Friday, August 28, 2015


I have never quite bought the line that there was not some form of conspiracy of sorts among some of the institutions in the Roman Catholic Church that trained young men to be priests. A brotherhood of gay pedophiles and hebephiles that cooped, promoted and protect these indefensible perverse behaviors.

To be clear I do not think, or mean to suggest, that gay people are child molesters. This segment of individuals, in this case gay men who are attracted to children and young teenagers of the same sex, appeared to penetrate the upper echelons of the Church in Canada, Ireland, Germany, France and many other countries.

The prevalence and similar global responses have convinced me that this sickness was cultivated. Romes new transparent, zero tolerance approach to allegations of sexual abuse may once and for all put an end to generations of abuse that led to psychological terror for thousands of victims. However, I am still very curious about the institutional depth of the cultivation of young men to become sexual predators. Where did the rot originate, has it been rooted out?

Yesterday Jozef Wesolowski, 67, a Polish former archbishop, The Vatican’s former ambassador to the Dominican Republic who was defrocked  under the Vatican’s canon law procedures for molesting children died while awaiting trial before  the Congregation of the Doctrine of Faith  Vatican tribunal. The 67 year old was facing a prison sentence of eight years.

This man was not just another priest like Kevin Bennett or Pat Slaney, he was a direct representative of the Pope and was ordained by Pope John Paul II.

He was the highest prelate to face the Vatican Tribunal established by Pope Francis  to make good on pledges to punish high-ranking church leaders involved in sex abuse of minors, either by molesting children or by systematically covering up for priests who did. The revision of he sex abuse norms made acquiring, possessing and distributing pornography of children under age 14 years to be an equally serious canonical crime that the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith deals with.

Earlier this year , Pope Francis accepted the resignation of the archbishop of St. Paul and Minneapolis and his deputy bishop after prosecutors there charged the archdiocese with having failed to protect children from unspeakable harm from a pedophile priest who was later convicted of molesting two boys.

Other senior churchman to be charged with abuse , endangerment of children or possession of child pornography in this new era of enlightenment include Belgian Arch-Bishop Bishop Roger Vangheluwe, Philadelphia, Monsignor William Lynn, former Newfoundland Bishop Bishop Raymond Lahey.

I for one would really like to know the roots of what was an extremely organized systematic shadow group within the church.


More and more Newfoundlanders (and I assume this applies to folks in Labrador as well) are turning their summer cabins into retirement homes. The result has been the creation of instant communities all throughout the province.

P&P has addressed the issues related to a shifting demographic to these regions and the impact it has the delivery of municipal,  provincial and federal services from garbage collection, snow clearing, road maintenance, fire collection to postal services.

As these communities grow and multiply, the demand for services increases. Folks who escaped the hustle and bustle of larger areas for the quiet comfort of the country are demanding more and more services. 

When government started reducing the maintenance of cabin roads petitions started flying demanding a reversal in policy. 

Other areas started forming local service districts to generate funds for garbage collection and road maintenance. Others formed water committees or road upgrade committees. In some regions of the province neighboring towns have struck agreements with these "retirement communities" to provide garbage collection and fire protection for a poll tax.  

Some liveyers have fought this encroachment by municipalities arguing they moved to escape taxation which gets to the crux of a very serious and unfortunate paradox: The need for services but the unwillingness to pay for them.

The most serious issue is emergency services, in particular the provision of fire fighting services. The demographic shift has made it very difficult for rural communities to maintain a full company of volunteer firefighters let-a-lone serving outlying communities.  

There are real costs to training, purchasing and maintaining all of the fire fighting equipment. Is it fair to expect one group to carry the burden of these costs and deliver that service to regions that do not want to pay freight? 

Should one community be expected to take the risk of sending fire equipment out to an area outside of it's limits, risking protection in their own town?

The issue comes to ahead when disaster strikes - a house catches fire and emergency services do not respond because the fire is outside the nearest municipalities zone. Many ask, what is more important money or saving lives? How can the community of Holyrood ignore a fire in Deer Pond or the Fire Department in Corner Brook not respond to a fire a half-hour a way in Pinch-Gut Lake? It seems callous, inhuman and wrong.

However, the question cuts both ways. How can the people living in these pop up-communities expect the benefits of protection and not help foot the cost? 

Are they not putting their safety and property at risk over money? Many are willing to pay hundreds of thousands of dollars for a great home and lifestyle in the country but snub their nose at paying for services? 

To me it is like not paying for insurance and expecting the community to rebuild your house or replace your car. It is like playing Russian Roulette with your life and processions because you expect something for nothing. Get over yourself. 

Obviously there is not a consensus in these areas, some folks will pay, others will not.

Governments need to show leadership on this issue. They need to establish policies or legislation that empowers municipalities or regional authorities to impose, yes impose - taxation, or fees on residents of these pop-up communities. A solution needs to be found because the problem will only get worse as more people tell-locate.

Perhaps the provincial government could be convinced to provide fire departments with a financial incentive to think regionally.

The needs of everyone need to be considered, but seriously it does come down to money and selfishness. It is time for the government to break this impasse before a life is lost.


I have always opposed the privatization of our countries health care system. In fact, this opposition has made me very skeptical about two-tier systems for fear that they could be the thin edge of the wedge towards privatization. 

As I began a family, and members of my own family grow older - the need for efficient timely diagnosis and treatment has become more and more important. 

While jumping the que because I can afford it would have been blasphemy in the past, certainly policy makers should be able to implement changes that put the health care consumer first. Surely this could be done with out sacrificing universality. 

Governments keep throwing money at the health care system - it is a giant black hole. Despite the expenditures consumers are still enduring long wait lists. Creating financial incentives for improving the quantity, quality or effectiveness of healthcare will make the system better and increase capacity

For example, how much of our laboratory services and diagnostic equipment lay idle outside of the normal work day. Could a government not enter into a private-public partnership which would allow a third party access to this equipment in the evenings. This would go along way towards alleviating backlogs and ensuring prompt treatment. 

Could private partners be approached to make investments in equipment and medical expertise to complement - not compete with the current public system. Health consumers would not pay extra - the partners would be paid directly by government. The health care consumer would see more efficient and timely results. 

I am certainly not wedded to alternative health care delivery but a discussion of alternative policies and program delivery mechanisms is certainly worthy of consideration. Canadians are having challenges  accessing hospital based services in an efficient manner. Rationalization has not been a financial or organizational success.

Yes, there are lots of political landmines in such an alternative delivery process, especially the ability to resolve human resource conflicts It would mean structural changes but the failure to address the existing bottlenecks in healthcare delivery might make for a more serious challenge to universality. 

Improving access to hospital and  reducing wait times for diagnostic tests are of the utmost importance to healthcare consumers who should not be forced to endure excruciating pain or be denied timely diagnosis because the system is inefficient.  
We need our leaders to be honest, open and innovative to protect our great system of universality in a way that improves accessibility, capacity and the cost of delivery while responding to consumers medical and social needs.
Of course, elections are no time to discuss policy.

Thursday, August 27, 2015


A pair of treasure hunters have made a significant discovery in Southern Poland.

Lawyers for the German and Pole have requested that the state give them 10% of the value of the find before they disclose the location and what they have found.

Polish officials say a military train has been discovered in Walbrzych but it remains to be seen if it is the legendary gold train that is rumored to have dissipated near the end of the war in the region. The train's rumored stash of 300 tons of gold would be worth roughly $1.09 billion. the Nazis are said to have secretly dug networks of tunnels through the mountains in the region in the last years of the war.

Skeptics say there is no evidence that it ever existed.

The Nazi plundered gold, jewels, art and other cultural property from every country they conquered. They had a systematic approach to determining what was valuable to the regime and what was to be burned.

Hitler had made plans to establish a premier cultural center in his home city of Linz, Austria. The Third Reich's capital for the arts was to be home to the F├╝hrermuseum. Untold millions in Nazi plunder that went missing after the fall of the Reich,  remains unaccounted for.

There is another rumor about Nazi plunder  buried in Lake Toplitz in Austria, at the end of the war. Reports of a convoy of SS vehicles taking large chests to the lake in early May 1945 began to emerge soon after Germany surrendered. In 1959, a diving team salvaged several chests and discovered forged British banknotes with a face value of seven hundred million pounds.

Unaccounted treasure, like the remains of Hitler, have spawned generations of conspiracy theories and Nazi treasure hunters.

It will be interesting to learn just what has been found deep in the tunnels of Walbrzych - could the skeptics be wrong or si this another Al Capone's Vault? 

Guaranteed someone is looking for live broadcast rights. Someone get Geraldo on the line...pronto.