Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Are They Getting It?

Gomery meets with former cabinet ministers and public servants in what is the commencement of private cross-Canada meetings. Journalists wanted to know what was up but they had the "door slammed in their faces" - more from CP

An excerpt from the report:

Pierre Foucher, a law professor at the University of MonctonFoucher and a specialist in administrative and constitutional law, said adequate rules are in place as long as they are followed.

"I don't think we need more rules, more laws, more officers and more reports," he said.
"We need to apply properly what we already have in place. In my opinion, that's what didn't happen here."

Professor Foucher is right. We have tonnes of administrative law but it seems that it is rare for it to be followed if even understood. If the commission thinks the federal government is bad, the Province of Ontario is worse. What is the point of having legislation if government officials are breaching trust?

Worse culprits in Ontario are:

1) "Elected" members of provincial parliament who are mostly incompetent dolts (I don't even bother writing to them anymore)
2) Ministry of Labour - unlawful investigators, 90% chance of misrepresenting legislation
3) Labour Relations Board - same and MoL
4) Ministry of Health including - How many lawsuits does it take to change a legislation?
5) the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario - corrupt
6) the Health Professions Appeal and Review Board - corrupt
7) Hospitals - not all, but corrupt
8) the Law Society of Upper Canada - corrupt, does not understand human rights
9) Legal Aid Ontario - corrupt, discriminatory
10) the Ministry of Justice - passes the buck, ignores above
11) Crown Attorneys and - ignores all the above, disregards 'justice' philosophy
12) the police services that are supposed to press criminal charges when the administration of law and justice are breached - they have their hands tied...who's your daddy?
13) Universities - some can be slimy and unethical while not teaching legal obligations to students, especially doctors
14) Municipalities - graft, conflicts of interest, Ontario Works staff in majority of municipalities think they are reincarnated fascists - completely illegal
15) Sometimes the Ombudsman's office - ignoring responsibility to make Ministries accountable

Worse culprits in the federal government are:

1) "Elected" members of parliament who are mostly incompetent dolts (same as the provincial members)
2) Canadian Privacy Commission (this one is incredible at not following legislation, not to mention the legislation is retarded)
3) Canadian Human Rights Commission (do they uphold anything that seems remotely comparable to human rights legislation or the Charter? Didn't they give $4000 in donations to the Liberal Party?)
4) HRDC (see Privacy Commission - involved in ADHD Fraud and paying psychometrists to commit the fraud)
5) Industry Canada (the "let the companies defraud you because you don't want to bite the hand that feeds you" Ministry)
6) RCMP - see archives for 'Food, Laundry and the RCMP'

Any one else want to add to the list please feel free in the comments

Katrina's After Effects

Update 10:15 pm August 31: Worse News

Since I'm in southern Ontario for medical treatment er um 'vacation' - Hamilton being the larger city but with the worst, incompetent and lack thereof of health care services I have ever experienced as an Ontarian - having 4 televisions, two radios and an internet connection has not kept me apprised of Katrina's approach. What was missing is cable because the one or two Canadian stations I get down here focus on how to fold sweat shirts or what's the latest pillow for your living room floor.

The majority of American stations have the events, Detroit's PBS is the best, but I had to wait for their daily newscasts. So that left me unaware of the complete devastation that IS occurring in Louisiana and Mississippi. It really is quite unbelievable. I feel very bad for America again (how many more devastations do they need to go through?) and wish the states that have been affected all the best.
Two levees have been breached with 80% of New Orleans under water and more levees are expected to break. MSNBC and CNN have the best updates I've found on the web so far.

I just wish our own Canadian leaders have acted like the Americans when the farmers had their severe drought. Chretien didn't even go out to see the farmers the SoB. I guess he preferred to covort with the Khadrs our home grown Islamic terrorists. As my sis says...our politicians are a reflection of us...sad but could it be true?

Now I've got that Led Zepplin song in my head...if it keeps on raining...Levee's gonna break...when the levee breaks have no place to stay...

Smoking Chimps

Or should it be smoking chumps? It seems that I'm not the only one that is hooked on cigarettes. Check out the smoking chimp at Bloemfontein Zoo in South Africa or Ai Ai the smoking merry widow at Qinling Wild Animal Zoo in China. Just look at her face, how serene!

It's a hard habit to quit...but hey for now I'm with the chimps, I like it!

Update: Ai Ai quit smoking as did this blogger. As of the end of April 2006 I have been a non-smoker for a whole six months! In April I had lung infection and a serious fever. I stopped smoking and that was it - no turning back. I did try one or two cigarettes afterward but found they tasted like I scraped the tar off of highway 401 and stuck it in a cigarette tube...ugh!

Updated Update:  This very uncool blogger started smoking again as of August crisis

Sunday, August 28, 2005

A Journey into Conversion - Part VII

Continued from Part VI

This is a true story – mine. This is the seventh part of many.

A Journey into Conversion
Part VII

After my son left Joe had the idea that I should continue receiving mother’s allowance benefits. He had a rationale that made sense to me and I accepted it (I still do). If people living in a society have to steal just to eat and have shelter then there is something wrong with that society. This may work very well in his culture where the family unit takes care of their relatives, but it doesn’t work here unless you’re a politician. In those cases survival of the fittest isn’t about food or shelter, it’s about power and how best you can abuse it without getting caught.

The heartache of giving up custody of my son was made worse when I heard his voice. The anxiety dreams were frequent. I didn’t call my son for long periods of time because it was unbearable to listen to his sweet voice without crying into the phone. Instead I tried to cover up the feelings of remorse and distract myself from the guilt from collecting cheques for a ghost child by putting my energy into studying.

His dad called me one evening to ask me what was going on, why hadn’t I called? He told me that our son had woken up screaming that he wanted his mummy, he thought he would never see me again. This did it. If there was ever a lament, this was it. I broke down into a gush of tears from gut wrenching guilt. To do this day I don’t remember the exact words that my son called out to his father. I know that I have made myself forget them because the pain of remembering was too much without experiencing the same response as the day his father relayed them to me. It’s still hard to talk about this time in my life without tearing up or just dropping the subject altogether. My son refuses to talk about it and I don’t blame him.


Ramadan and Christmas were approaching. Joe had helped me pass out candy on Halloween, which he enjoyed thoroughly. He loved how the kids dressed up. As we stood on the porch watching the kids, he said, “look, an Arab!” and pointed to a kid with a white robe and headdress with a black band around his forehead. It made us wonder if kids over in Lebanon dressed like the R.C.M.P or something distinctly Canadian on Halloween. He thought this was very funny because of the irony, since he liked dressing up himself.

He laughed reminiscing about an uncle who used to dress in woman’s clothing to make his party guests laugh in a sort of Lebanese La Cage au Folles way. One day in the summer Joe had come out of my bedroom wearing my bathing suit and sun hat and paraded around my dining room. I smiled shook my head and told him to go take them off, I didn’t want my bathing suit stretched out so I couldn’t wear it again.

I spent my first Ramadan with Helen and her family. Joe’s visits were becoming less frequent and he spent less time at Helen’s place. The neighbourhood was filled with excitement as food was brought over by visitors in the evenings after sunset prayer. The Muslims in the neighbourhood would go to Mosque for taraweyah prayers. These were long sessions of prayer where a certain number of chapters in the Quran were chanted. The idea was to recite the full Quran during the month of Ramadan.

I was asked to watch the neighbour’s kids as they spent a good two hours at Mosque. I enjoyed staying with them; they were happy, well behaved and beautiful. They were easy to adore and fall in love with and showed the same admiration with me. I loved it when the women who came to visit my landlord or the Helen’s kids and ask me if I wanted to see their hair. It was like a special treat.

One girl (even though she was young, she was not so much a girl) asked my son and I if we wanted to see her hair. We said yes. With her veil on she was very plain looking. But when she took it off I have never seen such beautiful hair in my life. It was very long, black and silky. Her face sprang to life and she was more beautiful than I could have ever imagined her having seen her with her veil on for so long. My son was speechless. I’m sure he was as moved as I was.

I decided I was going to attempt to fast with Helen. I didn’t eat but I drank throughout the day. Joe told me I was cheating, that I wasn’t supposed to eat or drink anything from sunrise to sunset, but that was ok with me. It was my first attempt at starving myself. Since I went swimming almost everyday, I lost 16 kilograms by the end of Ramadan. Joe was very proud as I guess my weight was at issue with him and his aunt, although she herself could have stood to lose some kilos in the double digits. Joe told her this and she sheepishly lowered her eyes but smiled anyway.


By Christmas time Helen had set up a tree. Her younger kids were excited about celebrating Christmas just as I had been about celebrating Ramadan. Helen’s kids were very close to my son as they were like brothers and sister. The girl, I’ll call Sally had written notes to send him with my packages in the mail. We’d send cards, photos, drawings, gummy rats or squeaky rats so he wouldn’t forget our apartment in Windsor. If he wasn’t able to hear my voice, (I used to read and sing to him every night before he fell asleep) he was getting all kinds of stuff to remind him of us.

At Christmas my son came to visit. It was this Christmas he learned from Helen’s kids that there was no Santa even though I begged them not to tell him. Joe had decided that he was going to dress up as Santa for my son and his cousin and give them some gifts he bought both of them. Joe had a Santa suit. I asked him how he was going to cover up without the kids knowing who he was. He said not to worry, he would have a beard and put white powder on his face, the kids would never know it was him.

When the time came for Santa’s arrival the doorbell rang. My son ran downstairs to answer it and let Santa in. As he was running back upstairs he said nonchalantly, “mum it’s Joe”. He ran into the living room to join the other kids as the apartment filled with laughter and children’s chatter. When Joe got to the top of the stairs he said in a low voice “How’d he know it was me?” You could see Joe’s dark mustache under his white Santa beard and his dark and distinct eyebrows covered in white powered. You couldn’t help but know him by his eyes. I shrugged and said “I dunno” and started to laugh.

Quote of the Month

"Every time I get my act together, the curtain comes down" - anon

Friday, August 26, 2005

A Journey into Conversion - Part VI

Continued from Part V

This is a true story – mine. This is the sixth part of many.

A Journey into Conversion

Part VI

Helen and I rushed over to the hospital to find Joe in a neck brace with tears in his eyes. Helen began a contained wail and comforted him.

To my surprise, the nurse was a grade school chum. He told me Joe was ok, that he wasn’t seriously hurt. He turned to Joe and let him know that he knew me, told him “I was a nice girl” and that he’d be ok with me.

Well, nice girls can turn into suckers easily. My nativity it would turn out was the perfect fence for Joe.

Joe was released from the hospital the same day but experienced a back injury and the pain that goes along with it.

Joe would go to his doctor’s appointments and come home upset. I started making phone calls on his behalf because he was complaining of not being treated fairly. I saw his pain at home and decided I would go with him to his appointments.

At one of these appointments the doctor asked Joe to walk across the room. I couldn’t believe how much he exaggerated his gait, wincing and moaning in pain. He never did this at home. I said nothing in front of the physician but when he left, I asked Joe what he thought he was doing? He had to exaggerate the injury he told me, or else they wouldn’t believe him.

Shortly after his accident the phone calls started. My phone would ring at least three times a day or more, everyday for weeks. Sometimes there would be a man without an accent claiming he was Joe’s friend Mohammed and he was looking for him or else they call, wait for me to answer, then hang up.

I questioned Joe about the calls. Any of his friends named Mohammed had accents. The calls were starting to bother me and he seemed concerned so I wanted to call the police. “No!” he exclaimed I wasn’t to do that.

There were times I was sure someone was peering into my apartment through the back door window. On another occasion Joe would report to me that he saw a young guy in a hooded sweatshirt walk through the side yard and up my back stairs. I was insulted when he assumed this guy was a “new boyfriend” and started to question his motives for making the accusation. Was he starting to cover up something?

Finally, his best friend confirmed that the phones calls and spying was probably from the insurance company who hired a private detective to check up on Joe’s injuries. They just do that he assured me. But the phone calls continued.


In another of our coffee house conversations, Joe told me about Lebanese in London Ontario who would steal cars, repaint them and sell them as used. This wouldn’t click in for me until years later when I bought a car from an Arabic guy in London.

On our trip back from Niagara Falls, Joe and I stopped for coffee. Some guy had locked his keys in his car and was trying to retrieve them. Joe was watching and decided to help out. Just as he was sticking something in between the top of the window and the lining to push the lock open, a cop car pulled up. The cop noticed how quickly he opened the car and said so. I noticed too but figured he was just helping the guy.

About three months after the accident Joe and Helen decided to move. By this time the insurance company had settled with Joe and he got a new car. Weeks before he had been lying in bed with back pain and miraculously the day they moved he was moving fridges and stoves. I watched him. What is he doing I asked myself?

He was also talking about going to Detroit to work for cash because he couldn’t find work in Canada. (This is true. Finding a good employer in Ontario is hard enough for Ontarians but even harder if you’re a visible minority.) It was at this time Joe casually mentioned marrying an American woman to get his Green Card.

I knew Joe had been talking to his ex-girlfriend because he would tell me about their conversations. He thought it was necessary to let me know that she “would do anything for him”. I understood “anything” as a conversion to Islam or giving in to questionable sexual practices that he tried to force on me one night but stopped because of my screaming. I didn’t realize that my terror of what was actually happening could have landed him in jail if I made the effort to go to the police. He didn’t attempt it again.

Though Joe had suggested we “see other people” he was still keeping an eye on me. Cabs were following me if I left to go out or else that they were constantly driving by my apartment. The phone calls were continuing to my place after he left but by this time they were hang-ups and not so frequent.


Before Joe had moved to the other house with Helen, he wanted to go to Toronto to get his visitor’s visa to get to the United States so he could work under the table. We left in a rented van and decided that we would go to visit my son while we were there.

The wait was long so I decided to wait in the car. I got bored and left a note for Joe that I was going for a walk. We had been arguing about something earlier, I think that he didn’t want me to stay in the car by myself but that I didn’t feel like waiting in line for hours.

I found a library at one of the buildings nearby. After about an hour Joe showed up. I couldn’t believe that he found me because I didn’t even know the library was there before I left to take my walk. He wouldn’t tell me how he knew how to find me like that, but he always was perceptive.

We visited my son at a friend’s house while Joe spent the night in pain. On the way up we were arguing about cultural stuff and he seemed to be in a depressed mood.

On the way home I drove part of the way, I noticed he tore a piece of a coffee cup up and began to write in Arabic on it. He wouldn’t tell me what he was writing. When we stopped for gas I noticed he threw it in the garbage but I retrieved it.

When Joe drove it was erratic. On one point of the 401 but when there were no cars around I noticed that he had turned the wheel of the van sharply and it swerved towards the shoulder. There was nothing in our path to make him swerve. He was doing it deliberately.

I wanted to know what he was doing but he ignored me. I decided I would move to the back of the van because I felt he was trying to kill us or at least get us pretty smashed up.

Gomery Wants to Hear from Public

Commissioner Gomery is requesting submissions from the Canadian public of their thoughts on the sponsorship scandal. It's an excellent time for Canadians to have their voice heard, especially if they believe there is one set of laws for politicians and another for the common Canadian. Submissions can be made at the Gomery Commission website.

Don't loose this opportunity to make your opinions known!

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

O.P.P Commissioner Boniface Summoned

Ipperwash Commissioner Sidney Linden summons O.P.P Commissioner Gwen Boniface to attend the inquiry and provide disciplinary documents against two O.P.P officers, Constable James Dyke and Detective Constable Darryl Whitehead.

The Ontario Provincial Police and the Ontario Provincial Police Association (O.P.P and the O.P.P.A) had tried to get out of producing the documents citing privilege. The Commissioner over-ruled their argument with the facts that the Police Services Act does not specify that disciplinary documents are of a privileged nature and that the Public Inquiries Act is not a civil or criminal procedure because there are no judgments being made from the evidence submitted.

The Commissioner will determine, by viewing the documents with O.P.P and O.P.P.A counsel, whether or not they should be submitted into evidence. They attempted to argue that not even the Commissioner should see the disciplinary documents.

Friday, August 19, 2005

Dejavu-RCMP Not Persuing Fraud Charges

The R.C.M.P has chosen not persue Hollinger Inc. on fraud charges. From the CBC

Why does this remind me of Carl Brewer and his case against Alan Eagleson, a lawyer for the NHL player's union? The FBI were on it but the R.C.M.P took another four years to press charges. Was it because John Turner was Eagleson's friend? Or that Eagleson had a character witness that was a former Supreme Court Justice?

Does that surprise anyone? Just last week the CBC gave about 10 seconds air-time to announce that the R.C.M.P were not persuing criminal charges against the P.M.O for dealing in offices because "there wasn't enough evidence". What does it take to end corruption in Canada?

If any of this happened in the United States, their media would be tearing this thing to shreds until the President is impeached. Perhaps it's better they're on strike. We get no news about our own damn country and something this important gets 10 seconds.

Perhaps the timing is great for this because the media won't give any of this attention in Canada. I wonder if they're getting paid off too? Now that our politicians and journalists are too busy vacationing to put effort into making sure our democracy is not overrun with white collar criminals, AdScam is certainly out of the spotlight.

What about those lawyers who were appointed as judges after donating to the Liberal Party or the justice Canadians recieved from those justices appointed on merit overseeing the Air India Bombing and Omar Khadr's right to refuse to speak to security officials in Gitmo?

Maybe it's a good time to bring up this post again or this one, or this.

Is anyone paying attention to our law enforcement or legal system? What is it about our system that is appealing for lawyers and businessmen that get away with stealing millions of dollars?

A Journey into Conversion - Part V

Continued from Part IV

This is a true story – mine. This is the fifth part of many.

A Journey into Conversion

Part V

I woke up on Helen’s couch sobbing uncontrollably. I dreamt my son was kidnapped and I couldn’t catch him in time as the van sped off me running after it screaming. Joe came out of his bedroom and Helen woke from her sleep on the living room floor. I couldn’t stop sobbing.

Joe tried to comfort me by telling me the dream just meant that he was starting another life. I shook my head. Helen tried to put things into perspective translated through Joe. She felt the same way when her husband convinced her to take her three kids to Canada. He would join them within the year.

A year had passed and he had married another woman, leaving Helen and her kids to fend for themselves. He also took the money she lent him to start his own business, not sending them a cent since they arrived. He tricked her into leaving with no intention of ever joining them. She cried along with me.

I wanted stability for my son. I did believe it was the best thing to do but I felt so out of control with circumstances that seemed at the time, beyond my control. But my baby was my life that gave me my direction. When he was gone there seemed to be endless paths and I didn’t know which to take.

Joe tried to console me by buying me a gold locket so I could put my son’s picture inside. I wore it from the day it was bought until five years later when the chain broke and one of my cats chewed through the back. It now hangs in a sculpture, a sort of clothesline of events depicting a slice of history in time.

* * *

For some reason, a neighbourhood cat had chosen to give birth at my place. I’ve never seen her before until that day. I noticed her panting and her stomach moving. She came into my apartment looking for a place to lay down and give birth to her litter. She found a spot in my closet. Joe and I stayed with her, me coaching her to push while she meowed in response. Joe thought this was remarkable and told everyone this story.

Little by little the kittens were growing and everyone who heard the story wanted one. They were soon too big to stay in my apartment and were moved to the garage because five kittens dumping whenever and wherever they felt the need was not on my list of acceptable foster mothering practices. Almost each kitten was spoken for and big enough to give away.

The mum cat was down to her last kitten when the kids saw her take it by the scruff of the neck, run out of the garage and trot quickly down the sidewalk, the kitten dangling from her mouth. They started following her but they couldn’t keep up. She outmaneuvered them and was able to escape by darting into a side yard. The mum cat decided she would run away with the last one before it was gone. She mourned her lost babies enough to save the last one for herself.

By this time I was out on the sidewalk with the kids talking over one another to tell me what happened. I just looked down the sidewalk with admiration where the kids were pointing, the empty path the mum cat had gone. I understood this cat and what it was to loose your baby too.

* * *

My relationship with Joe was straining. He though he was openly affectionate in front of his family showing them that he loved me, he was still in contact with his ex-girlfriend. Now, when his aunt and uncle came over he asked me to leave in front of them. This was supposed to be the ultimate insult according to his culture. He told me his aunt was talking bad things about me in Arabic even when I was there and it was better to get up and leave when they sat down. I couldn’t figure out what the hell I had done and Joe wouldn’t tell me.

Joe was starting to spend more time with his cousin who wasn’t actually his cousin but his maternal aunt’s husband’s brother. This cousin had one wife, five kids and three girlfriends. The story was he would stay home with his wife and kids for most of the day since he wasn’t working. At eleven o’clock p.m. he would see the first girlfriend, at 1 am he would see the second and by 3 am the third, then go back home to his wife at 6 am. It started to get messy when girlfriend number 2, who was 18 years old, wanted to get married. The cousin was about 35.

The wife knew all about the arrangements, but didn’t leave because she liked her husband. She didn’t like her kids. The cousin would try to compensate by brining her blow-up bath pillows.

Joe was spending a lot of time at his cousin’s. A lot of it was when the cousin was with either of the three girlfriends, whose identity changed but rank and time of visitation during the night didn’t. Around this time Joe began his symbolic and coded messages. He started looking at his watch when we made love as if he were in a hurry. When I’d ask him what he was doing there was no response, just that he had to go.

We were invited to go to a wedding but he didn’t want me to go on account of his talkative aunt and uncle. I protested so he brought me. We shared a dance and this drunken creep came up to us and said something to Joe in Arabic. Joe let go and the guy started dancing with me. I was furious and left the guy on the dance floor. I yelled at Joe in front of everyone never do that to me again. He gave me away to some other guy, a stranger, as if I was a sharmooda, Arabic for bitch or whore.

On the way home his friends were racing next to him in a sports car against his GMC Jimmy. There were about four guys in the car yelling and laughing at him in Arabic. Joe wasn’t smiling and he wasn’t talking to me either. I understood a little what they were saying. They were making fun of him because of me. That night he refused to share our bed.

* * *

It was nearing the end of the summer and I was busy painting the dining room. The kids raced up my stairs yelling to come down to take a phone call that it had something to do with Joe and Helen couldn’t understand the English. When I took the phone call for her it was only the welfare office asking to schedule an appointment with Helen and as Joe was her interpreter, he needed to be there too.

I went back upstairs to finish and no more than a half an hour elapsed when the kids were racing up my stairs again. They were yelling again that something was wrong with Joe. Thinking it was more a lack of not knowing the language and miscommunication I answered to hear the voice of a firefighter identify himself. A wave of burning anxiety rushed over me. Joe was in an accident. A transport truck hit his car with him in it on a heavily used main artery connecting highway 401 to the Ambassador Bridge, the umbilical between Canada and the United States. I was asked to come to the hospital.

©This is copyright material that cannot be reproduced without express permission of the author.

Thursday, August 18, 2005

A Journey into Conversion - Part IV

Continued from Part III

This is a true story – mine. This is the fourth part of many.

A Journey into Conversion
Part IV

In June of 1995 Mike Harris of the Conservative Party was elected as Premiere. His policies were drastic. Public administration and running a business were like the differences between oil and water. You have to shake them violently before they can mix. Government has obligations and duties to uphold business has a bottom-line. I cried because I knew people were going to die from these policies. They did.

The summer progressed. Because there was “no money left” on my legal aid certificate, I was not able to petition my husband for divorce and get child support. My lawyer filled me with more anxiety about the Family Support offices not getting support payments to families on time, virtually starving them.

The financial abuse my son and I were suffering from his father was taking its toll on me psychologically. His efforts, I believed, were an attempt to put so much financial pressure on me that I couldn’t bare it and give up custody.

My new lawyer was a referral by my minister. After seeking support from my priest as his parishioner he said to me he “didn’t have the time because he had a meeting” and offered no other resolution in its place. This was the last insult I was going to endure, I was fed up with the Catholics. So I became a member of the United Church.

The minister gave up his law practice to become a preacher. And what a preacher he was! It wasn’t unusual for members of the congregation to cry from his speeches, myself included. Whatever he chose to talk about seemed to always relate to what new event was evolving in my life that week. He had a profound impact on my spirituality and he earned my respect.

My husband’s and mine separation was hostile and I didn’t want to fight anymore. It seemed only reasonable to ask my minister for his advice about lawyers, since he used to be one. He referred me to a “Christian” lawyer whose non-adversarial characteristics seemed to be what I wanted.

But sacrificial philosophy and reality don’t mix. It wasn’t long until she acquiesced to my husband’s financial abuse, comparing it to her own previous abuse history with the you-didn’t-have-a-shotgun-in-your-face argument, used the ‘no money’ lie to turn my confusion into attempts at convincing me to seriously consider giving up custody of my son.

Joe, who was acting within his culture now, started to do the same. I didn’t realize that until years later after speaking to another from the same area in Lebanon that he was preparing me for marriage within this cultural context. Having a male child from another man was an issue of jealousy.

Joe thought in terms of codes. He was always trying to figure me out and usually getting it right. At this he was gifted. I think he learned this as a necessity to survive during the civil war in Lebanon. He had forms of communication where direct instructions were coded messages for other meanings. This was probably useful in a violent country where direct messages could get you killed.

I didn’t realize he thought in terms of this until one day I left early for school. By this time I had started my fine art courses at the university. I wasn’t able to take my morning coffee with Helen and Joe so I couldn’t tell them personally that I wouldn’t be home for lunch as I had an appointment. Not wanting to disturb them I left a message in the mailbox letting them know I wouldn’t be home at the usual time.

Unknowingly Joe took this note as code for something drastic. He went to the library to look for me, called the police, then my mother. My mum asked him if he didn’t know me by now? That I usually do my own thing and it wasn't out of the ordinary.

When I returned he told me this story. I couldn’t believe that he was that worried about a note telling him I wasn’t going to be home for lunch, that he thought it was an esoteric message from some phantom kidnapper.
During one of our coffee shop chats, he would tell other stories that underscored a theme and a penchant for vigilante justice, some in the form of baseball bats in shopping mall parking lots. On once such occasion, in a concerned tone, he told me the “Hezbollah was here”. To me, I believed they were bothering him or trying to recruit him for something. I didn’t ask him to elaborate but it most likely was because of the reason he was here in Canada.

His story was that the Hezbollah in Lebanon had shot him but I was never to bring this story up in front of his aunt and uncle. I didn’t question him, didn’t mention as he told me because it was a non-issue to me. He also told me of the war when Christian militias were fighting against Muslim militias, brother fighting against brother and so on and so on. One horrific story was a time when he had gone to a place to fight with five other guys. They fell asleep in a house but were raided by a militia in the middle of the night. They found them all asleep in the room and slit the throats of the other five. Blood sprayed on Joe from the killing of the guy next to him. Joe had enough blood on him from his neighbour they thought he was dead, he stayed still. They left.

In later months I found out from his cousin, Helen’s son, that Joe never did get shot by the Hezbollah, that it was his own gun that misfired in his hand. This fourteen-year-old seemed disgusted by the lie that Joe told me and let me know that it was a story made up to tell immigration so he could get refugee status. I never brought it up again with the family nor confronted Joe about it. I’m sure the militia story was true.

Joe liked to try his code talk with me to either see how I reacted or to use it as a veiled threat. He related one coffee drinking day that a friend of his married a Canadian woman on welfare to get his citizenship papers. The arrangement was, since she was on welfare, that he give her a couple of thousand dollars cash and when he got his landed they would get divorced.

After the divorce she started asking for more money. Instead, the guy beat her up and she wasn’t able to do anything. As Joe said “it was his word against hers”. I didn’t believe the story although I felt slightly intimidated. I forgot it because he never raised a finger to hurt me. It wasn’t until later that I understood the usefulness of this talk.

The question of marriage had come up on several occasions. One of his best buddies had just gotten married to a Canadian woman who converted to Islam to marry him. The friend was trying to convince me to convert to marry Joe. I said I wouldn’t.

To convince me even more Joe related another story. He told me how his brother had asked his wife to have supper cooked or some other household chore finished by the time he came home from work. By the third request she still didn’t comply so he beat her. Joe said his religion allowed him to do this and gave me an example. He pointed to my pants that were covered in paint from one of my studio classes. He told me that if he was to ask me not to wear them and I didn’t listen, he could beat me. If he was trying to convince me he was doing a hell of a job of it. I again refused.

During this time he and the lawyer had continued to discuss the custody issue of my son. I was confused and had no one else to talk to besides them that summer. I sought no counseling to help me through the separation, the sexual assault, and the abuse by the Catholic school system and its daycare or the mythological account now confirmed by the area legal aid director asserting that my assets used to pay for my legal aid was somehow “public money”.

I made the rash decision, which wasn’t an uncommon thing for me to do, to send my son back to live with his father, the financial starvation winning the battle on his behalf.

We all thought, and I believed, this was the best thing to do for my son because I was having difficulty, I had delusioned myself into believing, that I wasn’t being an effective mother under the circumstances I was living. Not only that, Joe started bribing my six and a half-year-old with a trip to Marine Land if he agreed to go live with his dad.

We went to Niagara Falls. I got the happiest picture of my child dressed in his blue Maid-of-the-Mist raincoat, which I blew up and kept on my wall for years after. I got an ironic one with Joe and a RCMP officer.

When time came to drive to my son’s grandmothers to bring him to his dad, my son fell asleep for the duration of the two-hour drive. Joe said it was the stress of leaving his mother. The worst pit and nausea entered my stomach. I started weeping.

When we met his dad, we exchanged bags, a TV, and my son. I have never seen a child so brave or walk away so stoically. It shattered my heart into a million pieces that were never put back together the same way since seeing him walk away, his head up, shoulders back, fighting away the tears.

Continued in Part V

©This is copyright material that cannot be reproduced without express permission of the author.

Monday, August 15, 2005

Time for a Vacation's about time I took a vacation. I'm heading off to see family and to attend a wedding. The blogging may or may not be lighter for the next little while, depends on how distracted I am:

1) I have a number of sculptures from my Lumen series to finish, including one for a wedding present

2) I thought I'd try my hand at 'designing' (screwing around with the original pattern) and sewing some clothes

Besides, I'll be with the ultimate mistress of the needle, my mum. But hey! If you've never been to Hamilton's Ottawa Street fabric and design shoppes, you've haven't lived, even for those who've overdosed on sewing-their-own at one time will find their desire rekindled again.

For example, I found some nice camel coloured satin for .99 cents a metre. Or if your into trims of beads and dangly things, you'll find them here. When you do take that Ottawa St. adventure, be sure to stop at Helen's for her all day breakfast and a milkshake. You'll like the down-to-earth atmosphere.

And if your into old records - you know - vinyl albums - you'll find a great used record shoppe along the way. There's an original Woodstock recording on vinyl and a Lucille Starr of all things! I grew up with that great French-Canadian voice singing along with my mum to Dominique, Jolie Jacqueline and Colinda.

I'm am working on a post that is very detailed and will take some time to write. If I have time today before I leave I may finish Part IV of Journey into Conversion, but look for it in the coming days.

Thanks for reading and have grand week!


Sunday, August 14, 2005

CIA's Global Trends 2015 Report

I thought this is an interesting projection document put out by the C.I.A called Global Trends 2015: A Dialogue About the Future With Non-Governmental Experts published in 2000. Explaining it is a letter from the previous director of the CIA, George Tenet.

This section in particular Worldwide Adherents of Selected Major World Religions, Mid-1998 is all too familiar.

Excerpt about Canada being able to stay honest:

"The developed democracies will be best positioned for good governance
because they will tend to empower legitimate nonstate actors in both the
for-profit and nonprofit sectors; will favor institutions and processes that
accommodate divergent communal groups; will press for transparency in government and the efficient delivery of public services; and will maintain institutions to regulate legitimate for-profit and nonprofit organizations and control illegitimate criminal groups. Countries in Western Europe, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and Japan have the requisite agility and institutions to meet the challenges."

Umm... I beg to differ on this assumption on Canada.

U.S Exported Antrax to Iraq for War Against Iran

Forwarded by the Alliance for Human Research Protection

United States Exports of Biological Materials to Iraq: Compromising the Credibility of International Law
by Geoffrey Holland, University of Sussex

[...] "is international law really law? Based on the contect of this paper,
the answer would be a resounding 'no'. The reason for this answer will be
clarified in the following pages, which provide evidence of the export from the
U.S to Iraq of the very biological materials that were later claimed - due to
Iraq's possession of them - to be the reason for the invasion of Iraq by the U.S
and Britian in 2003."
Saddam's Germ War Plot is Traced Back to One Oxford Cow
by Dominic Kennedy of The Times, U.K.


"The culture was sent to the United States, which exported samples
to Iraq during Saddam’s war against Iran in the 1980s. Inspectors have found
that this batch of anthrax was the dictator’s choice in his attempts to
create biological weapons."

Saturday, August 13, 2005

Did the Judge Error on Khadr?

Okay. I have to elaborate on this post by Candace at Walking Up On Planet X (curtsy).

You'll have to excuse me because I'm a little pissed (not drunk, angry). I wish I had more time to go over the legal parts, but the need to post was urgent. I did a much better job when I wrote Minister Cotler and copied the U.S. State Department (I was pissed then too in order to do that!)about this same subject, including a complaint about our judges.

That was in 2003. If I can find the letter by the Minister in response, I'll post it. But let me tell you, it wasn't much. As a matter of fact, it was nothing.

In the spring of 2000 when I was a practicing Muslim I met Maha el Samnah Khadr in London Ontario at a social housing complex called Limberlost (kinda appropriate no?). The Canadian woman who organized this meeting was named Farida.

Whatever her connections were, she was able to organize this meeting with Maha as a fundraising event to collect money for the orphanages she and her husband, Ahmed Said Khadr were running in Afghanistan.

Maha lied to us right then and there. She told the women who were from various cultures within the London Muslim community (Somali, Sudanese, Canadian, Palestian, Lebanese, whatever) that the customs and CSIS had stopped them at the airport when they returned to Toronto from Afghanistan.

Maha deliberately lied to us, feeding on the Muslim tendencies to not believe any Westerner. She said to us “they think we’re terrorists” and we believed her! We thought they were just racists and she led us to believe they were doing charity work when all the while her husband, who was killed on October 2, 2003 by the Pakistani military, was a senior leader for al Qaeda working with Osama bin Laden who was running al Qaeda training camps.

Well sorry Maha. You’re a liar and that makes you a hypocrite, which is an offense against Islam. (I will link this post to the transcript of Terrence McKenna’s “al Qaeda Family” once I get it typed).

Zainab, the daughter, who recently had her laptop taken by security officials at Pearson, says about suicide bombing “I don’t have the guts to do that yet”.



So what is the Canadian government waiting for? More donations?

Not only that in 1996 Chretien had Maha and her sons visit him when he was in Pakistan to get her husband when he was still alive out of jail for complicity in bombing the Egyptian Embassy in Karachi. Chretien complied and told one of the sons, “maybe someday you’ll be Prime Minister. No doubt, at the rate we’re going. Are Canadian politicians a bunch of idiots?

First we have an idiot justice presiding and ignoring intimidation of witnesses in the Air India bombing. (Merit in the appointment, no?)

Now we have another federal judge (appointed on merit too?) who has made a judgement without taking into consideration we are “at war”. Or at least that’s what I thought was meant when our politicians used the phrase “war on terror”.

For one C.S.I.S is not the R.C.M.P charging baby-terrorist Omar Khadr with a criminal offense (yet). Since when do CSIS agents have to read anyone their rights to interview him under the C.S.I.S Act?

Having not read the rationale for ill-conceived judgement I’m wondering if he knows there is such a thing as High Treason in section 46 of the Criminal Code of Canada?

How bout this:

(b) levies war against Canada or does any act preparatory thereto; or
(c) assists an enemy at war with Canada, or any armed forces against whom Canadian Forces are engaged in hostilities, whether or not a state of war exists between Canada and the country whose forces they are.

Or Sabotage?

52. (1) Every one who does a prohibited act for a purpose prejudicial to

(a) the safety, security or defence of Canada, or

Are our soldiers not defending Canadians from terrorism that has been imported from Islamo-fascist ideologues?

Does the government forget these words

Or what about TERRORISM? (Gee, I wonder why we have a law for that?)

Part II section 83.01 of the C.C.C titled

As defined: Terrorism is,

and includes a conspiracy, attempt or threat to commit any such act or omission,
or being an accessory after the fact or counselling in relation to any such act
or omission, but, for greater certainty, does not include an act or omission
that is committed during an armed conflict and that, at the time and in the
place of its commission, is in accordance with customary international law or
conventional international law applicable to the conflict, or the activities
undertaken by military forces of a state in the exercise of their official
duties, to the extent that those activities are governed by other rules of
international law

Um…do the civil rules apply when there is a war when the baby terrorist Khadr is in the hands of a foreign ally?

And what about this section?

Admission of foreign information obtained in confidence

83.06 (1) For
the purposes of subsection 83.05(6), in private and in the absence of the
applicant or any counsel representing it,

(a) the Solicitor General of
Canada may make an application to the judge for the admission of information
obtained in confidence from a government, an institution or an agency of a
foreign state, from an international organization of states or from an
institution or an agency of an international organization of states; and

(b) the judge shall examine the information and provide counsel
representing the Solicitor General with a reasonable opportunity to be heard as
to whether the information is relevant but should not be disclosed to the
applicant or any counsel representing it because the disclosure would injure
national security or endanger the safety of any person.

Return of

(2) The information shall be returned to counsel
representing the Solicitor General and shall not be considered by the judge in
making the determination under paragraph 83.05(6)(d), if

(a) the judge
determines that the information is not relevant;

(b) the judge
determines that the information is relevant but should be summarized in the
statement to be provided under paragraph 83.05(6)(b); or

(c) the
Solicitor General withdraws the application.

Use of information

(3) If the judge decides that the information is relevant but that its
disclosure would injure national security or endanger the safety of persons, the
information shall not be disclosed in the statement mentioned in paragraph
83.05(6)(b), but the judge may base the determination under paragraph
83.05(6)(d) on it.

2001, c. 41, s. 4.

A Journey into Conversion - Part III

Continued from Part II

This is a true story - mine. This is the third part of many

A Journey into Conversion
Part III

So it was around the spring of 1995 and I had no daycare. I had finished an AutoCAD program at St. Clair College earlier that winter and afterward was hired on a three month contract with them to work in the Architectural Lab to help out the students.

That previous year the other students in our group had been finishing up classes. Over the time of the course we developed a bond and became close. We used to go out to bars as a group or just hang out for picnics. On one occasion one of the guys from our class had called me almost in tears because he had spent $2000 at the Casino. His wife was out of town and I guess he was bored.

As always, I was ‘one-of-the-guys’ so I didn’t have a problem with him coming to visit to talk about his concerns. A couple of days later he called me drunk and crying because he had gone back to the Casino. He couldn’t handle the stress of his gambling debts and asked me to come over.

I thought nothing of it because I was used to hanging with male friends without any problems. I brought over a comedy to cheer him up.

I had just been out on a date so I had a glass of wine or two. By the time I got there, Billy (name changed) was into a mickey of liquor and had porno on. I asked him to shut them off. He did but kept interrupting the comedy to put them back on. We kept arguing back and forth to shut each other’s move off.

By this time I had a few drinks too many and wasn’t able to drive home. He offered to sleep on the couch if I wanted to sleep in the bedroom. I agreed, still thinking there wouldn’t be any problems after all, he was married and committed so I shouldn’t have had to worry about it.


It wasn’t long after I had almost fallen asleep that he was on top of me, trying to convince me to give in. I don’t know how many times I said ‘No’. At least 20 times with no exaggeration. Finally, I told him that I was going to tell his wife. He stopped and left me alone.

The next day as I was leaving I noticed how many crucifixes there were +in the house, indications of his Syrian Christian background. Some Christian I thought to myself.

But this scenario didn’t stop there. I wanted nothing to do with him and chose to ignore him. He didn’t like that and decided to continue his sexual harassment in front of our friends at school, insulting me in front of them as often as he could. It finally came to the point that I had to launch a formal sexual harassment complaint with the school.

A facilitator came in to try to resolve it with us. Billy was afraid I was going to tell his wife and commented that he told her already (he didn’t it was just to appear that way). The facilitator told him if the harassment continued that I could press criminal charges. By this time I didn’t want to work with a male again.

By Christmas we had gone out drinking with the class group again. This time I downed as much tequila and beer as I was able. I was so warm from the alcohol I felt I didn’t need a coat but it was damn cold outside. My friends had tried to get me to put a coat on but I felt I didn’t need one.

Within weeks I had chronic bronchitis or misdiagnosed pneumonia. It was so deep and painful that it lasted 3 months. I couldn’t stop coughing and pulled a muscle in my ribs to the point the pain was so severe I had to go to emergency. I spent Christmas and New Years of 1995 in bed comatose on narcotic cough medicine.
This was before my neighbours downstairs had moved out. They made as much noise as they could but I was so drugged that I barely heard them.

I started at the Lab at St. Clair a few months later but still had boughts of illness. By the time I started with daycare problems in the spring my son got the chicken pox. I had to stay home because no family member was able to watch him.

The director asked to see me when I returned the next day asking me to tell him when my son would have chicken pox! I couldn’t believe it. That was the most ridiculous statement I ever heard how was I supposed to know when my son would suddenly get sick? This wasn’t unusual of male management. I’ve gone through enough harassment in work environments I was almost used to it.

In any case, his similar behavior with other women was so consistent the school asked him to retire.
It wasn’t long before Billy was looking for work at the school in the same department. I got nervous at this news. He would come into the Lab while I was working when no one was around and make insulting comments. I had no proof. It was just my word against his.

I hadn’t started seeing Joe at this time. If I had been, he would have put the boots to him and I would have let him.

Continued in Part IV

©This is copyright material that cannot be reproduced without express permission of the author.

Friday, August 12, 2005

Trojan Virus Claiming ObL Hanged

Perhaps many know about this trojan but apparently some spammers are claiming that Osama bin Laden was 'hanged' (wishful thinking) according to CNN and offer pics via a link to viscious code. Don't open it. See Sophos Security BBC or McAfee for more info - HR

A Journey into Conversion - Part II

Continued from Part I

This is a true story - mine. This is the second part of many

A Journey into Conversion
Part II

And then there was Joe; the nephew of my new neighbor I’ll call Helen.

I’m not exactly sure how the love affair started, but I recall going for a walk with Helen, the kids and Joe to the Windsor waterfront to see the Peace Fountain. Windsor is quite romantic, with its summer humidity and the lights of Detroit at dusk.

There was already a tense attraction between Joe and I. He had only been in Canada two years but knew how to break this tension asking how Canadians approached each other when they wanted love.

I laughed. I told him they go to bars and stand around not saying anything to anyone unless one is drunk enough to ask someone to dance. I was actually impressed by his directness.

We made not so clear arrangements to meet in my apartment, a lit candle on the back balcony was a signal that my child was asleep and that I was willing to enter into the adventure. He waited on the front porch for an hour waiting for me to come down, while I was upstairs in my apartment waiting for him to come up.
He eventually went to bed and I eventually fell asleep.

Within a number of months I was a part of the family. Our mornings we would spend sipping Arabic coffee, tending the larger gardens he, Helen and I had dug or trying to teach Helen English before I had to go to class.
There was one occasion where Jim had taken a construction job with a young guy whose father was visiting from Isfahan, Iran. Since the job was across the street, the father would sit with Helen and I along with our next door neighbor, Maria an Italian.

No one spoke English, except for me. All we did for about 20 minutes each morning was say "Hello, how are you", each with their own accent. We would laugh at each other because we couldn’t communicate but each attempted to learn each other’s language.

I guess the old man from Isfahan was so impressed with my attempts to learn Farsi he wanted to take me back to Iran to become one of his wives.

Jim and I had our relationship difficulties as we had different cultural sensibilities. But I did learn something from this. That was to forget about being angry, communicate and came to adore his depth of compassion.

During the eight years of my marriage, the version of communication my husband and I had was to get pissed off at each other and stay so angry we wouldn’t talk for days. He used to go off and read a book while I stewed. It got to the point we fought like this so often that for his birthday I bought him the thickest book I could find so he had enough to read. It never did work because he always stayed at the first page.

I didn’t realize until my relationship with Jim that not talking hurt like hell. Jim never allowed me to be angry with him for more than an hour. He would always come knock on my door and take me for coffee so we could talk things out.

Jim’s sense of compassion was alien to me. On a number of occasions his sense of it was insulted. He couldn’t understand why my husband was not helping me with support; he was the father of my child for 'God’s sake. He couldn’t also understand my father who watched me suffer financially even demand money I owed him even though I was studying and trying to raise my child.

My parents had no qualms about taking $2000 of my student loan even though it was far too sparse to live on as it was. At this Jim wanted to confront my father, he couldn’t understand why they would demand to take money when I could least afford to give it. At least, he said, they could wait until I was finished school and working.

I was overjoyed! Finally I had a man in my life that would confront the tyrant I had hated while I was growing up and wanted my mother to divorce. Jim actually wanted to stand up for this and me was the catalyst of understanding his culture that had been influenced by Islam, or so I thought.

In the spring of 1995 a provincial election was looming. There was talk that the Conservative Party was running on a slash and burn policy. That mother’s allowance would be reduced by almost 22%, any received support payments would be deducted dollar for dollar, they were going to drop these benefits if you were receiving student loans to go to school and social housing would be sold off.

Since all of these issues would affect me, I was scared. I could barely survive as it was and I still was not getting child support. Surely Ontarians wouldn’t vote in such a drastic leader! I wanted to apply for social housing because I had inadequate housing yet was paying high market rent. The anxiety started creeping in

To top it off my lawyer had announced to me that the Ontario Legal Aid Plan had ‘lost’ $100 million dollars. They lost it. Didn’t know where it went. She told me that there was no money left on my legal aid certificate even though I had signed over a lien on my home for $6000 and in which my husband was still living in. I couldn't petition for divorce and get some support payments. (It would be years later before I realised that she had milked remaining money that was still available on my legal aid certificate after I had left Windsor.)

The previous January my husband refused to help pay for his daycare costs to bus my son to from his grade school to a Montessori school forcing the change. My son was already advanced and I did not want to loose the years I had already had been teaching him at home.

I was forced by the Catholic school system to put my son in a different school St. Angela’s, because I could not get after school care unless he was at that particular school, there was no busing. I sat there in the principal office crying at the upheaval of my son, probably guilt and a wish to do the best for him. The Principal seemed amused.
While at that new Catholic school board run daycare called Sundowners, my son fell off the playground equipment and gashed his head. I found out by staff there weren’t enough ECE supervisors on the playground at the time and the play area didn’t have adequate pea-stone to cover the foundation blocks of the bars he fell off of.

The new school was rough. I came to pick him up one day to find out my son had been choked by another student while he took a bath room break. I was told by a daycare staff member that my son had strangle marks around his neck but son was able to talk his way out of the situation. He didn’t want me to make a stink about it but I did anyway.

I spoke to the Principal at St. Angela’s about this incident and the others. He told me "it happens all the time". To make this response even more disgusting than it was I was related to him as he was married to my cousin.

Time was winding down into the summer months it was time for my son to pass into the first grade. Then came the claim that my son didn’t know his ABC’s. I wasn’t expecting such an asinine comment from a teacher. She heard back from me that it was her incompetence and neglect as a teacher because he certainly knew them before he started at that God-forsaken-school.

About a month before the end of the Sundowners, the day-care, terminated my son’s placement. Apparently, within the year I had been late 3 times. Their procedural code stated that with four consecutive late arrivals the client would have to discuss termination with the director. They didn’t bother following their own rules, even though their board chair was a lawyer. My daycare space was terminated and I had no where to put my son come the new school year.

The wicked witches that ran the show were determined to get me out because I had made complaints against their level of services. It was sad to note that the Executive who ran it were social workers. So much for the compassion of the Catholics.

This left me in complete distress. Did I have to have my son change schools again? What was I going to do?

Continued in Part III...

Congress Bans EPA Data on Human Pesticide Testing


The human pesticide testing on children in America called CHEERS - Children's Environmental Exposure Research Study is: "clearly aviolation of Congress' direct prohibition on all testing of pregnant women,infants and children" says Eric Olson, senior attorney for the National Resources Defense Council.

From AHRP:

"The EPA administrators who formulated the statement--"our
proposal.....adheres to the highest ethical standards..." and those who
cynically named a children's pesticide exposure experiment --CHEERS--
have a cultural affinity to those who formulated the Nazi slogan above the
gate to Auschwitz: "Arbeit macht frei" - Work Brings Freedom"

This is scary stuff. More from the Alliance for Human Research Protection with reports from the Washington Post and Sun National.

Thursday, August 11, 2005

A Journey into Conversion - Part I

This is a true story - mine. This is the first part of many

A Journey into Conversion
Part I

I converted to Islam deep in the fall of 1999 at a mosque in London Ontario. Surrounding me were my ‘Sisters-in-Islam’, Canadian women who had converted to marry their boyfriends or older women like myself who embraced it for its practicality, its allure.

Most of that allure was from a charismatic Imam; a Moroccan trained at Al Azhar University in Cairo Egypt who eloquently described his religion and ignited a latent mystical passion sparked some years earlier.

My intrigue started while studying early Renaissance art at the University of Windsor. That Islam had flourished while Europe was in the dark ages, illuminated by commerce bringing with it as all international trade does, different philosophies, goods and politics rejuvenated from the books of antiquity and the studying of them.

While finishing my degree at the University of Windsor I had the unfortunate luck of my landlord moving to Lebanon and him renting the bottom part of his house to acquaintances of his. They made it their mission to harass me into moving from my apartment because in their mind, I shouldn’t have contacted the City on the landlord who was slapped with building code violations and fines for inadequate upkeep of my unit.

I guess the building department felt that I should be able to walk down my stairs without the risers falling out from under my feet. That the gas pipes should not be rusted enough to break causing a massive gas leak that forced myself and my landlords family to be evacuated from the house in case the neighborhood blew up on New Year’s Eve, the night I moved in.

By the Spring, months after the neighbors from hell moved in, I had just spent three weeks extended a garden plot by good old foot and shovel, cutting the foot high grass and cleaning up their garbage they left outside their back door attracting the neighborhood rats.

Often while I was working in the yard wafts of the smell of hashish from my neighbor’s home mixing with the freshly dug earth or the just cut grass. I would notice the guy peek out of the kitchen window from time to time to see how I was progressing on the garden.

On the last day of the preparation after adding manure and peat, I noticed him looking again. I sat down for a breather, wiping the sweat off my face and listening to the kids play. Two police officers walked into the back yard telling me they had a complaint from the guy that I was digging his garden and that if I planted anything, he would pull up the plants.

So? I responded. I would just replant them. While explaining that the guy didn’t bother with the yard work he came out and started yelling at me that I had no right to come down off of the balcony that his friend had to rebuild on orders of the building department, that the yard was for his to use only.

Undaunted I yelled back at him that he didn’t bother keeping up the yard, that I was doing all the work and their filth was attracting rats into my apartment. The police officers looked at me as if, lady your not afraid to yell at this guy who could very well get his gang of Lebanese thugs to kick my butt?

While I was at it I brought up in the same tone he honored me with, his hashish habit and the comings and goings of his friends at 3am in front of the cops. They male cop did a double take and started laughing. The guy went back in the house. The cops left and I went back to planting my seedlings.

It came time to water them. The garden hose was behind me. As I turned around I noticed it moving, sucked up like a spaghetti noodle. I waited, then went to get it off the wall mount. It was gone. They took the damn hose!
But all was well it was a sign they moved out. Not only did they take the garden hose; they took their own belongings and the landlords appliances stored in the garage, so when he returned from Lebanon, he didn’t have anything to cook off of!

Within the week I had new neighbours. I came home from work to find the grass had been cut a new coat of paint of the front porch. What a relief! A load of stress had immediately fallen away leaving some room for joy. My new neighbors were a wonderful Lebanese woman and her three kids who in the weeks to come became my surrogate family.

And then there was Joe. (named changed to protect the not so innocent)

Continued in Part II...

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Kitchen Table Project - Mental Health in Ontario

I’m dedicating this post to the Hamilton Mental Health Rights Coalition

It took quite awhile to get this report up but it’s one that needs to be disseminated widely. If you wish to read the full report it can be accessed here. Excerpts are provided below.

The Kitchen Table Project: Evaluating the Experiences of Women within the Mental Health System Since Reform – Phase 2 (2002) was prepared for Women’s Mental Health and Addiction and Research Coalition in partnership with the London Chapter of the Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA).

It’s the second phase of the Ontario government’s mental health reform strategies commenced with Phase One: Barriers to the Implementation of Gender Sensitive Policy and Principles of Service in Ontario’s Mental Health System (2001)

It follows Health Canada’s 1988 publication titled Mental Health for Canadians: Striking a Balance

Thirteen years elapsed before the Ontario government started to implement the strategies. The last government prior to the Liberals election win in 2003 adopted these initial measures.

What the Liberal government, in particular Health Minister George Smitherman are doing to compliment these phases within the mental health system, I have no knowledge.

This is posted for a reason. In Hamilton, the mental health system is abysmal. In particular, it is shear hardship when attempting to access to appropriate physicians who do not abuse their patients verbally, deny their legal rights or even treat them.

I want to note that the mental health system does not just affect women. It affects men equally, but more often than not, while men are incarcerated, women are within the mental health system.

Here is an excerpt from the report. It’s a good indication of the state of mental health in Hamilton, although this was not an anecdote from the St. Joseph’s system.

Page 24 Experiences of Trauma and Abuse

Several participants spoke of being abused within the system. This included all
forms of abuse perpetrated by “consumers”, volunteers and staff. Abuse from
staff included clear breaches of professional boundaries; breaches of
confidentiality within the community; physical and sexual assaults; sexual
relationships; demeaning comments and verbal assaults.


“I was held down. Forced to take drugs and have needles put in me. And all
because I was angry. Angry because I wasn’t getting any help. Angry because I
wasn’t being listened to. Once when I was sitting quietly in my room, I was
yelled at by a nurse because she did not like what I was reading. She dragged me
to the seclusion room where the whole thing was monitored by a camera and made
me put on a hospital gown. And then left me there for hours. Patients looked in
the windows at me and I wasn’t allowed to have my stuff. I think that they were
the one’s who made me crazy"

Page 30 - It becomes the responsibility of the individual woman to determine the safety of the situation
Page 32 - Do I have to commit suicide to get help?

Page 40 - Women do not feel respected, listened to or believed

Page 45 - Province wide training emphasising anti-oppressive practices

Responses to Post "Working in the Public Interest'

Wow! I'm convinced that blogging does effect change.

Here is the first response from this post addressing concerns of public access to law libraries. It's from Malcolm Heins CEO of the Law Society of Upper Canada. I want to note that I've sent letters addressed to Mr. Heins in the past years but they were always intercepted by counsel of some sort.

I'll update the rest as they (or if they) come in


El Maalki Object of RCMP Probe

El Maalki was the object of an RCMP anti-terrorism probe that ended up getting Mahar Arar deported from the United States to be tortured in a Syrian prison - CTV

Arar's wife who tenaciously approached authorities to free her husband, became a member of the NDP, acknowledged for her tireless work, who ran and lost, against Dalton McGuinty's brother in an Ottawa riding last federal election.

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Mining Cells, Reconnaissance & Freighters

Update January 8 2006 to this post can be accessed here

Update August 11: From the New York Times - 9/11 Commission rejected report

The United States Military operation unit digging deep for data on al-Qaeda cells called operation Able Danger was not included in this section of the 9/11 Commission Report. They were told not to give their information to the FBI - from the New York Times.

If you read through the Commission's report like I did you'll find some clauses redacted. But sometimes they forget to blacken out everything. One fact that stands out is that the FAA was only to respond to an imminent threat instead of preparing for possible high-jackings with the information that was given them.

That 'imminent threat' statement is the same one that has been used repeatedly by our Deputy Prime Minister Anne McLellan as quoted in this Washington Times article.

What I found interesting in this article was this:

"Adnan G. El Shukrijumah, a Saudi native, former South Florida resident and pilot thought to have helped plan the September 11 attacks. Authorities said he might be carrying passports from Saudi Arabia, Trinidad and Canada, and was in Canada last year looking for nuclear material for a "dirty bomb," a conventional explosive laced with radioactive material. "

In a July 9 2005 article on page A8 of the Hamilton Spectator it quoted the Washington Times in a 2003 report stating:

"an FBI informant claimed an al-Qaeda terrorist scouted McMaster University's nuclear research reactor to get material for a "dirty bomb". The RCMP and McMaster officials said they could not find evidence to support the story."

So here's where it gets interesting

Back in early July I awoke one morning to take my coffee and cigarette on the balcony only to see this huge mother of a freighter – red and surreal- moored at one of our ports.

This monstrosity piqued my curiosity so later that evening I went to have a look along with other curious visitors. We began to talk to the crew to find out the Federal Yukon was Canadian owned but had a crew made of up 28 members all from India. Of course, I was hoping I could get us onlookers aboard to have a tour, but we were refused, naturally.

Since it was time for a shift change a number of crew members swung around a pole attached to a fence surrounding the dock yard (the security measures adopted by the Hamilton Port Authority) to look for a telephone to call their fiancée’s etc., etc.

We were asked about security and if they needed to show their ship’s documents to anyone. Another woman and myself responded "this is it" [with respect to security] and started to laugh.

This wouldn’t have made any difference to me except that after the U.K bombings on 7/11 I read in the Hamilton Spectator on July 8 that sympathizers with al-Qaeda-like philosophies would routinely test our security systems. It got worse the next day when I read above FBI informant’s comments in the Washington Times (above) that someone scouting McMaster’s nuclear reactor research facility.

Now if the RCMP were called in that would mean they were investigating to see if anyone had stolen anything as they investigate criminal activity.

Of course I would expect McMaster officials to deny such claims as they have lost some credibility with me. (Why? Because of this post. )

If I were the reporter for the Spec I would have contacted CSIS’s public relations person to find out if they knew anything. So I did.

Having spoken to Barbara Campion, a CSIS spokesperson she told me "while CSIS cannot confirm or deny that they have investigated [the McMaster incident] it is the type of activity that could be investigated if it were to fall within CSIS’s mandate."

For example, I would think threat related activities such as sabotage. Ms. Campion referred me to read National Post jouranlist Stewart Bell’s thoughts on ‘operational planning reconnaissance’.

While I wasn’t able to access any articles from the NP I’ll refer to Stewart’s book ‘Cold Terror’ that quotes an interview by CSIS with Muhamed Hussein al Husseini in August 1993: "Hezbollah has members in Montreal, Ottawa, Toronto – all of Canada. Hezbollah wants to collect information on Canada, on life in Canada, its roads and so on in case there’s a problem with Canada." (Pg. 92)

Husseini on ‘Security Service’

"Maybe anyone travelling from here to Lebanon can give Hezbollah information about Canada, even about your own security service, and especially about you personally, for example, if you interview them."


"I know that films have been shot here and sent back there. Video films…they film roads, life, everything."

I wanted to find out why Hamilton’s port was not as secure as you would think it should be, especially after reading the stuff in the newspaper. My mind putting together the pieces I was thinking…what if these guys from the ship with links to south-east Asia (or others) had connections here in Hamilton, were able to link up with them, deliver some – oh- I don’t know- dirty bomb material and store it on the ship and take it to another destination?

I found out from other sources that Canada does not have exit controls on ships leaving Canada and do not have to report outwards after being randomly searched and reported inwards.

Something was not copathestic, so I called Helen Leslie the public relations person for the Canadian Border Services Agency.

Ms. Leslie told me in a rather defensive manner, that since "Canada is a democratic country, we do not have exit controls. Canada has chosen not to have exit controls and only countries like China, Cuba and Australia do. The United States doesn’t have exit controls"

So ships entering Canada after random searches and inward reporting were free to do whatever they wanted including once they left Canadian waters. So that leaves room for, oh lets say like smuggling drugs, like the 83 Kg of cocaine on a CSL freighter or smuggling of dirty bomb material to take to someone who knows what they're doing?

Monday, August 08, 2005

LGF Almost a Month Late

Update August 14: the link on the Khadr family is up here

Update August 10: Wow thanks LGF the increased traffic is getting the message out. There are a lot more posts that have part of my story as a convert to Salafist Islam. Shortly I will post another chapter that includes a meeting with Maha el Samnah Khadr whose husband was killed in Pakistan, buddy of ObL & recruiter for al Qaeda.

Since Little Green Footballs isn't accepting new registrants (and ignored my links to this stuff), I want to add this link they posted today (August 9 '05) with the July 18 '05 post I published on CAIR & CAIR-Can getting sued.

C'est domage.

Saturday, August 06, 2005

Just One More Post...

I woke up with too much information in my head I wanted to share, an intense 2-day headache on top of that my pharmacy is a week late delivering badly needed medication (wtf?) and my cat is the most annoying she's ever been. Not one minute today has gone by without her jumping on me and the keyboard simultaneously as long as I'm sitting at the computer....

My lover (as opposed to partner) headed to Niagra Falls with friends visiting Canada (NF duty calls) and left me to fend the Lakeport Honey Lager for myself. I take this as a sign to switch gears, get some more rest (after the Lakeport) and head to the Bay for Mardi Gras.

No Sharia International

I'm sorry I didn't post this link to No Sharia earlier although I did mention it in a post. It's an international collective against the implementation of the Islamic Sharia (Islamic legal tradition) into multi-cultural, secular and pluralistic societies. (There are limits to religious freedom).

I've spoken to Homa Arjomand, the director who encouraged me to get my story out. I wasn't able to contact her until recently to let her know I am, have, did, etc etc etc...

On the site you'll notice a petition to sign. If your able to take time to read why Sharia has been devastating for women in other countries and why it shouldn't be imposed in democracies like Canada's until our politicians acknowledge and accept to do something about the appalling state of the legal system here, then it shouldn't even be considered.

Once you read, you may feel comfortable with signing the petition. If your like me, I don't feel comfortable signing unless I know what I'm signing.

FDA Responsive to Criticisms

From the New York Times: FDA is responding to its critics - starts to issue more black box warnings and slower approval of drugs


"The F.D.A. should not be slowing things down or speeding them up depending on how the wind blows," said Senator Charles E. Grassley, a powerful Iowa Republican who has become one of the agency's toughest critics. "Instead, the agency should be a rock of stability."

Bloggers Are Changing the World We Live In

I just had to post this. Foreign Policy has a great article on Bloggers. What a satisfying read to start the weekend.

Friday, August 05, 2005

Eli Lily Forces Disinformation on Cymbalta

I thought this was too important to wait to post. I'm not sure what is happening in Canada. I think we may be a little more protected as consumers - HR

How Lilly Influences What Prescribers Learn About Cymbalta
By SARAH RUBENSTEINAugust 5, 2005;
Page B1

From TV commercials to pitches in doctors' offices, drug companies try to cast their products in the best possible light. Some use a far less visible approach: contractual restrictions on what insurers, hospitals and other health facilities can tell doctors about certain drugs.

Drug makers commonly offer price breaks to insurers, hospitals and other medical facilities. In exchange, they often get favorable placement on drug formularies, the lists these entities use to encourage prescriptions of certain products. Some of the contracts go further, restricting insurers and medical organizations from making unflattering statements about the costs and risks of drugs when they communicate with health practitioners.

See a copy of Eli Lilly's discount contract for antidepressant Cymbalta (below)

A case in point is the discount contract Eli Lilly & Co. has offered health facilities in connection with Cymbalta, an antidepressant that the Food and Drug Administration approved last year and that faces competition in some cases from cheaper generics. The contract illustrates tactics that some insurers and prescribers say they find troubling.
The Cymbalta discount contract offers large purchasers of antidepressants a 5% discount, but specifies that they could lose most of that discount if they engage in, among other things, "negative D.U.R. correspondence to physicians."
While not defined in the contract, D.U.R. is industry shorthand for "drug utilization review," a kind of analysis of prescription patterns that insurers often use to identify inappropriate or risky practices and often also to cut costs. Prime Therapeutics LLC, an Eagan, Minn., pharmacy-benefits manager owned by nine Blue Cross Blue Shield plans, used drug utilization reviews to try to reduce what it determined was overprescribing of Vioxx and Bextra, painkillers that were later pulled from the market because of safety concerns.
Some insurers worry that contracts such as Cymbalta's could have a chilling effect, discouraging insurers and other groups from disseminating medically relevant information about the drugs on their formularies -- or discouraging them from pursuing D.U.R.s altogether.
Dale Kramer, director of pharmacy contracting at Kaiser Permanente, the big health-maintenance organization based in Oakland, Calif., says his organization doesn't agree to such restrictive terms.
"If I signed something like that, I think our clinicians ... would be very upset," he says. "Someone on the business side should not have the authority to make clinical commitments for the company they represent."
Nancy Stalker, vice president of pharmacy services at Blue Shield of California, based in San Francisco, says she doesn't think her company would sign a contract with broad language that could permit such interference by a drug maker. "We just don't want the manufacturer to drive what we do," she says. "We want to be able to make the best clinical decision."
Eli Lilly, based in Indianapolis, says it has a legitimate interest in controlling negative D.U.R. communications. Drug-industry executives say many of these types of communications, while ostensibly clinical, often are really designed to cut costs. Insurers or other groups may use these communications to steer doctors toward cheaper drugs that may be inferior to more-expensive competitors.
Tarra Ryker, a Lilly spokeswoman, says the Cymbalta contract isn't meant to stop communications that are "backed up by clinical data" and "presented in a fair and balanced manner."
The company also has contracts with the same language for the antipsychotics Symbyax and Zyprexa. "There are a lot of things that are said to physicians and prescribers that in a lot of cases cannot be backed up with scientific evidence," Ms. Ryker says.
One type of communication that might be disallowed under the contract would be a description of side effects for Cymbalta that didn't also describe its benefits, she says. Another possibility: a side-by-side price comparison between Cymbalta and a generic. A comprehensive list of prices for all antidepressants, however, would be OK, Eli Lilly says.
Others in the insurance industry say the contractual restrictions don't compromise their communications with doctors. Mohit Ghose, a spokesman for America's Health Insurance Plans, an insurance-industry trade group based in Washington, says, "The signing of contracts does not in any way interfere with the ability of clinicians [at insurance companies] to discuss or disseminate information on the appropriateness, efficacy and safety of any given drug."
Eli Lilly says more than 100 medical facilities belonging to the Minnesota Multi-State Contracting Alliance for Pharmacy, a St. Paul-based group purchasing organization including student health services, regional psychiatric treatment facilities and hospitals in many states, are signed on to agreements for Cymbalta this year. Representatives reached at several of the member facilities said they weren't aware of these restrictive terms in their discount contracts. Lilly says it hasn't revoked any discounts among this group for noncompliance with those terms.
The power of the contractual restrictions depends, in large part, on how much credence doctors give to the information they get from an insurer or other medical facility. Larry Fields, president-elect of the American Academy of Family Physicians, of Leawood, Kan., says while doctors generally pay attention to such information, they rely primarily on doctors associations and other sources that "don't have a dog in the fight." Insurers, hospitals and other health facilities are "trying to save money," Dr. Fields says.
Still, some people in the industry see the contract terms as a troubling lever for drug companies to use. Stephen W. Schondelmeyer, a pharmaceutical-economics professor at the University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, worries drug makers could invoke the clause if they suspect a drop in sales is the result of medical questions raised by an insurer or health facility. "I would never say that having a clause in a contract, even if it's not implemented, has no effect," he says. "It has the potential to be acted upon."
Also restricted under the Cymbalta contract is "negative educational counterdetailing." Counterdetailing is the industry name for efforts, often made by insurers, to counterbalance drug makers' sales pitches (which are often referred to as "detailing"). Counterdetailing efforts commonly push patients toward generics or poke holes in drug makers' claims about their products.
People in the drug industry say counterdetailing often serves to steer patients toward cheaper drugs. Counterdetailing "language is probably in everyone's contracts," says Jack Cox, a spokesman for Pfizer Inc., New York. He declines to comment on Eli Lilly's or Pfizer's practices specifically, but adds that insurers and others who make drugs available to patients "will come in with clinical data, but their goal is financial."
Counterdetailing and the D.U.R.s restricted under the Lilly contract are generally communications aimed at doctors and others who prescribe drugs -- not at patients.
The contract says that it isn't meant to preclude an individual physician "from making an independent prescribing decision based on such physician's medical judgment in the best interest of patient care."

Write to Sarah Rubenstein at

Eli Lilly Cymbalta sales contract:


This Enrollment Agreement (“ENROLLMENT”) is entered into by and between: _______________________________________ _____________________________ Name of MMCAP Facility (“FACILITY”) DEA Number having its principal place of business at: __________________________________________________________ Address __________________________________________________________ City State Zip An eligible participant in the Minnesota Multistate Contracting Alliance for Pharmacy (“MMCAP”), and Eli Lilly and Company (“LILLY”), an Indiana Corporation, having its principal place of business at Lilly Corporate Center, Indianapolis, Indiana 46285.

The Eligible Member, by signature on this ENROLLMENT, agrees to participate in and comply with all terms and conditions of this Agreement between Lilly and MMCAP dated May 1, 2004.

II. FACILITY RESPONSIBILITIES FACILITY agrees to position Cymbalta® in an Equal and Unrestricted Formulary Status with all current and future antidepressant medications. For the purposes of this ENROLLMENT, “Equal and Unrestricted Formulary Status” means available on FACILITY’S
pharmaceutical formulary in a manner such that for all prescribers
(i) the product (per indication(s) within its package label, in all formulations, strengths and package sizes) is not more restricted in its availability than any competitor's product in the same Therapeutic Class, and
(ii) no competing product is given preference in dispensing decisions.

If FACILITY, disadvantages Cymbalta®, the corresponding discounts for Cymbalta® established by ENROLLMENT will be zero. Criteria for disadvantaging Cymbalta® products includes without limitation
(1) negative educational counter detailing;
(2) negative D.U.R. correspondence to physicians;
(3) negative on-line-adjudication messages;
(4) disadvantaging Cymbalta® products via incentives;
(5) negative pharmaceutical manufacturer aligned promotions; and
(6) documentation in formulary book or other communication that identifies the Cymbalta® products in a less than at least equal status with the competing agents. This agreement shall in no way restrict or limit the
FACILITY’s standard educational responsibilities and practices to its staff and students.

Nothing in this agreement is intended to preclude and individual physician from making an independent prescribing decision based on such physician’s medical judgment in the best interest of patient care.

Commencing no later than the effective date of this ENROLLMENT, LILLY representatives shall have access to discuss Cymbalta® products with all physicians and healthcare providers affiliated with FACILITY that is no more restrictive than the access of other pharmaceutical manufacturers.

LILLY’S discussion of its products shall be in compliance with applicable laws and regulations.

III. LILLY RESPONSIBILITIES Subject to FACILITY’S compliance with its responsibilities, LILLY will pay FACILITY an upfront discount off floating NWP during the term of the ENROLLMENT based on the discount schedule set forth below and as set forth in full in MMCAP contract MMS24153.

Antidepressant Net Purchases (previous 6 months) Upfront Discount Percentage for Cymbalta® Greater than $35,000 5% Loss of eligibility to receive upfront discount shall be the sole remedy available for the failure of FACILITY to provide Equal and Unrestricted Formulary Status as described in ENROLLMENT.

FAIR USE NOTICE: This may contain copyrighted (© ) material the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. Such material is made available for educational purposes, to advance understanding of human rights, democracy, scientific, moral, ethical, and social justice issues, etc. It is believed that this constitutes a 'fair use' of any such copyrighted material as provided for in Title 17 U.S.C. section 107 of the US Copyright Law. This material is distributed without profit.