CBC caught my eye this morning. Basically, the Thousand Islands chapter of Save Ontario Shipwrecks is lowering concrete statues into the St. Lawrence River near Brockville to give divers something to hold onto other than the shipwrecks when they’re diving. Wooden shipwrecks are much more fragile than they look, so any contact with them contributes to the overall deterioration of the wreck. Shipwrecks near Brockville are popular dive destinations, particularly for new divers who may have not yet mastered buoyancy control, especially in a current.

When I was actively diving, I was a member of Save Ontario Shipwrecks and served on their board of directors for a few years. The group is dedicated to the preservation of underwater cultural heritage, which includes shipwrecks, submerged villages and structures like the old canals in the St. Lawrence River, and things like old aboriginal fishing weirs. Their activities included training divers on how to properly record shipwrecks and the like, outreach activities to encourage people not to remove things from shipwrecks (that’s illegal in Ontario), and special mooring buoys so that boaters don’t have to drop an anchor near (often on) a shipwrecks. Installing these statues is a creative solution to the problem of divers touching the wrecks. Well done, guys!

Remembering the events of one year ago

October 22, 2015 @ 09:01 By: gordon Category: General, In the news

I was going to write about the horrible events that took place at the War Memorial and on Parliament Hill, but I think what I wrote on the day after is sufficient. Listening to the audio from the video clip I mentioned a year ago on the radio this morning made chills run down my spine.

Thank you, Corporal Nathan Cirillo. Thank you to the all the people who stopped to help him as he lay there.

Thank you is not enough.

Why I wear a red poppy and not a white one (revisited)

November 08, 2013 @ 15:08 By: gordon Category: Current affairs, In the news

20131108-144923.jpgI first wrote about why I wear a red poppy and not a white one a couple of years ago. Now, according to a CBC story, the Rideau Institute has taken over the task from the Island Peace Committee in Prince Edward Island and is running a white poppy campaign. The problem is that their whole campaign is based on the incorrect interpretation of what a red poppy pin signifies. According to the story, they claim the red poppy pins glorify war.

They are  wrong.

The red poppies do not “glorify war”. They are symbols of “Remembrance, our visual pledge to never forget all those Canadians who have fallen in war and military operations”. Though they’ve been this symbol since 1921, their association with those who were killed in wars can be traced back to the Napoleonic Wars in the 1800s, more than 110 years before being adopted in Canada.

“Anyone who thinks soldiers selling poppies is glorifying war knows nothing about war,” he said. “You’ll never find anyone who hates it more. It makes me misty. My father served and couldn’t talk about it until I was 18.” — Doug Gunn, son of a verteran (quoted in the CBC story)

Personally, I wear a poppy to remember people I never knew but who died serving my country, and family members like my great-uncle Fred who died in 1944. I also wear it as a sign of respect for those who have served and survived, such as my former neighbour, Jack, who I have seen in the crowd shots in the television coverage of more than one Remembrance Day ceremony. Jack told me a couple of years ago that he has been asked to lay a wreath on behalf of our MP at the local Remembrance Day ceremony, something he was immensely proud of.

It’s important to understand that the red poppies are for those who died and not for the wars they died in. To suggest that they stand for anything else is incredibly disrespectful of their sacrifice.

Cyclists on sidewalks in the news

September 10, 2013 @ 16:40 By: gordon Category: Cycling, In the news

IMG00050-20110902-1206.jpgI see that the issue of cyclists riding on sidewalks has been in the news lately. This is something that I have blogged about in the past  and I still encounter on a regular basis on my walk to and from work — my 6-minute walk to and from work. In the span of the couple of hundred metres along Holland Avenue that I walk, I often see cyclists riding on the sidewalks when they could easily be on the road. Holland Avenue was recently repaved so they can’t use the excuse of the curb lane being full of potholes. Personally, if I encounter a cyclist riding their bike on the sidewalk, I feel no obligation to move aside so that they can pass. If that upsets them, then tough.

If you’re a cyclist who is not confident enough to ride on the road where you belong then you need to re-evaluate whether you should be cycling at all. If, upon reflection, you decide that you should be cycling, then you need to either a) find a different route that avoids the streets that scare you, or b) recognize that as a cyclist you have a right to be on the road (following the rules, of course) and that most drivers really aren’t out to get you.

Either way, you need to stop cycling on the sidewalks. Now.

And, for the record, I am a cyclist and I do not ride on sidewalks.

One more reason to not watch NHL hockey

March 07, 2013 @ 12:56 By: gordon Category: In the news

I guess I was naïve in thinking that NHL hockey players were genuinely trying to play hockey and that the games weren’t staged spectacles, unlike professional wrestling. Based on a quote from the Leafs’ Frazer McLaren in a CBC article, it seem I was wrong:

McLaren, noting the Leafs had a flat start last time out, said he asked [Ottawa Senator Dave] Dziurzynski to fight.

“I was just trying to get us going early. I asked him [to fight] and he actually said no, so I thought we weren’t going to go and then he ended up dropping his stuff there when the puck dropped,” he said. “He’s a big guy and he actually gave me a few good ones early there.

I can’t recall seeing a quote from an NHL player admitting that the fights were staged before. I think this is why I much prefer watching Olympic hockey games rather than NHL games. At least in the Olympics the hockey players are trying to win the game rather than follow some elaborately choreographed script. (If I’m wrong about this, too, please don’t tell me.)

Senator Patrick Brazeau should consider resigning

June 26, 2012 @ 21:28 By: gordon Category: In the news

I happened to see an article on CBC’s site today about the attendance record of Senator Patrick Brazeau, who happens to be the youngest senator. Included in the article was a reference to this tweet from the senator made about a reporter:


SenPatrickBrazeau @TheBrazman: @jenditchburn while u smile Jen, others suffer. Change the D to a B in your last name and we’re even! Don’t mean it but needs saying. 26 June 2012

The Canadian Press reporter in question happened to be working on a story about his attendance record and had asked Brazeau to comment on his attendance record. He indicated it was poor due to “personal matters”. He made that tweet about an hour after the story was posted.

Since his tweet, he has tweeted a couple of apologies, but the fact remains that he spouted off in public in a manner unbecoming a senator:


SenPatrickBrazeau @TheBrazman: @jenditchburn I apologize for my comments. They were done because of my personal circumstance regarding your story. (1/2) 26 June 2012


SenPatrickBrazeau @TheBrazman: @jenditchburn (2/2) I’m a hardworker and take my position seriously but personal issues always comes 1st. Ppl are sometimes in need. Sorry! 26 June 2012

Sadly, this guy is going to be a senator for another 38 years and the only way he can be removed is for one of the following reasons:

  • Failure to attend two sessions of Parliament;
  • Declaration of Bankruptcy;
  • Conviction for treason or a felony; and,
  • Ceasing to reside or own property in the represented area

He missed 18 of the 72 sittings between June 2011 and April 2012. If he misses 4 more days then he starts being fined $250/day. As well, he missed 65% of the meetings of the aboriginal peoples committee that he sits on and 31% of the human rights committee meetings of which he is deputy chair. Given that he is a former national chief of the Congress of Aboriginal Peoples, I think he should be particularly embarrassed.

I understand that one’s priorities should generally be: personal health, family and then work, but if he can’t go to work more often than 75% of the time when the Senate sits less than 100 days a year, he should resign so that someone who is more dedicated to his or her responsibilities can serve.