Thursday, 17 November 2011

Make it a Canadian Christmas - Please

As the holidays approach, the giant Asian factories are kicking into high gear to provide Canadians with monstrous piles of cheaply produced goods -- merchandise that has been produced at the expense of Canadian labor. This year will be different. This year Canadians will give the gift of genuine concern for other Canadians. There is no longer an excuse that, at gift giving time, nothing can be found that is produced by Canadians hands. Yes there is! It's time to think outside the box. Who says a gift needs to fit in a shirt box, wrapped in Chinese produced wrapping paper?
             Everyone -- yes EVERYONE gets their hair cut. How about gift certificates from your local Canadian hair salon or barber? Gym membership? It's appropriate for all ages who are thinking about some health improvement. Who wouldn't appreciate getting their car detailed? Small, Canadian owned detail shops and car washes would love to sell you a gift certificate or a book of gift certificates.
              Are you one of those extravagant givers who think nothing of spending large on a Chinese made flat-screen? Perhaps that grateful gift receiver would like his driveway sealed or lawn mowed for the summer or driveway plowed all winter or some games at the local golf course. There are a bazillion owner-run restaurants -- all offering gift certificates. And, if your intended isn't the fancy eatery sort, what about a half dozen breakfasts at the local breakfast joint. Plan your holiday outings at local, owner operated restaurants and leave your server a nice tip. Or, why not go out to see a play or ballet at your hometown theatre. Musicians need love too. Find a venue showcasing local bands. How many people could use an oil change for their car, truck or motorcycle, done at a shop run by the Canadian working guy? Thinking about a heartfelt gift for mom? Mom would LOVE the services of a local cleaning lady for a day. My computer could use a tune-up, and I KNOW I can find some young guy who is struggling to get his repair business up and running. OK, you were looking for something more personal. Local crafts people spin their own wool and knit them into scarves. They make jewelry, and pottery and beautiful wooden boxes. 

               This holiday shouldn’t be about big National chains. This holiday should be about supporting your hometown Canadian with their financial lives on the line to keep their doors open. Christmas should no longer be about draining Canadian pockets so that China can build another glittering city.
               Christmas must now be about caring about each other. Encouraging Canadian small businesses to keep plugging away to follow their dreams. When we care about other Canadians, we care about our communities and the benefits come back to us in ways we couldn't imagine. Make this our new Canadian Christmas tradition. Be part of this holiday revolution. Canadians caring about each other. Let's all make it a very merry Canadian Christmas, Please !

Friday, 4 November 2011

Round-About on Homer Watson

Twice yesterday I needed to use Homer Watson at times when students were either going to school or heading home. Upon cresting the hill I could see two police cruisers parked on the median with radar. The officers were enforcing the new speed limit of 50 km approaching the roundabout at Block Line Rd. They had several cars stopped in the left lane thus reducing traffic to the right lane only. At the entrance to the roundabout was another officer with radar as well. This office was enforcing the 30 km limit in the roundabout. The officer had one car stopped in the middle of the roundabout restricting the flow through of traffic. Also at the exit of the roundabout was a crossing guard who was stopping all vehicles to allow the students to cross. The crossing guard was only assisting students across Homer Watson not Block Line so there were vehicles stopped in the roundabout to allow those students to cross without a guard. As I proceeded out of the roundabout there were two more cruisers, on the median with radar stopping vehicles approaching from the Ottawa St. direction.

I can only imagine the cost of all these officers at this roundabout each day and their presence there was causing drivers to slow, stop and look at them so much so that the confusion in the roundabout was a greater safety issue for the students. In addition to this the crossing guards are now acting as stop lights and vehicles exiting the roundabout are stopped while other vehicles are continuing to circle, changing lanes without signaling to avoid hitting the stopped vehicles. 

This roundabout is now more dangerous than ever before.

I happen to be in favor of roundabouts but only when they are designed properly.  In England and Europe the roundabouts are designed with consideration of both vehicle and pedestrian ease of use and safety. However, the architects of all the roundabouts in the Waterloo Region created their design with only one objective in mind - take out the stop lights, thus improving the flow of traffic. At no time did they consider ease of use or vehicle safety and it never even entered their head that anyone would want to walk across a roundabout.

Unfortunately for the taxpayers of the Region we must now fight to correct a flawed design and pay for the correction.