Monday, September 30, 2013

The Charter of Quebec Values Defiles Human Rights

Canada is a nation built by people who came here from all four corners of the world. Some came in search of prosperity, others to escape tyranny, persecution or war. Each and every one had shared the commonality of a dream for a new life. Even today this dream is seen in the eyes of the thousands of immigrants who come to our shores. As each of these individuals stand with pride to become Canadian citizens they do so in security of a belief that their basic human rights are protected by law and legislation. Have they been misled in this belief?

We did not have to endure a revolutionary war to bring together the varying provinces. Those we call the Fathers of Confederation met in mutual acknowledgement of each others' individuality yet understood the need to work together for a common goal. As the voice for cultural identity grew in Quebec, we did not see a need for civil war, where friend would be facing friend in violence and death. Once again as Canadians we saw the value in reason and the acceptance of each others' individuality rather than anger and violence.

Finally in 1982 the Constitution Act became law. It took us over a hundred years to devise a document which set out the fundamental freedoms we as Canadians expect to have protected. One of those fundamental freedoms that the Constitution, the Charter of Rights and Freedoms of Canada guarantees is the “freedom of conscience and religion.”

Today Pauline Marois as the Premier of Quebec and supporter of the separatist movement, has decided to assault the very basic heart of humanity. Premier Pauline Marois has devised an 'ideal' where those employed in any state run job will have to make a devastating choice. Each individual of faith will have to choose whether they adhere to their religious beliefs or continue to hold the job they have. People in Quebec will have to decide if they continue to feed their families, keep a roof over their heads and provide a service to the community over their faith.

Premier Marois is quoted in Montreal's Le Devoir saying, “in England they're knocking each other over the head and throwing bombs because of multiculturalism and nobody knowing anymore who they are in that society.” She has in her own words identified religious signs as cultural signs, and sees the two as some obstacle that needs to be attacked.

No religion whether Christian, Jewish, Muslim, or any other teaches violence. Humanity has taken religion as an excuse to commit horrendous atrocities. In Salem, Massachusetts women were burned alive labelled as witches, sometimes simply because they refused the advances of a prominent man. A Catholic Pope formed an army to conquer and convert in the name of God. The Spanish Inquisition sought out to identify heresy by torture and murder. Adolf Hitler did his best to stamp out the Jewish faith. Stalin jailed and intimidated believers of the Russian Orthodox faith. In Northern Ireland the Catholics and the Protestants still haven't figured out what that was all about. Finally, how do we forget the mighty empire of Rome, before the Vatican got its lifetime lease in the capital city, and the entertaining coliseum playtime between Christians and lions.

All of this only scratches the surface of humanity's evolution. Still no God has asked their followers to commit any of these acts. Often it was faith that provided strength to conquer the conquerors. Now Premier Pauline Marois has decided she and her minority government will attack religion in our modern society, a society which guarantees freedom of conscience and religion. Can it be that Pauline Marois sees herself mightier than the Pharaoh, Caesar, Fuhrer, or Chairman by labelling her stand as a desire to subdue divisive multiculturalism?

The Parti Quebecois government's Charter of Quebec Values according to Pauline Marois will be a uniting force for the province. Premier Marois said, “We are moving forward in the name of all the women, all the men, who choose Quebec for our culture, for our freedom, and for our diversity.” (Canadian Press August 25, 2013). A proposed ban on the wearing of conspicuous religious symbols and headwear by state employees is claimed to be done so in the name of all men and women and proving the diversity that exists in Quebec? It appears that the Church of High Hypocrisy has found a new high priest in Quebec.

State employees such as judges, prosecutors, police officers, correctional agents, public and private daycare workers, school board personnel in elementary and high school, CEGEP's and universities as well as public health and social services, will all have to face the ban on religious freedom. Government documents permit certain board of directors such as those in CEGEP's and universities or municipal councils to adopt a resolution which will allow its personnel to wear religious symbols. This authorization will be valid for a period of five years and renewable according to government documents.

Bernard Drainville, Democratic Institutions Minister said “the time has come for us to rally around clear rules and common values which will put an end to tensions and misunderstandings.” Thousands of people have taken to the street in demonstrations against this Charter of Quebec Values. Quebec Muslims for Rights and Freedoms (QMDL) had been formed to represent some 50 civil and religious Muslim organisations in protest to the charter. This group states it is against all restrictions relating to wearing all religious symbols in the workplace. Though this group fully agrees that government employees should at all times have their faces uncovered whilst performing their duties, and that everyone should remove their face veil in order to be identified.

Internationally renowned philosopher Charles Taylor, who co-presided over Quebec's 2007 commission on the accommodation of minorities and other civil-rights experts have been outraged by these proposals. Taylor said, “I challenge you to find another country in the hemisphere where we have this kind of exclusion.” (Canadian Press August 25, 2013). Charles Taylor compared Quebec's proposals to that of Russia, “In Russia, if you believe that homosexuals should have the same rights as others you cannot be open about it. It would be considered propaganda, it's a type of crime of conscience. If we look at what is proposed here, for sure it does not go as far, but it says that if you have certain convictions you are a second-class citizen because those who have such convictions cannot apply for a job in the public sector.”

Justin Trudeau was the first prominent federal politician to voice his condemnation of the Quebec proposals, and has not changed his public stand on the issue since. At times Justin Trudeau had stirred angry responses from Pauline Marois and Minister Bernard Drainville who blame Trudeau on deepening divisions.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper told a press conference that the PQ separatist government looks to pick fights with Ottawa. Harper said, “But that's not our business, our business is the economy. Our business is job creation for Canadians – all Canadians, including Quebecors.” (Alexander Panettta, Canadian Press August 29 2013).

A month later the Conservative government had responded in a different tone to the Quebec proposal. Employment Minister Jason Kenney said, “We are very concerned by any proposal that would limit the ability of Canadians to participate in our society and that would affect the practice of their faith.” He further said that the federal government would have lawyers review the bill if it becomes law.

Federal NDP leader Tom Mulcair had brushed off any comment in regards to the Marois proposals with the charter, though his tone changed also in the following weeks. It appears both Prime Minister Harper and the NDP leader Mulcair have bowed under the growing public opinion against the Quebec Charter of Values.

Minister Drainville, who is responsible for the Quebec Charter of Values may attempt to point to France for his inspiration. France banned the wearing of religious symbols in publicly funded primary and high schools in 2004, though the ban in France was never as wide as the proposed charter by the PQ. European countries have faced heated debate over religious symbols but often it has been on security levels as with the issue of face veils. Today the world has a genuine need to seriously look at security issues to protect its people. Kenya and the massacre of innocents is a horrific reminder of how terrorists disregard human life, only wishing to inflict fear in the name of their own sick and twisted cause.

Quebec's Charter of Values has no basis on security issues and its desire to create a division in Quebec's society is frightening. The Quebec Soccer Federation had to lift its ban on the wearing of turbans on Quebec soccer fields. World headlines ridiculed Quebec and outside pressure was loud and clear, even though Pauline Marois accused all in opposition as Quebec bashers.

Minister Bernard Drainville, the architect and lead on the proposed charter has said, “The proposals we are going to table are very balanced proposals. I think they find an appropriate balance between the respect of human rights and the respect of Quebecers' common values.” It is becoming increasingly difficult to understand what is the motivation behind the proposed charter. Pauline Marois claims it will be a uniting force in the province, Minister Drainville claims it is in respect of human rights, and the world sits back in shock at the absurdity of it all.

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Sunday, September 15, 2013

Can opposition be silenced?

Both a title worthy of thought and a question requiring an answer. In a climate where censorship and corruption feed off each other opposition dwindles to a trickle. Power thrives surrounded by the silence of indifference. Often in such a scenario a lone voice standing against such corruption becomes the epitome of a 'David and Goliath' story. Still David was victorious, and that can be repeated today.

In Canada there is a belief that our rights are guaranteed. No such guarantee exists, that is the reality. Those who corrupt society will corrupt everything in the end. Their minions are cowards, their weapon of choice, intimidation and threat. On Tuesday the 10th of September, those cowards were unleashed.

It had been reported that an investigation for breach of Code of Conduct against City of St. Catharines Councillor Jeff Burch had been filed. The Standard published the story written by Marlene Bergsma. Both the name of the councillor and the complainant had been omitted from the article by Bergsma.

The Standard has long ceased acting like a newspaper when events unfold around the city. It was Marlene Bergsma who wrote an article in 2010, intentionally lying to help cover up corruption. On that occasion Bergsma lied in print to save Mayor Brian McMullan and Councillor Jennie Stevens. At the time it was the fixing of a legal by-law fine by Brian McMullan and the infamous telephone answering machine message by Jennie Stevens. In the telephone answering machine message that Councillor Jennie Stevens left, she confirmed in her own voice that the fine had been fixed by Mayor McMullan. Marlene Bergsma lied about the by-law fine and what she claimed were facts. This time Marlene Bergsma omits any facts from the story, disregards the complainant, but does provide a quote by the very same Councillor Jennie Stevens. No not from a telephone answering machine but presumably direct to 'reporter' Bergsma. According to Marlene Bergsma Councillor Jennie Stevens “fears” that the complaint could be “frivolous or vexatious.”

Councillor Stevens indeed has fears, she fears that the facts surrounding her actions and that of fellow Councillor Jeff Burch are made public. She fears the fact that she became a conspirator in the fixing of a lawful fine by Mayor Brian McMullan. Although for the moment Councillor Jennie Stevens can cuddle in a blanket of comfort that Marlene Bergsma will not provide the people with the truth, and The Standard will not publish it. Instead Marlene Bergsma does what she does best in relation to what is the full story.

Marlene Bergsma then provided another gem of a quote, this one from the city clerk Bonnie Nistico-Dunk. The city clerk said in relation to the integrity commissioner, “she could look at the complaint and throw it out.” Here the Marlene and Bonnie tag team provide another intentional misconception with semantics. As the integrity commissioner Suzanne Craig will request that all the evidence relating to the allegations be presented by the individual who filed the complaint. She will speak with that individual, she will without doubt speak with Councillor Burch and listen to his explanations. In the end it will be up to the integrity commissioner Suzanne Craig to decide if the evidence indeed proves the allegations or not.

The eloquence of the city clerk Bonnie-Nistico Dunk does not reflect the dollar value of public money paid for her services. Still this is The Standard and the intentions were to simply provide the potential groundwork for deceit once again. As is often the case an article appears on The Standard's online edition,, first allowing comment by readers and others. Here in this arena modern society has provided a fertile ground for cowards to flourish. Each of these individuals seems to find a need to hide behind fictitious names as they add their words of wisdom.

One such individual using the name Bob Eubanks entered the arena. That name it uses is false. There is no way to know if it is a he or a she, so it will be referred to as a 'shim'. Whoever this Bob Eubanks is, it decided that lies and insult may be added to the intentional misconceptions already laid done by The Standard and Marlene Bergsma.

'Shim' Bob Eubanks takes a swipe at claiming it is “read by a handful of people.” For legal purposes a screen capture had been done of the Google statistics page of the same date as the comment. Mayorgate has grown to be read in over 16 countries, and the numbers since January 1st 2013 have hit well over 130,000. The reason is simple, unlike mainstream media with their political alliances, we have no such debt to pay, or pander to. All the articles published on Mayorgate are documented with evidence and provided with researched fact. 

Mayor Brian McMullan is quite aware of this as he tried to threaten Mayorgate with legal action. In response Mayorgate published both his threat and the evidence against him, Mayor Brian McMullan decided to back off. There are no misconceptions, no lies in the articles published, and it is a collaboration of more than one to achieve these standards. It is also a collaboration with people, members of the community who contact us with information and leads to potential articles, confident that the information will be handled with objectiveness and honesty.

This individual goes on to lie even further when it refers to a letter to the Queen of England. Her Majesty the Queen indeed had been contacted, although not over parking tickets, that is simply a lie by a coward. The issue brought to the attention of Her Majesty related to our parliamentary democracy and the fact that the Governor-General, David Johnston had overstepped the boundaries of his responsibilities and authority. In return Buckingham Palace responded on two separate occasions proving that the hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars are in fact wasted on ancient ties to the Monarchy.

As far as parking tickets go which 'shim' Eubanks refers to, that is another issue all together. In Canada we have this belief that our laws are equally applicable to all Canadians. An absolute and alarming falsehood, especially when corruption at government levels take a hand, as it had in St. Catharines.

One individual by the name of John Reiter decided that the law did not apply to him, and that he could do as he pleased. John Reiter works for Metro Freightliner, he drove a white Ford van often with a trailer attached for his ride-on mowers and other equipment. He was also a personal friend of Sheila Morra and her husband Tony Morra. At the time Sheila Morra was a City of St. Catharines Councillor and lived opposite John Reiter on Glendale Avenue.

Parking tickets are a slap on the wrist to those who decide to park illegally. Most drivers obey the law although there are times when one is in a hurry or simply cannot find a parking vacancy and so a driver decides to take a risk. John Reiter decided that the law did not apply to him at all. Reiter had no care for the safety of innocent people at all. As the intersection at Almond and Glendale is not a safe one he decided to park his vehicles illegally almost every day for several years, with over 500 photographs taken. City staff were contacted, the mayor's office was contacted, the Parking Authority too were contacted, the Niagara Regional Police and Councillor Jennie Stevens also were contacted. No one did anything to enforce the law, in the case of Councillor Jennie Stevens who came and looked at the photos and then left and never to be heard of again, only questions remain. Hundreds of photographs spanning several years of intentional abuse of the law and not one single parking infringement written! Corruption at the City offices on Church Street is the only answer.

The truth matters little to a 'shim' like Bob Eubanks who hides behind a false name. He was joined by another 'shim' who went by a tag called 'city dweller'. This individual decided to identify where the complainant actually lives. In the end cowardice is a human trait seen throughout history, and presents no surprise when exhibited by the likes of Bob Eubanks or city dweller. Instead a true affront to dignity comes from The Standard and those associated with it.

Reporters Marlene Bergsma and Jeff Bolichowski are not strangers to deceit and misconception. Peter Conradi as a City Editor in 2006 at The Standard doctored photographs to suit a story rather than the truth, now he is Editor-In-Chief. Censorship takes a new twist at the hands of those who claim to present the news at The Standard.

Finally columnist Doug Herod presents his opinion on September 13th 2013 titled, 'Code of conduct fine... until complaint received.' Doug Herod at The Standard often thinks he is clever or funny, this time he tries to stay a little more on the serious side. He says that he thought a Code of Conduct was a waste of time and that “there were already a number of existing ways to keep municipal politicians in check.” Doug Herod naturally does not mention in what ways we can keep those politicians “in check.” There is enough hard evidence that proves corruption, whether the fact that one individual was protected from the consequence of the law for several years, or the fixing of a lawful by-law fine by the mayor and city councillor. He may look at the fact that the mayor admitted to a breach of the Criminal Code without consequence, or the fact that city officials knowingly permitted a business to break the law for over five years and then attempt to cover it up. Maybe Doug Herod would have the courage to examine the facts of the deceit by the city councillor who is to be investigated. Though facts would not be something columnist Doug Herod of The Standard would entertain.

A frightening reality exists in Canada and the people have not been allowed to awaken to it. Those who elect the representatives of government have no rights once the elected take office. In a democracy that has to be frightening. Now councillors like Joe Kushner want to change the Code of Conduct, and that is no surprise. In the end, when censorship and deceit emanates from the media, corruption is enabled to take stronger roots.

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