If We Were Having Coffee Guest Post– April 26/2015


High tea in Government House in Edmonton Alberta.

Paul your Barista

Welcome to Willow’s weekly coffee and tea garden. My name is Paul, I’ll be your barista today and I’m happy to be here once again. Please come in and make yourself comfortable. Willow has plumped the cushions and started a cozy fire so we can warm ourselves while we have a cuppa and chat. As usual, I’d be pleased to bring a pot of whatever beverage you prefer – we have a wide range of teas and coffees to satisfy our world-wide readership. Also available is a large selection of spirits for addition to your cuppa or in its place. We can relax while we    discuss the affairs of the week both personal and/or worldwide. How has your week been?

So, I travel to dialysis three times a week by a handicap bus. Because it is so often and I am on disability, the bus pass is covered under Health and Safety Services (HSS). For this I am grateful. However, dealing with HSS has to be the most frustrating experience I have ever had. Naturally enough, they want yearly confirmation by a doctor that I still qualify for this service, so they send a form to me for the doctor to sign. I received that form late last week and on Monday, while he was doing rounds, I got the dialysis doctor’s signature. So far, so good. Dialysis is very obliging and has some stake in their patients arriving in a timely manner so they offered to fax the form to the appropriate government office. The form says clearly and unambiguously “… fax to Valerie Gauthier at 613-580-4760” in big letters on the top. So, dialysis faxes this form, attaches the confirmation of fax receipt from the receiving fax at the correct number, to the form and returns it to me. Knowing this department is notoriously incompetent (very kind and considerate and easy going and approachable and very seldom, if ever, get anything right the first time around) I decide to follow up to make sure this form has been received.

Would you like a refill? Perhaps a sweet? On Thursday afternoon, I look up the number for Valerie in the city of Ottawa employee directory, and call. Valerie informs me in a very upset tone that I have the wrong person – she no longer does that. Fine, I tell her that her name is on the form – I hesitate to ask what her problem is. So Valerie kindly gets me the number of my worker and explains that all services are coordinated through her – Diane Miron. So I call Diane, identify myself and explain why I am calling. Diane informs me that she doesn’t take care of that and asks who and what number I faxed the form to. So I tell her the name and number on the form. Diane tells me that the person and the number are wrong – and uses a tone that implies I’m stupid. I object that I did precisely what the form asked me to do. Diane says they haven’t gotten around to changing the form yet and checks the computer. She tells me that the computer does not show that the form has been received and asks when I sent it. I tell her (4 days ago) and she says that Julia Hamilton now takes care of this and that she should eventually get the form anyway. So, I thank Diane and look up Julia’s number. She is not in and I leave a message. So far I have used over ½ hour of my time and city workers time fruitlessly because the form had the wrong info on it. And still I have no answer and the city wonders why their workers’ productivity is so low.

City of Ottawa HSS Building

The following day I received a call back from Julia who told me that the form was no where to be found and that I should re-fax it to 613-580-2790. Of course I don’t have a fax at home so I faxed it that night in dialysis. I impressed upon her that the form had a different number on it and she told me that the form had been revised now, which of course was after it had already been sent to all the applicants. So anyone who got the renewal form this month will not get their bus pass unless they followed up with a call and re-fax to a different number. Oh, and by the way, she informed me that there is a number that I should call in future for inquiries and they will relay a message to her- I  shouldn’t call her direct. How do you do dealing with government departments? Do they frustrate you as well? Do tell.

Another cuppa perhaps? Would you like a sweet, they are very tasty and calorie free. On another note, I was reading an article in The Globe and Mail, Canada’s national newspaper and paper of record (a national newspaper that carries official and legal notices by government decree) about a group of 3 young men who disappeared from a Winnipeg university in the mid 2000’s read  here  They communicated that they were going to join Al-Qaeda. One man was American and he showed back up in the US – extradited from Pakistan – charged with providing help to terrorists. He has since been incarcerated. The Canadian families of the remaining young men had some hope that their sons would be found and extradited as well, but that is not the policy. Apparently, in its war on terrorism, the American government has been getting a lot of flak at home about killing American citizens who are affiliated with terrorists overseas. Consequently, when possible, they capture and return Americans to the US where they are charged and imprisoned. That being said, they do not have a similar policy for other foreign nationals including Canadians – they are killed on sight when appropriate, often by drones.

Ahmad Waseem, left, of Windsor, Ont., was wounded in combat in Syria. John Maguire, centre, is a former University of Ottawa business student who was under RCMP investigation after leaving for Syria last year. Hasibullah Yusufzai, right, is a B.C. man charged with terrorism in July.

So, it occurs to me that the US government is seeing negative backlash at home when it kills Americans overseas – how do they think everyone else feels when other nationalities are killed by Americans in other countries? And their backlash is coming on proven American terrorists, how do they think others feel when innocent people are killed in American raids and activities? The Americans call this “collateral damage” – I call it generating more terrorists and people worldwide who hate America’s foreign policy, military, and government (note the Oxford comma after “military” – a tribute to Doobster’s punctuation lessons.) What do you think? Does anyone (regardless of nationality) who engages in terrorism or collaborates with terrorists deserve to die overseas even if they have not personally harmed anyone? (For example the terrorists’ bakers and confectioners are considered collaborators and are killed on sight.) And what about the innocents who are killed – those whose only crime was to be in the wrong place at the wrong time?

On that note, that’s about all we have room for this week, so it’s time to settle in with another cuppa and watch the fire. Sweets anyone? Please join me in thanking Willow for her invitation to tea. We are all honored that you dropped by today to visit. I hope you’ve enjoyed yourself and the conversation and please look around at Willow’s other posts while you’re here. Willow is over there serving her guests and chatting it up. Let’s go see how she is today. Have a great week. We look forward to seeing you back here for sweets and beverages of your choice again next week.

And of course  the


over at Part Time  Monster  and Gene’O’s

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