Archive for June, 2012

Ford endangers TTC passengers, gets away with openly breaking more laws

Posted on June 29th, 2012 2 Comments

Fordo does it again!

It’s bad enough to set the example that it’s okay to flagrantly break driving laws and talk on a cell phone while behind the wheel, but now His Ascended Fattiness has been caught driving past open streetcar doors on Toronto streets while passengers were boarding. Anyone who lives in the city knows that streetcars can’t come to the curb so drivers must stop to let passengers on.

Of course, this law doesn’t apply to the mayor who apparently gets to plow through anyone he chooses because he’s Rob Fucking Ford! How do I know it doesn’t apply? Simply because, despite having words with the streetcar operator, Ford once again got away without so much as the measly $109 fine. There was a streetcar full of witnesses, and it’s unlikely that most of them wouldn’t recognize our Illustrious Thickness at this point, so why the fuck aren’t the police charging him with breaking the law?

And what was Fucking Ford’s response? He’s apparently the one that “had comments” for the TTC operator and then lodged a goddamn complaint against him for having the gall to confront him! And Ford’s lapdog, Andy Byford, has said that he can’t comment on the complaint because,  “In the same way as normally we wouldn’t comment on specifics around a customer complaint, I’m not going to on this occasion.” Really, Andy? Last time I checked, Rob Ford was in his van or whatever the hell he drives, and not on the TTC, and hence not a customer. In fact, when was the last time Ford squeezed his fat ass onto public transit?

So in the long run, does it matter at all that the mayor once again brazenly broke the law, chided the operator for calling him on it, and then instead of trying to do the right thing tried to get the operator fired?

“As far as we’re concerned the matter is closed,” TTC spokesman Brad Ross said. “We’re not going to comment on the incident.”

Hooray! Another day of justice for Toronto.

Filed under: Dispatches, Patrick Bay

Canadian government wanted passport desecration video banned

Posted on June 19th, 2012 3 Comments

In Google’s latest transparency report there was a minor note about how Passport Canada had requested to ban a YouTube video featuring a passport being pissed on and flushed down the toilet. I’ve tried looking for the video but can’t seem to find it, suggesting that maybe the government had used other means to have the offending material removed.

I can only imagine that the government would’ve use the “passports are government property” excuse as a basis for this, yet considering the fact that a passport is required to both leave and re-enter Canada, to claim that they can control a person’s actions using a passport as a threat (if they can have a video banned, why stop there?), this would go directly against the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms Mobility Rights clause as well as the Fundamental Freedoms portion. And since this is the highest law in the land, this is a pretty clear-cut example of the government breaking the fundamental laws governing the country, or at least coming very very close. Will anyone be held to account for this? How about a mild reprimand? Maybe a stern nod?

Originally posted at:


Filed under: Dispatches, Patrick Bay

McGuinty wants privatize Ontario services (just like the amazing 407 deal)

Posted on June 18th, 2012 2 Comments

I know I’ve spent a lot of time pissing on the Conservatives and Harper, but it’s become exceedingly obvious that the Liberals are just more of the same, the same broken system of bipartisanship designed to keep us all arguing on the ground instead of looking at the houses of power and seeing the truth of the corruption and lies being peddled there.

I say this because of Dalton McGuinty’s latest revelation that his budget, which he wants the NDP to guarantee in writing to vote for, includes a section that would privatize ServiceOntario. In case you’re wondering what this agency does, here’s a quick rundown of everything that would fall into private hands:

  • Driver’s licenses, plates, and stickers
  • Birth certificates and newborn registrations
  • Death certificates
  • Marriage certificates
  • Business licenses
  • Personal property liens
  • Hunting and fishing licenses
  • Government address registrations

All this even as, in the same budget, McGuinty’s government boasts about how they’ve saved $1.5 billion last year. So how do they justify it? With the claim that Canada is poor because of the 2009 recession, and we need to cut cut cut! This is probably thanks to Harper (may I have a second helping, sir?), even though the Liberal’s own website strongly suggests this is not the case.

In any event, the Libs are holding up the construction and almost immediate sale of highway 407 as the type of resounding success that privatization can bring. I’m sure anyone who takes the 407 is familiar with just how amazing it is to be under the yoke of a private agency that can revoke your driving privileges. And wasn’t it the Libs who took the 407 to court to try to break that contract? And, what a wonderful example to hold up anyways…the fact that it cost over $100 billion to build, land acquisitions and all, and was sold for just over $3 billion for a quick $1.5 billion “profit” for the Conservatives that wasn’t really a profit at all.

Look, I get it, all of you who have been calling these people “Fiberals” have, I admit, been far too kind about your monickers, but just don’t delude yourselves that by being on the other side (ergo the Conservatives), is any better. The government at all levels (I’m sure I’ve mentioned my municipal government more than once), seems hell bent on robbing citizens blind for the benefit of the banks. A global deficit, after all, is impossible if the same money lent out is what’s owed — that’s just elementary logic. The only way that the whole world can owe an approximate $200 trillion is if someone either stole that amount, or loaned it out fraudulently (they never had it to begin with), and is now expecting payback. And I dunno know about you, but the government only ever takes my money, never gives me any, so I sure as hell wasn’t on the receiving end of any such “loan”.

The fact that politicians are all mentioning that the “new” deficit is going to come from Europe where it was caused by banks lending out money they didn’t have (with much help by Government laws and regulations), and then expecting payback for cash literally created out of thin air (look up “fractional reserve banking” if you need an explanation), indicates a strong collusion, probably even big kickbacks (but how would we know? The banks control the money supply!) Besides, haven’t governments been handing over taxpayer money to the banks by the billions to solve this “problem”? How’s that been working out?

So doesn’t it just make perfect sense to go in exactly this direction more and more? Then, when we can’t pay our “debts” anymore, the banks can just privatize everything and then get ready for some genuine old-school slavery (or feudalism if you like, and if we’re lucky). And the government can be expected to back them all the way.

Filed under: B Sides, Patrick Bay

The theft of banking fees — my letter to the Ombudsman

Posted on June 18th, 2012 1 Comment

I recently had a situation where one of the cheques I wrote bounced. Happens. But what I discovered as a result shocked and upset me.

They’re charging me $42.50 for a bounced cheque!

For starters, I wanted to know who I could contact about my bank. I visited the OBSI website and discovered that my institution decided it just simply didn’t want to participate anymore. According to OBSI, this means:

Unfortunately, some financial services providers are not covered by an ombudsman service.You may have to contact a government department or regulator if you are dealing with a mortgage broker, insurance broker, financial planner or other service which is not covered by an ombudsman.  Some resources to help you can be found in our Useful Websites.

Didn’t help much except to give me the TD Ombudsman’s email address. So I shot off an email:

Hello Mr. XXX,

I’ve recently managed to run into an NSF situation with my chequing account due to an error on my part. I noticed that the NSF fee has been increased to $42.50, a sum I don’t recall ever being informed about. In regards to NSF fees, I have a couple of questions and a complaint to make:


  1. How does BANK determine the fee of $42.50? This value seems incredibly high and fairly arbitrary considering most of the clearing process is completely automated (it would seem that the only costs incurred would be for the electricity consumed and perhaps the decreasing cost of the computer equipment involved).
  2. What is BANK’s responsibility in informing customers in NSF fee increases? And what are the repercussions to BANK for simply arbitrarily setting any fees it likes – what laws govern this? I’m presuming the standard placations that BANK “wouldn’t do that” (a need to retain customers, fairness, etc. etc.), but given that this is precisely what is being done, not to mention my own experiences and knowledge working behind the scenes at financial transaction networks, I would appreciate a forthright explanation.


Banks, including BANK (I believe), currently charge the depositor for NSF as well ($20 is my understanding). This fee seems exceptionally egregious since the depositor has absolutely no control over what funds may or may not be in the cheque issuer’s account. This is similar to mobile phone companies who had been charging customers for receiving text messages – when there is no option or ability to refuse – or even know about impending charges — the courts have found such behaviour to be unlawful and has resulted in large fines. From my point of view, the banks seem to be engaging in this practice as well, and it becomes worse when it’s done by a bank where both the cheque issuer and the depositor both have an account – the bank is in the sole position to know that a cheque will be returned NSF and allows for no recourse, thereby seemingly simply taking money from account holders as it likes. And after exacting such exorbitant fees, the bank does not see fit to offer any services that might benefit their customers in such situations, seemingly chalking up the money extracted as nothing more than profits to be shared among shareholders. Is this accurate? And if it’s not, please offer an explanation.

I have a few other points of contention with bank operations but I would like to start with these.

Thanks for your time and attention.


Patrick Bay

In hindsight I realized I’d unintentionally fibbed a bit — I do get notices that my bank account is being changed, by mail — but it still seems pretty unsavoury that they can just up their fees (note how they never go down), at any time by simply telling you they’re going to do it. It’s kind of like making theft legal so long as the robber lets you know he’ll be dropping by next Tuesday.

And I do feel pretty strongly about calling it theft based on the escalating NSF fees that banks charge, not only to me, but more to the person on the receiving end. Seriously, $20 for receiving a cheque that bounces? As I point out in my letter, mobile carriers did this to consumers with text messages, and the law wisely said that we can’t possibly held accountable for something that’s completely out of our control and even knowledge.

In any event, I can’t help but feel jaded by the knowledge that even though we have a Consumer Protection Act, financial services and banks seem to be completely omitted from it (a.k.a. they’re the only business that the CPA doesn’t really want you to know about). And, sadly, the Bank Act doesn’t do a whole heck of a lot on protecting customers either, though it does spell out all sort of insane rights that no individual would ever have.

Yes, it’s true that I did work behind the scenes at a financial transaction network and saw exactly where most of the bank fees go — into the bankers’ pockets. I sure as heck didn’t get rich working there, and on an average night, a financial institution would walk away with between $1000 to $2000 in pure profit (after I’d been paid, rent was covered, etc.) And this was a tiny side-network of small credit unions that were connected to Interac and decades ago; I can’t imagine the level of skimming on just standard transaction on any given day on something like the whole Interac network or Plus today.

Do you remember what the banks promised to everyone when ATMs were just starting to be rolled out to the public? “Oh, it’ll make things cheaper! Now you won’t have to pay for a teller and all of your transactions will be much smaller!” Yeah, $1.50 to $3.00 a transaction — MUCH cheaper. That was just the beginning of the wholesale lie.

When banks complain that they’re the most regulated industry out there, maybe it’s because they need to be. Maybe because they’re the most crooked, the most in need of control. Maybe as consumers we need take control back since the government seems only too happy to give it away, and the banks are only too happy to abuse it.


Filed under: B Sides, Patrick Bay, Why I'm Right

Had us some poutine tonight

Posted on June 16th, 2012 Be the first to comment

The song on the P.A. system in the shop was Ozzy Osbourne’s “Crazy Train”. The place was Smoke’s Poutinerie, a tiny hole in the wall serving the generally agreed-upon definitive Canadian food consisting of fried potatoes topped with cheese curds and gravy. The recipe is pretty simple and Smoke’s doesn’t deviate too much except to add things like beef, peas, or other fitting toppings.

I stick with the tried and true peppercorn beef — sliced beef with a peppercorn gravy. Except that tonight it would be a large, for me and Sarah, with less gravy on her half.

Seemed pretty simple.

I gave my order, including two cokes and a plastic bag, to the bespectacled fellow manning the cash register and he cheerful acknowledged. After hovering over the register for what seemed like five minutes he finally managed to type in my instructions, but not before the guy in the kitchen, overhearing my request for half the gravy on half, managed to toss out some jibe about filling half a pool with only half the water.


I stood back for a bit, remarking on my luck at being the only one in the place. And before I could blink, my order was on the counter. Great!

“Close it up for you?”, asked cash register guy, pointing at the opened paper box of poutine.

“Umm, is that a peppercorn beef?”, I asked, noticing a complete absence of any beef on the meal. Usually the beef sits conspicuously on the top so it was hard to miss.

“Yup!”, replied register.

“And are you sure this is a large?”, I asked again, noticing that this was definitely not the large box.

“Oh, umm, you wanted a large?”, said cash register.

“Yeah, I said. But you know what? If you wanna just dump this into a large box and top it up, we can call it a day.”

This really stumped cash register guy. He stood there for a very long time, finger on his lips, deciding how best to handle the situation.

“Are you sure?”, he asked, “I only have a regular on this order.”

“Pretty sure”, I replied. “It’s for two people. But like I said, if you wanna put it into a big box and charge me the difference, I’ll by on my way.”

At this point the guy in the kitchen piped up. “How about I just put it into another regular box? If I dumped it into a big box, it wouldn’t taste as it was intended.”

“Sure”, I shrugged my shoulders, “why not?”

Back to register; “Okay? Great, so I’ll just charge you for another regular one then.”

“Umm, no”, I retorted. “I just want one large one. We can’t eat two and it’s more than I was expecting to spend.”

“Okay, so, umm, hang on a sec”, said cash register, holding up a finger. “Okay, so I’ll just charge you the difference, an extra two dollars, and we’ll get you a large one. Sound good?”

“I mean, sure, I guess. But it’s really no bother if you want to just take this one here and stick it into a large box and top it up. Really.”

“No, that’s okay. We’ll get you two regulars and charge you for a large”, replied kitchen guy, clearly the one in charge of the place.

Fine by me.

A few more minutes went by and poutine number two emerged. Except this one looked startingly different from number one — it had copious helpings of shaved beef and mushrooms (as it should).

Register held them both up to examine them. With a puzzled look on his face he remarked that they don’t look the same.

No they don’t, I said.

He called out to kitchen guy, asking if poutine number one was correct.

“What do you mean?”, replied kitchen guy.

“Well, isn’t it supposed to have beef or something on it?”, replied cash register.

I didn’t bother pointing out that I had said this at the beginning. I was really more interested in seeing how this would all play out.

“I can’t see anything from here!”, replied kitchen. “Pass it over.”

Register passed it back through the order window and under the consternated gaze of kitchen who seemed instantly to recognize that half of order number one was absent. In the meantime, I payed the difference.

A couple of additional minutes went buy as kitchen disappear behind the counter. Not sure where he went because it’s only about chest high, but he stayed there for an unnaturally long time.

Then he re-appeared and passed back a completed poutine. Both were slapped on the counter in front of me in a state of glorious completion.

“Close ’em up for you?”, asked cash register once again, beaming a “we finally did it!” smile.

“Sure”, I replied.

He did so with a little trouble (in his defense, those things aren’t easy to close), and slid them in front of me.

“There you go! Sorry for the trouble. Have a great day”, he half-waved.

“Did I order a couple of cokes too?”, I asked, not sure what the hell he’d punched into the register at this point.

“Oh yeah! Let me get those for you…and here we are. Have a good one!”

“Thanks”, I smiled. “Don’t suppose you have that plastic bag back there somewhere too do you?”

“Oh shit!”, blurted out register. He pulled one out and slapped it on the counter, red-faced. I thanked him again, bagged my dinner (at that point I decided it would be asking too much), and left Smoke’s.

“Crazy train” was just finishing up as I left the premises.


Filed under: B Sides, Patrick Bay, Pictures

CSEC opacity increases, your rights decrease

Posted on June 16th, 2012 Be the first to comment

As I mentioned in my first audiocast (which I’m itching to pick up again real soon), one of the topics that got me started on this blog was Canada’s version of the NSA, the Communications Security Establishment of Canada or CSEC.

What both fascinates and terrifies me about organizations such as CSEC is the cloak of secrecy under which they operate. While being all undercover makes a certain amount of sense, it also lends itself to a great deal of abuse. The little bit that we can glean from accounts such as Mike Frost’s book Spyworld leaves a very bad taste in my mouth — the agency has no problems spying on even the highest levels of government for undetermined reasons, meaning that none of us peons are excluded from warrantless surveillance.

Where CSEC feels something is out of its jurisdiction it simply asks a foreign security apparatus to pick up, thereby absolving themselves of any wrongdoing, and the whole thing is anonymized and removed from oversight anyways meaning that even if such actions ever came to light they would never be linked to anyone in particular. It’s a free pass to do whatever they please to anyone they like. And such behaviour has been going on for decades — proposed laws such as Lawful Access are merely an attempt to broaden and legitimize it for wholesale use across Canada (and elsewhere).

Continue reading at:

Filed under: B Sides, Patrick Bay

Mark Cidade, future mayor of Toronto

Posted on June 11th, 2012 37 Comments


Normally I wouldn’t pay much mind to people like Mark Cidade, but since he has vowed to run for mayor in 2014, having withdrawn his 2010 bid, and since he decided to get into scraps on Facebook on a variety of topics ranging from poverty to health, I thought it’d be a good idea to preserve some of his insights here for posterity. When the 2014 election rolls around, I sure do hope these are dug up again. And no, none of them are taken out of context.

On why the poor don’t eat home-cooked meals

They have the ability. They just lazy!

So they are cooking-disabled? Is that a thing now all of a sudden? What’s the cure—more drugs?

On why people are poor

Everyone is responsible for their own actions but they are too weak to withstand temptation otherwise they wouldn’t be in that mess. None of them would be.

There are plenty of job opportunities but a lot of these people simply don’t want to work.

On mental health disorders

If you leave someone to their own devices, all symptoms vanish eventually.

On disability benefits

I was a trustee for a client who was on ODSP and this guy would not get his act together! People need role models not incentives.

[someone replied that “things are not that black and white”]

He was brown!

On cancer, AIDS, multiple sclerosis, and depression

Cancer, AIDS, and MS all go away with proper lifestyle choices.

[A stress-free lifestyle is] one of many cures. Not everyone is willing to be un-stressed, unfortunately. I cured my depression. It’s also stress and food related.

On the 2014 election

You don’t know who I am but I’m the next fucking mayor of this city, bitches!

On not winning the 2010 election

I LET him [Rob Ford] win the 2010 election to teach this city a lesson. Everything HE says is by de facto WRONG.

[posted on July 9, 2010] As of today I am officially out of the race—I withdrew my nomination due to health issues.

On Rob Ford

As Robert Ford steps down from his meat scale, women everywhere need to step up and work out!

On Giorgio Mammoliti’s single mother/casino comment

A single Mammy stands up for all single Mommies! Way to go, Georgio. Why don’t we build the casino on the Scarborough bluffs so they can throw their babies off it when some card counter causes a round of lay-offs?

On being accused of rape

People are saying blatantly slanderous things about me while no one says a peep. Would someone please defend me?

On women

Women are people, not objects! Sexy people. That play with sex objects….zzzzzzzzZZZZZZΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩʒʒʒʒʒʒʒʒʒʒʒɟɟɟɟɟɟɟɟɟɟɟɟɟɟɟɟɟɟɟɟɟɟɟɟɟɟɟɟɟɟ少林少林少林少林少林少林少林少林少林少林少林少林少林

* the photo at the top of this post isn’t exactly the most recent, but given the general tone of Mark’s comments, it seemed the most appropriate.

Filed under: B Sides, Patrick Bay

Embarrassing Canadian government designated a form of domestic terrorism

Posted on June 10th, 2012 1 Comment

If only this were some sort of April fools joke. No doubt Harper et al consider this yet another reason to keep pushing unbridled dictatorship on us (did you know Lawful Access was back on the agenda again?) Now that I think of it, why isn’t the federal government designated a terrorist organization under these terms?

Along with terrorism and organized crime, “embarrassment to the Canadian government” was considered one of the threats facing security forces at the G8 and G20 summit meetings in Ontario 2010, according to newly released military records.

Filed under: B Sides

Mammoliti wants to have people murdered

Posted on June 8th, 2012 1 Comment

To be exact, he wants to bring back the death penalty.

The problem with this, aside from the fact that it is murder, is that it’s been shown time and again not to work as a deterrent.

Another problem is that this is being proposed by a man who has publicly stated that he doesn’t respect the law if it doesn’t meet with his own agenda. This is also the man who thought that a curfew for teens would somehow prevent them from going out and gunning down people.

A few of the other fantastic ideas emanating from that greasy melon Mammoliti calls his head include:

Filed under: B Sides, Patrick Bay

Toronto bans plastic bags, Ford blames citizens

Posted on June 7th, 2012 1 Comment

I have to admit that banning plastic bags was a pretty idiotic move on the part of City Hall. I honestly don’t know of a single person, other than the councillors, who though this would be a good idea. It’s fair to say that nobody thought this one through — sure as heck didn’t consult with anyone or allow the people to be heard on the issue.

Which is why Rob Ford’s comments are especially insulting to all of Toronto:

“It’s the people’s fault,” Ford told AM640’s John Oakley. “Honestly, sometimes I get so frustrated because the people are just sitting back listening. They don’t pick up the phone, they don’t go down to City Hall, they don’t ask questions, they just — it’s frustrating. I want people to get engaged in municipal politics to find out who their councillor is and know how they vote.”

What a dickish thing to say coming from a mayor who spent a chunk of his time during the budget deputations out of his seat doing god-knows-what, did his best to ensure that as few people were able to attend as possible by keeping the meeting running all day and night, and had his buddies mouthing off to deputants instead of listening to what they had to say. Not to mention that this plastic bag vote happened pretty much on the spur of the moment and without any chance for any citizen to have their say; maybe Ford expects that citizens should’ve traveled back in time to voice their objections?

Instead of representing his constituents, which he has clearly given up on doing, Ford has now taken to blaming them (clearly the only group of people left to blame) — but only those who don’t support his myopic, austerity-laden visions.

So no, Rob, it’s not the citizen’s fault that they had no chance to make their voice heard on the plastic bag issue, and where the hell do you get off claiming that people aren’t engaged in municipal politics?

Filed under: Dispatches, Patrick Bay