MAC’S MUSINGS: Questions continue to swirl around bylaw officer who blew through stop sign

Claude McIntosh

A Cornwall bylaw enforcement van, of all things, is seen passing a stopped school bus which allegedly has its warning lights flashing and its “Stop” sign arm engaged while kids are disembarking on one of the busiest streets in the city.

At least this is what hundreds of viewers of a video posted on the Internet witnessed.

A day or two later the city, responding to the video, said the driver of the bylaw enforcement vehicle had been reprimanded. Citing confidentiality, neither the name of the employee nor the punishment was made public. Who knows, perhaps he had to write out 100 times “I will never again break the Highway Traffic Act re: school buses.”

According to CAO Norm Levac, city hall relayed the information to Cornwall Community Police Service which undertook what Chief Dan Parkinson called a “measured approach” to the alleged incident.

Couple of week later, city police, responding to a query by a nosey member of the media, said no charge would be laid.

A “measured” investigation that was upgraded to a “full investigation” failed to find the necessary evidence to file a charge. But the case isn’t closed. Nope. It is just in a state of limbo until (AKA if) more compelling evidence becomes available.

Understandably, that drew a “hummm” from Joe Public.

For the unwashed unfamiliar with a police investigation, the case of the city bylaw enforcement officer not being charged seems strange, given the video evidence and that the employer (city) reprimanded the driver for the allegeded transgression. This could lead Joe Public to believe that the employee fessed up (to the boss) to passing the school bus and accepted the reprimand.

But a video, lack of an official complaint, hearsay, no positive indentification on the video or by a witness and a non-confession (to police) doesn’t cut it when it comes to laying a charge. In other words, police came to the conclusion there was little, if any, chance of conviction.

The fine for those convicted of such school bus transgressions is around $500 along with a handful of demerit points, something that doesn’t impress an auto insurance company.

Seems that a bylaw enforcement officer has caught a lucky break, something he or she might take into consideration before leaping at the next chance to slap a citizen with a ticket.

TRIVIA John Sandfield Macdonald, first premier of Ontario, resided in Cornwall at stately Ivy Hall. Where was Ivy Hall and in 1987 what did it become?

TRIVIA ANSWER Le Village Donuts operated at 10 Montreal Rd. from 1982-2000. The building was demolished the next year and replaced by Dubuc Eye Clinic. Over the years, the address was home to the Maple Leaf Hotel (circa 1889), G. de Varenne’s Pharmacy, Rex Dupuis’ Smoke Shop and a beauty salon before becoming the doughnut shop.

IN THE REAR VIEW MIRROR Hughie McAlear remembers how he and a few high school buddies (CCVS) would show up at a Red Cross blood clinic run by Sam Hill with somebody else’s age of majority ID so they could give blood and collect the $1 donor payment. “Then we’d stop at the old Central (hotel) and have a round of 10-cent draughts,” he recalled. “The joke was that we were down a pint and up a quart.” … The Ontario Tourist information centre on Second Street West which at the time was Highway 2. … The Howard Smith Paper Mill monthly magazine – The Log – which was mailed to every employee. Editors were Don Auty and later Glen Sloan. … The city worker, pushing a barrel on a wheels , who was tasked with keeping the downtown core clean of litter.

JEST KIDDING Well, that does it. After watching the anti-Conservative Ontario Provincial Police Association TV ads (Union Slams Hudak) I’m signing up for an Ontario Liberal membership card which I will carry next to my driver’s licence – just in case I’m ever pulled over by a member of the Ontario Provincial Police Association who is on board with the union’s position vis-a-vis Hudak and the Conservatives.

HERE & THERE Stop the press. The weather folks came close to getting a five-day weather forecast right. … Overlooked is the fact that Toronto already has the biggest casino in the country. It’s on Bay Street. It’s called the Toronto Stock Exchange (TSE). … Strange, isn’t it. If the city talks about not filling one or two vacant positions to save money some members of council react as if the Doomsday Clock is about to strike midnight. Yet, a few hundred jobs disappear in the private sector and not a peep of concern from the same folks, especially so when they are non-union jobs.

THIS & THAT Snappy new Tim Hortons TV commercial (We’ve Been Everywhere) mentions Bainsville but not Cornwall which had the first Tim store (Brookdale Avenue) outside the Hamilton/Burlington market. Co-founder Tim Horton officially opened the store, while his partner, Ron Joyce, worked a couple of night shifts helping the new owners bake doughnuts.

ROUND’N’BOUT Union members – nurses and support staff – at Massena Memorial Hospital are willing to accept a three-year wage freeze to save the hospital from drowning in red ink and possible bankruptcy. … Movie star Steven Seagal was in Akwesasne on Monday, June 2. According to The Mohawk Nation News the actor stopped in at Akwesasne after attending a family gathering in Kahnawake near Montreal on the weekend. A follower of the Buddhist faith, Seagal, 62, is an Native rights activist. He serves as a reserve deputy in the Jefferson (Louisiana) Parish sheriff’s department. He traces his ancestory to Kahnawake. … Back in the days when it was unusual to see a woman driving a car, Irene Alguire not only drove a car but broke down another barrier when she got into the male-dominated real estate business, becoming one of the most successful of her time. She died recently at age 97.

JUST A THOUGHT Something you never heard the Ontario food bank organization talk about during the election – that under the Liberal government the demand on Ontario food banks has gone through the roof. You can bet that if a Conservative government had been in power for the last eight years, it would have been a major issue.

AND ANOTHER THING Just thinking out loud but with the federal government licensing (legal) medical marijuana grow ops, might be time for somebody to take a look at the empty water bottling plant on Cornwall Island. It has a (relatively) inexpensive source of electricity (Cornwall Electric) and an abundance of water flowing right past its doors. It would give Akwesasne a major economic boost. … Breaking consumer news last week alerted Canadians to the fact that meat prices have skyrocketed in the last 12 months. Really! Does the author of the report think folks never noticed?


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