The problem with being comfortable …..

I always loved going out on the water with my Grampy to check his trap lines.   At the time, my Dad was stationed in Summerside, so we were regular visitors at the old house on Pierce Street.
In those days, I felt like a princess riding in Grampy’s wheelbarrow down to the ballast heap where his boat was tied up!  There was always a spare bit of rope to make what Daddy called a Cape Breton life jacket …. one end knotted around my waist and the other end tethered to the boat!
I loved my grandfather’s stories!  The best bit about Grampy was that he never, ever talked down to a child.  Perhaps it was because he’d had to leave school at the age of nine to support his widowed mother and the family.  Maybe he was just born that wise way.
Whatever the reason, every time we went out on the water I learned something worthwhile!
For instance, had it not been for Grampy I would never had heard the tale about Big Rod the Piper.   After all, I was still wearing my first baby walking shoes when the Canso Causeway celebrated its official opening!   How would I have possibly heard about the fact that one …and only one .. of the one hundred pipers invited to the grand opening event marched, but refused to pipe?
Did Grampy think Big Rod was a hero for opposing the causeway?   Not in the least!   Of course, Grampy was never one to suffer fools gladly and had no patience for those who opposed progress for its own sake.
To this day, I can still hear him saying, “little girl, if everything stayed the same the companies would still be cutting miners’ wages and be just as reckless as they were in the old days with the lives of the men that made them their money!”
Grampy was right!   There will always be those who resist change.   Who say ‘why must we’ instead ‘why not’.   Who keep wrestling alligators instead of looking for a way to drain the swamp!
Happily, not everyone hesitates until the moment is lost.   Just think of all the wonderful things that HAVE changed in the short span of time since I turned twenty one:

  • In Canada, now employers are required to keep a women’s job available for her to return to after her maternity leave is finished
  • Employers are now also obliged to pay women the same salaries as men for the same work
  • The property act has changed to protect women who ‘kept the home fires burning’ so that their husbands were free to pursue their careers
  • women are no longer required to bear the burden of being the ones to charge spouses and partners with abuse
  • thinking people are normally much less nonchalant about driving themselves home after an evening at the tavern, and of course last but definitely not least,
  • No Kill has enough history to have a proven formula for success with a successful track record.  

Not all that glitters may be gold, but we are now surrounded by gadgets that make our lives easier or safer or just plain simpler!  Admittedly, some quarters would be happier if there were no opportunities for animal advocates to network online.   It IS harder to sweep all the dirty little secrets under the rug, especially in a small province like ours.
I was appalled when I read the defense lawyer’s question in the article below – “How can shelter that operated for some 35 years without problems then suddenly fall apart in a few weeks?” he asked.”  
Without problems?   Really?   I expect that any of the folks who had their hearts broken by adopting sick or dying animals over the years would beg to differ with that.
Odds are that anyone in the animal loving community who repeatedly complained to the old provincial board about the horrible home made gas chamber would never be able to see the shelter as problem free. ( The testy topic of how the animal loving society membership now has a board and ED who actually support their No Kill wishes seems to only actually be a surprise to the folks at the renegade shelter, eh? )
I am betting that the veterinarian who gave the shelter a workshop in disease prevention was not well pleased to see that nothing had changed a few years later when she was asked to audit the shelter by the CBRM Mayor.
When compassionate animal rescues have openly refused to take animals from a high kill shelter because of the ongoing parvo risk, could that be a teeny little sign that there was a problem?
The only new problem we have actually seen was that the unprecedented step of making an unannounced visit from provincial proved to be a real problem for the shelter.  No time to prepare.  Even worse, no time to hide anything.  
Worst of all, after hearing all the complaints that had previously fallen on deaf ears at the branch, no one on the provincial inspection team was particularly interested in believing the same old line of bullshit that had been shovelled out in the past.
What time is it?  No matter what happens next week, it is time to admit that the steadily dwindling supply of supporters for the renegade shelter are the only ones who still believe there is no problem.
We do not err because truth is difficult to see. It is visible at a glance. We err because this is more comfortable.    Alexander Solzhenitsyn   

And that is how I see it on Saturday, January 14th …. the FIFTY – NINTH day since the dismissed shelter manager and the disbanded board created the renegade shelter.

from The Cape Breton Post
Judge to rule next week on shelter future
Published on January 13, 2012
SYDNEY — Just who will be operating an animal shelter in Sydney will decided next week when Supreme Court Justice Patrick Murray is expected to rule on an injunction application
For six days, Murray heard testimony from seven witnesses and admitted some 16 pieces of material, comprising hundreds of pages of affidavit testimony, into evidence.

Murray said he expects to be able to deliver his decision Thursday.
The Nova Scotia SPCA filed the injunction application after the provincial board issued a notice of dissolution to the former Cape Breton branch of the SPCA in November 2011. In addition to dissolving the branch, the provincial body also voted to fire the shelter manager.
In response, the branch board voted to change its name to the Cape Breton Humane Society and maintain ownership of the shelter on East Broadway in Whitney Pier.
Murray’s ruling will allow one side in the dispute to continue operating the shelter while the case moves to the next stage, a full trial.
During Friday’s proceedings, lawyer Dennis James, representing the provincial body, and Robert Sampson, representing the local society, presented their final arguments.
James said members of the local board are in state of denial in telling the court they were unaware of the provincial body’s concerns and were caught off guard by the move to dissolution.
“They were well aware of the concerns of the provincial board and they should not come to this court claiming they didn’t know,” said James, referring to several emails from provincial officials to the local shelter manager and former board chairperson detailing the concerns.
At issue were concerns over animals receiving prompt medical care, customer service concerns and operating within the confines of the newly adopted bylaws.
James said the SPCA has a legislated mandate over animal cruelty matters and maintains control over local branches. When a local branch is dissolved, it loses it corporate status, he said.
He said there is no evidence indicating that the local board ever discussed the approved standards of care or implemented any of the recommendations contained.
James noted what he termed a territorial response by the local board to the issues raised by the provincial board in voting to remove two of its own board members, John MacPhail and Kerri Manuel, who had met with provincial officials to outline their concerns about operations in Cape Breton.
“When you look at their record (local board), they are not the right people to be operating a shelter,” he said, adding while their hearts may have been in the right place, their actions were not.
In response, Sampson accused provincial officials of breaching their own guidelines in failing to give the Cape Breton branch notice of dissolution or even the opportunity to officially address the provincial board.
He said the process employed to dissolve the local branch was flawed and now the provincial body appears in court seeking to have a favourable remedy from that flawed process.
“How can shelter that operated for some 35 years without problems then suddenly fall apart in a few weeks?” he asked.
In appearing to answer the question, Sampson pointed a finger at SPCA executive director Kristin Williams.
“There’s a new sheriff in town and things are going to change,” he said.
Sampson questioned the accuracy of inspection reports filed by provincial officials and the motives behind the two locally dismissed board members and why they never told their colleagues what was coming down the pipe in terms of the shelter’s future.
He said the local board and seven employees were not treated fairly and that the allegations contained in the provincial reports were based largely on hearsay.
“Their hands are not clean,” he said, in reference to provincial officials, adding there appears to be a bias against Cape Breton by the provincial board.

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