Saturday, 25 October 2014

It was an amazing day in Canada on Friday

Yes, a beautiful sunny day. If I were healthy I'd have gone down to the Highway of Heroes to wave a flag as the hearse and family passed.

Instead, I watched the loading of the hearse with the casket and thought of his grieving mothers, sisters and extended family. I got off Twitter, since the partisan vitriol was awful, and had to stop following several people who insisted in using this moment for political points.

They also had a ceremony to place two new ceremonial guards outside the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, which had been closed since the shooting took place there. Two brave young men stood in their kilts, with much pride and respect from those who were able to be there.

The images of people lining the highway at 416 were wonderful. Traffic stopped. People stood quietly as the funeral cortege passed. Citizens, soldiers, and firefighters standing atop their vehicles, all with flags raised, lined the bridges along the Highway of Heroes. Despite some high-profile American TV personalities; e.g., Rosie O’Donnell, criticising our Canadian solidarity, all of my American blog friends were sympathetic, since we support our soldiers. This could happen in any place, at any time. Our men and women in uniform are easy targets.


The Hamilton Tiger-cats loaned Ottawa RedBlacks football team their massive, largest in the world, Canada flag. Hundreds of people (150) were on the field holding it up. They didn't have someone in to sing our National Anthem, the crowd all came together to sing. They united the crowd, who felt good to be together in one place, with seatmates and friends beside them.

I was so proud of the way our Nation responded. From the moment Cpl. Cirillo's body left the funeral home in Ottawa, to where he was welcomed home in Hamilton at 7:00 p.m. or so, he was honoured and recognized. It was something like a 6-hour trip, and people waited on bridges for hours until they passed.
Thank you to Canadians & international friends for the messages of solidarity after the tragic loss of Cpl N Cirillo.

The @OPP_ER Tweeted updates of the location of the funeral cortege.
Citizens posted photos of their progress: like this amazing scene.

How can this not make you proud to be Canadian?
Then, @OPP_GTATraffic reported their progress around the Greater Toronto Area, following them around to 407, around Lake Ontario.
When they arrived in Hamilton, there was thanks from that city:
Hamilton Police (@HamiltonPolice):
Thank You ‪#‎HamOnt‬ & everyone in ‪#‎Canada‬ & world for standing united as ‪#‎Canadian‬ hero ‪#‎NathanCirillo‬ was brought home ‪#‎highwayofheroes‬

It was another day for reflection. People made sure that they didn't forget Warrant Officer Patrice Vincent, similarly killed this past week by someone else with mental health issues.

In the meantime, the perpetrator, someone who knew him has reported, had mental health issues, as well as a $160/day heroin addiction.
In the meantime, horrific shootings in California, two deputies killed, two injured.
And in a Washington H.S., another crazy incident. I am saddened by it all.
Hold fast to family.
  1. The Guardian ‎- 1 hour ago
    US police are trying to determine why a high school student shot dead a female classmate and wounded four others before killing himself, ...

Pond activity: muskrat architecture

Muskrat work
I finally got out of the house yesterday. I even got dressed! The cold virus, into my lungs, has meant much coughing and wheezing but the antibiotic is getting the pneumonia. I did a load of laundry, hung it outdoors. Then took a break. Problem is, any effort and you just can't suck enough oxygen in, then more coughing. Talking is tough, too. I remember trying to go into work like this, and loathing to take time off, ended up having to go home!

It was a beautiful, sunny day, with balmy temperatures of 16 C. and a t-shirt was all I needed. It felt so good. Daisy and took the zoom and walked down to the frog pond. We surprised a female wood duck, who took off around the back of the pond, behind the bulrushes. We sat, and watched for any other wildlife. I noticed this. What do you think, Red , my muskrat expert?
I'd notice their activity back in September. 
Muskrat Love in the frog pond
As I said, I haven't been down to the pond for a week. It's gotta be 3' high!

Friday, 24 October 2014

We've found the helpers: we must laud them; The Highway of Heroes

Twitter user ‏@kamakazi19982 posted this photo online Wednesday morning with the message 'OK, so we were on a tour at that war monument in Ottawa a few minutes ago, a few seconds later there was a shooting.' (Twitter)

Twitter user ‏@kamakazi19982 posted this photo online Wednesday morning with the message 'OK, so we were on a tour at that war monument in Ottawa a few minutes ago, a few seconds later there was a shooting.'
Nathan Cirillo and Branden Stevenson

An image from a Facebook memorial page dedicated to slain Cpl. Nathan Cirillo, right, also shows Cpl. Brandon Stevenson, who chased the gunman that fatally shot Cirillo at the National War Museum in Ottawa on Wednesday.. (Facebook)

 Ron Foxcroft, the honorary colonel of the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders of Canada regiment, said Brandon Stevenson briefly chased the shooter before returning to the war memorial to try to revive his wounded friend. Foxcroft said he showed "tremendous bravery" in pursuing the shooter

Wise words from Mr. Rogers, who calmly greeted each day.

We are finding more out about the helpers. They reject the label 'heroes', yet not all of us would know what to do. Some spent time taking photos, as bystanders were kept away from the scene, once the Cpl. was being attended to by nurse Lerhe, layer Winters, and Cpl. Brandon Stevenson, his buddy.

They applied pressure to his wounds, gave him CPR, and did what they could.
Nurse Lerhe stepped up. She did her job as best she could, in the face of terrible wounds, since the Cpl. was shot from behind. There were several people helping.

The helpers

Nurse Lerhe gave the Cpl. medical aid
Kevins Vickers, Sergeant-at-Arms
his team brought the shooter down
She first did chest compressions, then, when others took over, she was speaking calmly to him.
While Cpl. Cirillo lay dying, Winters said and did what I have heard done in other times and other places.
"I told him you are loved. You are brave. You are good. Your parents must be so proud of you. Your family loves you. Look at these people who are all trying to help you. We all love you. Your military family loves you. There is a Col. here helping you." 
Barbara Winters, lawyer

Would you know what to say, if there was nothing you could do?

In fact, there was a car crash Nov. 22, in South River, Central Ontario, west of Algonquin Park, in which a young man died at the scene. The ice was bad that day. The road wasn't opened until 3:00 a.m., what a long night. Graciously, one of the civilians who responded posted a message in the comments section:

A small piece of comfort in this sad time
I am writing this letter to let you know that I was one of the indivdual that had stopped at the accident. I am 42 years old and a mom myself. I feel strongly that everyone needs to know he was not alone. Myself and two other young men were with him until the emergency crew got there. There was a sense of peace and that I feel that Chris knew that help was one it way. I reached down and grabbed his hand to try and show him the love and care that his family would want him to know. He held my hand tightly and you knew he felt comfort, I cannot explain it . He was not able to talk well, but was able to get out 'tell my family I love them'. It was not clear but you knew. Myself and the other young men tried the best we could do provide comfort to him. I remember there was a young man about the same age as Kris and he was fantastic he wanted to help so much . If it get forgotten thank you Gabe. You are a in my thoughts. I wish the family all the best and shed a tear for your loss. I hope in someway the family gains comfort.

No doubt it will be comforting. Our imaginations are always worse than reality. While I remember my parents' last days, I better recall the good times and the bright memories. I will always be grateful to the ambulance crews, and those who made their last days, hours and minutes more comfortable.

Today there is something many can do

Highway of Heroes
Highway of heroes.
They will take Cpl. Cirillo's body along the Highway of Heroes today. Many, I know, will line the route along this highway as his body as taken from Ottawa to Hamilton this afternoon. They leave Ottawa today, arriving in Hamilton, his home town later today.

 On August 24, 2007, the stretch of highway between Toronto (from Highway 404/Don Valley Parkway) and CFB Trenton (from Glen Miller Road) was given the additional name Highway of Heroes, in honour of Canadian Forces personnel killed during the War in Afghanistan. Crowds line the route every time a soldier is repatriated

Do you know? I wish I could go. I'm still wrestling with pneumonia. I will be there in sprit.

How do we maintain the values of a free and open society?

War Memorial
where the reservist was shot
Now, it is two days after this horrible shooting. We are back to normal, just about.  Most of the barriers are down. Local and national media and politicians are back to normal: arguing over what should be or should not be done. Naming, blaming and shaming. The media coming up with the right answers and asking questions to which they have determined the answer: closed-ended questions. Partisan politics are back, as various party members.

Conservative PM Harper is talking of new legislation.  The parliamentarians that have been interviewed are stating that rather than new powers for the RCMP and Security Staff, the RCMP should have more staff. Some MPs say we must look at the perimeter of The Hill, and more and better staffing, as well as more staff to prevent and monitor the crazies. Yet, couldn't an insane person take down perimeter guard staff? 

Many are still debriefing and coming to terms with the incident. This has helped me: to reflect.

You have been kind in your responses, blog readers. Many of us know people downtown. Many of us have trod the steps our our fallen soldier.

Many of us have had a meal at the pub opposite the Memorial where many gather.
The National War Memorial is where thousands gather on Remembrance Day. They lay their poppies in solemn ceremony.
selfie at the Darcy McGee pub!

The RCMP held a press conference that showed how quickly this crazy man went from parking beside the National Memorial, running over and murdering Cpl. Cirillo, getting back into his car and driving over to the Hill. He abandoned his car at the perimeter of The Hill, civilian cars are not permitted there, and he ran onto the grounds scaring several people away. He then  he scared off an MP's limo driver, stole the car and drove over to the entrance to Parliament Hill. The footage is excellent and very clear. It will give them some information, and allow them to determine next steps. Deep breath, people.

What do they do now?

Last night, the RCMP Commissioner showed footage of the shooter and how he got into Parliament's building. It is important that the powers-that-be determine what should be done for the security of the buildings. There is, I am sure, extensive footage of the take down. They will learn from this, as well.

They must balance the openness of The Hill, yoga Wednesdays on the lawn, and kids playing Frisbee.
Ceremonial events on the lawn will continue

The Media

Red's comment, in my previous post, is right. The all-news programs go over and over the same details, the same footage. Then, when they run out of questions, they repeat the same ones. They get the same answers: we do not yet know. 
Then they come up with crazy scenarios, and new ideas about what they think should be done.
Stand down, people. Take some time. Let the RCMP, CSIS, do their jobs and find out what they can.

Copy Cats

The barriers on The Hill: iron fence
There are those who believe that Wednesday's murdering rampage was a copy cat on Monday's running down of two soldiers.

There was a brutal copy cat attack on four NYC police officers yesterday. I'm so sorry for my U.S. blog buddies.  There are no geopolitical barriers when any person attacks another. Certainly, crazy Christians go after innocent victims as much as crazy Muslims. This we must remember.

Thursday, 23 October 2014

The day after...let's have some thoughtful reflection

National War Memorial
Chateau Laurier in background
That was quite the day. I lived 25 years in Ottawa and have many happy memories of singing in the choirs on Parliament Hill on Canada Day, July 1st. Ambling across the huge lawn. Last summer my daughter and I had dinner beside the Memorial, and walked up to the hill where the horrific incident took place. Those in charge who did not have a knee-jerk reaction, but, in the cold, clear light of day determine what changes might be made to the free access citizens and tourists enjoy on the Hill.
We must explore various reactions to the crisis. Canadian Armed Forcers, Parliament

The Media

Reporters must rethink how it is they use Social Media. In the good old days they check sources before putting anything in print. In this age of technology, it doesn't matter how accurate you are, as long as you are first. Rumours of a second and third shooter.
Reporters similarly passed on rumours that a motorcyclist/shooter was on the highway.
Interviewing eye witnesses, who had been corralled, taken down to nearby OPS headquarters, were
Downtown Ottawa
interviewed by police. Then, the media jumped on them, picked up and retweeted in 140 characters on Twitter.

The foolish Globe reporter who used his Crackberry to video the security staff takedown. Can you imagine if he'd been accidentally shot? Those marble walls and halls could have a ricochet effect. Let the experts do their jobs. If I were your mother I'd smack you upside the head.

Having to fill air time, TV hosts filled time with insane images, and no commentary related to these images. There was no sense of what was current, what was done, including videos of people and places where potential victims were being escorted by police.

Witnesses were pursued by media
Then, since many reporters are located downtown, and CBC Ottawa offices are in the Chateau Laurier, many media members were affected and had to be interviewed and reinterviewed. When do they manage to take an objective view of the situation, when their friends and colleagues are in a lockdown? The press became the story.

US Media, who truly sensationalize the news, since All-news media are finding it difficult to provide content 24-7, are guilty of a heinous crime. They reported the name of our soldier who was the victim of the gunman, before this was cleared by the military, and family members were informed. At least Canadian media held back on this.
We were in lockdown when the US began broadcasting.

Next people began posting photos of the two Reservists on guard, stating that 'one of these two guys is dead.' This was well before family had been notified. Editor, Jon Williams, with @ABC, should have known better. He retweeted it.
Wow I'm not sure that pic should be tweeted if the family may not have been notified yet.

THE US took great interest.
US Media could take some time to do research. Have you heard of Google? This is NOT our PM! He'd like to be, but...
AMAZING “ABC-TV just ran news promo w/voiceover "In Canada, the Prime Minister addresses the nation" & this visual.”


The Twitter rumours were horrible. Citizens must realize that
Twitter Trolls
spread many rumours
perpetrators also use Social Media and posting and reposting photos of the police snipers atop nearby buildings was pretty ignorant. Did they think this through?

The Peace Tower on
The Hill
Then those who were ranting and raving when it wasn't clear who was responsible and why. Muslims must fear the repercussions. For this wasn't a Muslim. Truly, the Muslim students and families I worked with upheld the true values of the Islamic faith. This is not evidence or extreme Muslims, for Muslims do not believe in this type of violence. Islam is peace.

Raving lunatics, delusional fanatics are claiming the mind, body and souls of our young people. Those who are trying to find their way in the world, are looking for direction and something to belong to, and they suck in these kids who are lulled into this fanatical behaviour.  We must stop glorifying the so-called terrorists. These are murders, who lull these kids into their lust for violence, softened by video games  and violence in the media.

So-called Experts

The press did their best to find experts. When a situation is on-going, perhaps talking to the press, other than telling citizens what to and what not to do, might be a good idea. Retirees are the ones most guilty of this. For example, a former Special Operations Commander was explaining about the security footage in Parliament, and explaining that they need to balance the appearance of the government being open and accessible, with the safety and security of the politicians, and the public.

The experts, as well, must examine the laws surrounding this perpetrator who shot down our soldier. For he, and the young man who ran down two soldiers the previous day, have been targeted by police and thanks to intelligence, CSIS knows that they had extremist tendencies. They knew these wannabe terrorists, in fact, had both had passports taken away at the airport, as they tried to go and join the terrorists in Turkey and Syria. Threats sould not be taken lightly and bizarre behaviour must be monitored. You may be able to think it, but if you write about it, and communicate with terrorist groups, like the 90 potential perps who are being tracked,  there must be consequences.


Here is a crazy thing I saw. The PM plants a question in the parliamentary session to plant the notion that we are being attacked by terrorist.
When the Prime Minister becomes a central character in story of a terrorism incident
At the centre of the news about a terrorist attack this week, there was, in a curious way, the Prime Minister

What is to be remembered

The heroes who went to heroic efforts, beyond what our fabulous First Responders are trained to do. Then there are the First Responders, who tried, valiantly, to save the victim of the shooting.
The Security Guards who took the gunman down, and the two guards who were shot during the event. Look for the helpers, stop the blaming and shaming, and jumping to conclusions.
Speaker Andrew Scheer entered the Commons in the ceremonial parade through the halls of the Centre Block. Accompanying him – to applause from others in the hall – was Sergeant-at-Arms Kevin Vickers, who was among the security officials who shot the gunman who entered the Centre Block Wednesday morning when MPs were meeting in caucus rooms just steps away from the scene.

Look for the helpers and heroes
The schools, having gone into safe and secure mode - in a fully thought-out plan created after 9/11, kept the kids indoors, for safety, and informed parents with robocalls that all was well and it was a safety precaution.

I shall always laud the fact that my two granddaughters, age 4 and 6, had little idea of the ramifications of their safe and secure mode. They were happily carving pumpkins last night. Their parents had not enlightened them, since there was no need. Older kids will have to be debriefed, since we cannot protect them from this disaster, but there are guidelines, written by a psychologist for this.

During 9/11, the foolish principal in my school got on the PA system and informed staff and young students (JK - gr. 6) the the towers had gone down. My gr. 6 student knew people who worked there and the children were insanely afraid to walk home. They feared being bombed. I hope we've learned this lesson.

I'd like to thank those who refrained from snarky comments, trolls,  such as those comments implied that PM Harper should have been taken out. This isn't a day for politics. At one point, once the lockdown was continuing, I turned off the TV.

On Parliament Hill

I liked seeing the PM Harper, even whilst Twitter trolls were still contemning him, who brought us all together by lauding Vickers, crossing over to him and giving him a hug, then shaking hands and hugging Liberal Trudeau, then NDP Leader Mulcair.
The holes in the ornate carved wood, all will be a reminder that we will move forward.
I like the speeches by Harper, Muclair and Trudeau.

Elizabeth May

Motivations, connections, must be verified by the police, OPS and RCMP. Isolated deeply troubled men are being drawn to something crazy. We must keep peace, order and good government.

Nobody in the Canadian TV news business emerges as especially thoughtful and skilled at handling the circumstance

This was a thoughtful piece. Well done. I would hope that journalists, as do police, etc., have a debriefing and talk about the mess many made of the day. The Twitter rumours perpetuated ignorance and fear, even Mansbridge called up false notions many CBC reporters passed on. These reporters need to stick to the facts, not unsubstantiated rumours. The myths of the motorcyclist was shocking. They needed to back off and let the police do their jobs. Police spent much time hustling reporters away, rather than finding out what was really going on. There is a balance needed between capturing an image and allowing officers to protect us.

Photos the day after

  1. Breitbart News ‎- 3 minutes ago

    Twitter page that proudly sports the Islamic State flag published aphoto of suspected Ottawa gunman Michael Zehaf-Bibeau with the caption: ...

Photos from before

Chateau Laurier Hotel

Many tourists
The East Block in July

Famous Five statues behind The Hill, c.1999

On the hill, 1967

Wednesday, 22 October 2014

En-route Auto Program - savings for good drivers

Here is an interesting idea. For us, we don't do a lot of driving. And, you know how the bad kids in the class always got all the attention? This will reward us for being good drivers, which we are!

We are with Co-operators

en-route auto program

Insurance. Hubby went off to renew our policy and they offered, firstly,  a 5% discount with the installation of this device and up to a 25% discount when we renew. It's the size and shape of a cell phone battery, and simply plugs in.

The device connects to a port near the steering wheel, and sends information to Co-operators, rather like a black box, and tells them our speed, our driving behaviour and the like.

Now, we don't drive to work every day, it is 5km into town and we don't drive at night, either.
 If you know you are a good driver, you don't accelerate or brake frequently, if your night driving is minimal, as ours is, then you'll get a discount on your car insurance. Our long-distance driving has consisted of going into the city for medical appointments (83km into Ottawa) and we love our daycation driving.

"The en-route Auto Program™ tracks your driving in real time and rewards you when you practice safe driving habits. Fewer occurrences of sudden braking, rapid acceleration, late night driving, and distance travelled will increase your savings."
The kit comes in the mail


 Below is the type of data that the device collects on a daily, weekly and monthly basis. It's only been two days for ours, but you'll get the drift. In our case, I installed it Sunday, and hubby has had a couple of trips into town for groceries. He's taken me twice into the ER and then to the drug store (that's the map's last location!). I had a cold first, then viral-induced asthma (they Rx'd me a puffer, which sure helps). And yesterday, with the coloured phlegm and mucus, it's gone from viral to bacterial and I have antibiotics.