novembre 25, 2015

7 Things Trudeau’s pot legalization must include

We now have a prime minister who has promised to legalize marijuana in Canada. But what will legalization look like? Here’s seven things the cannabis community wants to see happen before we consider prohibition to be truly over.

7. Don’t increase penalties

In some of their campaign literature, the Liberals were promising to create « new, stronger laws, to punish more severely » people who sell cannabis to minors, or to anyone operating outside of their undefined new system.

Considering we already have Harper’s strict mandatory minimums for cannabis offences, we do not need to be punishing anyone « more severely » for anything related to cannabis.

The laws and penalties against selling cannabis to minors should be very similar to those relating to alcohol. The whole legalization system for cannabis should follow the wine model, not some new system that includes even more harsh punishments for cannabis.

The Liberals must reject the idea that they need to add new, harsher cannabis laws to balance out legalization.

6. Allow personal growing

Any model of legalization must include the right to grow some cannabis for personal use. Colorado allows every adult to grow up to six cannabis plants for their own use, or to share with friends and family. That would be a good start for Canadians.

People with a doctor’s recommendation for cannabis should be allowed to grow whatever quantity they need for medical purposes. The Conservatives tried to shut down the current home-garden program for patients, but were stopped by a court injunction. That injunction needs to remain, and be expanded to make it easier for patients to grow their own when needed.

Growing cannabis indoors under lights should be subject to municipal bylaws if it is a complex, multi-light system. But growing a few cannabis plants on your porch or in your backyard should not be subject to any special rules or restrictions.

If home cultivation is not allowed, then cannabis is not truly legalized in Canada. Canadians must have at least as much right to grow their own cannabis as they do to brew their own beer and wine.

5. Allow dispensaries

There are now hundreds of cannabis dispensaries open across Canada, and we can expect a huge rush of them to open over the coming months with the change in government.

The Liberals need to recognize the important role that community-based dispensaries are playing, and to incorporate them into any legal access system.

Most of the needed regulation of dispensaries will happen at the provincial and municipal level. But the federal government needs to frame their legalization legislation in such a way as to allow these dispensaries to become fully legitimate.

Any system of legalization that tries to shut down the existing network of cannabis dispensaries will face strong opposition from Canada’s cannabis community.

4. License more producers

Along with the dispensaries, there needs to be a much larger amount of legal cannabis available. The two dozen currently licensed producers that exist to supply the medical market should be able to enter into the retail market. More importantly, the hundreds of applicants who have been waiting into limbo need to be quickly processed and approved.

Whatever the details of the system, it is important that there is equal access to the cannabis market, and that anyone who meets the quality standards can legally grow and sell cannabis.

Growers who currently supply dispensaries should be able to receive a licence and continue what they do, as long as they meet some minimum safety and quality standards.

Ultimately, the federal government should get out of licensing large-scale production and leave that to the provinces. But whoever the regulating and licensing authority is, the system needs to be fair and equal. Any attempt to limit production to a few major companies or create some kind of monopoly or cartel will be met with resistance, and will ultimately fail.

3. Ditch the medical program

Cannabis is a wonderful medicine with a wide range of therapeutic benefits, but we don’t need a specialized medical cannabis system in Canada. Cannabis extracts should be available as non-prescription drugs for all Canadians to access.

When cannabis or a cannabis extract is prescribed by a doctor then it should be exempt from GST, like other prescription drugs. But we don’t need the current complex system of restricted access for medical patients once all Canadians have access to legal cannabis.

Doctors should become more knowledgeable about cannabis medicines, and legalization should mean that all sorts of new cannabis extracts are readily available for research and medicine. But since cannabis is generally safer than products like aspirin, most cannabis medicines should be sold over the counter, without a need for a prescription.

2. Amnesty for past convictions

Legalization of cannabis must also include an amnesty for past cannabis convictions, so that those criminal records are erased from the system.

All possession convictions should be erased and pardons granted without question. This would be the bare minimum to begin undoing some of the harm that prohibition has caused.

For trafficking and cultivation convictions, there should be a simple process for people to apply to have those criminal records erased as well, as long as no violent or other significant crimes were also committed.

1. Don’t overtax it

There will be a temptation to tax cannabis very heavily, so as to maximize government revenue and limit consumption by keeping the price high. This would be a mistake.

Legal cannabis needs to be cheaper and better than what is currently available, or else no-one is going to buy it. The only way to extinguish the black market is to substantially reduce the price of cannabis.

Like wine or beer, there should be different prices or cannabis, depending on where it is sold. Plants grown at home for personal use should be untaxed. A cannabis brownie for dessert at a fancy restaurant could be considerably more expensive.

Any plan for legalization must not include extremely high or punitive taxes, as the result will be a thriving black market and no real change to the status quo.

If Trudeau’s Liberals stick to these seven principles then legalization will be a success.

But if they try to legalize cannabis in the form of a highly taxed product grown only by big corporations, while banning home gardens and increasing penalties for underground dealers, then legalization will not succeed, and we will still have to keep fighting for a better system.


Source: Huff Post

Dan Larsen, Director, Sensible BC Campaign for Marijuana Reform, Vancouver’s medical cannabis dispensary.


What do you think?




novembre 24, 2015

Polly Of Bridgewater Farm  An Unknown Irish Story

Chapter XVII

Londonderry, May 1847

Polly and the children had never seen such a city as Derry.  They spent hours clambering over the high stone walls that held so much history of siege and saint, of oak groves and daring young apprentice boys.  Even at night most of the streets were bright with the new gaslight.  By day, Ships Quay was a thronging mass of shouting sailors, baggage handlers, ticket sellers, fish mongers, and hucksters, all clamoring for the attention of passengers desperate to find passage.  It was an exciting place to be if you were young and held a ticket on one of the sailing ships floating at anchor in the safest harbour in Ireland.

The Sesostris was one of these.  A magnificent three-masted vessel built on the coast of Scotland, chartered by J. & J. Cooke, with an experienced captain, Mr Dand, in charge.  William could hardly contain his excitement.  At last, his dream of sailing in a real ship towards who knew what adventures had come true.  And perhaps one day ha would own his own farm.  the youngest children, Robert, little Maggie and the bouncy two-year-old twins Isabella and Rebecca all caught his excitement.  Young Joseph spent the whole day exploring the port with his father.

Polly and her mother soon retreated back to the shops of the upper town, looking wistfully at provisions they could neither afford nor take on board.

others were worse off; some families had long ago given up hope of passage anywhere.  Famine had hit hard and early in this most northern part of Ireland.  The population of the Inishowen Peninsula had been devastated, the workhouse in Derry overwhelmed by the number of applicants.

That night, Polly returned reluctantly to their dismal lodging that was so unbearably different fro the farm they had left.  She felt as though her inmost spirit was cramped up by the narrow walls, the smells, and the suffering she had seen in the eyes of children all day long.

She stood for a long time at the window of the tenement house looking out over the roof tops with the sun setting slowly in the far western horizon.  Then, to her amazement, she heard a familiar song, faint at first, then growing stronger, vibrant in the clear air.  There was a solitary blackbird perched jauntily on the nearby soot-blackened rooftop, singing his heart out with his special evening song, almost as though he had deliberately chosen her for an audience.  For nearly an hour she listened entranced, beckoning her mother and Eliza to joint her.  Through all that followed, she would never forget the blackbird’s song.


 »What a splendid book … What a delightful story … I could feel the slushy peat field … I could smell the rain coming. »

M. O’Gallagher

Available here: click here


novembre 23, 2015

Did you know that on November 23rd 2001, was signed, the Convention On Cybercrime by the members of the council of Europe, USA, Canada, Japan and the Republic of South Africa in Budapest, Hungary.  The treaty objectives is to pursue a common criminal policy aimed at the protection of society against cybercrime, including computer-related forgery and fraud, child pornography and cyber terrorism.  As with any piece of legislation the problems come from balancing civil liberties and privacy concerns with the need to catch criminal elements using the internet for illegal uses.

Also happened!

In 1963, the British science fiction television programme Doctor Who from the BBC is shown on TV for the first time.   »The doctor » played by William Hartnell is the first series travels through time and space in the TARDIS ( a blue 1950’s police box).  Over 40 years featuring a number of doctors fighting alien baddies including Daleks  »Doctor Who » has gained a cult status in Britain and is also the longest-running science fiction television show in the world.


novembre 19, 2015

With all that has happened on Friday in Paris, and again yesterday morning in Seine-St-Denis, it’s fair to say that citizen of Canada are a bit scared of Prime Minister Trudeau’s promise to get 25.000 Syrian refugees in by the end of the year.

Let get something clear and out of the way, Syrian does not mean terrorist.  The only reason why we associate the two is because of the fact that ISIS or DAESH are based and fighting in Syria.

The Canadian Government has sent officials in different countries including Turkey, Lebanon and one other, already selected over 10.000 according to a strict selection process.  Families and people with education, entrepreneurs and people with skills are privileged.  The advantage that we have is that we can choose who we accepted, unlike our friends in Europe.

Now the key to success is going to be communications between the different governments and also the municipalities who are welcoming the refugees.  Let’s see how Justin Trudeau and his crew will handle the major task at hand.

What do you think of all that?

Should we welcome them?


novembre 17, 2015

The Other Key: An inspector Julian Main mystery


Chapter Five

After about an hour, Julian was jolted from a deep sleep by the telephone ringing, like a warning.  Groggily, he looked at his watch.  2:15.  His mouth felt dry and rancid like sour wine.  Stiffly, he reached for the phone and immediately recognized his superior’s voice.

 »Durocher here.  Julian, I’m sorry to disturb you at this ungodly hour, but just a short time ago, I was informed that we have a high-profile murder case on our hands.  In fact, you may know the victim. »  Dear God, prayed Julian, it’s not Chantal.   »Her name is Louise Branson, the wealthy socialite from Westmount.  As I’m sure you know, her husband’s the well-known criminal lawyer.  He’s away in Calgary on a case.  I expect there may be pressure from the legal community to solve this quickly. »  The Commander took a moment to blow his nose.   »I want you to take charge and I’ll have Sergeant-detective Roy Marchand report to you tomorrow.  He’s still not back from Ontario.  Do you have the Branson’s address? »

 »Yes sir.  I’m on my way. »  Julian stumbled out of bed and reached into his closet for a grey business suit.  As he quickly dressed, he thought of Louise, so regal and vibrant.  Chantal would be devastated.  He would call her straightaway before the media wolves descended on her.  He could hear her fumbling with the phone, then her voice thick with sleep.   »Who is it? »

 »Chantal, dearest, I’ve got some very bad news. »

 »Oh, God, Julian, I just know it’s about Louise.  Is she sick? »

 »Darling, it’s worse than that. »  Julian didn’t know any way to sugar coat what he was about to say.   »Louise is dead. »  He waited for the convulsive sobbing to stop.   »Oh, my God, Julian, I had a feeling last night that something terrible might happen.  How did she die? »

Again Julian thought it best to give it to her straight.   »She was murdered in her home. »


The book is available here: click here


novembre 13, 2015

How about a little brain tease for this Friday the 13th.


Here are some quotes from famous peoples at different times in history.  Try to match each one with their owner!!

  1. Strive not to be success, but rather to be of value.
  2. Life is about making an impact, not making an income.
  3. You miss 100% of shots you don’t take.
  4. Definiteness of purpose is the starting point of all achievement.
  5. Every strike brings me closer to the next home run.
  6. Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans.
  7. The mind is everything.  What you think you become.
  8. Eighty percent of success is showing up.
  9. Your time is limited, so don’t wast it living someone else’s life.
  10. Every child is an artist.  The problem is how to remain an artist once he grows up.
  11. You can never cross the ocean until you have the courage to lose sight of the shore.
  12. Whether you think you can or you think you can’t, you’re right.
  13. The two most important days in your life are the day you are born and the day you find out why.
  14. There is only one way to avoid criticism: do nothing, say nothing, and be nothing.
  15. Believe you can and you’re halfway there.
  16. If you’re offered a seat on a rocket ship, don’t ask what seat!  Just get on.
  17. We must believe that we are gifted for something, and that this thing, at whatever cost, must be attained.
  18. I didn’t fail the test.  I just found 100 ways to do it wrong.
  19. It does not matter how slowly you go as long as you do not stop.


  1. Theodore Roosevelt
  2. John Lennon
  3. Henry Ford
  4. Steve Jobs
  5. Albert Einstein
  6. Marie Curie
  7. Buddha
  8. Mark Twain
  9. Babe Ruth
  10. Christopher Columbus
  11. Woody Allen
  12. Kevin Kurse
  13. Aristotle
  14. Sheryl Sandberg
  15. Wayne Gretzky
  16. Confucius
  17. Benjamin Franklin
  18. Pablo Picasso
  19. W. Clement Stone


Enjoy and have a good week-end.






novembre 11, 2015

Before we continue on this great adventure, I thought I would tell you a little bit about myself, since I’ve been with you for awhile writing on the blog.

My name is Jean, I’m a bilingual french Canadian and father of two great kids.  I met Neil and Catharine about 15 years ago through someone that still shares my life today.

The relationship between Neil and myself grew slowly at first, but early enough we connected.  He was easy to talk to, even thought our age difference was almost four decades. We could talk about anything.  Sometimes, Neil would ask me to give him a hand for the blog on his old pc that he owned for years until he decided to get himself a new laptop,  he wanted to keep his blog running through their time ( the McKenty’s) away from home in the winter time.

So there’s a little bit about myself and my connection with Neil.

Hope you can enjoy the continuum of what Neil started……



novembre 10, 2015

Since winter is coming to our doorstep sooner than later, I thought about talking to you about a book that Neil and Catharine co-wrote together.

Skiing Legends and The Laurentian Lodge Club

This book invites you to curl up beside the fire and journey to a time when Montrealers skied down Peel Street and the Laurentians were   »the wild west » of Quebec.

For two expatriate Torontonians, Neil and Catharine McKenty, this journey begins at the Laurentian Lodge Club in Shawbridge, now Prévost.  There we meet skiing legend like  »Jackrabbit » Johannsen, Harry Pangman and Barbara Kemp.  With them we discover the perils of  »Foster’s Folly », the world’s first ski tow, we climb Mont Tremblant in the Thirties and we ride the ski trains with their smells of wax, orange peels and cigar smoke.

And we also meet those earlier legends, the larger-than-life Curé Labelle, and the tragic Viscount D’Ivry who lived in a magnificent chateau on the shores of Lac-Manitou.  This is also the story of how the Laurentians helped Montrealers weather two World Wars and the Depression.  It’s a great story and the authors have told it well.


The book is available here: click here


novembre 9, 2015

Originally posted on may 5th 2011.

In the wake of Michael Ignatieff’s sad resignation, names are already being bruited about as to who might succeed him.  These include Dominic Leblanc  from the Maritimes, Ralph Goodale from Saskatchewan, Bob Rae from Toronto and a couple of  back-benchers from British Columbia.  With the possible exception of Rae, none of them are household names.

But there is a household name.  It’s Trudeau, Justin.  He is 40 years old and already has one session of parliament under his belt.  He shares his father’s underpinnings and general liberal philosophy.

If ever the Liberal party needed a bolt of lightning to regenerate what was once boastfully proclaimed « Canada’s natural governing party, it is now.  The only  one who might be able to create the cult of leadership that Canadians so crave is Justin Trudeau.  It will not be the likes of Bob Rae, or Denis Coderre, or Frank McKenna.

Is Justin  Trudeau up to it?  With a  young family, is it worth it?  Does he have what  his father had?  Will he be true to his father’s ideals?

By the time of the next federal election, four years hence, Justin Trudeau will be 44, at the height of his powers?  Should he throw his hat in the ring?

Is it Trudeau’s time?

What do you think?



novembre 4, 2015


Thousands of physicists at a vast underground complex near Geneva have begun a project to try to reenact the « Big Bang » to try to explain the origins of the universe and how it came to harbour life. The scientists plan to smash particles together to create, on a small scale, re-enactments of the event that started up the cosmos.

Cosmologists say the Big Bang occurred some 15 billion years ago when an unimaginably dense and hot object the size of a small coin exploded in what was then a void, spewing out matter that expanded rapidly to create stars, planets and eventually Life on Earth.

Scientists will try to produce tiny collision that will recreate the heat and energy of the Big Bang. Protons will collide at nearly the speed of light, and the enormous energy will shatter them and turn matter briefly into energy. As this energy reforms into matter, the physics world hopes to see – briefly – particles that are believed to have come into existence after the Big Bang, 15 billion years ago. Particle detectors will collect the flying fragments the way a windshield collects bugs.

The scientists will be looking for one particle that has never yet been seen, the « Higgs boson » that would confirm what matter is made of. It is also known as the « God particle ».

So in the coming months, beams of particles will crash together in the giant tube, and scientists will sift through the wreckage looking for the secrets of the universe.

Do you think they will succeed? Stephen Hawking (the « black hole guy ») doesn’t. He is willing to bet they will not find the « God particle », the elusive particle seen as a holy grail of cosmic science.

What do you think?

Will science eventually be able to explain the « Big Bang » and the origins of the universe?

Even if they did, would that tell us how the « Big Bang » occurred. Was it spontaneous combustion or was God the cause?

And if God is the cause, why did He create the universe? One answer is that God created us to test us, to give us a chance to choose him or reject him. The result of our choice is eternal life in heaven or hell.

But if God is the cause of the universe, can science tell us anything about its origins? I shouldn’t have thought so.

What do you think?


Originally posted 13/09/08

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