Christmas Eve was a Gas!!!!

Petrol to my UK friends!!!

The Night Before Christmas – K Mart 1972
Posted on December 22nd 2017
by irishroverpei

Way back on Christmas Eve in 1972 I worked as the manager of the Tecumseh Rd Kmart Auto Centre and Gas Bar in Windsor Ontario. In those days the store was open from 10am to 10pm six days a week. On Christmas Eve it was only open 10am to 6 pm. I went into work that morning as usual, happy and expecting a fairly quiet day. Not many people would be looking for brake jobs-alignments-oil changes etc. Even inside the store my dept was not going to be very busy, just a few last minute shoppers rushing around looking for a stocking stuffer or such. It was a wet and rainy day, so much for a White Christmas. The morning passed with very little work, a couple of minor jobs in the shop, a couple of purchases at the cash register. Around 2pm an old Chev drove up to the doors, the driver said he needed a tune up the car was running rough. We brought him in did the tune up installing eight new spark plugs, points condenser and rotor and a new air filter. By three o’clock he was backing out of the bay smiling and happy. By 4.30pm things were really quiet and I was about to let the mechanics go home early, That was when my tune up customer walked back in !. He told me the car was working great then just after he filled up with gas he got about half way across the parking lot and it stalled, and now refuses to start. I sent the mechanics to push the car into the bay so we could check it out. I was quite sure it was nothing to do with the tune up. In the garage the engine turned over but would not fire. One of the guys poured gas into the carb and the engine immediately came to life but only for a moment. We were scratching our heads trying to decide what to try next when another motorist walked into the shop, same problem. Ah Ha says I, must be bad gas, both customers told me they had just filled up at our gas bar. Fortunately the gas bar out at the front of the parking area had a Shell Logo, so people did not connect it to K Mart Auto Centre. I certainly wasn’t going to tell them either!! they were just pleased that we were helping them. I immediately phone the gas bar to tell them to close up not to sell any more gas. The young fellow running the pumps answered the phone saying, Oh glad you called, I think we have water in our regular underground gas storage tank, I have four stalled cars out here, what shall I do. Ugh!!! six cars with water in their gas tanks and its already 5pm. The boys in the shop had by now managed to siphon off the gas from the Chev and added 5 gals of high test that we’d brought over from the gas bar. The car started first time and the happy owner asked me what he owed? Nothing sir, we will bill the Shell people (just a wee white lie). One car down five to go, but the problems increased as we found different shaped tanks that we couldn’t siphon completely empty. Why North American cars didn’t have drain plugs on the tanks was something I thought I should bring to the attention of the Big Three once I got out of this dreadful mess. The boys had to remove the tanks on two of the cars in order to drain them properly. Two others cars we were able to lower the tank enough and remove the gas gauge sending unit then siphon through the hole. Finally around six thirty pm the last car drove off and we all breathed a sigh of relief. But wait for it!! now I had another major problem. While draining the gas off we had used four empty 40 gal oil drums to store the old gas in.
I got the guys to screw the caps on tight and we wheeled roll and wrestled the heavy barrels out side the garage doors and stood them upright against the store wall. However I realized I couldn’t leave them there over the holidays they were a dangerous fire hazard. What to do???The store was close up by this time and the security guard was on my back to lock up the garage. I told him to go — well you can guess where I told him to go. I phoned the nearby fire station and explained my situation to the person who answered the phone. He wasn’t interested, said it was Christmas Eve (like I didn’t know) and he was very busy and this wasn’t the responsibly of the fire department. I couldn’t believe what he had just told me, we had highly inflammable barrels of gas just sitting in the Kmart parking lot waiting for a cigarette butt or match to set it off and it wasn’t his responsibility??? Again I was scratching my head, who do I call now? the police of course. I call the Windsor Police Dept and this time the person answering took my situation seriously and suggested I call the Fire Marshall. He gave me the number and I called, it was now 7.30pm, after a moment the Marshall came on the line, he didn’t sound pleased to be disturbed on this particular evening. Nevertheless he did take my concerns seriously and assured me he would have the barrels picked up within the hour. True to his word a local fire chief arrived along with a truck fitted with a tailgate lift. Ten minutes and the barrels were loaded and gone. My quiet day was over! maybe, I locked up and headed for the front entrance of the darkened store to go home. The security guy who I had earlier told to – you know what, wasn’t pleased to see me and took his time getting around to turning off the alarm and letting me out. I wished him a Merry Christmas as I disappeared into the night. I arrived home at 9 pm tired and dirty reeking of gasoline. Just in time to hang my stocking up for Santa, I had surely been a good boy today???
That was probably my worse Christmas Eve ever.
God Bless and keep reading.

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Another Great Recipe from the Irishrover

Ultra Secret Christmas Cake Recipe (For Your Eyes Only)
Posted on December 20th 2017
by irishroverpei

Ultra Secret Christmas Cake Recipe (From Admiralty Eyes Only File)

Submariners Recipe Book (Classified and Ultra Secret) Rum issue
1 Cup Butterbirthday 2011 003
1 Cup Sugar
6 Drops Lemon Juice
Some Nuts
4 Large Eggs
1 Teaspoon Baking Powder
1 or 2 Bottles of Whiskey (Black Bush)
Sample the whiskey to check quality.
Select a large mixing bowl.
Check the whiskey again as it must be just right. To ensure the whiskey is top quality, pour 1 large glass and drink fast. Repeat.
With electric mixer, beat 1 cup of butter in a large fluffy bowl. Add one teaspoon of thigar and beat again.
Photo on the right :- Two beautiful Cake Baker with Chief Instructor
Meanwhile check the whiskey is still top quality by crying another tup. Repeat.
Add 2 arg leggs, 2 cups fried druit and beat till high.
Sample whiskey again, checking for tonscististicity.
Next sift 3 cups of salt – or anything, it doesn’t really matter.
Wample the shiskey.
Sift half a pint of lemon juice. Fold in the chopped butter and stained nuts. Add 1 babble-spoon of brown sugar, or whatever colour you can find an wix mell.
Whink remaining driskey.
Grease oven and turn cake into pan to 200 degrees.
Pour everything into coven an bo to ged.
God Bless and Merry Christmas.


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Christmas 1953 in Belfast.

Christmas 1953 was a quiet affair, no punishments for not eating marzipan! no being sent to my room on Christmas day. Nevertheless, it was also a strange time in my life, I was coping with a whole new set of circumstances, I was unsure of my future and where it might lead me.

As Christmas 1953 approached, I began assessing the many changes I’d experienced since leaving the Isle of Wight a year earlier. In June 1952 I had been an English schoolboy, under the strict control of my eldest sister and living far from family and home. Fifteen months later, I’m working for a living, smoking cigarettes, dating, dancing, and staying out late on weekends. It was a huge transformation. The harsh authority Lily had wielded over me was gone forever. I was feeling better about myself, and slowly regaining my self-esteem. There still remained a void in my life, however, something that I couldn’t quite put my finger on. It was a lingering feeling of not quite fitting in and truly belonging to a family.
In the years living with Lily and Ben I had never really felt a part of their family. Now, in Belfast, a similar situation seemed to exist, this time due to a compelling need I felt to compete for my father’s attention. No matter how I tried, I couldn’t quite reach him the way Jim or Anna did. I had a feeling I was not quite on the same level as my brother and sister.
As the youngest in the house, I also felt a constant need to play catch up. I actually had a closer relationship with Jackie, Anna’s husband. Jackie and I were both newcomers and outsiders, and this probably drew us together. However, this wasn’t the answer either because age and different interests made it impracticable for us to become close friends. Anytime I inadvertently upset Pop, he never confronted me directly, always having Anna do it for him. And this continued throughout his life. Some years later, I recall going to the bakery to pick him up with my motorcycle and sidecar. I was very proud of my BSA Golden Flash motorcycle, which I had recently purchased. I thought Pop would be equally impressed and grateful for a ride home. But after that one uneventful trip, he told Anna, “Don’t let that wee lad pick me up anymore”. He obviously didn’t trust my driving, but I don’t think he realized the hurt that caused me.
I noticed that although Anna and Lily were rivals, they also exhibited similar traits.Both tended to have a snobbish attitude toward others in poorer circumstances. For example, Anna didn’t` seem to hold Jackie’s family in very high regard. It appeared in particular that she didn’t like his mother. Once, when returning home from a Sunday dinner at his parent’s home, she complained how they had served margarine. She made an issue of the fact that we never used anything but the best butter. I found this hard to believe since we’d suffered hard times just like everyone else. I was sure margarine was no stranger on our table. I think Anna, who was married very young, was finally learning that Jackie didn’t have a lot of ambition. He seemed content at the factory, living in a mill house, and spending Friday nights in a pub with his dad and brothers. Anna wanted more, and it was starting to show in her actions. When Jim brought mates home, she tended to flirt with them and enjoyed their many compliments. I found her behaviour at times embarrassing, especially when she acted the part of the dumb girl. This was reminiscent of stars like Marilyn Monroe or Jane Mansfield. She would act naive, laughing at jokes and making expressions of innocent awe when a boy said something profound. Yet, in our family circle she was totally opposite, portraying herself as wise and knowledgeable. I found her differing personality changes sometimes difficult to cope with. May, meanwhile, was totally different, always maintaining a quiet demeanour and an easy-going outlook on life. In her home I felt I belonged and we were truly a family. Of all my sisters, she was the one I completely loved. She was a kind, generous soul, with the patience of a saint. I can’t recall a time when she was ever really angry with me. Even Cookie, considered a notorious outcast by most of the family, was always a good friend.
While striving to adjust to the different family personalities in my life, I did manage to make one very clear connection, and that was the realization of my great love for Belfast. .
God Bless and keep reading

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Christmas Dinner In Belfast 1952

In the attached photo you can see Pop May (my brother Tommy, not at the dinner) and the twins <Margaret and Tommy. Try to imagine how small our kitchen house was, the kitchen itself was approximately 20ft by 25ft. The table took up the largest space plus the nine chairs needed for everyone. Chairs we managed to arrange with a few borrowed from a neighbour. These tiny houses were built in the 1850’s and had no modern conveniences, in fact they had nothing, just a fireplace for heat, one gas mantel for light, toilet in back yard,no hot water and no bath. Two tiny bedrooms for six adults!

On Saturday, December 27, May, Cookie and the twins arrived for dinner. It was obvious Cookie had spent a good part of his day in a pub. Pop didn’t approve of alcohol, and was unimpressed. Not that that ever bothered Cookie! Young Tommy was in a real snit about something and clearly didn’t want to be there. He was going out of his way to make sure it was obvious to all concerned. May, in her usual calm, easy-going demeanour, ignored her son’s unhappy state, and she entered the kitchen proudly displaying a homemade apple pie. All things considered, it was a courageous thing to do in house full of self-appointed baking experts. The pie naturally had to be inspected by Jim and Pop the bakers in the family. Pop said it would have made more sense to have just bought one from McWatters bakery. Jim was a somewhat kinder judge saying it looked good enough to eat.
With the arrival of May and family, the tiny kitchen was suddenly crowded. The dinner table was set out in the middle of the room, leaving little space to move around. May looked for a place to set the pie while she removed her overcoat. Finding no room on the table, she put it on a chair in the corner. Young Tommy was doing his best to be a nuisance, getting in everyone’s way and refusing to move. Pop said he had a face on him as long as a Lurgan shovel. The crowded room bubbled with laughter, everyone talking at the same time. Adding to the din was Cookie, attempting to serenade us. Realizing that no one was paying him attention, young Tommy plonked himself down on the middle of the kitchen floor. Now he really was in everyone’s way, and Anna almost tripped over him with a hot gravy jug in her hand. May, her patience finally exhausted, grabbed him by the arm and shoved onto the nearest chair. “Sit there and don’t you dare move until you’re in a better mood,”  But before she finished telling him not to move, he was already out of the chair, a strange expression spreading across his now very red face. Sputtering, he tried to say something, but we couldn’t be sure if he was going to laugh or cry. That was when I first noticed what looked like he’d messed his pants. Everyone in the room began roaring with laughter at the same time. Poor Tommy stood with bits of piecrust, apple slices, and syrup dripping down his legs. May had his trousers off in a jiffy, causing his second major embarrassment in so many minutes. Anna came to the rescue, handing him a towel to wrap around his waist. Margaret was dispatched back to Vistula Street to fetch another pair of trousers. Their house was only five minutes away. However it seemed that Margaret was enjoying her brother’s predicament, and she managed to make the five-minute trip last at least twenty to thirty minutes.  Once Tommy was dressed in his replacement pants, we finally settled down to eat dinner. In all the commotion I think Tommy forgot why he had been mad in the first place. May’s unfortunate pie was never sampled; however, it would always be fondly remembered.

Merry Christmas and God Bless.

Posted in Belfast Social History, family | Leave a comment

A Little Sunday Humour

The boss wondered why one of his most valued employees was absent but had not phoned in sick.
So he dialed the employee’s home phone number and was greeted with a child’s whisper.


“Is your daddy home?”

Small voice whispered, “Yes, he’s out in thegarden,”

“May I talk with him?”

The child whispered, “No.”

So the boss asked, “Well, is your Mommy there?”

“Yes, she’s out in the garden too.”

The boss asked; “May I talk with her?”

Again the ‘No’.

Hoping there was somebody with whom he could leave a message, the boss asked, “Is anybody else there?”

“Yes”, whispered the child, “a policeman.”

Wondering what a cop would be doing at his employee’s home, the boss asked, “May I speak with the policeman?”

“No, He’s busy,” whispered the child.

“Busy doing what?”

“Talking to Daddy and Mommy and the police dog men.”

Growing more worried as he heard a loud noise in the background, the boss asked, “What is that noise?”

“It’s a helicopter” answered the whispering voice.

“What is going on there?” demanded the boss, now truly apprehensive.

“The search team just landed a helicopter.”

“A search team?” said the boss “What are they searching for?”

Still whispering, the young voice replied with a muffled giggle…

God Bless and Merry Christmas

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The Future! as 2017 comes to an end

Its rather strange, but when I first began reading this future list of predictions, the first thing that came to mind was the demise of the windup wrist watch. Remember all throughout the 1950-60-70’s(and even before)watches were expensive and not everyone owned one. I remember my first watch was a Timex and adults told me not to over wind it, or would break the spring. I think today one would be hard pressed to find a watch that required winding.. This must have been devastating to the Swiss economy when the change came about. However, it is strangely not one of the items listed below???

In 1998, Kodak had 170,000 employees and sold 85% of all photo paper worldwide. All medical X-rays used Kodak film. Camera’s, both commercial and industrial, security camera’s- imaging of all sorts. Within just a few years, their business model disappeared and they went bankrupt. What happened to Kodak will happen in a lot of industries in the next 10 years – and most people won’t see it coming. Did you think in 1998 that 3 years later you would never take pictures on film again?

Yet digital cameras were invented in 1975. The first ones only had 10,000 pixels, but followed Moore’s law. So as with all exponential technologies, it was a disappointment for a long time, before it became way superior and got mainstream in only a few short years. It will now happen with Artificial Intelligence, health, autonomous and electric cars, education, 3D printing, agriculture and jobs.
Welcome to the 4th Industrial Revolution.
Welcome to the Exponential Age.
Software will disrupt most traditional industries in the next 5-10 years.

Uber is just a software tool, they don’t own any cars, and are now the biggest taxi company in the world.

Airbnb is now the biggest hotel company in the world, although they don’t own any properties.

Artificial Intelligence: Computers become exponentially better in understanding the world. This year, a computer beat the best Go player in the world; 10 years earlier than expected.

In the US, young lawyers already don’t get jobs. Because of IBM Watson, you can get legal advice (so far for more or less basic stuff) within seconds, with 90% accuracy compared with 70% accuracy when done by humans. So if you study law, stop immediately. There will be 90% less lawyers in the future, only specialists will remain. THIS IS PROBABLY THE BEST EXTINCTION OF THEM ALL

Watson already helps nurses diagnosing cancer, 4 times more accurate than human nurses. Facebook now has a pattern recognition software that can recognize faces better than humans. In 2030, computers will become more intelligent than humans.

Autonomous cars: In 2018 the first self-driving cars will appear for the public. Around 2020, the complete industry will start to be disrupted. You don’t want to own a car anymore. You will call a car with your phone, it will show up at your location and drive you to your destination. You will not need to park it, you only pay for the driven distance and can be productive while driving. Our kids will never get a driver’s license and will never own a car.

It will change the cities, because we will need 90-95% less cars for that. We can transform former parking spaces into parks. 1.2 million people die each year in car accidents worldwide. We now have one accident every 60,000 mi (100,000 km), with autonomous driving that will drop to one accident in 6 million mi (10 million km). That will save a million lives each year.
This will increase world over growth and populations.

Most car companies will probably become bankrupt. Traditional car companies try the evolutionary approach and just build a better car, while tech companies (Tesla, Apple, Google) will do the revolutionary approach and build a computer on wheels.

Many engineers from Volkswagen and Audi; are completely terrified of Tesla.

Insurance companies will have massive trouble because without accidents, the insurance will become 100x cheaper. Their car insurance business model will disappear.

Real estate will change. Because if you can work while you commute, people will move further away to live in a more beautiful neighborhood.

Electric cars will become mainstream about 2020. Cities will be less noisy because all new cars will run on electricity. Electricity will become incredibly cheap and clean: Solar production has been on an exponential curve for 30 years, but you can now see the burgeoning coming impact.

Last year, more solar energy was installed worldwide than fossil. Energy companies are desperately trying to limit access to the grid to prevent competition from home solar installations, but that can’t last.
Technology will take care of that strategy.

With cheap electricity comes cheap and abundant water. Desalination of salt water now only needs 2kWh per cubic meter (@ 0.25 cents). We don’t have scarce water in most places, we only have scarce drinking water. Imagine what will be possible if anyone can have as much clean water as he wants, for nearly no cost.

Health: The Tricorder X price will be announced this year. There are companies who will build a medical device (called the “Tricorder” from Star Trek) that works with your phone, which takes your retina scan, your blood sample and you breath into it.

It then analyses 54 bio-markers that will identify nearly any disease. It will be cheap, so in a few years everyone on this planet will have access to world class medical analysis, nearly for free.
Goodbye, medical establishment and their absurd medical fees.

3D printing: The price of the cheapest 3D printer came down from $18,000 to $400 within 10 years. In the same time, it became 100 times faster. All major shoe companies have already started 3D printing shoes.

Some spare airplane parts are already 3D printed in remote airports. The space station now has a printer that eliminates the need for the large amount of spare parts they used to have in the past.

At the end of this year, new smart phones will have 3D scanning possibilities. You can then 3D scan your feet and print your perfect shoe at home. Amazing things are coming fast.

Only the systems for paying for these capabilities remain to be defined.

In China, they already 3D printed and built a complete 6-story office building. By 2027, 10% of everything that’s being produced will be 3D printed.

Business opportunities: If you think of a niche you want to go in, ask yourself: “in the future, do you think we will have that?” and if the answer is yes, how can you make that happen sooner?

If it doesn’t work with your phone, forget the idea.

And any idea designed for success in the 20th century is doomed to failure in the 21st century.

And here’s the clincher—Work: 70-80% of jobs will disappear in the next 20 years. There will be a lot of new jobs, but it is not clear if there will be enough new jobs in such a small time.

Agriculture: There will be a $100 agricultural robot in the future. Farmers in 3rd world countries can then become managers of their field instead of working all day on their fields.

Aeroponics will need much less water. The first Petri dish produced veal, is now available and will be cheaper than cow produced veal in 2018. Right now, 30% of all agricultural surfaces is used for cows. Imagine if we don’t need that space anymore.

There are several startups who will bring insect protein to the market shortly. It contains more protein than meat. It will be labeled as “alternative protein source” (because most people still reject the idea of eating insects).

There is an app called “moodies” which can already tell in which mood you’re in. By 2020 there will be apps that can tell by your facial expressions, if you are lying. Imagine a political debate where it’s being displayed when they’re telling the truth and when they’re not.

Bitcoin may even become the default reserve currency. Of the world.

Longevity: Right now, the average life span increases by 3 months per year. Four years ago, the life span used to be 79 years, now it’s 80 years. The increase itself is increasing and by 2036, there will be more that one year increase per year. So we all might live for a long long time, probably way more than 100.
But over population will create severe food problems.

Education: The cheapest smart phones are already at $10 in Africa and Asia. By 2020, 70% of all humans will own a smart phone. That means, everyone has the same access to instant world class education.

The United States of America will most likely fall to a second world status country due to liberal voting policies.
China will become the primary power of the world.

Every child can use Khan academy for everything a child learns at school in First World countries. We have already released our software in Indonesia and will release it in Arabic, Suaheli and Chinese this Summer, because I see an enormous potential.
We will give the English app for free, so that children in Africa can become fluent in English within half a year.

Those of you under 65 today will experience most of these.
Unfortunately I will not experience most of the items listed, but that’s not a bad thing, at my age I tend to resist change anyway. Bye the way I can still wind my watch, but no need to, its auto wind and is a 26 years old Rolex.
God Bless and Merry Christma

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Christmas Shopping.

I’m feeling rather proud of myself this morning, perhaps even a wee bit smug! I did all of my Christmas shopping yesterday. Actually only needed a couple of gifts, as I’d arranged most via my eldest daughter. Health has kept me confined to home for the last few months plus I can’t drive because of cataracts. I do have to confess I wasn’t upset or missed the hustle and bustle of Christmas shopping. However, back to my story of why I’m feeling proud of myself! I only shopped at local businesses yesterday, none of the big box stores. It was a most pleasant experience and one you would never get or expect at places like Walmart etc. I visited Jewellery Plus in Summerside and was bowled over by the amazing attention and service I received. So pleasant and helpful, gift wrapped my purchase and really made me feel like my custom was appreciated. I also bought a couple of other Island made products, and they also made me feel good. I have heard it over and over that its important we support our local businesses. Well yesterday I did and I’m so glad that I did, I have one more gift to pick up next week, it is also at a local business. So folks its not a bad idea to support local shops and businesses, give it a try, you might be pleasantly surprised like I was.

God Bless and Merry Christmas.

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Promotion Time Again!!!

Its December and Christmas is only short days away! Time to think of that special gift for a loved one or a friend who might be difficult to buy for.. Maybe one of my three books could be the answer. I will begin with my latest book, a work of fiction, and a story based in sci fi, but with many touches of the real world woven into the pages. When I completed writing this book I did not at first realize the many real world events I had fitted into what I believe is a unique and exciting story. Rather than continue to blow my own horn I will instead share one of my readers comments. I think it captures the total concept of my tale.
Review by: Syrphian on Jan. 10, 2015 :
I really enjoyed reading this book! It is a great story with many twists and turns while giving you something profound to think about. The author has a real talent and I believe a future in fiction. The book starts off interesting right from page one with the big mystery in the sand! The author’s writing style is free-flowing which makes it easy to read. This gives the reader a more pleasurable reading experience while with some author’s styles it is more like a text book experience than a novel. I believe that this book has film potential, too.
Somehow he combined a whiskey bottle, time travel, Hunter River Prince Edward Island, a Naval submarine, Jesus, complex machinery, a spy, a world terrorist crisis, the Vatican, Islam, Adam & Eve and a great mystery story all in one book! You have to read it to see what I mean – you will not be disappointed as it is well worth it.
So, in summary, a ‘good read’ as they say… I enjoyed it from page one until the final page. I must admit that the ending was a surprise as I figured that it would conclude the way I thought it should. I am sure that is what the author wanted me to believe. The actual ending was rather different, and a complete and thought-provoking surprise. A very clever ending indeed!
I would recommend this book to anyone who desires a good story, well-written, exciting and a pleasure to read. You will not be disappointed and you will be wanting more from this author when you finish this book!
So there you have it folks, all that remains is for you to read it yourselves. It can be ordered directly from me, the cost for a signed copy is $10 plus postage. It can be ordered on-line at, price is usually a little higher (approx $14) and as an Ebook at for only $1.99. Just contact me via my email address Happy Christmas and a Wonderful 2017
God Bless and Merry Christmas

Posted in Chapter XXI Armageddon, family, veterans | 3 Comments

Where our Poppy Money Goes?????

I realize we are into the Christmas Season and probably most people do not want to hear more rants about the Legion. Nevertheless, there are many hurting veterans out there for which Christmas will not be a good time as they suffer without help. The legion Leadership needs to be exposed over and over until something changes. So one more time I remind you of Joan Beznowski and the treatment she receive from Dominion Command.

Letter to the Editor below.

May I draw the attention of you and your readers to a very disturbing news item in the Wednesday June 9 issue of the Vancouver Sun, in the National Post section, page NP 1.
It refers to an emerging scandal about the treatment of the voluntary secretary of the Lac du Bonnet MB branch of the Royal Canadian Legion.
Jean Beznowski had a reason to be a member of the Legion for 36 years and to continue her duties at the age of 82. Her dad had been in World War II, her husband and two of her brothers fought in the Korean War.

Her sin: she was concerned about how veterans are being treated and about disturbing reports about how the Legion was being operated from its National Command Headquarters.

Specifically, there was concern about veterans seeking treatment for PTSD were being treated. Apparently the legion had set up an informational (not treatment) program about where treatment could be received. For this questionable service the Legion charged the veteran $10! Because she had the temerity to try to contact the organization’s president Tom Eagles, (she never reached him) her branch received instructions to eject her from the branch.
She is quoted by the National Post as saying, “The legion is losing members because of how people are being treated and how the (legion) is operating.” Beznoski explained in an interview. “It’s time somebody did something about it.”

Apparently there are other members who will bring their concerns to the annual convention in St. John’s.
Concerns about excessive senior executive salaries: more than $100,000 per year.
Concerns about expenses for executive trips for themselves, their spouses and families to the Caribbean and questionable trips to ‘conferences’ in the United Kingdom.
And why Eagle’s two sons received two of four Legion bursaries when the children of a low income veterans’s family were denied. So far all their queries have been met by executive stonewalling.

Now as I understand it The Royal Canadian Legion is a private club with its own bylaws and able to select its own executives. If so, how they run it is a question of executive authority as expressed in those by-laws.

But this is an organization that administers millions (how much?). They are not accountable to anyone but themselves and perhaps whatever legislation they are chartered under. I don’t know.
But I do know that when people spend their own money to contribute to the Poppy Campaign they do so thinking that the proceeds are going to go to the benefit of bona fide veterans, not for the salaries and travel goodies of the bosses.
And the Legion bloody well IS accountable:- to those who donate in the interests of the families of veterans who lost their lives or who were grievously wounded in their country’s service.

But it riles me in the extreme that some fat cats are riding on the reputation of those who were wounded, who lost their lives, or came back to little concern for them, whether they are veterans of World War II, Korea, UN actions in Bosnia, Afghanistan or wherever.

Until this mess is cleaned up and there is public accountability for the millions contributed in good spirit it’ll be a frosty Friday before I buy another poppy.

M.A. Rhodes
Nelson, BC

God Bless and Merry Christmas

Posted in family, HM Submarines, HMS Cockade, hms ganges, military, veterans | Leave a comment

Naughty or Nice?? Trudeau???? legion????

When will Parliament’ s actions square with their words?
By Sean Bruyea
Canadas’ serving and retired military members were recently handed a most devastating defeat. However, Ottawa should reign in any festive celebration. These ruling shows Ottawa has been wooing men and women into military uniforms for over a century with empty promises and platitudes.
A group of six veterans have been fighting, on and off, a five-year legal battle to declare unconstitutional a program legislated under the Liberals in 2005 to unilaterally replace lifelong payments for pain and suffering with a one-time lump sum.

Known as Equitas, the veterans’ legal action seeks to certify their claim as a class action while also arguing the government has Constitutional and other legal obligations to veterans. Principle among those is the assertion there exists a longstanding social covenant between Canada and those who serve or have served in military uniform.
On December 4, a panel of three judges from the BC Court of Appeal, unilaterally struck down all legal aspects of the claim.
The judges noted the “unwieldy”, and tediously lengthy nature of the claim containing “rhetorical excesses”, which have been characteristic of the Equitas messaging in the media. However, contrary to some expectations raised by such rhetoric, the court decision was not about “determining whether the government is providing adequate compensation to members of the armed forces who are injured in the course of their duties”.

Instead, the judges ruled whether there were Constitutional or other legal obstacles preventing Parliament from having the “authority to enact legislation fixing and limiting compensation” for injured veterans.

This ruling has far more implications than whether benefits for injured veterans under the lump sum program are unfair. In short, there exists no special legal obligation that Canada has to its veterans.
That means bureaucrats can continue to write laws which Parliament is manipulated into passing that create an increasingly complex class and caste system of veterans forced to negotiate a labyrinth of bureaucratic injustices. The result for many is humiliation and disempowerment. For some, it is one more push down a tragic path of suicide.
Yes, the ruling is that bleak. Inspirational speeches and promises by the most powerful offices of the land are nothing more than words. It is difficult not to be cynical. What a great deal for government and Canadians to be protected and defended by the most weighty of human sacrifices while being obligated to provide absolutely nothing in return.
This is not the courts’ fault. This is about the law and there exists no Canadian law for a “sacred obligation” or “social covenant”.
Ironically, it has been exactly one century since Prime Minister Borden spoke his oft-quoted words of commitment to care for those in uniform.
Since then, the very politicians inundating us with endless rhetoric about an eternal gratitude and great debt owed to veterans are the very individuals who have the power to pass laws to create a legally binding obligation to veterans.

The first kick at the can is underway. John Brassard’s Bill C-378 merely seeks to amend the Department of Veterans Affairs Act with three subsections. This is not, as Mr. Brassard claims, a “Military Covenant Act” but more a customer service commitment.
A true covenant would exist independently of any other act. It would be comprehensive and would stipulate both all-encompassing and specific legal obligations of government to care for serving military, veterans and family members. It would base those obligations upon the multitudinous demands that military service makes upon Canadians in uniform, including the profound changes in person that result from the most potent tools of manipulation available to reshape an individual.
It would need to involve more than just six veterans and two teams of battling lawyers. It would have to involve as many veterans and serving members, and their families as possible. It would have to be open and transparent in the most idealistic ways. It must inspire participation, and compassion while satisfying the expectations of all touched by and who safeguard that democracy. This is essential because a military exists to protect and defend all that, and all those, we hold dear in our nation.
That is what politicians and bureaucrats need to do. Veterans would benefit from shaking the deeply indoctrinated deference to authority. They have to stop looking for a knight in shining armour to rescue them. They also need to say no to secretive tristes and commitments of confidentiality with government behind closed doors.
Ottawa has no commitment to veterans, why are veterans so eager to commit to government?
Government has been the perennial playboy, charming men and women into uniform with sweet nothings. Once out of uniform, when veterans press government for a commitment, to go on bended knee with a ring, government leaves veterans at the altar, only to court another priority.
Was the ultimate sacrifice not enough? Veterans then blame themselves in most tragic ways as if they somehow deserve such abandonment.
The big question: will this heartbreaking dance go on for another century?
Sean Bruyea, vice-president of Canadians for Accountability and author, has a graduate degree in public ethics, is a retired Air Force intelligence officer, and frequent commentator on government, military, and veterans’ issues.

God Bless and Merry Christmas

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