A glimpse of the character of former mayor Tom Gosnell



It’s not the big things a person does in life that truly tell his or her character, it’s all the little things that add up to a life of positive impact.

As we remember former London mayor Tom Gosnell, who died Monday, I want to share a behind-the-scenes story at city hall.

One evening three J-school students trotted up to the municipal centre of politics, camera gear in tow.

It had probably been a long enough day for Mayor Gosnell, but he agreed to be interviewed by 3 kids learning the craft.

And as we were learning, we made a costly mistake. It’s a mistake I think every broadcast journalist has made. No sound on the interview.

And it had been a long interview, close to an hour as I recall. He didn’t just give us a few minutes, he allowed us all the time we needed to set up in his office (we were slow and I’d like to say meticulous, but apparently not) and then ask every question we wanted.

The interview went well. It was only after we returned to school and played it back, that we realized we had a lip-synced version only.

We gave Tom a call and packed everything up and back we went. He didn’t flinch when we asked if we could do the interview again. Didn’t say he had something else to do, which I’m sure he did. Just told us to come on back.

I don’t recall if the second interview was as good as the first, but it didn’t matter. This busy politician had given us more time that day then he probably spent with his own family.

He knew that talking to journalism students mattered as much as talking to CFPL-TV (not sure what re-incarnation or name our station was at that particular point in time). Well it mattered to us, anyway, and it’s something I’ve never forgotten.

Thanks Tom and RIP.

Get some help Adrian, you need it

Green Bay Packers v Minnesota Vikings

Some see the NFL’s decision to punish running back Adrian Peterson with a season suspension without pay as too tough.

It’s not. It’s sending the right message.

Peterson hit his four-year-old with a strap to the point the child had cuts and bruises all over his body, including his genitals.

Nice dad.

Peterson had pleaded no contest to misdemeanor assault after the extensive abuse was brought to light. The NFL found that he showed no remorse for his actions.

Hopefully public authorities continue to monitor the situation. Violence against children is totally unacceptable. It disgusts me what he did. If he can do that to his own child, Peterson surely needs counselling.

And what lesson does hitting children teach them? It teachers them that hitting and assault are OK. If your parent does this, kids will model that behaviour.

The message is not getting through to people that hitting innocent children who have no recourse is reprehensible and must be strongly punished. Tougher laws are also needed.

The NFL got this one right.

Accept your fate Adrian and show some contrition, which you haven’t done yet. Spend your time getting some help.

Private Stewart died for his country at 19 in Normandy


This framed photo and certificate from Canada’s Minister of National Defence recognizing Private Stanley George Stewart’s sacrifice caught my eye in Wortley yesterday.

It is in the window at the Westland Gallery.

I decided to find out more about this young lad, who died at 19 in July, 1944.

Canada’s Virtual War Memorial says he was the son of Sydney and Matilda Stewart of Paris, Ont. He served with the Highland Light Infantry of Canada, R.C.I.C. He is buried in France.

I also came across a website that listed his name, Fallen Heroes of Normandy: A Photographic Remembrance.

The website notes a headstone photo from his grave will be added in 2017. It says there is no photo of Stanley. I am going to send them this  photo as it is the same one on the Virtual War Memorial site.

Here is more information about the Fallen Heroes of Normandy  project:

“This project was formally established and launched in 2009 by military historian Carl Shilleto and his wife Irena Zientek. This online archive and website is the result of over ten years of preliminary research work. During this period, time has been spent collating information about the fallen and photographing the Commonwealth, American, Polish, French and German war cemeteries, communal cemeteries, churchyards and isolated graves in Normandy, France.

During his 20 year career as a writer, researcher and battlefield guide, Carl has accompanied and assisted hundreds of families and veterans around the battlefields of Normandy, so that they may pay their respects to their fallen relatives or comrades.

Particularly moved by the faded newspaper clippings and photographs these people often carried in memory to their loved ones or dear friends, Carl considered the possibility that in the next few years, the identity of the people in these images could fade from living memory. If that were to happen, it would be a great loss that would deny future generations the emotive experience of remembering the fallen in visual form.”

This site is worth checking out.

Here’s the link:


Please pause to remember all of our fallen today.

I’ll be thinking about my uncle, Trooper Allen Olimer, who also died in France in 1944. He is seen above.


Answers needed about these “group homes”

Following the death this week of a man who was living in an illegal group home, all eyes are on these facilities that suggest they provide care for those living with mental illness and addictions.

On Thursday, another one of these homes on Clarke Road was shut down.

You can take a look inside this home via a CTV London story below.

I have also written a piece for the CTV London website about a mother who was basically cut off from her son after he left hospital care.

He ended up in a home on York Street that was closed in September. He is now living back at home with his parents.

She questions why Regional Mental Health Care would present these homes as an option to people.

Find out more about their story here: http://london.ctvnews.ca/mother-fighting-for-answers-about-group-homes-1.2090365

What is the solution?

Hard fought right to vote should be exercised today.



As we head to the polls in the municipal election today, let us pause to remember those who have made it possible for all members of our society to vote and for women to hold public office.

Women were given the right to vote in Ontario in 1917. Emily Murphy (Emily Gowan Ferguson) was a female rights activist who became the first female magistrate in the country.

She was also one of the Famous Five, who launched the Persons Case.

The 85th anniversary of the Persons Case was recently recognized. The case looked at allowing women to sit in the Canadian Senate.

The Famous Five were a group of women who asked the Supreme Court to decide if the word “persons” in the BNA act included females.

There were:

Henrietta Muir  m.Edwards  b.  1849   d.  1931   = 80 in 1929
Louise Crummy   m. McKinney b.  1868   d.  1931   = 61

Emily        Ferguson m.    Murphy     b.  1868  d.  1933   = 61

Irene         Maryatt   m.    Parlby        b.  1868   d.  1965   =61
Nellie        Mooney  m.    McClung   b.  1873   d.  1951   =56
The man who led the case for them was from Arva, Newton Wesley Rowell.
All the women are recognized with federal heritage series plaques.
The achievement is recognized in Ottawa in the Senate Lobby with a plaque created by the Business and Professional Clubs, seen here:
Will you be voting today?

Canadians remembered for freeing Dover

Canada has a special place in the hearts of residents of Dover, England.

It’s been 70 years since the shelling of Dover ended during World War II – thanks to Canadians.

On Sept. 30, 1944, the Toronto Star headline read: Dover’s 4-Year Ordeal Ended by Canadians.

Canadian army commander, Lieut.-Gen. Crerar was sent a note of thanks by the people of Dover after the capture of Cap Gris Nez meant the German shelling of the town had ended.

Other towns along the shore joined in the celebrations and thanks.

“In Folkestown, townspeople danced in the streets and also attended a thanksgiving service in the centuries-old parish church,” a newspaper article states.

And earlier this month, on Sept. 14, the Parish Church of St. Mary the Virgin Dover held a commemoration and thanksgiving service on the 70th anniversary of the capturing of the guns.

Here’s a program from this year’s service at Dover, courtesy of a blog reader, which I’m so pleased to be able to show you.



The operation at Cap Gris Nez near Calais was costly.

Lieut-Corp. John Elton Fuller, of Brantford, was killed when his Highland Light Infantry of Canada unit stormed the area.

He helped to silence the big guns that fired on Dover for years.

His body was laid to rest in a military cemetery at St. Englebert.

For more about Fuller, you can visit the Virtual War Memorial  online. Here is the link:


There are plaques which commemorate the Canadian efforts, including one that has armoured plating from one of the German long-range guns used at Calais.

“The 84 rounds recorded formed part of the 2226 shells fired from these batteries at the harbour and town of Dover during the period 1940 to 1944. The gun was captured by Canadian forces in 1944, and it was they who presented the plating,” it reads.

Of course we all remember the war song, The White Cliffs of Dover, and townspeople hid in caves there during the shelling.

Can you imagine the joy of residents there when they realized the shells would no longer fly and they could freely go about their day?

From the same blog reader, comes a copy of a transcript from the diary of Prime Minister William Lyon Mackenzie King from Oct. 1-2, 1944.

It reads: “I went for a walk after waiting to get the morning news at 9. It told of the capture of Calais… Something that filled my heart with joy. It should beget a lasting gratitude of Canada in English hearts and homes for generations to come. I took the little dogs for a walk to the far gate – a beautiful morning, cold & fresh – invigorating.”

Such an important part of Canadian history, yet how many know the story of the Canadians and the capture of the guns?