The brotherhood


Oct.29, 1980 was a beautiful fall day when the Avalon Voyager, built in Clarenville, Newfoundland, in 1948, left the Kincardine harbour around 6 p.m.

The ship had spent the past few years in the Kincardine harbour as a floating restaurant and owner Hank Buitendyk wanted to reach Cape Hurd by day break.

Things went fine until 3:30 a.m. when the old freighter was hit by gale force winds. The lake always seems to turn nasty come November. As I write this, it sounds like we were to get high winds and heavy rain Tuesday from Hurricane Sandy.

The ship was in big trouble by the time it reached Cape Hurd at the tip of the Bruce Peninsula. Hank and his crew of six plus one surprise addition, most of whom still live here, were rescued by a fishing boat. The Avalon Voyager was finished; it would not make Owen Sound where plans called for it to resume its restaurant career.

I looked up the story I wrote at the time – it was an interesting tale.

Just to get the boat out of the Kincardine harbour was a major task – it took the removal of 120 tons of sand from the hold, two tug boats and a bulldozer. (The way the water level is dropping, they would likely be unable to move the boat to the channel today.)

As a result of the story, the federal government presented the fishermen with bravery medals for their daring rescue.


Bad things seem to happen at the end of October.

One year prior to the above date, on Oct. 31, 1979, the CN Station at the harbor went up in flames. And in Tiverton, a lone gunman robbed the Bank of Commerce of $100,000, a princely sum in those days.

Fortunately, Hallowe’en now just seems to be a fun time for children.


Perhaps the political class in this country should be in show business. Second City doesn’t come close to matching the antics of politicians.

For example, media baron Conrad Black is upset that the Order of Canada advisory council is considering taking away his medal.

But why does Conrad want the medal?

Last week it was revealed that a Saskatchewan MP had nominated two women for Queen’s Jubilee Medals who had long criminal records.

The bar gets lower and lower for people eligible to receive medals. Normal people might be leery of accepting one.

Members of the federal government nominating criminals for medals is especially funny since Public Safety Minister Vic Toews is always running around saying he wants more and more people in jail. On the one hand they honour criminals and with the other they throw the book at them.

Toews’ department set up the Canadian Cyber Incident Response Centre in 2005 to work around the clock to fight cyber threats.

Now we hear it’s been open only from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday to Friday.

I guess crooks only work 9-4.

That’s enough - you get the picture.


Secret societies have been with us since the Pythagorean Brotherhood. 2,500 years ago.

The followers of Pythagoras, who discovered that the square of the hypotenuse of a right-angled triangle is equal to the sum of the squares of the other two sides, had to follow a strict code of conduct. According to the book, Let’s Look at Euclid, followers had to go through a five-year probation period and had to follow rules such as: never urinate towards the sun, never marry a woman who wore gold jewellery, never pass an ass lying in the street.

Governments seem to have morphed into secret societies.

Premier Dalton McGuinty sure didn’t think we should know how many hundred millions of dollars he wasted on moving those gas-fired generators.

And Corrections Canada doesn’t want an inquest looking into the death of a troubled teenager while behind bars.

They like to keep secrets.

I wonder what rituals the political parties have? The NDP would like the jewellery rule. The Liberals would never pass an ass in the street and the Tories would never urinate towards the sun.