All Dog Parks Are Not Created Equal

Cougar me Lady Labrador, Cougar me!

It’s more accurate to say that “Not All Dog Parks Are Frequented by Equally Responsible Owners.

So, I was off to meet a friend near Allen Gardens. Seemed like a good fit to take The Drama Prince to the dog park while we were there.

The first thing I noticed was unlike Greenwood, when I laid the DP between the gates to calm him he was not gang-banged before he even got inside the second gate. Obviously, the owners had taught their dogs not to rush the doors. YAY for the owners!

Due to his last dog park experience, DP was hesitant. He wandered alone for the first few minutes until Lady Labrador zoomed by. Then of course, he was in love.

There was a fountain that the dogs drank from and played in. That was a nice touch, too.

Another observation: That although there were many more dogs available, there was little bullying. Occasionally a dog humped and was scolded by its owner. Once I even hauled the Drama Prince off Lady Labrador. Good behaviour and much fun went on for hours until Big Black Dog with a haltie came in. Big Black Dog was young, and very large and again, one of those clueless owners who sits on a bench and does nothing.

I don’t understand those that say, “Let the dogs sort it out.” I hear that sort of thing often.

The last time a man said this,  I asked, “Have you ever broken up a real dog fight? Where one dog is fighting for its life and the other intent on killing it?”

The answer is invariably, “No.”

“Well I have. Humping then snarling are often the way they start which is why pushy behaviour can’t be allowed. Someone has to run the pack and it can’t be the dogs.”

I don’t get it.

Would the same people allow these behaviours if they had five dogs living in their house? Five big, honking, guard-type dogs? I have, with no major fights.

Another pet peeve today is those that, without asking–just let their dog come flying up to mine [leashed or not] while he’s on command. Then when I block their dog from touching him with my arm–they looked at me as if I just punched their beloved FuzzyBuckets in the face.

I had to tell one lady at a bus station of all places, to pull her dog back from crawling up the Drama Prince’s butt while he was laying on the platform. Did she really think it was a good idea for Fluffykins and a big sled dog wrestle and play chase on lead with elderly and disabled people standing all around?

Stupidity abounds.

I didn’t count good dogs at Allan Gardens because my eye was on the Drama Prince.

However I did run into a number of dogs at the park late at night. It was actually a red letter day for good dogs, there.

The Bouvier Sister’s owner took one puppy class with treats for his first Bouvier. With the Bouvier Sisters, he used Martingale collars as well as a sound remote collar to teach recall and to stop counter surfing. Both dogs walk well on lead and will stay with him off lead. Both come when called although only one could pass a Good Canine test. The other barks and guards him from other dogs and people in hats.

Today’s dog survey:
Total dogs Observed: 10
Walked Nicely On Leash: 4
Recall On Command: 4
Could Pass Good Companion Test: 2
Could Pass Basic Dog Obedience Trial: 0

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Tell YOUR Dog To Stop Raping MY Dog

EEJIT ALERT–not the dog, the OWNER

Last night my friend and I decided to take The Drama Prince to a dog park. We went at dusk because we figured there would be fewer dogs so he could manage better in a smaller pack.

Although excited by the dogs running around, he learned to sit quietly inside the gates for a few minutes. On the other side of the gate was a Brindle dog that outweighed him by at least 10 lbs. The woman dragged her dog away from the gate. We opened it.

DP shot in the gate with wild abandon. Doggy Disney world! Whoo Hoo!

He wasn’t in the gate 30 seconds when Brindle leaped on his ass,  growling. The DP, being as fast as he is, shot out from underneath.

The Drama Prince did all he could to avoid Brindle but Brindle kept chasing and stalking him all around the dog park. At one point with the growling and humping as DP was squirming for freedom I lunged into the middle and pointed at the Brindle. “YOU! GET THE FUCK OFF MY DOG!” He did. The Brindle then came up to me wagging. I said, “sit”. He sat. I petted him.

If dogs were people I wonder if he would have said, “Thank Dog. Someone with a brain. I really hate being an asshole. Tell me how to stop.”

This, however did not stop Brindle from terrorizing the DP again, chasing him all over the park trying to rape him again. The only thing DP had going for him was speed and dexterity. It was a losing battle due to the confinement of the fences.

A small pug came in. The DP loves little dogs. He trotted over to play with Pug.

Brindle jumped him every time he tried to play with Pug. Now the DP was getting upset and his fun time in dog park was not turning out to be fun at all.

All I could think of is, “Why is this owner so stupid? Can she not see that growling and humping are dangerous, dominant behaviours that need to be stopped before her dog is put down and someone else’s dog is mutilated?”

At this point, Brindle grabbed to hump, the Drama Prince deked out from beneath, terrified. His bad leg skidded and he limped away.

Another dog, seeing he was injured–dashed over and body slammed Brindle onto his back. As far as the Big Dog was concerned, Brindle had been told off, end of story. Big Dog walked away. That’s what I call “a sensible dog” keeping the pack stable. However, Brindle ran forward to pick a fight with Big Dog. He kept trying to hump Big Dog who was having none of it.

I said to my friend, “This is a dog fight waiting to happen. Big Dog isn’t going to continue to put up with this and he’s going to have a go at Brindle, because Brindle is egging on a fight. We’re leaving.”

I guess Brindle’s owner heard this and finally went over and got Brindle. Obviously, he didn’t have a recall with other dogs as distractions. She leashed him up and left. Drama Prince played happily with the Pug and Big Dog went back to chasing his ball with the occasional spin around the park with The Drama Prince.

Now where this falls down for me is: why wasn’t that woman disciplining Brindle? Dogs don’t learn to be sensible on their own. The Drama Prince used to hump because he saw other dogs do it. I used to wade in and drag him off, even if the other dog was good-natured about it because there is only so long another dog will tolerate it before it descends into a dog fight.

On a happier note.

On the way to dinner I finally saw an obedience trained, perfectly ring heeling down a busy main street, off lead dog. He was wearing a check chain And yes, ladies and gents–it was a white pitbull!

I was so excited I yelled out, “Now there’s a man who should own a pitbull. In fact, he should own half a dozen of them!”

Beside him was another fellow walking a Mastiff on a prong that must have weighed in at 160lbs doing a perfect on-lead ring heel.

Wow, I was despairing of finding good dogs and there they were–right across from the chip shop, being awesome.

Unfortunately there was no way at that time to stop and talk to those fellows for an interview but I think we can safely assume that White Pitbull came on recall.

Dogs Observed: 8
Dogs Walking nicely on lead: 2
Dogs Walking Offlead: 2
Dogs With Recall: 2
Dogs Passing A Basic Good Canine: 3
Dogs Passing Basic Obedience: 2

Rainy Days and Dog Trainers

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It’s been raining for two days so there haven’t been many dogs about.

I met four Shelties that were clicker trained although the owner did use negatives such as “no”. None of them “heeled” decently although two did not pull.

One of them, the second it was asked to do a trick, barked. Then it barked incessantly while it did every other trick it knew. It barked while we conversed.  Apparently it passed as a “therapy dog”. Huh?

I must be missing something because to me, incessant barking is a quickly corrected behaviour and not acceptable unless you enjoy being evicted. Another one of the Shelties kept growling at the Drama Prince who was laying quietly between my feet.

If a few tricks were supposed to impress me with clicker/food training–it didn’t. I would have been far more impressed if all the dogs laid down quietly while we talked about the missing dog park that was supposed to be completed two months ago, and wasn’t.

I finally found a trainer to help tune me up for working with the Drama Prince. No, she does not use food. Yes, she will help me work with a prong collar properly. She costs about 1/4 of most clicker trainer’s price and she’s been in business 23 years charging the same price. Since dog training often works on word-of-mouth particularly 10-20 years ago, that’s  impressive.

She also has experience with remote collars so I can exercise the Drama Prince because he will be able to run his husky heart out and still come back when called. She’s affordable, even for those on ODSP if they save up for a bit. And guess what? Dorothy was an absolutely lovely woman on the phone. Warm, welcoming, understanding of both my needs and the dog’s needs.

Dorothy understood that when I got the Drama Prince, he could not sit for more than a few seconds without falling over due to a broken leg that couldn’t be fixed. I had to incrementally train him until he was fully healthy because he couldn’t physically do many things in the beginning and I couldn’t risk yanking him around and hurting him. That presented training and behavioural challenges. When I brought him home, I was expecting to have a permanently handicapped dog 20lbs lighter than he is today.

While I am delighted that he’s now 55lbs of powerhouse sled dog–it means I must adapt to his present needs and find ways to exercise and train my friendly fellow in new ways so we can have a good life together.

If you’re in Toronto and want a sensible dog trainer, Dorothy is available at:  http://www.motherknowsbest.ca/

I’ve spoken with a LOT of clicker trainers on forums. They may, or may not be good with dogs but most I’ve met certainly are not good with owners or those that demand that they prove their assertions against the test of thousands of years of dog training.

And who is training the dog? If you can’t get the owner to comply at least 80% of the time, of what use is the instruction? Trainers [unless the dog is boarding with training] are not training the dogs, they’re training the owners.

I have YET to see a “no adverseness” clicker trained dog that recalls regardless of distractions. I have asked every food training owner in the park that I’ve found for more than 8 months. They might say “yes he comes when called” followed by “most of the time”.  “Most of the time” means “when s/he feels like it” not “all the time“. When asked, “when does the dog not come?” it is invariably answered with some kind of distraction the dog cannot manage or they never let it off lead because it exhibits some kind of poor behaviour such as herding other dogs and gets beat up.

In fact, Jeff from Solid K9 threw out a challenge with his own money at one point, betting his dogs against dogs trained by non-aversion methods and nobody walked away with his cash. It was Jeff, with his video that convinced me that there was no point in getting my spine ripped out daily, that I could polish up the Drama Prince with a prong and I wouldn’t be hurting him rather than both of us getting hurt because he’s so excited by other dogs.

Clicker training works for tricks. I know, I tried it. Worked great. No question. It can work for teaching standard obedience in your back yard or house if you can juggle sticky meat treats, a clicker, a bouncing dog and a leash–all at the same time with superb timing.

Where it all fell to crap was when the DP wanted to play with other dogs. When a dog is so excited he ignores real liver and kidney [mind you all the other park dogs were prepared to follow me unto death–two months later they’re still sniffing me with hopeful looks] there’s no further you can increase the food ante in the face of interesting distractions.

In simple terms, it can work for teaching the dog something new. It does not work for most owners when good behaviour counts the most–in the midst of distractions in places such as dog parks and beaches.

And my question: “Why, compared with old-fashioned obedience where you trained your dog to down/sit/stay/heel/come/stand with distractions in six weeks–does it take so bloody long to distraction-proof the dog, if you can do it at all?

We have to ask ourselves, why are sled dogs never trained with food? Why are protection dogs trained with prongs and check chains? Why are hunting dogs trained with remote collars?

Obviously, you can’t throw a fish cookie into a pack of dogs racing like maniacs when you holler “GEE!”  A protection dog cannot be distracted by a steak or toy when there’s a gun pointed at a policeman. Hunting dogs must return when called and sometimes, they’re half a mile away and out of sight of the handler. Working dogs must learn to stand, sit, heel and lay down quietly with a bunch of other uncontrolled dogs around, humans, animals, noise etc.

I have to ask, “Why are we training working dogs differently than pets?”

When humans take a math course the teacher doesn’t differentiate between those taking the course that will become physicists and those taking the course that will become cashiers. The math doesn’t change.

So why are we treating companion dogs one way and working dogs, another?

***

  • Dogs Observed: 5
  • Dogs that did not pull on lead: 3
  • Dogs that recalled: 1 [and YAY it was a 4 year old RESCUE HUSKY! DOUBLE YAY!!]
  • Dogs that could pass a Good Canine Test: 1
    Dogs that could pass Basic Obedience: 0

“I’m On A Mission From Dog–Dog Survey Part II”


TODAY’S DOG SURVEY:

Total Dogs: 14


One Jack Russel, 4 years old was always walked off lead.  He was bought from a pet shop and lived two years with the owner’s parents. When her father died, she took the dog and began training it at 2 years of age.
Owners claimed it stayed close and came when called. However, when I let the Drama Prince off lead, the JR did not return when called. Nor did he later when the DP was on a quiet “down”.

I did interview the owners because it was one of the better Jack Russels I’ve seen around.
The female owner told me he was quite good after he’d had his daily exercise but hard to train before he’d been running his energy off. She said she trained him using Cesar Milan’s methods and had read “Jack Russels for Dummies” to learn about the breed. No training classes for any dogs in her life.
***

One was a service dog that did all basic obedience and balance work. The owner was a retired dog trainer that trained her own dog. I couldn’t stop her from giving advice long enough to ask her pertinent questions.

  • Dogs Observed 14
  • Dogs Not Pulling On Lead: 1
  • Dogs Walking Off Lead: 3
  • Dogs That Recall: 2


Good Companion Dogs
: {walk nicely on lead, recall, no aggression, basic dog manners such as no jumping up without permission, housebroken etc.}: 2
Basic Obedience Dogs: 1

Honestly? I’m finding much of the dog’s lack of basic socially acceptable behaviour disheartening. I’m at  39 dogs in two days and only 3 could pass a simple “Good Canine Test.”

When I’ve found 100 dogs I will post the resulting percentages.

In Search of Lassie

DAY ONE:

First Trip:
I saw seven dogs in the park and down at the ravine.

All but one of them pulled on lead.

I did have a momentary chuckle at a friendly English bulldog who threw himself on the ground fifteen yards away inviting play with the Drama Prince. It was only a few days ago when I was dealing with the same thing. The fellow’s other dog, a black Labrador mix, was not pulling on the lead.

I let the Drama Prince play off leash with a dog that was a golden colour with blue husky eyes. They had a blast racing around and leaping in the creek to swim. Her friend with the seemingly friendly pit-bull couldn’t let it off the harness, she stated due to “an inability to play nicely”.

As the golden dog and DP played, the pit-bull on its harness dragged the woman hither and yon. When play time was over the woman couldn’t get her golden dog back as she called “COME” over and over. Now the Drama Prince doesn’t have a consistent recall so I got within a few yards and said, “SIT”. He did. Then I told him to “DOWN” and he did, right in front of her [still playing “catch-me-if-you-can”] dog. Then I heeled him away.

She asked me how I did it. I told her the truth. I trained the dog to understand the commands, and when he couldn’t manage other dogs as distractions, I put a prong collar on.

She snorted in disgust at me then her dog dragged her home.

I am the Evil Dog Lady now, I guess.

******

THE NUMBERS: {if you’re easily bored you can skip this bit and drop down to the bottom results}

  • Dogs seen: 7
  • Dogs Walking Nearby Off Lead: 0
  • Dogs Not Pulling On Lead: 1
  • Dogs with Strong Recall: 0

Later that day:

  • Dogs Found: 12
  • Dogs Walking Nicely: 0

Evening:

  • Dogs Found: 6
  • Dogs Walking Off Leash: 2
  • Dogs Walking Nicely On Lead: 2/4
  • Dogs with Recall Under Distraction: 2

Here’s the story of the two off lead dogs.

OPA–Chocolate Labrador–10 years:
The owners got as 10 week puppy. The breeder had taught her to ring a bell and come when called.  From the start, Opa was offlead in the park, coming when called and friendly to other dogs. The owners took Opa to a Petsmart puppy class for pulling where they put a haltie on her head. Opa hated it. They switched her back to a flat collar after a month and she stopped pulling. Walks leashless within 1/4 block of owners. She waits on the corner while they put her leash on to cross the busy streets. Friendly to all dogs and people.

Kayla–Sheltie–12 Years:
Got as pup. Walks offleash everywhere with owner. No training classes. Comes when called. Owner took her off leash after first year. Snarls and snaps at dogs that get too close.

SUMMARY:

  • Dogs: 25
  • Dogs Not Pulling On Lead: 3
  • Dogs That Recall: 2
  • Training Classes Taken For Dogs Off lead: 1
    • Dogs that Could Pass as Good Citizens {Come on Command, Walk Nicely on Leash, No aggression}: 1
    • Dogs That Could Pass a Basic Obedience Test {Heel on and off lead, Down, Sit, Stay, Come}: 0

      Where have all the Good Dogs Gone? Long time passing…


      TODAY’S QUESTION:
      I’m going to ask dog owners their training methods when they are being dragged around.

Thy Name Is “Guilt”–the Dog Training Industry

Yes. I’m sitting on command at a dog beach with 30 dogs flying around.
Yes, my owner is holding the leash as I learn not to leap at other dogs.

I’m mired in guilt  I’d love to hear from other dog owners struggling with the same guilt.

Here’s some dog training advice:

Don’t train the dog when you’re cranky.
Train the dog twice a day whether you feel like it or not.
Give the dog treats.
Don’t give the dog treats.
Fade the treats quickly.
Fade the treats slowly.
Use a clicker.
Use a marker word. You might forget your clicker.
Don’t use a training collar. They hurt the dog.
Use a training collar. They don’t hurt. {I can attest that training prongs do NOT hurt. I tested them on bare skin on myself and a friend. There’s only a sense of pressure akin to squeezing your hand. We did not wear extra fur coats to test the theory}
Dogs are pack animals.
Dogs are not pack animals.
Dogs live in a hierarchy.
Dogs are communal.
Be your dog’s friend.
Be your dog’s parent.
Be your dog’s leader.
Use this toy/treat/device/system that costs hundreds/thousands of dollars to train/exercise your dog.

That’s just a small portion of the contradictory advice given by professional dog trainers. The scary part is how many of them can’t train their own dogs and in some cases, don’t even own one. Or they have hundreds of videos training their own dogs–often easy-to-manage breeds and often brought home as puppies. Those that rehab dangerous/difficult dogs often won’t videotape how they succeeded in saving the dog’s life because the PETA nuts would rather kill dogs than see them uncomfortable for a few weeks while they learn to behave in civilized society. Just look at the Caesar Milan uproar.

The so-called “science of dog training” is often a myth. Dozens of so-called scientific dog behaviour studies under hard questioning fall apart or are so limited in focus group and lack of owner involvement as to be patently useless to the average dog owner. Some of them, on greater inspection, turn out to be entirely fictional.

The advice handed out is often so overly complicated as to be useless to us common folk.

Most people don’t want to ring train a “heel” for six weeks. They want to take the dog potty today without getting their shoulder ripped out of the socket three times in the next 24 hours. They don’t have time to grab the clicker, fish cookies and look online for days to wade through buckets of conflicting advice when the dog is nipping the children NOW.

The dog needs exercise today or the owner can’t train it because its too hyper. However, New Dog can’t “come” consistently, yet. It’s dragging the owner to the local park. They don’t own a swimming pool or a pack of dogs to run its energy down. The local dog park might be miles away. What to do?

These are the questions that average dog owners go through every day.

So, I’m committing to a small project.

I am going to ASK dog owners that I see with well-behaved dogs–how they did it. I want to see the dog come on command in a distracting environment. I want to see the dog off lead. I want to see the dog not pulling on the lead.

If it’s a service dog–I want to question the owner as to how they maintain the training and what agency trained it in the first place.

If it’s a harder to train breed of dog or an adult rescue then we can be doubly wowed dear guilt-ridden dog owner friend, in this journey of dog discovery.

Whenever I find a well-behaved dog, I’m going to ask the people how they did it. Since most people love giving dog advice, I’m hoping they’ll answer.

I’m not looking for dog trainers–I’m looking for average owners. If I had a video camera I’d tape it, the dogs in live action, mistakes, slow “comes” and all.

I’m not believing anything online because it’s overwhelmed with people shilling their own favourite style of dog training.

Then I’ll keep track on this blog.

Not Worth A Can of Tuna–Open Letter about the McGuinty Budget.

I’m going to do something I hate to do in a blog. I’m going to shame myself publicly. Writing personal tales is something I find humiliating.

But I’m going to do it. Why? Because someone needs to say it.

Obviously, Mr. McGuinty—I’m not worth a can of tuna to you.

Can of Tuna

The measly 1% that you agreed to raise ODSP/OW rates this year, you are flushing in the name of “tightening the budget”. Mr. McGuinty I don’t know how much tighter I can make mine. I didn’t know being disabled was supposed to be a punishment.

Yes, this year I bought a computer because my old one was dying. Guilty as charged. I know from buying computers that you get what you pay for so I saved for 18 months to have $600 to spend. I have no TV, no radio, no CD or DVD player. All I have is a computer. Twice, due to emergencies I had to put off buying it in that 18 months.

Do you know what I went without for 18 months, Mr. McGuinty? All my long johns are full of holes. If you haven’t noticed, it’s cold in Canada. I own one nice towel with no holes that cost $2 at Value Village. I do not own one bra that I wouldn’t be embarrassed to be seen in at my doctor’s because the elastic has failed and they’re full of holes.

My transportation, an e-trike needs repairs. That’s how I used to find my groceries on sale and bring them home. It’s outside rusting right now because I can’t afford to pay to get it fixed. If my friend didn’t take me grocery shopping weekly I don’t know what I’d do.

I go nowhere unnecessary because it costs $6 to get there and back. I confess that two months ago I had a pizza because someone else bought it. I haven’t had a fresh vegetable in two weeks. My duvet is falling apart and I can’t replace it. I haven’t seen a movie in a theatre for over five years.

In my entire adult life I have not had a vacation.

Do you know what I bought myself for Christmas Mr. McGuinty? A good dish drainer. Because my old one kept leaking all over the counter. What did you get for Christmas, Mr. McGuinty?

Now let me tell you, Mr. McGuinty what I did to deserve that can of tuna.

I worked from the time I was 16. When young, I worked high risk security and investigations. There are people alive and paying you taxes today that might not be if I hadn’t broken up that domestic fight, stopped a man from blowing up his car and taking out the side of a building, investigated some wives’ allegations that their spouses were dangerous to themselves and children, and stopped a riot in a hallway where two families in adjacent apartments came out with blunt instruments and were about to beat each other to death when myself with some other guards came to break it up at great risk to ourselves.

For barely more than minimum wage. That’s just a few incidents off the top of my head.

When I was married I had foster kids some of whom I never saw a dime for, and worked, too. What’s that worth to you?

I rarely had any medical benefits other than OHIP. I paid expenses such as meagre dental and medications out of my pocket, saved my money, only ever collected EI two times in my whole working life and paid a fortune into it.

In later years when I could no longer tackle big men if I needed to—I went to school for social services. After all, I’d been dealing with difficult people all my life with panache, humour, understanding and when necessary, firmness. Good fit, right?

That threw me into a miasma of debt even though I worked the whole time, only to come out the other end working as many as three jobs to make ends meet. Contract work. When I could no longer rob Peter to pay Paul– I squatted in Tent City while I worked part time. When I got there I was 20 lbs underweight from starving myself for months to pay my bills.

When we were housed, no thanks to you, I might add—I went back to work full time but still, contracts.

After years of struggling inside and outside the systems, my body collapsed and my mind shattered.

I wound up on ODSP.

There are people ALIVE and well today Mr. McGuinty because I saved their lives. When I found people overdosing I did CPR until the ambulance came. I went through the dark alleys and found the lost, the hopeless. I tried to show them a place in this world that wasn’t quite so dark.

When they died or were murdered, I grieved.

Mine isn’t the only story like that out there, Mr. McGuinty.

I feel blessed because some people have it even worse. And some have done even more to earn that pittance called Ontario Disability. Some of them are freezing on the streets. Some are ex-cops, firefighters, social workers, veterans and other life-savers who have put their lives on the line to save others which is more than you will ever do.

Even those that have never been able to work are out there, volunteering, helping other people, generous with the gifts they bring even if their skills don’t pay.

Apparently, none of us are worth a can of tuna to you.

The Edge of the Well Oiled Knife

http://www.theprovince.com/business/Enbridge+pipeline+faces+unbroken+wall+opposition+from+First+Nations/5797063/story.html

Toronto Star

This country stands at the edge of a knife. It’s not Robocalls, scandals, wealth redistribution, poverty, lack of employment or corrupt banks that will push this nation across the line into throwing their bodies on the machine. Nobody is willing to die for any of those causes.

We stand at the brink of civil war. A civil war with huge governmental resources on one side and First Nations, environmentalists and a large percentage of the Canadian population on the other.

Harper has managed to do what even Matthew Coon Come couldn’t do. He has managed to sufficiently piss off every single Aboriginal nation into cleaving together as one huge resistance movement. He’s managed to pull on board, every environmental group into a unit that Canadians are not denouncing, but applauding.

People are willing to die for this. And they’re willing to die because the lack of water, oil spills and pollution are going to kill them soon, anyway. For what? Less than 600 full time jobs and a few thousand temp jobs? “Job creation” isn’t even a valid argument in a land this size with that pitiful showing.

Make no mistake. If Harper does not back down, when the dust clears—there won’t be a nation left for him to rule because Canadians are not letting this pipeline through. Even Obama saw the risk of civil war breaking out with First Nations and environmentalists in the USA.

“S/he who cares the most, wins.”

First Nations have everything to lose and nothing to gain from this pipeline. Harper has nothing to lose except the government he’s sworn to uphold and a sassy fat new job at Enron when through his deliberate, greedy machinations, he throws this country into a civil war.

http://beta.images.theglobeandmail.com/archive/01045/First_Nations_oppo_1045443a.pdf

Let’s Give Harper a Break–Literally

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HarperCountry
I say we give Harper a break of “innocent until proven guilty.” Yeah, yeah pick yourselves up off the floor, stop gasping for air and let’s look at this with some logic over the Robocalls scandal, shall we?
Now, what happens if you are suspected of an illegal act on your job?
Your boss suspends you until the investigation is completed.

Now, the citizens of Canada are Stephen Harper’s boss, which is what democracy is supposed to be, right? In that case, we should be able to suspend him without pay until the investigation is completed. If he’s innocent, we apologize [because Canadians are so good at it] and give him his back pay with a settlement. If found guilty–out he goes, forever, hopefully to spend part of his “forever” behind bars so other politicians won’t be tempted to play the same game.

If Harper really cared about Robocalls or the country he’s attempting to govern, he’d step down for the moment. Why? Because if the charges didn’t stick, the man would be truly Teflon, forever. Nobody would believe any opposition who said otherwise.

Too bad he’s not as smart as he thinks he is or he’d play us for suckers on it. Either that or he may well be guilty of knowing exactly what went on under his banner. Or it could be any combination of circumstances.

But whatever it is, it sure smells like he doesn’t want us to know about it.

Effective Protests–The Man in The Tree

‘Way back when I was pushing for squatter’s rights I supported a man in a tree.

Yeah, you read that right. A man who lived in a tree. Been so long I’ve forgotten his name or the park in the USA where he lived in the tree but really, the details don’t matter.

He was homeless. So, he moved into a big tree in a public park.

He placed a little sign at the bottom of the tree. “Support Public Housing.”

People passing by noticed The Man in The Tree. One of them was part of the squatter’s rights movement and that’s how people from all over the world started talking about The Man In The Tree.

No media covered him. He wasn’t important. He was just some crazy guy living in a tree. All he wanted was a place to live and at least it wasn’t on the wet ground below and he had a bit of protection from the rain.

Soon the people who frequented the park started bringing him food and clothes and carrying buckets to do his business in. An outreach worker that knew about our squatting email tree sent around update bulletins.

The City Council got wind of it and paid $25,000 to put a fence  up to stop people from supporting the Man in The Tree. The cops took away his sign.

People who lived near the park then climbed the fence and fed him, brought water bottles and handed off his slop buckets.

Within a month the City council ordered a 24/7, $25+per hour police guard while they passed anti-camping legislation. Since police protocol stated there must be two policeman together at all times, two police watched him. Nobody narked out how he got food after that point but I suspect the police were quietly handing it up.

58 days later they arrested the Man in The Tree. Add up the math. How many people could have been housed while the City Council harassed The Man in The Tree?

60 days after that the city council agreed to build 50 housing units because a few dozen squatter’s movement people were debating with them and sending the word around.

Whether The Man In The Tree moved into one unit or not, I couldn’t say.

The Man in the Tree wasn’t an activist. He had no organization. He had no money, no resources, no friends, no computer, no video camera, no media contacts and no hope that sleeping in a tree would change anything. He had no history of activism or experience.

Whenever I look at some “movement” or other and whether or not I want to put my energy into it, I ask myself, “Is this The Man In The Tree? Would I do this even if I was alone with no support because it is the right thing to do, just because it is, and not because of group pressure or popularity?

Do I believe in it enough to sacrifice for an untold amount of time and have everyone believe me to be crazy just because someone has to do the right thing? Am I really willing to throw my body on the machine for this?”

And before you ask me to ‘join your movement’–you’d best be able to answer those questions, yourself. If you can convince me of your sincerity and passion–then you are well on your way to convincing anyone else you meet whether or not they agree to join you.