NO QUESTIONS ASKED

Dedicated to Digging for Truth, Blasting the Myths, and Etching Reality in Stone.

Here’s a link to a petition that raises serious questions about what is contained in our foreign investment and trade agreements, and the process by which they are being adopted. Whether the conclusions reached by the Green Party are accurate or not, they should be the subject of questions and debate in parliament before such far-reaching and entrenched laws hit the books.

http://elizabethmaymp.ca/wp-content/uploads/FIPA-Petition.pdf

According to the Greens it works like this:

Once Canada has signed this FIPPA agreement with China, any Chinese company who invests in our country, could sue our government for loss of ‘anticipated profits’ due to Federal, Provincial, or Municipal laws or rulings that interfere with their ability to achieve their estimated potential profit. And the lawsuits and awards will occur in secret.

Considering that the Chinese have an estimated $10 billion invested in our oil sands right now, imagine what China could claim as damages if our government decided to curtail tar sands operations or pipelines. That could cost taxpayers BILLION$!

I know, you may be thinking – green radicals, what idiots, our government would never do anything that insane.

Perhaps so, but READ THE PETITION, ASK QUESTIONS, and become informed. Even if the result is just to slow things down long enough to allow our legislators to consider and debate things. You have less than a week to have any influence. It wouldn’t hurt to contact your MP and get their side of the story.

Now you may also be thinking: ‘What the hell does this have to do with aggregates?’

Can you say MELANCTHON out loud?

Highland is an American company. They are already covered by the NAFTA agreement which has Chapter 11, under which Canada has already been sued, and LOST, costing taxpayers HUGE! But because of a degree of openness in NAFTA, at least we can learn what’s going on. For example – US-based manufacturer, Ethyl Corporation sued under Chapter 11 – and we paid over $10 million in damages. Also in 2010 our government ordered a payment of $130 million to US-based Abitibi Bowater when Newfoundland and Labrador insisted the company could not keep water rights and forest cutting rights to sell to a new buyer when it closed its mill.

Now FIPPA has far more secretive processes! If enacted we may never be able to see what’s being done and how much it is costing us!

So, whether they open the Melancthon quarry or not, there is a chance that Canadian taxpayers will either be faced with massive environmental risks and costs, or be handing foreigners huge “potential profit” cheques!

So…what would our government do when faced with this situation?

Would they pay Highland possibly hundreds of millions of dollars for not operating their quarry, or hold their nose and approve the dig no matter how bad it smells?

We don’t know about Denmark, but we’re betting that something is going to smell rotten in Melancthon in the not too distant future!

 

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STINKY BUSINESS

Dedicated to Digging for Truth, Blasting the Myths, and Etching Reality in Stone.

 If it looks like a goose, walks like a goose, squawks like a goose, and poops like a goose, nobody at the MNR is going to have any idea what the hell it is!

It seems they’re too busy pointing fingers, running for cover, avoiding responsibility, buck passing, spreading confusion, playing ‘hot potato’, ignoring the obvious, covering their eyes, holding their noses, denying the stench, and just generally looking the other way while their guilty friends bury the evidence.

Look what’s happening RIGHT NOW in Palgrave!

A gravel company, Brock Aggregates, has applied for a major expansion to an existing, but long-dormant, gravel pit (known as the Tottenham Pit). Local residents who had been told that the pit was slated for ‘Estate Residential’ development, have invested millions of dollars in their homes based on those assurances.

The residents have slowed, but not stopped, the pit site plan amendment application.

But Brock is proceeding merrily along as if their expansion is ‘in the bag’! A few weeks ago they obtained a demolition permit to take down a shed, one of several structures on the property. The shed came down all right, but then they proceeded to completely demolish an old log home that some say had historical significance as one of the early settler’s log homes in the area.

THEY HAD NO PERMIT!

Apparently, they simply did not care. It appears they knew what the Town’s reaction would be … just a shrug and a remark like – ‘Oh well, we’ll just change the permit to include the house.’

Unbelievable!

But to make matters worse THEY DIDN’T EVEN CHECK TO SEE WHAT WAS IN THE HOUSE! Now there’s a rather strong smell in the area – from a fuel spill – and serious concerns about the water in surrounding wells. Everyone who might be responsible seems to be running for cover – the MNR, the MOE, the Town of Caledon, the TSSA (Technical Safety Standards Association), etc.. Brock was just as quick to try to cover things up by immediately burying the ‘evidence’ – they smashed the house, the contents, the oil tanks and who-knows-how-much fuel oil into the ground, and apparently buried it all under now-contaminated soil – making matters MUCH worse!

So who is supervising this fiasco?

Well … NOBODY … except Brock themselves!

That’s right. Because of the way the Aggregate Resources Act and related regulations are written, it is the responsibility of the pit owners to supervise themselves, and simply file a report on how well they voluntarily complied with the rules. So how do you suppose that works out?

Can you say CONFLICT of INTEREST out loud?

Now the local residents are left with a massive mess – potentially poisoned wells, frustrating finger-pointing by those officials who are taking our money (taxes) and then seeming to run as far away as possible. The residents are faced with the costs of expensive water testing and ongoing monitoring to ensure the safety of their drinking water, and unsaleable homes (the first question a prospective buyer asks is ‘how’s the well water’?) – all the result of lax laws and irresponsible behaviour all around.

You could say the residents’ ‘goose is cooked’ and those responsible get to fly away and leave their poop behind.

In aggregate, it is a stinky business, and it’s not just the smell of the spilled fuel oil.

SELF-MONITORING – A dream come true?

Dedicated to Digging for Truth, Blasting the Myths, and Etching Reality in Stone.

 

Can you imagine a world where you could grade yourself?   AWESOME!

Take me for example. I was a borderline student in school. Just kinda got by.

But if I could have self graded, I would have been a “A” student!

I probably would have had a career, albeit a short one, as a heart surgeon with the education of a shoe shine boy.

If you came to my office for surgery you’d leave in a body bag, but your shoes sure would look nice!

Well, Ontario has a billion dollar industry that can be life-threatening like my fictitious example, but which self-monitors.

Yep, that’s right. All they have to do is fill out a form at the end of each year “GRADING THEMSELVES” on their adherence to all the rules and regulations of running their operation.

Does it work?

Well, let’s talk about Ken Cressey and his late wife Jeanine once more.

The pit operators, who basically contributed to the death of Ken’s wife through their negligence, operated a crushing machine without a Certificate of Authorization, and without any effective dust control measures in place, for three years.

During that time we can only assume that they did not report themselves and their infractions on their self-monitoring report check list.

Then, due to Ken’s persistence, two years after Jeanine’s death the operator was brought to ‘justice’.

They negotiated a deal with the MNR lawyer to plead guilty to crushing without a certificate, and paid a $1000 fine. Never mind the Cresseys. Do you think they saw any money? Ha!

Why did Crain’s Construction take the risk of crushing without a certificate, and possibly falsifying their “self-monitoring reports” you ask?

Their answer seemed to be … It takes too long to apply for and receive the authorization.

So…. for the tens of thousands in profits Crain made during that time frame, they were penalized $1000 for illegal crushing. Not a bad risk/reward ratio, eh?

But what about the three years of lies they must have made on their self-assessment reports?

Surely, you would expect the MNR to interpret that breach of trust as a far worse crime than operating the crusher illegally.