August 22, 2020
By: Amy MacPherson
It is with great regret that I must address a very serious personal matter. As some of you know, my fiancé is a missing person and it’s now been two months since his location was known. I’ve tried to keep this matter private to protect his wellbeing and reputation, as a senior research scientist with Natural Resources Canada. But the consequences of waiting any longer are too great to ignore. as my own health is failing and I will soon be completely blind and unable to communicate through the internet in the effort to find him.
I also fear that my issue has broader implications, as the cause of my loved one’s missing status is a direct result of Phoenix pay issues that are being exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic. If this is happening to my family, there may be other families that are impacted in a similar way.
What follows is my letter to my fiancé’s boss and the president of his union. It lays out everything you need to know to grasp the severity of this situation. The closing of my post will include a description of their responses (or lack thereof) and identifying information. so the public can help me find my partner before anything bad can happen to him.
I apologize from the bottom of my heart for any embarrassment this may cause him. My actions are motivated by love and not vengeance, as well as duress that I am clearly under. Several friends have encouraged me to involve the police instead of taking this route, but in my decades of experience, law enforcement is the wrong entity to take control of a mental health situation. Their tools are extremely limited to blunt-force instruments and despite the good intentions of police, what’s needed here is a de-escalation. I felt that asking for the public’s help was the lesser of two evils in an impossible scenario. Some of you may disagree, but please know that I tortured myself while thinking this over and coming to a decision.
(My original email to NRCan contained typos due to my failing vision. I sent two emails in total, to amend those errors. For the sake of what privacy I’m still able to protect, the contact information for my fiancé’s boss has been partially redacted in this publication.)
From: Amy M <XXXXXX@XXXXXX>
To: Taylor XXXXXX <XXXXXX@canada.ca>
CC: President <XXXXXX@pipsc.ca>
Sent: Tuesday, July 28, 2020 at 5:49pm
Please forgive any typos. I obviously meant to say Natural Resources Canada. I didn’t realize that auto-correct was entering “National Resources Canada” in error. My vision is so poor that it’s like trying to read through a frosted glass window. I do apologize and no disrespect was intended.
Yours very truly,
From: Amy M <XXXXXX@XXXXXX>
To: Taylor XXXXXX <XXXXXX@canada.ca>
CC: President <XXXXXX@pipsc.ca>
Sent: Tuesday, July 28, 2020 at 4:12am
July 28, 2020 – URGENT Re Missing Scientist
National Resources Canada
Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario, XXXXXX
Ph: (705) XXX–XXXX
Fx: (705) XXX–XXXX
Cl: (705) XXX–XXXX
Ottawa, Ontario, XXXXXX
Ph: (613) XXX–XXXX
Fx: (613) XXX–XXXX
XXXXXX, Ontario, XXXXXX
Ph: (705) XXX-XXXX
Cl: (705) XXX–XXXX (preferred)
I deeply regret the need to write to you under these circumstances. It’s not every day that someone’s fiancé becomes a missing person, sparking a process of engaging with emergency services and government bureaucracy. There is no etiquette handbook regarding how to do this and I’m trying my best to manage an extremely stressful situation. I’ve done everything possible to be calm and respectful toward you and National Resources Canada, as well as navigating cautiously around my partner’s employment so this intervention doesn’t impact him negatively and make the situation any worse than it is currently.
But I’m growing concerned that you haven’t kept your word by calling me back and all I’m getting is radio silence when I attempt to get you on the telephone since our original contact. For that reason I’m putting my concerns and plea for assistance in writing to generate a government record, in addition to ensuring that NRCan is fully aware of the details surrounding the disappearance of senior research scientist, Dr. Barry J. Cooke. I’m not looking to become adversarial with the government, so please accept my communiqué as being motivated by genuine love, care, and distress.
When we spoke on Tuesday, July 14, 2020, around 8pm ET, I reached you on your cellphone. I obtained that number from your official work voicemail greeting that advises everyone to contact your cell during the COVID-19 pandemic, due to working from home. I trust that I was not behaving inappropriately by using that personal contact information.
During that conversation we spoke for some time, as I explained that Barry is a missing person. I shared some of the details to express my belief that he’s suffering from a mental health event and to convey that his disappearance is a bona fide cause for concern. I further explained that I inquired with you because you’re the only person who knows where his trailer is located, in a nondescript rural area beyond the outskirts of Sault Ste. Marie. I was also aware that Barry had to keep his phone turned on, to be reachable by NRCan throughout the pandemic and dynamic working conditions.
You responded with several questions that I accept were appropriate, despite making me feel uncomfortable. I gather you were trying to determine if I was interfering in Barry’s employment due to a domestic spat and blowing a personal situation out of proportion, possibly in an act of revenge. I believe I satisfied your doubts enough that you agreed to search for Barry and you asked for a few days to look into his welfare before calling me back.
During our initial call, you indicated a few things that I will note for the record. You stated that you don’t know the specific location of Barry’s trailer – only a general vicinity. You agreed that you’re supposed to be able to reach Barry while he’s offsite during the pandemic and would attempt to make contact. While still entertaining the possibility this was nothing more than a domestic dispute, you asked if you were able to get in touch with Barry and he refused to speak with me – would I accept his denial. I agreed that I would and stressed the most important thing is locating his whereabouts to ensure he’s okay.
I was prepared to accept the government’s state of unknowing pertaining to my intentions, because I’m also unsure of Barry’s mental state and his intentions. I can appreciate that any outsider would question the chicken or the egg; whether a romantic rift led to his flight, or greater emotional instability caused Barry to behave erratically and threaten his own well-being. On that topic in particular, you asked if Barry threatened to harm himself and I indicated he did not, but there are more details you’re not aware of yet that point to negative trajectories.
In the interim I was trying to remain level-headed and avoid jumping to unhelpful conclusions, so I only shared enough information to cause you to search for signs of life. As Barry’s family, I’m obligated to contact anyone who might know where he is before I embarrass him by filing a police report, if in fact it is unfounded. I can’t go to the police and say I think he’s missing, but I haven’t bothered to look or check any of his usual places. The police wouldn’t take me seriously if I didn’t call his workplace. So that’s what I did to work through this methodically, without causing him or me unwarranted shame and complications.
The last thing I want to do is imperil Barry’s employment, when it might be one of few things still holding him slightly together. It doesn’t matter if the employer is a champion of human and labour rights, because I’m old enough to recognize the stigma surrounding mental illness and emotional crisis will persist, in contrast to any regulations prohibiting this discrimination. Unfortunately it’s human nature to distrust anyone ‘different’ in a society that doesn’t actively educate about these health issues.
I’m not just a recovering journalist. I used to be a spokesperson for the Ontario Association of Social Workers during government budget and policy consultations. Therefore I tried to keep as much of Barry’s situation private as possible. I told you enough of what you needed to know to provide the assistance he needs, without divulging every last detail. However and due to your lack of response, I’m sincerely worried that NRCan is either circling the wagons or failing to take Barry’s situation seriously enough. Because it’s possible his life may hang in the balance and you’re the only person with any ability to locate Barry, should he be safe and sound, I will now share more about his crisis, albeit reluctantly and with heaps of caution. I am not a doctor and what follows is not grounds to penalize Barry any more than he’s already suffered. This is my personal opinion, supported by facts, that suggest a need for qualified medical intervention and proper support from National Resources Canada.
Before I get to those details, I wish to indicate that I waited patiently for you to respond with the outcome of your search. You requested “a few days” to look into this and to speak with your boss regarding procedural obligations within NRCan. When I didn’t hear from you after a week, I began calling again. I left messages on your cellphone voicemail; one on Tuesday, July 21, 2020 around 2:45pm, one on Wednesday, July 22, 2020 around 8pm, and one on Thursday, July 23, 2020 around 3:30pm. None of my calls have been returned. I’m still unaware if NRCan considers Barry to be a missing person or if he’s been located. By the time you receive my email it will be two full weeks that NRCan has been aware of a missing person inquiry and failed to respond whatsoever.
I tiptoe lightly through the next part, from a personal and professional perspective. I’m absolutely intimidated to raise legal considerations with the government, but I’d be remiss if I didn’t gently nudge you to contemplate the ramifications for everyone involved.
On a personal level and as I explained, I’ve only heard good things about you, Taylor. You’ve been as much a friend to Barry as his boss and I’m keenly aware that I owe my blended family to everything you did to help him resettle in Ontario. Barry has said many times that your adherence to ethics mirrors mine, as a matter of default and preoccupation. He admires your courage to tackle bureaucratic dysfunction and that you don’t shrink from hot topics. In better times, he’s been anxious to introduce us because he thinks we’d get along famously and the banter would be exciting. You can’t imagine how sorry I am to squander the promise of that positive introduction.
Despite anything I might say in this letter, I regret causing damage to your friendship with Barry or making myself look like a threat of any kind. That is not my intention and I’m hopeful we can be friendly on the other side of this chaos. Please understand that my first obligation is to my fiancé and his immediate welfare though. None of what I say is an attack on you or the government. It’s just a complex situation we’re now required to sort through together.
On a professional level (and this is where it gets prickly), I believe I’m afforded some rights as Barry’s emergency contact and dependent within the records of NRCan. A couple of years ago, he said he made this change to his file as well as adding me to his benefits package. If I’m wrong or he changed the record to remove me recently, you will need to correct my understanding. I only have Barry’s word to go by and this is what he told me when we got engaged.
I would think that any workplace needs to take a missing persons report seriously, regardless of who made it. I would think that any reasonable person should expect the workplace to be cooperative with a missing persons case as well. I’m at a loss to understand why NRCan believes it can take two weeks or more to confirm if their staff is alive. As the emergency contact for Barry, I’m not clear that it’s legal for NRCan to ignore me. This is cruel and unusual punishment, especially given the many considerations I’ve already shared with you and the fact that Barry may be in danger this whole time.
NRCan’s reluctance to respond is directly interfering with my ability to involve the police and obstruction is not a word that anyone should accept when it comes to the plight of searching for a missing person in apparent emotional distress. During our conversation and every voice message I’ve left since, I mention the need to initiate a police search if NRCan isn’t able to locate Barry either.
If you know that Barry is okay and he just doesn’t wish to speak with anyone, you need to let me know. Otherwise NRCan would be setting me up to make a false police report for a missing person, knowingly so. False reports waste a lot of taxpayer dollars and I could be criminally charged with mischief for relaying information that isn’t true. My only defence would be claiming the government’s negligence and that’s a brutal scenario to create for NRCan families. Plus the government would be impugning my reputation within the community and as a professional journalist, if the plan is to let me make the report while knowing NRCan would debunk it when the police came calling to locate Barry.
Whether anyone likes it or not, the government has a duty to respond to me, one way or another, to confirm the status of an employee. The public service is not the secret service and it doesn’t get to hide staff from being discovered alive. It has a fiduciary duty to Barry as well, to not deliberately ignore his welfare and make his family think he might be dead, if you know he’s alive and well. Moreover, the government has a fiduciary duty to ensure the police know if a staff member has gone missing. Waiting weeks to do that, when the family has notified NRCan of the issue, would make the government liable for any harm that comes to him.
Nobody needs a law degree to understand that concept and the last place I want to be is in court with the government while I’m grieving the loss of my partner, should he meet an untimely end. This isn’t a threat. It’s just the cold, hard reality for both of us. I’m as obligated to report him missing as you are, if neither of us can locate Barry anywhere. If NRCan is taking its time to get around to an investigation because they question my credibility, it would be detrimental to the sitting government’s reputation for its handling of mental health emergencies as well.
Please let me be emphatically clear: This is not what I want. What I want is for Barry to be okay and able to receive help. I want for him to be found and I want to work with the government to locate him. I want to be friends and not the butt of an inappropriate joke that fails to value mental health and the lives of staff. Even if Barry is okay, don’t you think he’s dealing with serious issues if his family is worried he may be lost and distraught or dead?
Now that the prickly part is out of the way, we can begin to address the things you may not know and why I’m genuinely worried about Barry’s welfare.
Via your questions during our telephone conversation, I can tell that you’re approaching me like a casual girlfriend who has no rights (unlike a wife) and that you’re protecting Barry’s right to walk away from me if he decided to end the relationship. You asked about ownership of the car, shared bank accounts, and things of this nature. You asked if he left any belongings at my home, I guess to ascertain if he broke up with me and had any intention of coming back.
Regardless of our family management plans and who owns what or pays for what, Barry and I are in a common-law relationship and have been for a number of years. We are engaged and did intend to be legally married, but whether we tie the knot is almost neither here nor there. Common-law partners have nearly the same rights and responsibilities as married couples in the Province of Ontario, so he doesn’t get to exit the relationship and escape financial obligations. This is a common misconception among people who’ve never had to navigate the family court system. (Oddly enough, the reason we’re not married yet is because of NRCan – more on this soon).
My relationship with Barry began on October 19, 2015. I’m the reason he left Alberta and relocated to Ontario. I’m the reason he took your old job as the Ontario Entomologist in the year that it took to conclude his life in Edmonton and begin anew here. We’ve been together for nearly five years and he’s been using my address as his home for more than four years. He became my son’s step-dad and they’ve shared car insurance policies all that time as well. Much of Barry’s mail arrives at my home, including correspondence with his union over the continuing grievance at NRCan. In no way, shape, or form are we casually dating.
Barry’s emotional distress is caused by a few issues, but all of them relate to me and NRCan. He thought because precedents were set for other employees to work on deployment that he would be able to request a similar arrangement through the University of Toronto, in partnership with NRCan. He spent a lot of time lining that up and making the inroads necessary to create a space for him at the school. This was important to Barry because I own my home in Wasaga Beach, I’m physically disabled, and I can’t relocate to Sault Ste. Marie.
Needless to say, he was disappointed when NRCan denied his request to be treated equally and granted the same distance leeway as fellow staff. The commute from Sault Ste. Marie to Wasaga Beach is eight hours, whereas the commute from Toronto is two hours. One is feasible and the other isn’t. He originally planned to spend half the year living with me (while working in Toronto) and half the year spending two weekends per month at home (while working in the Soo).
When this didn’t pan out, he was disillusioned at the discrepancy between staff. My disabilities require daily support and he knew this was letting me down in such a severe way that it could threaten the viability of our relationship. Although he earns a healthy income, it’s still not enough to cover a nurse/PSW and maintenance people on a regular basis. But I stood by Barry because I love him and so did my son. My boy agreed to remain at home (hijacking his plans to leave for college), so he could assist me until Barry was able to amend his working/living arrangements in a way that I could manage.
The winters became hard, to do the eight hour commute on weekends. Sometimes it was just too dangerous to drive in white-out conditions that notoriously plague that route. He had a few accidents that were mostly small, but his life flashed before his eyes when he narrowly missed a rockface. That’s why Barry began working tons of overtime when he was in Sault Ste. Marie, so he could bank it and come home for a week or two at a time. You were very kind in making at least that much possible (thank you).
None of this was the life we imagined when we began our journey together, but we stuck together as families do to overcome the challenges. Barry kept trying to finagle arrangements that would get him closer to home, or home for longer stretches. In return I vowed to stay with him and I tried to pitch the worst-case scenario as something we could handle. His retirement wasn’t that far away in the grand scheme of things, for soulmates to be united. If we all pitched in, including my son, there was no tribulation that could keep us apart.
But then Barry was hit with problems at NRCan that persist to this day and they’re entirely responsible for his current compounded crisis.
The Edmonton lab is such a toxic workplace that it’s known by everyone in forestry across the country (my words as an experienced political journalist, not Barry’s). You had to fight for his transfer to Ontario because they sought to block his freedom of movement. We’re eternally grateful you intervened and that the Great Lakes Forestry Centre is a positive, productive environment. But that wasn’t the only problem they caused for him.
When Barry took a year’s leave to assume your old job with the Province of Ontario (to facilitate his migration), the Edmonton lab (vindictively or negligently) withheld crucial information that cost us many thousands of dollars. As payroll resumed with NRCan upon transfer to GLFC and conclusion of his leave, he was unexpectedly penalized for a year’s worth of the employer’s contribution to the health benefit. No one told him this would happen. There were steps he could have taken to prevent that penalty but Edmonton refused to tell him.
We were then in a position of needing to cover two residences (my home and an apartment for Barry in the Soo because he was blocked from deployment). We had to budget for those considerable extra costs, while also paying the employer’s health tax that was improperly deducted from each of his paycheques at hundreds of dollars every month. That health contribution amounted to the equivalent of a third residence that we were forced to pay for an entire year.
But we did it, with help from his coworker. Will (Wil, William?) rented Barry a cheap room for $400 per month, with storage space for his belongings from the previous marriage. That worked for a while; though the property was a university party house, appliances were regularly broken, and Barry couldn’t get much sleep or privacy. Will is also a funny character (my words) and he took offence whenever Barry needed to request something (like a working stove or fellow tenants to stay out of his room). He was basically told to like it or lump it and not to complain about the kids’ destruction of property. Then Will tried to illegally raise Barry’s rent because he didn’t mesh well with a party crowd that was more than half his age.
We didn’t want to create waves at work by taking issue with Will’s behaviour. What we’re doing is already challenging enough and it didn’t need to be complicated by fruitless arguments with a coworker. So Barry found another place to live across the street from the forestry centre. He tried to negotiate paying for Will’s storage space because there was no space in the new location. But again, Will was a funny character and he tried to charge Barry the same amount of rent, just to store his things in a garage that no one was using.
It was beginning to feel like everyone at NRCan thought he was made of money for the taking. That hurt Barry, though he never told anyone at GLFC. I don’t even think he told you, because you’ve been an amazing friend and he didn’t want to be the source of trouble for anyone. This was Barry’s clean slate, free of the toxic meddling and hijinks in Edmonton, working with a team he truly respects, and enjoying the reward of collaborating with inspired people.
Don’t mix business with pleasure, they say, as he tried his best to swallow everything that was morphing from a molehill into an actual mountain that Barry wouldn’t be able to climb. It’s unfortunate he only knows coworkers in the Soo and he tried to tread softly on that circumstance. Relocating to another province is challenging under the best conditions and the cards he was dealt upon arrival were quite daunting.
Barry’s financial situation was further exacerbated by Brookfield and the government’s penchant for outsourcing important functions (again, my words). His moving expenses were supposed to be covered, but the company’s inner bureaucracy sorely delayed the process and it was several months before he was reimbursed. We had to shoulder that cost, once more in the thousands of dollars, despite his paycheque being improperly shorted for a year straight. During that time I sent care packages of food, so we knew that he could eat while away from home. For a while he was living on nothing but oatmeal and this upset me when I found out.
(The longer I write, the more colloquial I may express myself and I’m trying desperately to keep this professional. If you could permit me one lapse, I just need to utter “what the heck” to the Government of Canada. His income is on the sunshine list that everyone in media gripes about, but the gauntlet of errors and lollygagging with corrections is costing more than public servants can earn anymore. This is patently insane and it’s only getting worse, enough to compromise the mental health of government staff. I’ve worked for the Liberals so my frustration isn’t partisan motivated. I want this administration to succeed. I just don’t understand how things could be so dysfunctional that employees can’t afford to eat and no one will bother to check if they’re still alive when a distress call arises. I don’t think I’d be human if this didn’t break my heart and cause concern in the utmost.)
Continuing, the financial stresses from NRCan weren’t nearly done compounding. After Barry completed the year’s worth of improper deductions to cover the employer’s health tax, those nasty Phoenix payroll issues ensued to replace one problem with another. With all due respect, this was worse than a 1-2 punch. Every time Barry’s paycheque was set to be properly restored, something else came along to skim significant chunks of his income on behalf of a wayward treasury department.
That grievance has been dragging on for about two years. That in itself is unacceptable (more on this topic soon).
I expect you’re aware of most information I just shared, but perhaps the government hasn’t considered these issues from the family’s functional perspective and the damage NRCan is causing beyond its office walls. Told in a story format, it paints a stunning picture. But I want you to see in 3-D so I will now explain some details you surely didn’t know.
When the Phoenix errors began, Barry wasn’t expecting it. He didn’t experience these miscellaneous hiccups during implementation of the new system like others in the public service. Special care was to be taken as the employer health tax was eventually removed from his deductions as well (with assistance from the union). His original salary was restored and he had no cause to suspect they would incorrectly change his remuneration category to a lower level than he always earned. He still doesn’t have an answer regarding how or why that happened (to the best of my understanding, as per Barry’s explanation).
Like anyone, Barry’s income is direct-deposited and most of his bills have an automated withdrawal. You can’t get things like car insurance without automatic payments and items such as lines of credit are automatically deducted as well. So one October night he was driving back to the Soo and he was stopped by the police. It was then he learned that his insurance bounced and he was charged for driving without coverage. That’s how he discovered the brand new payroll discrepancy.
Barry didn’t know what to do and he couldn’t afford a lawyer. I didn’t find out for nearly a year because he was afraid to tell me. By this point his income woes were affecting his self esteem and he was afraid I might decline his marriage proposal if I learned he got in trouble with the police. I would have fought it and represented him in court if I knew, but I’m also forced to appreciate how emasculated he must have felt. He was relying on a disabled woman to feed him veritable rations, as he laboured through the madness at work to earn my love and respect. At some point it doesn’t matter how often you tell someone they’re loved when they’ve lost respect for themself. It still hurts me to know that Barry was suffering that much in silence.
In any event, he pleaded guilty because that was the only way to get an extended agreement to pay the mandatory minimum $5,000 fine. At least that’s what the Crown Attorney told him and he was never advised of the additional consequences that would come to bear in the insurance system. He couldn’t seek that advice because NRCan had been ravaging his paycheque for two years in one form or another, and people on the sunshine list don’t qualify for Legal Aid (nor should they need to).
Barry tried to cover up the Phoenix errors and repercussions so I wouldn’t get cold feet and leave him for being unreliable/inadequate. I never put those thoughts in his head and they were purely driven by his own fear and stress, related to the never-ending payroll nightmares. I finally got this out of him when we did a bit of counselling with one of my dear friends.
I didn’t complain how hard it was to get by without him at home, but you know Barry has a big heart and it pained him to leave me fending for myself, on top of all else. My son was trying to hold down a job during this time away from his education and he had to look after all of Barry’s responsibilities. Shoveling the driveway. Taking me to surgeries and medical appointments. Taking out the garbage. Doing groceries and carrying them. Cooking much of the time. And falling behind his peers with no social life, while trying to be a young man who was supposed to begin his own adventure. Barry has/had a wonderful relationship with my son, but this weighs/weighed on him too.
Meanwhile, Barry was put in a position of robbing Peter to pay Paul. By the time five grand arrived from Brookfield to reimburse his moving costs, it had already come from his personal credit to cover the fees upfront. Any money coming in was then needed to subsidize the recurring Phoenix shortfalls.
By the time Barry incurred the $5,000 insurance fine, his credit was destroyed. His Visa was cancelled and he moved mountains to pay it back, but they wouldn’t issue a new card. His line of credit went to collections because he could only pay one or the other – and that’s not until massive interest fees were added at the worst possible rate imaginable. In fact, the tally keeps increasing every month that NRCan neglects to resolve his grievance. Barry is paying perpetual interest on the government’s debt that he’s still being forced to carry, as if he’s as rich as the treasury itself and able to shoulder sovereign expenses. Perhaps someone can tell me why the Treasury Board is treating public servants like the government’s personal bank and lender. This sincerely has to stop before they end up killing someone. It’s not just a Phoenix pay problem. It’s a culture and systemic problem involving everything to do with employee benefits, reimbursements, and salaries.
In my humble estimation, the government is responsible for those interest charges and default penalities, as well as ruining Barry’s driving record and long term financial reputation. The amount he’s grieving (that keeps getting delayed) isn’t half of what it should be. But Barry respects you so much and he’s so grateful to be at GLFC that he’s also afraid to upset the apple cart in Sault Ste. Marie by fighting for what he’s truly owed. He doesn’t want to fight and has little of that spark left in him after all he’s been through. He doesn’t want GLFC to become a toxic workplace, even though the payroll dysfunction isn’t his fault. You might think that Barry is a problem right now, but you have no idea how much he’s taking on the chin to avoid that negative label.
In the background, natural life kept ticking along despite anything we were working to overcome already. Gravity, time, and physics could care less if we humans are stuck on a few speedbumps. And so it came to pass that our roof began leaking. Fate was determined to make it an emergency by leaking specifically on electrical wires, so we couldn’t delay the repair with buckets until the NRCan grievance was resolved. Under normal circumstances Barry should have been able to qualify for a sweet rate, but due to the implosion of his credit rating, he ended up paying slightly more than 30 percent interest (per month, not per annum).
You hear about “predatory lenders” in the news, but let me tell you it can take your breath away if you’re forced to gain the experience firsthand. Thirty percent interest is an injury that’s hard to qualify, for all its implications. We banded together and lived clever, to cut all expenses where possible. For a few months we didn’t see Barry because we couldn’t afford the travel. He couldn’t come when I had major surgery either. That one put me out of commission for six full months to recover, and it’s hard to qualify the effect of doing it mostly without your support person and only text messages in lieu of them.
If that wasn’t enough to keep any good man down, then wait till you hear what happened with his transportation once we were able to budget a trip home. Barry is on the path of Lemony Snickets, because as you know he subsequently rolled his truck in a freak snow accident on the highway. It was a write-off and not his fault, but it certainly didn’t help after a conviction for no insurance.
This time Barry robbed Paul to pay Mary and when the settlement for his truck arrived he used it to pay off the 30 percent loan for the roof, so he could substitute that debt with a car loan that his mother co-signed at 12 percent instead. It was a crafty way to reduce the household monthly payments, but he wouldn’t have needed a loan for either necessity had the government resolved his grievance and repayed him. He would have qualified for prime interest rates had his salary not been damaged for continuous years, from multiple angles as well.
On the financial front, Barry was served another dose of humility when he had to beg the union for help to cover the $5,000 insurance fine. Despite the complete dressing down from the onslaught of emasculating consequences, he soldiered on and kept doing whatever needed to be done to get our family through this in one piece.
When the insurance conviction finally registered in the system, Barry was in for another whopping suprise. His rate increased to $450 per month for a basic 4-cylinder compact, that also cost $400 per month to repay in his mother’s name. Barry couldn’t take my car because it’s a Mustang convertible. He can’t afford insurance to drive a sports car, whereas I only pay $100 with a perfect driving record. That’s also what Barry used to pay, but his coverage quadrupled as a direct result of the Phoenix pay issue. It’s been penalty, on top of penalty, on top of penalty, to an extent that he may now be suffocating.
Pouring salt in an open wound, Barry is unable to claim an income tax return because NRCan produced a sensationally inaccurate T-4 slip. He can’t get it corrected during the pandemic and it may be some time before anyone attends to the administrative backlog. That could take another year or more and in the meantime he’s deprived of collecting even the nickels and dimes that are owed to him. This may yet deprive him of benefits that are distributed through the Canada Revenue Agency because they’re auditing him for the irregularity as well, in a dash of irony that isn’t lost on him.
I honestly wonder if you can say that you wouldn’t have hit your breaking point. Don’t forget our wedding has been delayed for two years due to these very reasons, and my health isn’t improving with age. I’m now 75 percent blind and I can’t read or write emails without assistance for the time being. My eyesight deteriorated over the past year and I really need Barry to take me to Toronto for the surgery. That procedure can’t be done locally, unfortunately.
I’m a bit of a Humpty Dumpty but I know Barry loves/loved me and he’s not a hateful enough person to leave me blind, starving, without transportation, and virtually imprisoned in a remote area – unless there was something desperately wrong. We are genuinely concerned for his welfare and this recent disappearance isn’t logically explainable. In case you’re wondering my son is worried too, enough to assist me with typing this letter on his humble COVID birthday. We didn’t want to spend his birthday making a missing persons report and it saddens me that you haven’t responded in two weeks since I asked for your help. We like to laugh and make the best of most situations, but please concur that you now understand my comment about cruel and unusual punishment. I know it’s not deliberate but it’s still impeccably treacherous, as a result of bureaucratic mayhem within National Resources Canada and staff morale that is apparently nonexistent.
If I haven’t touched your heart yet, then there’s the matter of Barry’s 11-year-old son. He lives with his mom in Edmonton and comes to stay for two weeks in the summer. Barry can’t afford to see his son now and he won’t be able to until something gives. My limited credit was also maxed to help us coast through these financially choppy waters and there’s nothing left to cover 2020 or visits in the future. The payroll issues affected me too, because I had to pick up the slack whenever Barry couldn’t afford phone bills or groceries. Blind people can’t get credit increases to cover living expenses based on their partner’s unresolved Phoenix grievance and it’s just not possible for me to subsidize the Government of Canada any longer.
We have never gone on vacation. We don’t eat gourmet food. We rarely dine out and have never been to the movies. Barry hasn’t played a round of golf since he relocated to Ontario. We don’t wear designer clothes either. We are just a family that loves each other, trying to make it under these unforeseen harsh conditions. Barry loves his son dearly and it’s killing him not to visit.
With this background I will now re-explain the circumstances by which Barry became a missing person since Monday, June 29, 2020. I’ve done a little more sleuthing since we last spoke and the new details are more cause for concern that I hope you will begin to take seriously.
We had a lovely time over the Christmas holiday and I thought everything was relatively great. I didn’t yet know about the T-4 issue, the $450 increase to insurance, or the $400 per month interest on Barry’s line of credit that defaulted to collections. A meeting was pending to resolve his claim for pay issues and my fiancé was jovial, happy to be home with us. One of the presents he gave us was a life insurance policy from the workplace union. It was a bit odd for a Christmas present, but he wanted us to know that we’d always be cared for and it didn’t faze me to be suspicious of it. I thought it was Barry’s analytical way of showing his love.
But something must have happened at the very end of December because Barry’s mood changed drastically. I don’t know what it could have been and only have possibilities from subsequent information that he eventually shared with me. He became inexplicably miserable over the next few days and by January 4, 2020, Barry lost his temper and began screaming in my face over his disappointment in a TV movie that I adored. It was a true story about poor kids from the ghetto who overcame their struggles to graduate and lead productive lives (title: Freedom Writers).
I couldn’t fathom what made him angry. We weren’t fighting and I was excited to share one of my favourite films with him. Barry is all about social justice and this should have been a feel-good flick. Instead he was screaming so hard that he was spitting in my face. This isn’t Barry’s regular demeanour and he stormed out swiftly, leaving the presents we gave him behind. Our pets were terrified and didn’t know what to make of it either.
After leaving and heading back to the Soo, Barry deleted his social media account. He turned off his phone so no one could reach him. He blocked text messages and after a few weeks, he shot me a brief missive that instructed me to see a counsellor so I “could bitch about everything wrong with him to someone else so he doesn’t have to listen to it”. Except I wasn’t communicating with Barry to warrant this diatribe, because he severed all the ways to reach him.
I was worried then and didn’t understand what was happening, but grocery money was still deposited in the bank account I use, as per usual with the pay schedule. I figured that I knew he was in the Soo, I knew he was going to work, and I would give him the space he needed to work up the gumption to tell me whatever was wrong.
Eventually Barry reactivated his social media account and began interacting with everyone regarding COVID. He put money in the bank for my birthday and renewed the vehicle stickers for each of us. He resumed communication with me but it was all pandemic related, avoiding personal discussion. In late April or early May he asked to come home, if I would accept him. We hadn’t broken up during the period away and my head was spinning with wonder, but I agreed to receive him. He wanted a rule that we wouldn’t speak about his explosion and running away, until the pandemic lifted and he could do it with the assistance of a counsellor. I agreed to that too, so he would come home and be safe.
Upon arrival everything went well on the surface. Barry resumed his chores and planting the garden, followed by family time every evening. He behaved like nothing serious had happened and he hoped I would continue wearing my engagement ring. When I confirmed that I would and reiterated my love, he began to dribble out bits and pieces regarding the struggles that were causing his erratic behaviour.
Barry confided that he was homeless in the Soo for the past six months. I learned he got kicked out of the room he was renting across the street from work. I learned he needed to return because the landlady said his trailer had be removed from her property, that he couldn’t abandon it there any longer. The neighbours were complaining and Barry was upset that she wouldn’t just give him more leeway. They got along well before this and I don’t know what caused a negative change in their relationship, if he was having trouble paying the meagre rent or if this was purely a dispute about the trailer.
Barry informed me that you wouldn’t let him store his trailer in your personal driveway, but that you helped him find a spot somewhere deep in the bush where hopefully no one would find it. I gather someone at NRCan must have helped him move the trailer, because it’s not free-standing, doesn’t have wheels, and requires a truck to sit atop the bed like a cab. Since Barry’s own truck was written off in an accident, he could no longer transport the mobile shelter by himself. I’m further aware that GLFC denied his request to keep these sleeping quarters on the government’s parking lot property.
Please let me confirm that I fully understand why NRCan would decline such an awkward request, I appreciate why you would balk at having your staff take up residence in your own driveway as well. But you knew that Barry was technically homeless for all this time, wheras I didn’t. You knew he was sent to be a squatter in some stranger’s back woods without seeking permission. You knew that every day he did that he was at risk of being discovered and seeing his trailer confiscated by the landowner, with the possibility of criminal charges for trespassing.
Although men often have difficulty expressing their emotions, or doing so constructively, you had to know this vagrancy situation was causing Barry insurmountable anxiety. You must have acknowledged his unstable psychological state and fretted about what to do, because Barry finally confessed that you also kicked him out of the GLFC lab and told him he couldn’t live at work. I gather he was sleeping there and his office appeared like he had moved in.
I am not your enemy, Taylor. My goal is not to criticize you, or to place Barry’s career in jeopardy. You’ve been his lifeline to get through the many payroll issues and by no means are Edmonton, Brookfield, or Phoenix your fault. I see that you’ve done everything you can to support Barry gently through this and your friendship means the world to him. I respect your friendship too. The reason I bring this up is because I’m asking you to acknowledge that you knew Barry was in crisis before I reached out to you, and that you know my concerns are entirely justified now.
I’m aware that you’re a hunter/angler and maybe you downplayed how squatting in the bush would affect Barry because it’s something you do regularly. But my fiancé isn’t a salt-of-the-earth type of man and he’s never tried to live in the wild during the winter season. Barry is a driven academic from the ivory tower, with an overactive mind that benefits NRCan whenever complex analyses and solutions are required. He was reduced to tears when he told me that he woke up every day with ice in his beard and that he lived on nothing but rice for those six months, whenever he couldn’t be home with me.
To be clear that I’m not attacking you personally, please consider how I felt when I learned the truth of his daily reality in the Soo. All that time he went without so that me and my son would have groceries and a warm bed. He was embarrassed to admit his financial shortcomings and felt like a “loser”, afraid that he didn’t deserve my love, or anyone’s love for that matter. While I’m not a doctor, I can assure you that I never put that thought in his head and it’s indicative of a serious depression.
I learned a lot in May and June when Barry came home during the pandemic. I’m almost positive that he was expecting me to get angry, but as I remained calm he confessed more and more. Some of these things I will still keep private, but you need to know that he also shutout his immediate family (son, mom, brother, and sister). He kept his phone turned off so no one could reach him. His email box is full and his work voicemail remains full, so no one can even leave messages regarding his whereabouts. Barry isn’t just hiding from me. He’s hiding from everyone in the world, except for possibly you.
There is one more work related situation that deserves explanation, to illustrate the pressure he’s under and the widespread consequences of these payroll issues. I couldn’t know for sure, but I think this was the straw that broke the camel’s back due to the timing and way it unfolded.
I never did know what happened to Barry’s belongings from Edmonton. He never spoke about them after the dispute with Will and I assumed he was bringing them home once he went through everything and we created space in the recroom. Life just happens and some of the details fall by the wayside, but they were front and centre for Barry in a way that might have contributed to his undoing.
I apologize that I forget the woman’s name, but I’m told that Barry ended up storing his things at a different coworker’s barn. Apparently she’s been on leave since the loss of her husband and may not return to NRCan due to immense grief and planning the rest of her life as a widow. (Sorry if I’m repeating some part of this, but there’s a key detail I definitely haven’t mentioned and it is paramount to supporting his mental health.)
According to Barry, he was using this woman’s horse barn and she needed it back by this spring (2020) for the animals. He was expected to begin going through his things by last autumn (2019) and finish moving them out (to my house) before this summer. I gather he broke the agreement and never attended at any point, nor would he respond to her calls and emails throughout that period. He told me about this two days before the unprovoked meltdown that resulted in his missing person status on June 29, 2020.
Little could anyone appreciate that he no longer had a truck to move his things, that he was homeless in the Soo, or that he had no money to devise a solution. All we knew is that Barry was unreachable (me, his son, mother, coworkers, creditors, etc). On Father’s Day I asked him to turn his phone on so his boy could reach him and maybe that’s when Barry received the message from this coworker, that she donated his things to charity because he didn’t respond and abandoned them.
Barry admitted that he knew it was his fault for ignoring her messages. He said it hurt, but he was trying to put on a brave face and accept this as a clean slate with one less worry to resolve. But he was still resentful that she threw everything out and didn’t do more to help him, by moving his things to the field and putting a tarp over them. I didn’t say anything as he explained this, but I will comment now that he was left so desperate, he couldn’t see anything wrong with his expectation.
Barry further confessed he made a mistake that might have escalated that situation. I’m told he telephoned the coworker and left a voice message before he finished reading her texts, that adamantly warned him not to make contact. She wanted to be left alone to grieve with her horses and I remain unaware if she took any action to halt his attempt at communication.
I knew there was nothing he could do and personal belongings are considered legally abandoned after 30 days, but I didn’t say that to Barry. He was fighting back the tears and I sought to understand his pain so I could support him in an emotionally meaningful way. I asked if his loss included all the pictures of his son and items like his PhD dissertation. Unfortunately he shutdown and didn’t want to talk about it. Instead. he walked away to do some chores and find his zen place.
It was two days later that Barry imploded for a trivial reason and ran away from everyone. When I was taking a shower, I found that someone used all my facial soap and I asked if it was my son or Barry. The only words I said were, “Who used my soap all gone?” and this caused Barry to fly off the handle.
The two days between these events appeared to be happy, under the circumstances. The garden was blooming brilliantly, we spent good time together, we laughed at stand-up comedy, and the family played music together (both my son and Barry are musicians). But the moment I asked who used my soap, Barry flew into an absolute rage.
He got in my face, screaming and spitting that it wasn’t him. I asked him to please stop yelling and to back up out of my personal space. That enraged him more and he began lunging at me with his chest puffed out, demanding that I give my engagement ring back to him. I was honestly afraid because he’d never been violent like this before. When he ran away in January there was uncharacteristic screaming, but he was never physically intimidating to me before this moment. He did this in front of my son as well, who was also astonished and standing ready in case he needed to jump in the middle to pull Barry away from me.
I put the ring in his hand to make this stop and to prevent an escalation to fists flying. I thought we would reconvene the next day after he had a chance to calm down, but when I woke on June 29, 2020, Barry was gone. My ring was gone and so was my car, as well as some of my son’s rare music collection. Barry’s car (that he leases in his mother’s name) was also missing and the backdoor to my house was left open (we have a small family of cats that could have run away).
I texted Barry in a panic to find out where he was. As he didn’t respond, I warned that it wasn’t okay for him to drive my Mustang because he cancelled his own insurance to drive at all. (This happened while he was home during May/June, after he began to confess his financial problems to me. He decided that he couldn’t afford his own insurance anymore and he intended to ride a bicycle until he was made whole from the Phoenix grievance.)
In those messages I indicated that it wasn’t okay for him to take my ring either. I had no intention of giving it up and the law clearly validates the woman as the owner. Men don’t get to take their gifts back if they decide to end a relationship, no matter how loudly they exit in anger. I also made it clear that I still love him and I’m worried about his welfare. I advised that if he promised to get a mental health referral from the walk-in clinic that he could come back home and we’d work on this together. Parts of me were sad, stunned, angry, and scared to death at what might happen when Barry isn’t thinking clearly.
He responded by blocking me as I mentioned his mental health, so my son tried sending texts to check on his welfare too. My son also needed to know if he was removed from the insurance policy and if he could legally drive anymore. We had no clue where Barry’s head was at and we had a family policy together through my broker (each of us had one vehicle). It’s just that I’m the only one who could insure the Mustang because I have a perfect record. Plus I have paperwork that Barry gifted me that car at the beginning of our committed relationship (for Valentine’s Day 2016). We only kept the ownerships the same to avoid the cost of transfer taxes.
When you and I spoke, I know you were fixated on the fact that Barry’s name is still technically listed on the Mustang ownership, but again and with much respect, this will not save him from getting in trouble in three different scenarios. First, I have proof the car was a gift to me and it’s always been in my possession. Second, Barry cancelled his insurance to drive any vehicle whatsoever and the Mustang is covered under my name only, specifically at my address in Wasaga Beach. Third, although he didn’t actually break up with me, a family court would punish him for absconding with my assets as a common-law couple, should he decide to sever our relationship.
As a bonus fourth consequence, Barry could be convicted of insurance fraud if he intends to drive the Mustang under my name and address. I love Barry and I want him to be well. I want our relationship to work, in spite of the government’s destruction of our lives. But I also have legal obligations and if the car is removed from my care and control, I’m obligated to report this change to the insurance broker.
You and Barry may not understand the law, but I do and have no intention of being convicted for fraud. If he borrowed my car, that’s one thing that can be resolved by returning it. But if he plans to break up and keep it, I’m sure as heck not going to let him abuse my name on legal records and wind up in jail beside him. Barry can’t afford to drive a sports car and it’s possible no company would carry him for a high risk vehicle, when he was already convicted for driving without insurance, followed by a rollover write-off.
Expecting me to do that harkens back to the 1950’s and I have no intention of giving up the equality rights women fought so hard to gain. If Barry was of sound mind right now he would emphatically agree, because he used to be quite vocal about equality rights as an ally to women before Phoenix destroyed everything in his world. I’m disappointed you think he can take my belongings if we weren’t fully married, as well as believing I should be liable for his driving transgressions because we’re a family. He can’t have his cake and eat it too, nor does he need misguided advice that would make any court in Canada irate to hear.
As I’ve stated many times, my intention is to help Barry – not hurt him. I told you directly that he’s a missing person in emotional distress and he must first be located before I can decide to be angry. He must first be located to determine if he wanted to exit this relationship, or if he’s running away from his life altogether. People don’t usually end engagements over soap running out; but sometimes they become suicidal when they’re homeless, lose contact with their children, lose all their belongings, and can’t feed themselves.
So far I’m giving Barry the benefit of the doubt that he needs our help and I wish you would too. Not every woman is crazy or little more than casual sex and I’d be grateful if you could show me some respect. No life partner should be met with silence when they’re calling to check on their mate in a life and death situation. You asked if Barry threatened to harm himself and I responded in the negative, but I cautioned his behaviour is so erratic that I couldn’t rule it out. Now you’re in possession of all the factors that are causing me to be uneasy, with emphasis on the surprise life insurance policy he gave to us at Christmas. Do you really think he planned to call off the wedding and take my things on the heels of a gesture like that?
Now I need to explain the consequences of the position you’ve left me in, by refusing to respond for two weeks. All I needed to know was if you’re able to get in touch with Barry, not what he thinks, what he feels, or what his plans are – just that he’s alive and you know where he is so I don’t have to file a missing persons report with the police.
No one has seen or heard from Barry since Monday, June 29, 2020. He hasn’t posted on social media since that day either. On that day he emptied the bank account, took my car, took his car, and took some of our valuables. On that day and before he departed, he did a bunch of chores like dishes, putting out the garbage, and watering half an acre’s worth of gardens. The place was tidy when I woke up and found him gone with the back door left open.
Since that day, two paydays have passed and no money was transfered to the bank account we use to cover our bills and groceries. This has never happened before in nearly five years together. He also promised never to do that to me and my son, regardless of whatever might happen. I know promises don’t count for much, but specifically breaking one of that nature denotes an erratic action. The bank account will also incur penalties for non-sufficient-funds (NSF) in the very near future, because Barry didn’t deposit anything to cover the monthly fees. In that regard, he is also a missing person in the eyes of the bank, exhibiting uncharacteristic behaviour.
Moreover, Barry has failed to pay the cellphone bill in all this time as well. It matters because the bill was in arrears and he had an agreement to repay it. Since the day Barry disappeared he’s missed three scheduled payments and the company began texting my phone to warn us the account is in default. We have a family plan and all our phones are at risk of being disconnected. (Barry and I split our bills and he was responsible for this one.)
This creates a few problems and top of the list is that you won’t be able to reach him soon, if he is okay to respond. I have no money and can’t cover the bill because none went in the shared account and we can’t even buy food. (Two weeks is a long time when you can’t buy food, just so you know.)
Should the phones become disconnected, police can’t use the GPS function to locate Barry as a missing person. We truly have no idea what’s happened to him and the possibilies are endless. Maybe he’s living large at the casino, or leading a dual life with another family. But it seems more likely he could be in the bush without a signal, depressed beyond belief, or crushed under his trailer with no one around to notice. It really could be anything and two to four weeks would be a long time alone to have a serious accident with no one to help. To the best of my understanding the trailer is not insured and it’s sitting on makeshift jacks, so who’s to say one of them couldn’t give out and trap Barry underneath? What if he was robbed and beaten in the night, in the middle of absolutely nowhere? What if he contracted COVID-19 and became too sick while isolating to seek medical care?
I don’t see how living that way could even be considered safe by NRCan. One of your senior scientists is of no-fixed-address and no one who cares can reach him. I get that he’s been granted plenty of leeway to help him make due, but the real issue is the compound damage done by Phoenix and NRCan’s 2-year delay in making Barry whole. None of this would have happened if not for the consecutive and continuous payroll issues.
Now the damage is so deep that Barry can’t afford to drive or to see his precious son. He can’t afford for his new family to eat, or to speak with any of his loved ones on the telephone. He won’t live to see his credit rating repaired and that means he can’t really finance anything for possibly the rest of his life. He consulted with someone about claiming bankruptcy and that wouldn’t clear from his credit profile until years after he retired from NRCan.
Since you haven’t responded to let me know if you’re able to confirm signs of life, it will buy Barry a whole bucket of new trouble that I stressed I was trying to avoid. If I have to report him as missing to the police, I will also have to provide all the information for the Mustang because that’s what I believe he must be driving. If that happens, the police will be able to determine that he’s not insured to use it. If Barry acquires a second conviction for driving without insurance, he will never drive again in his lifetime.
That could spell the end of our long distance relationship, maybe his job, or both. You really, really, really, shouldn’t force me to involve the police if you know Barry’s whereabouts. I’ve proposed a safer way to find him by contacting you and I would think NRCan should be amenable to helping, instead of humiliating Barry by getting police dispatched to his workplace. If I report him as missing, GLFC is the first place they’ll check for him anyway. So why can’t you respond to me and skip harming him any deeper? This situation calls for deescalation and not pushing him right over the edge.
Another consequence is the fact that I’d have to share Barry’s story with the public. If my fiancé is missing, I’ll need everyone’s help to find him. Except I’m a journalist with a significant following on social media. Many government ministers follow me, as well as senior bureaucrats, senators, party officials of all stripes, union leaders, the prime minister’s advisors, and colleagues in mainstream media. You have to believe that it won’t go unnoticed if I tell everyone he’s missing.
I absolutely, unreservedly, wholly, and completely swear, that I am not threatening you or anyone at NRCan. I’m attempting to do reputation management on the department’s behalf by not humiliating all of us and becoming the top national news story. I can’t help who I am and the effect of my professional network. I swear that I’m not bragging or name-dropping, because right now it’s become a liability to finding my missing loved one. I’m perfectly afraid that speaking up about Barry could cause him harm through further embarrassment. I could have never imagined being confronted with such a catch-22, or that I’d be torn over how to search for a missing person and the impact of publicity.
I’ve asked you to do a wellness check because the stress he’s under is from work and he most likely went to the Soo. When the meeting was cancelled to negotiate his claim for damages and the office swiftly closed due to COVID, it left Barry staring at a bottomless abyss with no relief in sight. This bureaucratic mess is neutering him and it’s not cool to do to your fellow man. I assure you that I know what I’m talking about, because Barry’s crisis is predicated on feeling worthy enough to deserve a family. He feels like he let everyone down including me, his son, and his mother, enough to hide from everyone.
I know you didn’t do this, Taylor, and it’s caused by a series of unfortunate systemic events. Likewise, I need for you to see Barry with compassion instead of judgment, and me with goodwill as opposed to malice. The pressures he’s facing are extraordinary and they’re beyond his control. The response he’s having to the weight of it is common, as replicated by the spike in crisis calls due to COVID-19, let alone the institutional madness that’s been inflicted on his income. In no way do I wish to diminish Barry’s excellence at his job by exposing this personal wobble. He’s done nothing to merit discipline and it’s a sign of strength to seek support whenever it might be needed. Please continue to stand by him and trust in his abilities, but also help him expedite a fair resolution to this predicament.
You can think of me however you like, just please respond to indicate whether you’ve been able to locate Barry or not. We got by with help from a friend for the past few weeks, but now there really is no food and my son and I can’t qualify at the foodbank because Barry’s salary far exceeds the limit. I’m a disabled person and I require medicine that I’m about to go without. I don’t want to land in the hospital because the government needed twenty people to approve some type of response. I also don’t wish to be permanently blind and prevented from traveling to obtain the care I need. NRCan families deserve better than this and you know it. Barry deserves to have an equilibrium restored as well.
While I’m not inclined to believe that Barry would ever harm us on purpose, there remains the possibility of a flipside if his emotional state deteriorated badly enough to constitute a stress induced psychosis. If you know that he’s alright and you’re simply refusing to tell me, this debacle could start to resemble domestic violence with NRCan’s involvement and complicity. In the most heartfelt way, I’m begging you not to let that happen.
The butterfly effect of Phoenix pay issues is grossly underestimated and forcing me to go public with my story in the effort to locate Barry would whip the country into a frenzy, especially when I would need to ask for donations to help feed, transport, and medicate my family in the interim. Government opposition parties would have a heydey with the public service and I’ve spent my entire adult life advocating for civil servants. It could also pose a risk to the current class action, by giving consideration to expanding the claim for damages incurred by family members. Again, this isn’t a threat and it’s not what I’m seeking to do. I’ve only worked in the media long enough to have a good grasp of how our body politic operates. Once the issue leaves my lips it would take on a life of its own, over which you and I would no longer have control.
Thank you for your time to read this and any actions you might take to assist. I will have my son check my email but it will likely be infrequent, so please consider calling me back to communicate over the telephone. I can’t express how difficult it is for me to read things anymore. Regardless of how it happens, I just need to hear from you to know if police should initiate a search.
Yours very truly,
I received a response from Taylor about 24-hours later. He informed me that Natural Resources Canada doesn’t consider Barry to be a missing person, nor did he believe my fiancé was under any stress. He claimed that NRCan takes mental health seriously, but asked that I not contact him or the government again, as they don’t consider themselves to be part of the problem.
The president of Barry’s union hasn’t responded whatsoever and it’s now a month later.
As things stand, the only person who may know Barry’s whereabouts is withholding that location (of no fixed address, somewhere in the nondescript wilderness). The address that NRCan keeps on file is at least two years out of date and does not reflect his state of homelessness, so I remain concerned the government is in a conflict of interest and has a vested interest in preventing that information from coming to light. Barry’s boss is procedurally tasked with defending the government in his grievance process and accepting the payroll issues caused this harm would amount to admitting liability. This is an incredibly serious problem when it comes to someone’s mental health and safety.
When my fiancé departed, he left with approximately $30,000 worth of my assets and the only address I can send police or court documents is to his office at NRCan. That’s provided Barry is still alive and he meant to abuse me in this way, but his boss never denied my allegations and let all of them stand as expressed in my letter. By failing to object to my description of the situation, NRCan has passively admitted that they know Barry is homeless, they know he was living out of his office prior to COVID, and they know he’s a squatter in rural Sault Ste. Marie currently.
It is therefore impossible to leave the government out of this because they’re the only point of contact that remains valid. In a nutshell, I was asked to stop searching for Barry because they claim he’s alive, but that knowledge, based on one man’s word, fails to resolve any of the problems. I still have no food for me and my son, no medicine that I require for a physical disability, and I’m being denied access to life altering medical care that will result in permanent blindness. If Barry is of sound mind, then NRCan has determined they support him in stealing my assets and committing severe domestic abuse. They will even go so far as to abet this behaviour by hiding him from the resulting legal issues.
I personally disagree with Barry’s boss and I believe he’s under extreme duress. It was two days after he lost all of his belongings that he absconded with mine, in an obvious emotional breakdown. It was two days after he lost his belongings that he blocked everyone (not just me) from contacting him. Since I sent that letter, the bank account has become overdrawn due to monthly fees and it will soon be forwarded to a collection agency for non-use. This will harm his credit rating further and I’ve spent the past four years watching him fight tooth and nail to restore his financial reputation. Even the devil on my shoulder can’t believe that Barry would do this on purpose.
Furthermore, I am deeply troubled the PIPSC union is abandoning its dues-paying members when their purported services are needed most. The Harper government made life hell for scientists, but their labour representatives are now disinterested if they’re made to starve as homeless people. There could be no greater disrespect and Ms. Daviau must be held accountable.
I still haven’t shared all the details that cause me to worry for Barry’s safety. I will continue to guard some of his secrets fiercely, but something that didn’t make it into my letter is noteworthy and relevant to his missing status. When Barry came home in May 2020 he divulged that he expected me to go searching for him when he left in January. He was disappointed that I showed patience instead of panic and since he left the second time, he upped the ante to force me to panic. This time he’s ensured I cannot eat or work in the future if I don’t do something to find him and make this better.
I’m not saying this is healthy behaviour or something I can condone, but given my life’s experience, I recognize it as a desperate cry for help. For the majority of our relationship I’ve been cherished as Barry’s ‘princess’ and though I caution against pedestals, it would be a wild turn of events if we suddenly went from that to leaving me for dead. Something is incredibly wrong and that’s the only part I know for sure. He’s aware that I see a cardiologist and that my blood pressure is crashing all the time. Leaving me without food or the ability to visit a doctor is incredibly dangerous and that’s something he wouldn’t do, even to his worst enemy. Anyone who knows Barry also knows this to be true.
I had promised to love him for better or for worse and the latter is arising now, so I’d be an awful person to turn my back after he cared for me in all the years prior. Obviously I can’t cope with the way I’m being treated today, but the love we shared wasn’t fake and I sincerely believe he’s in crisis. If I give up searching myself and hand this over to police, he will not emerge unscathed and he risks losing the ability to drive again. If that were to happen it would be a death knell for his ability to exercise visitation with his son in another province. I just don’t think that fighting fire with fire is appropriate for this situation. I would like to be happy and healthy again, and for Barry to get whatever help he might need.
The stakes are so high from so many angles that it’s not possible for me to get this exactly right. I can’t find Barry without offending someone, humiliating both of us, or putting his job in the middle of a resolution and my own reputation at risk. This is why I’m turning to the public for assistance and why I see this effort as the lesser of two evils. My eyesight has deteriorated so much that I can’t dial a phone anymore or read from a white screen. Yellow glasses don’t even help now and it’s getting worse by the week. I have precious little time left to resolve anything for either of us. It also puts my stomach in knots to keep sitting on my hands and watching the clock tick.
If you could help me find my fiancé I would be eternally grateful. Below I will include pictures of him, as well as my car and engagement ring in case he tried to sell them anywhere. Possible locations include Sault Ste. Marie (the Soo), Wasaga Beach, Oakville, Guelph, and/or Edmonton.
It’s apparent I need financial help of some sort to deal with this calamity in the immediate, but I don’t have Paypal and I don’t want to exploit Barry’s name across the entire internet by starting a GoFundMe campaign. A few friends had sent e-transfers to get us through the past two months and all I can say is I’ll share my email address in Twitter DM’s if anyone wanted to reach out that way (my byline is at the top of this entry and it’s hyperlinked to that account). My son set up my computer with a number of visual aids and they’re incredibly dysfunctional, but at least they work on social media and anyone can find me there. I really don’t like asking for money and it makes me queasy to be this vulnerable. It’s not that I have too much pride, but rather recognition that everyone is struggling during this godforsaken pandemic. I would never want someone else to go without in their effort to assist my family.
I’m also unable to afford a lawyer at this time, so if any legal eagles stumble across my story I would be grateful for their advice.
I will leave you now with my fiancé’s details:
Dr. Barry J. Cooke
Salt and pepper hair
Usually keeps a beard but shaved for COVID-19
Requires glasses to see
Often wears concert t-shirts and/or rock music shirts I made for him
Regularly carries an acoustic guitar
Likely driving a 2011 Ford Mustang convertible, silver with a black ragtop and scuffs on the front passenger bumper, Ontario plate #CEDA 056
So everyone knows, I did attempt to message Barry and give him fair warning that I planned to make this public if I didn’t hear from him. He’s had reasonable notice and still failed to make contact (another reason to believe he must be in crisis).
Please see the pictures and thanks very much for your time to read about our tribulations. In the meantime, we will try our best to keep the faith and light a candle so he can find his way home again. If nothing else, may my broken heart and humiliation cause you to hug your nearest and dearest. And please… consider the effects of a double cohort caused by Phoenix and COVID-19 the next time you feel like berating a public servant. It’s not the high life you might think it is and none of them were qualified for CERB.
May 7, 2020
Part of the challenge in finding a cure for the COVID-19 pandemic is determining the original source of infection. The majority of scientists are convinced it came from bats, but they don’t yet know how it transmitted to humans. Others suggest it was caused by accidental release from a research lab, while war hawks propose theories that relate to a bioweapon. But the best answer to complex mysteries is often simple and Free The Press Canada has determined the likely culprit.
The solution for this missing link is so unassuming that it was under everyone’s nose all along. The records have existed since the 1700’s and this bat-to-human conduit is cited as the legal basis for the American Empire. It’s the original cause of blackbirding (kidnapping) and Chinese slavery, Indigenous slavery, as well as Black slavery, in case anyone didn’t grasp the meaning of that famous Beatles song. It solidified Peru’s existence and reshaped entire countries in South America. It poured the foundation for British and European wealth. It won and lost wars as a prime ingredient to make gunpowder. Its Indigenous name appears in an early American law and it traces all the way back to 5,000 years ago, as a resource worshipped by the Incas. (1. original / archive, 2. original / archive, 3. original / archive, 4. original / archive, 5. original / archive, 6. original / archive, 7. original / archive, 8. original / archive, 9. original / archive, 10. original / archive, 11. original / archive, 12. original / archive, 13. original – PDF)
Today this product is exported by Africa and Asia and it can fetch as much as $350USD per ton, or $2,400USD every three hours with a very small crew of labourers. The organic food revolution, hydroponic agriculture, and the legalization of marijuana have made it so popular again that western grandmothers are trying to produce their own. The colloquial phrase ‘bat-sh*t-crazy’ may even be derived from this common carrier of several coronavirus types. So what could be in everyone’s garden shed that has the potential to elevate or wipe out the human race, depending on the quality of each batch? (14. original / archive, 15. original / archive, 16. original / archive)
Bat Guano – The Garden Saviour
Bat guano is the feces of this hideous looking creature that makes a cameo appearance each year at Halloween. It’s long been known as the best crop fertilizer on earth, at half the cost of chemical competitors and usually with no negative side effects. It’s a multi-billion dollar industry that comes with organic certification and it gained special prominence with cannabis producers, as well as moms and dads with tabletop hydroponic kits. (17. original / archive, 18. original / archive, 19. original / archive)
The high concentrations of carbon, nitrogen, phosphorus, sulfur, and potassium are so effective that bat guano can rehabilitate soil and reduce the need for crop rotation in large agricultural operations. It is Mother Nature’s wonder drug and can be used in the pharmaceutical setting to grow the ingredients used in medicines that are increasingly sourced in China. That’s not to suggest guano residues could appear in medications, but the workers who handle raw materials at the beginning of the supply chain may certainly come in contact with it. (20. original / archive, 21. original / archive)
The versatility of guano is far greater than industrial grow-ops and it can be found just as easily at community gardens and retirement villas. Across the world in Portland, Oregon a seniors residence is getting into the guano business to support the retiree neighbourhood, in addition to a farmers market and popular local restaurant. Plants as delicate as lettuce are treated with the natural fertilizer and it’s reported to sweeten the taste of produce as an added benefit. (22. original / archive, 23. original / archive, 24. original / archive)
Bat guano is also easy to purchase, if you’re not down with keeping them as pets to generate a self-sustaining and free supply. It can be found through Walmart, Amazon, Alibaba, or any hydroponic store. It comes in dry and wet ‘tea’ slurries that are pre-mixed to make using it rather simple. This wonder-dust is so spectacular that it can allegedly grow pumpkins the size of Smart cars. It’s possible there may be off-label uses in the beauty market as well. (25. original / archive, 26. original / archive, 27. original / archive, 28. original / archive, 29. original / archive, 30. original / archive)
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Needless to say there’s an obvious means of transmission between bats and humans that strikes at the heart of the global food chain and every nation’s ports of entry. It’s further been discovered that coronavirus and COVID-19 can be spread to humans through fecal matter. (31. original / archive)
Bat Guano – The Agent Of Death
Unbeknownst to the vast majority of home gardeners and organic farms, bat guano was confirmed by the Canadian government to be contaminated with the Ebola virus in years prior. (32. original / archive)
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Bats are also an established carrier of several coronavirus types, according to the Wuhan lab researcher who is central to the current pandemic. A single cave can produce numerous samples of various strains, meaning they’re a plausible breeding ground for mutations as bats interact with each other and the natural environment. (33. original / archive)
Through the guano specifically, bats can infect humans with histoplasmosis and it has much in common with the symptoms of COVID-19. Although the former is bacterial and the latter is viral, complications can result in death for young children, seniors, and immuno-compromised patients in both examples. (34. original / archive, 35. original – PDF)
Research on the coronavirus family appears to be limited to the bats directly, or humans directly, but little is known about the bridge between them. At least that’s what the mainstream media and governments generally report. But bat guano serves as that very connection and Canada highlighted its ability to vector an even deadlier virus, many years before the appearance of COVID-19.
Despite the sparse availability of public data, relevant studies have been conducted involving bat guano since 2006. The World Health Organization (WHO) participated in that early sequencing more than a decade ago. It was determined that bat guano carries the family of coronaviruses in a study arising from the guano caves (mines) in Thailand. Deeper investigation of that yearlong data appears to indicate that positive samples follow a cyclical pattern that coincides with spring and fall flu seasons as well. The guano seems to test negative during the summer and winter months and this phenomenon may need to be considered in future research endeavours to achieve an unbiased interpretation. (36. original / archive)
Another study was conducted by scientists in Myanmar from May 2016 to August 2018. Testing was done by the University of California – Davis that produced results consistent with Thailand. They confirmed coronavirus pathogens in bat guano including new strains that hadn’t been discovered prior, as well as seasonal fluctuations. They also identified that guano samples produce a much higher rate of infection than oral and rectal swabs taken from bats. (37. original / archive)
Islands in the Western Indian Ocean were studied from 2014 to 2015, but the researchers failed to sample guano and only tested the bats. Even lacking that crucial context, several types of coronavirus were detected that share a relationship to COV strains in Africa. Unfortunately the authors pursued their study with a mistaken hypothesis that an intermediary host is required to affect humans, so they were left with questions about transmission pathways. Due to that regrettable bias, they overlooked the role of bat guano in the spread between different regions. (38. original / archive)
The Smoking Gun
Free The Press Canada did its own research to assess the prevalence of bat guano testing on Google Scholar. It was there that a noteworthy result appeared, amounting to a smoking gun. (39. original / archive)
In October 2018, genomic researchers completed the sequence for a bat guano miner who tested positive for a coronavirus in Thailand. Coincidentally, he worked in the same region referenced earlier in a separate study assisted by the World Health Organization, from 2006/2007. (40. original / archive, 41. original / archive, 42. original – PDF)
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The results indicate that a bat guano miner in Thailand carried the same strain of coronavirus (99 percent match) as samples that were tested from Hong Kong in 2006. It came from the same group of pathogens (with a common ancestor) as samples arising from China and the United States in 2016 as well.
It’s unlikely that either superpower is responsible for infecting a bat cave in Thailand, where several coronavirus types are naturally occurring. The alternative is American and Chinese growers may have purchased guano fertilizer that originated from a Thai source. In any event what this demonstrates is an intercontinental transmission pathway that was indirectly established over a period of twelve years, specifically related to a guano mine.
Free The Press Canada stresses that this data via Thailand doesn’t pinpoint the exact origin of the current COVID-19 pandemic. It doesn’t make any individual country responsible for the spread of coronaviruses. Guano mining occurs on every continent except Antarctica and every country may contribute to infection rates by failing to regulate this product as a hazardous substance. Every country that has bats also has a wide array of coronaviruses lurking within them. Therefore comprehensive study of bat guano in its wet and dry forms is immediately required and it may assist scientists to address COVID-19 from this perspective. (43. original / archive)
Origin of the Spanish Flu remains a mystery akin to the way COVID-19 developed. Researchers may wish to revisit those theories with the guano aspect in mind, because during that era it was the primary ingredient in gunpowder and explosives. It may explain the peculiar onset of cases geographically. (44. original / archive, 45. original / archive)
Successive years of ‘cutting red tape’ to appease the stock market and business class has led us to this place. Regulations might require commitment to one’s product, but they were not designed to be the enemy. Instead they’ve been developed to safeguard human health and avert the insurmountable cost of failing to do so.
The freedom gained by corporations to ignore those responsibilities has resulted in the entire world’s lockdown and loss of the most basic collective freedoms required to beat the COVID-19 pandemic. There is no reason why a Q4 profit margin should result in the loss of visiting family, ability to celebrate birthdays and weddings, or permission to walk out the front door. Imprisoning the working class is not sustainable to generate dividends and every taxpayer is on the hook to pay for this debacle over the next entire decade. That behaviour represents an untenable proposition for business to outsource its overhead to every citizen on the planet.
In the case of bat guano, the few rules that do exist are woefully insufficient and incongruent from one region to another. For example, Canada dragged its feet with respect to classifying guano as a fertilizer so it didn’t fall within any regulatory category whatsoever. The United States has a conflict between which agency oversees the product and each state compounds the problem with different rules or lack thereof, depending on various governors. Certainly no country around the globe is testing guano for coronavirus as a condition of import, export, and public sale. (46. original / archive, 47. original / archive, 48. original / archive)
Bat guano remains a superior fertilizer that is also appropriate for organically certified agriculture. It’s safe in the vast majority of cases, but it only takes one bad batch, one bad season, or one susceptible cave to result in a pandemic. Strict testing and parameters must be implemented to protect this valuable resource, guano mining labourers, and the public. Strict guidelines need to be established for home gardeners who plan to experiment with backyard production and strict enforcement surrounding guano must be genuinely contemplated.
Furthermore, the effects of climate change are now severe enough to impact human health. A warming planet is predicted to affect the emergence of viruses, mutations, and intensity of contagious outbreaks. Bat caves are environmentally sensitive and given the detrimental consequences to the global economy under quarantine, it doesn’t seem wise to ignore the guano they produce when it’s a common additive to the food supply. (49. original / archive)
How Was Guano Overlooked?
International media is in a state of disrepair since the disruption of digital technology. In Canada the regular ‘beats’ were axed in a process of austerity and downsizing. Remaining reporters are now expected to cover any topic that arises while lacking the expertise to tackle complex subjects, especially related to science. The industry is fighting for its life as artificial intelligence (AI) is introduced to automate articles based on business data and algorithms. It’s removing humans from the equation who were able to evaluate context, history, demeanour, insincerity, conflicts of interest, and most importantly, fact-checking. (50. original / archive)
(Full disclosure: I was forced out of mainstream media because investigative journalism is quite expensive and it was the first ilk to be cut. That’s why I started Free The Press Canada, because you can take the reporter out of the newsroom but you can’t take the inquiring mind out of any journo worth their salt.)
The Fourth Estate is what informs governments in any democracy, while holding lawmakers to account. That this bat guano information was always available is proof that something went awry in the absence of subject matter experts to edit, assign, and report.
In North America there’s an extreme problem with media ownership too. No matter what anyone says, the free press has been muzzled by the billionaire class and this guano issue punctuates that unfortunate reality.
Pertaining to the Thai cave that tested positive for coronaviruses at various intervals from 2006 to 2018, there was one report from China and another from a multinational agency that is headquartered in Canada.
The South China Morning Post explained that despite the abundance of bat viruses, if they could make the leap to humans then we would already be extinct. The article emphasized the importance of bat meat to certain cultures and the value of guano to agriculture. It downplayed the rate of COVID-19 infections in Thailand and completely omitted that one of the cave’s miners contracted the coronavirus. It even disinformed readers by suggesting the guano is safe and that humans can only be infected through contact with bat saliva or urine. The erroneous article was then syndicated by Bloomberg in the United States. (51. original / archive)
In Canada, Reuters followed suit with an article about the same Thai cave a few weeks later. It produced a false title that claimed there was only a possible link between bat guano and human infection. Through that statement the editor denied evidence of the miner who contracted the coronavirus that was thoroughly studied. Reuters effectively denied the entire genomic sequence that was conducted on that person. (52. original / archive)
The body of the article goes on to describe the importance of bat guano to the agriculture industry. It implies that keeping the cave ‘clean’ protects miners from catching the coronavirus, at the same time discouraging belief that the guano could carry these pathogens. It further proposes the debunked hypothesis that coronaviruses require an intermediary to jump from bats to another host before the ability to infect humans. An interview with a miner (who’s in an absolute conflict of interest) reinforces this disinformation by claiming no one from the Thai caves has ever become ill from these bat-borne diseases. They assert the coronavirus didn’t originate there, despite undeniable proof in scientific journals that records several strains in that bat cave over a number of years.
No competing press agencies reported on the topic and neither of these entries was ever challenged in the headlines.
To understand how this could happen, Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland used to work for Reuters as a managing director. Free The Press Canada is not in any way alleging collusion, but the Canadian government chose a sympathetic stance that is disinclined to point fingers. Reuters is also more than a media empire. It owns Thomson Financial, Thomson Legal & Regulatory, Thomson Reference, Scientific & Healthcare, as well as Thomson Learning. Under any of these banners, billionaire David Thomson could be looking to governments for various contracts and is therefore in a conflict of interest between serving the public and his personal wealth accumulation. (53. original / archive, 54. original / archive)
The bulk of competing newspapers in Canada are managed by Postmedia. This company is owned by American hedge funds, with a controlling interest that is deeply connected to David Pecker. Mr. Pecker is the same person who shielded President Trump in the Stormy Daniels scandal at the National Enquirer and his immunity deal with the Department of Justice may be in jeopardy over what Jeff Bezos claims is extortion. This is due to Pecker’s company acquiring his private text messages and an alleged threat for Bezos to stop investigating Trump or face the embarrassment of his intimate photos being published. Two prominent journalists also claimed to receive blackmail threats in a campaign to end their reporting about Trump, Pecker, Daniels, and the National Enquirer. (55. original / archive, 56. original / archive)
Concentrated and foreign media ownership is not supposed to be permitted in Canada, but for unknown reasons the Competition Bureau has refused to intervene throughout the tenure of both Conservative and Liberal governments. (57. original / archive)
On the stateside, fellow billionaire Jeff Bezos is owner of The Washington Post. He’s also the owner of Amazon, that has entered the media business to compete with Netflix while providing a marketplace for sellers to peddle their bat guano. If all of this wasn’t confusing enough, Bezos is friends with Michael Bloomberg, who is the owner of Bloomberg News. Bezos is the person who encouraged Bloomberg to run for president as a Democrat, in the effort to dethrone the Republican incumbent, Donald Trump. (58. original / archive)
Meanwhile in Asia, billionaire Jack Ma owns the South China Morning Post. He’s also the owner of Alibaba, that provides a marketplace for sellers to peddle their bat guano, in the identical manner as Jeff Bezos. Both men receive a cut for every bag of the natural fertilizer that passes through their platforms and could potentially carry the coronavirus around the entire world. Don’t forget that Ma further syndicates his articles through Bloomberg. (59. original / archive)
Canadian and American media are hopelessly compromised by partisan warfare, whether Liberal or Conservative, Democrat or Republican. Chinese media is directly controlled by the Communist government. Each of these factions has a financial interest in the success of bat guano and matters of food security. But none of the billionaires appear to have an interest in the survival of average citizens in relation to a pandemic. Instead the press keeps bantering about herd immunity that would cleave the weakest demographics from the global population.
I make no comment about the guilt or innocence of Patrick Brown. Instead I’m addressing the issue of political bias in Canadian media that his controversy has recently highlighted. Included is a new #MeToo allegation involving the Liberal Party of Canada and CTV News, from the adjacent riding.
Mr. Brown occupies the Simcoe-North landscape and these allegations arise from Simcoe-Grey. Although they’re extremely different in nature, what they do share is a deep concern with the way CTV is impacting various #MeToo complaints in the political arena. Through personal experience as a reporter, I believe this relates to management at CTV News and not necessarily the journalists.
Exactly one year ago, I approached the outlet to amend and expand its story about an alleged child sex predator who’s been criminally charged. They covered the matter of Jared Nolan, abusing his access to patient data at the Alliston hospital to lure children and distribute child pornography. The case is so serious that a special police task force was established to investigate further. I believe Nolan’s charges are still winding through the courts and the last news available noted new child complainants coming forward.
The problem is that I knew Mr. Nolan personally, as a political colleague. I had information that was incredibly relevant to his case, as well as the Liberal Party of Canada. We worked together on the riding’s board of directors when he was criminally charged and I was aware he had access to thousands more children through the party and its Liberalist database. He had the highest level of access to every child volunteer and member of the Young Liberals across the entire country. He also led groups of youth volunteers during the last federal election (details here).
That alone was good enough reason to investigate Nolan’s use of child data within the LPC, to see if any young volunteers were part of the sexual complaints that were being investigated criminally. But more disconcerting were the circumstances between the Alliston hospital (Stevenson Memorial) and the Simcoe-Grey Federal Liberal Riding Association (SGFLRA).
Mr. Nolan had no experience in healthcare before taking a senior position at the hospital, that reported to the board of directors. He wasn’t known to the local riding association before taking an executive position with the SGFLRA either. Nolan began both these positions at the same time, after dropping off the political radar for at least a decade. He was once a senior staffer in Ottawa, with no explanation why he went from a high-profile job in a minister’s office, to complete obscurity and menial employment for a period of ten years.
Nolan only had two connections that anyone could cite. He was close with our LPC candidate, who sat on the hospital board of directions. He was close with the candidate’s campaign director who also sat on the hospital board of directors. Otherwise Nolan had no connection to this region and he was not known to anyone else. He basically appeared from nowhere and became a big-wig overnight, at the side of these two gentlemen. All of a sudden the Liberal riding association and the Alliston hospital were being run by the same three people.
Neither of the other two men were charged and my comments do not impugn them. But the investigation remains ongoing and they both oversaw Nolan’s work at the hospital, in addition to the SGFLRA. The patient data that Nolan is alleged to abuse as a hunting ground for child sex victims was additionally managed by one of these very colleagues, according to their LinkedIn profiles.
My first concern was that police didn’t question anyone in the Liberal riding association. They weren’t aware that connection existed, or that Nolan had access to more sensitive information about a much greater number of children through the party. The Liberalist is an extensive database that can track them in real-time. In some cases it knows if the kids are dating, what their schedules look like, what their home situation is like, and if they have emotional vulnerabilities. Hospital patient data doesn’t contain sensitive details like this and if Nolan is found guilty, his access to the Liberalist poses a tremendous threat (details here).
The hospital set out to conduct an internal investigation, in parallel with the police. But I believe they were also unaware of these professional-political connections, because no one can name the executives on any riding association board, aside from the advertised candidate. I have evidence that indicated the three men never disclosed their political conflict-of-interest to the hospital as well. It complicated matters that the riding exec who oversaw patient data at the hospital departed for a different region of health care facilities upon the charges being laid against Nolan. It’s not clear if that relationship was ever investigated, even from the hospital’s perspective. (I reiterate this person was never accused of wrongdoing, but he was the most knowledgeable witness in the Nolan case that no one was questioning.)
Moreover, unsettling photos and deeper connection between that campaign exec and Nolan began appearing on social media. This is despite the fact that Nolan was banned from using the internet as a condition of his bail and house arrest. It was unclear if these posts constituted an accusation against the Liberal colleague, a threat to the Liberal colleague’s daughter, or if it was a cry for help. Whatever it was, it definitely violated the terms of bail.
In the meantime a forensic warrant was executed and at that very moment, someone tampered with the evidence. All of Jared Nolan’s connections to the Liberal Party of Canada were altered or outright deleted. I have proof of that as well. It caused so much concern that I contacted Anna Gainey as an LPC official, to have the party intervene for the sake of protecting due process. It surely wouldn’t help if another individual was charged for obstructing a forensic warrant and the LPC sincerely needed to protect the children in our riding.
It was astonishing, but there was proof of receiving my letters and the LPC refused to respond. Instead they supported the campaign exec who oversaw patient data, in threatening me with defamation to obstruct my police report. The party actively covered-up its relationship with Jared Nolan and declined to intervene to prohibit this evidence from being destroyed. It declined to let anyone know an election campaign official was criminally charged with heinous sex crimes against children, that are alleged to happen over the course of that campaign. It prevented the parents of children who volunteered with Nolan during that time from knowing, so they could ask if their own kids were okay (details here).
A year ago there was no #MeToo movement to help get this message out. I sought to strike a middle ground between victim rights and Charter rights by asking the party to establish Vulnerable Sector background checks for anyone seeking to work with our riding executive. That would have prevented anyone criminally charged or under investigation from working with sensitive children’s data in the Liberalist and in our community. It’s non-judgmental, from either perspective, and it’s already a norm in the volunteer industry.
But the LPC refused to do this too. They refused to protect youths in the Liberal Party of Canada, as well as youths in our riding where an executive was already charged with multiple complaints of child luring and child pornography. The party’s reaction to cover this up made them behave so badly that they didn’t even remove Jared Nolan as the Simcoe-Grey Federal Liberal Riding Association’s Executive Vice President. While incarcerated awaiting bail and under house arrest, Nolan maintained access to the Liberalist database for another two months, before he willingly stepped down. It was during that time disturbing photos of children connecting him to the other campaign executive began appearing on social media.
I was so concerned, unsure if another child was in danger, that I contacted the police, the news, and the Liberal Party of Canada, again.
In no uncertain terms I warned Anna Gainey and the LPC about its fiduciary duty, legal liability, and to stop intimidating me from reporting what I know to the authorities. I attempted to exercise the party’s constitution for emergency intervention by LPC brass, but that was met with LPC officials shutting down the procedure and revoking the party’s constitution entirely. They did that on camera in front of CTV News and ordered the reporter to stop recording. They threatened to remove CTV for trespassing if they filmed me saying anything about Jared Nolan. I was banned from saying his name or anything about him. This happened at the riding’s Annual General Meeting and no one was allowed to discuss or inform parents that our vice president was arrested for child sex crimes (details here).
After this happened, the CTV reporter was reassigned and not allowed to pursue this story. He wished to proceed and continued working with me to obtain more information, however. Another executive came forward as a witness to help convince the producers. Still, CTV wouldn’t tell the world that their story about a child sex predator was also about a Liberal executive. They blatantly censored Jared Nolan’s position with the riding and that he was working with youths during the election campaign at the time of these allegations. The only news CTV producers would allow to be reported is that Nolan worked at the Alliston hospital.
The next development defies common sense or any shred of human dignity. Because it’s such a bizarre decision, it will oddly strengthen Patrick Brown’s allegations against the broadcaster. I don’t mean to conflate the two issues, the two parties, or the adjacent ridings, but a pattern is emerging at CTV News that is equally harmful to the complainants and the accused(s). In my humble opinion, there’s a lapse in ethical direction and this management style is quite predatory.
I know in my example the CTV reporter didn’t wish to censor Jared Nolan’s status with the Liberals. He was trying to overturn the executive producer’s decision by supplying more evidence. In the case of ex-Conservative leader, Patrick Brown, it appears CTV management censored a third complainant because of her ties to the Liberal party as well. According to CANADALAND, the director of communications at CTV News said,
“In fact, we can confirm there was at least one other woman who came forward who made allegations of a sexual nature against Patrick Brown. We did not pursue her story due to her public support of the provincial Liberal party.”
It’s not likely that journalist Glen McGregor killed a third of his own exclusive about Patrick Brown. The management at CTV News needs to explain who keeps censoring Liberal sex allegations, whether it’s from an alleged perpetrator or a victim’s perspective. They say they don’t want to make the #MeToo movement a partisan political brawl, but they have no problem concealing the information when a Liberal is criminally charged, or when a Liberal is making the accusation. In contrast, anything seems like fair game if it’s about a Conservative politician, by another Conservative.
This situation is so unfortunate that I gave CTV News an earful last year. When the reporter in my example pushed to complete the story, he was told to cultivate children from our riding to interview as prospective victims. This is the only way CTV would release the information about Jared Nolan’s status with the Liberals. It didn’t matter that he was already under house arrest for prosecution as a child predator. Management required that a small flock of kids be located to canvass for new allegations, before they would alert the public about the danger that was already thoroughly established. They wished to create their own ‘exclusive’ by blindsiding local children and prodding them for salacious tips.
If you find this hard to believe, then please see all the evidence. I still have the text messages, emails, screencaps, video, and record of phone calls to prove everything I’ve said.
At that point I refused to work with CTV News due to its lacking ethics. I was so stunned by the outrageous plot to interfere with potentially vulnerable children that we didn’t get to argue about the network’s refusal to reference Nolan’s Liberal affiliation whatsoever. I lambasted CTV, this is how the innocent get incarcerated and the guilty go free.
I regret that my account will likely be used to discredit the complainants against Patrick Brown. That is not my agenda and I have no personal knowledge of that situation to comment on either side. But it behooves me to speak up when I know children are still in danger, a cover-up is still in progress, and the behaviour of CTV management is destroying everyone’s access to justice. CTV executives need to learn that they’re not the judge, jury, executioner, or a Crown representative to offer selective pardons. When both sides of the #MeToo movement are complaining there’s a political problem at CTV News, can we not agree there must be some issue? The accused are citing political interference. The victims are citing political interference. And witnesses are citing political interference.
In Simcoe-Grey, the political interference is so great that it crossed over between the news and police. There are conflict-of-interest issues affecting the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) and the Simcoe-Grey Federal Liberal Riding Association. The candidate who oversaw Jared Nolan’s work at the hospital, as well as the election campaign, also sat on the OPP’s board of directors. The Liberal candidate publicly stated that he exercises influence over this particular police agency (details here).
Coincidentally, the OPP now refuses to accept evidence of Nolan’s access to children through the Liberal Party of Canada. They’ve charged him with luring children from the hospital and subsequent child pornography, but the lead investigator is refusing to investigate possible victims from the Liberalist and youth volunteering program.
In fact, the police took a 2-hour statement from me prior to LPC brass getting involved. After evidence was deleted and the party censored its business with Nolan, the OPP changed its tune and aggressively refused to take official statements anymore. They refused to provide a report number from the one I already submitted. They became unable to locate the officer who took my initial report. They declined to inform the crown attorney about this new evidence and scoffed at investigating Nolan’s relationship with children in the Liberal Party of Canada. This man is being painted as the most dangerous predator to children anywhere outside the Liberal party, but not within it. They believe Nolan was safe to manage sensitive children’s data within the Liberalist and spend intimate time with young volunteers for the past few years. He was not however safe to work with children’s data at the hospital, or be near young patients during the identical time period in the same neighbourhood (details here).
An open letter to the prime minister, justice minister, chiefs of police, crown attorney, all political parties, and the provincial youth advocate, was further ignored. The provincial advocate was the only entity to respond and he was sorry the agency couldn’t get involved. They didn’t feel they had a mandate to support children if sexual allegations involved a political party.
For an added bonus, the Globe and Mail responded from the Twilight Zone. Not only did they decline to report about Jared Nolan’s criminal charges and his executive position with the Liberals, but they also broke from journalism ethics by deleting a relevant speech from the prime minister that was inflammatory to the situation. The public editor responded to my complaint by saying she couldn’t accept the complaint at all. She accused me of trying to hack her computer because I didn’t type in the Globe and Mail’s preferred font. I couldn’t make this up if I tried and that email exchange is documented in the open letter as well. The Globe and Mail claims it can’t investigate ethical breaches from evidence outside the Globe and Mail publication. Their computers can’t access the internet, apparently (details here).
This experience was particularly devastating because the Globe and Mail reporter and public editor are females. The Liberal party official is female. The provincial advocate’s investigator is female. The Conservative member of parliament for our riding is also female and this group of women actively silenced the #MeToo movement before it had a name in the case of Jared Nolan. They hung female children out to dry for their own political advantage, as CTV News was seeking to exploit them from a male-dominated perspective. The sickness was so overwhelming and there was nowhere left to go, until the controversy with Patrick Brown provided an opportunity to try again. The irony isn’t lost on me and I hope it’s not lost on you. No matter anyone’s guilt or innocence or the veracity of complaints, this is indicative of political interference to retard sexual allegations within the Canadian political arena from everyone’s point of view.
Even the NDP’s white knight, in charge of ethical oversight, wouldn’t lift a finger to protect Liberal children in Simcoe County. It won’t help them to grandstand now, because they declined to care as the Official Opposition holding the government party to account. The Conservatives won’t benefit by crowing about an alleged child predator in the Liberal party either, because Kellie Leitch declined to speak for these kids despite being their MP, when she was too busy running for party leadership. (That too is documented.)
These events caused me to have to see the disgusting underbelly of our politics and media. It’s the reason I backed away from both, because I couldn’t be one of these willfully silent people. I was born with a voice and I’m tired of being gagged when my job is to be the messenger. It’s also impossible to overcome the censorship in Canadian media when it comes to reporting about politics and the government. Everyone has an agenda. It may change from month to month, but rest assured that our news is based on the whims of executive editors and producers, who don’t know the first thing about due process or the safety of women and children.
Another gem I’ve had to digest is that our police won’t act on political sex issues unless the political news decides it can be reported and potential victims consent to being publicly exploited. In this experience regarding Jared Nolan, it seems the LPC determines what CTV can report, then CTV decides if it will cajole the police to investigate.
Maybe if we confront this circle-jerk we can begin to sort it out. Goodness knows the #MeToo movement depends on our collective honesty and anything short of this is political lip service. If we continue at this rate, Gen Y will never vote, download a news app, or fund a police budget. At least the children in Simcoe-Grey and Simcoe-North won’t, because they have no reason to trust any of us. Here, they can’t safely tell their stories on either side of the equation, without someone seeking to exploit or silence them. I remain worried that because all parties are rife with sex allegations that they’ll continue silencing the children in Simcoe-Grey, if it doesn’t benefit their political agendas. The response to this statement will help me decide if the #MeToo movement is real in Canada, or just a tool to weaponize our women and children.
Full disclosure: For the record, I resigned from the Liberal riding association at the onset of these events. I never worked in media at the same time I engaged with local politics, and I’m not employed by any mainstream media currently. My only agenda is protecting these kids (full details here, including the letter of resignation).
Ontario residents have been kept in the dark, but Canada’s most populous province is about to become an unlikely and international battleground. After all, how many times does the Great White North threaten the drinking water of more than 40 million people, including their neighbours in America?
Legislators from south of the border have already taken issue with plans for a deep geologic repository. Less than a mile from the shores of Lake Huron, Bruce Power intends to store 200,000 cubic meters of nuclear waste within the natural rock formation. Senators and congressmen shared their dissent with the Canadian government, but the fed responded by sending police to the homes of eco protesters, in what some would call an act of intimidation.
(photo credit: Ontario Power Generation)
It will take at least 300 years for the nuclear waste to decay, to a point that radioactive catastrophes are not a threat to human populations. This Kincardine, Ontario location was also chosen for its low seismic activity, reducing the likelihood of water and soil contamination by earthquake.
This much we’ve always known, due to the federal environment assessment that required public consultation. The Harper government has since levied time restrictions to speed the process along, but this is one project that was too big and too perilous to keep from the radar at all.
Seemingly unrelated, the controversy over fracking and in-situ technologies to harvest oil has been raging around the world. Ohio experts claim it causes earthquakes. Texans say it releases benzene and hydrogen sulfide in the air, causing everything from cancer to nosebleeds and skin rashes. British scientists say it causes radioactive contamination. Researchers at Duke University say it makes water flammable in Pennsylvania and New York, where investigators cite enough contamination to blow up homes with families in them. In Canada, the Idle No More movement continuously defends First Nations from plans to frack their tribal territory and there’s still the argument of numerous toxic chemicals used in the extraction process.
(photo credit: HBO, GasLand)
The topic of hydraulic fracturing is so polarizing that countless provinces, states and cities have sought a moratorium. The mayor of New York City added his voice to the opposition, with strong reservations about the impact to water safety. By contrast and north of this shared water source, scientists from Canada were abruptly silenced by the federal government and environmental laws were gutted, so there is no mechanism or freedom to complain above the forty-ninth parallel any longer.
This much we also knew, but how could it possibly relate to a nuclear waste dump?
Critics warned that sweeping changes to de-monitor water, curtail public input and failure to assess smaller power projects would have a grave and lasting impact on the Canadian ecosystem. They denounced newly legislated secrecy and threw their hands in the air when the government conducted a good old-fashioned, scientific book burning. They went so far as to accuse the Harper administration of oppressing Canadians for the sake of Alberta oil profits, meant to benefit the Prime Minister’s friends at a cost to every other industry in the country. With few studies or consultations required anymore, the public wouldn’t be privy to projects that conflict with each other either.
It was a Nostradamus moment that wouldn’t take a thousand years to come true. It’s just that our first example arises in Ontario, further east than they predicted when pitted against bitumen, LNG or coastal pipelines as the likely candidates. When people think about oil, they don’t naturally imagine the Great Lakes region as an epicenter for this development.
No one can blame residents for being remiss, when information became inaccessible to the public and for that matter to Americans who are impacted by Canadian activity. Former Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty claimed there would be no fracking until the province studied evidence to determine if the practice was safe. The new premier has never commented and no elected officials have alluded to anything different.
With all this government subterfuge from provincial and federal levels, the only way to learn about energy projects is through private company investor reports and knowing which ones to research now.
Bruce Power, meet Dundee Energy Limited. The former is an Ontario nuclear giant and the latter has the largest stake in Ontario oil. The two may operate side by side, but you’d never know from asking any level of government including municipal managers. These companies also favour the same rock formation, but for very different reasons.
Nuclear proponents believe the shale is strong enough to store radioactive waste, while oil competitors have chosen the area due to rich deposits and the porous nature of the same rock, making it a perfect specimen for fracking. It’s hard to see how both could be correct, but everyone drinking water along the Great Lakes is in the crosshairs of this corporate aggression.
From Neil Young to Yoko Ono, concerned stars have raised alarm bells regarding each of these topics, but no one thought to consider the impact of running these operations together. Fracking beside nuclear waste is a new concept for sure. The consequence of either practice is still a new frontier and combining them won’t be studied in Canada, nor will anyone be informed to care.
This situation is complicated by a few key players. Nuclear behemoth Bruce Power is technically owned by TransCanada Corp, that is better known for the KeystoneXL oil pipeline and tribulations visiting the White House. It’s also owned by Cameco, recently accused of tax evasion related to uranium sales. This partnership is completed by the retirement funds of municipal employees and the Power Workers Union, otherwise known as an affiliate of the left-wing labour movement and CUPE. As these strange bedfellows negotiate long term destruction of the environment for short term gain, the public is none the wiser because every brand of elected official appears to have taken a vow of silence.
In the case of Dundee Energy, it’s a subsidiary of the Dundee Corporation and federal Labour Minister Kellie Leitch was implicated in an alleged conflict of interest with this very consortium. While sitting on a board of directors for Dundee (REIT), Leitch was also debating legislation that impacted her environmentally averse tenants. In addition to meeting the needs of numerous oil clients under the Dundee real estate umbrella, this MP’s company position included an asset-based relationship with the National Energy Board (pgs 20-26).
The National Energy Board is Canada’s environmental regulator and the body that oversees public consultation in a situation like the Bruce Power nuclear waste dump. It no longer needs to conduct environmental hearings related to Dundee’s oil pursuits, as a result of the Labour Minister and Conservative government’s plight to de-monitor water and “streamline” approvals.
It’s now come to light that Leitch’s business associate was buying considerable land for oil extraction, with an eye for the riding she continues to represent. Dundee Energy also purchased junior speculators with rights to harvest oil in Ontario, around the same time she was named a trustee to the sister company with shared executives.
For context, the Labour Minister’s family established the Fort McMurray oil sands town in Alberta, before her career was transferred to Ontario where the process may be repeating. This time brings us to Collingwood, Ontario and begins with thousands of acres around Blue Mountain that the oil industry took an interest in.
This location boasts a farming heartland and world class ski resort, with waterside tourism in the summer. It’s unlikely Intrawest realizes the surrounding property is on the fracking horizon. It doesn’t bode well for stable snow formations if earthquakes are indeed caused by fracking. Yacht owners may pull their boats from oil-slicked waters and tourism around the protected Niagara Escarpment Biosphere may soon resemble the tar sands on this deregulated trajectory. The groundwaters sustaining agriculture in the bins at your local grocery store may also become poisonous if the experience of early adopters is any indication.
To manage a complex and conflicting set of developments, here’s a recap to give clarity that illuminates who might have known what.
1857 – 1863: Canada’s first shale gas operation was founded in Collingwood, Ontario. It originally supplied the market in Toronto. This enterprise eventually failed due to competition from Lambton County and this local history would be forgotten, until the present day when it’s repeated.
April 2008: Bruce Power begins drilling boreholes to test Collingwood, Blue Mountain, Georgian Bay and Manitoulin shales, in preparation for the nuclear waste deep geologic repository. A layout of the project is included, depicting the proximity to Lake Huron and a railway passing directly above the proposed radioactive location.
September 2008: Mooncor begins aggressive acquisition of Ontario shale oil assets. They have access to 23,000 acres with the ability to develop Collingwood and Blue Mountain formations.
November 2008: The Ontario Petroleum Institute holds an annual conference. Sponsors include Talisman and Torque Energy, as well as Enbridge, Haliburton and the US Energy Development Corp. Exhibitors include the Government of Newfoundland and the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources. The latter presents “Shale Gas Opportunities in Ontario” during the session dedicated to fracking. The Ontario Power Generation also speaks about the Bruce Power waste site. That seminar is sandwiched between the effect of petrochemicals and how to fight back against eco protesters.
February 2009: A Calgary based oil and gas consultant is hired to conduct seismic testing for the Ontario Bruce Power nuclear site. Data is borrowed from a nearby Texaco well and Shell oil pipeline. Many gas wells are noted in the area and previous studies failed to indicate a seismic fault line. With newer technology however, faults were discovered around the nuclear site and this information will be submitted to the National Energy Board.
May 2009: The federal government finalizes a process of environmental review for the proposed Bruce Power nuclear waste site.
November 2009: The Ontario Petroleum Institute holds an annual conference. Sponsors include Torque Energy, Talisman Energy and Enbridge. Shale gas opportunities are promoted in Ontario and the Minister of Natural Resources is a keynote speaker this year. Numerous reps from the Ontario government provide seminars as well as a report for oil companies, enticing hundreds of new explorations. The Collingwood and Blue Mountain deposits are given special attention, closest to the nuclear waste site. Health Canada is also an exhibitor.
March 2010: Central Ontario oil was predominantly owned by Mooncor and Talisman Energy. The Dundee Corporation purchases “the largest accumulation of oil and natural gas assets in Ontario” for $131 million from Talisman, to overtake their interest in the area.
June 2010: Simcoe and Bruce Counties experience an uncharacteristic earthquake. The area surrounding a proposed nuclear waste dump and fracking locale, shakes enough to startle half the province awake.
October 2010: The Ontario Petroleum Institute holds an annual conference. Sponsor information was withheld this year, but exhibitors include the Canadian Consulate General and various members of the Ontario government. Keynote speakers include disgraced Congressman Chris Lee (R-NY) and seminars are provided by the Ministry of Natural Resources, in addition to the Ministry of Northern Development. Dundee Energy updated their progress in purchasing Ontario shale assets, as the government updated its list of shale assets for promotion. Additional seminars were offered regarding hydraulic fracturing and the difficulty moving enough sand, water and chemicals to supply the fracking industry.
April 2011: The Bruce Power nuclear site tests for the presence of gas. It’s found in the Collingwood, Blue Mountain and Georgian Bay formations, among others. Upon detailed analysis, the highest concentration of oil is noted in the Collingwood shale samples (closest to the nuclear repository), while the highest gas concentrations can be found in the Blue Mountain companion. This study and many more were submitted to the National Energy Board.
April 2011: Mooncor creates spinoff company DRGN Resources to handle its Ontario shale oil and gas assets. The long term strategy includes overtaking smaller companies to become a major player in the province.
May 2011: Kellie Leitch is elected Member of Parliament for Simcoe-Grey, after accusations of being parachuted from out of town. This riding consists of Collingwood, Blue Mountain and much of Georgian Bay. She still works with Dundee REIT and will not resign the executive position until the end of the next quarter, representing both the public and a corporation at the same time.
June 2011: Dundee Energy Limited establishes 100 percent ownership of its Ontario oil assets, further retained by the Dundee conglomerate as the parent company. New horizontal wells are planned for extraction.
June 2011: Several fish begin dying in Lake Simcoe. It’s part of the same glacial movement that created the Great Lakes system and it’s a 30 minute drive from the shores of Lake Huron. A magnificent amount of oil and gas tests are occurring at the same time (from government, the fracking and nuclear industries), but this is not considered a possible culprit because the public is unaware.
August 2011: Dundee Energy purchases Torque Energy – a former sponsor of the Ontario Petroleum Institute and a remaining holdout competitor. Torque Energy includes oil assets in Ontario and the acquisition helps to pad Dundee’s dominant market share.
September 2011: Mooncor retains a small amount of stock in Torque Energy, now owned by the Dundee corporation (pg. 12). At the end of this month, Member of Parliament Kellie Leitch resigns from her position with Dundee’s real estate branch as well.
October 2011: The Ontario Petroleum Institute holds an annual conference. Sponsors include Dundee Energy, Torque Energy (under Dundee ownership) and Mooncor (with stock interest in Dundee). Keynote speakers include the Mayor of London and First Nations elders. Seminars are provided by the federal government’s Indian Oil and Gas Canada agency, the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and the Ontario Energy Board. Topics covered Aboriginal affairs and fracking, with a hydrofracturing demonstration to close the event.
October 2011: Six thousand dead birds and fish scatter the shores of Wasaga Beach. It’s the longest freshwater beach in the entire world and lines much of Georgian Bay, connecting to Collingwood at Lake Huron. Both shale formations were being tested for oil and gas reserves, but botulism is the suspected culprit with little explanation regarding changes to the lake’s chemistry. The area never saw a die-off like this before and experts were left to guess a reason.
November 2011: Mooncor engages the Dundee conglomerate for help to raise $5 million toward expansion.
November 2011: An executive lawyer for Bruce Power and the nuclear waste site is appointed to the Ontario Centre of Excellence, to guide the provincial economy. This centre is funded by the Ontario government and Bruce Power continues to be owned by the same curious partners.
May 2012: Thousands of dead fish appear on the shores of Lake Simcoe. The second time is worse than the first. The Ministry of Natural Resources waited a number of months before informing the public of a widespread infection and no detailed cause was ever given.
September 2012: The Ontario government promotes shale fuel extraction at a conference in the United States. Collingwood, Blue Mountain and Georgian Bay formations are the focus, with 31 percent oil saturation and 77 percent gas saturation to encourage deeper investment. One of the wells cited is adjacent to the Bruce Power nuclear waste site. (A similar situation between oil wells and nuclear generators occurs in the Pickering location on Lake Ontario.)
September 2012: Dundee Energy invests $13.7 million in Ontario assets. Another $3.4 million is spent to acquire maps with seismic data, needed to plan the next harvesting sites. Inland extraction has become a priority to increase production, that offsets lower gas prices affected by greater American penetration and the Canadian petro dollar. A rig is purchased to assist with new drilling, allowing expansion in the Toronto gas market. In the process, they reserve $3.3 million for the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources, in anticipation of future environmental costs.
October 2012: The Ontario Petroleum Institute holds an annual conference. The sponsor list is excluded again, but the Ministry of Natural Resources, Conservative MPP Bob Bailey and a National Post editor were mentioned as speakers. Embattled Liberal Energy Minister Chris Bentley was invited to give the keynote address and topics narrowly focused on pipelines, fracking and promoting Ontario’s shale assets for exploration.
November 2012: The Ontario government releases a comprehensive report (490 pages) meant to attract investment, reform applicable laws and assist corporations in negotiating with First Nations. Shale gas and oil in the Collingwood, Blue Mountain, Georgian Bay, Nottawasaga and Manitoulin areas is given special attention (pgs. 222-240), with specific mention of fuels (pgs. 275-286). Each is promoted as having the best potential for fracking related extraction. At least 360 samples were tested from wells and new boreholes in the years preceding, as part of the larger “shale gas assessment project” the public was never informed about. Groundwater mapping for Simcoe County is thoroughly noted (pgs. 295-306) and includes data from Lake Huron to Georgian Bay, Lake Simcoe, the Nottawasaga River, Newmarket Till and Oak Ridges Moraine. It is further identified as one of the most significant glacial aquifers, responsible for drinking water obtained from the Great Lakes and every connecting path from Canada to Chicago, Illinois.
November 2012: At the same time Ontario promoted shale extraction, Premier Dalton McGuinty informed the media there was no reason to worry about fracking in the province. He offered this reassurance despite public objection to Dundee Energy and Mooncor buying land for the same purpose. This message was supported by the Ministry of Natural Resources when they confirmed one new shale well was drilled, but denied any knowledge of plans to continue. All political parties responded as if the premise of fracking was hypothetical, but each shared a connection to this series of concrete developments. The Liberal government spent millions to encourage fracking extraction and accepted millions from interested companies. Elected Conservatives spoke at fracking events and/or occupied an executive table with the most aggressive corporation. The NDP also enjoys considerable input from the labour movement, as business partners with an oil giant involved in testing the area.
June 2013: Dundee Energy plans to invest $13.2 million in new Ontario wells and exploration to increase production. Another $2 million will be spent to map 314 kilometers of prospective shale opportunities. The corporation pays an extra $270,000 to the Ministry of Natural Resources in anticipation of future abandonment costs (pgs. 8, 28). This expansion is again reported to offset losses incurred by the American market and complication from the petro dollar (pgs. 10-13).
September 2013: Dundee’s rig is used in Lambton County, Ontario to fracture-stimulate a new well. Additional projects are planned for summer the next year.
October 2013: The Ontario Petroleum Institute holds an annual conference. This time it’s at the Windsor casino and sponsors are dwindling as companies are bought up, but Dundee Energy has attained the gold level. Seminars are provided by the Ministry of Natural Resources and Dundee itself, regarding radial jet drilling and its benefits to the fracking industry. This talk was followed by a presentation regarding the Blue Mountain shale formation and the majority of that day was dedicated to hydraulic fracturing topics. The smaller event was then closed by the Ontario Minister of Rural Affairs. It should be noted that a few days earlier, First Nations made international news with a government standoff against fracking. A Chief close to Bruce Power was also protesting the nuclear waste dump.
In other curious developments, the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources defers to the oil industry as its spokesperson. Visiting the government internet page to learn about provincial resources not only misinforms about Ontario’s history (forgetting Collingwood as the first producer), but it also directs readers to the “Discovery Education Centre” as the government’s source for facts.
It just so happens the Discovery Education Centre is owned by Discovery Drilling Funds. They were purchased by LongBow Energy Corp and this business is steeped in the Alberta oil sands. Head office is located in Calgary, Alberta and one of the key executives is a former Koch Petroleum manager (of Koch Industries fame). It’s unclear why a private group of five western oil companies is now speaking for the Government of Ontario.
Regarding competition between fracking and nuclear waste, the town of Walkerton, Ontario is located at the midpoint between them. Driving half an hour west, residents will arrive at Bruce Power and driving half an hour east, they’ll arrive at the heavily promoted Collingwood oil deposits. If they dare to drive south, they’ll arrive at Sarnia’s petrochemical industry and advanced plans for fracking in Lambton County as well.
This tiny hamlet was foisted to world news when the water supply was contaminated and more than 2,300 residents became severely ill. Several died. Criminal charges were laid. The Conservative government of the day was blamed for legislation that privatized the testing of water safety. Now the same families may serve as a test, to see what happens when government policy allows fracking beside nuclear waste, fourteen years later in a repeat performance.
Everyone who obtains drinking water associated with the Great Lakes will also be affected, if any part of this experiment goes wrong. And despite Ontario denying plans to frack, taxpayers footed the bill to produce widespread tests for shale oil, in addition to yearly seminars designed to entice extraction.
These water tables come from one of the most important Precambrian aquifers. It supplies the local area and stretches deep into the United States. This underground water highway also supports Toronto and all the towns branching out along the way. The only thing that doesn’t appear to support 40 million North Americans, is politics north of the border and its friends in the energy industry. If all bureaucracies have skin in the game, who’s left to speak for the water?
Will the Ethics Minister Investigate this MP’s Failure to Disclose Her Income?
Surprising developments continue to challenge the Harper government and it doesn’t appear the recent cabinet shuffle was enough to contain the party’s troubles. In July, the prime minister embarked on a public relations makeover to soften the blow from repeated allegations of criminal activity and impropriety against a growing number of Conservatives.
To quell chatter about Duffy and the senate spending scandal — followed by charges against Del Mastro, the Prime Minister appointed a fresh batch of faces to populate his inner circle. In this rejuvenation process, a faithful MP from Simcoe-Grey was promoted to Minister of Labour and Minister of Status of Women. It seemed a safe bet, as the member was not only a minority female but also a paediatric surgeon who proved her loyalty by supporting the export of asbestos. Surely her silence in the face of criticism from the health care industry could merit responsibility for two portfolios in a beleaguered government.
Doubly minted Minister Kellie Leitch keeps a low profile with the local public, but she’s been a staple in the Conservative party since the days of her youth. The doctor wasn’t familiar to residents of Simcoe-Grey until the 2011 federal election, because she normally hailed from Sick Kids Hospital in Toronto and the University of Western Ontario in London. Leitch’s life was centred many hours away and she survived this controversy with stellar endorsements from CPC stars like Jim Flaherty, Peter MacKay, Hugh Segal, Julian Fantino and Stephen Harper. The campaigning efforts of Pamela Wallin weren’t quite as glowing, since her visits have become a point of contention in the senate investigation (see April 26 and 29, expanded to include Jan. 17).
This prominent attention must have felt remarkable. In a rural region known for farming and rustic getaways, the area was transformed into a political Hollywood for the election. The only caveat is it required this much effort to help Leitch overcome the toxic atmosphere she was about to inherit. Her predecessor in Simcoe-Grey was also a Minister for the Status of Women, but Helena Guergis was in the process of being turfed as her replacement was parachuted by the Prime Minister. It was a timely campaign of false and tawdry allegations. Ms. Guergis saw her career destroyed to create a vacancy in the riding and much of the local executive quit to protest their loss of democracy.
Amid the many accusations against Kellie Leitch, it became apparent she would need to open up and endear herself to the locals. In a rare interview with the tiny Wasaga Beach newspaper, a limited number of constituents received a glimpse into the world of our prospective Labour Minister. This included a rare epiphany explaining just how far she traveled. In her own words, Kellie Leitch professes it wasn’t in her plans to become a doctor and she was keen to build on her father’s legacy as a founder of Fort McMurray.
The Alberta oil sands are more than a stone’s throw from the shores of central Ontario and according to Leitch, her family should be credited with bringing the oil rush to Canada because they’re the ones who built the infrastructure to make the harvest area inhabitable. This MP was proud of the environment she helped create, despite Neil Young’s comparison of Fort McMurray to Hiroshima. Of course the latter was banned from the former’s radio station, so perhaps Minister Leitch will never hear about the opposition.
This brings us to the ethical hurdles facing the Conservative party and whether Harper’s judgement would improve in time for the cabinet shuffle, meant to save the government’s reputation. These new ministers should be impervious to criticism, or rather investigation. Ideally they would lead the way by filing items properly and insulate the Canadian Parliament from any more questions of fraud or conflicts of interest. Or contempt. Or bribery. Or voter suppression. Or criminal charges. With such a turbulent track record, it only seems reasonable the Prime Minister would benefit from hindsight and wisdom in selecting his next executives.
It was previously reported that Minister Leitch was in good standing with the Ethics Commissioner and she did not declare any additional income in her report for the public registry. This is the information she provided to media in a congenial, receptive email. But that registry and the Canadian Securities Regulators at Sedar appear to have a different opinion.
The following is a public version of events, expressed in a timeline with commentary:
May 4, 2010 — Kellie Leitch causes a stir with Conservatives in Simcoe-Grey, when she attends private meetings as a star candidate who was parachuted from Toronto.
May 6, 2010 — Kellie Leitch becomes a paid trustee at Dundee REIT (see also May 10, 2010 – report of voting results). As part of a Declaration of Trust, she must agree to a non-competition clause with the company. She is not permitted to acquire an interest, even indirectly from commercial real estate, without first allowing Dundee the option of purchasing said investment (see page 37).
Dundee REIT is a subsidiary of Dundee Corporation and Ned Goodman is the owner, occupying a seat at the same table as MP Leitch. Mr. Goodman is better known as one of the richest people in Canada (see page 18). The REIT is better known for its main accounts, as landlord to the Government of Canada, Government of Ontario, Government of British Columbia, Government of Alberta, Government of Saskatchewan, Government of Quebec, Government of Northwest Territories, Enbridge Pipelines and SNC Lavalin. This is in addition to the Canada Revenue Agency, Canadian Food Inspection Agency, Cities of Edmonton and Calgary, Alberta Health Services, CAE and Ministry of the Attorney General (see page 20).
In media it’s not mentioned that Dundee REIT is behind the Toronto Pan Am village, but annual filings detail the company’s $15 million investment, with an expected profit of $50 million when the properties are finally sold (see page 12).
In the same report Mr. Goodman shares his executive insight with underlings like Minister Leitch. He says,
“Inflation is a certainty because without any other reasons, and there are many, it is a political and financial tool that allows for de-leveraging of debt and payment of deficits. In addition, politicians very seldom get elected by causing deflation. Almost everyone likes inflation. If you are a government and inflate prices, then you keep people struggling and working hard to keep pace with inflation. The poorer the people are, the more likely they can be kept under control. In addition, inflation for rich people is taxable and deflation is less so. No government ever has an incentive to deflate, but has incentive in fact to inflate. Voters prefer inflation to deflation.” (seepage 19)
He would have said this while also acting as the Chancellor of Brock University.
May 10, 2010 — The appointment of Dr. Leitch to Dundee REIT is confirmed by Sedar.com (see May 10, 2010, report of voting results).
May 2010 — Kellie Leitch is slated to receive 4,607 deferred REIT units for her services as a trustee in the first year (see April 18, 2011, management information circular – within report, view page 6). Her access to sensitive information about the company and advice from owners like Mr. Goodman is granted (view page 9). The compensation structure is outlined and as a trustee, Dr. Leitch will play a role in determining these amounts, including the amount of payment due to Mr. Goodman and approval of deferred units like she received (view pages 12-13). In addition to receiving property investments and a personal stake in government tenants, Leitch receives $21,000 in cash for meeting fees (see page 18). It’s important to understand this compensation was negotiated at the onset, but actual payment would be received into the next year. The deferred units go through a 5 year vesting period, with parts maturing at each anniversary. This would provide Dr. Leitch with steady income for a minimum of 5 years (view page 16).
May 2010 — Dundee REIT confirms it will invest $20 million to construct a building for the Government of Canada in Yellowknife, fully leased to the government for 10 years (see May 6, 2010, interim financial statements – within report, view page 21).
December 31, 2010 — Kellie Leitch is confirmed to receive $21,000 in cash, for her services at Dundee REIT (see page 18).
March 21, 2011 — Much of the Conservative riding executive quits in Simcoe-Grey, due to the ouster of Helena Guergis and the parachuting of Kellie Leitch.
March 31, 2011 — As Defence Minister, Peter MacKay visits the riding of Simcoe-Grey to campaign on behalf of Dr. Leitch. On the same day, Dundee REIT releases a business update to Sedar.com that includes important information about its trustees. Leitch is legally reported to live in the municipality of Toronto (see March 31, 2011 – annual information form – within report, view pages 30, 31). This supports the accusation that she was parachuted to another riding.
April 12, 2011 — Leitch’s business partner and Dundee Corporation owner, Ned Goodman,purchases considerable interest in resource extraction from the Ring of Fire – a point of deep contention for Northern Ontario Native communities.
April 19, 2011 — Peter Cosgrove donates $1,000 to the election campaign of Kellie Leitch (see entry 29). If this was a misspelling, a fellow trustee at Dundee REIT also goes by the name of Peter Cossgrove.
May 2, 2011 — Michael Knowlton donates $250 to the election campaign of Kellie Leitch (see entry 69). He was the president, COO, executive vice president and CFO at Dundee REIT. He made this contribution two weeks before retiring from the president’s position.
Most donations were recorded at the last minute. Forty per cent arrived on Election Day and this indicates Leitch was in contact with her business partners from Toronto, while the riding of Simcoe-Grey was busy voting. No trustees at Dundee REIT are residents of this riding, according to available financial records. In addition to these individuals, the majority of political donors hail from the Toronto area and their contributions were accepted on May 2, 2011.
The return submitted to Elections Canada includes donor names such as Lara Zink (136),Dori Segal (106), David R. Wingfield (133), Kevin Warn-Schindel (128), Linda Rorabeck(100), Lori Turik (122), Kim Shannon (107), Michael S. Ras (95), Partick Meneley (83),Frank Magliocco (77), Onorio Lucchese (75), Blair Levinsky (73), William E. Lardner (71),Landon French (49), Victor Dodig (40), Bradley Cutsey (34), William J. Corcoran (28) andRita Ciccolini. It is this calibre of GTA powerhouses that funded an election campaign in rural Ontario.
(To view a candidate’s return within the Elections Canada database, a fresh search must be performed. Once the information for Leitch, Kellie, in the riding of Simcoe–Grey is displayed, select Form 2A to browse donations. Screen captures of this information are also provided below. Please be advised there is nothing improper about the donations, but they did arise from out of town, predominantly on the day of election.)
May 2, 2011 — Kellie Leitch is elected Member of Parliament for Simcoe-Grey, defeating Helena Guergis as a new face for the Conservatives.
May 12, 2011 — Ten days after the election, MP Leitch accepts paid re-appointment to the Board of Trustees at Dundee REIT (see May 16, 2011 — report of voting results). This happened at a specially scheduled event, in the Toronto Board of Trade, East Ballroom. It would have been clear to everyone that Kellie Leitch was celebrating her election, when she accepted their overtures to oversee a business that relied heavily on the favour of federal government (see pages 1, 6).
May 16, 2011 — Kellie Leitch is recorded in the Canada Gazette as being elected to Parliament. According to the Conflict of Interest Code for Members of the House of Commons, she has 60 days from this moment to file her private interests with the Ethics Commissioner for inspection. Since Dr. Leitch was immediately appointed to parliamentary secretary, her ability to engage in private employment would not have been appropriate (seeitem 7). She would not have been able to engage in contracts with the government for which she received benefit, without the Commissioner’s permission and only if the arrangement wouldn’t affect her parliamentary obligations (see items 16, 17, 18). MP Leitch was also required to disclose any income greater than $1,000, including its source, for the 12 months preceding election (see item 21).
May 25, 2011 — MP Leitch is appointed to parliamentary secretary by the Prime Minister.
July 16, 2011 — MP Leitch was due to submit her disclosure of private income and conflicts of interest to the Ethics Commissioner, in keeping with the 60 day mandate. She failed to do this within the required time and remained engaged with Dundee REIT as a parliamentary secretary.
August 15, 2011 — Dundee REIT acquires the Blackstone portfolio for $703 million (seepage 23). It was the largest portfolio ever purchased by a REIT in Canada and this transaction contained significant addresses in the heart of Toronto’s financial district (Bay Street).
2011 — Dundee REIT becomes landlord to the National Energy Board, numerous oil and resource companies, WSIB and Government Services for the Department of National Defence (see pages 20-26). Due to the nature of their tenants, Dundee’s liability for environmental protection and the cost of remediating contaminated sites is considered (seepage 27).
September 22, 2011 — Parliamentary Secretary Leitch resigns from her position at Dundee REIT. The company attributes this departure to her successful election nearly five months earlier. They note she attended four of five regularly scheduled meetings, meaning it’s probable that some of them occurred while she was a Member of Parliament — unless all the company’s business was conducted prior to May 2nd and the federal election. Leitch accepted remuneration for her service in 2011, in the form of $6,000 cash, 35,000 REIT units and 110,000 deferred REIT units, for a reported value of $151,600 (see April 11, 2012 –management information circular – within report, view page 20 – or see alternate source atpage 20, here).
September 26, 2011 — MP Leitch discloses her private interests to the Ethics Commissioner on the public registry. She reports a blind trust and income from the University of Toronto, University of Western and the Ministry of Health. She does not report the $21,000 plus $6,000 received in cash, for her previous twelve months at Dundee REIT, or the current term. She does not report her significant interest in the company’s contracts with government tenants or the oil and resource industries. In fact, there is no mention of Dundee REIT, even though this report is filed four days after resigning the private position and two months after the parliamentary due date.
September 29, 2011 — Three days later, MP Leitch makes a correction to her Ethics disclosure. This time she adds ownership of the Khristinn Kellie Leitch Medicine Professional Corporation, but still there is no mention of Dundee REIT.
2010 – 2011 — During the first year of Dr. Leitch’s tenure at Dundee REIT in 2010, the Government of Canada leased 333,187 square feet from the company (see page 21). Although she was elected to Parliament in May 2011, MP Leitch didn’t resign the position with Dundee until the end of September. During this period of dual representation, the Government of Canada became the company’s largest tenant, increasing their lease to 1,209,973 square feet in 2011 (see page 19). That’s an unprecedented increase in the company’s history of 263 percent, around the same time this parliamentary secretary was working for both entities. Since her departure from Dundee REIT, the federal government expanded their account to 1,658,129 square feet.
2012 — Dundee REIT releases an annual report that cites considerable political influence on their business ventures (see page 44).
As the current Minister of Labour, Kellie Leitch could impact the employment concerns of Dundee REIT. She will continue to receive income until her payment cycle completes in 2016, with incentive to meet their needs. There is no concern from government to abstain from voting in parliament, on matters that affect the company or any of the tenants. There is no mention of the environmental pressures to keep many of these clients profitable. The REIT units owned by the minister are more than security investments and there is nothing to indicate the Ethics Commissioner identifies these holdings as remuneration. Minister Leitch could choose between cash and securities, opting for the latter as a lion’s share of compensation. This relationship is further complicated by Dundee’s political interest in the outcome of government decisions from a number of different perspectives.
January 17, 2012 — Dundee completes their acquisition of the Whiterock portfolio, becoming a landlord to the Government of New Brunswick, Government of Nova Scotia, Quebec public health, Air Canada, provincial hydro organizations, the US Bank, TD Canada Trust, Royal Bank, Molson, PEI Liquor Control Commission, Nova Scotia Liquor Corp and the Saskatchewan Liquor and Gaming Authority (see last pages, B-1 to B-4).
February 14, 2013 — MP Leitch makes the last update to her ethics disclosure file. This time she adds publicly traded securities and an extra blind trust to the assets column. It’s likely these securities arise from her payment at Dundee REIT; but still there is no cash declared, no mention of remuneration and no mention of the company or its interests.
July 15, 2013 — MP Leitch is appointed to Minister of Labour and Minister of the Status of Women.
Minister Leitch has been contacted for comment, but none has been forthcoming. The only question that remains is if the commissioner will evaluate these potential conflicts of interest, the primary address of MP Leitch on Election Day and the apparent failure to disclose earned income.
***February 13, 2014 UPDATE: It is now known that MP Leitch donated to the Rob Ford election campaign. In his financial documents, it lists her home address in the City of Toronto. FreeThePressCanada will not disclose the exact location, but the election documents are a matter of public record, stored online.
(This was previously published by CBC when I was an Occupy Toronto correspondent. All Occupy related articles have since been migrated to the archives section. A live link is no longer accessible and the original would need to be sought by request from the broadcaster.)
It’s a widespread, global phenomenon; the greatest revolution of our time – and yet no one can seem to put their finger on it. The participants haven’t summarized the problem in three weeks’ time and the media isn’t sure where to begin. So what’s this Occupy Movement all about?
On Saturday, October 15th, I will join with citizens from every nation in what is set to be a record breaking event, with the Toronto chapter. Representatives for 99% of the world’s population are intent to be heard, uniting their voices as one. This movement now spans every continent except Antarctica. But is this for teachers, pilots, unionists, the unemployed, middle class, impoverished… or is it a bunch of communists as some corners have suggested?
The first question that begs answering is who are the 99% and how did they get that way. They are you and me and everyone we’ve ever known. Unless you’re part of the 1%, you’re part of the 99 and it’s just that simple. The middle class has a tendency to view themselves separate from the woes of common man, but rest assured the consequences apply to them too – especially them, in fact.
Ultimately the occupation results from “trickle down economics”, to put a very complex set of circumstances in a single nutshell. According to the Conference Board of Canada, the gap has been growing between rich and poor for more than two decades. The disparity grew by the greatest proportion in Canada, where average incomes remain stagnant with levels of the 1970’s. After factoring inflation and debt, our value from wages has actually decreased 10%. The Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives paints a stark contrast for the top 1%, who happened to increase their value 219 times greater than any of us.
The score is -10 versus +219. This kind of disparity hasn’t been seen since the Great Depression and even then society’s wealthiest only controlled 8% of income growth, whereas they control an entire third today. In response to that historic calamity, governments were forced to respond with public policy that addressed fair taxation and wages. The goal was to redistribute prosperity even-handedly to prevent another collapse of the country. Presently however, they control as much as 42.5% of our wealth and government has insisted on lowering their taxes, again to levels not seen since the Depression. It’s apparent those lessons have been forgotten and astute historians are intent on getting the message out before lines under Salvation Army signs quadruple.
The theory to cut taxes for the 1% says this will result in trickle down benefits for the other 99. It’s supposed to create jobs and cause the market to remunerate us properly based on natural forces. It’s supported by both the IMF and OECD in the global view of financing. Except all data shows the benefactors continue to pocket the overwhelming profits and fail to invest in our workforce. They’reinvesting 40% less in their businesses than they were before the gift of major tax reductions. That means our so-called stimulus is filtered straight to their bank accounts and they’re taking even more from profit margins.
This is like asking us to ignore an elephant in the room. There have been 11,724 foreign takeovers of Canadian companies in the last 25 years and all our jobs are exported with them. It was thought through even distribution of global competition that we could replace these countless industries. But we’ve been forced to reckon with the inability to maintain a system of minimum wage, health or safety regulations and remain competitive with countries that don’t have them. We’ve already cut costs at a detriment to safety and felt the repercussions through Walkerton and Maple Leaf. The utilization of employment agencies and repeated attempts at union busting already serve to decrease our wages or any access we had to benefits. All in the name of shining us up, so we look our best for the 1%.
In another bid to win their favour, our governments are deregulating everything from banking to trade, takeovers, wheat, power, food and pharmaceuticals. Canada has been undergoing a personality makeover to morph into the US and it’s been a harsh battle to keep our social network balanced with the shift toward total capitalism.
The FIAT monetary system also bears mention. At the same time a gap defining rich from poor was allowed to establish, so too was this currency adopted. No longer was money gold-backed and instead it became traded on the stock market based on debt, wars, ability to repay, GDP, employment rates, investment and poverty. Since debt is now factored into dollar value, governments have found themselves printing money without the ability to repay it and as a result cause hyperinflation. The history of FIAT currency has ended in complete failure, without exception, since the beginning of money in 800 AD and bureaucracy only turns to this method of calculating wealth in times of trouble to artificially pad their value.
But the moment of truth has arrived and 99% can no longer afford to live within reason. We’re not making enough to afford inflation, depreciation of wages, or repayment of a deficit to cushion the elite. We can least afford the cuts to public services that are sacrificed to maintain this pretense of funny-money in our time of suffering.
Financial industry employment already outnumbers public sector jobs by 4% to 0.82% respectively. By the year 2023 they are predicted to control the majority of employment across Canada, should present trends continue. For every doctor, teacher, police officer, fire fighter, social worker, EI counselor, garbage collector and soldier – there are four stock brokers, insurance agents and bankers to steer our agendas and speak for our needs.
This is how pressure becomes placed on our governments to accommodate deregulation that increases prices, again in an effort to pad the 1% at our expense. They’re the folks who do the advising, they approve loans for governments in trouble and they fund a majority of major political parties. Talk about a conflict of interest! And yet the current Canadian federal government is making laws to end subsidy based on votes and force every party to embrace financing from the 1%. They also do what they can to prevent unions representing public interests from participating.
When that wasn’t enough, the deregulated markets took up the art of speculating. For those who don’t understand, speculation is the process of buying something (in large quantities) without the need or perhaps intention to sell it. This artificially manufactures shortages and drives up prices for the 99%. You’ve watched the result of this activity unfold at the gas pump increasingly throughout the years. We’re paying the same price per barrel of oil today, as we were when it cost 79 cents at the gas station. The price has only risen to $1.30/litre now, specifically because of speculation.
Since middle class incomes haven’t risen effectively for more than a quarter century and the cost of living has gone through the roof, we also lost our buying power – which is essential to keep a capitalist system functioning. We were thoroughly supported by manufacturing to meet our own demands, but can only need so many TVs, cars or new clothing patterns and our ability to purchase them on a whim has diminished.
So enters the business of speculation and commodities. We still must eat, drive and light up our homes. Again through deregulation and privatization, we’ve seen hydro, insurance and interest only climb and once those avenues were saturated they started tinkering with our food. The 1% is now gambling with our ability to eat, the same way they did with hedge funds and everything else that bubbled over.
Global markets are now speculating on corn, grains, sugar and water – the basis we need to make all else. Like clockwork it’s already doubled our prices at the grocery store, the same as they did with oil. The 1% has run out of things to increase their incomes beyond the 220% benchmark and they haven’t stopped at anything to maintain their status quo.
Further complicating matters is the logistical problem with 1% holding everyone’s wealth. We’re told they’re “too big to fail” and have to cover their tab for unbridled, vicious grabs at even more of the economy. They created the internet bubble, housing bubble, finance bubble, food bubble and oil bubble, but the system is set up so they continue to benefit no matter what they’ve done to the economy while you and I are forced to pay for it – WE, the 99%.
Last but not least this eats into our tax base, as they lobby governments for deeper cuts and fewer regulations still. The bulk of our services like health care, child care, education, pensions, EI and housing are on the chopping block because we can’t afford to provide public services while covering the debts of the rich. The 99%’s debts are forever owed to the 1% and the 1% shift their debts to the 99%. It might be brilliant if it wasn’t so blatant.
The result of these high stakes experiments is the disappearance of a middle class. It’s predicted for 2025 in Toronto and most cities around the world are similar. I don’t think there’s any coincidence between financial markets dominating the workforce by 2023 and the collapse of families on its heels 2 years later.
I hope this explains why we’re the 99% and everyone needs to support this movement, no matter which path they take to get there. Ultimately you’re not protesting the people who work on Bay Street, or the police for that matter (they’re the 99% too)! The financial district was chosen as a symbol of capitalism gone awry, without the courage of governments to control them in the best interests of their people. And make no mistake; while Canadian banking is more regulated than our counterparts, the entire act of trading, speculation, lending and borrowing is still done on the same global playing field, to the same rules and repercussions. The attitude of governments is how to become a bigger player in that game, as opposed to moderating the Billionaires Gone Wild before we’re manipulated to ruin.
The Occupy movement is not asking for “a” program. They’re not asking for “a” tax rebate. What they’re asking for is fundamental change within our system and readdressing priorities like our forefathers had to do in times of disparity past. This is no easy task on a global scale, but it’s precisely why we elect governments and it’s their job to enter an open discussion in favour of solutions. The gig is up and 99% of us are ready to take our balls home – or stare through windows in every financial district until they have the courage to notice.
This isn’t a fringe group of radicals or anyone holding a grudge from the G20. This is Grandma, Grandpa, Mom and Dad; Suzy, Bobby and Rufus too. The most people ever documented in history will be joining together to begin a dialogue with their governments on Saturday. We can’t afford what amounts to trickle down economics to support the 1% anymore. Two thousand new entries were made on the critical housing list in Toronto just last month. 40% of our food bank users are now children. A full third of many communities are already dining there.
When situations were radically unfair and unmanageable in the 1960s, our families united and led the way for reluctant governments then too. Call them hippies, call them whatever you like. But I call them honest and courageous, agents of positive change. No one in history will argue they didn’t do something necessary that shaped our future for the better. The time has come for us to show the same care to our children.
***Added February 13, 2014 for educational value. Please see this fantastic animation that makes the economic situation crystal clear.
Was Rob Ford Talking About Drugs on the Danforth?
This weekend marks a staple celebration in Toronto, and the mayor of Canada’s largest city was there. Rob Ford attended Taste of the Danforth; not as a proper ambassador, but rather as a patron intent to enjoy the festivities intoxicated.
YouTube users have been flooding the site with video evidence of their concerns, prolonging the mayor’s woes with media inquiries into his suspected struggles with substance abuse. The Toronto Star as well as the Globe and Mail have addressed the recent spectacle, but what seems to be overlooked is a poignant entry that may indicate a reference to cocaine.
As Ford poses for pictures with festival goers on the street, he comes across a fellow who he repeatedly refers to as “brother”. Amid the intoxicated slurs, the mayor appears to ask if someone in the group is looking for “blow” and confirms that he has some (although what he claims to possess is unproven). See this clip at 0:17 (UPDATE: The Toronto Star enhanced this audio and found Rob Ford said “cologne” not “blow”)
(Video now removed from source, a copy can be found at the Toronto Star)
Blow is a nickname for cocaine, raising new suspicions about the infamous crack video first covered by Gawker. The fallout has claimed numerous members of the Ford political entourage, as they departed from City Hall and the world at large encouraged the mayor to seek help for drug addiction.
The newest “drug video” has been viewed nearly 18,000 times on some sites, as listeners attempt to discern a controversial quote attributed to Rob Ford,
“You want some blow? I’ll get you some blow. I have it, seriously!”
These words do appear to be uttered by Toronto’s mayor and whether Ford raised the issue of drugs with constituents or one of them inquired about his troubles, it should be noted that he didn’t condemn the conversation. Instead it was a jovial and carefree moment that substances can induce, when a user isn’t sober enough to realize the consequence of their words and actions.
Toronto is a world class city that deserves to be represented in kind and regardless of any smack talk about illicit drugs, there is still the issue of alcohol to contend with. Sarah Thomson previously accused the mayor of inappropriate behaviour while under the influence and despite his denials, the Danforth reinforces similar concerns.
Another resident posted video citing worries the mayor was drunk and had driven to the festival. In fairness to Ford he does say that he isn’t driving when pressed on the issue, but others reported him by the vehicle later in the evening.
Ford used his party time to seek the spotlight while posing for countless pictures. He knew all eyes were on him because he was smiling for the attention. He knows the cloud of suspicion that surrounds him is darkening the city’s reputation and causing dysfunction within city council. He didn’t use this opportunity to speak about responsible drinking or provide a good example, nor did he address the economic and cultural benefits that come from hosting events like Taste of the Danforth.
That was too much to ask from a man who is tasked with managing the concerns of millions and the only business Rob Ford wishes to discuss is where to find the next venue with mind-altering substances. In lieu of drumming up support for business and community, the mayor was concerned with partying. He promoted public intoxication over public safety and couldn’t see beyond enjoyment of self in what some would call a slurring stupor.
So the question begs to be asked, is this the face constituents want to represent their interests while attracting committed business to the metropolis? Is this how the mayor behaves when negotiating deals with corporate friends? Are these the actions of a leader or truly Conservatives ideals? Is Ford’s judgement sound or is it really shaded by addiction?
Let us not forget the mayor is a fishing buddy to our Prime Minister and a previous party to celebrate their pursuit of a Tory trifecta was attended by the most powerful CPC personalities.
They say we’re judged by the company we keep and to date the mayor is alleged to be friendly with convicted, stabbed and/or dead drug dealers. Stephen Harper considers Ford to be part of his inner circle and our country’s leader was surrounded by Mike Duffy, Nigel Wright, Patrick Brazeau, and Mike Sona as well. All individuals are innocent until proven guilty, but can we name another Prime Minister who was dogged by so many illicit allegations in his entourage, or intoxicated partners who repeatedly star in questionable videos?