How to be you in five easy steps

NOTE: I live in Ontario, so am speaking of my own experiences. Depending on the jurisdiction in which you live, you may have to do more travelling.

Okay, now you have your new documents showing your new name. You sit there staring at them because the government has finally acknowledged you are who you say you are. Don’t get too comfortable, for there is still a lot of work to do before you’re done.

For me here in Ontario, some of it is relatively painless. Ontario operates locations under the name “Service Ontario”, which are essentially one-stop shopping locations for dealing with provincially issued documents. There are two types – government run locations and franchises. Most transactions can be handled at franchise locations, but for modifications to health cards, you need to visit a government location as the franchises are restricted in the health information they can access. Once there, you can modify not only your health card, but driver’s licence, vehicle ownership or the Ontario identification card (if you don’t have a driver’s licence). There, one stop and all your provincial documentation has been changed to your new name.

The federal government also operates a similar service, called logically enough, “Service Canada”. Again, one stop and you can change the information on all your federally issued documents except your passport. The Social Insurance Number controls all government access, so changing that will change your tax records and, in my case, my federal pension records.

But you’re still not done. You have bank accounts and credit cards to change. In my case, that involved a simple visit to the bank where everything was done within five minutes. And something you may not have considered: if you rent, you’ll need to sign a new lease in your new name. You hope the landlord still wants you as a tenant as you prepare for this step.

What else? Well, what about your cable and cell phone? Those can be settled with a quick visit to the nearest location of your service providers, armed with your documentation. Ontario covers the cost of most drugs for seniors such as myself, so you’ll have to give your pharmacy the new information as well, as well as advise your doctor of the changes so he’ll get paid for treating you.

In the Greater Toronto/Hamilton Area, transit companies operate under an umbrella company called Metrolinx. Through Metrolinx, I have a pass (electronic ticket actually) that allows me to travel on any transit system under their control provided I have sufficient funds on the card. Naturally this has my name on it, so that must be changed as well.

These are the things I have to change, or have already changed. You may have others, such as gym memberships or gas company credit cards that will need to be attended to before you’re done.

Welcome to you new name.

Cat.

Permanently blocked

As I type this, I have three unfinished stories dating back several years in my projects folder and I don’t think they will ever get finished.  Not because I’ve had a major case of writer’s block, but for another reason.

When I began working on these pieces, I was in a much darker place and the tenor of these work reflects that – very dark and brooding.  Times have changed and I am no longer in that place and despite reading over what I do have down, I still can’t get back to that darkness and in all honesty, I don’t want to.  Still, there are some wonderful descriptive passages among those words, but I can’t figure out how to incorporate them into new pieces. Here’s an example:

“Rattle, clatter, clunk.”  The lid of the letter box announcing it had been fed intruded into his consciousness. Hoping there might be more than rejections, bills and flyers, Colin hurried to check.  Three pieces of paper awaited his grasping hand.

“Looks like the usual stuff: ‘occupant’ and ‘householder’.  Oh well, I suppose it’s better than no mail at all” he muttered to himself.  Ever since Colin had decided to become a full time writer he had developed the habit of talking to himself,  but with so many story lines chasing each other around in his mind, he hadn’t noticed that he did so.  “Well, let’s see.  We have something from a local business, addressed to ‘occupant’.  Sorry folks, ‘occupant’ doesn’t live here anymore.”  He folded up the flyer and threw it into the recycling bucket.  (With the amount of paper he went through, mostly from having to re-write frequently,  Colin was very conscientious about recycling.)

“An envelope from a publisher.  Let’s see what they say.  Hmm, they think the  novel has possibilities, but the genre doesn’t fit in with their catalogue.   Oh.  Well, that’s an excuse I haven’t heard in a while.  I’ll just add this to the collection.  Maybe one of these days I’ll just put out a book of rejections I’ve received and call it something like ‘A Thousand Times “No” ’. ”

But despite some of these descriptions I find myself stuck.  I can’t get back to the dark side on these and can’t find a way to recycle the good bits into something else.  So I suppose I’ll have to do what I do with photos I screw up and hit delete.  This is what an artist friend of mine suggested, reasoning that because they were started during a black period, there is lot of negativity attached to them, so I’d be better off getting rid of them.  And I have to agree with her.

Oh well, there will be brighter stories ahead, I know it, so I’ll just carry on and keep blogging until those stories appear.

Enjoy your day and remember to hug an artist – we need love (and ideas) too.

Cat.

Bring him to justice – request

As my followers and readers are aware, I’ve been writing a series under the general title “Bring him to justice”. This series is about the actions of one George Flowers, aka Mr Flowas, and the attempts by the Canadian government to extradite him from Jamaica to face multiple charges of aggravated sexual assault. These charges stem from the fact that for a period of several years, he failed to disclose his HIV positive status to his various partners some of whom have tested positive.

The last concrete information I have is that his final appeal against extradition was heard by the Jamaican Courts in January, 2016 and the judge has apparently reserved a decision on this matter. It is now June and my other sources have heard nothing further on the Court’s decision.

I know I have two readers who, in the past, have provided me with links to articles in The Gleaner. I ask these two people if they have any further information on this case and. If so, could they please send me a link to the information, or send me the information.

Personally I feel the longer he remains in jail in Jamaica, the better for if he is returned to Toronto, his victims will have to undergo the stress of having their carefully rebuilt lives torn apart by his attorneys.

Thanks,

Cat.

This time she’s not playing

I was away for a couple of days and upon my return found this in my gmail spam:
Mrs Vivian Douglas <.it>

04:26 (22 hours ago)

to

Attn,

I have to inform you again, that we are not playing over this, I know my
reason for the continuous sending of this notification to you, the fact is that
you can’t seem to trust any one again over this payment for what you have been
in cantered in many months ago, but I want you to trust me, I cannot scam you
for $49 it is for bank processing of your payment, the fees of $49 is clearly
written to you before, I did not invent the bill to defraud you of $49 it is an
official bank payment processing fee, and the good part of this, is that you
will never, ever be disturbed again over any kind of payment, this is final,
and the forms from there becomes effective once we submit your payment
application processing fee and pay the form fee of $49 I don’t want you to
loose this fund this time, because you may never get another such good
opportunity, the federal government is keen and very determined to pay your
overdue debts, this is not a fluke, I would not want
you to loose this fund out of ignorance, I will send you all the documents as
soon as bank payment processing fee is paid, you have to trust me, you will get
your fund, find a way to get $49 you will not loose it, instead it will bring
your financial breakthrough, find the money and send it to our bursary. The
reason why am sending you this because I want you to receive your USD1.8M
immediately we are trying to round up for this payment program.

The processing charges which was initially on the high price has been cut down
by the payout bank considering the poor economic situations that make it
difficult for the middle class citizens to meet up with the processing charges
of their entitlement. Upon the confirmation of your processing charges you will
get your $1.8M into
your account within 15hrs.

Here is the payment information through western union money transfer only,
finally my advice to you is not to abandon this transaction because of the
requirement of ($49) send the fee through western union or money gram.

Receivers name:Prince Egbo
Location address:Cotonou Benin Republic
Text Question: When
Answer: Today
Amount required: $49

Sender’s Name:
MTCN Number#:
Sender’s address:

Sender’s full banking details to avoid wrong transfer:
NAME AND ADDRESS OF BANK:
ACCOUNT NAME:
ACCOUNT NO:

As soon as the payment is received today, you will receive your $1.8M the same
today without any delay.

Yours Faithfully,
Mrs Vivian Douglas
Email:@gmail.com
+22961129879

I’ve deleted most of the mail addresses just to keep from running afoul or WordPress policy – again.

This is interesting in many ways. First, despite her assertion she’s been sending me these emails for a while, that is not so, otherwise I would have written of it before. Second, although she is talking about a “prince” in Benin, the email was sent from an Italian (.it) website and the response is to go to a gmail address.

A few more red flags: The addressee has been left blank, as has the “attn” line. If you don’t know my name, why are you contacting me with this offer? And learn to use the correct word. It should be “lose” not “loose”.

Then there’s the information they ask for. What the hell is an “MTCN” number?

Sorry to burst your bubble, but if you are foolish enough to actually send the forty-nine bucks and the information, you’ll have lost not only the $49, but probably everything else in your bank account. If you receive this email, or anything similar, delete it. Answering it will not result in you becoming a millionaire.

Since it’s Friday, enjoy your weekend and remember to hug an artist – we need love too.

Cat.

Notes on a phishing expedition

I found the following in my gmail spam this morning and it easily lends itself to explaining some of the telltales it is a scam and/or phishing expedition. I’ve put the areas I wish to discuss in boldface for you.

CONTACT HSBC BANK FOR YOUR BANK TRANSFER UPDATE

Mr. Stanley Clarke @gmail.com>

01:48 (9 hours ago)

to

HSBC Regional Bank FL (HSBC Regional Bank)
Avenue Cotonou , BP 988 Cotonou Benin Republic.
Telex :5211 F B COTONOU BENIN REPUBLIC .
Tel::+22968579277
From the desk of, Mr. Stanley Clarke ,
Director Payment Department. Hsbc Bank
of West African(HSBC Regional Bank)
Instant compensation Payment valued at US$7,500.000.00 usd

It is my modest obligation to write you this letter as regards the authorization of your owed payment through our most respected financial institution (HSBC Regional Bank). I am Mr. Stanley Clarke , the chief executive officer, foreign operations department HSBC Regional Bank, the British government in conjunction with U.S government, united nations organization on foreign payment matters has empowered my bank after much consultation and consideration to handle all foreign payments and release them to their appropriate beneficiaries.
Having received these vital payment numbers, you are instantly qualified to receive and confirm your payment with us within the next 48hrs.

Be well informed that we have verified your payment file as directed to us and your name is next on the list of our outstanding fund beneficiaries to receive their payment before the end of this first term of the year 2015. Be advised that because of too many funds beneficiaries due for payment at this first quarter of the year, you are entitled to receive the sum of Seven million Five hundred thousand United State dollars (7,500.000.00 us dollars only) as part payment of your fund.
So you are therefore advise to re-confirm the following Information for immediate payment processing.

1) Your full name:…..
2) Your full address:….
3) Your contact telephone and Fax:…..
4) Your profession:…….
5) Any valid form of your identification/driven license:…

As soon as we receive the above mentioned information, your payment will be processed and released to you without any further delay. Be also informed that You are not allowed to communicate with any other person(s) or office so as to avoid conflict of information, you are required to provide the above information for your transfer to take place through HSBC Regional Bank to your personal bank account.

We look forward to serving you better.

Yours sincerely.

First, I doubt strongly a firm with the global reach of HSBC would be using a gmail address. Email would probably come from their own site. Incidentally, I deleted the sender’s name which was shown as “johnsonmarkso99″ because I’ve had a problem with WordPress not liking too many email addresses in blogs – they take it as spam and shut you down.

Next, Benin Republic. Benin seems to have become the new Nigeria for this type of scam. I’ve also received similar messages from Burkina Faso among others.

Another clue this is a shotgun style scam is that it isn’t addressed to anyone in particular.

US$7,500,000 is a nice amount to offer. Not too large as to seem suspicious, yet not small enough to make people ignore it. However, the way they showed the amount “US$7,500,000.00 usd” is not the way a legitimate banking operation would show any dollar figure.

Dummy, you forgot to change the year to 2016. If you did indeed mean “the year 2015″, you’ve been very lax in performing you duties in advising me.

Now that they’ve dangled the bait in the form of seven-and-a-half mill, they set the hook. Notice the information they ask for, especially the inclusion of a copy of some form of identification. If you were foolish enough to actually send them the requested information, you can not only kiss the 7.5 good-bye, but you’ve given them sufficient information to steal your identity. But of course since you’re one of my followers or readers, you have the smarts not to fall for this.

The fact you are advised not to tell anyone about this is to stop you from going to the authorities once they’ve stolen your name. (Damn!! Since I’m telling you, I guess I’m not getting my money. Oh well.)

There is one more thing that is glaring in its absence. They ask for all kinds of information except for the number of the bank account in which you want the money deposited. Were this legitimate, wouldn’t you think they’d need that information?

These are a few of the things to watch for the next time someone tells you they’ve got millions for you and they are all red flags.

Enjoy your weekend (unless you’re in the northeastern US, in which case, stay safe); don’t take any wooden nickels and remember to hug an artist – we need love too.

Cat

“Twilight Zone” revisited

I have no proof, but I think the name of the Registrar-General for Ontario is Rod Serling because I seem to have been thrown into an episode of “Twilight Zone”. Here’s the situation:

As I have written previously, I want to change my name. I originally changed it when I began my transition to give my family some privacy. That was twenty years ago. My ex-wife has gone back to her maiden name and I’ve decided to take back my family surname and adopt the name my mother had in mind had I been born female and as middle name I chose “Ann”, which is the common middle name of my new family.

With this in mind, I sent an application for a name change, with the appropriate fee, to the Registrar-General’s office in Thunder Bay. Three months later I received my application back, with a request to provide a criminal background check. Now, according to the form, because I answered all the questions related to criminal background “no”, it was not necessary to provide this additional document. Because it had taken so long – the R-G’s office said six to eight weeks – I had contacted my MPP’s office to find out what was going on. (The Member of Provincial Parliament in Ontario is the equivalent of a State congressman in the US.) Upon receiving the form and request, I contacted the MPP’s office again and explained the situation.

You can cue the “Twilight Zone” theme now. While they didn’t indicate as much on the sheet attached to my application, what they want is a criminal background check on my chosen name, not my current name. This seems like a very odd request. How am I supposed to get a criminal background check on a name I don’t use yet except on Facebook and WordPress? Next step was a phone call to Durham Regional Police. The young lady I spoke with was quite blunt after I explained the situation to her. She simply said “You can’t.” Fortunately, she did have a solution. I have to apply for a background check under my current name and apparently there is a space on the form for “other names” and in that space I should put the name I want. That means both names will be run through the system.

This is where it gets a little more strange. The lady at the Ministry under which the Registrar-General operates told the lady at the MPP’s office this additional background check is required to make certain the name I’ve chosen is “clean”. In this context that means there is no other person with that name in the CPIC records who may have a record or otherwise may have attracted the attention of the authorities. If there is, I may have to change the spelling of my name. Not much of a problem other than I refuse to change the spelling of my surname. We’ve been here since at least 1850 and my surname honours that.

So, at the end of the month, once my pension check arrives, I’m off to the local police station to try to explain this to whoever is working the desk. That should be fun. Oh yes, I must also have $55 to pay for this.

I’ll keep you informed. I have the feeling this won’t be the end of this episode.

Cat.

New fiction: Yorkland part 2 Repression

The only sound was the door as it shut almost inaudibly. The newcomer spoke. “Well, LR, what do you say? Is this viable? Do we go ahead with our plans?”

Louis Riel DuMont sat quietly, staring at the table top. On the face of it, the plan sounded good. But, was that true once he looked into it further? He’d have to give it some more thought. “From what you’ve told me, the basic idea sounds good. But, I’d like to examine it in detail first and see if it couldn’t be refined. This is one of those things that can’t be put into play until the next election, so we don’t have to decide right now. It can wait a couple of days. The Prime Minister isn’t going to call an election anytime soon, so we’ll have time to look at all the angles.”

A few minutes later, most of the men gathered up their belongings and left as quietly as they had arrived. One stopped with his hand on the door and spoke. “Well, Louis, how can you say that idiotic idea sounds good? There’s no possible way to pull it off and I don’t care what Paul says.”

“Gabe, Gabe. Relax my friend. As put forth, Paul’s idea is a workable as repealing the law of gravity. But somewhere in there is the germ of something we can use. Just be patient my friend. Things will work out.”

Gabe shrugged, then opened the door and left. Louis Riel Dumont looked at his second in command, Paul Milton. “You see, Paul? They doubt such a plan is workable and on the surface, it does appear unworkable.” LR held up his hand to forestall any argument from his friend. “I know, I know, we’ve had this discussion before and yes, it would have been much easier when Vanessa Anderson was Prime Minister and your grandmother was her special representative because there was all that dissent among both Parliament and the people. But, those dissenters didn’t have all the advantages we do. They didn’t have someone on the inside feeding us information.

“What was it Winston Churchill is credited with saying? ‘Those who ignore history are doomed to repeat it?’ Well, I’ve been studying history, specifically the history of uprisings in the past and I’ve some ideas. But, before I say anything else, I want to refine them and do some more research.”

Paul left quietly, leaving Louis to mull over the proposal. As Gabe had said, on the surface it appeared insane and downright dangerous, but there was something in it that could be used. He could feel it in his bones. He shook his head when the incongruity of Paul came to mind.

His grandmother had been Anna Milton, the second most powerful person, let alone woman, in Yorkland in the first years following its formation. She had been deeply involved not only in the negotiations that brought about the birth of the nation, but in the squelching of the first citizen’s revolt. And now, here was Paul, her grandson, acting as second-in-command of another serious attempt to overthrow the government of Yorkland and return the country to its rightful place in Canada.

Louis’s thoughts turned to Anna Milton and her staunch refusal to use any other name on her son’s birth certificate as a surname other than her own, although there was nothing wrong with Paul’s grandfather’s surname of Monaghan. And now, here was her grandson, bearing the same last name, plotting to overthrow the government she had helped create. The irony was not lost on Louis and, he thought, probably not on Paul either.

The timing of the whole rebellion hinged greatly on the government’s actions, specifically the next election. Granted the opposition parties were making noises about forcing a non-confidence vote, but as Louis had learned, much of what came out of Queen’s Park was either hot air or grandstanding for the representatives’ ridings and therefore not to be taken too seriously. Still, he and the group had to be prepared to move on short notice.

He sighed as he thought over the first uprising and the reasons for its failure. One thing that had helped scuttle it was that they were ill-prepared for the response from the government. Another had been that there was no co-ordination among the groups. Their ideas had been sound, but the execution had left much to be desired. Attempting to overthrow a government, especially when that government is in session had proved to be the fatal error. With all the decision makers in one place, it was relatively easy for Vanessa Anderson to co-ordinate defences.

His plan also called for the overthrow of the government, after all, that was the whole idea behind a citizens’ uprising. If he could convince the others, specifically Paul Milton, to wait until an election had been called and Parliament dissolved, it would be easier. Communication and co-ordination among the various departments, especially the Department of Defence, would be more difficult if the politicians were busy on the hustings. He remembered the disaster the first rebellion had become and believed he had pinpointed the reasons for that debacle.

In his view, the main reason for the failure of the first major revolt was that the organizers had acted on the spur of the moment, using the distraction of Albert Johnston to conceal their actions. That hadn’t succeeded partly because some of the dissenters had been so vocal and rabid in their opposition they had attracted government attention. He, Louis Riel DuMont, would not make that same mistake. He was organized. All factions had either been absorbed into his own, or brushed aside as inconsequential, so when they acted, it would be the same whether it was Ottawa, Windsor, London or Toronto

His mind returned to the proposal Paul had put forth. The plan was unworkable in the presented manner, but he felt in his bones that there was the nucleus of a workable rebellion in it somewhere. If he let his mind tease at it long enough, that seed would be revealed.

No matter what action they finally decided upon, Louis knew the army would be a problem. From the mainly ineffective force of Vanessa Anderson’s time, it had developed into a serious fighting force. Gregory Meaford’s replacement, a man named Walters, had been a soldier in the mould of Rick Hillier, an outspoken and popular Chief of Staff of the Canadian Armed Forces in the early years of the twenty-first century. Under General Walters the force had rapidly evolved from group of traffic cops in army uniforms into something to be feared. Several times over the years, Yorkland had supplied troops to various United Nations forces, so now had many battled tested members who wouldn’t be fazed by rioting in the streets.

In addition to picking at Paul’s idea, Louis also looked at it with an eye to how it may fit in with his own ideas on how to overthrow the government. In some ways, Paul’s plan was an improvement on his own, so perhaps he could merge the two and develop something that stood better than a fifty-fifty chance.

While Louis sat quietly dissecting the plans, events were transpiring elsewhere that would render Louis Riel DuMont and his group ineffective.

The Albert Johnston sparked revolt had resulted in an increased awareness of the level of dissent present among the general population. One result of this awareness was that there was an ever increasing number of undercover officers infiltrating the dissidents groups. As well, there were dissenters who supplemented their income by selling information to the authorities. Louis had known the men in his advisory group for years prior to the initiation of their plot and they had all agreed that nobody else would ever see the inner circle. He had organized it on a cell structure, each one composed of no more than three people, the only exception being his “planning committee” as he termed it. The head of each cell knew only his three people, plus one person directly above him and below him, while each member knew one person in a cell at their level. The arrangement made for awkward communication on occasion, but also insulated the leader and his cadre from identification.

When he left the meeting, Paul Milton had another stop to make, one that Louis wouldn’t have been pleased to learn about had he known the real reason for the visit. Paul’s next call was to his apparent girlfriend’s place, but she was in actuality an undercover police officer.

Paul’s grandmother had been Anna Milton, the special representative for Prime Minister Vanessa Anderson, and his grandfather was Gerald Monaghan, an army officer whom Anna had met while attempting to defuse the Albert Johnston incident in the early days of the existence of Yorkland. Their son was Paul’s father, who had served in the legislature with distinction.

Louis, on the other hand, came from more rebellious stock, as evidenced by his name.
Louis Riel, the leader of the failed Métis rebellion in western Canada, also has the distinction of being the only elected Member of Parliament ever hanged for treason as a result of that uprising. Louis’s father’s family traced their roots back to Riel’s assistant, Gabriel DuMont, so it could be said Louis came by his opposition to government honestly.

Given the vastly different backgrounds, it was only natural that they had become fast friends. When Louis got in trouble in university, Paul was the one to plead his case. That Paul was always there and always seemed to have his back made him the logical choice to become Louis’s second in command when he decided to overthrow the government.

Paul took the position mainly to humour his friend. He couldn’t possibly envision that Louis was serious about overthrowing the government his grandmother had helped create; the government his grandfather and father worked so hard to defend. When he learned just how serious Louis was about toppling the government, Paul’s loyalties were severely strained.

Did he stay and help his friend, a man who trusted him implicitly, overthrow what he viewed as his family’s legacy, or should he report his friend to the authorities? This was the quandary Paul found himself in during the formative years of Louis’s plot.

In a roundabout way, he made contact with the security services. Through his grandparents and father he was very aware of the National Security and Anti-Terrorism Act and the possible implications for him. He explained his situation and, when they appeared reluctant to accept his story and offer for information, he invoked the names of his grandparents. That seemed to turn the trick. It was at that meeting that he met the undercover officer who would become his new “girlfriend”.

That this young lady didn’t seem to work excited no interest among Paul’s friends, including Louis. After all, Paul came from money, so it was automatically assumed that any girl he took up with would be from the same social stratum. They did all the things young couples would – dinners, movies, theatre – and all seemed quite normal. Below the surface, things were a bit more complicated. Arriving at her apartment, Paul would prepare a brief report on whatever he’d picked up between visits. This would then be taken with them to wherever they were going. At some point during the evening, the young lady would excuse herself from the table, or her theatre seat. Sometime during her brief absence the report would be transferred to another party for carriage back to the security branch.

This evening, the report centred about the fact the idea, which had come from the security forces, had been almost unanimously rejected, with the exception of Louis himself. He had felt there may be something in it they could use. This part of the report caused a great stir in the offices, for they had looked at the plan from several different angles and had determined there was nothing there that could even be remotely useful to the rebels.

Paul did not spy on the insurgents for money, as did others. His reason was more personal. He liked that Yorkland was a separate nation, with a British-style government. He also resented someone – anyone – attempting to destroy what his grandparents, especially his grandmother, had created.

After his date, Paul returned to his own apartment to hear the telephone ringing. Glancing down at the number, he saw it was Louis. Louis never called him on his home phone as he didn’t trust the government not have it tapped, so it must have been important. Picking up the phone, he heard Louis practically screaming “Turn on the television – our chance is coming!”

“Louis, Louis, calm down. I just walked in and I’ve still got my coat on. Now, what’s this all about? What do you mean ‘our chance is coming’?”

“Paul, the opposition is going to call a non-confidence vote tomorrow and according to what I’ve heard, and learned through other sources, the government hasn’t a chance in hell of surviving it. This is it buddy, this is our time to overthrow the tyrants who rule us.!”

“Aren’t you being a little premature? All you have is a news report that this is going to happen. Louis, we don’t even have a decent plan in place, so how can we take advantage of the situation?”

“Don’t worry about that right now. We don’t have to strike the instant the vote happens. We still have to wait for the Governor-General to dissolve Parliament. And, don’t forget we’ve got that plan of yours.”

“I thought you said that plan wasn’t workable.”

“The basic plan, no. But I can change a couple of things to make it useable.! Paul, come over and we can discuss it.”

“Okay, let me change. I just got back from Julie’s.”

“Okay, but hurry!”

Before even taking his coat off, Paul called the young lady just mentioned. “Hi, it’s me. Louis just called. Apparently there will be a non-confidence vote tomorrow that will bring down the government. He’s going to make some changes to the plan ‘the boys’ came up with. I’m going over there now to discuss it with him. May I stop by later? It could be quite late.”

Receiving assurance he could, he hung up the handset and changed into something more “rebellious” as he thought of it.

Despite the “iron-clad” guarantee Louis’s sources had given him, the government did survive the non-confidence motion and things continued on their usual inefficient governmental ways. Secretly Paul breathed a sigh of relief, while in the presence of Louis and the other plotters, he reviled the weakness of the opposition parties for not defeating the government.

Louis spent several hours on the telephone with his contacts, each call only deepening his mood. After the last call, he uttered a short, powerful expletive. “Those assholes! At the last minute, the Prime Minister promised one of the smaller parties a few bones to get their votes. It was just enough to survive the motion.” He lapsed into more colourful cursing in English and a smattering of other languages he’d picked up including the Cree and French from his ancestry.

Nobody did anything except find something upon which to direct all their attention. Finally, Louis calmed down. “Okay, it didn’t work this time. There will be another one and in the meantime, we can fine-tune our plan of action.”

Paul, who had been up all night, excused himself, claiming he was too mentally exhausted to be any good to the session. On his way home, he called his contact. “The plans are changing slightly. When I left they were looking at the possibility of not waiting for an election to do anything. That might bear watching from your end as well.”

The spanner in the works was thrown, as with the Albert Johnston uprising, from the Loyalist eastern counties. A small group, actually more like a gang of thugs than an organized resistance cell, invaded the home of a minor official in Brockville and during the course of their rampage, this official and his family were killed. Had it not been that one of the more intoxicated members of this gang chose to write slogans on the walls urging the re-unification of Yorkland and Canada, the incident may have been treated as simply a home invasion gone wrong.

But those words on the wall raised the stakes. Queen’s Park had been nervous about the Loyalist Counties since Vanessa Anderson dealt with Albert Johnston and certain parties used this unfortunate incident as proof of their concern. Pressing their point in the House, they implored the government to “do something” about these “accursed rebels.” The Minister in charge assured the Honourable Member that the authorities were doing all possible to catch the persons responsible for this crime and that the case was being treated as terrorism. This was because of the words on the wall.

Perhaps emboldened by the authorities’ apparent lack of progress in the Brockville incident, reports began to surface from other areas of civil disobedience. A mass protest in Collingwood lead to several arrests and injuries on both sides of the dispute. Chatham, where many of those fleeing on the Underground Railway settled, was also the scene of disturbances. These disruptions all had one common theme: Rejoin Canada.

These incidents served only to put Louis in a foul mood. While he agreed with the intention, they could only goad the government into taking action. And his plans called for things to remain as they were. The continuing rise in such incidents of course raised questions in Queen’s Park, questions the government found itself increasingly unable to answer to anyone’s satisfaction.

Louis spent many frantic hours on the telephone and the internet attempting to calm these other groups, or at least those of which he was aware, and not do anything foolish. Most listened to his reason and powers of persuasion. One group in Orillia did not heed him.
The former Ontario Provincial Police Headquarters in Orillia was now used as a base for the military. This group, for reasons known only to them, decided it would be a good idea to bomb this building. But, having been forewarned by an informer, the building was deserted and the attackers were all killed in the counterattack.

This proved to be the last straw for the government. Canada’s War Measure Act had been repealed in 1985, but the Anti-Terrorism Laws brought in following the World Trade Centre carnage had been adapted intact, except for minor changes in wording and title, by Yorkland upon its formation. In a speech that borrowed heavily from that of Pierre Elliott Trudeau’s broadcast of October 16, 1970, the Prime Minister took to the airwaves and internet simultaneously.

“I am speaking to you at a moment of grave crisis, when violent and fanatical men are attempting to destroy the unity and freedom of Yorkland. These matters are of the utmost gravity and I want to tell you what the Government is doing about them.”

Following this opening was a list of the most egregious of the attacks on government buildings and offices. Then

“In order to combat these threats to our internal security and peace, the Government is announcing, effective immediately, the imposition of certain portions of the National Security and Anti-Terrorism Act. This will give us greater powers to combat these home-grown terrorists and makes them all illegal organizations.

“Imposition of this Act was not undertaken lightly as it affects not only those engaged in wrongdoing, but all citizens of Yorkland. It does this by suspending the Bill of Rights, including the right to congregate. Until the Act is lifted, any gathering of more than three people may be considered suspicious and those involved subject to arrest. I assure you the powers given the government under this Act will not be abused and that, as soon as is feasible, the restrictions imposed upon us will be lifted.

I have a list of known rebel groups which I will now read to you. To members of those groups, I say: your days are numbered.” As more information is learned, I will release the names of further groups of interest.

“Thank you and may God help us.”

Louis watched the speech in disbelief. Why hadn’t his contacts told him this was coming? How could they let him find out something this important, this crucial to his plans, from the media rather than from them? While he muttered to himself, his telephone rang. A whispered voice spoke “L R, it’s me – we didn’t know. The son-of-a bitch set this up with his special advisors, not the Cabinet, not the complete caucus. It took us by as much surprise as I imagine it took you. I suggest you watch yourself carefully. They may have your name on a list somewhere.” Louis heard the connection end.

Within hours of the Prime Minister’s speech, the armed forces and police were rounding up known and suspected dissidents. Under the terms of the Act, it was not necessary to lay charges, nor arraign anyone before a magistrate. Just lock ‘em up and forget ‘em. Some of the more minor characters were simply ignored on the basis that without the leaders, they’d be like little lost sheep anyway, more harm to themselves than to the country.

Louis Riel DuMont and his cadre watched the events unfolding with dread. Paul seemed especially on edge.

“Relax Paul. The PM didn’t mention our group in the list he read out. Those are all small disorganized gangs who can’t even spell ‘rebellion’.”

Days passed and the authorities were kept busy rounding up known and suspected dissidents from the original list. Louis didn’t say anything to his group, but he was worried that one of the detainees may point the finger in his direction. He quietly made preparations to destroy what few records existed and to prepare his hiding place if it should prove necessary.

The television was always tuned to the news channel now, waiting for further government announcements. A month after the imposition of the Act, the anticipated words came from the office of the Minister of National Security. “Good afternoon. We have a further list of groups that have been declared terrorists.”

Louis listened intently. The names mentioned concerned him for they were drawing closer to his level. These words were bad enough, then came the blockbuster when the Minister named the opposition parties. “These groups are hereby declared terrorist organizations and any person associated with them is subject to immediate arrest.”

“Merde!” Louis rarely swore in French. In the silence in the room the outburst sounded even louder than it actually was. Paul and the others turned, shock keeping them mute. Before Louis could utter a word, the television drew their attention. They directed their attention toward the screen and heard an announcer “Ladies and gentlemen, the Prime Minister has advised he will speak to the nation in a few minutes. It is believed the reason for the speech is the contents of the list just released by the Minister of National Security.”

The picture changed to a shot of the press room and Queen’s Park, where most press conferences and announcements were made. Viewers were treated to various people scurrying around, changing the background from that used by National Security to that of the Prime Minister; and reporters from various media outlets exchanging rumours. Five minutes later, the televised view changed to a closeup of the flag of Yorkland, then the announcer spoke “Ladies and gentlemen of the press and citizens of Yorkland, the Prime Minister.”

The Right Honourable Prime Minister strode to the podium, a scowl on his face. “I’ve a short announcement, and will not entertain questions afterward. Once you’ve heard what I have to say, I doubt you’ll have questions anyway.

“A few minutes ago, the Minister of National Security named Her Majesty’s Loyal Opposition and the other parties in the House as terrorist organizations. This was not an error on the part of the Government. Investigation has revealed that some members of those parties are or were associated with terrorist organizations. Our investigation also revealed the parties themselves had accepted funding from organizations used as fronts by these terrorist organizations, and therefore we consider their motives in the House to be suspect.

“Consequently, to preserve the integrity of Government, it was necessary to remove these parties from the policy- and law-making process.”

Louis muted the sound. “We don’t need to hear anymore. We’ve just heard the death knell for freedom in Yorkland. This son-of-a-bitch has just declared himself king of the country. Mark my words, in the next few days, you’ll hear that the majority of members in his own party will also be arrested as terrorists. The only ones left will be those that formed his inner circle – the ones that came up with this whole fucking idea.”

Paul and Gabe looked at each other. They weren’t quite sure what they found more shocking, what Louis said, or his use of the “f-word”.

Louis’s group was different from most of the other “rebels”, as the government termed them, in that most of the members were businessmen who’d seen profits drop as Canada began buying elsewhere. Yorkland had enjoyed great economic success and the Simcoe was trading above par with the US dollar, which made their goods and services too expensive for Canada. Consequently, whereas some of the other groups appeared to be stereotypical “wild-eyed bomb-throwing radicals”, this group appeared to be just what they were – a group of executives having a business meeting.

The import of, and reaction to, the Prime Minister’s announcement wasn’t long in being felt by the populace. Curfews were established. The army became more visible in the streets. Assemblies of more than three people were banned. Churches were exempted from this ban, but services were monitored to ensure they didn’t stray into forbidden territory. One minster chose to ignore the new rules and the watcher in the back of the nave and used his pulpit to rail against the new restrictions the government had imposed. The congregation was then treated to their pastor being led from the pulpit in handcuffs, still protesting the new rules.

What became known as the second Battle of Stoney Creek was less a battle than a massacre. A group over which Louis had no influence decided that the time had come for them to act. The group gathered at Battlefield Park, the scene of the British night attack on the Americans in 1813. Their plan was simple. They’d simply drive down Barton Street and take over the federal building in downtown Hamilton. They hadn’t counted on some citizens being willing to spy for the government. One such person, seeing the large assemblage of vehicles and people, some carrying weapons, in Battlefield Park, phoned the authorities.

By the time the last of the dissidents straggled in, the army was ready for them. All entrances to the park were quietly blocked and the army moved in. Nobody knows to this date who fired the first shot, but one of the dissidents took exception to being told by a captain he was under arrest and discharged his rifle in the general direction of the troops in front of him. One soldier was wounded by this shell, but the report of the gunshot released the tension in the soldiers and they returned fire. Of the fifty people gathered in the park, three survived.

Once again, the group was meeting in Louis’s boardroom, ostensibly to discuss trade with Canada and the United States. Louis turned away from the window. “Paul called and said he’d been delayed at another meeting. He’ll join us as soon as he can get away.” He paused, then,

“I can’t see but we have any choice other than to try now. The longer we wait, the greater the danger we’ll be discovered. Those idiots in Stoney Creek have forced the hand of every group still functioning. I already have some indications we may be suspected. I know we’ve all lost government contracts for no apparent reason since the Act was imposed. I suggest we advise the others to be prepared to take action within the week, otherwise, we’ll have no chance at all. There are no more elections and the army is interpreting these laws in an extremely draconian fashion and detaining ordinary citizens on the slightest pretext. So, it’s either this week, or not at all. Any comments?”

Gabe looked down at the table, silently contemplating what had just happened. In his quiet way, Louis had just issued the call to arms. He looked up. “L R, is a week going to give everyone enough time?”

“They’re going to have to find the time, Gabe. If we wait, we’ll have wasted all these years; all these hopes.”

Before Gabe could respond, the boardroom door swung open. Louis looked up to see the opening filled with uniforms.

“Louis Riel DuMont, come with us please. You are being detained under the provisions of the National Security and Anti-Terrorism Act.”

Glancing around the table, the officer continued “You gentlemen are also under arrest. Keep your hands on the table in plain sight.”

Louis sat there, head down, whispering to himself. “All these years wasted. All hopes of rejoining Canada gone – poof! Up in smoke.”

He looked up at the officer. “Very well Captain, we’ll offer no resistance.”

The captain glared at him. “No Mr DuMont, you won’t. Not this time. But you were. planning to, weren’t you?”

Je suis Charlie

The horrific terrorist attack on the offices of Charlie Hebdo in Paris today was an attack on free speech everywhere. Why so? Can you honestly believe the vicious nature of this attack won’t make journalists everywhere consider what they write, or in the case of editorial cartoonists draw, before submitting it for publication?

Those of us who write blogs here on WordPress or other sites are usually anonymous unless we choose to reveal our identities. Some of us use that anonymity to take shots at various institutions that others may consider sacrostant. We rely on our avatars and screen names to keep us safe from retribution and use filters to prevent adverse or threatening comments from appearing following our offerings.

The journalists and artists at Charlie Hebdo didn’t have that privilege. When you publish a newspaper, of any type, your name appears on your copy. I understand from news reports that Charlie Hebdo made a habit of aggravating the Muslim community to the extent the office was firebombed in 2011. Today’s massacre seems to have been the culmination of that aggravation, especially considering the murderers were heard yelling (in French) “we have avenged the Prophet Mohammed” and, in Arabic, “Allahu akbar”.

Like it or not, or accept it or not, we bloggers are journalists reporting on the vagaries of life around us. Sometimes we talk about major events – in my case I had great fun ripping into the former mayor of Toronto, Rob Ford and I have received much praise for my on-going series “Bring him to justice” – and sometimes it’s just the little things that irk us personally. But in any case, we are reporting on news for the benefit of others.

There have been many vigils around the world tonight in honour of the staff of Charlie Hebdo. Many people are holding up pens and signs reading “Je suis Charlie” (I am Charlie). Take a few moments after you read this to honour the memory of these people, our fellow journalists, who paid the ultimate price for freedom of speech.

Cat.

Nice try

My email brought me the following early this afternoon:

iTunes <iTunes@websitewelcome.com>

Identity verification required

Dear Customer ,

You have received this email because our system has noticed some unusual activity under your Apple ID account.

We have taken steps to ensure nothing can be purchased until you have confirmed your identity.

Please take a moment to confirm it using the link below.
< Click Here

Thanks,
Apple Customer Support
TM and copyright © 2014 Apple Inc. 1 Infinite Loop, MS 96-DM, Cupertino, CA 95014.

Sounds serious, doesn’t it? I can’t speak for you, but when I see something like this, one of the first things I do is check my credit card statement to see if there has indeed been any unusual activity involving the company telling me I’ve been cut off. Since I haven’t bought anything from iTunes in months, any purchases would show up immediately and I’d be on the phone to the credit card company. Nothing. The only purchase in the last week was the incense I bought yesterday.

This showed as being sent “to me”, which is quite common for gmail I’ve found. But there is a little arrow that allows you to see more information. Clicked on the arrow and found something very interesting. It wasn’t sent from iTunes or Apple. Oh no. Here’s what the detailed information showed me:

from: iTunes <iTunes@websitewelcome

to: gcathoward@
cc: iTunes@websitewelcome.com
date: 2 May 2014 12:05
subject: Your Apple ID Has Been Temporarily Restricted
mailed-by: subaru.websitewelcome

Since WordPress’s robots consider any posting with too many links to be spam and blocks your account (I had it happen last year) I’ve removed the extensions on the addresses, but they were both “.com” and I removed the balance of my address for the same reason.

I’m working on only my second coffee of the day so perhaps my brain isn’t fully functioning yet, but am I the only one who finds it suspicious that a message purportedly sent by iTunes is actually being sent by Subaru? I suspect that had I actually clicked on the link I would have provided Subaru with all kinds of information that would have resulted in all kinds of promotional information being sent to me.

Not that I have anything against Subaru. We had a new sedan back in 1983 and I loved it. And truth be told, I’d love to have a new WRX Sti, but that ain’t gonna happen. Besides, there’s something about a 70 year old woman flying around in Subaru’s nastiest offering that puts people off.

If you receive a similar email apparently from iTunes, before you do anything, check your credit card statement. And when you find there is nothing unusual, delete the email. DO NOT, under any circumstances, click on the link.

Enjoy your day and remember to hug an artist – we need love too.

Cat.

Don’t think you’re making sense

Recently (March 9) I reposted a piece called “Don’t think you’re safe” which was based upon the fact I was the victim of a stalker not all that long ago.  Here’s an excerpt from that piece that explains the situation:  About five years ago I had to deal with a stalker.  Yeah – late sixties, trans, 5 foot 11 and (at the time) about 180 lbs and being stalked by some wacko.  If any of my readers have had the experience of being stalked, you understand the terror at knowing someone out there considers you prey and is actively hunting you. If you haven’t read it, please do.  The advice is aimed mainly at women, but men do get stalked as well and some of my advice may prove useful to them too.

There’s the background and a brief plug for that posting.  In that post, I mention using a camera to photograph anyone you consider suspicious, which is how the following, sent from some camera company, ended up in my WordPress spam folder today.

ethangreenlee
Submitted on 2013/04/02 at 12:13 pm

Ridiculous story there. What occurred after? Take
care!

First, the most sensible thing in this is the “Take care!”, which effectively boiled my post down to two words.

Can anyone explain how a brief essay on being aware of your surroundings to ensure you aren’t in someone’s sights can be considered a ridiculous story?  Having lived through the experience, I can tell you firsthand there is nothing ridiculous about it.

“What occurred after?”?  Well Ethan, or whatever your name is, I’ll tell you.  I wrote this blog deliberately titled “Don’t think you’re making sense” and posted it so people can see just how little you actually do think.

To my followers and readers, enjoy your week and remember to hug an artist – we need love (and intelligent comments) too.

Cat.