When is a an ipod not an ipod?

When it is an electronic handheld device.

For those that live outside of Manitoba I’m talking about section 215.1 of Manitoba’s Highway traffic act, or the cellphone law. It’s often cited or referred to by our media as handheld electronic devices. But that’s not really correct.

You see, according to the highway traffic act this Ipod Nano is NOT a hand held electronic device:


It’s not a cellular telephone, so it doesn’t qualify under 215.1(1) a

It doesn’t include a telephone function, so it doesn’t qualify under 215.1(1) b

It isn’t capable of transmitting e-mail or text, so it doesn’t qualify under 215.1(1) c

And it isn’t defined in the regulations.

But this ipod touch, is it a hand held electronic device?



It doesn’t fall under 215.1(1) a or b or the regulations. But is is capable of receiving and transmitting text messages when connected to wi-fi. So does this mean it is a hand held electronic device for the purpose of the act? Most cars don’t have wi-fi, so is it not? What if my passenger has a cellphone and I am using my ipod touch, is it then? Or does it have to be tethered?

Don’t get me wrong, I’m in no way condoning texting and driving, but if I can legally hook up my ipod nano and control my music on that while I am driving, why can’t I hook up my Ipod touch or my phone to do the same thing?

Under the HTA, it is an offence for me to hook up my phone to my car audio and use the phone to  search for music while stopped at a light. But is isn’t if I am using my Ipod Nano. Why?

I’m doing the same thing, so why the difference?

I can only use a cradled hands free phone in my car by pushing one button to receive a call and one button to receive. But I can use the keypad in my dash or on the screen to dial out. Why the difference?

It goes to show how terrible this section of the act is. In fact, police have another section of the act that covers this. It’s called section 188 (1), drive carelessly.

We need to stop passing laws that are knee jerk and not thought out. We need laws that have been given thought and make sense. Yes, it will be a huge change, but shouldn’t our laws meet that criteria to start with?


Oh, and don’t get me started on the “No parking, Bus stop” parking infraction listed on city parking tickets.



Winnipeg Free Press gives tacit approval to violence against women

On a day when the Winnipeg Free Press runs a story about over a 1000 missing and murdered aboriginal women, you don’t have to go very far to start to see why issue like these don’t get the attention and action they need.

In fact, all you have to do is look at Gordon Sinclair’s column the same day.

I’ll be the first to admit that I’m probably the furthest thing from a Gordon Sinclair fan there is, but reading his column brought the acidic taste of bile to my throat. While his original idea for a column may have merit, his equation of violence against women is vile and disgusting:

“Men aren’t supposed to hit women, and political leaders aren’t supposed to slap big supporters of either gender in the face, but that, figuratively speaking, is what Trudeau has done to Taraska-Alcock.

Not only was she co-chairwoman of Trudeau’s leadership campaign in Manitoba — smack — she was encouraged to run after the Liberals’ popular young leader said he wanted more female candidates — whack.”

I question how this column could have even made it to print. Does the Winnipeg Free press not have editors?

I’m thankful that nobody in my family has been the victim of domestic violence and I feel for those that have. I thought as a society, we have realized how much of an issue this is. From Sinclair’s column, apparently  we haven’t, so let me give you some sobering statistics:

  • In 2010, there was a rate of 363 per 100,000 population of intimate partner violence. That’s 2.5 times higher than against other family members.
  • 51% of the victims of intimate partner violence suffer injuries
  • Over 65% of spouses accused of homicide have a history of family violence.
  • 70% of the victims of domestic violence are female
  • The risk of becoming a victim of domestic violence is twice as high for females as it is males.
  • Women aged 15 and older account for 81% of all spousal violence victims.

I could go on and on, the stats are here, here, and here:

And yet, Mr. Sinclair seems to think he can just insinuate that lack of political support is the same as violence against women. We wouldn’t accept this column if Mr. Sinclair had brought Ms. Taraska-Alcock’s race into it. What if instead of using Ms. Taraska’s gender as the basis of comparison ( we know he wouldn’t bring domestic violence up if Ms. Taraska was male), he compared it to racial slurs? Would we stand for that? Of course not.

Every time we refuse to take the subject seriously, every time we joke about the issue, we re-victimize the victims of violence.

And that’s what Mr. Sinclair has done here.  And the Free Press, by publishing this article is no better. By not handing it back, by not telling Mr. Sinclair that his terminology is inappropriate and unacceptable, by publishing it , they give tacit approval to Mr. Sinclair’s words. They give tacit approval to violence against women.

So how do we address this? How do we fight this? Domestic violence and specifically violence against women isn’t a gender issue, it’s a societal issue. Just because as a male I’m less likely to be victimized by domestic violence  doesn’t lessen the impact of the issue for me. This is something that all of us as a society have to address.

And then we read the cover story about over 1000 cases of missing and murdered indigenous women and we wonder why is nothing being done. Or even worse we gloss over it as just another piece of bad news. The columns go hand in hand you see. By printing articles like Mr Sinclair’s that demean and trivialize violence against women it acts to desensitize us, to make us forget and dismiss the impact of the issue. Wab Kinew asked on Twitter, how can 1000 missing and murdered indigenous women not be the top story? Because stories like Mr. Sinclair’s condition us to think that violence against women is a matter to be trivialized, that it doesn’t matter. That it can be joked about. That’s why. And that’s abhorrent.


So again, how do we address it? We take stands, firm hard stands, that this is not acceptable and that actions like Mr. Sinclair’s will not be tolerated in our society. We take a page out of the NBA’s playbook in their reaction to Mr. Sterling’s racist comments and react swiftly and harshly. A message needs to be sent not only to those that think domestic violence is a joking matter but also in a tangential manner to those that perpetrate that we as a society don’t tolerate it.

We do this as a society by telling the Free Press that this writing is not acceptable.

The Free Press does this by immediately dismissing Mr. Sinclair.



An end? A beginning? Or just something different

No, on the heel of both Slurpees and Murder  and Conceit and Sociopathy moving on to bigger and better, I’m not so vain to think that if I closed the door here, I’d be missed in the least.

So, it’s not that. But I’ve been thinking (around this time of year as I always do) about actually doing something intentional for Lent. I’m not as inclined to give up a certain food or reduce my caloric intake given that I’m in training for a competition just after Easter. However, I think I may just try to rid myself of the crap. An information colonic as it may be.

So the plan is:

Aside from work, and essential ( i.e managing finances, doing work, etc) no more computer, no more TV, no more wasted time. An intention to be productive and thoughtful. Now, I will have my smartphone, so maybe I’ll blog progress on that, but that’s it. So if I’m not around, I’m probably sitting somewhere with my nose in a book doing some thinking.

And if that isn’t good enough news – It’s daylight savings time this weekend!

Hahahahahahaha – it’s minus thirty and we are talking about daylight savings time.



Is it too much to ask?

For a modicum of customer service?

I used to remember how nice it was when I received exceptional customer service. Now I get excited when I just get customer service, period.

Over the past month I’ve had to deal with the following:

  • A complaint with a business about a deceitful contract to the point of making complaints to Consumer and Corporate affairs and the Better Business bureau – I assumed I was being reasonable. I offered to pay a cancellation fee, even though the company had not incurred any expense related to the contract and would not incur any expenses if the contract was cancelled.
  • An issue with  a utility bill.I’m on communication #6. The issue? I’ve been trying to provide a corrected meter read so I can get a corrected bill. Still issues and they had the gall to charge a late fee even though I’ve bee trying for months to have them issue the corrected invoice.
  • Walking into a  casual, sit down restaurant at 9:30pm and being told “food service closes at 11”. I don’t know about you, but it doesn’t take me 1 and a half hours to make up my mind on drinks and appetizers. Clearly the server didn’t want to serve anyone else that night.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m sympathetic to customer service positions. I used to be in one. I generally tip quite well realizing the crap they put up with. Even the waitress yesterday got 15%.

No more.

I’m tired of poor service and I’m tired of having to fit for it. Something needs to be done.

So, give me good service and I’ll tip you. Give me exceptional service and I’ll tip you well. You’re a call center operator? I’m asking for your supervisor’s name and contact at the beginning of each call. Give me good service and I call them and tell them so. Give me bad service and the same applies.

I’m tired of the bad service.  It’s not much. Heck, maybe it’s not even the right answer, but it’s something and maybe this might affect a change. Who knows.



Qualification for a Finance Minister? Spin Doctor

Wow, 1st post in over 3 months!

Why? Because I was getting tired of writing negative posts about politics. I’ve tried, I’ve waited, but I give up. We have such terrible gov’t at all levels, I find it really, really difficult to point out anything good they do.

And if you know me, you know I am no fan of the NDP. While I respect the ideals of  the original party, I have no use for the lying, corrupt group of people who form the government on Broadway.

So, why a  post now?

I have some experience in the world of finance. So I was a little taken aback when the Premier named Jennifer Howard as finance minister. You see, Ms. Howard lacks any qualifications to be Finance Minister. In fact, there isn’t one NDP MLA who is remotely qualified to be Finance Minister. Depth, not breadth. If we needed  education ministers and 6 ministers of social services, we’d be set. So why Howard? Probably the same reason Erin Selby was named Health Minister. Spin Doctor.

We see it first hand in reports from today’s provincial finance ministers meeting. Here’s the article from the Winnipeg Free Press:


It seems for the first time in almost 15 years, the NDP has stopped blaming Gary Filmon for everything. Now it’s the federal government’s fault.

The long and the short of the story is that the Finance Minister is crying that the province will not receive enough transfer payments because census data was not completely collected.  The really  interesting quote isn’t from the Winnipeg Free Press, but rather the CBC report:


Here’s the quote:

“Those people exist. We have to provide health care and education to them though we aren’t getting recognized for them,” said Howard.

Now, clearly Howard is using this announcement to lay the groundwork for not being able to balance the budget as promised. But really, did anyone actually believe they could balance the budget? anyone? If you do, then I have a nice bridge…..

Anyway, read the articles above, and you’ll see that Howard is trying to insinuate that persons displaced by flooding were missed in the census counts. So, think back to the flooding in 2011 and recall who was displaced by flooding:

Lake St Martin First Nation is the name that comes immediately to mind. In fact, the majority of flood evacuees were first nations ( who, as you may know are STILL waiting for the province to resolve the housing/re-settlement issue).

Health care and education costs for first nations are a federal, not a provincial responsibility/cost.

And the number of evacuees didn’t come close to 18,000

Sooooo……..explain to me again:

How IF there was an error (Statscan claims there isn’t and has no plans to review the issue);

And if the costs for health and education for those individuals that were missed are covered by the federal government,

Does that translate into Manitoba being shorted equalization funding to pay for the health and education costs these individuals when Manitoba doesn’t pay for those costs in the first place?

Oh right in NDP Manitoba, the Finance Minister’s main duty is to be a spin doctor.

The health and education costs of the flood evacuees ( first nations) are not borne by the provincial government, but rather the federal government. So why is Howard saying that by being missed it will cost Manitoba transfer funding when Manitoba didn’t have to incur the costs in the first place? Because they have to start coming up with excuses now for when their economic forecasts fall woefully short. If you read the budget from the spring, you’ll realize pretty quickly that there are some really unrealistic forecasts in there ( see increase in gov’t run business revenue for one item) and it’s pretty clear that there will be shortfalls. Expect decreased hydro export sales to come up as another excuse.

Spin Doctor, plain and simple.

People wonder why I’m disgusted by our provincial government. The above is exactly why. They continually lie to and take the electorate for half brained idiots.

Manitobans are smarter than that. And I’m sure we’ll see evidence of that in 2015.



Ugh! Why do I read the comments?!?

So the latest from Nick martin, education reporter for the Winnipeg Free press is here:


I knew before reading the comments, how they would go. You see, everytime there is an article that has anything to do with teachers, the comments are always the same tired refrain, slagging teachers for having too many days off, making too much money, giving too much homework, not giving enough homework, disciplining their kids, not disciplining their kids and a whole host of other supposed grievances.

I wonder why the free press allows comments on and education related story. They constantly cut off comments on aboriginal based stories when they become unacceptable yet allow the disparaging of teachers to on unchecked.

And why do we as a society tolerate this? Whenever there is a story mentioning a lawyer, is the comment section rife with comments about lawyers making too much or taking too much time off? Of course not. When Dr’s are mentioned, are the comments towards them as full hatred? No. Yet for some reason, the free press ( and this city as a whole) seems to think it is acceptable to slag teachers at every opportunity. Why? Why do we stand for this?

Do they make too much money? Compared to who? Other public servants? Police Officers regularly take in more money. So do Doctors, Lawyers and pretty much most other university professions.

Is it because they have “too many holidays”? Do the math and start factoring in unpaid after school meetings, unpaid parent teacher interviews, unpaid report card preparation, unpaid extra curricular supervision, unpaid assignment marking and curriculum development, and you’ll see that’s hardly the case.

I could go on and spend this whole post rebutting the ludicris and completely inaccurate whining that goes on in the freep comment section, but lets just say that most of the comments are innaccurate and wrong ( notice that I didn’t say “I beleieve”, it’s not a matter of opinion).

It scares me to think people think this way. Shouldn’t there be value placed on those that are building the next generation? And yet it seems to be those of a social/religious/political/ethical class ( think US Tea Party), a class that most would say we can rise above that seem to be pushing this line.

You’ve heard or seen Josh Green’s position on taxes and education, and I totally echo that – I think it is important to compensate and provide a fair working environment for teachers because I want my children and their peers to receive the best education possible. I think most would agree.

So why do we stand for this constant slagging of teachers?