Farrago - for Readers

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46 comments:

  1. G. Barry StewartJuly 1, 2012 at 8:53 AM

    When I was at the local gov't liquor store yesterday, I asked for a price list and got a multi-page pamphlet on all the latest LCB product pricing. I recommend that others ask for this as well, and keep it for posterity, to compare to the privatized prices we probably will see in the coming years.

    The store manager said if the sale of the LDB distributorship goes through, they will be able to do an end-run around any union action — and freely supply the private liquor stores.

    For the past month, I've been asking myself the question, "Why would they want to sell a money maker?" Perhaps the answer is: to be able to break the union and turn the whole thing over to private sector.

    They can sell off the buildings and keep taxing liquor sales, with no other cost or involvement.

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  2. I believe that the real Liberal agenda, is to break the unions in this province and reduce the workers, to a form of serfdom. That way power reverts to the upper class, and the minions, are once again at the bottom. The real money would flow to the "elite" and the rest, would get vitually nothing. Sound familiar? The robber barons of the 19th century.

    The political wing of this concept, has had the past 11 years, to hone the art of kleptocracy, to its current form. What a mess.

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    Replies
    1. Not just in British Columbia. Based on events in other jurisdictions, workers' rights will worsen. It will be like Phil Hochstein metastasizing.

      This is an interesting article about today's dysfunctional political economy. It made me question my own opinions:

      The Age of Illusion: An Interview with Chris Hayes

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    2. I am so glad you published that link, Norm - I thought I was losing it as I've been questioning a lot of my own opinions as well. Chossudovsky's book - The Globalization of Poverty, chapter 19 - Structural Adjustment in Developed Countries may shed light on where our BC RAIL went and other corruption that is happening in BC. In this chapter he talks about the Canadian Privatization Programme imposed by Wall Street. That large amounts of Provincial (the people's) property have been put on the international auction block. He calls this the dismantling of the "Welfare State" and that all public as well as community services will be privatized and that the Corporate world is trying to establish control over pretty well everything that a human would need - ie water, food, housing, electricity, road networks etc Bringing in Foreign workers to bust unions and push wages downward is part of this destruction.

      Didn't Karl Marx say about capitalism that money turns everything into a commodity that can be bought and sold: government, honor, morality, the writing of history, legality. Nothing is immune to purchase.

      Seems to me that BC's Liberal government has been sold as well as the morality of the party members!

      Delete
  3. G. Barry StewartJuly 1, 2012 at 7:40 PM

    Is there a primer available on the BC Rail scandal? I'm sure there are many people like myself who are late to the game and don't know all the players and what their position at the time was. Allegations are another thing — but I'd like to see a timeline of established facts and names and descriptions of people involved. Sorry, but the voting public need it in pill form if it's going to get any traction.

    Heck, it took me a week to figure out what MSM was (Main Stream Media, for those who are wondering)... now people are throwing PAB around! I'd like to get on top of this stuff.

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    Replies
    1. I trust you've read through the BC Rail-alities page here. I think the NDP's 100 Unanswered Questions on B.C. Rail Corruption Scandal remains a worthwhile document for persons learning the basics. Otherwise, click on the label 'BC Rail' and you'll be lined to fifty plus articles here that touch on BC Rail.

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  4. G. Barry StewartJuly 2, 2012 at 7:08 AM

    That was a short walk. Thanks Norm.

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  5. Does anyone else besides me think that Elizabeth May is HarperCons best friend? She runs around the country splitting the vote and leaving us all in danger of another Harper majority. If she was genuine, why doesn't she join another party? That claim that she is non-partisan just doesn't wash with me. If she was so, she would run as an independent. The Green Party has a platform do they not? How does their platform be an exception to partisanship?

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  6. All parties represent partisanship. Your accounting of Elizabeth May fails to notice that she is like the canary in the mineshaft. At least she is speaking out about current concerns. With his 1993 degree in Economics what gives Harper the right to go to other countries and tell them what to do. His advice to Greece--create an austerity program is the obvious reverse of how to solve their problesm. So what do they get? jobs lost, people screwed (and I am not referring to sex), rapidly increasing prices, riots in the streets. FOR SHAME.

    Alas, Mr. Harper continues to demonstrate that he lives in a shroud.

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    Replies
    1. Just serfing by and noticed your reply. Well for one, E.Me claims she is non-partisan. She is the leader of a party that says parties should be abolished. So you still support her even though she spews this constantly everywhere and anywhere. Secondly, speaking to issues does not solve them. Lots of us do that and if Lizzie is content to scream from the rooftops about stuff but never changing anything then she deserves no support from anyone. Please support a party that has at least some resolve and chance at changing things in this country.

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  7. This recent interview with Chris Hedges is an important and worthwhile listen courtesy CBC the Current.
    Hedges explains why and how the MSM is in the business of misdirection and why they want to keep us stupid and uniformed except of course on Tom and Katie.
    http://www.cbc.ca/thecurrent/popupaudio.html?clipIds=2254749501

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  8. G. Barry StewartJuly 17, 2012 at 5:03 PM

    http://www.theprovince.com/news/bc/Gordon+Campbell+hospitality+clarified+still+tops+other+diplomats/6948737/story.html

    Great photo of Harper "greeting" Gordon Campbell at the airport in London. Fun caption: Harper: "Gord, I flew over to tell you personally to lay off with the big expense tab. You're making us look worse than Roy... I mean Bev Oda."

    Gord: "I promised British Columbians that I would never drink again, after I got caught in Hawaii — but it's these Brits, Steve. They drink like fish!"

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  9. I had a robo-phone call from Quebec this morning, purporting to be a political survey. (Rough paraphrase): regarding the federal government's handling of fiscal challenges.

    "As a thank-you for doing the survey, please stay on the line and a representative will talk to you about a free Caribbean cruise, provided by one of our supporters."

    I hung up.

    Anybody else getting these calls?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You did the right thing by hanging up. It's a scam and the meaningless "survey" is just a door opener to sell you something or, more likely, get credit card or banking information. The cruise would not be free.

      Despite being on Canada's do not call lists, we still get countless long distance solicitations. Telephone spam is extremely annoying. Much originates outside Canada (India and the Philippines have been common recently) but many Canadian operations are exempt (market researchers, opinion pollsters, charities, political organizations, newspapers, anyone you've done business with recently, etc.)

      The do not call legislation seems to have been written by and for telemarketers. That's the way Liberals and Conservatives have done business. Laws are not written for the benefit of citizens, they're for the benefit of commerce.

      Delete
    2. I've had two more such calls since that one. Click!

      Delete
    3. Maybe instead of hanging up, we should keep the line open, identify who is behind the call and lodge a complaint with the CRTC. Complain About a Telemarketing Call

      Delete
    4. Hmm... here's the # they used yesterday. 647-247-1759 I put it in a Google search and it came up with previous complaints. I'll lodge a complaint on your provided link. Thanks Norm.

      Delete
  10. Hey Norm, what was the issue with your Dell computer?

    I'm having issues where my laptop won't shut down properly and the cursor is moving inexplicably to other parts of the paragraph on me when I type.

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    Replies
    1. My device, a Dell laptop XPS L502X then less than one year old, has two USB ports and one combo USB/eSATA port. These connectors are designed to receive cable attachments from peripheral devices such as a backup hard drive, camera and MP3 player. I plugged a device into to USB/eSATA port and it simply broke off the motherboard, falling inside the unit. I thought, "How nice that, with one broken, this machine still has two working ports." However, a day later, one of the USB ports broke off as well. Now I wondered how many days until the third broke as well.

      Additionally, since new, the machine had a defective power cord connector. I had to hold the AC cord to the machine during a move, even tiny one. According to users online, this was not an unusual defect. Nor were the breaking USB connectors.

      I reported problems to Dell support and shipped the machine to their Ontario depot. They called to ask for a substantial payment, saying the warranty did not cover the needed repairs. They wouldn't provide an explanation nor would the agent transfer me to a supervisor. Since I would not pay, they returned the computer.

      Making contact with anyone in authority at Dell proved near impossible for a long time. Repeated emails went unanswered and telephone calls proved worthless. Eventually, someone at Dell realized that it was bad business to have tens of thousands of Internet readers reminded about the company's unwillingness to stand behind its warranty.

      Even after they agreed to repair the faults, it was a zoo. They claimed to have sent a return pack (shipping box, waybill, etc.) but it didn't arrive. They phoned regularly to ask if I had received it and each time I said no, they promised to ensure it was dispatched immediately. We probably had more than 20 phone calls and after more than a month, the needed materials arrived. I returned the computer and heard nothing for almost two weeks. Then one day, Purolator showed up with the machine ready to go.

      Dell had replaced the mother board, a daughter board and more. I still remain worried the same failures will occur again half a year or so down the road. I hope they fixed the underlying problem because connectors are worthless if they break easily when used as intended.

      Delete
    2. If you are having operating issues, try running Iobit's Advanced System Care free edition. It has been on PCMag's list of 100 best free software repeatedly.

      I install, run, then uninstall. That way I avoid Iobit's constant reminders to "upgrade" to the pro edition.

      Make sure you also run malware detection software. I use Malwarebytes Anti-Malware Free.

      Delete
  11. I have a laptop that is in dire need of repair. The problem is that the place that the manufacturer (Toshiba) recommends has a policy of erasing the hard drive if it is damaged or "the software is corrupted". The laptop's hard drive is perfectly fine, but it has only Linux installed on it, and I expect that Linux will be regarded as "corrupted" software, resulting in an unnecessary erasing of the disk

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    Replies
    1. Service depots make that warning to encourage computer owners to have up-to-date backups of their hard drive. Many repairs won't alter the disk, a few will. Customers need to be warned and encouraged to prepare for the eventuality of data loss.

      My repair issues did not involve the disk but I was prepared if it did come back empty. I'd be surprised if any manufacturer's repair depot cared about the contents of your computer. Linux is widely used and Toshiba won't be bothered by it. If you are concerned, call and ask first.

      The warning is aimed at protecting you and, regardless, regular backups should be a part of any owner's practice. You can buy a 1 Tb USB 3.0 portable hard drive for $100 if you shop carefully. I keep copies of some files online and that can be inexpensive and convenient.

      Here is a discussion that is worth reading for information about backups:
      Do you backup your computer data?

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  12. Any word on what's happening at Alex's site. Is THIS the earlier-announced upgrade?

    My suspicious mind imagines a hostile attack by BC Christy viruses.

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  13. An interesting comment from an Albertan in the Globe and Mail. The article was on the idea of under-parties cooperating and putting ONE candidate against the Cons in some ridings, such as the Calgary by-election. http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/politics/calgary-centre-a-wake-up-call-for-the-left-liberal-mp-says/article5749838/

    "Big Martini

    11:41 AM on November 28, 2012

    Its provincial, I know, but as an Albertan I can tell you there is a reason why Alberta is running 6 years of deficits even with $90+ oil. The issue is that Conservatives don't have to fight for votes, provincially or federally. You could run a scarecrow under a Conservative or PC banner and get elected. The result is a complete attitude of entitlement by government. Why bother being accountable? Look at Anders. The guy literally can just dial it in and get a six digit salary.

    Thats why I have so much more respect for the Libs, Dippers, Greens, and maybe even Wildrosers in Alberta. They have to FIGHT for your vote. They have to EARN it. Something that the Conservatives never have to worry about.

    When your MLA's and MP's run for office because it is an easy paycheck and looks good on a resume (Joan Crockatt) you just get bad MLA's and MP's. Sorry Alberta, you made your bed. You can sleep in it (just remember to make room for your deficit)."

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  14. Norm, regarding your captcha tool: I'm finding it much more friendly than Harvey's, which sometimes rejects me 5 times or more in a row. Harvey's is far clearer to read — though it seems to say "No soup for you!" for no reason, at times.

    Your letters and numbers can be way more difficult to read, as they are mashed together and/or low-res. My trick is to enlarge the image (on my Mac) by holding down the Control key while I spin the mouse wheel. I know there's a similar move on a PC, so I hope this trick is useful to people that may not know about it.

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    Replies
    1. Thanks for that. I hate the captcha tool but find that without it, I get close to 100 automated spam comments a day.

      Delete
  15. A copy of my letter to my MLA. I hope for an answer on Monday or Tuesday.

    Mr. Les,

    In Ms. Clark's year-end interview that played on CTV a few days ago, she twice talked about the election in 2014 — and wasn't corrected by the interviewer.

    The first was at 00:40 and the second was at 01:50.

    I'm wondering if she was just confused, as she sometimes is about her son's age... or has something changed in the election date?

    I await your reply.

    Yours,

    Barry Stewart
    46015 Larter Ave.

    http://bc.ctvnews.ca/video?playlistId=1.1091832

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  16. "The election will be May 14th, this year."

    I just received this from Jon Les' office, today: January 3, 2013.

    Keep that countdown clock running full steam, Norm!

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  17. Well, I remember my Grade 9 science class at Sutherland in North Van. Was it Mrs. Henderson? The clock was on the back wall of the class and low enough that anyone could reach it. For some reason it was missing its cover.

    When the teacher wasn't watching, someone would go to the clock and manually advance the minute hand. Soon, our teacher would look up and see that time had flown. "Class dismissed!"

    It worked a few times...

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    Replies
    1. That might work. Anyone have access to Christy Clark's watch?

      Delete
  18. I got robo-polled today. I just happened to be home at about noon. I wasn't near a pen or paper, so I forgot the name of the polling company. It was based out of Ottawa but when I do a search, nothing familiar pops up. Not Angus Reid, Ipsos or Gallup — but it sounded familiar. Perhaps someone else got the call and took better notes.

    Anyway, by the sound of the questions it was likely paid for by the NDP. "Press #1 for NDP," for example. I think the BC Christy party would put their name in the first position.

    It was asking about my level of happiness with the current BC government, but also the opposition's effectiveness — and who I'd likely vote for.

    Someone's getting ready.

    BTW: I posted 15 of my BC blogger adverts today.

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  19. I was poking around at the BC Jobs Plan site and found the “Be the Finance Minister for the Day,” simulator tool.

    We love to critique the government's moves; now here's a chance to step back and be critical of our own thinking and biases. It's a rough tool and not dynamic, like the Sim City game but it gives you an idea of the give-and-take of budgeting.

    Go ahead: play God for a few minutes and see if you can balance the budget. I did… though I’m sure I ticked off a lot of people!
    http://www.bcjobsplan.ca/my-b-c-budget/

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  20. Norm, I had forgotten that you and I were co-winners of "TIME MAGAZINE'S 2006 PERSON OF THE YEAR." LOL!

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    Replies
    1. If we spread this news too far, the BC Liberals will use it in a multi-million advertising campaign claiming the award for Christy Clark.

      By the way, where are the certificate to hang on our walls or medals to wear around our necks?

      Delete
  21. I'm a long time reader of your blog. I wanted to thank you for taking the time to publish your blog.
    Keep up the fight, because four years will go quickly if we use the time effectively to convince the voters for the next election.

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  22. Thanks Norm for your efforts. If it wasn't for you , Oberfeld, Mackin and Tsukumis I would not know what is going on in BC!!!!(by the way, where is the latter?)

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  23. Just checking if it's my Safari browser that has prevented me from adding comments at your site since 2013. Here's one from Firefox. Hmm... it appears so, as Firefox lets me get to the 'secret code' screen. Safari doesn't... just goes "poof!"

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    Replies
    1. Maybe Google doesn't want people using Safari. Guess I better check because I think I'm finally heading toward Apple for my next laptop.

      I'd prefer to eliminate that word verification filter but blogs like this one attract so much attention from spammers. I'll turn it off for a few days and see if we can proceed without it.

      Delete
  24. Dear Honourable Madame Premier,

    In the wake of WorkSafeBC's regrettable mishandling of the Burns Lake and Lakewood explosion probes, widespread concern has arisen concerning the quality of their investigations department. Jeff Dolan, the Crown Corporation's Director of Investigations, defended his performance by pointing out that in this case the work of his department had been up to their usual standards, and often this had been good enough.

    I have to agree with Mr Dolan; in fact it may well be that the disaster's inquest is an example of his department at its best game, because I know from first-person experience that some of his crew are capable of ineptitude so profound that it amounts to criminal endangerment of the public and obstruction of justice. Adding to their corruption, in order to hide their venal incompetence investigating a fraud on which I whistleblew, WSBC has tried to silence me with a threat of jail if I didn't shut up about their cover-up. Can that kind of thuggishness be legal?

    Eager to call their bluff—if Dolan were to try charging me with anything, it would be the beginning of my getting what I want: a fair public hearing of my story—I proved that Dolan's warning was just more WorkSafeBS by ramping up my 'jailable' behaviour. My death threat made against their Field Inspector XXXXXXX failed to provoke a comment from WSBC.

    Before I genuinely risked prison by threatening XXXXXXX, I had made many other more conventional good-faith attempts to engage the interest of somebody in law enforcement and other agencies regarding this matter. In the few cases when I wasn't ignored, not a shred of guidance was offered by those who seemed to grasp what had occurred.

    Another person has been making his independent efforts over the last four years to bring this fiasco to the notice of law enforcement. His visits to the VPD and subsequent letter to Jim Chu were ignored, as mine had been. He wrote a further letter explaining this to the Attorney General, and was favoured with a reply from a functionary who, showing little evidence of understanding the nature of his corespondent's complaint, recommended going to . . . Jim Chu.

    Don't attribute to conspiracy that which can be explained by stupidity. Neither should one ignore how apathy—especially when alloyed with the self-serving urge to circle the wagons and keep ones head down when bullets fly—infects our institutions and elected representatives. There is, however, unfortunate and ample evidence showing that those who make stupid mistakes often conspire to avoid taking responsibility for their bonehead errors.

    In order to provoke a public hearing of my allegations I have engaged in illegal activities other than the harmless—at least, no one seems to care—death threat against a crooked WSBC Fraud cop. I have vandalized private and public property, and I have publicly roughed-up and threatened a person connected to the fraud's cover-up. When asked by the police, I admit responsibility to all I have done. This goes overlooked by those who would silence me with the menace of jail for a few telephone calls.

    This should be cause for wonder in supernatural BC.

    Sincerely, David Clausen

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  25. It may be expunged before anyone gets to see the original at the Province, but here's a cut and paste of a conversation I had on the Surrey Teacher's Food Bank story:

    "Iker and wife, both teachers pulled in a quarter of a million last year, plus benefits.
    Reply · Like · Unfollow Post · 14 hours ago

    G Barry Stewart · Top Commenter · SFU
    Since no teacher even makes $90,000 in BC, I'll call you on that.

    Jim probably makes an extra stipend for being the president of a major union. Are you referring to that? I don't begrudge him one cent for all the extra pressure and time he has to put into that job.

    If it's just teachers' wages, no way they are even passing $200,000 together. A good wage to be sure — but "almost 1/5 of a million doesn't quite have the right ring to it, does it?"
    Reply · Like · 12 hours ago

    Province Editorial Pages · Vancouver, British Columbia
    G Barry Stewart From a reader: See for yourself.
    Iker and his wife Cheryl are employed as teachers in School District 91. According to that district's Schedule of Remuneration and Expense statement for the year ended June 30, 2013, Iker earned $96,155.85 and his wife earned $95,194.91 ... for a total of $191,350.76 ... for 10 months of work.

    In addition, Iker received a 'stipend' as a BCTF vice-president. This year, his 'stipend' as BCTF president will be at least 30% of his salary. Together, Iker and his wife earned in excess of $220,000 during the past school year.

    Readers can review the salaries paid to local teachers by going to http://www.bced.gov.bc.ca/accountability/district/sofi/welcome.htm, selecting their School District number, and clicking on "Get PDF File". Readers can decide whether teachers are suffering financially and deserve more taxpayer dollars."

    End of quote:

    What's this… The Province Editorial Pages stepped in and educated me?

    No! It was a fake Facebook account, pretending to be someone from the editorial pages. Who would do such an insidious thing?

    I left a message on the editor's phone, so it may be gone in the morning. Look quickly.

    http://www.theprovince.com/business/Surrey+Teachers+Association+opens+food+bank+striking+teachers/9952032/story.html

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  26. G. Barry StewartJune 28, 2014 at 8:35 PM

    Two points:

    • a follow-up on the above complaint about The Province. E-mail and phone messages didn't get any changes to the comments section (including a swearing, abusive post that stood for 4 or 5 days.) Then it dawned on me that I could package a copy of my complaint into a "Letter to the Editor."

    Shazam! The offending comments were pulled in short order. Sometimes you just need a bigger 2-by-4, I guess.

    • Norm, I couldn't find his name in your list of your favourite bloggers. I'd like to recommend Jim Nelson, a blogger that I've discovered recently. He's a retired Port Moody principal and an educational consultant. He writes well, especially on educational issues. Being retired, he doesn't have to bite his tongue!

    http://jimnelson806.com

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  27. G. Barry StewartJuly 9, 2014 at 6:41 PM

    Here's a little fun from Integrity BC: "Hydro-Quebec recently received approval to install 3.75 million smart meters by 2018. Total cost? Close to $1 billion, according to the utility. BC Hydro installed 1.8 million meters. Total cost? $930 million.
    Hydro-Quebec will buy and install nearly two million more smart meters for roughly the same price that BC Hydro told its customers the program would cost here in BC."

    More details to follow at:

    https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=680622485352494&set=a.112357325512349.20587.110030995744982&type=1&theater

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  28. Hey, Norm! Schools out (for September)! We need you back!

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  29. Great piece on Global, regarding the BCTF's court case and the BC Liberals' E-80: http://globalnews.ca/video/1554649/former-crown-prosecutors-legal-perspective-on-e-80

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    Replies
    1. In the Global piece, Sandy Garossino encourages people to read Justice Griffin's reasons for judgement. I studied it extensively and became convinced the BC Court of Appeal cannot overturn the judgement. The Judge pays close attention to the 2007 health decision made by the Supreme Court of Canada, upholding the Charter of Rights as applicable to this sort of case.

      As lawyer Garossino says, Griffin was one of the top civil litigators in Canada before appointment to the bench. In this case, the judge reported numerous instances of bad faith by government in the bargaining process. She clearly faults one side far more than the other.

      Most people are intimidated by lengthy court judgments, which is why I extracted a portion of the document at Dignity not in anti-union Liberal playbook . It's been read by thousands at my website but pass it on to others who want to know some of the elements that Sandy used to arrive at her opinion.

      Government knows it has little chance at appeal but hopes the closure of schools by strike will gain them support from citizens.

      I don't think the legal process will be as long as many suspect. After the BC Appeal Court throws out the government effort, Liberals will appeal to the SCOC. That, however, requires the court's acceptance or that last appeal dies. IMO, the SCOC will refuse to hear an appeal and may do so rather quickly. There is virtually no chance Justice Griffin's decision will be reviewed by the highest court. To do so would require a reversal of their carefully considered 2007 health decision, which itself was a reversal of previous rulings.

      Delete

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