Category Archives: Uncategorized

Laugh line

Okay, so we never eat at Taco Bell anyway but this defense of the quality of their meat against a nasty lawsuit is not going to help any. Did the reporter goof or did Taco Bell’s President really say this?

“The lawsuit is bogus and filled with completely inaccurate facts,” Taco Bell president Greg Creed said in an interview with The Associated Press. [CH via AP]

Hahahahahahaha.

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Wolfville skeptics

There are other skeptics in Wolfville. We hear it is a small but fun group which formed a Facebook group “Wolfville Skeptics in the Pub“, which we have joined. Who knows, we may even turn up at one of their meetings and hoist a pint with them.

One member shared this on Facebook and we liked it so much we are sharing it with our readers.

Money to burn

The Firemen in Hants County want more money. Well, of course, who doesn’t. Everyone wants more money. But the Fire Dept. isn’t used, it seems, to being turned down.

Fire chiefs from Walton, Windsor, Brooklyn, Summerville and Hantsport say that while the cost of running the service has gone up, funding from the Municipality of West Hants has not. They recently wrote a joint letter to the municipal council, asking for more money to cover expenses….

“The funding that the municipality is providing just isn’t keeping up with the levels we need to purchase this equipment that’s needed both for the safety of the firefighters and the safety of the public.”

Maynard says based on the volume of calls from the Municipality of the District of West Hants, he believes the municipality should increase its contribution to the department by $40,000 each year.

More calls, more money. Fewer calls, less money. Hmmm.

$40,000 INCREASE each year. Wow.

Hants County also includes the Municipality of East Hants, the Town of Hantsport and the Town of Windsor. Maynard said funding the departments receive from the other municipalities they serve is adequate.

Seems only one municipality in four is watching their pennies. We know Wolfville’s CAO doesn’t blink an eye. New firetruck? New equipment? No problem and he signs the cheque.

Gary Cochrane, Municipality of West Hants deputy warden, said many of the municipal councillors were offended by the fire chiefs’ recent letter.

“I just felt the timing was very poor…[that they felt] we weren’t doing very much for them,” Cochrane said. “But I think, given the dollars we have to work with, I thought we were doing a pretty good job.” [link]

You probably are, Gary. You probably are. But Firefighters … They can do no wrong. Maybe the answer is to reduce the number of fire calls instead, eh? Or, maybe residents who have a fire should help pay for the call- sort of like people pay for ambulance calls. Ditto for rescue calls and hazmat. Just a thought.

An NDP Christmas wish

For all our lefties out there.

Brison on deficits-

from his website – questions in the house.

Oral Questions

The Economy

 

Hon. Scott Brison (Kings—Hants, Lib.):

Mr. Speaker, the previous Liberal government put in place a contingency reserve, a rainy day fund, to protect Canadians during times of economic downturn. Now the Conservatives have foolishly squandered that fund.

The Prime Minister said that back in August 2007 he could see a global downturn on the way.

If the Prime Minister could actually foresee storm clouds on the horizon, why did he permit his finance minister to eliminate Canada’s rainy day fund?

 

Hon. Scott Brison (Kings—Hants, Lib.):

Mr. Speaker, today the budget officer of the House of Commons said specifically in his report that “Previous policy decisions as opposed to weakened economic conditions” have caused this looming deficit. He specifically blamed bad Conservative tax and reckless spending policies.

When will the Minister of Finance admit that having conceived these bad policies he is responsible for fathering the Conservative deficit and, as such, he has earned the title of Canada’s new deficit daddy?

 

 

Winter Street development

The town is considering proposed  plans for  8 Winter Street. Here is David Daniel’s opinion on one aspect of the proposal which he has sent us via e-mail (emphasis in this case is his) .

PROPOSED 8 WINTER STREET  DEVELOPMENT AGREEMENT

The Town Council will hold a public hearing on December 15, 2008 at 7:30 p.m. to decide whether it will permit by a Development Agreement (DA) a third dwelling unit at 8 Winter Street.  The property presently contains two dwelling units in one structure.  The owner wishes to build a new structure to contain a third dwelling unit.

The requirement for a DA is triggered because of the third dwelling unit and because the property is located in an Architectural Control Area.

Section 8.7.3.b of the new Municipal Planning Strategy (MPS) states:  “It shall be the policy of Council  . . . to ensure the following criteria are met when council is considering proposals in Medium Density Residential designation for three or four unit dwellings  by development agreement  . . .  (b) the proposal provides a landscape plan prepared by a licensed landscape architect and  includes adequate landscaped buffers required to adequately separate parking areas from adjacent residential uses.”

The applicant did not provide such a plan.  The Town Planning Staff report, at pages 3-4, has this to say about the Landscape Plan:

“A landscape plan has been provided by the developer.  It is not at this time endorsed by a landscape architect or certified landscape designer.  The DA provides that a plan with this endorsement be provided and approved by the  Development Officer prior to the issuance of a development permit for the project.  This flexibility is seen as reasonable for this proposal as:   some time is needed to identify local qualified persons to meet this new requirement, and This property is already landscaped to a high standard and the plan will be for the most part documenting this landscaping to ensure that it is retained.”

At the Planning Advisory Committee meeting held on this application the applicant stated that the requirement to have a landscape plan endorsed was “onerous.”

I asked whether the plan provided was to scale.  I recall that the answer was: Not sure.

Can or should the Council approve this DA where the application appears not to meet the unambiguous requirements of the new MPS adopted by the Council just a few months ago.

I could find no provisions in the new MPS empowering the planning staff to vary or ignore the requirements set forth in the new MPS.

Perhaps a review of the standards by which the Nova Scotia Utility and Review Board would judge a council’s decision approving or denying a development agreement might be useful.    Section 251 (2) of the Municipal Government Act provides that “[t]he [Utility and Review] Board shall not allow an appeal unless it determines that the decision of council or the development officer, as the case may be, does not reasonably carry out the intent of the municipal planning strategy or conflicts with the provisions of the land-use by-law or the subdivision by-law.” (My underlining.)

What then is the intent of the of the MPS concerning landscaping?

I suppose one intent might be that the MPS wished to ensure that there was good or adequate landscaping on the property where development is going to take place; to provide adequate buffers between the properties and that the landscape blend in with the neighbourhood.

However, if that were the intent, then the MPS could have simply stated, words such as: It is the policy of the Council to make sure that adequate landscaping be part of any development agreement.   Or the MPS could have stated: it is the responsibility of the planning staff to ensure that each development agreement application contains a landscape plan that adequately accomplishes the following goals.  And then list the goals.

But the drafters of the MPS did not use such language.  Nor did the Council approve the MPS with such language.

The other reading of the intent of the MPS is found in the common meaning of the words used: that it was the intent of the MPS to require that the applicant provide a plan prepared by a licensed landscape architect.  Period.

Granted, I am a lawyer and have a particular interest in seeing that laws should be written and interpreted in ways that others can follow; where there is no second guessing what a law means.  I do, however, also recognize that fairness and equity are important.

One thing I would strongly recommend, no matter what the Council decides: that it consider amending section 8.7.3 of the MPS.

David A. Daniels
December 7, 2008

Always worth listening to, David is.  “I am a lawyer and have a particular interest in seeing that laws should be written and interpreted in ways that others can follow ...” Amen to that. And we would add, don’t write laws you don’t intend to enforce.

Local opinion on the coalition

Brison: Predictable- he’s deep in the game and angling for finance minister.

The Harper government, Brison said, “is the only government in any civilized country in the world that hasn’t provided a plan for dealing with the current financial crisis.

“Canadians need a government that presents a real plan to protect Canadians’ savings and jobs,” he said. “The Harper government has proven unwilling to do that.

Is he perhaps out of touch with his constituents? Even Fred Sgambati has qualms:

Didn’t Stephen Harper call the election this fall because he thought parliament was dysfunctional? Sheesh! Stay tuned, folks; you ain’t seen nothin’ yet!

Dysfunction is about to take on a whole new meaning if things don’t get ironed by Monday, Dec. 8 when the update package is put to a vote. Yes, Transport Minister John Baird told us Saturday the federal government will drop its plan to eliminate the vote subsidy, but it’s just another example of gamesmanship and Harper doing his best to get his way by any means possible. Here’s the thing. If the Liberals et al support the government’s wait-and-see attitude on the economy now, they’ll look like cash-starved carpetbaggers instead of the dedicated public servants we assumed they were when they were elected. Score one for Mr. Harper.

If they don’t and are successful in pushing a non-confidence motion forward, the government will fall and we’ll have a political dog’s breakfast rife with agendas, backroom accords and little vision. There’s a reason why political parties are distinct and, frankly, I don’t see a coalition working out. No matter the level of cooperation initially, sooner or later someone’s nose will get out of joint, the house of cards will collapse and it’ll be a free-for-all.

Dysfunctional? Oh, yeah. To the max. …

While governments around the world frame up economic foundations for the future, we’re stuck with a bunch of self-serving children interested in power and politics instead of those whom they were elected to serve.

As usual, sense from down ” On the Farm”  from Glenn Ells who says:

They play chicken which was not what they were hired to do. Such moves are below the intelligence of a chicken and I think the media should find a better word to describe what is going on. Maybe by the time you read this someone will have blinked and the game won’t be played. If the Prime Minister wants to cut off the funding to the Bloc because they spoiled his chance for a majority by winning so many Quebec seats, there could be an easier way to do it. A simple amendment to the act dealing with funding of political parties nationally could require that any party would have to elect members in more than one province to qualify. The requirement for a certain percentage of the national vote is okay and should stay as is, but I’ve always thought something is wrong with allowing taxpayers to fund a one province party that is trying to break up Canada. I’ve been too busy supplying the ‘feed’ for the chickens more of my life to get very vocal on these subjects, but lately I’m starting to feel more relaxed and able to say just what I think. Now if I could just find someone to listen.! [ from our paper copy p. 5 – unfortunately Glen doesn’t get a tab online emph ours]

We’re listening Glen and you make a whole lotta sense. The move of the Conservatives to take away only one of the 3 public funding pillars that prop up political parties and which appears to have precipitated this constitutional crisis was aimed at Quebec’s Bloc and would have weakened it, a move which would have favoured  all federalist parties including the Liberals. That Dion and the NDP couldn’t see that just shows how blinkered they are by personal political gain and short term thinking. Why didn’t they come up with a win -win  idea like Glen’s to propose as an amendment?

Greg Pyrcz talks about dark times but either wrote this before the coalition idea floated or is in denial. He slams Harper non stop, doesn’ t mention the Liberal and NDP lack of volitional funding from their supporters, only proclaims their dependence on the public purse. You’d think he would be embarrassed to mention this parasitism. How far the mighty Liberal Party has fallen. The NDP of course always depend on the public purse.

Then there is Agar Adamson in “It’s Just Politics” “Who’s the Grinch? but it looks like his piece too was written before the coalition crisis.   Agar makes sense, but it is just general sense with nothing we can get our teeth into. Not sure exactly what he is saying but we’re sure it is profound.

Have we, as citizens and taxpayers, been asleep at the switch? Have we been sitting back watching over paid athletes on our new big-screen television sets, or jetting off to warmer climates instead of keeping a critical eye on the performance of our governments? Have we been so enamored with Obama that we have failed to notice what has been going on right under our noses? …But, most importantly, we should remind our governments at all levels that it is not their money they are wasting on expensive yachts and frivolous joyrides. It is our money and we want it spent to assist those who need the most help.

This should be a wake-up call to all of us to continually hector our politicians to respect our money and our dignity and if they do not do so we should replace them with individuals who care about us. Now would be a great time for Direct Democracy so we could “Recall” those who fail to serve and respect us.

Lots of questions, not many answers. We like the bit about direct democracy though- How about a referendum on this coalition deal?

Greg Kerr has something to say:

Greg Kerr told The Vanguard today from his office in the nation’s capital that there is plenty of blame to go around for why the House is busy talking about who should govern and not how to help guide the country through rough economic waters.

“We’ve got a lot of very serious, serious issues facing the country,” said Kerr, “and I know there’s a lot of finger-pointing and name-calling that goes with it but that just doesn’t get the job done at all.” …

“I would like to think that it could be worked out,” he said. “I know everything is being reviewed but I can’t speculate.”

Kerr, whose election campaign was free of much of the partisan buzz talk many associate with his party, said he would continue to represent the area’s interests as best as he could, whether he sits as a member of the government or the opposition. Although he won’t go so far as to say there is no way a coalition government could work, he believes it would be very difficult.

“I could certainly rant on as to why I think it’s wrong. At the same time, it’s just way too early to know whether we’re going to get to that point (or) if (the opposition) can stick together or not . . . I don’t think whatever they can do is going to be a lot different than what we’d be doing.”

Kerr said he is concerned about the public perception of what’s going on in the House and what it’s doing to business in Parliament. He said he would have liked to see all members of Parliament find a way to work together, considering the challenges facing the country.

“I just think that this sort of got to the edge of the cliff very, very rapidly and I don’t think there was the give and take there should have been.”

There is still some sanity around.

Here’s another petition!