Sunday, December 24, 2006

A Merry Christmas Wish from Our Family to Yours

Chico, my late brother's grandchild, from Toril, Davao, Philippines

Josh, another brother's grandson, from San Pedro, Laguna, Philippines
Chin Chin, Josh's cousin , another grandchild of bro, from Philadelphia, U.S.
Me, the Babe, Pao and Auntie G, Babe and Pao from Northern California, both me and sis from TO.
Sis J, the Bibz, sis M and Hubby M, sis J from N.Y., sis M and family from northern California. pix taken in California.

The Family at Niagara Falls, Ontario, Canada.

Chin with Lolas (too many?) dad and me. Mom is the the Photographer.

A Merry Christmas to all...

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Shall we do the Cha-Cha.

I’m not a constitutional lawyer, nor have any expertise in law or anything at all, but I have been around quite a while, and have what we can call a real experience thru observations and life learning.

I can only talk of something that affect our society, but society, especially the one patterned to the so-called Democratic system have a lot of similarities.

Canada which is now my country for more than 30 years, is a constitutional democracy, based on British Model with a little bit of French mix, (civil law in Quebec is the Napoleonic code). It was created by the British North America Act of l867 and that was the basis of Her existence since that time, from the Nation of Three Provinces to now composed of Federation of Ten Provinces and Three Territories . The act which is the basis of all laws and structure of the Nation was amended as we go along developing a Nation. But the amendments were done in the British Parliament, until the Act was repatriated in l982 and the Constitution Act of l982 (Charter of Rights and Freedoms) was passed as amendment.

The process of Amendment was not as painless and not without controversies, but in the end except for the Province of Quebec who withhold her consent on conditions, the house under the Leadership of PM Pierre Elliot Trudeau passed the made in Canada Constitutions, which so many Critiques during the time stated that was not worth the paper it was written on. (All of 17 pages).

The critiques specifically mentioned Section 1 (numero uno) that states: “The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms guarantees the rights and freedoms set out in it subject only to such reasonable limits prescribed by law as can be demonstrably justified in a free and democratic society.”

And another contentious issue that convinced the provinces approval that was met with skeptical criticism is section 33 to wit:

33. (1) Parliament or the legislature of a province may expressly declare in an Act of Parliament or of the legislature, as the case may be, that the Act or a provision thereof shall operate notwithstanding a provision included in section 2 or sections 7 to 15 of this Charter.

Twenty Four Years had come and gone and so far the critiques had proven not right after all.

Section 1 which give the Parliament and the Provinces Legislatures the right to pass laws to limit the rights set out in the Charter, except otherwise stated, not only enhanced our Rights and Freedoms, but make us so much responsible in exercising such rights, that limitations deemed unreasonable were challenged and most were declared unconstitutional and if not, the courts usually clarify the issue and why they should stand.

Section 33 better known as “The Notwithstanding Clause” is the Exemption given to the Parliament or the Provincial Legislature to declare an Act of each exempted from Judicial Review for a specified period of time. So far only the Province of Quebec used the “clause’ when her legislature passed the language law that give French the preference in signs (business signage). And a few other instances in provincial legislatures, that were never an issue at all. The Parliament has not used the “clause”. Take note: The “clause” specifies which sections are subject to exemption.

So my take, no Charter or Constitution is perfect, but whatever deficiencies there are, we can mitigate them by not taking advantage and abuse them. Had any government take advantage and abuse Section 1 and Section 33 of our Charter, then the voters, instead of the government may demand a Cha-Cha, but the only cha-cha we do here is on the ballroom and it’s a beautiful dance, though I prefer the rumba and the waltz..

Sunday, December 17, 2006

407 ETR (Express Toll Route)

ETR 407 (Express Toll Route)

Yesterday, was the first time I drove the Toll Route (one and only toll roadway in Ontario) and it is a nice and smooth roadway. The toll route was constructed more than a decade ago parallel to Macdonald-Cartier Highway or Highway 401 to ease up the congestion of one of the busiest highways in the World.. Highway 401 stretch from the border of Quebec to the Border of Michigan, 8l5 km. Of freeways, but on top of Toronto Area it is always congested during rush hour, or during maintenance operations so the idea if building a Toll roadway parallel north.

ETR 407 was then “auction” to private company to run its operation and its maintenance on a long term basis. A Spanish consortium is running the day to day and the maintenance and the additional extension of the toll express as the need arise.

This is quite different than most U.S. toll roadways that collection booths are the norm. ETR 407 has none. Motorists get in and out of the toll express unhindered by stops for picking up a ticket or paying the tolls. Fees are collected electronically and sent to the users just like telephone or any household bills. Regular users may opt for an electronic gadget called “TRANSPONDER”that records all data as you get in and out of the Toll Express. For those without the gadget, cameras will record the vehicle’s license plate and bill the plate’s registered owner. Rates vary according to the hours of use. Rush hours is a little higher than slow hours. Most users of the toll route are business people where the fees can be claimed as business expense and employees and workers whose place of works and residences have close proximity to the Express or occasional users who have a flight to catch with not much time to gamble on the always not too sure traffic movement in a Free expressways. The only drawback is out of province motorists will be able to get away without getting billed as the management may have no access to other province or states vehicular records. Enforcement of payments is quite effective by the Ministry of Transport’s denying renewal of license plate, the same as failure to pay traffic fines.

It is only a stretch of 108 kilometers at present (some extension in the future, maybe) but it help ease up congestion on most Highways during rush hours. Traffic enforcement is still done by the Provincial Police on paid duty (extra) by the 407 ETR . Just like most freeways, it has multiple lanes on top of the city and start to narrow into four to three lanes out of the city. Just posted this out of curiosity. I have driven miles and miles of Toll roadways in the U.S. and it is a hassle because you have to pay or stop every time you get in and out, unless you have that EZ pass where usage is also billed. Well, I don’t think anymore toll roadway will be added to this one and only we have here in Ontario. Voters just don’t like the idea of paying enormous taxes on gasoline and other motor vehicles fuel and also pay tolls for the use of roads built by taxpayers.

Actually the succeeding government attempted to take back the ETR 407 from its current owner- management, but the contract between the previous Government and the ETR people is iron- clad and the government decided that the monies to compensate or pay for breaking the contract is not worth it. So far the ETR is run much, much safer, faster and the roadways are all well-maintained. In short it is run like a business, because it is a business...

Sunday, December 10, 2006

How Low Can They Get?

How Low Can They Get??

Some Comic Events happened in some Press Conference held by the Philippines Politicians, where a Citizen who rose among the groups of Media People and said his Piece towards the Speaker of the House and his Group of Representatives, and was immediately mobbed by the crowd, hustled out of the conference room, poured water by one of the country’s leading Newspaper Writers and was vilified for interrupting the “news conference”.

This was not a surprising event in the Philippines, where Politics is a Dirty Word. Where Politicians are accused of corruptions, unbridled corruptions and they are playing the Lords of the country. Majority of the 80 millions of the county’s Citizens suffering in Silence of abject poverty, not because the country is poor - it has a very rich natural resources, a well-educated young professionals and trades people that are in demand in most other parts of the world, other than their own, but because of the mismanagement, the concentration of wealth to the very few Oligarch that use the convenience of Politics to maintain and hold their interest and the wealth of Nation. And these Oligarch also known as the Ruling Class or the Elites can just about afford to pay their ways and that’s is including influencing what we have known here in this part of our world, as the guardian of the Truth and the ultimate check, the Media. Going that low, we can only hope that there is no other way to go... but up..

Sunday, December 03, 2006

A Nation Within a Nation...Quebec Is..

A Nation Within A Nation... Quebec Is.

"Our position is clear. Do the Québécois form a nation within Canada? The answer is yes. Do the Québécois form an independent nation? The answer is no and the answer will always be no," Harper told the House on Wednesday.

Harper's motion — which states that "this House recognizes that Québécois form a nation within a united Canada — was prompted to defuse a Bloc Québécois motion to be debated Thursday. The Bloc motion calls for Quebec to be recognized as a nation but does not include the words "in Canada."

With this announcement, the government introduced a Motion to the effect to defuse the Bloc Quebecois (Federal separatist party, representing the interest of the counterpart provincial Parti Quebecois) which plans to introduce the same motion without including the “Nation Within” which could led for many to believe that Quebec is a Nation State, separate from Canada, when in Fact is not.

This issue better left for the people of Quebec to eventually decide, but as PM Harper further said, and I quote: “The Bloc Québécois has asked us to define this, and perhaps that's a good thing because it reminds us that all Canadians have a say in the future of this country”. Unquote..

The Motion was and overwhelmingly approved with l6 voting against and 2l6 voting for and all parties supporting it. One Government Cabinet Minister resigned his post (Michael Chong, Minister of Sports and In-charge of Unity File) on matter of principles. But he stated that he is not leaving the Party and still support the PM on all matters. The Federal Liberal Party whose Provincial Counterpart is the government of the day in the Quebec, the New Democrats and even the Bloc Quebecois, who rejected the Government motion at first also supported it.

Quebec as well as the other Nine Provinces and the Three Territories that are the sum total of Confederation and is the Nation of Canada are each an autonomous entity. Each in own way is a Nation within a Nation, but Quebec as one of the founding fathers of Canada as recognized in our Dual Languages, her distinct Cultures, and Her History as a Distinct Society. To give her Such Recognition as a Nation within a United Canada, as most of our Leaders and perhaps the Majority of Canadians (this, we are not sure yet), but certainly a majority of Quebecois, hope, will only make us much more united than before and still make Quebec Unique and Proud of Her History and Rightful Place in Canada.. Vive Le Quebec-une nation dans une nation.