Friday, 22 September 2017

What should an income be based upon.


                       WHAT SHOULD AN INCOME BE BASED UPON?

             This little blurb is  written for my lovely Granddaughter Tasha.  
As well as being a wonderful mother to her handsome son Justice, she is talented, intelligent, very funny, and for the purpose of this paper -  she 
                                         Drives a Transit Bus in Vancouver B.C.

When one looks closely at various jobs and professions in our modern society, what often
strikes me is the obvious fact that the pay one receives, often has absolutely nothing
to do with the actual work, or the responsibilities associated with that employment!

To my little brain it appears logical remuneration should be based upon the answer to a few simple questions. First, and most importantly, what are the consequences of making an error? Second, does one work without direct supervision. Third, does this job/profession require long hours under stress? Fourth, do the duties require split second decisions, affecting life or death, large sums of money, or both?

There is a group of dedicated professionals working in every Major City in Canada that I believe can answer honestly in the affirmative to the Four questions above.

They are the dedicated, hard working, intelligent, women and men who drive the Transit Buses in Canada!

They work in every major city in Canada, and I dare say, are under appreciated in them all! This group deserve more respect and benefits - including wages, rest periods, more human friendly shifts,  increased holidays, and days off. Just to mention a few.

They are the women and men that Drive every day, safely depositing millions of Canadians, young and old, women, men, babies, and toddlers
They are group of employees in Canadian society that I believe are not treated as well as they deserve.

As an Air Traffic Controller, and an executive with the Canadian Air Traffic Control Assn in the late 1950's and 1960's in Vancouver I speak from experience. Our profession was relatively new,and misunderstood by the public. In fact at that time, most airline passengers had not heard of us.  A great many thought we worked for the Airlines, and just sort of waved out the window to the aircraft as they flew by. We had great responsibility, worked very hard,  made many, many decisions during a shift, and worked without any supervision.  One might say this was the definition of a Professional! As I recall some well known Think Tank decided after looking at several professions, an Air Traffic Controller was the definition of a Professional.

Things have changed dramatically, after a few threatened strikes. and a few international incidents where Controllers were involved. Possibly because many politicians and relatively rich
people fly.  Possibly because there are relatively few Air Traffic Controllers in Canada. Whatever the reason Air Traffic Controllers are now recognised as a special working group and now have many little perks, and a wage that reflects there position in society.


Wednesday, 5 July 2017

Maurice Brager left us June 15, 2017

It may be my imagination, but it seems often the passing of friends happens in small bunches.

This definitely  is the case with my two friends, Don Begg and his Golfing partner Maurice Brager.

Maurice was an Air Traffic Controller Colleague, and friend. But most of all Maurice and I were executives in the Vancouver branch of Canadian Air Traffic Control Association. Indeed we both held office in this association during what may have been, no, what was its most turbulent time in the history of  CATCA. The Controllers Vancouver branch of CATCA (not supported by the national office) threatened a strike, which led to the Hutchson Commission into Air Traffic Control - Vancouver Region. The results included, a new State of the art building, latest equipment, Hover Craftand other improvements to staffing etc.

All this to get around to the fact that Maurice and I were the Representatives for the Controllers at this inquiry.  We spent about two weeks sitting side by side at a table with several Government officials across from us for about two weeks. We presented over one hundred papers the Controllers were feverishly collecting/writing back at the Air Traffic Control Centre.

Maurice was the Chairman of the Vancouver local, and I was the regional  Representative.

The Controllers started kidding us, calling us Batman and Robin. They were interesting times.

Like with Don, after retiring, we just slowly lost touch, we were still friends, still had some great memories.  One, which was not related to Air traffic Control follows.

Maurice phoned one day and asked if I would do him a great favor.  I said I would, and he explained
all I had to do was go to Traffic Court up the valley with him. I just had to sit.
Sounded pretty easy, even I could do that.

He picked me up a few days later and explained that I evidently resembled His brother somewhat, and  their lawyer was hoping somehow the arresting RCMP officer would point out me as his brother. Well now I wasn't so sure I wanted to get involved in this escapade. However when we arrived at the courthouse the lawyer somehow convinced me I was doing this for the good of society.

Well, a few minutes before the brothers trial, Maurice dragged me from seat to seat, front to back
including the defendants seat for a second or two. Several RCMP officers standing at the back of the courtroom did not miss this musical chair demonstration. Anyway eventually we ended up sitting right next to the defendants bench. The Constable pointed out me as the defendant - I wasn't so sure this was where I wanted to be now, or why I had agreed to this dumb idea. Maurice was snickering quietly behind his hand, I was sure i was going to jail! As we slunk out, the Officers were waiting for us and gave me a very hard time. The brother got off, I did not speak to him.

 Maurice and I went and had a beer!

Little things one remembers of a friend

Monday, 27 February 2017

DON BEGG, A FRIEND LEFT US 5pm Jan. 25 2017

We use the term "friend" often. Normally I don't think we give it much thought. It just flows off the tongue, is gone into the either, and never given another thought.

There are all kinds of friends one makes over the years. Some we meet at primary school, college or other educational sources. Friends you have worked with, often for many years. Of course for many there is church, playing sports, and friends of friends, often play an important source.

However for me, as I look back over my eighty two years, (so far so good) it has become apparent as time goes by that the friends I have made from my first eight years of school, and those through my thirty year professional life, as an Air Traffic Controller, have been special.

Why have I made the previous statement? It just popped into my little brain. I didn't give it much thought. No big analysing or second guessing.

However I will do that right now.

 I have many fond memories of my early youth, and the core group of friends I grew up with. But what makes them special? Of course over the formative years you spend with friends means just that - formative - we all evolved into the adults of later life. As we evolved we talked - a lot - about a lot of things. We made many mistakes together, laughed together, and at times cried together. We got into situations. We grew up, many of us moved many miles away. As time grew we all saw less and less of each other. We often lost contact with one another for several years. From time to time, I believe most of us had some little event trigger a clear memory of some little thing, that brought a flash of a friend and life event. It is when you meet these friends after many years, they don't seem to have changed. They have all had a million experiences in a life you have not been involved with - but to the two of you, neither has changed.

Working together as an Air Traffic Controller was in a lot of ways like playing on a sports team. We looked out for each other. We often worked very hard together. We had four lines - we called them crews. There were normally about eight men (later and women) to a crew. We overlapped with two other crews part of the time. We worked strange shifts, originally in the late 50s I believe we worked an 8 on and 3 off schedule, a bit different from today, which I think is more like 5-4. We went out for drinks after work together. We went to baseball games, hockey games, played golf, etc. We had interesting times together. We could relate.  We didn't get paid what we wore worth!
Here again after retiring some of us sort of drifted away, some stayed close through events arranged for the old farts, by some dedicated retired Controllers. When you meet one of these old friends, even after many years, it is like time has not changed them - except in appearance. Even their voice seems the same. Was reminded of this when talking to Jim and Terry on the phone recently, recognizing the voice instantly.

Don Begg

Don was one of my best friends, he just was. We didn't have a lot in common. He though I was crazy to play hockey, he would always laugh when I would limp around after a game. I had four kids - he was single. Politics we did agree. I always kidded him about his use of the cursor.We were just friends for over sixty years.
Don Begg was one who I believe stayed relatively involved with the retired group. I was less involved after retirement, but have always had such fond memories of that wonderful group of dedicated men and women.
Don and I didn't see much of each other, maybe once every three or four years, until five years ago. He called and we went out for lunch a few times that year and he came for Christmas dinner with our family a few times.  I called him this December a week before Christmas to invite him, but he said he was not feeling well enough to come. He said he didn't feel up to visitors. I phoned again right after Christmas and he again said he was not well enough to have a visit. So I went over the next day, after all he did not have to let me in!

Don did let me in, and I am glad to report we had many laughs together, despite the fact he advised me he would not be around much longer, since he was in line for a Doctor assisted Death soon.
He wasn't sure just when, but he believed in the near future. I think the prolonged discomfort of his brother Jake's passing had a profound affect on him. I visited him every week for the next few weeks. A few days after my last visit, Jim Paxton, one of Don's good friends, phoned me to let me know he was a patient at Peace Arch Hospital in white rock. Either I or my wife Beth, and Daughter Carol visited him almost every day until Jan. 23 when he said I should take a few days off since he was going to get the proceedure on the 27th of January. I knew Terry and Greg were to visit him on the two other days, so I kept away.
Beth and I arrived at Don's room about 11am Jan.26. He was not in his bed. I asked the nurse where Don Begg had been moved.
"Are you a relative?"
"No, just friends for over 60 years"
"I'm afraid I can't say much since you are not a relative."
"We are aware of the procedure Don is to have tomorrow."
"OK I will have to talk to the supervisor." And she left for a few minutes.
She came back.
"I' can tell you that Mr. Begg had the procedure yesterday at 5PM. Evidently he moved the time up so as to not inconvenience anyone. Even the nurses were not advised."

Although on one level Beth and I were expecting a death, it still came as a shock, we didn't have time to say Good By. Or say a little prayer, although Beth had prayed over him previously.

It is strange how life often throws us a curve ball when we least expect it. For the last two days I had been going over in my mind what I would say, if Don asked me to be with him at the end.
I had made up my mind I would stay with him.

I didn't have to make that decision!


Sunday, 17 January 2016

Little Things that stick in my mind!

As we travel through this short life on this beautiful planet many times
                                               I wonder.

     Why we allow our politicians (particularly our Prime Minister Harper) to give an answer to a reasonable question that is totally off Subject. Do not these role models to our children realise what they are teaching the young?  And not in the usually ineffective,  "follow what I say" method, but in the very effective, pattern a life after what they see and hear how those in respected positions respond to a question. A question I might add that is about a position or quote, the respected person has made or defended. He/she should be proud to discuss and enlighten the great unwashed about his/her reasoning. But no, so often they stand there, looking sheepish, silly grin, or worse proud smirk on their face, all the time knowing (in the case of our Current Prime Minister Harper) there cannot be any follow-up questions. These politicians, if they have any brains at all, or conscience,  should know the detrimental  effect their actions have on the young, and the deep seated ridicule most citizens of this country, regardless of party, will hold them for the rest of their lives.

Why we have a major refugee world crisis. It is often heartbreaking. Millions of innocent families trudging from one country or boat to another. Fleeing bombs and fanatical Islamic groups destroying their country.Trying to make a better life for their children. Little children washing up on the shores of strange countries.

From Iraq - where we, the good guys destroyed thousands of homes, water plants, sewer systems,
and farms, not to mention hundreds of thousands of civilians killed. We killed thousands of Iraq soldiers, disbanded their army leaving a vacuum - that has been filled with new evil.

From Afghanistan  - see above

From Syria  - Very tragic - Bad dictator - country not in civil, war no refuges - still in office. The good guys tell Dictator to step down?  We start supporting various strange Groups - including ISIS   - the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria  with Arms and logistic support. Syria now a broken State. Millions of refuges have left their homes and are trudging and dying across North Africa and Europe. We are bombing Syria.

Why are we today, using Drones in Pakistan (an independent supposedly friendly Nation) to target and kill " militants"  and untold innocent children and adults by blowing up suspected private homes.

Seeing that little boy washing up on the beach was heart breaking. Took years of paper work to try and get him to British Columbia - why?

I am now writting this after the last Federal election - the Harper tories lost - it is like a breath of fresh air flowing through this country.

I wonder what the world would think if a slow motion camera inside a poor little home in Pakistan, or Syria, or Iraq, took a picture of a sweet little three year old girl as she slowly disintegrated from one of nice little missiles, fired from the western controlled see no evil, see no blood, hands off, cute little drone.

Monday, 10 March 2014


                               My computer is acting up - and I am not in the mood !!

I am positive Beth had small stroke on the morning of May 4th 2013. Returning home after three days in Peace Arch Emergency, I definitely noticed a slight loss of some of her physical abilities.  Again I am sure she had another one about Feb. 6th. She since then has been having considerable trouble with her speech, and lately her walking has become more of a shuffle - this from a woman that for most of her life has been a dedicated (and fast) walker. And very lately (yesterday afternoon at watershed park) was stumbling with the shuffle. All the while very, very tired.

These small strokes (TIA's) can be very serious and portend to a potential full blown stroke.

I had a small stroke about ten years ago.

I had another - rather more serious  on Feb 28th 2014. Sandra insisted (like a good daughter should) I got to Peace Arch the morning of March 2nd. Was treated very seriously (not like Beth) have had several tests - still am - and some blood pressure medication. I do notice I am slipping a bit.

Again - there is a relatively high probability of one or both of us having a serious stroke within the next year or so.

This is why I am writing this while I am functional - relatively in any event.

If either of us has a stroke the changes within our -( and our family's lives) will be - well lets face it - catastrophic. Both Beth and I have been visiting friends lately that have had strokes. It always leaves one with a profound feeling of deep sadness, leaving a friend that is slowly drifting  further into a shell they cannot escape, although it is so obvious they are trying so very hard!

We both are so worried about the other. Neither of us want to be a burden on the other. Both of us would gladly look after the other.

                  Neither of us want to become helpless and unable to communicate to those around us.

We lived through Beth's  Wonderful  Mother suffering for years in a vegetable state.

We don't want that for anyone.

Glad I did this   all for now.

Monday, 30 September 2013


Imagine the following.

A wonderful woman in her eighties, who has had very full life is lying on her bed, she is
suffering from a particularly painful form of bone cancer. She is alert and articulate.
She has loved ones scattered far and wide. She believes in her God. She is not afraid to die.

Her doctor says " Mable, as you know you do not have much time left on this earth, in fact
with the latest technology, we can tell you will die within twenty days".

Mable Says, " Doctor I am in great pain, my family from all over the world are here to be
with me, some must leave soon. I am finished with this world, I would love to leave
peacefully with my loved ones present when I depart".

Doctor, "No, I'm sorry Mable, that is not possible, you must suffer to the end, what you or
your loved ones wish is not important, the State has decided you must suffer."


The above may be a little over dramatic - however day in and day out a form of this scenario
is being played out throughout Canada.

There has been a rash of 'talking heads' on TV lately discussing 'assisted suicide'. or the right
to a personalized death, meaning the patient deciding how long she must suffer, before being
"allowed" to die.

I has for many years amazed me that individuals, governments, and their many agencies, have
for hundreds of years had the audacity to believe they should have some right to decide how
much pain, or humiliation a person MUST go thorough before being allowed to finally
                                                   rest in peace.

 Many people, (or probably most) believe that a person who is at the end of their particular life
 span is afraid of dying.

 I for instance was one.

Having reached a relatively advanced age myself, and having been close to loved ones in their last days, I now feel convinced in the vast majority of cases, that is just not true.

As one gets closer to that time to leave this life, the less the threat of death has a hold on one.

As a so called advance society, to insist a loved one, and their family, who knows death is close
must suffer unnecessarily, often for days or weeks is barbaric.

We as a society must grow up and recognize that death is inevitable, indeed it is just the natural
resolution to our wonderful, relatively short, time on this special planet.

After you or your loved on one has passed away, whether you died on the tenth of the month, or the twentieth, really makes no difference, all is over. Why should we as a society insist the time of death
must always be the one that inevitably comes with the most pain and lose of dignity?

Sunday, 29 September 2013


This post is a continuation of the thought process of the last post re the brain.

I did not mean to imply in the brain post that I was at the present time in the
 midst of a crisis.

However one can never know what the future may bring, and if whether by a
slow progressive nature or a sudden stroke, the loss of ones mental and verbal
abilities usually leaves important thoughts unspoken, particularly to loved ones.

So I thought, since I do have the majority of my marbles at this time, it was
 important to express my feelings on the subject now.

I still read a couple of books a month - mostly non-fiction, I think a bit, I discuss
at times a little heated various subjects, religion, etc. and I write a bit, not as much
as my talented wife, but a bit.

So friends, although I am seeing signs of the aging process, I think I have a few
 more productive ( a relative term) years ahead.