EMAIL mj.morris@live.ca


Thursday, November 5, 2009

To hear the other side rejected by anonymous yellow flyer producers in Cranbrook boundary expansion

 I had just calmed down from Cranbrook mayor Scott Manjak`s totally unacceptable offer to remove submitted response forms from citizens who may change their minds during an alternative approval process, and accepted the reality that this council has no intention of releasing a $500,000 taxpayer paid for growth management plan before a November 14 referendum on boundary expansion, and I receive an anonymously produced yellow flyer in a local newspaper.

The yellow flyer, obviously distributed by supporters of boundary expansion contains the broad sweeping generalizations with no supporting facts about the future of Cranbrook if boundary expansion is defeated which characterizes most of the material produced by the self proclaimed official Yes side, but it is a nameless, faceless piece of yellow paper. The choice of colour is appropriate.

However, it is point number nine in the anonymously produced  yellow flyer that deeply disturbs me. It says: ``It`s fun to criticize democracy when it doesn`t go your way and it`s a much better idea to waste taxpayer dollars on a ridiculous and costly referendum.``

From the outset of this sad, sorry tale in the political life of this small city in the southeastern corner of British Columbia, which has now received national attention, the supporters of boundary expansion, including a majority of the council, have attempted to marginalize those who would dare to oppose them as being less than democratic. On the contrary,  the Citizens for a Livable Cranbrook Society, a non-profit society, with the names of its directors available, has been totally democratic in its actions since council tried to use the alternative approval process to expand the boundaries.

The government of the province of British Columbia enacted legislation to permit a municipality under certain conditions to use an alternative approval process rather than go directly to a referendum. Cranbrook council exercised its right under the provincial legislation to go this route in the first instance, and the citizens of the city were able to exercise their democratic right under the same legislation to oppose the council action by submitting a response form indicating they did not approve.

The council received a lesson in the power of grassroots democracy when over 3000 eligible voters submitted response forms basically telling the mayor and his council supporters that if they wanted to expand the boundaries, they must call a referendum as prescribed again by provincial legislation when  ten percent of the eligible voters submit forms under the alternative approval process. (1475 were needed.)

The citizens of Cranbrook, close to 4000 of them strong, although not all were counted, were not criticizing democracy by openly signing their  names to the form, as the anonymous yellow flyer supporters of boundary expansion would like us to believe, they were exercising their democratic right as provided under provincial law to be heard. It is insulting to them to be criticized by council members and others for exercising their democratic right to be heard.

If taxpayer dollars have been wasted on a ``ridiculous and costly referendum`` as the anonymous yellow flyer producers suggest, then theitr argument is with the government of the province of British Columbia who put the process in place.

The citizens of Cranbrook who moved the process to the referendum stage have clearly demonstrated that famous axiom in countries based on the English common law system ``audi alterem partem.`` (Hear the other side.) They have not been criticizing democracy; they have been practising it!!!


Monday, November 2, 2009

"They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old"

They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning
We will remember them.

from "For the Fallen" by Laurence Binyon (1869-1943)

James E. Morris
On July 16, 1943, a Wellington bomber took off from an air force base in England. It was to be a short test flight around the airfield only.

The last entry in the pilot's log book written later by the squadron's wing commander was, "Aircraft exploded in air."

The usual telegram was sent by the war office, expressing regret that Flying Officer James E. Morris was killed while on active service in the Royal Canadian Air Force, July 16,1943. Similar messages would have been sent to the families of my father's crew who were on the flight with him.

The messages of condolences from the King and Queen, the government of Canada and others would come later, full of words like "a grateful nation," "supreme sacrifice," "for King and country."

Although I didn't know it at the time, July 16, 1943, was destined to be the most significant turning point in my life, and I wasn't even two years old when my father's plane exploded in air and crashed over the English countryside during World War II.

Muriel and Jim Morris
In fact, that date had a profound effect on my entire family. Nobody was ever quite the same again. Of course, in 1943, I wasn't really aware of what life was like for my mother, Muriel E. (Hunt) Morris, my grandparents Harry and Lil Morris and George and Edith Hunt, my father's sister Marion, and the close relationship they all had. When my father was killed we were in Chapleau living with Mom's sister Elsie and her husband B.W. Zufelt and their children. Part of the time we would be at my grandparents.

My grandmother Hunt was in England at the time working as a war nurse and my father had visited her the weekend before he was killed. She attended his funeral and burial in Ripon Cemetery, Yorkshire, England. Grandpa Hunt was with us in Chapleau.

My father, like so many who joined Canada's armed forces during World War II was an ordinary Canadian from a small town, in his case, Chapleau, Ontario where he was born and raised, called upon to perform the exceptional. There was absolutely no doubt in their minds whatsoever that it was the right thing for them to do.

After his death, The Evening Telegram of Toronto reported that my father took to flying in his early teens and became associated with several of Canada's early bush pilots who were operating in the Chapleau area. Actually he was going down to the waterfront and getting rides and learning to fly planes, thinking that my grandmother didn't know what was going on. But she did. Mothers always know!  He earned his first pilot's license at the Fort William Flying Club.

In 1940 my father enlisted in the RCAF at Moncton, New Brunswick. He became a flying instructor and was posted to No. 10 Elementary Flying Training School at Mount Hope. He was among the first instructors in the Commonwealth Air Training Plan. In 1942 he went overseas.

Flying Officer Jim Morris in England

My mother who likely never missed a Remembrance Day service in Chapleau, once told me that "Every day is remembrance day."

 I received an email from Stephen Hayter, executive director, of the Commonwealth Air Training Plan Museum in Brandon, Manitoba. Mr. Hayter wrote in part:
"The Commonwealth Air Training Plan Museum would be honoured to welcome your father's RCAF material into our collection.
"It is your father's story that we wish to preserve for future generations. I am so glad that you discovered us...
"Your father's name is also listed in our memorial book "They Shall Grow Not Old" which also states that he was part of #432 Leaside Squadron (Saevitir Ad Lucem), and that his Wellington aircraft #JA 119 crashed one and one half miles west of Malton, Yorkshire."  (http://www.airmuseum.ca/)

They shall grow not old, as we that are left have grown older. We will always remember them!

My email is mj.morris@live.ca
Please feel free to write me.

Michael J Morris

Michael J Morris
MJ with Buckwheat (1989-2009) Photo by Leo Ouimet


click on image


Following the American Dream from Chapleau. CLICK ON IMAGE