Archive for the ‘General Interest’ Category


(Article sent to me by: Jim Troyanek an old military Buddy – CAPER) 


Canada – U.S. Border 

        Canada is quietly surpassing the U.S. as the land of Opportunity

(I dont mean to be mean spirited but after having lived in the U.S. on three different occasions, I didnt need a U.S. Author to tell me that Canada was the land of opportunity – CAPER)


            By James A. Bacon

            The Washington Times

            6:29 p.m., Tuesday, January 4, 2011

 Illustration: Canada and Freedom

        Unless the Winter Olympics are on television or someone is

clubbing baby seals, Americans don’t pay much attention to what’s happening

in Canada. It’s as if we live in a house with a set of quiet, orderly

neighbors on one side and a bachelor pad with drunken parties, girls in the

hot tub and occasional gunshot eruptions on the other. To whom would you pay

more attention?

       I dare say Americans could correctly name the president of

Mexico (Filipe Calderon) over the prime minister of Canada (Stephen Harper)

by a margin of 5-to-1. That’s too bad. While we have every reason to fear

the disorder spilling over from our increasingly lawless neighbor to the

south, our well-mannered Canadian neighbors have pulled their act together.

We could learn a lot from them.

       Look what’s not happening in Canada. There is no real estate

crisis. There is no banking crisis. There is no unemployment crisis. There

is no sovereign debt crisis. Recent reports suggest that consumers are

loading up too much debt, but Canada shares that problem with nearly every

other country in the industrialized world.

       Among the Group of Seven nations, which also include the United

States, France, Japan, Germany, the United Kingdom and Italy, Canada’s

economic activity has come the closest to returning to the pre-recession

peak. The country has recovered three-quarters of all jobs it lost. The

International Monetary Fund estimates that Canada will be the only country

among the G-7 to have achieved a balanced budget by 2015.

       Now, instead of expanding Canada’s welfare state, the

conservative government led by Mr. Harper is intent upon building the

nation’s global competitiveness. Our friends in the Great White North cut

their corporate tax rate to 16.5 percent on Jan. 1 and will see it drop to

15 percent next year. That compares to the current U.S. corporate tax rate

of 35 percent. That will give Canada the lowest corporate tax rate among the

G-7 nations and an eye-popping advantage for businesses wondering whether to

locate on the U.S. or Canadian side of the border.


Canada’s Parliament Buildings

       The last time Canadians really caught Americans’ eyes was when

prime ministers such as Jean Chretien and Paul Martin, both leaders of the

Liberal Party, were proving uncooperative in the realm of foreign policy.

American media played up disagreements over the invasion of Iraq and

Canadian participation in the American National Missile Defense Program,

which made President George W. Bush look bad and confirmed the narrative

that his cowboy foreign policy had alienated old friends around the world.

By contrast, when Canadian soldiers under the conservative government became

active combatants in Afghanistan, the American media showed little


       But that’s nothing new. Except to note how well or how poorly

Canada’s national health care system was working, Americans have paid little

heed to news coming out of Ottawa. The titanic effort of both Canada’s

liberal and conservative parties in the 1990s and 2000s to rein in

government spending largely escaped our notice. Nor did it ever occur to

anyone to wonder why, with our economies so closely entwined, U.S. housing

prices were busting through the roof while Canadian houses remained so


       It turns out that Ottawa’s housing policies and banking

regulations tempered the boom in real estate prices. No tax deductions for

mortgage interest payments. And get this: Buyers actually had to make down

payments on their houses. Because there was no real estate bust, there was

no banking crisis. (Indeed, healthy Canadian banks are snapping up U.S.

financial assets.) Despite the lack of public policies geared toward

stimulating homeownership, Canadian homeownership was 68.4 percent in 2008.

That would be a higher number than in the United States, which was 67.4

percent in 2009.

       Lesson to Americans: If you want affordable housing, stop

promoting policies to make it more “affordable.”

       Meanwhile, Canada has many of the same assets that Americans

like to brag about, such as an immigrant tradition that invites foreigners

to live and work in the country. On a per-capita basis, the rate of legal

immigration to Canada is comparable to that to the U.S. Settling in

world-class, creative cities like Toronto and Vancouver, foreigners add

immeasurably to the nation’s wealth-creating capacity

       Talented Canadians have long regarded the United States as the

land of opportunity. It may not be long before Americans see our northern

neighbor as the land of the future.

Here’s another good reason to attend the RTP meeting on Wednesday: James Bacon of is the featured speaker. He is the author of Boomergeddon and also speaks nationally (CNN and radio talk shows across the U.S. and Canada) about the national debt and out-of-control congressional spending. Read about Jim Bacon.

James A. Bacon  


James A. Bacon is author of the book “Boomergeddon” (Oaklea

Press, 2010) and publisher of the blog by the same name.



Cape Breton native chosen as chauffeur of the year by U.S. magazine


Reggie and Biddie (Swan) Thurbide – Good friends from Years gone By


Julie Collins – Cape Breton Post

Reggie and Bridget Thurbide are proud of their son Joseph (Gerard), who has been working as a limousine driver for nearly two decades.

Published on January 21st, 2011

Published on January 21st, 2011

Staff ~ The Cape Breton Post 

BRAS D’OR — Joseph (Gerard) Thurbide, formerly of Bras d’Or, has been named chauffeur of the year by Limousine Digest in the United States.

Topics :

U.S. magazine , UPS , Boston Bruins , Cape Breton , U.S. , Mill Creek

Thurbide, who moved to the U.S. with his family when he was three years old, comes back to Cape Breton four or five times a year to visit his parents, Reggie and Bridget Thurbide, who now live in Mill Creek.

“When I was driving for UPS, I went to Cape Breton one weekend to drive for a wedding in Bras d’Or and I ended up getting into the (chauffeur) business,” he said. “I went from a brown to a black suit and driving people around instead of packages, and I’ve been doing it for almost 20 years.”

He has driven celebrities such as Bruce Springsteen, Danny Glover and Danny Devito, as well as members of the Boston Bruins and New England Patriots, as well as PGA golfers and major league baseball players.

He has also driven for daughters of presidents and political leaders from other countries.

“The majority of celebrities that I drive are good,” Thurbide said. “Every day is different because you don’t know who or where you are going to be driving — it could be Boston, New York or Philly, you never know.”

One of the highlights of his career was being the personal driver for the president of Indonesia’s daughter, who was in Atlanta for the 1996 Olympics.

Thurbide attributes his work ethic to his parents.

“It also has to do with that good old Cape Breton hospitality, doing what you can for people,” he said. “The key to being a good chauffeur is to treat everyone with the same respect with which you would like to be treated.”

His parents are delighted when the youngest of their six children comes for a visit.

“Around here he is known as Gerard,” said his mother. “We have three children in the (United) States and three living here. We are proud of all of them, it is just that Gerard has such a unique job. ”

“Even when he was a youngster, Gerard had a knack for navigation and getting around. He knows every shortcut in Boston,” said his father.

  For the Thurbides, who have been married for 64 years, family is most important.

  “We are proud of Gerard’s accomplishments,” said his father. “He takes such pride in his work and is an excellent driver.”

(It is no wonder he was chosen, he has the right genes passed along from two of the nicest people you would ever want to meet Reggie and Biddie – CAPER)



Do you remember – 18


Side by Side with Old Wood Stove – and New Electric or Gas 

(This picture reminds me of a visit to my Aunt Alice (Fraser) Sampson in Dartmouth when I was in the Navy many years ago. She was showing me her new electric kitchen stove but had kept her wood stove alongside it for her baking. She was not about to give up her old reliable wood stove. – CAPER)

Hey, do you remember the old kitchen wood or coal stove? It had the warm water tank, it dried your socks, kept your tea and food warm and was a great place to warm your tootsies when you came inside from cold winter activities. Here is a story from some lady who really enjoys or enjoyed her kitchen stove.

Smitten with My Stove

Old Friendly warms my heart, as well as my home.

Old friendly keeps me warm, feeds me, comforts me when I’m lonely and welcomes my friends when they visit. Old Friendly is my wood cook stove, and sort-of like one of my dogs, Kedgie and Tigouche-I prepare its food, feed it and clean up after it, but it’s well worth the effort.

The many cords of maple and birch in my shed are its food. The wood is deposited in my driveway early in summer, then wheel barrowed to the shed, where it’s piled. This way I am warmed twice: once by piling, once by burning.

There’s a fair amount of work involved in using a wood stove. First you have to find someone to provide the kind of wood you want, cut to the right size. Once the wood is delivered it must be piled and protected from the elements. Wood piling is a skill; I’ve mastered doing it so that the air circulates but the pile doesn’t collapse. That was after a few disasters!

Sometimes larger pieces need to be split. I’m fortunate to be surrounded by good friends and neighbours who pitch in when I need help. Or they just stop by for coffee, but on their way into the house they bring an armload or two of firewood. One special friend has assumed the job of “head woodsman”-he splits wood and fills my wood box; in return I do his laundry. I’m glad I live in a community where we barter our skills and services, and enjoy the company of friends.

You can feel the heat from here – Cant you? That is a Pot of Home Made Beans for Sure

Other wood stove tasks include getting kindling to start the daily fire. And the ashes need to be emptied. There’s making sure the flue is cleaned to avoid chimney fires-not to mention the frequent cleaning of just about everything in the house.

I grew up in Northern New Brunswick, where we had coal fireplaces, a wood and coal furnace, and a wood cook stove. As a kidlette my jobs were to pile the wood, split kindling, bring in the wood and carry coal up from the cellar. I much preferred these jobs to doing the dishes!

Having reached the age of ripeness, I’ve experienced a few changes in domestic heating and cooking technology. I recall my grandmother bellyaching about having difficulty regulating the heat of her cookstove-too hot for the bread, not hot enough for the roast. My mother dreamed of a white electric stove, but her technological jump was to enable her wood cook stove to burn oil, with the addition of a Keymac burner.

From their stoves came delectable meals, and such is the case with Old Friendly. Soups don’t get any better than when they are simmered on the back of the stove. The oven turns out the tastiest of roasts.

Oh, I haven’t always had a wood cook stove. I’ve lived with gas and electric stoves of various incarnations. Then came microwave ovens. Using these appliances was a functional experience rather than a pleasurable one, and I dreamed of the day I would get a wood stove again.

It happened when my husband and I built our camp… the stove was the first thing to be installed, even before the outside walls were completed. Old Friendly has continued to work its magic, and since my husband’s death I have lived with it full time! My home is a blend of new technology and old: I sit at my computer, connected to the Internet via satellite, and cook on my wood stove.

I can tease Old Friendly into producing either a hot fire or one that just keeps the kettle pumping vapour into the air. I select the wood with care. Burning pieces of ironwood from my own property can force me to open windows on the coldest of days. Maple and birch are my everyday choices; poplar is used when a “cool” fire is needed. Working the stove drafts lets me have a hot cooking surface, or keep a low fire going if I plan to be away from home for several hours.

When preparing a meal I like the ease of moving from high to medium to low simply by moving the pan from left to right. The dinner plates in the warming oven are always the right temperature.

With the increasing cost of oil and gas there’s a renewed interest in wood as a fuel source. Those of us who burn wood pat ourselves on the back-we use fuel that is renewable, and also locally grown, cut by someone who works in his or her own woodlot.

Although I can extol the virtues of a wood cook stove, it isn’t for everyone. Nor is a wood furnace or fireplace insert. I live in the country, a distance from my neighbours. If I still lived in the city, emissions from my stove might be bothersome to others. Even out here I operate my stove so smoke is minimized-I don’t want to contribute to air pollution or emit particulate that may hurt friends and fowl.

But it’s a trade-off. After a storm, city roads are quickly plowed and power returned to normal. In a rural area unplowed roads and extended power outages are relatively common. I hardly notice. I have heat, hot water and cook food. Life carries on as normal.

More Molasses laced homemade Beans on top of the stove

Like most of us as we age, Old Friendly needs a tuck here and a patch there; occasionally a replacement part. It will be a sad day when one of my dogs or my cook stove has to be put down. But I have a replacement in mind for Old Friendly. I recently visited the Enterprise Fawcett foundry in Sackville, NB, and fell in love once again-the Monarch model has me tingling like a teenager.

Sadly, Enterprise Fawcett is the last remaining cast iron foundry in the region. (At one time almost every community was served by a foundry, but things change.) Owner Michael Wheaton bought the foundry in 1995 after having worked there since he was a teenager. He has 48 employees and, in addition to building stoves from scratch, specializes in castings for lumber mills and other local businesses.

The firm has been in business for more than 150 years…that’s good enough for me!

In my younger days, when considering choices for husbands (I’ve had two so far), it was important they be from the Atlantic region. So it is for my next cook stove. Old Friendly is from Elmira, Ont, and has been most loyal; I’m sure the Enterprise potentate will provide the same service.

I’m a cool weather gal…my favourite time of year is when I can get my backside against the wood stove and watch the cold river run past my house, then enjoy what Old Friendly puts on the table. Visitors are welcome!

Written by Katharine Mott. Photography: Katharine Mott. This article was published in the January/February 2009 issue of Seascapes



General store reopens its doors and becomes part of community again

 (Julie Collins – Cape Breton Post)

From left Eric Whyte, Robert Grant, Sandra MacLeod, and Lloyd Grant take a moment to enjoy a cup of tea.

(Great Place for Tellin Stories Bye – CAPER)

Published on January 20th, 2011

Staff ~ The Cape Breton Post 

ROSS FERRY — There is a whole lot of social networking going on at Grant’s General Store — the old-fashioned kind you do over a hot cup of tea.

When you enter the store, it is as if you’ve been transported back to an era when such locations were the heart of community life.

Local folks came together to reopen the store, which had been operated brothers Lloyd and Robert Grant for over 50 years, and before that by their father William Duncan Grant.

“This store has such a rich history in the community, it was truly missed after it closed about three years ago,” said Eric Whyte, who was among a host of volunteers who rallied to get it ready to open. “We pay minimal rent and have willing volunteers who man the counter.”

Once word got out about the plan to reopen, people armed with hammers and paint brushes showed up. It wasn’t long before the building was rewired, the floor repaired, walls and windows painted and a washroom installed.

Several local families stocked the shelves with nonperishable items such as canned and dry goods.

“People stepped up right away, often the supplies were donated anonymously. They’d show up with pellets for the stove or stock for the shelves; it was amazing.”

The store is open Monday to Saturday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Now that Grant’s is open, there are so many people signed up to volunteer that in some cases their shifts have been cut from two to one a week.

 Whyte said the community wants the store to maintain the same character as when it was run by the Grants.

Lloyd volunteers a couple of hours a week and Robert keeps the lot clear of snow.

“It is nice to see the place all fixed up and a sign out front,” said Lloyd. “It’s good to see our old friends back again and new people dropping by.”

 His brother Robert added that it’s nice to see a light in the window.

“They are using the same register that has been here for 71 years.”

The store doesn’t have a huge inventory, mainly the basics so people don’t have to make a trip to town for just one or two items.

At any given time during the day there can be seven or eight people around the tables, enjoying coffee and participating in friendly debate.

“The store is a place for people to slow down, enjoy a cup of tea or a game of cards or checkers. The walking club meets here each morning for coffee and people gather to play bridge,” Whyte said. “It’s about people dropping by and feeling welcome.”

In one corner of the store is a library of donated books that is looked after by retired University of Toronto librarian Ann Morrison.

“There are a lot of older people who could be isolated, but because they have a place to come and play cards or just talk, they have a connection with people that they might not have if the store wasn’t open,” said volunteer Sandra MacLeod.


RCMP Badge

Hey, do you remember when we all held the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) in such high esteem? They were above reproach in every respect unless of course you were a bootlegger or operated a still producing good old Cape Breton shine. But you still respected the Mounties if not revering them. If you got caught, you simply turned over your bootlegging responsibilities to a sibling or friend, went to court and took your punishment and after a reasonable length of time resumed your illegal activities.

RCMP Member on the job – In the Arctic

But now you see where they are being charged with murdering an unarmed drunk in cells, tasering a teenager with limited mental capacity, perjuring themselves, beating up people on the street and most recently kicking an unarmed man down all fours in the face. You didn’t see these types of tactics from the RCMP or the local thugs at the Legions throughout Cape Breton on a Saturday night. We even had four Mounties taser a poor innocent immigrant to death while he waited for his mother to come collect him. Imagine four Mounties all supposedly highly trained couldn’t subdue one unarmed man. The shame of it makes me shutter.

What amazes me that they above all others should be aware of the fact that you can hardly go outside anymore without a camera recording your every move. The corner convenience store takes your picture; most businesses will have a camera covering you at the entrance as well as on the inside. Police cells and hall ways within the Cop Shops all have cameras yet we see the stupidity of Police kicking female and male prisoners, beating the crap out of unarmed victims. Do they not have any sense or are they just stupid or do they think they are above the law? Most of our modern day police are highly educated and go through rigorous selection processes yet we continue to hire and employ some of these Neanderthals and not only that we issue them a gun. Do they not have supervisors responsible for their supervision, conduct and employment?

I have nephews and cousins who are or were in the Police Services and I have always told them you guys (and now girls) are the only people in Canada who are authorized by the Laws of Country to kill someone legally. All you have to do is determine that your life is in danger and you can blast away. Not even members of our military have this authority.

Municipal Cop – A Dangerous Job

These incidents are not confined to the RCMP alone. We only need to watch in the news and we will see repeatedly incidents where Municipal Police Services are involved in despicable acts against civilians often without rhyme or reason. They continue be charged with drunken driving, murder, fraud, child molestation and you name it and they are doing it.

A Black and White – at the ready

Don’t get me wrong I am and always have been a great supporter of the police RCMP and Municipal. I am just pointing out a number of incidents of late that causes me grave concern. I appreciate that every police officer puts his or her life on the line every day they go to work. And for that I applaud them. I have the greatest respect for these men and women who are in place to serve and protect us. Ironically, as I type this article a police sergeant was hit and killed this morning in the line of duty by a nut case who ran out of a house in his bare feet and stole an operating snow plow and drove off.

OPP Badge

I do hope the whole situation improves. Our RCMP is not viewed in a very positive light these days. It is my firm belief that the RCMP should be a true Federal Police Service with provinces and municipalities looking after their respective police responsibilities and NOT THE RCMP. And, they should go back to having a uniformed Commissioner responsible to a police board yet to be formulated. (By CAPER)

RCMP Member of the Musical Ride


Group focuses on the comfort of Cape Breton veterans

Sharon Montgomery-Dupe – Cape Breton Post

Veterans Comfort Fund members Sandra Wilneff (left), Neil McKinnon (right) and his wife Selena, pass out Christmas presents to veterans Tom Hutchinson of New Waterford and Christine Aucoin of Reserve Mines, at Taigh Na Mara in Glace Bay.

GLACE BAY — A group formed more than 30 years ago is still all about the comfort of the veterans.

Topics :

Cape Breton Veterans Comfort Fund , Canada Association Dominion Command , Royal Canadian Legion , Cape Breton , North Sydney , New Waterford

Neil McKinnon of New Waterford, president of the Cape Breton Veterans Comfort Fund, has been travelling around the island to hand-deliver Christmas presents to veterans including those at Taigh Na Mara in Glace Bay.

McKinnon said this comfort fund project — which sees the 244 veterans across Cape Breton, who are either at their own home or at a veterans home, receive a Christmas present which focuses on comfort.

“They fought for us, now we are making sure we are here for them.”

McKinnon, who is also president of the Army, Navy and Air Force Veterans in Canada Association Dominion Command, said the comfort fund was created about 30 years ago by the Royal Canadian Legion in North Sydney.

“Then the Sydney legion came in, then the Army, Navy, Air Force after that.”

Now the fund includes all legions and ANAF units across the island. Regular meetings are held and fundraisers organized.

“We raise funds so we can buy things for the veterans.”

He said money is donated to the veterans’ homes, which includes Harbourview in North Sydney, for summer activities.

“They fought for us, now we are making sure we are here for them.” – Neil McKinnon

“They have lobster boils and take the veterans on trips,” he said. “We even bought a piano for Taigh Na Mara.”

Money is also raised through memorial donations to the comfort fund in memory of veterans.

“We also sell even split tickets and get donations here and there,” he said. “Every cent we raise goes to the veterans. Nothing is taken out for anything, not even expenses. Everything we do, it is all volunteer.”

He said the response they receive from veterans when showing up with the gifts is heart-warming.

This year the gifts included pyjamas for the men and nightgowns for the women.

“You know how happy children are about Santa Claus, well that is just how happy the veterans are when we pass them a gift,”  he said.

“It hits you right in the heart.”

(Thank God we have organizations like the Cape Breton Veterans Comfort Fund who with no financial reward carry out such a wonderful gift of giving – CAPER)



Dexter reflects on Cape Breton’s economy

 Premier Darrell Dexter sits down with the Cape Breton Post recently for a year-end interview. Steve Wadden – Cape Breton Post

Published on December 28th, 2010

Published on December 28th, 2010

Chris Shannon 

SYDNEY — Beyond the dredging of Sydney harbour, private-sector involvement will be essential for the Sydney Marine Group to acquire any additional funds from the province.

Topics :

Cape Breton Post , Xstrata Canada , Sydney Marine Group , Cape Breton , Sydney , Ottawa

That was the message from Premier Darrell Dexter in a year-end interview with the Cape Breton Post last week on what the partnership of local business entities must do to attract more investment from the public purse.

The province committed $15.2 million to the project on the contingency the federal government would contribute its $19 million share. Prime Minister Stephen Harper announced Ottawa’s portion of the harbour dredge financing on Dec. 10 while on a visit to Sydney.

“First of all, the private sector has to be there. If there are (investors) prepared to invest the money that it would take to set up a container terminal, then obviously we would want to make sure there was the infrastructure there to support that,” the premier said.

Dredging the harbour is seen as just one step in plans to develop a $200-million container terminal at the port of Sydney that would open the door to a range of business opportunities including bulk cargo, shipbuilding, offshore fabrication/services and containers.

The dredging consists of deepening the 8.5-kilometre entrance channel to Sydney harbour over a 10-week period. It has been described by several business and community leaders as potentially transformative for the region’s economy.

The Cape Breton Regional Municipality agreed to provide $2 million in funding in May, while Nova Scotia Power earlier agreed to put up $1 million for the project.

“We still believe that contract (with Dutch firm Boskalis) can be done on budget, and we’d like to see this completed in the spring. We don’t see a reason why this can’t happen,” Dexter said.

Xstrata Canada, currently working to reopen the Donkin mine in 2013 or early 2014, hasn’t closed the door on shipping coal by rail to the harbour. Its only other alternative is the use of barges to transport coal from the Donkin shoreline to waiting transport ships in deeper water.

Dexter said there are obvious partnerships the Sydney Marine Group can forge to bring business into a revitalized port of Sydney, and Xstrata is one of the possibilities.

“A container pier might be one, but if that isn’t one then you look at ship repair, those other kinds of industrial harbour-related industries.

“The way that this was sold by the Sydney Marine Group was to say, ‘Give us the opportunity and we will take advantage of that opportunity to grow the economy of the island.’

“For me, people say this is a gamble, and I say it’s simply a gamble worth taking.”

Essential infrastructure such as the Cape Breton and Central Nova Scotia Railway, which weaves its rail line through the island, was given a boost in October when the province renewed its subsidy to the railway for an additional year. The provincial subsidy of up to $2 million per year established in 2005 had expired on March 31.

“It is fundamentally different than other pieces of infrastructure as we see it having a long-term economic viability to it that differentiates (the rail line) from other pieces of infrastructure, and that’s why we continue to support it,” the premier said.

However, he cautioned a long-term strategy for the rail system must be sought.

“We are being, I would suggest, pretty patient with that.”

As Dexter ends his first full year as the province’s first NDP premier, he said the province continues to “look for the opportunity to invest money in Cape Breton,” otherwise the island will remain in a state of decline.

“I think Cape Breton has to become one of the economic engines of the province if we’re going to be successful,” Dexter said.

That doesn’t mean diverting money away from Halifax, he added.

“You have many emerging business leaders (in Cape Breton). You look at success stories like AG (Research) and you look at Protocase. There are many examples of these small companies that have built themselves from the ground up.

“Having a successful Halifax does not mean every other place has to be unsuccessful. In fact, I believe it means the opposite. We have to find ways to build a stronger economy in other parts of the province. Halifax is healthier when the rest of the province is healthier.” (Courtesy of Cape Breton Post)