Freedom versus Freedumb

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WARNING: This semi-satiric opinion piece contains descriptions of ghastly violence not suitable for young children or politically correct adults.

Freedumb" Sticker by Michaelnilson | Redbubble

Ah, remember being stirred by the dying shout from the actor Mel Gibson in the movie “Braveheart”  as he screamed out “FREEDOM!” from the executioner’s block?  Many people forget that the movie was a fictional account of the life of the real William Wallace. There is the reel world, and then there is the real world.

In actual historical fact, when Wallace was captured by the English, he was strangled by hanging but released while still alive. That act alone, causing bilateral vocal chord paralysis, would have rendered him unable to speak.

But then he was “emasculated, eviscerated and his bowels burned before him, beheaded, then cut into four parts. His silent head was dipped in tar and displayed on a pike atop London Bridge.” His body parts were distributed to four towns and cities across England and Scotland. This is how King Edward I dealt with uprisings in 1305, his own style of our much more humane Emergencies Act.

After tallying the cost, damages, pollution, and desecration of our Capital City and sacred memorials by the so-called “freedom convoy”, Edward’s way may have been a more permanent solution to ending the illegal occupation and subsequent threats of a summer repeat. “Freedom” can quickly turn into “Freedumb” when in the heads, hearts and hands of far-right, racist, homophobic, anti-science, misinformation mob mentality, Q-Anon conspiracy theory cultists.

These home-grown “Freedumb” terrorists tried to appropriate our national flag as their symbol, as if their selfish and stupid, fossil fuelled occupation had anything to do with true Canadian values of freedom and the right to dissenting expression. No, I thought the Emergencies Act came in way too late and was far too gentle.

The French use of the guillotine is faster, but a return to the slower but equally permanent punishment of gibbeting would greatly deter disturbances by freedumb fanatics this summer.  Gibbeting was a punishment whereby the criminals could be left hanging in iron cages outside the entrance to the town until they starved to death and the crows and insects finished the job.

Have a safe and happy summer responsibly enjoying our hard won democracy. Let’s try our best to keep the “dumb” out of our freedoms. A little tar might help, the way I see it.


Skid Crease, Caledon

You Take My Breath Away: Truck Traffic, Aggregates and Air Quality in Caledon

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AM PM Blog: Danger Of Diesel Exhaust And How To Protect Yourself | Diesel trucks, Sexy trucks, Diesel

On Tuesday, May 24, 2022, at  the Town of Caledon regular Council Meeting, Bolton resident Joe Grogan made a delegation to Council regarding his concerns about increased truck traffic,  diesel fuel pollution, and air quality monitoring. In his presentation, titled Air Quality and Life in Caledon, Mr. Grogan requested support from the Town for “science based data which will measure the air quality here in Caledon.”

His presentation outlined the health concerns attributed to diesel emissions raised by the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Centre for Disease Control (CDC). Mr. Grogan provided data from Lancet Oncology, 2012 by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) which stated that exposure to the mixture of diesel engine exhaust and particulates “should be reduced worldwide.”

Although it was a scheduled Town of Caledon Council meeting, Bolton’s Ward 5 Regional Councillor Annette Groves was not in attendance and Mr. Grogan expressed his concern: “I’m disappointed. frankly, that Councillor Groves at the moment is not available, but hopefully she will appear and make some comments.”  

Mr. Grogan asked that Council respond to his presentation in such a manner as to “make public safety and protection of the natural environment a greater priority for the Town of Caledon.”

Councillors responded with praise and positivity to Mr. Grogan’s presentation, calling it “excellent”, “well researched”, and “informative.” Area Councillor Nick deBoer made a motion, seconded by Area Councillor Lynn Kiernan reading: “That a meeting with the Minister of Environment, Conservation and Parks be requested at the TAPMO Conference to bring forward air quality concerns in the Town of Caledon, and to request on-going active monitoring in the areas outlined in the Presentation and that this motion and the Presentation be provided to the top ten aggregate producing municipalities in Ontario requesting support for air quality testing at the provincial level.

The motion was passed unanimously by all present with the Clerk noting that “Councillor Groves is still absent.”

Following the delegation, Council members were asked for their impressions of the delegation. Regional Councillor Jennifer Innis responded with this observation: “It was evident that Mr Grogan had spent significant time researching and preparing for his delegation to Council.  He was thoughtful and passionate about the need for air quality monitoring and I was pleased that my colleagues on Council agreed.”  

Area Councillor Nick deBoer added, “Mr. Grogan’s delegation was very well researched and presented.  The Town is  committed to continue reducing the use of diesel in our own fleet as we transition to biofuels, electric and eventually hydrogen. I am pleased that my colleagues who were present unanimously supported the Motion to meet with the Ontario Ministry of Environment, Conservation, and Parks.”

Area Councillor Lynn Kiernan, who seconded the original Motion commented: “As the Councillor representing significant rural and environment lands in Caledon, air quality and other impacts of growth are certainly concerning to me. That’s why I fully supported the Motion passed after Mr. Grogan’s presentation.”

That Motion will be taken to the meeting with the Ministry of the Environment that will take place with the Top Aggregate Producing Municipalities of Ontario (TAPMO) at the full Association of Municipalities of Ontario (AMO) Conference on August 14-17, 2022.

The full video and audio of Mr. Grogan’s May 24th delegation and Council’s questions and comments are available online at Council Meeting – May 24, 2022 – eScribe

BREAKING: The Town of Caledon staff have made the request as per the Motion as part of their AMO delegation requests, but will not know until August if they were granted a meeting.


News report by Skid Crease originally prepared for Just Sayin’ Caledon

Apathy and the End of Democracy

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The latest Ontario elections amplified a troubling trend in Canadian politics.Although there were all consuming issues with which we should be dealing – public long term health care, affordable housing, sustainable mobility, environmental security, and smart growth, to mention only a few – we had the lowest registered voter turn-out in Ontario’s history.

Only 43% of the population that should have voted came out to cast a ballot, and out of that it took only 40% to give Ontario an even larger Conservative majority government. How is it even possible that fewer than a fifth of the population can be considered the voice of the people? How is it possible that while the majority of the people voted centre left, we end up with a right wing populist party in complete control of our next four years of governance?

Was it an apathetic malaise that infected our voting population with the feeling of “What’s the point?”  Was it the clever manipulation of health restrictions to open up Ontario again with “mall therapy” and license sticker refunds just before the election? Was it the blatantly cheerful and misleading ad campaign full of Doug Ford Conservative bluewash that ignored squandered federal health money, over 13,000 deaths from COVID-19, close to a third of which occurred in Long Term Care facilities, or was it the collapse of environmental oversight in favour of wealthy development interests that caused a pandemic weary population to give up their democratic privileges?

There is another theory, that suggests that the continuing unbalanced results of the current First Past The Post (FPTP) electoral system resulted in that voter apathy. In fact, the Law Commission of Canada in 2004 as well as several provincial commissions recommended the Mixed Member Proportional (MMP) model as the best and most balanced voting system for Canada. In fact, most modern democracies use  forms of Proportional Representation (PR).

Twelve years later in a 2016 interview with CBC’s Shanifa Nasser, Prof. Nelson Wiseman, director of Canadian Studies at the University of Toronto asked, “Is it fair that a government can have a majority … even though the majority of people did not vote for them?” The answer was a resounding “No.” It was not fair then and it was not fair in 2022 where over 60% of those voted in Ontario did not want the government now sitting with a stranglehold majority on any legislation they want to pass for the next four years.

No, it is not “fair” but the move to a fairer system of election is usually blocked by the party with the large majority created by the unfair FTTP outcome. That kind of result absolutely leads to voter apathy, to candidate apathy, to a public who throws their hands up in despair grumbling, “Why bother?”

The solution? Take a public plebiscite vote putting the move to MMP as the only item on the ballot. Give every member of the public a reduction of $500 on their provincial and federal taxes owing for any tax year in which an election takes place. If you don’t vote, you don’t get the credits. If just before an election, Doug Ford can pay off voters with a $330 license sticker bribe and open up the malls to a pandemic plagued public so they can spend it shopping, surely we can fairly apply a tax credit universally to every citizen who exercises their responsibility to vote. 

If you did cast a vote in the last election, regardless of the predictability of this First Past The Post “minority votes/majority seats” result, thank you  We earned the right to speak out. If you didn’t vote, just stay there silently on the couch. Democracy, I can explain it to you, but I can’t understand it for you.

The way I see it.


Skid Crease, Caledon