Decisions in November 2010 and beyond

October 22nd, 2010

Hello people,

It’s been awhile since I wrote anything on my blog, as things have been fairly hectic here in Canada land.

Any of you who have been following politics in Canada are aware that there is a lot of stress going on in Canada’s Parliament, mainly orchestrated by the divisive tactics of Canada’s current federal government, the Conservative Party of Canada (aka CPC).

The CPC seem to have taken several pages out of the worst aspects of the GOP over the past eight years and have stirred up quite a mess to the north of all of you.

Not to mention my own issues abrewing north of the 44th parallel.

All of that while also trying to develop my own art/work (writing music, TV/film projects and actually swinging some gigs as an actor).

But I digress, the reason why I am writing this to you is that as a neighbor to your north, I am aware that there are some major elections going on in the USA this November.

From the ongoing media reports, it seems as though many of you are disappointed with the Democratic Party for not bringing change, fast enough, to the lives of the average American citizen.

There has also been considerable negative press of the President by the extreme parts of media (Yes, we have access to FOXNews up in Canada too! And no, it’s not a pretty sight!).

From my perspective as an outsider, I must admit to being completely baffled as to why moderates and progressives, in the USA, would listen to or be swayed by anything the Tea Party or the GOP would have to say, especially since the policies of the GOP have done so much harm to Americans across your country over the past thirty years and especially from 2001- January 2009.

Perhaps people have short memories but President Obama has been in power for less than two years and in that short time, there have been and continue to be numerous members of the media and politicians, in the USA, who have made some of the most disrespectful and hateful comments about him as POTUS and as a person, I’ve ever heard said about a new President.

Despite the overwhelming proof, the solid hard-core evidence that almost everything going wrong in the USA today was caused by the policies of the GOP, President Obama has been personally blamed for the current state of the economy and life in the USA.

Most people don’t seem to realize that it can take 2-4 years for many of the policies of the federal government to take effect in a country, which means whatever is presently going wrong in the USA was caused by the GOP, the very people, who have been and are currently blaming President Obama, everyday since he became President, less than 2 years ago.

Again, from the point of view of an outsider, I think the comments from people like Glenn Beck, Bill O’Reilly and the numerous members of the Tea Party, are so wrong that it defies common sense as to why anyone would take them seriously.

Think about it, from 2001-January 2009 there was no Tea Party movement, nothing, not a sign, no crazy costumes, no calls to take America back, from… but almost as soon as President Obama was elected, there emerged a huge mass of people who wanted to impeach him, who called him a traitor, disputed the facts of his birth, flashed weapons claiming that citizens were under threat of losing them, falsely claimed the US census was an invasion of privacy, even a crazy statement from Glenn Beck stating President Obama doesn’t like white people!? Despite the fact that POTUS Obama is of mixed heritage, whose mother was white and so were the grandparents who raised him, Mr. Beck made his ridiculous statement.

Yet, I’ve heard very little in support of President Obama from the people who elected him or who believe that the most outrageous statements made about him are false, cruel, ridiculous and utterly without merit.

Moderate and progressive people need to be more vigilant and outspoken, in supporting and defending their democracy from those who wish to subvert it, by using bullying tactics, and denying the truth.

From my outside vantage point, the GOP and Tea Party people are nothing but schoolyard bullies and thugs who are using their money and influence to undermine common sense, truth and civility in America and evidently in Canada as well by infecting our Conservative government with the same angry, confrontational and posturing style which has defined “politics” from the GOP. All of their bluster and negativity has done nothing, except get people angry and offers no real solutions to the pressing concerns of our times.

The Democratic Party has some really good ideas and plans to modernize America including; improving education, improving the infrastructure, health care, lowering taxes for the middle class, making the wealthy and corporations more responsible for their actions, creating proper oversight to prevent further abuses by Wall Street, bankers and other companies, expanding alternative energy sources, thereby creating better paying jobs, ending DADT and promoting the USA as a friend and an honest broker with the world, in terms of foreign policy decisions.

President Obama and the policies of the common sense side of the Democratic Party, are the what moderates around the world have been hoping for in terms of a direction from the USA government and apparently what moderates and progressives, in the USA itself, have been demanding for over 30 years. In the past, there have been glimpses of America’s true potential but it seems as though, the current administration has the best people in place to actually move the USA forward with intelligent, thoughtful, realistic goals and responsible cost cutting legislation that trims the fat, the waste off the government, reinvests the money and gives power back to the people, to build a country, where greed is not good.

But people gotta go out and vote. If people don’t support positive, hard-working politicians when they come on the scene to help their country, then they get stuck with the other kind…

Below are some links to news stories about POTUS Obama and some of the very good things he’s done thus far. In terms of actual work and policy, he’s brought in more positive legislation to the USA than almost any POTUS since FDR…

The man is doing the work, support him and help him restore America for your own sakes. Greed is not good.

 

Obama’s hard work:

http://thejoshuablogs.blogspot.com/2010/06/maddow-president-obamas-legislative.html

http://www.dailykos.com/story/2010/6/26/879555/-Rachel-Maddow-Compares-Obamas-Legislative-Record-to-FDR-

http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/news/17390/220013

http://thehistoricalcontext.wordpress.com/2010/05/10/obama%E2%80%99s-accomplishments/

http://www.businessweek.com/bwdaily/dnflash/content/sep2010/db20100921_971611.htm

http://news.yahoo.com/s/afp/20101016/ts_alt_afp/useconomyjobspoliticsobama

 

The money behind the Tea Party and GOP:

http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2010/08/30/100830fa_fact_mayer

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/08/29/opinion/29rich.html

http://www.politico.com/blogs/bensmith/0810/Fox_parent_gives_1_million_to_RGA.html

 

Creepy, immature and wrong things said about President Obama:

http://mediamatters.org/mmtv/200907280008

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2009/07/28/fox-host-glenn-beck-obama_n_246310.html

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2009/04/16/10-most-offensive-tea-par_n_187554.html

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P-632bWZuDQ

http://www.cbc.ca/arts/story/2009/01/09/mtl-bye-bye-cloutier-0901.html

http://www.crtc.gc.ca/eng/archive/2009/2009-548.htm

 

A great documentary series on the economic crisis and who caused it:

http://www.cbc.ca/documentaries/passionateeyemonday/2009/insidethemeltdown/

http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/meltdown/

http://www.cbc.ca/doczone/meltdown/

 

The power of the vote:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/michael-wenger/can-african-american-vote_b_769114.html

 

Issues with Canada’s current Conservative government:

http://www.progressive-economics.ca/2008/09/15/stephen-harpers-uniquely-bad-productivity-record/

http://thenonconformer.wordpress.com/2010/01/29/pm-harpers-government-record-on-everything-women-including-equality-is-very-poor/

http://www.rabble.ca/blogs/bloggers/derrick/2010/09/stephen-harper-un-truth-his-speech-will-try-hide

http://www.winnipegfreepress.com/canada/breakingnews/quotes-from-census-emails-sent-to-prime-minister-stephen-harper-104529094.html

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/politics/harpers-census-push-months-in-the-making/article1651526/

http://www.cbc.ca/world/story/2010/10/12/un-vote012.html

http://www.cbc.ca/politics/story/2010/01/07/harper-economist.html

http://www.thestar.com/news/canada/article/755053–thousands-protest-the-prorogue

http://www.financialpost.com/news/Ottawa+deficit+plan+weak+says+watchdog/3706014/story.html

Update on my Canadian Charter Rights case

December 21st, 2009

Some of you have been asking me for an update on my case. This is what has happened thus far.

On December 3, 2009 I had a meeting at the QHRC to discuss the failure of the mediator Mr. G to return my messages, after the breakdown of the mediation session on September 15, 2009, the dismissal of Mr. Niemi as my advocate and Mr. G’s request that I submit another offer of settlement to Les Ailes de la mode and the legal firm they hired, Heenan Blaikie.

I met with Mr. G’s supervisor Mr. B and we discussed some of the elements of the case. On December 11, 2009 I received an offer to continue discussions on December 14. I accepted and Mr. B and I met again, in his office, to discuss the case. Once again, it started off with Mr. B asking me what I wanted, even though I had made copies of the emails messages between myself, Mr. Niemi and the QHRC mediator, Mr. G, available to him.

The emails state, in no uncertain terms, what I am asking for.

Our meeting was fairly brief (about 40 minutes) and ended with Mr. B promising to get back to me on December 18, 2009.

The 18th of December came and went with no word from anyone at the QHRC.

So what am I going to do?

Stay tuned…

If you want to read about some of the details of the case you can download the pdf files below.

Something is seriously wrong in the Province of Quebec right now. As an English-speaking, African Canadian, it seems as though I am going to have to fight even harder, to obtain a just settlement, even after I won my case.

This could make for a very interesting documentary.

The following are pdf files, for you to download and read regarding some of the details of my case.

The Montreal Gazette coverage:
Winston Wood human rights complaint

Media releases from the July 2009 news conference:
1. WinstonWood Case Summary
2. Com. Wood E 07-09
3. WinstonWood Chronology

Support Canada’s Charter of Rights and Freedoms

December 11th, 2009

Since June 2003, I have been involved in a Canadian Charter Rights case involving discrimination, harassment and the non-payment of my salary against Les Ailes de la Mode (Les Ailes), a retail chain with stores in Montreal and Laval Quebec, Canada.

In 2005, Les Ailes was purchased by an Ontario corporation, named in Canadian newspapers as the INC or Fairweather Group. As far as I know, it is a private company that also owns several other stores and chains across Canada. The legal firm that the owners of Les Ailes have hired, to defend their desire not to pay me my salary, use racial slurs and harass me, is the prestigious law firm of Heenan Blaikie.

I have been through a great ordeal over the past six and a half years=eighty months. How long is that? Well, these are just a few of the events that have occurred, since I first filed my complaint with the Quebec Human Rights Commission.

April 2003 – Current Quebec Premier, Jean Charest, won his first election. For the previous nine years, the Parti Quebecois had been in power in Quebec, Canada’s second largest province.

The Invasion of Iraq was into its second month.

George Bush was still in his first term as President of USA.

Claude Julien was the head coach of the Montreal Canadians.

June 2003 – Premier Jean Charest takes office.

Jean Chretien was Prime Minister of Canada.

Since June 2003
The Montreal Canadians have had five head coaches.
The USA has had two Presidential elections.
Quebec has had two Provincial elections.
Canada has had three Federal elections.
Quebec had its Bouchard-Taylor hearings, concerning the rapidly changing, visual demographics of Quebec and how the various, new linguistic and cultural communities are integrating, into the Quebec culture.

From June 2003 to August 2006, my case was transferred 5 times. The Quebec Human Rights Commission (QHRC or CDPDJ in French) agents assigned to my file were (in order):

Ms. G
Ms. B
Ms. M
Mr. M
Ms. G (for the 2nd time)
Mr. T

In October 2004, I agreed to and participated in a mediation session, which ended when Les Ailes made a offer for settlement, that was completely unacceptable and rejected my attempts to settle the case, for a more reasonable amount.

In June 2009, I received a decision/judgment, which supported my allegations and statements that I was discriminated against by Les Ailes and that my case had enough proof to be sent to the Human Rights Tribunal. However, in a very strange twist, the decision of the QHRC did not assign damages to Les Ailes (in their terminology, also known as the respondent, I am noted as the complainant or the “Haitian” – more about that a later date) but referred the case back to mediation.

I was now dealing with my 7th agent. Mr. G was the mediator assigned to my case, supposedly with a mandate to bring this case to a successful conclusion in mediation, as my Charter Rights were clearly violated.

In September 2006, after three years of transfers and unexplained delays by the QHRC, I hired the Center for Research-Action on Race Relations (CRARR) as my advocate, to help me win my case. As many in the Province of Quebec know, CRARR is often cited in the Canadian media, particularly in the Montreal region, for its efforts in dealing with cases involving discrimination, racial profiling and other Charter Rights cases.

CRARR’s strategy succeeded in my case getting some minor media attention but no real movement from the QHRC in terms of improving the efficiency, with which they handled my case. In fact, there have other cases submitted to the QHRC after June 2003 (including cases submitted by CRARR) which have been settled before mine, sent to the Tribunal and have had damages assessed, while my case still lingers, in some sort of strange limbo.

Following the QHRC’s and the corporate world’s 7th summer vacation, the second mediation session was finally held on Tuesday, September 15, 2009. That session, while starting with much more promise, quickly degenerated. I am going to reserve commenting on what happened on September 15, 2009 – for now. But what I will say is, that I was more than disappointed, at the end of the session.

There was no agreement signed. But a promise of continued negotiations was agreed upon.

On Monday, September 21, 2009 I fired Mr. Niemi, who is listed as the Executive Director and co-founder of CRARR and sent a copy of the email dismissal to the mediator, Mr. G, on the same day. Mr. Niemi had been personally working with me on my case versus Les Ailes, since I first hired him and his agency CRARR, in September 2006.

Since October 9, 2009 I have contacted the QHRC mediator, Mr. G, four times for an update on my case, following his promise to inform me of Les Ailes’ position, after a meeting with Mr. G on September 21, 2009 where he asked me to resubmit an offer to Les Ailes, after I fired Mr. Niemi and a phone conversation between Mr. G and myself on October 6, 2009. He has not replied to any of my attempts to contact him.

Following a letter I wrote to him on November 26, 2009, someone from the QHRC finally decided to contact me. I received a message from Mr. G’s superior Mr. B, as well as a phone call and email from the assistant to the President of the QHRC. A meeting was scheduled and held on Thursday, December 3, 2009. Mr. G was not present and I met with his supervisor Mr. B, ironically in the very same office, where my mediation session on September 15, 2009 took place.

During the meeting, Mr. B said that I was discriminated against and that my offer was reasonable – albeit the offer I made in his office was substantially lower, than what I believe I deserve but higher than what anyone has previously offered to me, to settle the case.

The following day, I received an email from the Heenan Blaikie lawyer assigned to the case who sent me a copy of a letter that he had sent to the mediator, Mr. G, dated November 13, 2009. Apparently, they had a meeting on November 5th, where Mr. G and the lawyer discussed my new offer, as well as some of the other things that I am not going to mention – for now.

The letter dated November 13, 2009 stated that Les Ailes were withdrawing from the mediation session.

Despite the fact that I received a letter in Mr. B’s office on Thursday, December 3, 2009 from the QHRC, stating that they wanted to try mediation again with another agent (the same one who was involved in the 1st mediation session of 2004 – Mr. M) Les Ailes had already clearly indicated, through their Heenan Blaikie lawyer, that they no longer wished to be involved in any further mediation session with me…

Now the question I have is, when was the QHRC planning on letting me know that?

Thus far, I have not been impressed with the lack of efficiency and transparency from CRARR and the QHRC. There are also some questions I have regarding any influence, a prestigious legal firm like Heenan Blaikie, may have over the Quebec Human Rights Commission.

Richard Colvin’s testimony and the personal attacks he has endured, while he was trying to keep all of us informed of serious international abuses and neglect, under the leadership of the current Federal government, has opened the door to questioning Canada’s international image, versus its reality. It seems as though Canada’s reputation for fairness and respect for Human Rights, should not only be examined abroad but here at home as well.

Over the next few days and weeks, I will be sharing my experiences with all of you (unless the QHRC, Les Ailes or Heenan Blaikie contact me with a respectable offer), including some very curious behaviour and responses from Mr. Niemi of CRARR, other strange encounters with the QHRC and the evidence I have, that supports some of my suspicions, that something is indeed rotten in this state of ……

Those of you who know me, also know that I am not someone prone to hotheadedness. I am only interested in justice and respect for the Charter. I have sought through many different channels and attempts to meet with Les Ailes and their current owners, to settle this case, in a respectful manner, without acrimony. I have been constantly rebuffed, or the offers from Les Ailes or their lawyers, have been below what common sense would allow me to accept.

As always, I remain open to receive any sincere offer of settlement that takes into consideration both my material losses and my violated Canadian Charter Rights.

Former Prime Ministers, Pierre Trudeau and Jean Chretien, have always been men that I admired. I do not believe that I have ever voted for any other party than the Liberals, whether it be in Federal or Provincial elections. I do not think that any other party running for office, has the vision of the Liberal Party nor its commendable record in dealing with our diverse, multicultural country over the past 45 years. For almost 30 years, both Trudeau and Chretien have led a country, where despite its obvious challenges and stumbles, has seen considerable improvements over what our parents, grandparents and older ancestors, have had to endure to survive.

Nevertheless, the legislative freedoms we are supposed to enjoy as citizens and respect for the Canadian Charter, which those two men had a personal hand in creating, are the fabric of our nation. The defense of those principles and values, have to remain forever in the minds, responsibilities and actions of elected officials. If they do not use their authority, to ensure that the statues and laws, their former leaders argued over and negotiated over for years, are respected and upheld, then all of us (men, women, minorities: religious, linguistic, sexual or others) are weakened and diminished.

Those who stand on the shoulders of Trudeau and Chretien, who use the names and legacies of Canada’s two pivotal Prime Ministers to further their own political and commercial endeavours, must be very careful that they do not sully nor tarnish the reputation of a nation, for a few favours from corporations.

More to come…

Richard Colvin

December 5th, 2009

Thank you Richard Colvin. Your willingness to stand up for your principles and share your knowledge, in the face of bitter criticism and personal attacks have inspired me.

Canada’s Charter of Rights and Afghanistan

December 5th, 2009

Well, what to say… There are couple of things on my mind. First of all, I would like to inform all of you that I am currently involved in a very serious Canadian Charter (our civil/human rights legislation) in Montreal, Quebec. I am the complainant, meaning that I am the person who filed the charges against a corporation for discriminatory practices that have violated my Canadian Charter Rights.

On Friday, December 11, 2009. I will be informing anyone who cares about human/civil rights in North America about the status of my case. There is a lot to be said on how it has been handled thus far and the people involved…

It is going to be very informative as to the practices and legal issues that are ongoing in Canada, in the 21st century. Please refer to my posting on July 10, 2009 (title: Civil Rights and Justice) for some background info on my 6 1/2 year ordeal for justice in the Province of Quebec.

The other thing that I am thinking about is President Obama’s Afghan decision. From my comments on Obama thus far, it is clear that I am a staunch supporter of both his politics and vision. I have read both of his very well written books and was moved and inspired by them. I truly believe that Obama is the right person to be on the political stage right now. He is worldly, positive, smart, recognizant of the world’s view of the USA over the past 70 years or so and how much of the anxiety that exists, revolves around that, even though many citizens in the USA are not aware of how others around the world have viewed the USA’s foreign policy in recent historical times.

He is using diplomacy for its correct purpose, to calm down tensions while seeking a progressive ground that is in the best interests of his country and the larger world. It would be an honour to work with his team.

That being said, Obama recently made a speech regarding his decision to increase the troop levels in Afghanistan. I think it is the right thing to do and this is why:

In the years following the USA’s departure from training the Taliban rebels in Afghanistan the lack of direction for the nation allowed terror to plant its violent seeds. The terror from the Taliban also allowed the Al-Qaeda terrorists to gain a very strong foothold in Afghanistan and the fear they brought to the Afghan people allowed them to establish a base there to plan a execute the horrible actions committed on 9/11.

The reason to go after Al-Qaeda is because their existence threatens the safety of all of us in the western world. Anyone who understands how wars are fought must know that this war will end because of battlefield success as well as diplomatic success. But in order for the diplomatic success to really stick as it did in Germany, Japan and Italy after WWII, there has to be a very convincing military win for the NATO allies against the Taliban and Al-Qaeda.

In my opinion, that is why President Obama’s strategy is once again working ahead of the game to protect the USA first while meeting his military and diplomatic goals. As many of you have noticed in the news, there has also been requests to the other NATO Allies to increase their troop support, as well as efforts from the Pakistani government and military who are putting the squeeze on Al-Qaeda/Taliban sources hiding out in their country.

I applaud President Obama’s carefully thought out decision and as someone who abhors the thought of needless suffering and the pain of war also realizes that history teaches us if those who plan to hurt us are left alone (Al-Qaeda, Nazi Party, etc) then they will find the resources to spread terror, fear and violence.

Despite the anti-Obama rhetoric, he is not acting alone, this is a NATO mission and together the allies will be able to overpower and defeat Al-Qaeda and the Taliban.

Give the President some support. He has a lot of very good ideas and has the work ethic and drive to see them through.

President Obama and the Peace Prize

October 10th, 2009

Yesterday, the world honoured President Obama with the Noble Peace Prize. To my surprise there has been some criticism of Obama in the media.

The world’s most powerful man spends the first 9 months of his Presidency reaching out to the world to repair the damage done to the USA’s reputation caused by the the previous administration and people in his own country mock the recognition bestowed upon him and the USA itself for its ideological shift and efforts at rebuilding international bridges?

Not only has Obama had to deal with very real international concerns but also with the very real and pressing domestic issues of the damaged economy and health care reform.

Are the people who criticizing Obama so embittered and cynical that they would prefer if the USA was only feared around the world but not respected and admired?

If the efforts of the Obama administration can diminish the rhetoric of saber rattling and constant threats of more aggressive nations, inspire world governments to spend more time working together and being engaged in diplomacy instead of hostile actions, is that not the very essence of what the Peace Prize is about?

In my opinion, the Peace Prize is about recognizing the efforts to promote peace and unity as the words and deeds of a good leader can help to inspire cooperation and respect between people of goodwill and noble intentions.

As Obama said himself he considers that the honour is not only for him but for the efforts of his administration.

It is comforting to see that the world community seems to get Obama. International understanding and acceptance will help to put the world on the path to real, sustainable prosperity. Too bad that some of the main beneficiaries of the Obama administration seem to be more interested in dividing their nation and stirring up dissent rather than applauding their leader for the honest goodwill and respect he is generating for the USA around the world.

What’s next for Apple?

September 7th, 2009

As the next Apple event approaches, I find myself wondering what may be be up Apple’s sleeve. Rumours point to the iPod Touch being upgraded with the same camera and video capabilities as the very successful iPhone 3G. There are also rumours of a camera being added to one or more of the iPod product lines. I think those are great ideas but I have a few more in mind. Here are some of the improvements I would like to see from Apple over the next year or so.

iPod Touch/iPhone:

increase the hard drive space up to 120 GB
add a firewire 800 connection

iPod Touch:
the addition of a microphone and the ability to record sound via an audio in minijack

Macbooks:

add SD slot

Macbook Pros:

add SD slot to 17 inch
add ExpressCard/34 slot to 13 & 15 inch models


Cloud Computing

How I understand it is that cloud computing uses the internet as a storage and computing device. In other words software programs are housed/stored on the net and people can access them from any computer and use them for word processing tasks, graphic work, building websites, etc. Then people can either save the works online and/or download them to their personal hard drives.

It would be great to see companies like Apple develop the technology even further. Imagine if iWeb, GarageBand, Logic Studio, Final Cut Studio, etc. were also available on the web through an “Apple Cloud Portal”. Apple could charge a per use, monthly or annual fee to use the software. This would expand their revenue base and give most people who have broadband internet connections direct access to some of the best software products around.

It wouldn’t stop consumers from purchasing the products from certified Apple dealers or Apple stores, if they wanted to, it would just add to the overall number of consumers who use the products and become more familiar with them. Another possible benefit would be the demand for higher connection speeds in North America (where they lag behind many of the Asian and European countries with the USA ranking 28th and Canada ranking 36th). The benefits for higher connection speeds are numerous, including better communication between companies, medical and scientific applications (transmission of data, analysis, diagnostics, less time wasted waiting for transmissions between parties, etc.

Other benefits to people using cloud computing would be the development of smaller computer devices. If all software is on the net, then fewer people will actually need large computers, all they will need is a monitor, a keyboard and a hard drive at home and their iPhone/iPod Touch to store their most recent files. Hmm, it sounds like I’ve just described the iMac minus the software…

So what do you think? Does anyone else see cloud computing as a way to clean up clutter of devices and also expand the business of software companies to people who might be curious about but have never used some more of the higher end products from Apple and other companies?

Civil Rights and Justice

July 10th, 2009

“Powerlessness and silence go together. We should use our privileged positions not as a shelter from the world’s reality, but as a platform from which to speak. A voice is a gift. It should be cherished and used.” – Margaret Atwood

By now some of you may have read or viewed a news story this week about racism and discrimination in downtown Montreal, Quebec. The case, which has been ongoing for the past six years since I filed it in June of 2003, is something personal and at times, has been hard for me to talk about. But I am going to do it now.

Before I do, I think that I should explain why I have been fighting this case for six years. I feel that I owe the people who have come before me, (my ancestors who were slaves and fought for their freedom, those who struggled to survive and defy the whip, the denigration of their existence for the profit and comfort of others) a duty to stand up for my rights as well. They survived so that others would remember what happened to them and survived because they hoped that things would get better and were willing to put themselves on the line and work to make it so.

Hope is why people fight for justice. Hope that the country and society they live in will live up to the principals of its Charters and declared moral standards, hope that the declarations of politicians at election times also have weight and strength inbetween the time they want our votes again. That is why I am still pursuing this case after six years – hope. Hope for myself and hope for Canada.

A few people I’ve met suggested that I must be special or have some deep reserve of inner strength to be able to fight and publicly stand up for my rights. While I am flattered, I am not able to take credit for all my determination and resolve. Being someone who has read a bit about historical figures and struggles of the past, I understand that all that I enjoy today is because others have come before me suffered, fought, marched, petitioned, sang, prayed for and demanded the Civil Rights for all us that are written on our Charters and Constitutions.

Every female professional owns her career to the women who were the first ones through the door and who put up with the scorn, put downs and prejudice from those who wanted to keep women from being doctors, lawyers and whatever else they wanted to be. Every female politician in Canada owes her career in part to women like Agnes Macphail, the 1st female MP elected to parliament and her courage and determination to live her life as she saw fit, not by the limits others wanted to place on it.

Black people in the Americas would still be slaves if it wasn’t for the efforts of a people in Canada, the Caribbean, England and the United States challenging the will and racist policies supported by millions of others in Europe, North America and South America, who kept telling those who demanded their place at the table of freemen to wait just a little bit longer.

In the previous century, the many of the countries of the world twice banded together to challenge and defeat tyranny in Europe and Asia during WWI and WWII. They were fighting for the rights of freedom and justice of the common man and those efforts encouraged and inspired men and women around the world to fight and work for their place as equal citizens in their own countries.

Many countries in Africa and Asia would still be colonies if it wasn’t for the efforts of the freedom fighters and the other brave people who pushed back and demanded their freedom, demanded respect and their Human Rights. From Algeria to South Africa, India to the 1980′s in Poland, millions have done much more than I am doing. That is where my resolve comes from.

For the eighteen months I was employed at Les Ailes de la Mode, I was subjected to harassment and discrimination by my supervisors and the administration of the store. I took my case to the Quebec Human Rights Commission and after six long years, they decided in my favour. The case was referred back to mediation and while I have accepted that option, I have yet to hear anything from Les Ailes de la Mode/Fairweather Group. As it takes two to negotiate, it leaves the case once again in a stalemate of sorts. The question is what happens next? And what does this case say about what is really going on in Canada?

A few days ago, there was a shocking news story about a black man who was attacked by three white men in Courtney B.C., as well as a report of discrimination in Toronto towards non-whites looking to rent apartments. Earlier this year, there were reports of White Supremacist marches in Alberta. These types of stories and incidences lead me to have serious doubts as to the political will of our leaders to defend Canadians from abuse and discrimination.

Has the tension that has engulfed most of the world for so long finally reached us or is the veiled myth of a multicultural and peaceful Canada finally being lifted, exposing the real deeds and attitudes that have long been hidden due to lack of critical self examination of Canada’s identity by governments and the media?

Have the often repeated statements that Canada is a multicultural society and was the refuge of the American slaves via the Underground Railroad, during the mid 1800′s, blinded us to the real problems of discrimination and prejudice that exist within our country?

So far, I have listened to and read three of the news reports regarding my case. While I am sincerely grateful that the various members of the media have covered the story and broadcast it, I was disappointed that in the CBC News at Six broadcast on Wednesday July 8, they translated the meaning of the word Negre to Negro. Black and white people in Quebec know that using the word Negre – while being a literal translation of the word Negro – has the same weight and hateful meaning as the word Nigger. In light of the controversy surrounding Bye Bye 2008 and the racist jokes directed at blacks and Obama by Radio-Canada, I thought that the CBC would be more sensitive. Maybe there needs to be more positive images of blacks in Canada’s media for the news editors and writers to view their role as information providers with greater care and recognition of the pain that hateful slurs and acts cause. The on-air journalist also mispronounced my name by adding an “s” to the end of it. It is a minor detail to some, but when I listened to the report, I couldn’t help thinking about how many other names he has read correctly over the past that are much more complicated than mine, yet “Wood” was not pronounced correctly, he said “Woods”.

It shouldn’t be hard for any news organization (especially one with the important, long standing legacy of the CBC) to properly report on this story. From what I have seen thus far, the Montreal Gazette got it right in terms of the basic issues of the case, based on the information they received from the press release and the interview I had with them and other journalists. I thank them for their report and encourage them to continue their attention to details when reporting other stories.

This story is a big deal to me. It is what happened to me. It is part of my life story. I was repeatedly told by various people while working for a Canadian corporation to step aside, while other, white employees were hired after me and place above me. I wasn’t paid my salary, my hours were reduced by 2/3, while the company continued to hire and place more people in the department I was working in. Six years later, I received validation from the Human Rights Commission and now the case has been sent back to mediation. I am annoyed and frustrated by the time it has taken the decision to come out however, I remain confident that the Quebec Human Rights Commission can successfully fulfill their mandate and that if Les Ailes de la Mode and their current owners, the Fairweather Group are really serious about dealing with this case, a suitable settlement can be arrived at – perhaps before the next Federal election?

I do not know where the journey of my life will lead me but what I can say is that there is no way that I am going to turn my back on my Civil Rights because it is something difficult to do or that I might be met with scorn, jeers, threats or ridicule. If our Charter stands for anything at all, if Canada is really wants to be a world leader, point its finger at other nations, criticizing them for Civil and Human Rights abuses, then our leaders better make sure that the citizens who live in Canada, receive their full protection under the Charter.

This is time of the year when the world looks to Canada during the spirit of the Montreal International Jazz Festival, other music and film festivals that occur in our city, as well as the numerous festivals across our country and soon, the upcoming Winter Olympics. The diseases of racial discrimination and colour prejudice weaken and undermine the efforts of all of those who work to bring people together to celebrate our cultural differences under the banner of our common humanity and it also diminishes the credibility of politicians who are slow to act, when citizens are denied their Civil Rights.

To those of you who think that claims or discussions of discrimination, and prejudice are over exaggerated, I would contend that very often people live with their pain, misery, frustrations and embarrassments regarding this form of abuse in silence. For those of us who live in the western world where our governments and media fill our eyes and ears with the sweet sounds and sights of freedom, liberty, opulence and lifestyles of the Rich and Famous, when people are shut out of the everyday world due to the discrimination and prejudice that violates our hard fought for Civil Rights, many people simply retreat within themselves and hide their pain with bravado and other destructive behaviours to mask the shame they have at feeling powerless. I know because at times, I felt powerless too.

For whatever reason, my spirit will not allow me to become embittered nor wallow in despair and hopelessness. I am an optimist by nature and that is also why I persist. I believe in justice and the principals in our Charter that defend the rights of every Canadian to live a life without discrimination and persecution and to seek restitution against those who would violate those rights.

Good things come to those who work for them.

What is going to carry me through this is my brain, my heart, my will, my optimism and my faith in justice. Those are the fabulous gifts that have been given to me, that have allowed me to make good and dear friends from all walks of life, have wonderful experiences, share with others and guide my heart to a place of love, hope and strength. To those who are struggling with their own doubts, those gifts are there for you to claim too. You were born stronger and more resilient than you know, embrace it, meet the challenges of life head on and you will be rewarded with a sense of self-worth and the true possibilities of life. Do not worry about stumbles and setbacks, they happen to everyone. Just focus on your life and the things you really want.

Harmony, peace and love is the natural order of life. That is why people have fought and worked to defend freedom and Civil Rights, it is the natural law of life. But we must be vigilant and make sure that our laws and actions remain consistent with our true values of equality, liberty and justice.

“We who live in fortunate lands where we have inherited good things, are prone to accept good things, are prone to accept freedom, the most important of these good things, with an indifference which is the greatest threat to its continuance.” – Lester B. Pearson

To those who have fought and paved the path before me, working for the rights of others and their own with actions, words, songs and determination: thank you for the courage your inspiring stories and efforts have given me.

Lincoln Alexander – 1st African-Canadian elected to Parliament 1968
Thurgood Marshall – Lawyer, Supreme Court Judge
Sidney Poitier – Actor
Norman Jewison – Director, Producer
Denzel Washington – Actor
Lester B. Pearson – Politician, Winner 1957 Nobel Peace Prize, 14th Prime Minister of Canada 1963-1968
Pierre Elliot Trudeau – Politician, 15th Prime Minister of Canada 1968-1979, 1980-1984
Gordon Parks – Artist, Director, Photographer
Fredrick Douglas – Activist
Martin Luther King Jr. – Activist
Rosa Parks – Activist
Gandhi – Activist
Malcolm X – Activist
Bill Cosby – Comedian
Andrew Young – Activist, Politician
Jesse Jackson – Activist
W.E.B Du Bois – Activist, Writer
Muhammad Ali – Athlete
Steven Biko – Activist
Nelson Mandela – Activist, Lawyer, 1st Black President of South Africa
NAACP – Civil Rights Organization
Berry Gordy – Founder of Motown
Duke Ellington – Musician
James Brown – Musician
Miles Davis – Musician
Richard Pryor – Comedian
Dave Chappelle – Comedian
Eddie Murphy – Comedian
Oprah – Journalist
Quincy Jones – Music Producer
Jackie Robinson – Athlete
Maya Angelou – Writer
Stevie Wonder – Musician
Bob Marley – Musician
Krishnamurti – Teacher
Spike Lee – Director, Producer
Tyler Perry – Director, Producer
Will Smith – Actor, Producer
Robin W. Winks – Writer
Robert Johnson – Founder of BET
Barack Obama – Politician, Teacher, 1st African-American President and 44th President of the United States of America
and so many others…

Below you will find the press leases on my case. I thank CRARR for helping me with this case thus far and putting the press releases together. I encourage any and all of you to read them, reflect on them and come forward to your local Human Rights Commissions with your own stories and file complaints. The best way to deal with colour prejudice, discrimination and racism is to denounce it and expose it.

Press Release: com-wood-e-07-09 winstonwood-case-summary WinstonWood Chronology

Time for solar power to take the lead

June 3rd, 2009

What is the delay with bringing solar power to the average consumer on a massive scale? We have had solar powered calculators and even watches for many years. It seems as though governments who stand to benefit the most from solar power by reduced costs thereby having more money in the budget for healthcare, education and infrastructure investments are doing almost nothing to promote its widespread adoption and usage.

The question is why?

The answer could be infrastructure.

In the case of electricity and oil there are lots of middlemen who receive government money and support from the industry to build and maintain refineries, processing plants, parts companies and all the other aspects of electric and oil companies. Ethanol has received major funding and tax breaks even though it has caused major devastation in the world by using food (corn) to fuel machines, thus causing millions of people to suffer as the price of corn rises while their standard of living decreases. That means millions of families are having a harder time putting food on the table while multi-billion dollar corporations receive money to convert food to fuel.

One of the best ways to save the planet and use the best free, renewable resource that we have available, would be to go solar.

1. Government buildings should be converted to run at least 20% of their needs on solar power.
2. Cars paid for by the government should be hybrids.
3. An incentive such as a rebate or low interest rate loan should be given to all homeowners and builders to make/purchase/renovate homes and make them solar energy friendly.

Some more stories on the issues surrounding ethanol:
globalresearch.ca
Technological Review

More stories on solar energy:
Triangle Business Journal
New Energy
UB Reporter

Thinking About the Media and Politics

April 26th, 2009

Today, I watched Fareed Zakaria GPS on CNN. He opened the show with a series of comments and a discussion on the demise of the Republican Party and why that’s a bad thing for America. I found his opening statements to be bizarre and frankly nonsensical. The idea that because the USA (or any country) is a two party country that there should always be a sizable split of support between the two parties is not an intelligent proposition. It encourages stagnation and a support of the status quo, which helps no one.

The reason why support for the GOP is down is because they misled and broke the country economically, socially, militarily, financially and in other ways too. It seems to me that defending the Republican Party or suggesting that their low level of support could be potentially dangerous for the country, 100 days into the election of the Democratic Party President is completely unnecessary nor justified. It is especially insidious when it is done in the absence of stating the reason why the GOP has lost much of its support – their policies and actions.

One of the words used on the same CNN show to describe Obama’s Presidency was polarizing. How a new President with a 65% approval rating could be considered to be polarizing is simply illogical. I think that the right words should have been “President Obama retains strong or overwhelming popular support” or “continues to follow through on his remarkable rise to power, working hard to unify the country after it suffered through the end the the Bush era, which saw President Bush at historically low approval ratings and effectiveness”. That would have at least been accurate instead of the confusing language of CNN’s writers and commentators. Perhaps those who are feeling polarized are those who so frequently and happily enjoyed the short-term ego boost and brief financial gains of being associated with Bush and his GOP friends over the past eight years. Newsweek had a better assessment although with some portent to the criticisms that might be laid against the Obama administration, when the media feel the time is right to confuse the public again.

CNN was one of the broadcasters who were approached and refused to air Obama’s address to the nation during the election (the other was ABC). CNN chose to give time to McCain instead. If any of you recall, McCain was granted an “interview” with Larry King that was basically a commercial for his campaign, the same night that Obama was being broadcast on CBS and NBC. Obama had paid for the airtime on the other stations and wanted to pay CNN as well, they refused and gave time to McCain instead. Maybe the people who run CNN don’t like Obama and the Democratic Party because they disagree with their policies or for some other reason. But being contrary is not presenting an opinion, it only supports the status quo. To this date, I have not heard an single articulate, valid reason, to honestly criticize what Obama has done. The alternative is to continue with what Bush and the GOP have been doing to America and the world for the past 40 odd years (at least since 1968), which has been exposed as a great waste of time, money and human potential.

The United States has the benefit of being a situated on a vast land mass with an enormous multilingual, educated population and possessing highly developed scientific, technological, political and societal communities (made stagnant and misused due to bad policies). Under bad governance, all the things that made America great were leading to its downfall. The far reaching influence of its policies have infiltrated and influenced governments, media, financial and legal systems around the world. Which means that if the policies of the US government were flawed, or simply bad, then many other countries suffered too.

Bad policies, the misguided and wasteful Iraq invasion, a rapidly shrinking middle class and an understanding that the nation was losing its moral, intellectual and spiritual way, heavily contributed to Obama winning the Presidency and is the reason why smart, logical, humane and caring people support him. It is the right thing to do. The old rhetoric, the useless back and forth of whether to help citizens or corporations, has led the world financial communities into near total collapse. The ridiculous argument that a government that actually works for the benefit of its citizens is “socialist” = communist = dictatorial = bad = anti business is stupid and deceitful. That untenable political position can only work if Conservatives “support” businesses by giving billions of dollars away through tax breaks, subsidies and threats to corporations, while the average citizen suffers a decline in their standard of living. They are then reduced to the only viable way to keep up with the Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous – fed to comfort the emotional void that exist by the ever present media – which is to live on credit cards and fast food (the great panaceas). Leaving millions to pay obscene loan rates, so credit card corporations can continue to make billions in profits, off people’s hard working, low paying lives. To appreciate that, one has only to honestly look at all the efforts that have been made to keep wages low, stifling all attempts at raising minimum wages and quashing healthcare reform by lobbyists and politicians and media in the wealthiest country in the world.

It is simply untrue that a government which carefully and intelligently regulates how businesses operate, will stifle growth and development. The only people who are advocating less regulation are the mouthpieces of the very industries which have been stagnant over the past 30 years – banking, oil, tobacco, automotive, insurance, plastics, transportation, food, broadcasting, telecommunications, media and to a minor extent the medical and scientific communities – influenced by government funding, conservative ideology and profit chasing with a few commercial products. They have done as little as possible to improve the lives of the citizens who use their services, all the while spending billions to advertise and bribe (excuse me, lobby) government officials influencing them not to implement any real policy changes which would work to ensure that while there is growth, the desire for profit does not come at the expense of the safety and security of the average person and the long term real prosperity of the nation. (Yes, this applies to Canada too!)

It is time to use common sense again. President Obama is the common sense man that this era needs. He has come out ready to work and is providing articulate, levelheaded, respectful, mature, thoughtful and optimistic leadership. The comments made by Stephen Moore on GPS that people will need to see real improvement in six months, otherwise they will start to question Obama, because Americans are impatient, are completely irresponsible. I think that they only serve to plant the seeds of illogical and irrational dissent, with no other option available other than to go back to doing things the GOP way. The world’s economy has been crippled by greed and lack of regulation over a generation. It is going to take time to fix it. It will probably take more than six months.

Give President Obama the time and see what happens. I am confident that if the members of Congress, the Senate and Judiciary put the citizens first instead of lobby groups and their personal perks of being in government, then under the calm, steady, respectful, common sense Presidency of Barack Obama, the USA will once again be a place of hope, inspiration and good governance for the world to use as an example and for its citizens, corporations, artists, innovators, scientists and powerful entrepreneurial spirit to thrive in.