Springwater Township councillor Perry Ritchie and Dr. Kahneman suggest: If there is time, slowing down is likely to be a good idea.

April 23, 2014

Professor Daniel Kahneman is a Nobel laureate and an expert in decision-making. Mr. Perry showed again last night at Council that is a man of character and not easily SLAPPed into irrationality.

Daniel Kahneman

Why are 5 of 7  votes on Council continuing to not just green-light but help the acceleration of the the clearly catastrophic (ie. economically, socially, and environmentally) Midhurst Secondary Plan? I would suggest Dr. Kahneman has some answers.

Bully Tactic: trigger the councillors’ fear of losing their own homes and life savings in Anten Mills, Midhurst, Elmvale and Grenfel in a never-before seen-in-Ontario “+$100-million lawsuit” that is “probable”. Don’t just intimidate a few militant ratepayers through phoney lawsuiits or just Council: intimidate all 18,000 voters in Springwater Township.

Mechanism: A Toronto lawyer’s very, very, very carefully crafted, verbal opinion. A +$100-million figment of a attorney’s imagination. A deeply cynical “Trap for the Trusting”. A situation engineered to scare the shit (and sense) out of the perfectly competent rural representatives who are cast into a situation that is well-beyond their own abilities to comprehend or even know they don’t understand.

Kahneman Quotes:

People just hate the idea of losing. Any loss, even a small one, is just so terrible to contemplate that they compensate by buying insurance, including totally absurd policies like air travel.

Human beings cannot comprehend very large or very small numbers. It would be useful for us to acknowledge that fact.

We’re blind to our blindness. We have very little idea of how little we know. We’re not designed to know how little we know.

And most especially:

Courage is willingness to take the risk once you know the odds. Optimistic overconfidence means you are taking the risk because you don’t know the odds. It’s a big difference.

At Stake: Almost 200 years of community building, 1,900 acres of prime farmland, political self-determination based on local financial control, irreplaceable biodiversity in the Minesing Wetlands: all lost because 5 individuals chose to listen to their fears and enemies instead of their friends, family: their hearts and minds. Their faith.

This may be their legacy: a failure to meet and master their life’s work.

An unwillingness to be a leader who trusts we could do this as a community.


Is Shame-humiliation a professional treatment of a taxpayer during a Springwater Township budget meeting?

March 13, 2014

I did not expect to see a fellow citizen bullied and publicly shamed in a municipal Council meeting.

Springwater News, March 15th article Two Simple Words (click here for pdf copy):

…To my surprise a staff member’s burst of an angry response, to my distaste, became a threeway use of “outside voices”, the third party being the mayor, when the feeling of being bullied and cornered brought out the worst in me. For that I am sorry.

At the next coming meeting, I intend to verbally apologize to all council members plus I took the time to write each individual person on council a hand-written note of an apology. My slate will be clean and everyone, I hope, will feel better, with the grave exception of this lowly soul who did not get one in return. I feel I also deserve an apology for the mismanagement of the situation. A simple apology would have aided in making me feel the same as my apology made those two feel. I did this all behind closed doors with an appointment that I made to rectify this unfortunate position my mouth caused.

So maybe I did not deserve an apology but did I deserve for that staff member to abruptly shove his chair, leave the meeting and the office and ask the clerk to take his place at the table and leave me sitting in the office?

When I left the meeting and returned home, I thought it all over again, thinking to myself, “Was I wrong in asking someone on staff to share the blame alongside me. How can I be the only one not deserving of an “I’m sorry”? Am I less of a person than the one who bolted out of the room? Did I not deserve to be heard? I did expect more from a person who receives a pay cheque from my taxes…

The Compass of Shame, Dr. Donald Nathanson, Affect theory

In my opinion, this citizen, has dealt with this unprovoked shame-humiliation attack in an appropriate manner.

What happens if a municipality is bullied by others?

April 17, 2012

Sensible advice, as always, from Barbara Coloroso. The Bullying Circle.

What happens if the politicians don’t resist being bullied? It gets worse doesn’t it?

See video here: http://embed.5min.com/516939633/

If the politicians are bullied and they’re the citizens’ representatives; Aren’t the voters indirectly but effectively intimidated, too?

An 83-foot-high KKK fiery cross shone like a beacon over Barrie and Allandale in 1926 and the surrounding countryside

April 4, 2012

Less than a month later, three men try to blow up St. Mary’s Catholic church in Barrie.

Total of five burning crosses in front of 6,000 spectators…judge sees the bombing as a “foolish Hallowe’en escapade”.


Ku Klux Klan
As a community, Barrie was never wracked by continuing ethnic, religious, or sectarian violence. For the most part, any intolerance was neither greater nor worse than in any number of southern Ontario towns. This made the events of May and June 1926 stand out as unusual.

On Saturday night, May 22, 1926, thousands of curious Barrieites watched hundreds of the white supremacy organization, the Ku Klux Klan of Kanada, raise a fiery cross in a field at the north end of Toronto Street. The Klansmen had arrived from all over central Ontario for the afternoon’s speeches. The evening saw “a large class of candidates from many parts of the province…initiated into the order.” Speakers included the Rev. Dr. C. Lewis Fowler, Imperial Secretary of the Klan, who spoke of the “supremacy in the land of the white, Gentile, Protestant, Anglo-Saxon people.” The evening’s highlight was the burning of five crosses before a crowd of up to 6,000 spectators. The Advance captured the scene:

The field tops the highest promontory of the circle of hills protecting Barrie from the north. And from it the 83-foot-high fiery cross shone like a beacon over Barrie and Allandale and the surrounding countryside. It was, in fact, visible for miles across Kempenfeldt Bay. Four lesser crosses and a flood of light from the automobiles added to the blaze from the great cross, provided sufficient illumination for the weird scene.

The tone of the newspaper’s report is one of subdued embarrassment. There was no editorial on the Klan’s visit, except to say that: “It is reported that some citizens have been double barricading their doors every night since the Ku Klux Klan meeting here in Barrie.” Later, it carried the opinion in the Newmarket Herald: “The Ku Klux Klan celebration at Barrie on a recent Sunday is what might be termed a doubtful distinction.

Within weeks, the “doubtful distinction” descended into the realm of the dubious, if not infamous. About 11:45 p.m. on Thursday, June 10, someone tried to blow up St. Mary’s Roman Catholic church on Mulcaster Street. Within a week, William Skelly, William Butler, and Clare D. Lee were behind bars. The Advance reported that: “Various theories are advanced by local citizens as to the cause of the explosion in St. Mary’s church. The best of feeling had always prevailed among the religious bodies in town, and all are working in harmony for the common good.” For his part, Skelly, an unemployed Irish veteran, implicated the KKK. The group vehemently denied the charge.

Skelly, Butler, and Lee were tried in October 1926. Each was found guilty and sentenced to five, four, and three years in Kingston penitentiary respectively. Evidence during the trial showed that Skelly had fallen in with local members of the KKK. Looking to make a point, a plan was hatched to blow up the Champlain monument in Orillia. Lots were drawn and the deed fell to Skelly, who was unable to obtain a car. Lee and Butler then counseled him to blow up St. Mary’s instead. In sentencing butler, Justice Logie explained that he gave a lesser period in jail because “I feel in my mind that this was done in a spirit of bravado, more like a foolish Hallowe’en escapade.” Both the Advance and the Orillia Packet and Times agreed that the outrage only served to damage the KKK’s cause. As the Orillia paper put it, all that “Skelly, the Barrie dynamiter…succeeded in doing was to blow up the Ku Klux Klan.”

Beautiful Barrie: The City and Its People, Su Murdoch, BES Rudachyk and KH Schick, 2005, p.218-9.

Here is a description of a 1917 attempt to burn St. Mary’s church down.

Which was worse in Simcoe county politics: To be a member of the KKK or have a Roman Catholic wife?

April 4, 2012

Religious fervour is not unknown in Simcoe county politics.

In the 1917 federal election in Simcoe North,  E.C. Drury was rumoured to have been:

  • a drunkard,
  • a member of the Ku Klux Klan,
  • the husband of a Roman Catholic, and
  • contributed money to the repair of the Barrie Catholic church after the K.K.K. set fire to it.

He didn’t win this election.

Excerpt from E.C. Drury’s memoirs:

The [federal] election was set for early December [1917], and I opened my campaign in November after the fall work on the farm…

Some months before, a bunch of young fools in Barrie had held a midnight meeting in their nightshirts (pyjamas had not yet come in) and burned a fiery cross and organized a Ku Klux Klan. Two of their number, carried away by their enthusiasm, set fire to the Catholic church. Fortunately the fire was discovered and put out before it did much damage. The young fellows were arrested and tried and found guilty and sent to prison and their K.K.K. friends didn’t come forward to help. Around Phelpston, a strongly Catholic community, the rumour ran during the campaign that I was a member of the K.K.K. and had attended the midnight meeting where the Klan was organized. Around Elmvale a few miles away, where the Orange vote was strong, the rumour ran that my wife was a Catholic and that I had subscribed to a fund to restore the damaged church. One morning, when I got off the train in Stayner, I met on the platform the Methodist minister, the Reverend Harold Toye. I knew Harold very well, from the time when he was a boy and had saved another boy from drowning in White’s Pond about three miles north of our place. As he came toward me now he was grinning and turning his head from side to side. I asked him what was the meaning of all. “Oh,” he said, “I just wanted to see whether you could walk straight this morning. The story around these parts is that you are a heavy drinker and never go to bed sober.” Temperance sentiment around Stayner was very strong.

All of these stories were of course ridiculous. I never had anything to do with K.K.K., which I despised. My wife was not a Catholic, but a Methodist. I never subscribed to a fund to restore the damaged church – I never was asked to. Finally, like my father before me, I was a lifelong total abstainer. Yet these rumours were circulated, and doubtless they had their effect how great I do not know.

Farmer Premier: The Memoirs of E.C. Drury, E. C. Drury, McClelland and Stewart Limited, 1966, p. 78-9.

St. Mary’s Church, Barrie 1872 – 1970 (1890 shown)

First of two attempts to destroy the church: this one by fire in 1917 and a bomb in May 1926 (see here).  Location: NE corner of Mulcaster and McDonald Streets, the parking lot across from 90 Mulcaster Street, see here. Image by the Simcoe County Archives

Ku Klux Klan in Canada

The Ku Klux Klan is an ultraconservative, secret fraternal organization dedicated to the supremacy of an Anglo-Saxon, Protestant society. Formed in Pulaski, Tenn, in November 1865 by 6 ex-Confederate soldiers, it was outlawed in 1871 because of violent and outrageous acts against blacks and northerners. Revived in November 1915 in Atlanta, Ga, it drew its support from middle- and lower-class Americans who feared the loss of conservative and rural values.

In 1921 the Klan was reported active in Montréal; by 1925 “klans,” or locals, had been established all across Canada. Like their American counterparts, Canadian Klansmen had a fanatical hatred for all things Roman Catholic and feared that the purity of the Anglo-Saxon race was being jeopardized by new immigration. Moreover, they were not averse to stepping outside the law to achieve their goals.

From the The Canadian Encyclopedia.

Top 10 searches this week on iLoveMidhurst.ca

March 23, 2012

WordPress does not show me the names of the people searching this weblog. Same for those who choose to follow the weblog by email.

Erving Goffman, incredibly, tops the list.

  1. erving goffman
  2. earl rumm
  3. public humiliation
  4. bullies
  5. midhurst growth plan omb hearing
  6. timmins ridings
  7. geranium homes
  8. claire bateman-czerny
  9. pictures of bullies
  10. humiliation public

When homeowners are bullied, What is an appropriate response for a municipal government?

March 5, 2012

Springwater Township says that they want citizens to be involved in their local government.

Cycle bullying

Assuming that to be true, what role should the Township play when a multi-million dollar development plan makes private township citizens intimidation victims?

What have they done to stop bullying?

The Bullying Circle

  1. The bully/bullies: – I’m not a bully -> I wouldn’t associate with any bullies -> therefore there is no bullying
  2. Follower, henchmen:- turn a blind eye, delegate to staff for dirty work
  3. Supporter, passive bully/bullies: – information sharing, scouting for trouble-makers
  4. Passive supporter, possible bully: – behind-closed-doors deals
  5. Disengaged onlooker: – appreciative of the shared benefits of bullying
  6. Possible defender: – expresses outrage in theory; in practice, nothing done
  7. Defender of the victim:- engage in true problem solving based on participatory democratic principles


What is Bullying?
Bullying or victimization can be generally defined in the following way: A student is being bullied or victimized when he or she is exposed, repeatedly and over time, to negative actions on the part of one or more other students. Such negative actions include intentionally inflicting, or attempting to inflict, injury or discomfort upon another. These behaviors can be carried out physically (e.g., hitting, kicking, pushing, choking), verbally (e.g., by calling names, threatening, taunting, malicious teasing, spreading nasty rumors), or in other ways, such as making faces or obscene gestures, or intentional exclusion from a group.

Blueprints for Violence Prevention Model Programs, Center for the Study and Prevention of Violence, Institute of Behavioral Science, University of Colorado at Boulder

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