More Bitching About Banks – But RBC This TIme

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The current news story about the Royal Bank of Canada (RBC), hiring temporary foreign employees and getting rid of existing employees sounds very familiar.  This is exactly what happened in the land of the free, home of the brave – U.S.A – but not just in the banking industry.  Corporate USA kept whining that there were no ‘qualified’ employees in the country so they wrangled a change in the immigration legislation to ‘import’ qualified employees – employees that would work for a lot less money.  And this whining of unqualified employees sounds very familiar as noted in some of Mr. Flaherty’s recent comments that Canada doesn’t have enough qualified employees. 

 

All of the U.S. statistics are laid out in the book, Who Stole the American Dream, by Hedrick Smith.  It states clearly that there were plenty of qualified U.S. candidates when corporate America complained of the shortage but the attraction to corporate America to bring in foreign candidates was all a matter of paying the foreigners less money.  So is Canada just following the example that has been demonstrated by the U.S.?  Let’s hope to hell not!  It’s that kind of strategic action that has gotten the U.S. in the financial mess they’re in now.  How much money is RBC saving by hiring these foreign employees?  RBC claims directly on their website, “RBC believes in the power of communities and the individuals who live in them”.  If that is true, then put your money where your mouth is and hire people from the community to work at your banks. 

 

It’s not a secret that I hate dealing with banks – and I’m merely one of millions who agree.  I hope RBC takes a lot of heat for this action.  They deserve it.    

 

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The Weak Link of Woolwich – Weally?

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I just read Luisa D’Amato’s article (http://www.therecord.com/opinion/columns/article/908935–d-amato-fighting-for-a-casino-few-want).  It’s no secret that I disagree with her position on this issue but I find it amazing that she includes the following line in this article and it is the primary argument of mine:

 

If a casino is coming anyway, maybe it should be in Kitchener or Waterloo instead, the thinking goes.

 

So my question to Luisa is:  Why didn’t you provide an argument against the above statement in your article?  The rest of your article criticizes Kitchener, Waterloo and Woolwich for their role and decision in this matter.  But the fact still remains – THIS AREA OF ONTARIO IS GOING TO BE SERVICED BY OLG!  There are just way too many people here to ignore it.  Luisa, please write an article that argues against the above way of thinking.  How can any of these cities/township not consider the casino if the alternative location is in the south end of Elora?  Quit criticizing these elected officials for doing what they had to do and start providing them with a LOGICAL argument against the above-stated reasoning.  Help the elected officials turn down the casino, using logic.  I’ve yet to hear anyone argue logically against the above statement and obviously Luisa can’t either.  I’ll keep waiting for your article honey!  Provide your wisdom and experience to all of the ‘weak links’ out in Kitchener, Waterloo and Woolwich. We’re just so lucky to have you, Luisa, to point out weaknesses and provide the strength needed in this decision.  Gag me.  

 

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Pills – The New Way to Keep Up with the Jones’

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Seems there’s a new trend for folks my age (50+).  Now I’ve never been much of a follower and this new trend is no exception.  To be trendy one has to be the holder of the highest number of prescribed medications.  Really?  Yes, it seems that there is a sense of pride amongst older folks when they can say that they’re taking more pills than their friends.  It’s a real competition- and one that I don’t want to win.  Does ‘keeping up with the Jones’ now mean popping more pills than our neighbours?  Looks like it and it’s quite a problem.   

 

But it seems that more and more people just want a pill to solve their problems – whether the problems are physical or mental.   And it seems that British doctors are more than happy to help.  They’re prescribing pills in record numbers but keep in mind that sometimes it’s only a placebo  (http://rt.com/news/uk-doctors-prescribe-placebo-585/).  And even the mental health industry is getting in on the trend.  In a recent Maclean’s article (http://www2.macleans.ca/2010/07/29/is-anybody-normal-anymore/), mental health experts are trying to convince anyone that will listen that no one is ‘normal’ anymore and that a pill of some kind is required.  Even children that have temper tantrums on a regular basis (and let’s be honest, ALL children have regular temper tantrums!) are no longer normal.  That’s right – they have a mental disorder. 

 

And new mental disorders are popping up all over the place.  I happened to hear of a recent court proceeding, involving a twenty-something young man and he was being defended of his charges by way of ‘oppositional defiance disorder’.  Are you shittin’ me?  I’ve had oppositional defiance disorder my whole life and I seem to be getting along just fine and haven’t been in jail – yet.  My in-laws might say otherwise but they don’t know what they’re talking about.  In fact I’m sure there’s a mental disorder that would describe them.  In fact, there’s probably a few disorders that would describe them.  We’ll save that for another post.

 

Considering all of this, I think the regular use of marijuana doesn’t even come close to being as serious.  And all of this mess is being created and justified by health professionals, looking after my best interest.  Sounds to me like they’re looking after the best interest of the pharmaceutical companies instead.  Instead of prescribing a pill (or two, or more!), tell them to go do some physical work or take a walk or change their attitude.  We’ve got a motto in our house – either change your attitude or change your circumstances.  Believe it or not, we do that without help from a pill.  Sometimes it does take a couple of Diet Cokes though.     

 

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Woolwiich Township Needs a Higher and Stronger Protective Wall

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I was pleasantly shocked at the recent Woolwich Township council meeting, where a decision was made to roll out the welcome mat for a casino, pending numerous conditions and receiving a green light from OLG.  In an earlier post, I had commented that I had looked forward to the ‘entertainment’ factor of these meetings as I am fascinated by some of the public speeches and presentations.  I was definitely not disappointed, however, there was one speech that didn’t really entertain me – it insulted me.  And the author and presenter of that speech was the Chair of the Region of Waterloo, Ken Seiling.

Mr. Seiling made it clear that he was speaking as a citizen of Woolwich Township, not as the Chair of Waterloo Region but I can’t imagine that the personal opinions that he provided on the Woolwich casino issue are much different than in his position of Regional Chair.  Mr. Seiling stated that many of Woolwich residents had “commonly-held principles” and that these principles were “built in our DNA” and “a part of our roots”.  His speech went on to convey that he didn’t think that a casino fit with those commonly-held beliefs and that “Woolwich should not be bought” by the casino proposal and Woolwich should not be a partner in this project.  He concluded by advising the voting councilors that approving this casino would make this their legacy for the township.

So if I disagree with Mr. Seiling, is he saying that my ‘roots’, being different than his roots, are for sale?  And can this be translated to say that my values are for sale?  I felt somewhat insulted by this and wondered if others perceived his comments in a similar manner.  Well, it didn’t take long before I got an answer to that as another resident, Richard Bradley, got up and said that he felt that there was a ‘prejudice’ evident in the comments made toward individuals who went to a casino or toward those folks that were in favour of the casino.  He elaborated, in a humourous way, that he wasn’t a gambler, nor was he a theatre-goer, or even a hockey fan but he felt that all of these activities were entertaining to the people who participated and that the money expended on tickets for the theater or a hockey game didn’t produce any monetary rewards but did provide an ‘entertainment’ reward – much as some people receive when they put money into a slot machine or spend it on a gambling activity.   It’s their entertainment.

I’m afraid that Mr. Seiling’s comments are sounding like someone who isn’t keeping up with the growth and changes of his own township.  The ‘commonly-held principles to which he refers may be changing as new families with different ‘DNA’ and different ‘roots’ move into the township and the Region.  To my knowledge, there is no ‘application  process’ whereby someone wanting to move to the township has to demonstrate that they share Mr. Seiling’s ‘commonly-held principles’ and I’m thankful for that.  Get with the program Mr. Seiling.  Woolwich is more than Old Order Mennonites and more than religion and the principles that are associated with traditional religions.  There might even be an atheist, an agnostic, an ex-convict, or someone who gambles and drinks, or maybe someone who masturbates and heaven forbid, someone who is a homosexual and has children going to the schools of Woolwich Township.  However will we deal with that?  Guess we need to make that wall around Woolwich a little taller and stronger to keep those people out that don’t have our ‘commonly-held principles’.   Maybe the Region can use their portion of the casino money to take care of the improvements on that wall.

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Survival of Horseracing Amid Societal and Technology Changes

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 In less than a week, Woolwich Township intends to announce whether they will roll out the welcome mat for an OLG casino.  I would imagine, by now, that the councillors have decided their vote but, as per all government protocols, the proper process must be implemented so we’ll wait until March 5th for the formal announcement. 

 

As the formal announcement approaches, I’ve been following the local television coverage of the effects this potential casino will have on Grand River Raceway, horse people and Centre-Wellington Township.  I agree that the horse people, the track and Centre-Wellington Township are going to feel the great financial burden that is being created as a result of this potential casino.  But as I look at horseracing, specifically the sustainability of horseracing, I must look at how horseracing is funded.  It used to be primarily funded by the betting on the activity but as technology changed, bettors had more and more options to spend their betting dollars.  Time marches on folks.  My hair has gone from brown to gray and I’m working harder at hiding my wrinkles and I am forced to keep up with technology or get left behind.  That’s also happening to horseracing – especially to the folks betting on horseracing.  With all the new options for wasting, ‘er I mean for spending their betting dollars, less people are interested in the traditional horse-racing betting forum, i.e. there is less demand for the product.  And what happens when there is no longer a demand for the product?  I think we can see the answer in the midst of these changes. 

 

My heart really goes out to the young people involved in this industry, many of them being second or third generation horse people.  I can see and feel their passion but unfortunately these young people have entered an industry that is failing, primarily due to lack of demand for their product.  I’ve cautioned many young people on getting into these ‘dying’ industries, including sectors of agriculture involving food-production.  The one difference between these two industries is that people have to eat, so food-production is still in demand but as technology continues to change, food may be created scientifically in lab environments rather than in fields.  If this happens, eventually the demand for traditional crop farmers will fade as well.  The almighty dollar will dictate which direction to go. 

 

Change continues all around us.  Even Canada Revenue doesn’t want paper copies of tax returns anymore, banks don’t provide paper monthly statements to customers anymore, libraries are providing ‘e-books’ rather than the paper version, desk-top computers are rare, and does anyone know what a radio or record-player is anymore?  Horseracing needs to either find a way of being current and attracting customers to support and sustain their industry or become a memory, a hobby or a vintage nostalgic activity.    

 

 

 

 

 

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K-W Doesn’t Want Dirty Money – Okay With Woolwich Wash

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Woolwich Township will soon announce whether or not they’re willing to spin the wheel and take on OLG’s request to host a casino.  Wilmot Township just rolled the dice and crapped out, Cambridge said ‘no thanks’ and Kitchener and Waterloo aren’t brave enough to even consider the idea, however, they certainly want to make sure that they get some benefit – meaning a cut of the cash! – if Woolwich says “yes, thank you”.  What a bunch of money-grubbing cowards the leaders of Waterloo and Kitchener are!  They don’t want that dirty money going directly into the wallets of their fair city but they won’t hesitate to get into Woolwich’s wallet to grab a few bucks if they say ‘yes’.  They say that costs to the Region will go up as a result of a casino in that location, i.e. policing, etc.  Statistics show that policing costs do not go up significantly at slots and casinos – so that’s crap!  And won’t the Region get a substantial amount of property tax dollars as a result of this facility?  Yes, that’s right.  At a minimum, Woolwich deserves credit for at least putting their neck out to examine this issue again.  Granted it’s a whole different set of municipal councilors this time.  The last bunch included a councilor that thought being dishonest was different than lying!  I kid you not!  Hopefully this new set of councilors knows that there is no difference – but taking on a casino in the township will make a difference.

OLG is going to ensure that this area is serviced.  There are way too many people in this area to ignore all those dollars.  And if the proposed location is at the south end of Woolwich Township – down along Highway 7 – most folks attending the facility won’t even know that they’re in Woolwich Township.  The Mennonite culture wouldn’t be harmed – Mennonites stay away from that busy Highway 7 area.  The marketing image of St. Jacobs, one of rural, country Mennonites won’t be tarnished either.  The distance between St. Jacobs and Shantz Station is over 20 km.   That’s a helluva lot further than the distance from Woolwich Township to Grand River Raceway in Elora.  Seize the opportunity Woolwich. A facility is going to be built somewhere nearby so the ‘negatives’ that accompany gaming that the opponents are using as their arguments are going to exist regardless and Woolwich is going to be expected to pick up a portion of that tab.  Opponents say they’re willing to pay higher municipal taxes if Woolwich says no to this opportunity.  I’m not.  In fact the spokesperson for the opposition at the recent Woolwich Township stands to lose a great deal if a facility is built at this new site.  This new site might even have a hotel – a hotel that competes with the St. Jacobs hotel with which the spokesperson is affiliated.  Cough, cough – conflict of interest – cough, cough?  Or maybe this new site will be a new destination site for Woolwich?  Can’t Woolwich have more than one?  I think they can. 

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Women Roar Differently Than Men

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I was recently thanked for my efforts in helping empower women.  That hasn’t really been one of my life-long goals but I took the statement as a compliment and felt good that I could assist other women feel stronger.  Which brings me to my surprise when I recently noticed a commercial for a sleeping aid that demonstrated the celebration of a woman when she successfully slept through the night.  Now this commercial was not illustrating a new, young mother who was sleep-deprived as a result of a new baby.  All mothers know that feeling and that is definitely cause for celebration.  No, this commercial was a middle-aged woman, skipping through life, hoisting a flag in her front yard announcing that she successfully slept the previous night.  This commercial on its own doesn’t baffle or confuse me.  It’s not until I compare another familiar commercial that illustrates a similarly aged man, celebrating in much the same way as the middle-aged woman, with one exception.  The celebration for the man is that he had had sex the night before, thanks to Cialis or Viagra or some other erectile-dysfunction drug.  Say what?  Women celebrate when they sleep and men celebrate when they have sex?   Come on girls!  Can’t we do better than that?

 

Don’t get me wrong – I understand that women and men are different, remembering the whole Mars versus Venus argument, but has society come to the point that the reason for celebration for women is when they get some sleep?  I enjoy a good’s night sleep just as much as anyone but women can surely do better than that when evaluating their success in life.  I think of the lyrics from the Helen Reddy song, “I Am Woman”, where she proudly sings, “I am woman, hear me roar”.   Have women been told so many times that they are so different from men that they now celebrate when we get some sleep?  Is that really a reason for women to ‘roar?   Rather than ‘roaring’ about getting a good’s night sleep, let’s roar because we feel good about ourselves, mentally, physically and spiritually.  Let’s roar about our efforts to make our lives better and other’s lives better, whether it is at home, work or in our communities.   And I’m all for celebrating good sex too.  Where is that handsome husband of mine?   Roar.    

 

 

 

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