Thunder Bay and Region are under a rainfall advisory as the rain continues to fall and the total jumps from 50 to 70 mm of rain over the last couple days. This rainfall and flood watch are extremely scary for some residents of this region as it was almost 1 year ago that the biggest storm in a century hit. Thunder Bay was devastated with over 3000 homes damaged by water and sewage as the treatment plant in Thunder Bay received 13X the regular flow. This time it seems that the worst is affecting Fort William First Nation, the community who’s land Thunder Bay sits on. As the water has come off the mountain and hit the lower lying areas it has flooded homes and washed out roads. The community is now in a state of emergency and people are being evacuated to higher ground for their own protection. In many instances like this people look to religion to comfort them and to provide peace for their friends and family. For First Nations the pow wow ground is a scared area to provide thanks to the ancestors and the creator and be joyful for the future. This area would be the same as a church to a catholic or a synagog to a Muslim. This is an area that should be respected even if one does not follow or believe in that religion or practice.
Today, I have to report that the Pow Wow space on FWFN was desecrated by people who decided to use the land as a place to go ‘mudding’. The land which was repaired after someone did the same thing last year was destroyed by 3 or 4 vehicles. Land ripped apart by the tires and huge holes and the driver hit the accelerator. If that wasn’t enough; one of the people had the tenacity to threaten a women (with kids in the vehicle) for taking photos of what they were doing. This act was done by 3 or 4 Caucasian males who scattered when they realized that they were going to be getting in trouble. Luckily, one of the drivers were caught but the other 2 are still out their needing to be caught. This act of vandalism has destroyed an area that the people of Fort William First Nation hold dear and will likely affect their plans to use the sight. This act has taken the space that Aboriginal people hold dear in the time when they needed it the most. This act is childish and the people who caused the damage need to be held accountable for their actions. There are an abundance of spaces that these people could have gone to have their fun and this action was done with the intent to cause harm to the Aboriginal people in Thunder Bay. This was a thought out and planned action and needs to get more then a simple slap on the wrist.
One of the methods that aboriginal people use to bring accountability to the perpetrators of criminal activity is called a healing circle. The person who commits the act must listen and apologize to every person they harmed with their actions and the community decides what is the best course of action. I believe this method is a better one for these kids then the 20 or 30 hours of community service they would get in the Canadian Justice system. This way they see the people they hurt and have to be accountable for their actions instead of hiding behind the Youth Criminal Justice Act. These boys were so eager and willing to destroy the area that when they get caught they should be forced to put it back. Repairing the area will allow for some peace and give the people who committed this act a good reason not to do it again.
The problem is that we still need to catch these people. We have 1 and need to catch the other 2. Below are photos taken at the site while they were ‘mudding’. Share the photos with friends and relatives and if you know the people responsible for this act call Crime Stoppers, Thunder Bay Police or Anishinabek Police Service. Together as a community we can figure out who did this and we can come together. These people tried to ruin this area but together we can put it back.
The link will bring you to NetNewsLedger which has been running the photos since the beginning.
It was announced today that the government is having a hard time finding 3.1 billion it spent on anti-terrorism projects from 2001 – 2009. The 3.1 billion was part of a much larger funding allotment of 12.9 Billion which was dedicated to policing after the 9/11 attacks. I guess its easy to lose 3.1 billion in the paperwork when the government spends hundreds of billions annually. Personally, I think its unacceptable but I find it even harder to accept when the government went so far out of its way to burn Theresa Spence’s reputation. The government was up in arms that the Chief and her council had apparently spent 90 million dollars over a short period and couldn’t account for it. The government went out of its way to trash the reputation of the Chief and its band council into the ground. Yet that 90 million is nothing compared to the 3.1 billion that was spent with no receipt. So is it Chief Theresa Spence’s turn to tear apart the government for wasting 35X the amount they misspent? When will Canadians push for more accountability with their money from a government that prides itself on fiscal responsibility. Now, the blame lies with the Liberal and Conservatives because the Liberals were in power from 2001-2005 but the conservatives should have paid better attention. We have a massive deficit and are cutting everywhere but yet we can spend billions and not have a clue where it went. I would like for Mr. Harper and Mr. Toews to stand in front of the thousands of Canadians laid off from government work and unemployed and explain to them where this money went. We need to know where this money was spent and we need to know how it is protecting Canadians. If the money is still available then I would like to see it put against the deficit to reduce the suffering average Canadians are feeling under the government boot. We are tired of being lied to and our MP’s being shut out by the gag order they are under. It is purely unacceptable that a representative we elect should ever be gagged by the government. This governments mismanagement of money and gagging of MP’s, scientists and just about everyone else is as undemocratic as a dictatorship. Mr. Harper you were elected by the people to serve the people and you will be removed by the people if you do not change your ways. We are tired of increased spending on advertisements while people lose their jobs or facilities like the ELA close. We are tired of the finger pointing at the opposition when you have held the keys for over 7 years now. We are tired of you beating down First Nations communities while you lose billions and say nothing. We want a government that will act in our interests and will act for the common good of Canada. The trickle down approach doesn’t work and its time to make people who can afford to pay do just that: PAY!. We need a reprieve for the middle class because you are creating an environment where there is only poor and rich. Canada has been successful based on the strength of the middle class and for you to continue crushing that is unacceptable. Mr. Harper its time for you and your cronies to go.
BlackBerry announced on the stage of BlackBerry Live yesterday that they would be putting in money to help girls get into the mobile development world. According to BlackBerry’s own Alicia Keys 56% of Blackberry users are women. Yet they are under represented in the development and technology side of the business. I think that this is a great program but I would like them take it a step further. Here is a program that I believe could be extremely beneficial for all parties involved.
BlackBerry Partners Program:
A collaboration between BlackBerry certified developers and rookies who have been hand picked to learn. The program would result in experienced developers working with new and green developers who are willing to take the time and learn the tricks of the trade. The new developers would be picked based on the ideas that they have to make into apps and the experienced developers based on those who would be willing to put the time into the person. The developers would work together to build a native applications for BlackBerry 10 and in the process teach the rookie how to build the apps. The ideas would be from the rookie but the credit for the first couple applications would be shared by both partners. I believe that this would great a new generation of developers for BlackBerry 10’s new and future software. It would give the experienced developer more recognition as more apps would be available from him and the rookie developer would receive training from an experienced partner. As someone who would really love to get into development myself I find that I am overwhelmed and confused as to where I should start. If someone was able to show me more then simply the BlackBerry devblog and forums I believe I could produce a number of applications for the server. The experienced partner could refine skills and might be able to find new partners in the people he/she trains. This also pushes the idea of building native applications for BlackBerry and pushes the business of mobile development.
Basically, its like a big brother taking you under his arm and guiding you through meeting your first girl.
So what do you think?
Comment below ->
Now your probably like wtf, is this guy in the KKK or a hate group? The answer to that question is no but there is a decent story to go along with the comment. So here is a little background information for you. I work as a security guard at a local mall, it is the biggest in town and is the hangout spot for drunks, unwanted people and just about everything else that regular folks dont want to deal with. Of course on this day we were dealing with someone who is permanently drunk because he has been drinking since should a young age. He typically is a very nice guy even when he is drunk but does shown signs of mental illness at times including bipolar disorder. He also talks about serving in the military and being over in Afghanistan but I cannot confirm that portion of the story. So here it is.
Me and my partner were doing our rounds around the shopping center and went out through a exit hardly used. We came across 2 people sitting on the parking barriers and 1 walking towards them. I knew the one walking towards the couple so I went and talked to him since we usually have to deal with him in the mall. My partner went to talk to the people sitting on the barriers and asked them general questions. So after talking to this individual I realized that he was a little intoxicated but typically not more then normal. We dedicated that we would walk the individuals off the property; send them to their destinations and make sure that they got there as safely as possible. While we were walking this individual off the property we seen one of the managers of the store from inside the mall. The gentlemen is of middle eastern decent and is a rather nice gentlemen. The person I was walking off the property believes he had served in Afghanistan and made the comment to him “I killed half your family”. The manager walked it off and didn’t seem to take it to heart but after I had walked the gentlemen off the property I went to check up on him to make sure he was all good. He waved at me as I walked past his store and we had a long conversation about the incident and we laughed it off. Now he knows my name and I know his and we chat whenever we see each other. Being a new guard to the mall I don’t yet know everyone’s name but I am learning them faster as these situations happen. I would have hoped that we would have gotten to know each other through a better method but there is a trust between us now that we have each others back. While racism is a tragic thing and can destroy many beautiful things, I think that it might have created something here between me and the gentlemen.
Now when we see each other we say hi and laugh about the comment.
News has come out recently that the Royal Eddy will be cut from the Social Housing portfolio in or shortly after 2015. For many this is an iconic building with a much storied past but for others it is a shadow of its former self and has become a cesspool of violence, alcoholism and poverty. This building was once a prominent part of the hotel scene in Fort William as the community flourished. It has been around and see many things both good and bad in our community as time has gone on. I have family that once worked there while it was still a hotel. It has almost been torn down a couple times as the people who owned it moved on and been brought back to life in a different manner. I find the buildings architecture rather wonderful to look at and wonder how such a structure was built back in the day. It is sad that the image and name of this beautiful building has been tarnished by the actions of some living inside. A place that once was the best place in town to enjoy yourself has become a symbol of the things that are wrong with this city. The building is a historic site which means that it will be almost impossible to tear down but the costs to keep the building standing will be enormous. One wonders what could the city do to make the building viable and keep this historic site standing.
If you take a look at the violent crime in Thunder Bay you will notice a couple different factors. A) There was alcohol involved B) The 2 (or more) people knew each other and C) it happened at the beginning or very end of the month. The last part is important because it so heavily influences the other 2 factors and the government is to blame for the violence taking part in our city. At the very end of the beginning of every month the government gives out its welfare, disability, pension and other cheques to those that are living off the government (or have earned their money ((pension)). The money is given out and the people take their cheques and bring them right to the liqour stores. Now, I will be completely clear that I do not believe that every person who receives assistance from the government is a drunk or a drug addict. There are people who desperately need it and desperately need an increase to help them afford their daily lives. In saying that there are people who are addicted and using the governments money to feed their addictions and the government is letting it happen.
We continue to use an ineffective system when it comes to handing out cheques to people. A system that was invented and perfected 20-30 years ago before modern inventions like debit cards and online banking. A system that can be manipulated to properly deal with the situations like we have in the north were the drunks blow their monthly cheques in a week on booze. I believe that a debit card that doesn’t allow for money to be taken out of and doesn’t allow for use in casino’s, liqour stores or to buy smokes is most effective. We want these people to succeed but we cannot continue to feed their addictions every month by giving them the tools to feed their addictions. I for one am tired of seeing my money go straight into bottles of booze and seeing people tarnish their ethnicity’s. I am tired of seeing people who could desperate use more money go without because of the ‘equal payment system’ where everyone gets a flat fee. I would much rather see that money go to a mother with kids then a single person who will use it to get drunk for a week then live off the services of others. I believe there is a huge change that needs to be made in the way we deliver services to these people. I wrote here https://thenotsonews.wordpress.com/2012/11/07/social-assistance-debit-card/ on what I believe we should do to make the system more effective for those on it and reduce those abusing it.
It can’t be that bad right? Government cheques comes out and everyone should be happy that they are able to afford things again. Ask any police officer, EMS and firefighter what 3 things they dread the most and they will tell you its 1) First of the month, 2) Weekend and 3) Full Moon. This last week is a good and sad example of the things that happen when the drunks have the money to purchase their toxins. May 6th -> 34 yer old man severely beaten by 4 kids + 1 18 year old robbing him. All knew each other and all were intoxicated. May 1st, A 35 year old was murdered outside of a bar by someone who know him. This area is bad for beatings, robbery’s and stabbings which is increased 7 fold when people have their cheques. The issue is bigger then the government simply feeding their addiction in the summer time. Come winter they are housing them in facilities like the District Jail or in others like the Shelter House, Salvation Army building. This problem is just getting worse and worse with no end in sight there will be more and more money spent on dealing with these people.
The government needs to deliver a plan on changing the way welfare cheques are given out. I am tired of seeing my city become a violent and destitute place because of people stabbing, killing and robbing each other over alochol. If you are on government assistance you should not be able to buy alcohol, go to the casino or smoke because those are not something you need to survive. If you can’t abide by the rules then you lose the money and it goes to people who need it (like a mother with children). We cannot continue to feed these people addictions and keep the cycle going of violence then poverty. We have the tools to properly change the way that money is given out and show that people are truly using the money for good. We can make a change in these people’s lives but the system we have now is broken and cannot be fixed without government action and change. We continue to wait for the government to fix this issue and people continue to die while they sit their twiddling their thumbs.
The costs of providing the services that we have come to love and enjoy are going up on a yearly basis. Cities are looking at ways to reduce the costs of these increases but in the end these costs are paid through taxes. Traditionally taxes have been broken into three major sections (residential, commercial and industrial) which have formed the backbone of a cities income. Often the tax levels on commercial and industrial are higher and bring in more income for the city. Residential may be less in terms of individual cost but brings in a large portion because of the numbers of residences. What would happen if a city were too lose one of these 3 major incomes even slightly or completely. Canada has been struggling with the loss of its Industrial might since the mid-late 1900’s but this was accelerated in the recent economic downturn.
Ontario was hit the hardest by the forestry and manufacturing decline which had slowly been taking jobs from Canada for years. As companies looked to make larger profits and feed the demand by consumers for cheaper prices they moved elsewhere. For years we have seen companies go to other countries like China, India and Bangladesh to make their clothes for Canadians. Cities coffers have seen this decline affect the amount of money they have been able to bring in and the sources of money. While the loss of the industrial sector has made it much harder for the other 2 to carry the load it is still doing it. Thunder Bay for example was a heavy industrial city with forestry at its heart. Before the 2008 downturn we seen major job losses in the forestry sector as the US housing market started to collapse. Mills and their suppliers left their buildings abandoned and empty. The industrial portion of the tax base completely collapsed underneath the cities feet. In order to keep a steady tax base and keep the services which people demanded the burden was put on the commercial and residential sectors. Now these 2 sectors bare the brunt for tax increases and changes made by the city. Even in 2013, we have yet to see a noticeable increase in the industrial sector and many buildings still sit empty. But what would happen if we were to lose the commercial aspect of the 3 main pillars. Would we survive, what would we do and how bad would the cuts be.
I think that this is something that needs to be seriously considered. Brick and mortar businesses are becoming a thing of the past. Traditional stores are becoming a showroom for their online presence in which people test the product in the store but then buy online. The speed in which online shopping is growing is staggering; a couple years ago electronic Monday didn’t exist and Black Friday was the biggest shopping day of the year. In 2012, online shopping accounted for 289 billion dollars which was an increase of 33 billion dollars over 2011. These numbers are only expected to increase as more and more people view this as a viable alternative for going out to individual stores and purchasing the items there. In a society that is built on stretching every second and going as fast as possible the internet is becoming the number 1 source for our shopping. Online shopping is increasing while the traditional methods are starting to lose steam and lose a foothold. Futureshop which is one of the biggest electronic retailers in North America is feeling the heat with online shopping. It recent closed 15 stores in Canada and laid off more then 900 staff. This is the second round of closures which seen 50 stores closed in the US last year alone. Futureshop is not the only one to come from high and mighty to a lower place where closures are occurring. Sears is also a staple of Canadian business that has been around for years but is now under pressure from US retailers and the move to online businesses. If in its early years online shopping is putting this much pressure on traditional businesses then what will it be like in 10-20 years? I believe that malls and strip malls will be a thing of the past and that almost exclusively our shopping will be done online. If this turns out to be true it will play havoc with city planning and city coffers. Losing the industrial base to developing countries and losing the commercial base to the internet will see massive job losses and completely realign how we pay for services. Cities will need to fight over who gets to keep the buildings housing the servers or the warehouses for shipping the products but budgets will be slashed.
I believe that we are going to witness something incredible and scary in the next couple of years as the internet kills the traditional mortar and brick stores. Internet shopping is growing at a staggering rate and will continue to do so as more people sign on. Our cities will be forever changed and the way we design and live our lives will as well. We will be more interconnected and yet disconnected as we move from human – human contact to computer – computer. I believe that cities will struggle and that administrations, staff levels and services will be a shadow of themselves in the near future under the rein of the internet. They will need to figure out how to provide a new source of income to compensate for the loss of jobs and taxes by the transition.