Tuesday 24 February 2015

The Slow-Leak of the Middle Class

How long can you drive your car when a tire has a slow leak?  My daddy warned my sisters and I about slow leaks.  They're not such a big deal in a tire until you hit a bump or a dreaded pot-hole on a back road.  Then the gravity laden pressure of that mass of metal and steel comes down on the rubber tire and then poof ... air comes out leaving the tire less resilient.

This is also happening to the middle class.  Millions of employees across Canada are having money leaked out of their paychecks, illegally of course, by their employers.  It might only be $4 this pay, or $9 next pay.  Not enough to leave you short for anything, and just little enough for many to say, "meh it's only a little, not a big deal."  That's to say we the employee even notice the deduction, or if we even question it.  Some employees live their whole working lives never correctly reading their pay stub.

What's even more choking, and what I'm currently being faced with, is the fact that too many working middle class people are simply complacent to their rights.  They believe what will be; will be and there's not much they can do about it.  Too many say nothing because they fear they'll lose hours or fall out of good graces with the boss.  While others simply have no idea that deductions from your pay check are not at the discretion of any employer, for there are laws surrounding this action and every other action an employer takes.

Canada is comprised of ten provinces and each province has a Ministry of Labour guiding the daily employment practices therein.  This makes me a very proud Canadian.  Unfortunately though for Canadians, the Ministries still operate within a "complaint-basis" process.  Meaning there is no oversight given to any business~ large or small.  There is no one to check to ensure that Stat holiday pays, vacation pay, even proper pay is being attained.  I've worked at and been screwed over in businesses where I was unionized too!  Unions run on this same archaic and ineffective system of acting only when a complaint is made.  Don't get me wrong, if you have a complaint, the proper channels for which to find restitution are close at hand.  But what happens when no one knows what is right and what is wrong, what is legal and what is against employment law?

Employment standards takes a community to make it work.  This is a more factually relevant statement than any I may ever make.  For every time you accept an illegal deduction, you're telling that employer that they can do it again to you and to others.  Every shift that is cut before the three-hour mark, is setting precedent for your little sister, brother, son or daughter to be treated the same unethical way.  Every break you don't take, every payroll mistake you brush off, is giving some employer the idea that if he can do it to you, he can do it to everyone else.

One of the first blog posts I ever wrote was written to the parents of working youth.  The gist of it was that your kids are likely getting taken advantage of in one way or another by their employer. Heavy words eh?  Words that will make me no friends.  But what if it's true?  In that post I stated that perhaps this is why so many businesses have uber youthful managers and supervisors running things. Do they like to get them young, fresh, and uneducated on employment standards?  Two of my co-workers right now went to Queens University and they both allowed our boss to deduct cash shortages from their pay.  Good job Queens.

Speaking of that boss, he went to McGill University and graduated in Economics.  Is this what higher education is about?  Learning the sneaky ins and outs of increasing your monthly income via illegal deductions from unknowing employees?

Now back to how to rectify this ongoing atrocity.  Change in Parliament resembles an evolutionary process from the middle ages right now, so I say we must take matters into our own hands.  I'm on a mission and I'm asking YOU to join me.  If the school curriculum refuses to teach the importance of employment standards then we'll teach it.  Tell every cashier, every barista that payroll deductions are illegal.  Tell all the bartenders and all servers that that dine & dash is not for them to pay.  Ask every employee you know if they get their daily breaks, pay for stat holiday, option to stay for the three hour shift when business wanes.  Give them the website for Employment Standards in their province linking out to The Employment Standards Act so they can refer to it when needed.  And finally, give them the greatest tool you could give any working person in Ontario, the toll-free number to the employment standards information centre which is 1-800-531-5551.  Any one of us can call this line to ask anonymous questions about our rights as an employee.

In my uneducated opinion, this slow leak of the middle class is a side effect of putting the importance of the sacred economy over the importance of the employee.  It's like they haven't realized that for every person who's shift gets cut early, there is a product that they won't be able to afford.  Cause and effect.  Too many of us don't see the number of hours on our pay, that were on the schedule.  My hours are less than the schedule forecast therefore I can't buy lunch today, or a new phone tomorrow, or a new car down the road.  It all adds up ... or doesn't in this case.  And what's adding up more and more for me, is that if we don't get a handle on this adversarial relationship many employee-employers find themselves in, we're gonna lose the whole farm.

Use your voice for good :)

Saturday 14 February 2015

Ins or Outs?

Indoor or Outdoor?

To many, outs are a last resort, or what they use for baking or other concoctions.
While ins, are what they hold up as trophies of great gardening.

We're talking about Cannabis again by the way :)

Odd really ... there are still many who say that no light or lighting system can give the plant what the Sun, Moon, and Stars can give her.  This philosophy resonates with me.

Either way one thing is true.  Indoor growing and this super-sterile idea that Cannabis must be hidden while it's grown, is why and how we're killing our environment faster than we suspected.

Have you ever wondered what the energy output of the 15 LP's is?
Have they hired the right peeps to convert that energy to a more affordable form?
My hunni knows control engineering so I know this is done in big factories to save energy.

I mean, in an effort to A). protect society from a plant with zero deaths, B). maintain super-sterility, and C). to control the environment 100% ... we're burning more coal than we need to.  That's a fact.

I do get it though, the Sun in all of her radiating greatness can be too much sometimes.  I've all but killed certain houseplants by leaving them in the Sun's rays for too long.  But Cannabis, when grown outdoor will easily adapt itself.  It will ooze resins and make more chlorophyll to act as sunscreen and ray-repellent.

I can't wait til Cannabis is legal so studies can be done to see which way creates better cannabinoid content and profiles!  I've even heard about some elusive Cannabinoid that I believe goes by the acronym CBV that is full of wonder.  It seems to come out of nowhere ... or does it?  Does the Sun's mojo shower certain plants with this willy-nilly?  Or do special conditions make it so?  I'll keep you posted as the studies and evidence comes in.

It's stated in this article  from EarthTimes.org, that "indoor cultivation alone is responsible for releasing greenhouse gas emissions equivalent to about 3 million automobiles."  Yikes.

Lights, fans, hydroponic watering equipment ... all of these things must be powered by something, and for now that something is coal.

So that means in energy factories, they burn coal, oil, sludge, or nuclear rods to boil water to make steam to move a turbine.

Unbelievable isn't that?  Let's do that again:

Burn something
Boil water
Create steam
Move turbine

Holy shit ... asinine.

Back to cultivation, let's consider the water.  Ah yes water.   Did you know that you and I pay more money for water than we do for fuel to run an automobile?  A D@sani at my work is $3.50 for a few hundred ml's!!

The phrase "work smart; not hard" comes to mind when I think of water and indoor Cannabis cultivation.  I don't know for sure, and I don't think the info is public to confirm, but I think many of the Canadian licensed producers for MMPR are still growing in soil.  In this recent Fifth Estate show on CBC, Mark Kelley gives us a glimpse inside two of the fifteen LP's in Canada, Tilray and Tweed and both were still growing the dirty wasteful way.

Hydroponic systems are so easy to make that an afternoon visit to Home Depot could supply a gardener with all that they need.  Aeroponics may be a bit more difficult and expensive, but all-in-all it's not rocket science!  Plants don't need soil to grow.  And yet the "experts" in the current Canadian field of Cannabis horticulture are still using something that hides microscopic mold spores and mite or parasite eggs very well.  Not to re-mention the fact that water is precious right now ... say it like Smeagol :)  It's proven daily somewhere that hydroponics and aeroponics are the sustainable option as water is completely recycled and re-used.

Is this why the LP's are always out-of-stock or incinerating useful medicinal plant material?
Is it really as simple as bringing them out of the dark ages of gardening and into the light of day?

Why can't we meet in the middle on this?  I get that nature can be harsh.  Oftentimes, the outdoor flowers I've been gifted by friends are dark and sometimes battered looking.  I don't judge a flower by it's look though.  Wind, rain, and all of the power of nature makes the plant do what it must to protect itself.  Think grain of sand and pearl.  Now that's a different perspective.  Could this self-preservation and protection that the plant practices, actually make a higher cannabinoid ratio and content?  Some would argue.  Some would also argue that they will only ingest flowers from plants grown in soil.

The future of Cannabis cultivation is a combination of the two in my hopeful opinion:  adaptable outdoor greenhouses with solar lighting and banked energy for all of the needs of the plant ....

.... on every single balcony in Canada baby.

Thursday 12 February 2015

Can't Smell the Forest For the Terpines

Olfactories, or Olfactory Organs are the parts of our body giving us the ability to smell.  Mine have always been a bit over-active.  I was all about the smells as a youth.  All about the perfumes.  Oh my, I had so many that they went sour before I could use them all.  There were scents I loved and there were scents I abhorred.  Still to this day, I have an issue with the smell of sulfur or rubber.

As an adult you learn to ignore or accept odours but they're still there.  My mama used to love Sung perfume though it repulsed me~still does!

A friend and past co-worker used to also repulse me because he smelled like sulfur all the time.  It was years before I realized it was because of the water where he lived.

My uncle Irvin and his family lived on the mountain in Westport about a half mile from the town dump.  That's a smell and a half.  Depending on the direction of the breeze, that entire family of six breathed in the smell of burning refuse for years.  I used to love going to that dump as a kid.  Burning material like that didn't seem to bother me.  Yet if my parents ever allowed a visitor to smoke in the house, all three of us girls had a fit.

I have friends who have lived above Subw@y restaurants smelling the yeasty gases of proofing bread in all it's stages 24/7.  You'd almost think that the last part of that would be pleasant, but all-in-all that allure fades fast.

I've known peeps who have lived near a McD!cks.  There are times I have heard, that it smells more like a waste facility than a restaurant.  A friend used to be engaged to a McD!cks manager and she said that his uniform smelled that way fresh out of the dryer.  Now that's some permeating odour.

The entire population of Cornwall smelled the rotten egg odour from Domtar, the paper plant for almost 100 years.  It's only been since 2006 that the air in that whole area smells like anything but "total reduced sulphur" or TRS gases.

There are several lovely jewelry stores in my city that I completely avoid at all times simply because of the incense that they insist on burning.  My new neighbor loves the same stuff.  My poor pupperoni and I both have sneezing fits every time we leave our apartment.

All in all, the world as we know it, has a lot of odours in it.  The ones that I can easily accept and appreciate though are the natural ones.  The smell of roses or lilacs just can't be beat.  Don't try to replicate it though or it all goes awry.  Kinda like when they made Marinol~ but that's another blog.

Some plants and trees can be smelly too, most belonging to a group called Conifers.  These plants actively ooze resins full of compounds called Terpines.  Terpines smell.  When you're talking Conifers, think Pine, Spruce, and Junipers.  Terpines do many things for the plant, not the least of which is attract pollinators and detract herbivores.

Without Terpines in plants, Gin would not be Gin.  Bitters, Aperitifs, and Digestifs would not exist either.  And without Terpines, Cannabis would not smell as pungent as it often does.

There's a legal Cannabis grower in Markham Ontario who is being told that the smell of his medicine's Terpines are bothering his neighbors.  Wei Gao is legally allowed to grow 146 plants in a lovely home that is situated in a residential area across the street from an elementary school. Parents say that the smell coming out of the exhaust fans is extreme, often forcing them to throw out items of clothing due to permeating smells.  But due to the recent changes to the Medical Marijuana program in Canada, if Gao moves his garden, he risks losing his license to grow his own medicine.

Interestingly, as stated in the article on yorkregion.com a well known smell and taste expert named Dr. Hirsch from the US states that it would be impossible for the smell to attach itself to clothes' fibres if it was released into the air, as it is from an exhaust pipe.  This Doc goes further to call this scenario victim of a phenomenon known as "expectation effect" where once a scent is identified by one person, others in a group will think they smell it simply because they expect to smell it.

"Sniff sniff ... is this diaper dirty ... I can't tell anymore."  :)          

This odour is the smell of germination, vegetation, and flowering.  This isn't toxic waste being incinerated and it's not TRS gases from a pulp & paper plant either!  This is the smell of medicine growing.

The area's MP Paul Colandra is a conservative, so he shares his party's stance on the eradication of legal Cannabis growing at home.  Yet, if this were handled properly, this entire situation could be a massively effective teachable moment.

I mean, those opposed to growing at home say it is a safety and fire hazard.
Show them it's not Mr. Gao!

They say it can cause mold and insect infestation in a home.
Show them it doesn't Mr. Gao!

They say your garden could attract break-ins.
Show them how secure you have that garden Mr. Gao!

 If you invite them in ... they will learn ... do I hear a school trip in the future??

Marketers of scented products across the gamut know about Terpenes.  At least they know which ones they want to reverse-engineer and put in your ... everything.  People spend oodles of cash on scented candles that attempt to replicate the terpenes in the Spruce tree.  For eons the interiors of jewelry boxes and such were lined with Cedar wood because of those wonderfully pungent compounds.  And real alchemic perfumers the world over know exactly which terpene makes you feel what.

In the end, what I truly see is that Dr. Hirsch has it bang on.  But let's take that phenomenon out to the macro view.  Rather than someone identifying the smell as Cannabis and others agreeing, we see them identifying the smell as something illegal or 'bad' and others agreeing simply because they don't know anything about Cannabis Sativa or Indica in it's growing form.  The odour coming out of that exhaust won't get you or your kids high.  Blood tests will not come back with cannabinoids in them. Even if someone broke into that home and ate a flower, very little would happen. Cannabis is not psychoactive in it's growing form!

There is so much to learn from this plant and the people who grow her.  In my modest experience I've ingested weed that smells like sweet straw, and I've ingested weed that smelled like Napoleon after a long battle.  I've ingested onion-y smelling flowers, and I've ingested blueberry smelling flowers.

How does all of that happen?


Suddenly I wish I'd become an elementary school teacher ... just imagine all of the wonders that that garden has for those kids to learn.

Now that's a different view on the situation.  Dear Parents ... would you ever consider that?

Tuesday 10 February 2015

Mixed Signals Are Dangerous Things For Our Girls

"I'm bringin' booty baa-aaak!  Go on and tell the skinny bitches that!" ~Meghan Trainor, "All About That Bass".

Watch the video HERE .... bet you can't sit still.

My awesome 11 year old niece Madelyn showed me this song and video a while ago, and I'm still humming it in my head.  I wake up hearing it.  I sing it all day.  I love it.

What's strange though, is that as funky, cool, and dancable as this tune is, it still brings out the tears in me.  Right at that part where she sings,

"Yeah, my mama she told me don't worry about your size.
She says, "Boys like a little more booty to hold at night".

It could be the harmonies.  That gets me every time.  But I think it's more that my mama said the same things to me when I was little.  My mama always made us feel perfect from the bottom to the top.  She fed us so well from the garden out back and helped us to educate ourselves about all things girl.  I recall when I started playing hockey at about 11.  I was expected to change in the same room with the boys.  When I protested, my mama said,

"Oh Dianna ... get in there ... you show more off when you're at the beach for heaven's sakes."

She was right.  The boys only cared that I could skate.

So why did I have such poor body image for so long?  I used to get teased in elementary school .. teases I would pretend not to hear.  One certain boy in a grade above me named Timmy called me Tank and all the other boys would laugh.  Even though I could skate faster than most of them.

Later in high school, I rarely ate in the cafeteria.  When I did, I'd plan my bites, my chews, my napkin wipes just so because I felt like someone would tell me I was too fat to eat.  I know ... crazy really ... considering I wasn't overweight.

There is something else that factored in to my self image.  Something that factors in even more profoundly today with our young girls and boys.  Everywhere we look we see hyper sexualized images of women that all look similar.  If the advertisement is for a clothing line, the models will look anemic, anorexic, and ready to fall down.  Just look at these models from Joe clothing ... the unethical Lobl@ws brand made in Bangledesh by starving women and children in deplorable conditions.  If the camera adds ten pounds, then these are what ... size 0 ?   Why?  How many adolescent girls are a size 0?

I grew up hating my body.  I had an image in my mind of how I was supposed to look.  And I didn't.
I grew up hating my breasts.  They didn't look right.
I disliked my hands, my profile, every part of me.
On television and in movies I saw some image that instilled in me this idea of what a desirable body looked like; mine was not it.  Who cares what that image was.  She's dead to me.  At 41, I'm actually beginning to like my body for the first time ever.  But this issue is still very much alive for me.  Remember my niece?  Well she and I watched the "All About That Bass" video and afterwards, I was mortified to learn who else she knows about.  So many other young women who are saying one thing and showing another.  So many who look IDENTICAL in body image.  I mean, even if they did start out a normal size, so many women are influenced by people like Kesha's manager who basically gave her an eating disorder to the point of having to go to treatment!  And now ... Kesha looks just like all of the others.

The others that are thin.

This week, Sports Illustrated is in the news because for the first time in it's history of swimsuit issues, it's featuring a plus-sized model.  The model's name is Ashley Graham and truthfully, she can handle anything.  It seems, her mama instilled a very healthy and realistic self esteem in Ashley.

All in all, what I see though is that even Mama's love and guidance can be trumped by outside forces that tell girls that they don't look right.  And even when there are a million songs and songstresses telling us to love our awesome selves, there will still be those outside influences.

Is it too much to ask that those change too?

Why is it that runway models are so god-damned thin?  Can we change that?
Why is it that children's clothing models are so thin?  Can we change that?

Right now we have words telling us one thing;  and images telling us another.  Mixed signals just make an already confusing time, even more stressful.

Monday 9 February 2015

Freedoms & Indulgences

I slip out the back with my little doobie.  I've chosen a strain without stink to ensure I'm 007.

I'm in the centre of the city that makes the laws in my country, sitting out back by the big dumpster. It smells a bit, and the lateness of the season makes the bees groggy and drunk ... death so close to them ... they ignore me.

I look around for eyes.  I survey all the buildings.  Every window.  Are any of them open?  Can they see me from there?

Feeling somewhat secure, I spark up and inhale my cannabis deeply as I do one of many more visual sweeps of the area to ensure I am alone.

                                              ~  ~  ~  ~

Inside my girlfriend quickly downs a healthy shot o' courage and pours herself some more.
She takes this out to the front porch to spark up her own type of smoke.
The front porch is gorgeously reminiscent of so many old homes I've known before.  The city is as alive as ever and my girlfriend, being the social butterfly that she is, waves at everyone.

It doesn't faze her as she takes her glass of 50,000 canadian deaths per year, puts it up to her sensual lips and takes a sweet sip.  She even holds it close as she chit-chats a bit with her neighbor, ready to take sip two.

It also doesn't faze her when she fumbles in the pack for her smoke, finally pulling one long slender ciggy out.  She plays with it a while as they finish up chatting.  Then puts it to her lips and slowly lights just the tip, playing the flame on the little bits of tobacco that poke out the end.  She inhales deeply, closes her eyes and blows out 40,000 Canadian deaths per year.

She sits rocking on the front porch, her two indulgences in hand, humming a song about freedom.

                                                 ~  ~  ~  ~

I'm still out back, but tired of being alone and scared of the neighbor's olfactory abilities.  I finish my little doobie and bury the little roach to avoid future drama.  I breathe in and out slowly many times to clear my lungs.

Now to wash my hands, brush my teeth, and re-apply perfume.
So much sillyness for something that has zero canadian deaths ever.

What WAS that song she was singing ... and what about freedom?

Sunday 8 February 2015

The Polar Plunge As An Existential Experience

It's Ontari-ari-ario in February.  Need I say more?  And my crazy, thrill-loving friends have decided to do the Polar Plunge for the Special Olympics Ontario.  I personally think they're nuts.  I mean, I don't even plunge into water mid-August!  This group of friends is also my co-workers at Rogers Krock Center for Savor Marketing Group.

Our team lost an integral spoke in the wheel of our vessel about a month ago.  Our Chef Guy is likely giggling today as he watches us from all angles.  He shakes his head and covers his mouth as he laughs at our crazyness.  We wanted a way to pay tribute to Guy and his memory, so being an avid swimmer, the plunge seemed fitting.

We, the many many staff members at Roger's Krock raised $3000 in total.

The Krock jumpers were split into groups as follows:

First jump:  Angus MacDougall, Sebastien Kirkwood, and Andrew Kerslake.

Second jump:  Brittany Young, Krystle Landon, and Heather Lees.

The video of both brave jumps can be seen HERE.

To be honest, it's difficult in the video to see the nerves among my jumping friends.  With the wind chill it was down to -29 and hard to watch even bundled up!  I just sort of set my ears and eyes to absorb though, as I watched and listened to the many people as they came out of the abyss of freezing cold water. Some were panicked.  Others close to tears.  While others still seemed ready for round two.  One particular jumper Angus, is basically a plunge pro.  This was his third one and he raised the most donations for an individual.  Amazing.

Many new jumpers expressed very similar sentiments.  I heard many say that when their head popped out of the water, all they could think was:

"Where am I? Who am I? And what the hell am I doing here?"

See the link with Existentialism?  :)

So why were they there, doing that which could leave them with hypothermia?  What causes a group of people ... strangers even to band together for a cause for complete strangers?

Why do we do that?  What force is this that spurned some of my other co-workers named Poppy, Rayna, and Melanie to raise an additional $93 on Friday night?

Existentialism asks:  Why do we exist?

I think I know why.  Humans are pack animals.  True pack animals like Timber wolves resemble humans very much in how they stay united, each in their place.  All members are provided for.
Humans work better in a connected team.  People helping people isn't only about home hardware!!

Friends call me an activist.  That feels good.  My hunni used my environmental activism as the reason for switching from possibly working in the Nuclear industry, to hopefully working in the Wind industry.  I don't think I'm alone though.  Especially on a day like today.  Man .... that was one huge bunch of freezing cold Kingston and area activists eh?!

We exist to help one another.  And we find fulfillment in doing so.  I think it's a human thing.

"You do it for yourself.  You don't expect to change the world.  You don't even expect to influence your family or your friends.  You do it because you can't not do it and be who you are.  Or who you're meant to be." ~Martin Sheen

Personally, I think Martin is shooting low.  I say .... influence everyone everyday to love more.

The rest will follow :)   Way to go Rogers- Krock team!  I'm glad to be a part of you, and forevermore the Polar Plunge will be one more reason to remember Guy.

Last week, a facebook friend posted this pic on my wall and said:   "So you!! xox"

Saturday 7 February 2015

A Food Truck vs Employment Standards

I'm reeling today after yet another bout of news regarding an unethical business-owner in Kingston, the city I live in.  This one hits close to home as I used to herald this business as something great.  Way back when they came to town, I started to follow the Farm Girl's facebook and twitter sites.  I shared and retweeted some of her menus.  You can imagine the choked feeling I had when I woke up yesterday to read that the Farm Girl hasn't paid her employees for months.

You can read the article HERE as reported in the local Whig Standard newspaper by diplomatic journalist Steph Crozier, follow her on Twitter.

There are a lot of things to say and ask here.  I have a lot of questions to ask a few people.
Can I just preface all of this by bringing in the fact that employment law and standards should really be taught in school as all four of these unpaid workers allowed this to happen for many months before asking for assistance from the appropriate authorities.  That's a shame in itself.  The Ministry of Labour is here to help us, not to scare us and not as a last resort.  A greater shame is that this particular business owner obviously knew nothing about the Labour Code either. It's this that we must change for the future of our youth and our peers.  I do it for my niece Maddy.

In reading responses and comments from these business owners in the article above, you can clearly see that they just don't get it.  The husband states he can't understand why the girls chose to go to the Ministry of Labour about this, saying: "we didn't do it maliciously".

Mr. Farm Girl, let's see if I can break this down into questions that illustrate the magnitude of your offense:

Was it malice that gave you the idea that your bills, your needs, your food, your meds, your rent and all else were more important than that of these four young workers?  How could you think that? Are you really that entitled?

Was it malice that made you think that the progress of your business and your financial security was more important than that of Miss Smith's, Miss Politis's, Miss Jensen's, or Miss Everdell's?

In a dozen years, when your son is working a summer job and his employer fails to pay him, how will you feel?  Will you wonder if there was malice involved?

When you open your new bistro will you pay those employees on time?

I mean really ... how is it that your family, your life, your business and your recreation is more important than anyone else's?  And do you expect to succeed in this wee town?  You better learn Employment Standards ... there I've even linked it for you.

If you or someone you love works in Ontario, you should learn it too and keep the link handy for reference.  The toll free number to call to ask anonymous questions is 800-531-5551.

I remember right after the Farm Girl food truck came to town.  My niece Maddy and I snuggled up on her big chair with her tablet so we could watch this video of the Farm Girl roasting a little chicken. Maddy, at age 11 is a better cook than most adults I know.  She may not have her Safe Food Handler's Certificate but she knows about cleanliness and keeping things sanitary!  I remember saying to her,

"Holy heck would ya look at that rock.  If you were wearing a ring like that would YOU stick your hand inside a dead chicken carcass?".

We both exclaimed grossed-out expressions and continued to watch.

So I ask you the reader these questions:

Is it judgey of me that the first thought that ran through my mind when I read this article, was that diamond?  I even saw it in my mind ... with all it's shiney little friends.

Do I have the right to ask Farm Girl and Farm Hubby why they didn't use that big rock as collateral so that they could pay back the four workers to whom they owe almost $4200?

And I ask employment standards officers and anyone else in a position to answer:

Do they have the right to ask those workers to work and not get paid?
Do they have the right to open another business, when they can't pay the employees they have?

I ask Municipal authorities:

Why would you want a restaurant in Kingston owned by people who don't pay their employees?

I ask all Kingstonians, all Ontarians, all Canadians:

Do the rights of business owners and their pursuit to success trump the rights of the employee?

I mean, to run a business you need employees.  If you can't pay your employees on time, then you're not a good business owner!!  Imagine how awesome the employee-employer relationship would be, if how you treated your workers were audited and recorded like credit!  There could be an agency like Equifax possibly called Busnifax where employees could report, with proof of course, the offences that certain business owners commit.  Oh I'm sure that seems silly to some.  I mean, to many HOW we're treated by our bosses isn't nearly as important as to whether or not we can re-pay our debts.  Funny isn't that?


As you likely read in the above article, the Farms consider themselves paid up.  Haha!  Oh I gotta admit I had a chuckle over that.  The Farms have paid all four girls by post-dated checks ... the last of which is dated March 20th.  I recall a time in the car biz where I got rightly scolded for taking a post-dated check!  Which for all intents and purposes and country-wide business and banking practices, isn't paid in full at all.  In fact, I wonder how much of those post dated checks are banking on a good opening night at the bistro?!

Having a business is a privilege that obviously shouldn't be given to just anyone.
Having employees is also a privilege that shouldn't be given to just anyone.

We ensure that Ontarians are treated fairly in the workplace on a "complaint-basis" where no oversight exists, but rather unethical practice is only exposed when an employee complains.  How many employees in Ontario know the above employment standards' hotline number?  How many knew they could call and ask anonymous questions?

This Farm Girl food truck story has only reiterated what I already knew:

Kingston, Ontario, and Canada all need to bone up on our Employment Standards ... and oversight is definitely needed.

Sunday 1 February 2015

Faith and Law ~ do not mix!

Christian Law
Jewish Law
Hindu Law
Buddhist Law
Agnostic Law
Atheist Law
Pagan Law
Wiccan Law
Sikh Law
Mormon Law
Islamic Law

Do these exist?  Are they real?  And do they effect real law?

Haven't we, the societal moral compass decided that religion, politics, and law should not intermingle?

We all have the right to believe in any faith we desire.  And if that faith has laws attached to it, those laws are for YOU and you alone.  Faith, Religion, and Spirituality are ways of having a personal relationship with your Creator.  But the moment you attempt to push that faith onto someone else, you are effectively attempting to push that personal relationship onto that other person.  Personal means you and you alone, and when you start talking about your faith's laws, you delve into the territory of controlling others ... not only yourself.

In my opinion, any part of a faith or culture that undermines the human rights of another person must be eradicated.  Yet in some faiths, or in parts of some, the very facts that we live our lives within are denied.  Facts like men and women are equal.  Facts like little girls' and little boys' lives are of equal value.

We pussy-foot around cultural sensitivities everyday, hoping not to offend.  And we shouldn't just attempt to offend, but this is different.  We push our worries aside, thinking that those people must be doing those things, wearing those things, and allowing those things to occur out of choice.  I remember thinking this not six months ago in the blazing Ontario summer heat as I followed a couple on Princess Street.  He was wearing cool golf shorts and a Polo top, while his wife wore a full hijab and black burka covering all but her beautiful face.  Here face was stunning.  This robe was the blackest material I've ever seen.  I wondered how hot she was, and I wondered how in the hell she could choose that.  But it felt good to brush off that concern, thinking it's 2014 Canada ... she has rights.

Some faiths even go so far as to teach boys from the very beginning that they are slaves to lust and desire.  That they cannot control themselves when tempted, and any actions that follow that temptation are not their fault.  Are some faiths actively preparing societies of men who have no idea what it means to have personal responsibility?

Faith simply has to be something you keep to yourself.  It's something you may surround yourself with and conduct yourself with in mind, as each faith has tenets and customs.  We celebrate many of them yearly with cultural lines intermingling.  But none of those tenets can trump the rule of law that we live inside in our every day public lives.  That must be kept black and white.

Let's look at the fact that in some faiths women and girls are to blame if they are raped by a man or a boy.  And that man or boy has been taught that they are faultless in this act.  For they are slaves to lust and desire.  So has that woman or girl been taught that she mustn't be a temptress, it's why she covers her hair.  Now this seems like kind of an important thing to agree on don't you think?  We can't have half of our citizens believing in their core that a man can do any number of things to a female and remain faultless!

It's 2014 ... no faith, dogma, or religion can decide another human being's ownership.
And still, we have daily international dealings with countries, groups, and individuals who believe that faith does decide ownership.  Why I'll never understand, but that's another person's blog :)

If you ask me, believing that one sex must do anything differently than the other, is extremism.
It is not faith.

I just wonder sometimes as I read news stories of horrific things fathers elsewhere, do to daughters in the name of maintaining or confirming virginity:

Are people who believe these inequalities to be true, really capable of living within the laws of the day?