Preserved Stories Blog

Over the past 25 years, the Canadian Stuttering Association has developed four key principles of community self-organizing

As noted at a previous post, on Oct. 22, 2016 I’ll be presenting a workshop at the CSA 25 Anniversary Conference. The workshop is entitled “Canadian Stuttering Association  – Then & Now: How the CSA Responds to Changing Needs.”

A blurb for my Oct 22, 2016 workshop reads:

“The emergence of national associations for people who stutter can be described as a form of community self-organizing. Jaan will describe the needs that led to the forming of the CSA and participants can explore how community organizations grow and change in response to changing needs.”

Community self-organizing

The concept of community self-organizing has been a central focus in my volunteer work in recent years. It entails people coming together to represent their own interests.

What needs led to the forming of the CSA? I would say the key need was for people who stutter to represent their own interests, instead of remaining silent and depending on others to speak on their behalf.

How do community organizations grow and change in response to changing needs?

A key part of the approach to governance, that many of us working together in the early years developed, is based upon four principles, which have become part of the built-in culture of the Canadian Stuttering Association. The following lost is not in order of importance. All four principles are equally important, and are part of the culture of the organization.

Leadership succession

Leadership succession is a key principle.

We have fixed terms of office for the national coordinator. In that way, the leadership of the organization is constantly renewed.

Continous improvement

A second key principle is the concept of continuous improvement. We seek to work with all of our members, on a regular basis, to update our strategic plan and to follow through with the streps required to achieve each of our limited, finite number of strategic goals.


A third key principle is the concept of ownership. The organization belongs to all of its members. Input from every source is welcomed, and is sought. The members have a sense of ownership of the decision-making process. Anybody can step forward and begin to find a place in the decision-making structure.

Impartial forum for sharing of information

The fourth principle is that we provide an impartial forum for the sharing of information. We do not, as an organization, tell any person who stutters how they should go about dealing with the fact they stutter. We are here to share information. We are not here to promote a particular way of thinking, or strategy, with regard to how to address stuttering.

Speaking notes – August 2001 Calgary keynote presentation

In the event you would like to read such a document, the speaking notes for a keynote presentation by Jaan Pill at a CSA conference in Calgary can be accessed here:


Presentations along similar themes were delivered at two international events in those years. One keynote was at a world congress, which took place in Ghent, Belgium in the 1990s, of the International Stuttering Association. Another keynote was a world congress of the International Fluency Association, in Montreal in the early 2000s.

In the early years I was also responsible for media relations on behalf of CSA. We had many national and international media interviews, on TV, radio, and in newspapers. Much of what I know about media work I learned in  those years.


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Erving Goffman’s definition of the situation: Bridget Jones’s Baby and The King’s Speech

In a Comment at a recent post, I’ve referred to commonalities between Bridget Jones’s Baby and The King’s Speech.

In the current post, I will explore themes related to storytelling, Erving Goffman, storylines, narrative arcs, frames and framing, and related topics.

These topics are of interest to me because I have been exploring the nature of storytelling – and the related topic of making sense of things – for many years.

Bridget Jones’s Baby: Who’s who and whodunit

Making sense of things is concerned with who’s who and whodunit – and with the question of what’s the outcome, and what will be the future outcomes? It’s also concerned with what is the meaning of it all.

Bridget Jones’s Baby and The King’s Speech, as with any market-driven media production is each concerned with the shaping of a definition of the situation.

Any market-driven media production – the 2016 U.S. Election and the Brexit Referendum come to mind as examples – are concerned with the definition of the situation.

By definition of the situation, I have in mind Erving Goffman’s formulation of what such a definition entails.

I first encountered Goffman’s work in the 1960s. In recent years, I had been thinking of writing some blog posts about his work but figured he’s from so long ago, who would be interested. However, when I was reading about world military history, in recent years, I noted that he was still being cited by academics writing current overview of topics of interest to me.

As it has turned out, one of the posts I’ve written about Erving Goffman’s career has turned out to be among the most widely visited pages at my website; the post is entitled:

Erving Goffman began his graduate work in Chicago in 1945

The fact that many people have read, and continue to read, the above-noted post is a source of amazement for me. I would never have imagined that there would be much interest in such a topic.

Bridget Jones’s Baby

Take Bridget Jones’s Baby by way of illustration.

We are in this movie dealing with the audience’s definition of the situation.

The overriding narrative concerns the question of who is the father of the baby.

Two men are potentially the father; DNA testing will determine who the actual father is. In the end, the definitive answer to this question is not provided. An underlining message may be that, in the end, it does (or does not) matter.

Ambiguity and open-endedness, by any of definition of the situation, is a staple in many aspects of fiction, non-fiction, and everyday life.

It comes down to evidence and the absence of it.

It comes down to frame and framing, a topic to which Erving Goffman devoted a good part of his work.

Related storylines in the movie are concerned with the definition of the situation as it pertains to Bridget’s relationship with each of the two men she has been involved with.

Facts and circumstances

The script for the movie is concerned with setting up of scenarios wherein a series of mini-stories – wherein a range of the possible ways in which a given set of facts and circumstances can best be framed – are presented.

Each mini-story concludes with a consensus, among viewers of the movie, regarding what the best possible definition of the situation may be.

Occasionally, the consensus is not arrived at, at once, and additional mini-stories are presented, rounding out the information that is available to the viewer.

Is broadcast news viable?

Among the storylines is the quest for a viable business model for broadcast television news, in a market-driven media environment in which social media plays a central role.

Both The King’s Speech and Bridget Jones’s Baby are strongly concerned, as well, with the role that stereotyping plays with regard to the narrative arc of each film – and the overriding, over-arching definition of the situation.

A related topic concerns typecasting.

Each actor is cast to play a particular role. The casting – we can, in fact, speak of typecasting as a key element of film-based storytelling – plays a key role in bringing the story to life.

Cuddy et al. (2008) and Cuddy (2015)

A poignant and revealing reference, with regard to stereotyping and typecasting, is provided by the well-researched, well-presented academic and TED Talk work of Amy Cuddy, which I have highlighted in recent posts:

Perceptions of warmth and competence drive our stereotypes: Cuddy et al. (2008)

Powerful Poses, Powerless Poses – from Presence (2015) by Amy Cuddy

Power of imagery

Related topics – with a focus among other things on stereotyping, power, and the power of imagery as a key element of market-driven media broadcasting – are explored in a Sept. 2, 2016 New York Magazine article entitled:  “The Revenge of Roger’s Angels: How Fox News women took down the most powerful, and predatory, man in media.”

Related themes are explored in an Oct. 17, 2016 Toronto Star article entitled: “Donald Trump may be a threat to global democracy, experts warn: Dictatorship experts see signs of Benito Mussolini or Hugo Chavez in the Republican candidate’s outlandish claims and allegations.”

The themes are also front and centre as well in an Oct. 18, 2016 BuzzFeedNews article entitled: “FiveThirtyHate: Meet The Trump Movement’s Post-Truth, Post-Math Anti-Nate Silver.”

A foreword to the article reads: “As the final weeks of the presidential campaign devolve into accusations of conspiracy and fraud, the most talked-about Trump supporter might be a poll-hating Twitter pundit who has no official role with the campaign. Bill Mitchell is here to win the ground game in our hearts.”


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Early history of the Canadian Stuttering Association – now celebrating its 25th Anniversary

On Oct. 22, 2016 I’ll be presenting a workshop at the CSA 25 Anniversary Conference. The workshop is entitled “Canadian Stuttering Association  – Then & Now.”

The conference takes place at Oakham House, 63 Gould Street, at Ryerson University.

Here’s a brochure:


My workshop will be interactive, meaning I will not be giving a lecture.

Keynote speaker at the conference is Geoff Regan, MP, Speaker of the House of Commons

The keynote speaker at the conference is Geoff Regan, MP, Speaker of the House of Commons:


A blurb from the above-noted conference brochure reads:

“The Honourable Geoff Regan MP was first elected as the MP for Halifax West in 1993. On December 3rd 2015, his colleagues chose him to be the Speaker of the House of Commons. Mr. Regan is joining us this year at the CSA Conference to share his journey as a person who has lived with stuttering. He will talk about his role as Speaker and his career in politics, and of finding help through speech therapy and Toastmasters public speaking.”

Backstories about the early days of the Canadian Stuttering Association

A blurb for my Oct. 22, 2016 workshop at the conference reads:

“The emergence of national associations for people who stutter can be described as a form of community self-organizing. Jaan will describe the needs that led to the forming of the CSA and participants can explore how community organizations grow and change in response to changing needs.”

The purpose of the current post is to share some of the backstories that are associated with my own involvement with the CSA, in its early days.

My volunteer work on behalf of people who stutter is a very small part of my volunteer work these days but the skills that I learned, when I was active in this area, have come in handy in the volunteer work that I’ve been doing more recently.

In preparing for the workshop, it has struck me how active I was with the CSA in years past, and how relatively little I know about what is going on with the association now. That is such an interesting experience – to realize that, as with anything, as soon as you step back, your contact with the day to day operations of an organization quickly diminishes. My current role has to do just with the fact that I was, indeed, actively involved in the early years, as a co-founder of CSA.

As a volunteer working on behalf of people who stutter, I’m now involved mainly through giving occasional talks at local elementary schools.

Early history of CSA

The following overview is based on a summary that I prepared in August 2010, to which I have added some updates, such as the references to the work of Amy Cuddy (2008 & 2015).

CSA had its origins in decisions made at the first-ever Canadian national conference for people who stutter in Banff, Alberta, in August 1991.

Originally called the Canadian Association for People Who Stutter (CAPS), the name was later changed to the Canadian Stuttering Association. The shorter name makes it easier for CSA to publicize its work in newspapers and other media.

Several groups worked together to lay the groundwork for the Banff conference. People had been thinking about a conference for some time. In February 1989, Mike Finlayson, of the Stuttering Association of Toronto (SAT), spoke of his willingness to coordinate a national meeting of self-help groups. The idea was to hold it in Toronto.

In April 1989, during a visit to Toronto, Einer Boberg, co-founder of Edmonton’s Institute for Stuttering Treatment and Research (ISTAR), met with the SAT group and later with the Toronto PFSP group, the Demosthenes Society. At that time many members of Toronto self-help groups were talking about staging a national conference, and forming a national network of self-help groups.

Also in April 1989, Willard Mohr, active with the Ottawa and Toronto PFSP [Precision Fluency Shaping Program] groups, organized a regional meeting in Brighton, Ontario, east of Toronto. Willard has subsequently moved to Calgary. The Brighton meeting helped lay the groundwork for the Banff conference, as did regional meetings of several self-help groups in Hamilton in May 1990 and in Belleville in July 1991.

Ron Day of Belleville was also active in the networking across Southern Ontario that played a key role in setting the stage for the Banff Conference, the planning for which b began a couple of years before the event.

Among the many things that I learned, in those years, was the value of planning and the value of getting input from as many people as possible, during the planning process.

It’s like making a movie or like any media production: You need a script, an agenda, a plan. The quality of the movie is frequently determined by the quality – and the amount of time and energy and thought that has been devoted – to the script.

When a conference or even is well planned, the big day runs smoothly and, relatively speaking, the organizers can relax and have a good time along with everybody else.

Planning began in 1989

In July 1989, representatives of SAT and the Alberta Stutterers Association (ASA) met in Edmonton to begin the planning of the first national conference. It was agreed that there would be input from self-help groups across Canada – and that final decisions would be in the hands of an organizing committee in Edmonton, headed by Lyn Kelly.

Early on, the organizers also decided that the conference would involve a variety of treatment centres. It wouldn’t be focused on or connected with just one approach to
treatment. Rick Randall of Toronto, whose work involved public opinion surveys, prepared a professional quality survey, which established the level of interest, among self-help groups across Canada, in such a conference. The survey also asked potential attendees to rate different workshop ideas in terms of how interesting they sounded.

Whether a national association emerged from the conference would be determined by all of the groups involved in planning of the conference. A consensus also emerged that the
proposed national association would respect the individuality and autonomy of member
groups. It would not be an association that told the groups what policies they were
expected to follow.

A series of regional meetings in Ontario, prior to the conference, involved meetings in which people would break into small groups to discuss specified topics. Under these conditions, each person at a meeting gets to speak about the same amount of time.

First CSA conference was in Banff, Alberta

At the Banff meeting, a series of plenary sessions – involving all of the 80 or so
people at the conference – discussed several questions. People would break into groups
of eight people, with the composition of each group determined beforehand to ensure a
wide distribution of people. One person from each group would report back to the meeting of all the groups, and the plenary session would then make decisions.

During those sessions, attendees agreed to proceed with the formation of a national network of self-help groups, and to organize national conferences on a regular basis.

Further regional meetings and ongoing contact by phone and fax machine (this was before email) led to development of a governance model for the association. The association would seek representation from all parts of the country, would adopt a “flat-hierarchy” model of decision making, and would seek to alternate conferences between different regions of Canada.

At the next national conference, in Ottawa in 1993, a draft version of the CSA constitution, written by Peter Wyant of Regina, was debated in a series of plenary sessions. The final version included the concepts that CSA would serve as an impartial forum for sharing of information. It would work closely and collaboratively with speech professionals – while maintaining autonomy and independence from speech pathologists and researchers. The constitution also specifies term limits of two consecutive terms for the office of national coordinator. In this way many people over the years would have the chance to lead and CSA wouldn’t depend on one “leader for life.”

Michael Niven of Calgary chaired the plenary sessions at the Ottawa 1993 conference, and prepared the final version of the constitution. He later also arranged for the incorporation of CSA.

International Fluency Association & International Stuttering Association

CSA members were also active in the early networking among self-help groups in the 1990s on behalf of the International Fluency Association (IFA). They were
also involved in setting the stage, through international networking, professionally
designed surveys, and assisting in development of the constitution, for the International
Stuttering Association (ISA):

History of the International Stuttering Association

After the Banff conference, CSA conferences were subsequently held in Toronto (1995); Vancouver (1997); Montreal (1999); Calgary (2001); Toronto (2003); Edmonton (2005); and Toronto (2007). There have been conferences since that time but I’ve lost track of such details as I’m not involved with organizing of CSA events or conferences.

Jaan Pill, who had founded the Stuttering Association of Toronto in 1988, served as the first national coordinator for CSA. In 2000, David Block, who had attended the CSA 1995 conference while he was a university student in Ottawa, became the next coordinator. Shelli Teshima, who had been active as a volunteer with self-help groups in Western Canada, took over as coordinator in  2005. In subsequent years, Lisa Wilder has also served as the coordinator as  recall. The most recent person to take on the coordinator role has been Andrew Harding.

CSA is entirely run by volunteers.

For more recent information about CSA, I strongly recommend a visit to the Canadian Stuttering Association website. The organization is also active on Facebook and Twitter.

Stuttering – A Listener’s Guide

Some years ago, I worked with film editor Stephen Toepell to put together an online video called Stuttering – A Listener’s Guide. The video was based on a talk I gave in 2011 at the North York Kiwanis Club.

Below are some key points [with an update regarding the total number of people who stutter in Canada] from the talk. I imagine some things among the key points may be out of date. However, I also imagine many of the things that I have outlined remain valid even these few years later.

As I’ve been reading through these points, it has occurred to me that life takes us too all kinds of unique places. I’m really pleased that I’ve had the opportunity, over the past twenty five years, to compare notes with other people who’ve been through experiences that on many levels are similar to me own. I have learned so much from the realization that each person has a unique experience, in being alive, and we each have so much to learn from each other – if the willingness to learn is there.

The converse of that, the other side of the coin, is that some people find it easier than others to consider that what applies to one person does not apply to another. My way of seeing may make sense to me, but my way of seeing doesn’t mean that I can figure out another person’s life experiences. Your way of seeing makes sense to you, based on your life experiences, but you may not be in a position to figure out what my life experiences have been.

A more positive attitude toward those of us who stutter

Twenty five years ago, I was involved in the founding of the Canadian Stuttering Association, or CSA for short. CSA is run entirely by volunteers, and I am one of them.

Research indicates that, in countries around the world, stutterers are typically perceived as shy, nervous, introverted, fearful, and weak. There is a widespread public belief that stuttering reflects psychological difficulties. There is a lack of accurate information about the nature of stuttering. Movies in which stutterers are made the butt of jokes serve to reinforce these kinds of attitudes. The movie The King’s Speech, in contrast, featured a positive portrayal of someone who stutters. This movie has done wonders to raise public awareness about stuttering.

A number of things can lead to a more positive attitude towards people who stutter: If we encounter the real stories of people of who stutter, our attitudes will become more positive. The King’s Speech is based on such a story. If we are in regular contact with a colleague at work who stutters, our attitudes towards people who stutter will tend to improve. If we know what to do when speaking with a person who stutters, we’re also likely to develop a more positive attitude.

Amy Cuddy

A poignant and revealing reference, with regard to stereotyping and typecasting, is provided by the well-researched, well-presented academic and TED Talk work of Amy Cuddy, which I have highlighted in recent posts:

Perceptions of warmth and competence drive our stereotypes: Cuddy et al. (2008)

Powerful Poses, Powerless Poses – from Presence (2015) by Amy Cuddy

My own story

I want to briefly share my own story.

I began to stutter at the age of six. In my late teens and early twenties, I stuttered severely. Sometimes I could not get out any words at all. One time, I phoned someone and tried to say hello. I found the “H” sound at the beginnings of words especially hard to say. After about thirty seconds or so of trying to say hello, I just hung up the phone, without saying a word.

When I was thirty, I attended a three-week stuttering therapy program in Toronto. I attained some level of fluency as a result.

About a week after the Toronto clinic, however, I was speaking with a friend on the phone, and my newly acquired fluency skills flew out the window. I did retain enough of these skills, however, to graduate from a faculty of education. In the early years of my career, I taught small special education classes in Toronto.

May 4, 1987 Toronto Star article changed the course of my life

Eleven years later, on May 4, 1987, I read an article in the Toronto Star describing a stuttering treatment program in Edmonton. In July of that year, I flew to Edmonton and attended a three-week treatment program at the Institute for Stuttering Treatment and Research, or ISTAR for short.

Einer Boberg and Deborah Kully of Edmonton developed this program in the mid-1980s. The program has been continuously updated ever since. In Edmonton, I relearned how to speak. I like to say I learned fluency as a second language.

Fluency skills

The clinic [at that time] taught five fluency skills.

These included:

  • Easy breathing
  • Smooth blending of syllables
  • Light touches on consonants
  • Easy onset of voicing
  • Prolongation of vowel sounds

I knew from experience that I would have to work hard to maintain these skills after I left the clinic. I practised these skills every day for over four years. I recorded large numbers of conversations and phone calls, and analyzed two-minute segments of them, to ensure that I was applying the skills correctly.

“Not supposed to be able to do this”

Back in Toronto, I made many presentations. Every time I would be making a fluent presentation to a large audience, however, a voice inside me would say: “You’re not supposed to be able to do this. You’re supposed to be falling flat on your face.” That voice really bothered me.

At first I thought I should get some psychotherapy. But then I realized that what I needed to do was to compare notes with other people who stutter. That led me to start a local self-help group in Toronto. Our first meeting was in September 1988, at the North York Central Library.

A year later, a speech therapist who stutters, Tony Churchill of Mississauga, spoke at one of our meetings. At that meeting, I asked him about the self-talk that was bothering me each time I made a speech. Tony Churchill told me that this inner voice was telling me that I needed to adjust to some changes that had occurred in my life. After that, the inner voice never bothered me again.

What has worked for me will not work for all people who stutter

My involvement with a local Toronto group led me to become active in the stuttering community. I was a co-founder of the Canadian Stuttering Association in 1991, of the Estonian Stuttering Association in 1993, and of the International Stuttering Association in 1995. In 1995, I switched from teaching special education classes in Toronto, and began teaching regular classes at a school in Mississauga.

What has worked for me will not work for all people who stutter.  About 80 percent of stutterers can achieve lasting benefit from the kind of speech therapy that I encountered. Some people who stutter, about 20 percent, for reasons having to do with how their brains are wired for speech production, are not able to attain the same lasting benefit. In that case, significant benefit can be derived from a “stuttering modification” approach whereby a person learns to reduce the severity of her or his stuttering.

The Canadian Stuttering Association is a registered, incorporated, non-profit organization. We offer an impartial forum for the sharing of information about stuttering.

We do not endorse or reject any particular way of dealing with stuttering, except in cases where someone alleges that they have a sure-fire “cure” for stuttering. As a rule, there is no cure for stuttering.

Many stutterers can learn to control their stuttering, so it does not interfere with effective communication. If we are able to achieve control over our stuttering, it means that we are able to be more productive and reach our full potential. The earlier a person gets treatment, the better. Not getting any treatment at all is also an option.

The causes of stuttering are unknown. The evidence to date suggests that stuttering is a neurological problem affecting speech production. There is no evidence that the causes are emotional or psychological. There is no evidence that stutterers share particular personality characteristics.

The King’s Speech

Will The King’s Speech lead to a change in public attitudes about people who stutter? At this point, we don’t know. Research is now under way to determine the answer to that question.

Perhaps the most salient feature of stuttering is the avoidance of speaking situations.

When we stop speaking, we remove ourselves from the mainstream of life. Stuttering affects about one percent of the adult population – about 360,000 Canadians. About five percent of young children stutter during the years they are learning to speak. More boys are affected than girls. Most young children outgrow their stuttering – but some do not.

Our advice to parents is that if your child stutters, you should seek assessment by a speech therapist who specializes in the treatment of stuttering. For preschoolers, effective programs are available, such as the Lidcombe Program.

A database of speech therapists, from across Canada, who are trained in the Lidcombe Program, is available at the website of the Montreal Fluency Centre.

Speaking with a person who stutters

What can you, as a fluent person, do when speaking with a stutterer?

  • Use natural eye contact and facial gestures to show you’re listening.
  • Look the person in the eye every once in a while, even when that person is struggling with words. That tells us we are still part of the human race.
  • Give the person enough time to finish his or her own sentences.
  • Use a relaxed pace in your own speech, but not so slow as to sound unnatural.
  • Avoid remarks like “slow down” or “take a deep breath.” Such advice is not helpful.

Aside from movies, books offer another great way to share stories about stuttering. Karen Hollett of Yellowknife has written a children’s book, Hooray for Aiden, about a girl who stutters. The central character, Aiden, faces the challenge of speaking out in front of her class, after arriving at a new school. This book, which is driven by a powerful and compelling story, has been sold widely to school boards across North America. I have read the book to hundreds of schoolchildren in visits to schools across the Greater Toronto Area over the past decade.

By way of summary, The King’s Speech is a story about a King who shows courage in dealing with the fact that he stutters. The sharing of accurate information helps to counter the myths about stuttering. Children’s literature and social media can play a strong role in the sharing of our stories. The Canadian Stuttering Association offers an impartial forum for sharing of information.

[End of overview]

Speaking notes – August 2001 Calgary keynote presentation

In the event you would like to read such a document, the speaking notes for a keynote presentation by Jaan Pill at a CSA conference in Calgary can be accessed here:


Presentations along similar themes were delivered at two international events in those years. One keynote was at a world congress, which took place in Ghent, Belgium in the 1990s, of the International Stuttering Association. Another keynote was a world congress of the International Fluency Association, in Montreal in the early 2000s.

In the early years I was also responsible for media relations on behalf of CSA. We had many national and international media interviews, on TV, radio, and in newspapers. Much of what I know about media work I learned in those years.


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Graeme Decarie: My Biggest Mistake – Ch. 4 of Graeme’s Autobiographical Stories

Check here for previous chapters in Graeme Decarie’s Autobiography Stories >

Among recent posts about Graeme is one entitled:

Graeme Decarie served as historical advisor and commentator for a 1993 NFB film about the Quiet Revolution in Quebec

“It makes me, correctly, look very bad”

“I gave this one a lot of thought before deciding to send it,” Graeme Decarie comments in a recent email.  “It makes me, correctly, look very bad. But it’s a small and widely scattered audience.”

My Biggest Mistake

I have dreaded writing this chapter because I have to mention something I did that was wrong, terribly wrong.

Graeme Decarie, Aug. 6, 2016. Moncton, N.B.

Graeme Decarie, Aug. 6, 2016. Moncton, N.B. In an email comment about the photo, Graeme writes: “It doesn’t capture the lush glory of my hair.”

It began in the very early summer of my third year at UPEI [University of Prince Edward Island]. I was attending the annual meeting of the Learned Societies where I met Robin Burns, a professor at my old school, Sir George Williams. Robin told me there was an opening at Loyola College in Montreal, and advised that I apply for it. He pointed out that Loyola and Sir George would soon merge (to become Concordia University).

I liked the idea of returning to Montreal. So I went for the interview. And I left it with a job at Loyola College. It was to begin immediately. So I resigned from UPEI, loaded a van, and moved the family to Montreal.

I liked Loyola. But I soon realized that Montreal had changed. The separatist movement was making itself felt. It was demanding a French-only Quebec. One of its claims was valid. It was true that leading English businessmen operated their businesses in English only, cutting off opportunities for the French. However, that argument was just a cover for the bigotry and street wars on both sides I had known in my childhood.

Yes, wealthy English business men acted with arrogance and a sense of privilege. But so did French ones. The French education system was designed to create a similar social structure in French Quebec. The French schools were designed to provided minimal education, commonly ending at grade 9, and largely religion-based. No child was going to go far with that background.

Graeme Decarie, at that time a History professor at Concordia University, discusses the history of anglophones in Quebec, in NFB film, "The Rise and Fall of the English in Montreal (1993)."

Graeme Decarie, History professor at Concordia University, discusses the history of anglophones in Quebec in The Rise and Fall of the English in Montreal (1993).

The wealthy French sent their children to private schools which provided a much more academic curriculum. The result was that the children of the wealthy were groomed to become wealthy adults. This effect of privileged education for the rich was so marked that almost every premier in the history of Quebec has been a private school graduate. Even Rene Levesque attended private school – though he didn’t finish.

In fact, Quebec was not a province of rich English and poor French. Both language groups were economically much the same. The majority of the English, by far, were working class, and commonly at the lowest level of the working class. Much of the separatist movement was based on a myth of English wealth and French poverty, and based on all the bigotry and hatred that myth created. At the core of the movement were those wealthy French who wanted to displace the wealthy English for access to government handouts. And it worked. That’s where Bombardier Inc. came from. It is not a coincidence that a wealthy man like Jaccques Parizeau became leader of the movement.

Montreal was becoming a very ugly place, with street violence that seemed sure to escalate.

Soon after my return to the city, I was asked to serve on the board of a group, Alliance Quebec, that was formed to protect English rights. I realized that nothing could be done to stop the damage that was coming. English companies would simply move out, and take their employees with them. (And so they did in the biggest population shift in Canadian history).

But something had to be done for those who would remain. Institutions that provided social help, for example, had to be maintained. And so I became deeply involved with a movement that would eat up twenty years of my life in meetings, visits across the province, speeches, dodging mobs (our offices were fire-bombed), with my latter years as Chairman.


Prince Edward Island, July 2015. Jaan Pill photo

As soon as I returned to Quebec, I realized the danger of very serious violence. Indeed, it had already begun with riots and killings. At the end of the first year, I insisted that Molly and the children had to move to Kingston because there was danger in Montreal – and no future whatever.

So, after a year, it was done. I visited every weekend and holiday. But it was not the same as being a husband and father. Worse, the relationship between me and Molly cooled. By the time the girls finished high school, Molly had gone from cool to frigid to intense dislike of me. And quite justifiably so. I had destroyed much of her life – and I had not been the father I should have been.

I was wrong. I was entirely and terribly wrong, so wrong it is painful for me to write about it even now. And so wrong I can never fix it or make it up with an apology. That’s why I have put off writing this chapter for months.

It was Molly, far more than me, who produced two girls who have grown up to be far better than me.

It was during my first year back in Montreal that CBC interviewed me about an incident (I forget what incident) in Montreal’s history. Next day, they phoned to asked if I had any more stories. And that began over a dozen years of weekly appearances on Home Run, the show for people driving home after work. That, in turn, led to many years of appearances on CBC radio and TV, CTV and Global TV – and a few on BBC TV and CBS TV, most of the latter doing political commentary.

Portrait of Very Rev. Dr. Malcolm A. Campbell. Photographer: Gaby. Source: 1963-64 Malcolm Campbell High School yearbook

And that led to countless requests for me to be a speaker at events ranging from the closing of a church (it was a church whose last minister had been the Rev. Malcolm Campbell after whom the high school I had taught in was named) to visiting delegations from the European Union to teachers’ convention to Synagogues – and all over the province for Alliance Quebec. At a low estimate, I must have spoken on at least 2500 occasions to such groups, with audiences from 30 (as with the EU delegation) to 300 (as in monthly talks at a library) to a thousand – as at teachers’ convention. (Where, I immodestly add, I was awarded the title “History Educator of 2003”.)

It also led to involvement in five or six National Film Board productions as advisor, participant, writer, and ‘voiceover’.

Then there was Reader’s Digest. I had never thought much of the magazine. But it paid well. And I needed the money. (The five extra years in university had been very expensive.) So I wrote a short story about my landlady when I was a student at Acadia. It was called “Mrs. Herbert D. Johnson’s Florida Soiree”.

That would lead to contracts for two, coffee-table books on the histories of the U.S. and Canada. And, as I remember it, three more articles.

I never talked on CBC radio about separatism. But CBC was nervous about me. The French section of CBC Montreal was openly and vocally pro-separatist. It made no secret about that. But it strongly disapproved of the anglo part of the network having any opposite opinion. So the anglo section made it a point to have no opinion at all. And there I was as a regular figure in the news being quizzed on separatism.

“I’m sorry, Graeme. But you know CBC policy on being politically active.”

Yeah. I knew it. And I knew it applied only to the English side.

Prince Edward Island.

Prince Edward Island, July 2015. Jaan Pill photo

But it didn’t last long. One day, I was invited to have lunch with Gord Sinclair, news chief and leading light of Montreal’s leading English radio station, CJAD. I had heard him on air way back when I was 13 or so, and he was a radio hit from the start.

I had the usual suspicions of people in private radio – and some of those suspicions turned out to be right. But Gord was a man above all the rest. We seldom agreed on anything political; but on the first day I appeared he told me he would support me no matter what I said. And he proved as good as his word. I did the noon hour editorial every day, including Saturdays, then I was on right after to argue with Tommy Schnurmaker, Gord, Jim Duff – all stars on Montreal radio.

I also came to admire Gord as a radio host. He sounded interested in what people had to say. And it was natural because he respected people, and he wanted to hear them. He was like that in private conversation, too.

Alas! Gord died in my twelfth year. And I knew what to expect. I was promptly dumped by the station. I suspect (know) this was the result of pressure from the Israeli lobby in Montreal. I had a large, Jewish audience in Montreal on air, in libraries and at synagogues. That audience had long impressed me with its Judaic respect and courage for free speech. Indeed, I lived more in Jewish circles than Christian ones. (I had learned that Christian audiences wanted jokes. Jewish audience expected serious talks with meat to them. And they had a tradition of interest in serious causes which was rare among Christian audiences.)

But the Israeli lobby is not a typical Jewish group. It is a propaganda house for the Israeli government. Nothing more. And I was promptly replaced by one of its leading propagandists as a commentator.

I loved teaching university. And I took pride in the annual student evaluations of my teaching. I commonly was the top-ranked teacher in the history department – even though I was seen as a hard marker.

But universities don’t have much interest in teaching. A professor who has been trained to teach is extremely rare. Nor are they encouraged to teach well. In fact, many regard teaching as an imposition on their valuable time. They don’t want to teach. They don’t want to know. and they don’t care. Others see teaching essentially as a means to dazzle their students (and each other) with their intellectual greatness.

Prince Edward Island, July 2015. Jaan Pill photo

As for Curriculum Development, forget it. It is common, especially with large classes, simply to drum information in them to be memorized and repeated on exams. It’s called rote learning, and I had many years of it as a student from BA to PhD. And it’s a waste of time. I remember and have use for almost none of it.

In history, for example, memorized information is usually forgotten after the exam. It’s useless. What can one do with knowing what year the election of 1896 was? But professors love that because most don’t know how to teach anything else.

In history, students need to learn how to find information for themselves, how to present it, how to judge its meaning and value. You can’t do that in a course on Canada from then to now. Given time, and availiability of material, all one can do, really, is to focus on a few periods – say, the War of 1812, the Great Depression, the real reasons why Canada has fought wars for Britain and the U.S.

History is not about memorizing the names of prime ministers. It’s learning about how to understand and to make judgements about how people have behaved. And that is a usefulness that won’t be forgetten, and will carry on well beyond history, itself.

One of our professors was in ecstasy when he got a text book that included the exam for the teachers’ use. It was a list of fifty statements, each to be checked as yes or no. Why, he could now mark his exams in minutes instead of the hours it takes to go through essay answers.

But can a bunch of yesses or nos tell a teacher about the processes of thinking and expressing?

I also took a course in the poetry of Chaucer. The whole course was spent with us reading around the room, something I hadn’t done since grade four. Poetry has meanings and values to express. Not surprisingly, no audience I have ever spoken to has ever said a word about Chaucer. It was like learning to read French without being told what the words mean. That why people think it’s okay to say “Chrisde’enfantchien”.

Prince Edward Island

Given that Graeme’s chapter begins with a reference to Prince Edward Island, I’ve included this photo, from a July 2015 summer vacation, from Prince Edward Island. Jaan Pill photo

But History and many other programmes in the university are not taught so that people can learn. They are taught to get a favourable mention in Maclean’s annual review of universities. And what Maclean’s understands is trendiness. Thirty years ago, historical statistics were trendy. But that’s old. Now, it’s lawn-mower history or something like that.
What, commonly, it isn’t about is learning how to think.

Oh, and I remember my final PhD Oral Exam. The professor of British history (a minor field for me) had asked me to recite the response each member of the British cabinet made on the declaration of war in 1914.

I had been expecting something like this. It was an aburd, pointless, and obscure question from a professor who badly wanted me to fail. Luckily, that was equally obvious to the rest of the examiners. (I hope he cried himself to sleep that night.)

Later that day I encoutered a similar example of academic pettiness. A fellow student phoned me. I could hear his almost hysterical giggling when he asked, “Did you pass?”

Silence. End of giggles. Then a wobbly, doubting, “___oh…uh…oh…’ and a very uncertain “Congratulations”

A month later, he would flunk the exam. But he lied his way into a life job as a proressor, anyway.

All of this leads me to a final note on the academic experience.

About 1990, I was surprised to be invited to a meeting with Eric Molson (chairman of the board) with a lot of lawyers all dressed as henchmen for Batman’s The Pelican, and the president of the university.

Concordia had just fired a disastrous one – and I knew his replacement had not been entirely satisfactory. He left the meeting early to watch a football game. Then the lawyers surrounded me.

Then mentioned money that could have been piled to the ceiling. They told me I would continue to get it even if they later decded to fire me, too. Oh, and my mortgage would be interest free. And the university would give me a credit card for any little dinners, travels, etc. I might need.

All I had to do was to become President.


Prince Edward Island, July 2015. The images from PEI featured here are from a previous post entitled: Graeme Decaries discusses what we know and don’t know about the British Royal family (especially as it relates to 1930s). Jaan Pill photo

It was pretty heady stuff. But even as i stalled I knew I didn’t want it.
First, I was a teacher. I had been one most of my life. I loved teaching.

I didn’t love administration. I had been department chair for many years. I learned there that change in a university is close to impossible.

And all that money? I thought of Henry Hall who had been the major builder of the Sir George Williams that became Concordia. He was a magnificent educator. Thousands owe all they are to him. He retired a few years before my arrival as a very junior professor. His pension had was less than half my starting salary.

All that money. Was I being paid? Or bought?

I said no. I’ve never regrretted it. With two sons in unversity, a daughter in private school and a separated wife, I’m relatively poor. But it’s been, mostly, a pretty happy and satisfying life, one that I would not have dreamed possible before that first day about 1956 that I went to supply teach at Morison School close to Bombardier where a kid called me “old man Decarie”.


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Posted in Autobiography Stories - G. Decarie, Newsletter | 2 Comments

Complaint alleges Ward 5 Councillor Justin Di Ciano may have benefited ‘financially and politically’ from developer” (CBC Oct. 14, 2016)

An Oct. 14, 2016 CBC article by CBC investigative reporter John Lancaster is entitled: “Justin Di Ciano’s ties to Dunpar Homes under investigation: Complaint alleges Di Ciano may have benefited ‘financially and politically’ from developer.”

The opening paragraphs read:

The city of Toronto’s integrity commissioner has launched an investigation into Etobicoke councillor Justin Di Ciano’s ties to a local developer.

CBC News has learned the investigation centres on allegations the councillor benefited “financially and politically” from developer Dunpar Homes Ltd.

Coun. Di Ciano, who represents Ward 5, Etobicoke-Lakeshore, has had both personal and business ties to Dunpar, as first reported by CBC News in May. He and fellow Etobicoke councillor Mark Grimes pushed for changes to a planning report that ended up benefiting Dunpar.

[End of excerpt]

Previous CBC article regarding Ward 6 Councillor Mark Grimes

A July 17, 2006 article by CBC investigative reporter John Lancaster is entitled: “Integrity Commissioner finds Coun. Mark Grimes had ‘improper’ relationship with developers: Investigation launched in wake of CBC News reports, and prompts warning to all councillors.”

A post at the Preserved Stories website regarding the above-noted article is entitled:

On July 12, 2016 Toronto City Council Agenda: Investigation Report Regarding Conduct of Ward 6 Councillor Mark Grimes

City of Mississauga waterfront strategy compared to that of City of Mississauga

A related topic – in particular, the two distinct paths followed with regard to waterfront development, at the City of Mississauga as compared to the City of Toronto – is outlined at this post:

Anecdotes Shared by Fellow Walkers – May 5, 2014 post by Jaan Pill at Jane’s Walk website

Ontario Municipal Board

A related post – concerned with two distinct (that is, Mississauga compared to Toronto) approaches to waterfront development (that is, Lakeview compared to Mimico) is entitled:

Public meeting Oct. 19, 2016 at 7 p.m. at Polish Alliance Hall to discuss fate of Mimico waterfront plan at OMB (Etobicoke Guardian article)

Previous and ongoing posts from David Godley, retired urban planner living in Long Branch

Related topics are discussed by David Godley in posts at the Preserved Stories website:

Click here for posts in which David Godley shares information regarding Long Branch planning topics >


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Posted in Long Branch, Newsletter, Toronto | 1 Comment

Public meeting Oct. 19, 2016 at 7 p.m. at Polish Alliance Hall to discuss fate of Mimico waterfront plan at OMB (Etobicoke Guardian article)

An Oct. 12, 2016 Etobicoke Guardian article is entitled: “Public meeting to discuss fate of Mimico waterfront plan at OMB.”

The brief article reads:

Ontario Municipal Board appeals against the Mimico Secondary Plan will be discussed at a community meeting.

Mimico Residents’ Association and Mimico Lakeshore Community Network co-host a meeting, titled Threat to the Mimico Waterfront Plan, on Wednesday, Oct. 19 at 7 p.m. on the ground floor of the Polish Alliance Hall, 2282 Lake Shore Blvd. W., west of Park Lawn Road.

Registration is at 6:45 p.m.

Participants will learn more about what happened to the Mimico Secondary Plan at the OMB. Community input is being sought.

Visit and for more information.

[End of text]

“Something is rotten in the state of Denmark.”

A line from the William Shakespeare play Hamlet, which I much enjoyed reading in high school, reads: “Something is rotten in the state of Denmark.”

That line comes to mind when I think about the Mimico Secondary Plan and the OMB.

Something is very wrong, and we do have a sense of what it is.

Oct. 19, 2016 meeting at 7 p.m. at the Polish Alliance Hall

This should be a valuable meeting – it takes place on Oct. 19, 2016 at 7 p.m. on the ground floor of the Polish Alliance Hall, 2282 Lake Shore Blvd. W., west of Park Lawn Road.


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Custom website layout enhances user experience

I recently inadvertently overrode my WordPress Theme on Dashboard at WordPress, and ended up with my custom layout – developed over the years by Walden Design and Maestra Web Design – replaced by a standard, off-the-shelf WordPress Theme.

With thanks to Walden and Maestra  – and with thanks to the fact I had a Dropbox backup of the code for the custom layout – I was back in business by the time the Canadian Thanksgiving was over.

I have learned three lessons:

  1. Be careful what you do on Dashboard at WordPress.
  2. The layout of a site has a tremendous impact on its readability, its user-friendliness.
  3. Google Analytics is great to check out every once in a while as the screenshot below indicates; I was delighted to know that people are reading my blog posts once again, now that the layout has been restored.
Oct. 12, 2016 Google Analytics screenshot, Preserved Stories website

Oct. 12, 2016 Google Analytics screenshot, Preserved Stories website.


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Dundas Connects project at the City of Mississauga: Register today, and let’s build a better Dundas in Mississauga!

Dundas Connects is a City of Mississauga website inciting input from Mississauga residents in planning for the next steps for Dundas Street.

A tweet from the City of Mississauga @citymississauga reads:

Come out to our next #DundasConnects public meeting & tell us what you think about options for Dundas’ future!

The Dundas Connects website notes:

“Our online engagement platform has been designed to give you a voice on the Dundas Connects project. Your participation will help us to make informed decisions that reflect your community needs. Share your ideas, opinions and local knowledge. Register today, and let’s build a better Dundas!”


Below is a screenshot of the image included with the above-noted tweet. Please note: The links at the screenshot (below) are not active links; please click on one of the links at the top of the page you are now reading; that is where the active links are located.



As a City of Toronto resident, I am highly impressed with the quality of communications associated with all City of Mississauga planning initiatives – including among others Inspiration Lakeview, the Lakeview Waterfront Connection Project, the Small Arms Project, and the Hanlan Water Project – that I have encountered over several years of blogging.

The coherence, focus, and appealing tone of the communications are a source of inspiration for me.

I am equally impressed with the fact that citizen engagement and citizen input is highly valued at the City of Mississauga – both by way of rhetoric (which is the easy part) and by way of reality (which is the hard part, and the part that matters the most to everyday, tax-paying citizens everywhere).


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Posted in Long Branch, Mississauga, Newsletter, Toronto | 1 Comment

MPP Peter Milczyn Oct. 7, 2016 e-News Update – Including: “Possible Changes to OMB”


Click here for previous posts regarding Etobicoke-Lakeshore MPP Peter Milczyn >

[The following message is from MPP Peter Milczyn’s Constituency Office. I have not posted the images that are included with the message except for a few. However, a majority of the links are included; the ones not included can be found through a browser search as explained below.]


Please contact the Constituency Office if you wish to be on MPP Peter Milczyn’s e-News Update mailing list

Dear Neighbour,

As we head into the Thanksgiving weekend, I feel it is important to take a moment to give thanks for all that we have and to remember those that are less fortunate than ourselves. Please remember that the Daily Food Bank needs your support for their Thanksgiving Food Drive. You can drop your non-perishable food donation off at any Fire Hall or if you wish to make a monetary donation, please click here.

I would like to wish all residents of Etobicoke-Lakeshore a Happy and Safe Thanksgiving weekend!

Peter Milczyn

Provincial News



Ontario Proposing Possible Changes to the Ontario Municipal Board to Improve Efficiency and Accessibility

The province is holding public consultations on possible changes to the role the Ontario Municipal Board (OMB) plays in the land-use planning system. Within the next couple of months, I will be hosting two Town Hall OMB Consultations (one in ward 5 and one in ward 6) for constituents in my Etobicoke-Lakeshore riding. More information, including dates and venues, to come!

The Board plays a central role in Ontario’s land use planning process as an independent, public body where people can appeal or defend land use decisions that affect their property or community.

To help focus the discussion we are releasing a consultation document that outlines possible changes that could:

· allow for more meaningful and less costly participation
· give more weight to local decisions
· allow alternative ways to settle disputes
· result in fewer municipal and provincial decisions being appealed to the OMB
· support clearer and more predictable decision making.

For more information, please click here

Premier’s Awards for Excellence in the Arts

The Premier’s Awards for Excellence in the Arts celebrate the outstanding achievements of Ontario’s arts community and its contributions to a strong, vibrant culture sector. Now in its 10th year, the program recognizes artists and arts organizations whose contributions span a significant period of time.

2017 nomination deadline: December 1, 2016

Any Ontario resident who enjoys and takes an interest in Ontario’s arts and cultural industries may nominate an artist or arts organization for the awards. You may submit a nomination in one category only, for either the Artist Award or the Arts Organization Award, not both, per year.

For more information, please click here

Ontario Helping Etobicoke-Lakeshore Newcomers Settle and Succeed: Local Funding to Help Immigrants Adjust to Life in Ontario

Etobicoke – Ontario is supporting a project in Etobicoke-Lakeshore to help newcomers and their families adjust to life in Ontario.

* JobStart is receiving $130,000 over two years to provide settlement services in Etobicoke to approximately 1,250 newcomers.

The Newcomer Settlement Program helps newcomers and refugees find housing, enrol their children in school, learn about life in Ontario, find employment and language-training supports, and develop social connections. Settlement services are offered free of charge in many communities and are available in several languages to provide newcomers with information, resources and community supports to help them integrate successfully.

As part of It’s Never Okay: An Action Plan to Stop Sexual Violence and Harassment, a portion of this investment will support a multilingual awareness campaign targeting newcomers and refugees to help prevent sexual violence and human trafficking, as well as provide training for settlement workers on recognizing sexual violence.

To read my News Release, please click here

Ontario Making Hospital Parking More Affordable: Rates Cut in Half for Frequent Visitors to Hospitals

Ontario is reducing a financial burden on patients and their loved ones by requiring hospitals that charge more than $10 per day for parking to offer discounted passes that effectively cut the daily maximum rates for frequent visitors by at least 50 per cent.

Lowering parking costs by offering discounted parking passes will help people in their everyday lives by saving money for those who need to go to a hospital often, such as for a series of treatments, or to visit friends or family members who are in hospital for an extended stay.

Hospitals with a daily maximum rate of more than $10 are now providing 5-, 10- and 30-day passes that are:

* Discounted by at least 50 per cent off the daily maximum rate
* Transferrable among patients, caregivers and their vehicles
* Equipped with in-and-out privileges throughout a 24-hour period
* Valid for consecutive or non-consecutive days, at the choice of the pass user
* Good for one year from the date of purchase.

For more information, please click here

Ontario Protecting Water Quality, Wetlands and Beaches

Applications Now Open for Great Lakes Project Funding

Ontario is supporting the work of community groups across the province to protect the Great Lakes and the rivers and streams that flow into them.

Applications for the Great Lakes Guardian Community Fund are now open to organizations working to protect, restore and enhance the Great Lakes and surrounding water systems. Not-for-profit organizations, schools, First Nations and Métis communities and other local groups are encouraged to apply by December 1, 2016.

Successful projects must have a direct environmental benefit to the Great Lakes. Past projects and activities supported include:

*Planting native grasses and trees to protect the shores of the St. Clair River
*Creating rain gardens to reduce the effect of storm water along Toronto’s beach
*Restoring wetland habitat along Lake Erie
*Controlling invasive species along the Ottawa River
*Cleaning up beaches or shorelines throughout Ontario
*Naturalizing stream banks and shorelines along the Speed and Eramosa Rivers.

For more information, please click here

Calling All Young Writers!

Apply to the Speaker’s Award for Youth Writers
Calling all young writers! The Speaker’s Award for Youth Writers invites Ontario youth in grades 7-12 to submit their short stories and personal essays to this writing contest. Original fiction and non-fiction submissions are
welcome and a winner from each of the following three grade categories will be chosen:

1) Grades 7-8
2) Grades 9-10
3) Grades 11-12

Online applications will be accepted from September 26th through November 4th, 2016.

For more information and to apply please click here

Recruitment for 14 LHIN’s

The largest LHIN Board Director recruitment undertaking probably since their inception is currently taking place.

Deadline to apply is October 18th to be considered in this round. Please note that applications are kept on file for 3 years, and applicants do not need to re-apply to be considered.

Link to all LHIN postings:

Call for Nominations for the Ordre da la Pleiade Award

Each year, the Ontario Branch of the Assemblée parlementaire de la Francophonie (APF) submits provincial nominations for the Ordre de la Pléiade award to the Secretary General of the international APF. The Ordre de la Pléiade is an internationally-recognized award bestowed upon individuals who have made significant contributions to their francophone communities and upheld the ideals of the APF. The medals are presented at an awards ceremony held annually at the Legislative Assembly.

For more information, please contact the Ontario-APF Secretariat directly at 416-325-2233 or by email: APF_Ontario@ The nomination form and criteria will also be available at

The deadline for nominations is November 14th, 2016.

Metrolinx Engage

Learn more about Metrolinx projects and participate in various engagement initiatives
How Metrolinx Engage works. Having your say is what this site is all about.

Metrolinx plans, builds and delivers. Our goal is to transform the way the region moves by championing long-term transportation and transit solutions that enhance prosperity, sustainability, and quality of life. Guided by an award-winning Regional Transportation Plan, Metrolinx is implementing the biggest transit expansion in Canadian history with more than 200 projects currently underway across the region. Whether you drive or ride, a better transportation and transit system benefits us all because it means less time getting there and more time being there.

To find out more and to have your say, please click here

MPP Peter Milczyn Out and About in the Community


A Visit to The GARDENS Pod Project 2016, South Etobicoke, at LAMP Community Health Centre, October 7, 2016

The Ontario Trillium Foundation granted $16,400 to LAMP Community Healthy Centre over 4 months, to deliver a project that consisted of building a versatile system of volunteer-run modular garden pods throughout the South Etobicoke Community. I was happy to visit the Pod Site at LAMP CHC and chat with LAMP staff, volunteers and youth from the South Etobicoke Youth Assembly (SEYA) about the project.

Encouraging people to support a healthy and sustainable environment, this initiative is helping people connect with the environment and understand their impact on it, and has an impact on the lives of 1,000 people in the community. The pods, which only use organic practices (no chemical fertilizers and pesticides) are similar to the concept of a community garden, except that they tend to be smaller, mobile raised beds that don’t need a lot of space, and they are spread throughout the community.

One of the GARDENS mandates is to build community engagement as well as provide education and involve volunteers in the planting process, The primary aim is “food security support” to persons living in the area that are food insecure. The GARDENS Pod Project has installed planters at various pod sites in Etobicoke-Lakeshore, including, in addition to LAMP CHC:

* Toronto Public Library – Long Branch
* St. Leo’s Catholic School
* Thomas Berry Early Learning and Childcare Centre
* Marguerite Butt Early Learning and Child care Centre
* LUSH Fresh Handmade Cosmetics
* Lakeshore Lodge Long Term Care
* Humber College (Fashion Institute)
* Barsa Kelly Cari-Can Coperative Homes Inc
* Haven on the Queensway

Lakeshore Collegiate Institute’s Thirty-Second Annual Graduation Ceremony, October 6, 2016

I was very pleased to attend Lakeshore Collegiate Institute’s Thirty-Second Annual Graduation Ceremony, and bring greetings from the province – very proud of these amazing young men and women! It was a pleasure to have the honour of presenting , with LCI Principal Allan Easton, the Lieutenant Governor of Ontario Community Volunteer Award to graduating student Heather Perl. Congratulations on this outstanding achievement and best wishes in your future studies!

Grand Opening of the Humber College Centre for Entrepreneurship, Lakeshore Campus, October 5, 2016

I was delighted to attend the Grand Opening of the Humber College Centre for Entrepreneurship on October 5th, 2016. The Centre, located at Humber College’s Lakeshore Campus, provides training, resources and opportunities for Humber students, alumni and community members looking to start their own businesses.

The CfE provides a space for like-minded individuals to meet and collaborate, as well as mentorship opportunities, workshops, networking events and startup competitions. It was exciting to tour the building afterwards and view a host of impressive resources. I am very proud and fortunate to have Humber College’s Lakeshore Campus right here in my riding of Etobicoke-Lakeshore, and I appreciate all of the leadership and support that they provide to the local community.

MPP Peter Milczyn’s Second Annual Corn Roast and Children’s Pumpkin Decorating event, October 1, 2016

I had a great time hosting my Second Annual Corn Roast and Children’s Pumpkin Decorating event in Mimico Square, Amos Waites Park, on October 1, 2016. A delicious and fun way to celebrate the arrival of fall in Etobicoke-Lakeshore! There was a little morning rain during our set up but the weather cleared and local residents showed up to enjoy some delicious roasted corn and hot apple cider, while the children enjoyed decorating their pumpkins, which they plan to display come Halloween!

MPP Peter Milczyn’s Queensway Constituency Office an active participant in the shop the Queensway Festival, October 1, 2016

It’s great to be on The Queensway! I was very pleased that my office was able to actively participate in the shoptheQueensway Festival on October 1, 2016. This exciting event featured a scavenger hunt, sidewalk sales, live bands, kids’ activities, a shuttle bus and much more.

We set up an information table outside of the constituency office, and staff was on hand to help with a Children’s Pumpkin Cookie Decorating activity, while I enjoyed some coffee, timbits and good conversation with local residents. Local South Etobicoke Youth Assembly (SEYA) members Bri and Tsion were also on hand with some of their lovely soaps, handmade by SEYA youth, in an effort to raise funds to pay for their after school activities. Kudos to the shoptheQueensway BIA Board members, staff, business owners and volunteers for all of their hard work into making this Festival a success!

MPP Peter Milczyn, Etobicoke-Lakeshore, interviewed by local Humber College students, September 30, 2016

It was a pleasure to be interviewed in my constituency office by local Humber College students Remi Marchessault and Golzar Wander. Good questions! As an MPP I am indeed fortunate to have the Lakeshore Campus of Humber College right here in my riding – they are great neighbours and are very involved with the local community!

Municipal Matters

The next meeting of Etobicoke York Community Council will be held on October 13, 2016. I have provided the links to the reports concerning matters in both Wards 5 and 6.

Please remember if you have any questions regarding any of these reports, please contact your local Councillor:

Ward 5, Councillor Di Ciano- 416-392-4040
Ward 6, Mark Grimes – 416-397-9273

You can also submit your comments to members of the Etobicoke York Community Council by e-mail to or you can go to the meeting and speak in person. Please contact EYCC staff before the meeting as often items are scheduled to be heard at specific times and they can inform you accordingly. EYCC staff can be reached at 416-394-8101.

[For following items, you can find the links by doing a browser search for each of them]

EY17.1 Naming of the Proposed Private Street located at 5365 Dundas Street West

EY17.2 Intention to Designate under Part IV, Sect. 29 of the Ontario Heritage Act – 1x Audley Avenue

EY17.3 Application to Remove a Private Tree – 25 Advance Road

EY17.6 Application for Fence Exemption – 41 Long Branch Avenue

EY17.17 Cafe Blvd Application – Business Owner Change – 4906 Dundas St West

EY17.18 Café Boulevard Application – Business Owner Change – 3473 Lake Shore Boulevard West

EY17.19 Update on Etobicoke Creek and South Mimico Creek Trails – Information Report

EY17.20 Traffic Control Signals – Kipling Avenue and Jutland Road

EY17.33 Designation of Fire Routes and Amendment to Chapter 880 – Fire Routes – 77 Fima Crescent; 105 Eringate Drive; 59 Clement Road; 2 Colonel Samuel Smith Park Drive; 27 Fasken Drive and 3600 Lakeshore Boulevard West

Mimico Lakeshore Network & Mimico Residents’ Association Meeting

Mimico Lakeshore Network & Mimico Residents’ Association Host a Community Meeting to Discuss Mimico Waterfront Plan

Wednesday, October 19th, 2016/6:45 pm registration
Polish Hall – Ground Level
2282 Lakeshore Blvd West (Fleeceline Road west of Park Lawn Road)

Legislative Assembly of Ontario Teacher’s Forum

Legislative Assembly of Ontario Teacher’s Forum – Applications Accepted from September 10th to October 15th

Program held from November 13-15, 2016

The Legislative Assembly of Ontario Teacher’s Forum is a 2-day professional development opportunity that allows teachers to deepen their understanding of Ontario’s Parliament.

Teachers will gain knowledge strategies for teaching parliamentary democracy and active citizenship, meet with MPPs and other parliamentary officials, and learn about the inner workings of the Legislature.

If you are interested in the Legislative Assembly of Ontario Teacher’s Forum, visit click here for more information and submit your online application by October 15, 2016.

Should you have any questions please contact or (416) 325-8094.

Community Police Liaison Committee

The objective of the Community Police Liaison Committee (CPLC) is to strengthen the partnership between the community and the Toronto Police Service at 22 Division.

This volunteer group, CPLC strongly believes in community policing and the effectiveness it has on the community as a whole. When the public and the police have a good understanding of its own communities and the issues that may surround it, the better we are equipped with solving those issues together.

It’s about community partnership.

One of the CPLC’s main priorities is enhancing the public’s knowledge and awareness of public safety and community engagement.

One example would be the importance of reporting suspicious activities within your neighbourhood; no matter how insignificant this suspicious activity may seem, reporting this activity could lead to something more.

If you are interested in learning more about the CPLC, please take a look at our website: If you are interested in being the voice of your community to ensuring safe neighbourhoods, fill out the CPLC application form (under the membership tab) and email it back to CPLC.

Please feel free to send us any questions you may have. We look forward to hearing from you, and working closer with your communities.

Friends of Sam Smith Park Presents Nature’s Sanctuary at the Assembly Hall


What’s Happening at Lakeshore Arts

Lakeshore Arts offers a variety of exciting programs for young and old. For a complete listing of programs and event, please click here

Lakeshore Grounds Interpretive Centre

Upcoming Events – To see what’s happening at the Lakeshore Grounds Interpretive Centre, please click here

What’s Happening at St. Margaret’s


Collaborate on Sixth Youth Program

This brand NEW program is open to teenagers between the ages of 14-18 years of age who would like to work collaboratively with friends and creating some amazing works of art, music, and poetry. Join us every Wednesday from 5pm – 7pm at St. Margaret’s

Elton Lammie Pub Night

Join us for a night of great music, drinks, pub food and fun!
October 15, 2016
$20 at the door.
Cash Bar & Pub food available for purchase.
Doors open at 7:15. Show starts at 8pm.
Featuring Elton Lammie

Community Dinner

October 21, 2016
Enjoy a bowl of our great soup, listen to a live band made up of students from Humber College’s music program, and join us for dinner and dessert.
All are welcome!
A free will donation is gratefully received – but no one is turned away.

Lakeshore Out of the Cold – Volunteer Meeting

Are you interested in volunteering with Lakeshore Out of the Cold? Our annual volunteer evening is on Monday, October 24 at 7:15 pm at St. Margaret’s (156 Sixth St, New Toronto).
Everyone is welcome to attend!
The 2016-17 Lakeshore Out of the Cold Program runs every Monday from Nov 21 – March 27.

Robbie Burns Dinner & Auction

Celebrate Scottish Month at St. Margaret’s with an evening of traditional food, drink and entertainment
Saturday November 12th, 2016
Tickets: $50 each
6:00 pm Silent Auction & Cash Bar
7:00 pm Parade of the Haggis, Piper, Traditional Feast & Entertainment
To reserve a table or buy tickets:
Call: 416-259-2659
Email: or stop by the office Tues-Thurs 9:30 am-2:30 pm

Women’s Bootcamp – Fitness

For more information on all these programs and more, please click here

Local Farmer’s Markets


Sherway Farmer’s Market

Corner of Queensway and Sherway Gardens Rd 25 The West Mall May 6 – October 28, 2016 – Every Friday | 8 a.m. – 2 p.m

Santa Claus Parade Needs Your Help!


Lakeshore Community Church’s October News

To view a copy of the Lakeshore Community Church’s October Newsletter, please click here.

Some dates to keep in mind:

Monday October 10 – Church offices will be Closed for Thanksgiving
Saturday October 15 – Tax Preparation Clinic
Sunday October 16 – AM – Special Guests – The Oshawa Brass Band
Sunday October 16 – PM – Special Event – Thanksgiving Musicale & Supper
Saturday October 29 – Men’s Rally
Sunday October 30 – Special Guests- Majors Chris & Tina Rideout

Upcoming Meetings and Events


2016 Move for Mental Health Awareness Run/Walk

Humber College Lakeshore
Wednesday, 12 October 2016
12:30 pm to 3:30 pm
For more information, please click here

Etobicoke Philharmonic North York Festival Winners

Friday, October 21, 2016
8 pm
Martingrove Collegiate Institute – 50 Winterton Drive
Featuring winners from the North York Music Festival:
Jared Dunn, piano
Astrid Nakamura, violin
Olga Vilkova, piano
Alik Volkov, cello

The opening concert of the season will feature winners of the North York Music Festival in an array of concerto movements, while the orchestra leads us on a Gershwin journey through the sights and sounds of 1920’s Paris. Come and join the excitement!
For more information, please click here

St George’s On-the-Hill Rummage Sale

Saturday, November 12, 2016
9:00 A.M. TO 2:00 P.M.
4600 Dundas Street West (just west of Royal York Road)
Quality used clothing, books, movies, kitchen items, china, amazing toys and gift items, Christmas decorations, small furniture items, home décor, jewellery, purses and more!
Free Admission. (Limited) Free Parking.
For more information, please click here

Etobicoke School for the Arts Craft Fair and Silent Auction

November 19, 2016
10:00 am – 3:00 p.m.
675 Royal York Road
For more information, please click here

Etobicoke Centennial Choir 50th Anniversary Concert Season 2016-2017

Sacred Traditions 2016
Saturday, December 10, 2016
7:30 p.m.
Cost $25
This joyful celebration of the holidays includes A Ceremony of Carols by Benjamin Britten and a selection of contemporary carols by Barry Gosse, the ECC’s first conductor. Audience sing-alongs will help to kindle the holiday spirit.
For more information, please click here

All Saints’ Kingsway Anglican Church Upcoming Events:

Place: All Saints’ Kingsway Anglican Church, 2850 Bloor St. W.
Phone: 416-233-1125, Ext.0

Constituency Office

933 The Queensway
Etobicoke, ON M8Z 1P3

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Posted in Long Branch, Newsletter, Toronto | Leave a comment

Will The Trump Tape Have A Bigger Effect On The Race Than Past Controversies? Oct. 8, 2016 Five Thirty Eight article

An Oct. 8, 2015 article is entitled: “Will The Trump Tape Have A Bigger Effect On The Race Than Past Controversies?”

Partisan activation

The article includes a reference to the concept – which I found most interesting to read about – of partisan activation. In the following excerpt (given time constraints) I have not included the links embedded in the text. You can readily access all of the links, in the event you wish to, by going to the article. An excerpt related to partisan activation reads:

Much of the literature on campaign effects in U.S. presidential elections points to two findings. First, the main role of campaigns is what political scientists call “partisan activation.” This means that media coverage, candidate speeches, debates and advertising help voters identify the candidate who matches their preferences on the issues — the campaign doesn’t persuade people to switch political sides so much as make clear which candidate is already on their side. The second contribution is about timing: Partisan activation happens over the course of the campaign, so by October, voters start to make up their minds, with less potential for major shifts in support.

[End of excerpt]

The value of evidence

Nate Silver’s Twitter account and the Twitter account are followed by huge numbers of people.

For good reason.

I find it most inspiring that a strongly evidence-based approach to following the news, on a wide range of fronts, appeals to so many people.

Such a focus on the value of evidence, succinctly and clearly stated, runs counter to a frequently repeated trope that claims, in so many words, that in much of life “perception  is reality.”

Or, to say it another way, such a commendable focus on evidence runs contrary to the claim that the conceptual framework (which can be as fanciful as anybody may be prompted to make it) of a news story, or any other kind of story, matters more – because of its strong emotional impact – than any close adherence to the facts or evidence related to the story.

Storytelling takes place in so many contexts, in our lives.

The includes the backstories and storytelling that serve as what I would describe as a social infrastructure around which news reports, political slogans, and much else that occurs in our determined and consistent attempts to make sense of things, occurs.


An Oct. 10, 2016 article is entitled: “The Second Debate Probably Didn’t Help Trump, And He Needed Help.”

The article notes (again, I have left out the links; to access the links go to the article):

These instant-reaction polls actually do have a correlation with post-debate horse-race polls: The candidate who wins the former usually gains in the latter. Perhaps Clinton’s win was modest enough that this will be an exception, especially given that the sentiments of pundits and television commentators (which sometimes matter as much as the debate itself) were all over the map.

[End of excerpt]

The article concludes: “Or was the whole business a sort of confidence trick, which was bound to implode once people began to lose faith in it?”

Scams and scamming

Click here for previous posts about scams and scamming >


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Posted in Newsletter, Toronto | 3 Comments