Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Criminal Injuries Compensation Board... Callous Bureaucrats made the pain worse - victims

"They were cold and callous. They showed no understanding or empathy," Devine said of the people she dealt with last summer when she asked for emergency cash to bury her 33-year-old daughter, Deborah, who had been strangled and set on fire.
"You're already going through the seven stages of hell and all they were doing was adding to it, instead of trying to help."
Devine is legally blind; she and her husband, Tom, live off his pension in Rodney, Ont. The $4,500 funeral expenses wiped out their savings so completely they couldn't buy groceries.
She explained this to 12 different people over the course of the 10 weeks she was forced to fill out form after form before the board agreed to pay.
The Devines are still in debt because of the delay.
"I was really disgusted with them," she said.

So was Almeida, a London truck driver, who lost his job and couldn't support his 9-year-old son after his daughter, Naiomi, was murdered in 2001.
At his compensation hearing, he said he was asked: "How are you a victim?"

"What kind of a question is that? My 5-year-old was just raped and murdered, and yet, (they asked) how am I victim and was I injured in anyway. And then they turned around and said if my daughter would have survived we would have been granted more money."

These were the few of the stories the Province Ombudsman heard during the course of his Investigations of Complaints against the Criminal Injuries Compensation Board, an independent body mandated to provide financial compensation to Victims of violent crimes.

In a report released yesterday, Ontario's Ombudsman, André Marin, paints a picture of a "rule-obsessed, paper-shuffling" vindictive bureaucracy.

Ontario crime victims wait, on average, three years for compensation, while victims in most other provinces wait only a couple months.

The avalanche of required forms "that would give a tax lawyer pause" is part of Ontario's system that purposefully delays processing claims to cope with chronic under-funding, Marin said.

"(The board) is operating a $40 million operation on a $20 million budget and it's found ways as part of its coping mechanism... to delay, deny and obfuscate," Marin said.

Attorney General Michael Bryant vowed yesterday to take immediate action on Marin's 17 recommendations, including increasing the board's budget while the province does a complete overhaul of the system.

The Attorney General already has knowledge of the problem of his ministry as he was already informed by his staff of the Board Practices of Delaying Financial Claims, Insensitive Staffs and lack of Government funding.

"For many, their encounter with this government agency has only added to the trauma they have suffered at the hands of a criminal," Marin said.
Marin's recommendations for change include increasing the board's budget so it can pay compensation claims more quickly and ensure staff treat victims with "a more human touch."

"The Criminal Injuries Compensation Board has been for the last decade the government's dirty little secret," Marin said.

"Neither this government, nor any of its predecessors, can plead ignorance," added the Ombudsman.


Note: André Marin was formerly head of Provincial Special Investigation Unit. An independent body investigating injuries or fatalities arising from Police Officers action. And also former Military Ombudsman..

Saturday, February 24, 2007

Canada's Highest Court Rips Security Certificates

In a unanimous decision penned by Chief Justice Beverly McLachlin of the SC of Canada said this secrecy violated the fundamental right to fair trial enshrined in the Constitution.

The decision refers to the Security Certificates issued under the provision of the law to detain non-citizens for suspected ties to terrorists or terrorism without charges and on the Basis of Secret Evidence heard on close hearings and subjected the detainees to deportation.

The Court give the Government a Year to re-write the provision to conform with the provision of the Charter and suggested some ways on how to go about it.
And the conservative Government of PM Harper said that it will Study the Court decision and will comply with its order and will undertake changes , but insisted the basic principle of the Security Certificate has been Maintained.

The Chief Justice further wrote:
Quote: "A judge who reviews the certificate and the government's evidence, uncensored, "simply cannot fill the vacuum left by the removal of the traditional guarantees of a fair hearing."

"Such scrutiny is the whole point of the principle that a person whose liberty is in jeopardy must know the case to meet. Here that principle has not merely been limited; it has been effectively gutted," McLachlin wrote. "How can one meet a case one does not know?" Unquote:

Aside from the implications of the ruling within Canada, some have pointed the Universal implications as the Democratic Governments worldwide grapple with their Security while upholding the Civil and Human Rights.

Further Chief Justice Beverly McLachlin wrote: "Security concerns cannot be used to excuse procedures that do not conform to fundamental justice ... that is the bottom line," McLachlin wrote.

For links on this and more visit:

Friday, February 23, 2007

Are our Leaders Becoming Petty?

Are our politicians becoming petty?
The opposition Liberal party is branding PM Harper petty for refusing to apologize for his remarks linking an opposition MP into an Air India Bombing and the reason why the Opposition Liberal is refusing to support the extension of the provisions of the Anti-Terrorism Act that are expiring soon and will be up for a vote next Tuesday.

There is at the Moment an Air India Bombing Inquiry, after the long and difficult trial ended up with only one person convicted of the crime. The Inquiry is mandated to "dig" deep into the tragedy and to bring out all the evidence and the circumstances leading to the Bombing over Northern Ireland.

The two key contentious provisions in the Anti-Terrorism Act that are up for renewal are:

1. Investigative hearings, which empower police to compel a witness believed to have information about a pending or past terrorist act to testify, behind closed doors, before a judge.

2. Preventive arrest, which empowers police to arrest and detain without bail, for up to 72 hours, any person suspected in a terrorism offence.

Families of the victims of the Air India crash, which killed 329 people, yesterday appealed to MPs to put aside their political differences and support the extension or renewal of the Anti-Terrorism Act.

"Our association worries that the government agencies will also lack the teeth to catch suspected terrorists and stop future attacks," said Bal Gupta, a spokesperson for the Air India Victims Families Association, who later joined Harper for a photo opportunity.

My take on this issue: There is a chance that the Vote this Tuesday will result in defeat for the extension of the renewal, unless the other opposition parties support the Government, which is also unlikely. Justice John Major has already made it Known that He may shut down the Inquiry if He can’t have the access to all the information and evidence due to limitations of the law.

The two provisions that are up for renewal were not known to be subjected to unnecessary abuse during their existence, and also will be necessary to conduct a full and impartial inquiry. I would like them extended duration of the inquiry subject to vote for renewal after, for the sake of the Air India Victims and their Families... For details go to this link..

Circumcision Cuts HIV Risk: Study
Feb 23, 2007 04:30 AM
PARIS–Trials showing male circumcision more than halves the risk of HIV infection are published in The Lancet today, giving the seal of approval to calls for circumcision to be launched cautiously as an AIDS prevention strategy.
The trials, conducted in Kenya and Uganda and earlier in South Africa, found that uncircumcised men were twice as likely to catch the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) as their circumcised counterparts.

The data were so dramatic that the Kenya and Uganda trials were halted ahead of schedule for it would have been ethically wrong to continue them.

The Kenya-Uganda results were announced last year but their publication in the peer-assessed Lancet is the medical community's de-facto validation of the findings, and ensures circumcision's place in the war against AIDS.

"We have proof of a permanent intervention that can reduce the risk of HIV infection in men, which is positive news about prevention after past and current disappointments," said a commentary by Marie-Louise Newell and Till Barnighausen of South Africa's University of KwaZulu-Natal and the Harvard School of Public Health.

for more details on the article pls. go to:

As stated in the study the procedure of circumcision is the removal of the foreskin, as compares to the traditional "do it yourself of olds" procedure that were followed mostly in the Philippines, which is the "splitting" of the foreskin -top, sides or combinations, without removing them.

The Hospital procedures are different and also follow the approved medical procedure of complete removal of the foreskin, but most male Pinoy who were not born in Hospital go the traditional way, which may not be effective in cutting the risk of the HIV infection.

There is no doubt that circumcision cut the risk not only of the HIV infection, but a lot of other STDs. But for some religious reasons and personal beliefs, would this study results will really translate into mass convincing of the world male population to go on "circumcise" and whose going to underwrite the funding, especially for the poor African Countries where the HIV infection is hitting the hardest...

Sunday, February 18, 2007

The Alimodiananon Dance Troupe on Saturday Night :

Now what is that we are going to do here? Let's dance the night away. Do the Cha-Cha, the slow and romantic Rumba, the earthy Mambo and Meringue, and the everlasting romance of the Tango, and finish it with the athletic Jibes. Line Dancing? Why not..
Introducing the "alimodiananon dance group (troupe)" of Toronto. Sitting at the left is our DI. And yours truly is standing at the right. Dress code for the night, No Jeans and rubber shoes (dancing shoes preferred).

Our DI "boy" and Larah doing the intricate Mambo number.

Me and Larah (not my usual partner) getting the feel of the hardwood. Note the background of mostly seniors club members.

Just came home from our Saturday Night dancing in one of Toronto's social dance halls. This is a social club whose member are mostly seniors who meet several nights a week, usually on weekends, Friday to Sunday to dance away the winter blues and what a group of dancers they are. Our DI brought us to this place to give us the taste of ballroom dancing in real world. Well, not only ballroom dancing, Latin and international numbers, but also line dancing and lots of numbers unique only to some nationals. And who said our seniors can't kick the hardwood as quick and in harmony with the music like those stars in the Dancing with The Stars show? Most of them can dance way better than Jerry Springer.
And here's the joke we came up tonight. "your nursing home or mine"?
This posting is dedicated to verns, as she noted in her previous comments; where are the Pixs?

Thursday, February 15, 2007

To Vote or not to Vote: Election in the Philippines

This coming month of May, a mid-term synchronize elections is to be held in the Philippines for the half members of the Senate, all member of the House of Representatives, and the local Provincial and Municipal officials.

The long period of Campaign, likened by most as a Circus, has already started. Blog sites all over the country are "abuzz" with commentaries from the all cyberspace pundits, some are guise as campaign vehicles for some candidates. In a country, where a majority of the people are still living under the poverty line, money is flowing like honey come election time, every time.

For most politicians, whose campaign expense are only limited by decision on how much to invest, thinking ahead of the possible return on investment and how much they can afford to lose in case the Market turn out not in their favour, sources of campaign funds are the lest of the problem, there are just too many speculators, considering the returns are just too tempting..

Such is the sad case of the Exercise of the most important components of Democracy in the Philippines setting as compared to ours, in this very cold, vast expanse which is a little mature, not perfect in any sense of the word, but somehow take it very seriously when it comes to this matter.

I posted a comment in one of the country's premier "blogsite" on my own take on who to vote in this May election, If I would be able to vote, which I can't for the reason I also cited....

Posted on Ellen Tordesillas site. To access the site, click on the link on the sidebar::

We put too much emphasis on personalities, like if an individual will have a perpetual hold on institutions, instead we should put a lot of emphasis on institutions that no individual can topple or destroy once the foundation stood up and need only to be tinkered for more improvements. Even the great political thinkers of the past, The Lincoln, Washington and the rest know that they themselves come and go, so they build the institutions that no matter how many George Bushes come after, the Jimmy Carters and some, it will withstand the assaults and still remain standing strong when the smoke clears.

Pierre Trudeau had left the scene, but added to our institution, another solid rock to add to its strength, the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Chretien, a good leader he was, was disgraced by the sponsorship scandal of his tenure, but that same institution never was shook up and get out the mess even stronger.

Now this election, since I myself decided not to raise my right hand to swear allegiance to a country which Citizenship I never renounced (another stupid rule), I decided to forgo the legality of being a dual citizen, but consider myself a Filipino, and that can never be changed, I won’t have the privilege to vote in a national Candidates. So my only wish to those who exercise their rights is to look at the person and the Rock he or she will be bringing to start building the Institution, vote for that candidate and if he/she can not make use of that rock take it out of his/her hands and throw it back right on the face...

Sunday, February 11, 2007

A Mother's Tale: Michelle Hobor - (l974 - 2007)

The Star's special Breast Cancer section last Sept. 28 featured a piece by 32-year-old Michelle Hobor. The wife of Durham Region police officer Terry, mother of Nate, then 2, and Noelle, 14 months, died of breast cancer last month. Editor Adam Gutteridge reflects on their brief correspondence and shares her emails.

In this article, there is a Video (an album) tribute to Michelle and played with a song, also a tribute to breast cancer's victims and survivors, performed by Melissa Etheridge... I Run For Life.

I Run For Life
by Melissa Etheridge

It's been years since they told her about it
The darkness her body possessed
And the scars are still there in the mirror
Every day that she gets herself dressed
Though the pain is miles and miles behind her
And the fear is now a docile beast,
If you ask her why she is still running,
She'll tell you it makes her complete

I run for hope, I run to feel
I run for the truth for all that is real
I run for your mother, your sister, your wife
I run for you and me my friend
I run life

It's a blur since they told me about it
How the darkness had taken its toll
And they cut into my skin
And they cut into my body
But they will never get a piece of my soul

And now I'm still learning a lesson
To awake when I hear the call
And if you ask me why I am still running
I'll tell you I run for her soul

I run for hope, I run to feel
I run for the truth for all that is real
I run for your mother, your sister, your wife
I run for you and me my friend
I run life

Oh Oh Oh Oh Oh Oh
Oh Oh Oh Oh Oh Oh
Oh Oh Oh Oh Oh Oh
Oh Oh Oh Oh Oh Oh

And someday if they tell you about it
If the darkness knocks on your door
Remember her, remember me
We will be running as we have before
Running for answers, running for more

I run for hope, I run to feel
I run for the truth, for all that is real
I run for your mother, your sister, your wife
I run for you and me my friend

I run for hope, I run to feel
I run for the truth, for all that is real
I run for your mother, your sister, your daughter, your wife
For you and me my friend
I run for life

Oh Oh Oh Oh Oh Oh

I run for your mother, your sister, your wife
I run for you and me my friend
I run for life

To read the whole article and view the video and listen to the song, please go to:

Meanwhile, breast cancer is still the major cause of death among young women, and women of every age regardless of nationality, colour or race or ethnicity. Please be conscious and learn more about it, and also help as much as you can for the Cause...

Sunday, February 04, 2007

The Filipinos in Toronto and their Dancing Shoes...

"For Filipinos in Toronto, the latest dance craze is nothing new. They've been gathering to enhance community ties and practice their own blend of ballroom styles for decades."

Today’s Sunday Edition of Toronto Star features the already on going craze among The Close Knit Filipino Community long before the popular show Dancing with the Stars became a hit show.

For the complete torstar articles and more pls. Click:

“He is suave in a grey suit and tie. She is glittering in jewels and a black-and-white number. And they are both ready and waiting when the doors open at 6:30.
Moments later, Eddie and Rosa Ferareza are twirling and gliding like swans across the gym at Garnet A. Williams Community Centre in Thornhill.
With their heads high and smiles that cross their serious expressions from time to time, the Filipino couple, married for 42 years, focus on the intricate ballroom steps and sequences learned when they fell in love with ballroom 17 years ago.”

A few months back, during our regular get together among town mates to celebrate our annual town Fiesta, we talked about the idea of learning ballroom dancing. Every time we had a party, we just go on the dance floor and just sway and swing to the music and most of the time, we don’t know which foot go first and which one is the next and sometimes we end stepping our partners or other dancers and the most embarrassing part is to run out of steps on the middle of numbers.

No Problem, one of our town mates was agog to the idea to get hubby do the exercise to reduce the excess baggage and an excuse to get those nice dancing shoes and someday when we are ready to swing in the public ballrooms those nice Cinderella dresses. We guys just have to settle for formal dark pants, shirt as much as possible a body hugging type and maybe in some instances a nice matching coat (amerikana) and we are just about prep and ready for the attire.

Our DI, a fellow Filipino with almost 20 years of dancing in his shoes is eloquent as the one you would see in the Championship Dancing, and with an equally "expert" partner, they are just as good as any couple in the Dancing World. And slowly, but surely he is imparting all those moves and steps to us, and the only problems is do we have the patience like him to be like him or close to it? Well, we’re all in for it for fun and camaraderie and any thing further will be a great bonus.

With Heads High and Smiles and that expression ala Valentino, someday we will be dancing along with Eddie and Rosa and the Hundreds of others not just for fun but also to raise funds for some very needy charity works here and at our native country... Let go cha-cha-cha , the slow and romantic Rumba (quick, quick, slow), the sexy and earthy merinque, the wide rise and fall of the Strauss waltz and the most romantic of all, the Tango, now snap that head, back over the other side. Let’s take a break and have a good slice of Pizza, DI.