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  1. #1
    Forum Member RspctFrmCalgary's Avatar
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    Default Canada Bungles Response to Blackout / Chretien nowhere in sight WANNA RANT

    Federal response to blackout included phone system crash, faulty information

    LOUISE ELLIOTT

    OTTAWA (CP) - The telephone system at the heart of the federal response centre designed to protect Canadians from terrorism and other emergencies crashed during Thursday's massive power failure, officials acknowledged Friday.

    Experts widely condemned the communication problem as just one flaw in a generally weak federal response to the crisis, with potentially disastrous implications for national security.

    Some also took aim at political leaders, starting with Prime Minister Jean Chretien, who remained out of the public eye Friday, although his office issued a statement on his behalf.

    Phones went down in the Office of Critical Infrastructure Protection and Emergency Preparedness shortly after the blackout began Thursday afternoon because of an overburdened Ottawa city phone system, officials said.

    "Many individuals (in Ottawa) were trying to make contact with personal friends and neighbours," said Jo-Ann Schwartz, director of public affairs for the office.

    She also blamed "flickering hydro" for the problem.

    Brian Hay, executive vice-president of Crisis Management Specialists, said a telephone breakdown at the country's central communications centre is a sign the system failed.

    "On a confidence-inspiring index of one to 10, that certainly doesn't rate a 10," he said, noting that the Department of National Defence has its own proprietary lines, which do not depend on electricity.

    Hay also noted the office, located in office buildings away from Defence headquarters, does not have an internal pressure system to keep air out in the event of a bioterrorism attack, and he called its security "questionable."

    Another security expert asked why the prime minister wasn't visible at a time when American leaders were making frequent appearances.

    "Here we've got over a third of the population, the country's economic heartland, paralysed," said John Thompson, president of the Mackenzie Institute, a security and terrorism research body.

    "This is the kind of thing you'd think our prime minister would be taking at the very least a leading position on right now."

    Chretien spoke with U.S. President George W. Bush for 10 minutes late Friday, and the two agreed to form a joint U.S.-Canadian task force that will start work immediately to find the cause of the problem and prevent its recurrence.

    Bush expressed a need to "modernize the system," said PMO spokesman Jim Munson. Chretien agreed and praised the "community spirit" evident in both countries in coping with the crisis.

    "It was a very positive tone between two leaders who want to get things done," Munson said.

    He added that Chretien has also been in close contact with his cabinet ministers, Ontario and U.S. officials from his home in Lac-des-Piles, Que. Ontario Premier Ernie Eves and New York Gov. George Pataki were among those he consulted.

    Defence Minister John McCallum said the problems at the emergency response centre will be reviewed.

    "These things will be studied exhaustively, but not today," he said. "Right now, the focus has to be on getting electricity running."

    Thompson said the massive outage, which left some 50 million people in Ontario and the northeastern U.S. in the dark Thursday and Friday, revealed the vulnerability of Canada's grid to attack.

    "Power grids are very easy to sabotage if you stage a mass attack and hit a number of targets - it's very easy to do. Power lines are very hard to guard."

    McCallum acknowledged that tampering by individuals had not necessarily been ruled out.

    He also played down concerns about incorrect information he had provided Thursday night. He said he was unsure who had told his office that the problem originated in a fire at a Pennsylvania nuclear plant - a statement that briefly sparked concern about another disaster on the scale of Three Mile Island or Chernobyl.

    He said he passed on the faulty information in his haste to assure Canadians that the outage was not thought to be terrorist-related.

    On Thursday, the Prime Minister's Office first said the outage had been caused by a lightning strike in Niagara, N.Y., which later proved false.

    McCallum said providing information in times of confusion is "always a balance" between waiting until information is confirmed and informing the public of developments.

    But Brian MacDonald, a military and strategic analyst in Toronto, said relaying inaccurate information in an emergency situation can be dangerous.

    "If you have to reverse yourself, it doesn't do your own credibility very much good," he said. "It then raises the question as to the credibility of any other statements."

    Canadian Alliance Leader Stephen Harper said the incident was fraught with problems.

    "By the time this passes, we'll look back and think the response was inadequate," he said. "Not just in terms of media visibility - but it was substantively inadequate and that there are serious problems."

    NDP Leader Jack Layton berated McCallum for "sounding like he didn't know what was going on" and called for his resignation from the emergency preparedness file.

    McCallum said he'd spoken with Ontario officials and with the deputy chief of defence staff, Vice-Admiral Greg Maddison.

    He said the military has been asked to supply drinking water and some 21 electrical generators to Ontario.

    McCallum also said Deputy Prime Minister John Manley spoke Thursday with U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge, and the two agreed to conduct a joint review of the incident.

    Hay called for more thorough planning, including establishing shutoff points in the hydro grid to prevent the rapid triggering of a blackout.

    "The problem is the system is designed to be too fast - there is no way of limiting things quickly," he said. "We need to redesign the system to stop the flow before the cascade (reaches us)."

    He also called for disaster simulations - which would have helped the emergency centre determine problems with its phone line - and better planning and funding at the provincial and federal levels.

    "Surely to goodness we could spend on a planned basis, $100 million over five years to put in an integrated emergency response system for Canada which is strung out over 6,000 kilometres."

    The Canadian Press, 2003

    08/15/2003 19:19 EST

    Canada Struggles With Blackout Aftermath

    By BREE FOWLER
    .c The Associated Press

    TORONTO (AP) - Canadians lined up at gas stations, grocery stores and train stations and a national fair was put on hold as people struggled with the aftermath of the biggest power outage in North American history.

    Utility officials in southern Ontario said they were back to more than two-thirds of normal capacity by Friday night, with 75 percent of Toronto's power restored.

    The cause of the blackout, which darkened parts of eight states and much of southern Ontario in Canada, was still unknown. Canada and the United States formed a joint task force Friday to figure out what went wrong and how to prevent it from happening again.

    Air Canada, the nation's dominant carrier, had canceled all flights out of Toronto's international airport - its hub - until Friday afternoon because of a lack of emergency power in its operations center.

    ``The situation is still somewhat fragile,'' airline spokeswoman Laura Cooke said of the problem at Canada's biggest airport. ``The operation system is here in Toronto but it affects flights across the system.''

    At Toronto's main train station, long lines of people waited to buy tickets after the blackout delayed service Thursday night.

    Sarah O'Reilly's train from Toronto to Montreal was more than 90 minutes behind schedule, forcing her to wait with her friends in the hot and muggy Union Station terminal.

    ``We're really very unhappy right now,'' said the Irish-born woman. ``It's hot and it's sticky and we haven't been told why our train has been delayed. But we expected some kind of delays today and that's why I'm not too upset.''

    Ontario Premier Ernie Eves had declared a state of emergency in Ontario, Canada's most populous province. The blackout hit the southern part of Ontario, where most of its 10 million residents live.

    Police made 38 arrests overnight and reported 114 cases of looting, theft and other crime linked to the blackout, Constable Mike Hayles said in Toronto. The city fire department received more than 1,400 calls, with five substantial fires reported.

    Ottawa police reported two deaths possibly attributed to the outage - a pedestrian hit by a car and a fire victim.

    Still, Canadian cities appeared to handle the sudden disruption with relative calm, much like New York and other affected U.S. cities.

    Ontario Hydro official Al Manchee said the utility would use rolling blackouts to prevent surges as power is restored, while Eves said factories and businesses that use lots of electricity were asked to remain closed Friday to ease the demand.

    Provincial officials also urged people to use as little electricity as possible, citing air conditioners and dishwashers as notorious energy burners.

    08/16/03 11:53 EDT

    Canada Bungles Response to Blackout

    BY WILSON RING
    .c The Associated Press

    OTTAWA (AP) - No power in crucial government offices. Conflicting, erroneous statements by top officials. Telephone information lines crashing.

    It wasn't a promising performance for a national emergency system weathering its first major test since the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

    How bad was it? Aides to Prime Minister Jean Chretien wrote an initial statement by hand, using candlelight to see what they were doing, because his Ottawa office didn't have an emergency generator.

    It didn't matter to Chretien because he was vacationing in Quebec, which didn't lose power. Unlike President Bush, who went on television to reassure the public, Chretien communicated through statements distributed by his office until making brief comments to reporters Saturday morning.

    Chretien and Bush spoke by phone for 10 minutes Friday and announced a joint task force to examine what caused the blackout that affected 50 million people in both countries. It will also look at how to prevent another.

    The emergency preparedness system was created in February 2001 to help Canada prepare for disasters, whether a terrorist attack, natural disaster or blackout like the one Thursday. That raised questions about how much Canada has learned, and how it could have responded better.

    ``By the time this passes, we'll look back and think the response was inadequate,'' said Stephen Harper, leader of the opposition Canadian Alliance. ``Not just in terms of media visibility - but it was substantively inadequate and that there are serious problems.''

    Among the problems, telephones for the emergency preparedness system, a focus of government attention after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks south of the border, didn't work.

    Jo-Ann Schwartz, a spokeswoman for Office of Critical Infrastructure Protection and Emergency Preparedness, said phone lines for the news media to call for information went out. She said communications remained intact for vital officials in the operation, though Defense Minister John McCallum and others were unable to provide details or even accurate information through Thursday night.

    ``The question of the origin of the problem in the first place, and whether or not all of the governments and their agencies responded as well as they might have - those things will be studied exhaustively, but not today,'' McCallum said Friday.

    McCallum, the minister responsible for Canadian civil defense and disaster response, provided ultimately incorrect explanations Thursday night about the cause of the blackout, contributing to finger-pointing between U.S. and Canadian officials.

    Responding to claims by New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Gov. George Pataki that the problem started in Canada, a Chretien spokesman and the military at first said a lightning strike at a New York power plant was responsible.

    They later changed their story, with McCallum dropping jaws by blaming a fire at a Pennsylvania nuclear plant. He backed off that within minutes, changing it to an outage instead of a fire, and tried to avoid the matter entirely at Friday's news conference.

    ``The cause of the problem is not a question for today. Once the power is back on, then we'll have a detailed analysis,'' McCallum said.

    He blamed the erroneous statements on the overall confusion, but said the information came from unspecified U.S. sources.

    Chretien, in his first public comments on Saturday, praised Canadians for handling the crisis calmly and took an overall tolerant posture.

    ``You can't blame anyone,'' he said. ``It happened.''

    By Saturday, the power was back on in most of Ontario, though officials warned it could take days for life to return to normal.

    ``It is not going to be an abundance of power on Monday morning,'' Ontario Premier Ernie Eves told a news conference.

    The province was supplying 17,000 megawatts on Saturday, short of the 23,000 megawatts required for a normal business day in the summer. Eves has asked major industrial users to remain closed since Thursday's blackout to ease the demand.

    In Toronto, it was unclear if subway service would be restored in time for the new work week starting Monday.

    Flights resumed on regular schedules at Toronto's Pearson International Airport, diminishing the long lines that began with the blackout Thursday, said Peter Gregg, spokesman for the Greater Toronto Airports Authority.

    Police in Toronto and Ottawa, the capital, reported no unusual crime on Friday night due to the blackout.

    Water advisories have been issued for 51 communities in southwestern Ontario due to water treatment and pumping facilities affected by the blackout, said Dr. Colin D'Cunha, the province's commissioner of public health. People were urged to use bottled water or boil their tap water.

    08/16/03 15:51 EDT

    Warning Rant On:

    ISN'T IT NICE THAT CHRETIEN SITS IN HIS PRECIOUS QUEBEC VACATION HOME FOR THREE DAYS WITHOUT ADDRESSING OUR COUNTRY!!!! HE IS SUCH A BLANKETY BLANK BLANK BLANK sigh If I didn't care about getting the boot I'd tell you all what I really think of this SORRY PIECE OF CRAP we are stuck with as our Prime Minister. BAD ENOUGH he didn't respond appropriately after September 11th, then NOT back the war in Iraq, then NOT deal with the MAD COW crisis, then NOT deal with the horrific forest fires in Western Canada etc etc etc. Just another black mark against him in a WHOLE FREAKING tome of black marks

    Rant Off

    Very sorry for the long post.
    September 11th - Never Forget

    I respect firefighters and emergency workers worldwide. Thank you for what you do.

    Sheri
    IACOJ CRUSTY CONVENTION CHAIR
    Honorary Flatlander

    RAY WAS HERE FIRST


  2. #2
    Forum Member RspctFrmCalgary's Avatar
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    Toronto mayor wants city spared from rolling blackouts at expense of others

    STEPHANIE LEVITZ

    TORONTO (CP) - Saying Toronto is the economic engine of Canada, Mayor Mel Lastman insisted Saturday the city and its nearly five million residents should be exempt from the rolling blackouts hitting the rest of the province.

    Lastman said Toronto should be spared, even though he understood others in the province would have to do without power longer as a result. Lastman sought a guarantee from Ontario Premier Ernie Eves that Toronto would be fully powered through the weekend and into Monday, as the city prepared to resume the work week in an effort to keep the already battered economy going.

    "I am determined, we are determined, to make sure that the subways are operating Monday morning," Lastman told a news conference on Saturday, two days after a massive blackout wiped out power in Ontario and the eastern seaboard.

    "Our transit system carries one million people a day, we have got to have it working."

    But Eves said Saturday that there are some things he just can't do.

    "We supply the appropriate amount of power to Toronto Hydro and they decide what to do with it," he said.

    About 95 per cent of Toronto had power Saturday as did most other towns and cities in Ontario, although Eves said things were "certainly not back to normal," and urged conservation.

    A system of power-sharing - through rolling blackouts - was to be in place throughout the weekend to ensure customers had access to at least some power. The blackouts came no more than two hours at a time over 12-hour periods. They came without warning to pockets of residents all over the province.

    But Lastman said Toronto should be spared and that businesses in other parts of the province should understand.

    "They are going to suffer if Toronto isn't working," he argued.

    "They are going to suffer because Toronto is the engine that drives the whole province, the whole country in fact."

    Peter Duva, a spokesman for Toronto Hydro, said providing full power to Toronto would come at the expense of other communities since there is only so much power to go around.

    "If there is a shortage between capacity and demand, there is only so much (electricity) and it will depend on where it is directed," said Duva.

    Lastman's plan to save Toronto did not sit well with officials outside the city.

    Sarnia Mayor Mike Bradley said he could not believe Lastman would make such a demand.

    "That's one of the most self-centred comments I've ever heard but he's probably the only person in Toronto that believes that could be possible."

    Bradley pointed out that the plants in Sarnia used to refine gasoline have been down since Thursday afternoon, despite the high demand for their product.

    "We aren't asking for special treatment even though it is costing millions of dollars a day," said Bradley. "We are letting the power system come up as needed."

    Saying that Toronto should extend to the rest of the province the same generosity of spirit that was extended towards the city during the SARS outbreak, Bradley said cities in the province should work together and not compete.

    "We are in this together, we share the pain and we share the experience. People who are powering up the system should do it where it is needed."

    George Mychailenko, CEO of Brantford Power, expressed surprise that Toronto wanted to take over the province's power supply.

    "I am sure that would be a bit of problem with many communities," he said. "Toronto being the central hub of Ontario it tends to share along with all the other communities and all the communities are participating in the troubles of the province."

    The Canadian Press, 2003

    08/16/2003 16:06 EST

    Ontario residents urged to conserve as U.S. admits blackout started in Ohio

    MIKE OLIVEIRA

    TORONTO (CP) - Ontario residents were urged Saturday not to consume power the way they normally would for weekend activities, while officials worked to fully restore electricity before Monday and the resumption of the work week.

    While most places in the province of 10 million had power Saturday, residents were told to turn off their air conditioners and television sets and wait a while longer before cutting the lawn or watering their plants. For those with power, ignoring the call to conserve would mean depriving others who might need electricity more.

    "We don't have an abundance of power," Ontario Premier Ernie Eves told a Saturday morning news conference. "The usage went up (more than 10 per cent) in the last hour and a half alone. We're still within (our) capacity but (there is) not a lot more to go."

    Millions of people were left without power when the worst blackout in North American history struck most of Ontario and the eastern seaboard Thursday afternoon, including New York, Cleveland and Detroit.

    In all, about 50 million people in the two countries were affected, and more than 100 power plants were shut down.

    On Saturday afternoon, the leading U.S. investigator into the disaster said the failure of three transmission lines in northern Ohio was the likely trigger of the power blackout.

    Experts are working to understand why the disruption spread throughout the Northeast and Midwest and into Canada, and was not contained.

    "We are fairly certain" that the problem started in Ohio, said Michehl Gent, head of the North American Electric Reliability Council. "We are now trying to determine why the situation was not brought under control."

    Earlier Saturday, Prime Minister Jean Chretien made his first public comments on the blackout, emerging in his Shawinigan riding almost 48 hours after Ontario went dark to say that no one was to blame.

    "You can't blame anyone. It happened," the prime minister said.

    Saying he had engaged in "a long conversation" with U.S. President George W. Bush about handling the problem, Chretien added that he was encouraged by how people banded together in a bad situation.

    "Fifty million people have been involved in this problem, and what is great is the people have kept their calm and accepted the fate very graciously," he said.

    Temporary blackouts rolled across Ontario on Saturday, leaving sections of the province's towns and cities without power again for periods of up to two hours.

    And the rolling blackouts would continue into next week, the province's energy minister warned, unless people agreed to switch off their electrical appliances now.

    "We're encouraging people to use as little electricity as possible," said John Baird. "What we are trying to avoid is any further power disruptions on Saturday. We can do that if we can conserve, but we are very close to meeting the electricity power demand for today and tomorrow."

    Toronto Mayor Mel Lastman said Toronto should be spared from the rolling blackouts, because it is the "engine that drives the whole province, the whole country in fact." Lastman wants the city, already battered economically by a deadly outbreak of SARS, to be operating at full capacity by Monday and says power will be needed to deliver workers to their jobs.

    Eves said preventing any more blackouts in Toronto was not an option. Each town and city is allotted a specific amount of power and it is up to them how to use it, he said.

    "There are some things you just can't do," said Eves.

    "We supply the appropriate amount of power to Toronto Hydro and they decide what to do with it."

    Ottawa Mayor Bob Chiarelli said he was considering asking people to stay home from work on Monday as well and would issue a statement Sunday.

    Earlier in the day, Eves said he's been frustrated by the irresponsible use of energy by some businesses during the power crisis and urged everyone to think twice about what they keep on.

    "It is very aggravating - and if it's aggravating to me, I'm sure it's aggravating to everybody out there - to go by a lit up billboard when there are some people that still don't have the necessary power to do the very basic and essential things that we all enjoy as human beings and need," Eves said.

    "So I encourage industry and commercial and office facilities not to use power you don't need to use. This is going to benefit everyone," he said.

    Although Toronto's underground subway system was not expected to be running again until Monday, air travel at Pearson International Airport began to return to normal Saturday afternoon and commuter trains were operating as normal in and out of the city.

    "I'm at Pearson right now we have very, very long lineups and we're trying to process people as fast as we can to keep the flight schedule on time," said Laura Cooke, spokesman for Air Canada, which had been forced to cancel many flights since the blackout began.

    Eves said Monday morning is a critical challenge that looms ahead, as presumably most businesses will try to open and citizens are expecting to get back to work after an unexpected day off on Friday.

    Some amusement parks remained closed over the weekend, citing the danger to the public presented by the possibility of rotating blackouts.

    Ontario Place, the Canadian National Exhibition and Black Creek Pioneer Village were all closed Saturday and were expected to remain that way Sunday, as parents looked for ways to beat temperatures that pushed above 30C.

    Most tourist attractions and businesses, still suffering from enormous financial losses following Toronto's deadly outbreak of SARS, hoped to open their doors again Monday.

    Baird said the energy system will be stretched to its limits as the work week begins.

    "On Monday, when the auto plants and large business and industry begin to operate it does cause a huge problem," he said.

    "We are going to look at the situation today and tomorrow morning and talk and consult with industry leaders in the province and be able to be able to make some decisions in short order about what Monday and Tuesday and Wednesday are going to look like."

    The Canadian Press, 2003

    08/16/2003 17:30 EST
    September 11th - Never Forget

    I respect firefighters and emergency workers worldwide. Thank you for what you do.

    Sheri
    IACOJ CRUSTY CONVENTION CHAIR
    Honorary Flatlander

    RAY WAS HERE FIRST

  3. #3
    MembersZone Subscriber mcaldwell's Avatar
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    I'm guessing you're not a liberal then are you Sheri?

    The response and results don't particularly suprise me, we all know that we underfund our military/emergency response/etc... but at least on the upside, there will finally be some money spent on fixing the system.

    The one thing I don't really care about however, is Cretien's late Televised reaction. There is no point rushing to the TV studio, when no-one has any power to watch the TV anyway. They were all getting their info from radios.

    As for the rest of us in the west. Do we realy care about Ontario anymore? I don't need the Simpsons interupted to tell me that Ontario is still living in the dark.
    Never argue with an Idiot. They drag you down to their level, and then beat you with experience!

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    some of us were much more lucky than others, niagara haldimand norfolk and places along that corridor that were smaller centres either had minor power outages or didn't go out at all, makes me think that the more isolated you are in terms of powere the better off you were that day, i dont expect anything from this goverment to fix this problem aside from some reviews as they call them since they are out of power soon anyway. i think its funny also that the canadian and american gov't's first scapegoats were each other. my god...the biggest outage ever (i think) and they cant just fix the problem? nope, blame the other guy! shouuld leave it up to emergency services and hydro and keep politics out!

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    Sr. Information Officer NJFFSA16's Avatar
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    Post And here in the states.....

    NEW YORK (AP) - The blackout disrupted emergency dispatch
    systems in two major cities, leaving 911 operators in Detroit
    hand-writing notes to distribute to police officers on the streets
    and cutting communications between New York dispatchers and
    personnel for spans as long as 14 minutes, officials have
    acknowledged.
    The three extended New York disruptions - of 14, 11 and 7
    minutes - did not affect incoming 911 calls from the public, but
    they cut off normal communication between dispatchers and emergency
    personnel on the street, said fire department spokesman Mike
    Loughran.
    Loughran said the fire department, which dispatches emergency
    services, has a backup system that could relay calls directly over
    hand-held radios if necessary.
    Residents in Detroit could also make emergency 911 calls during
    the two-hour computer failure, but the computer-assisted dispatch
    system normally used by operators to record the calls and dispatch
    the appropriate responders was down, said Jamaine Dickens, a
    spokesman for Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick.
    The Detroit operators were left to write out the details of the
    calls on paper and distribute the information by hand to police,
    fire and emergency medical service dispatchers, but there appeared
    to be little impact on the response, Dickens said.
    "There wasn't a delay at all because we had so many resources
    on the street and we were able to communicate with them and they
    could respond immediately," he said.
    The problems in New York weren't critical, and city officials
    said no 911 calls were completely lost, but the city will
    investigate, Bloomberg said Sunday.
    But "any delay, any outage is unacceptable with a system like
    911," Bloomberg said. "We've got to make sure that doesn't happen
    again."
    The New York disruptions were caused by the failure of a backup
    diesel generator at the Verizon Communications office that supplies
    power to the city's 911 headquarters, company spokesman John Bonomo
    said.
    The police department also experienced some limited problems
    with its hand-held radios in the early hours of the blackout when
    batteries for repeaters, which boost the signal between radios, ran
    down sooner than expected, a city official told The Associated
    Press on condition of anonymity.
    On Sunday, nine police precincts still had problems connecting
    to the department's main computer system, stemming from disruptions
    with cable modem connections.
    Emergency workers elsewhere in the blackout zone also reported
    minor equipment problems, particularly with computers in vehicles,
    cell phones and lag time between the power loss and emergency
    generators kicking in.
    In Ottawa, Canada, some police officers said they had trouble
    communicating with their dispatchers through cell phones and
    on-board computers and were forced to use pay phones, the Ottawa
    Citizen reported.
    In Bridgeport, Conn., a patrol officer said one of the police
    department's buildings was down for a short time before its
    generator kicked in. However, governor's spokesman John Wiltse said
    state commissioners reported no problems with any of the "public
    service answering points."
    In New Jersey, the police radio room in Paterson lost power
    temporarily, forcing the department to switch to a backup,
    low-intensity frequency to dispatch officers, The Bergen Record
    reported.
    Overall, though, New Jersey State Police Sgt. Kevin Rehmann
    said, the outage appeared to have little impact on emergency
    responses.
    "All State Police stations - and I would suspect it's the case
    for most others - have backup generators to protect their radios
    and other communication systems," Rehmann said. "All in all, I
    think everything worked well ... other than the inconvenience."

    (Copyright 2003 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)
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    *Gathering Crust Since 1968*
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    Forum Member Smoke20286's Avatar
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    Powergrids on both sides of the border are very vunerable, Just what would Chretien have done anyhow (I have yet to see a politician that was anything but in the way at moments of emergency) Whats the latest on the blame game? Last I heard they had narrowed the original problem down to a plant outside Cleveland, Ohio.
    A'int No Rocket Scientist's in The Firehall

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    Default Chretien

    Sheri,
    I'm surprised that you're surprised by Chretien's indifference. The most memorable comment I've read about him went something like this "Jean Chretien doesn't care, and he doesn't care if you know that he doesn't care" Thankfully, Chretien and Mel Lastman, Toronto's Clown of a Mayor, will soon be gone, and we will have to start cleaning up the mess they made.

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    Hey Ralph, you may have a clown for a mayor, but ours is the clown prince
    A'int No Rocket Scientist's in The Firehall

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    I wouldn't put a whole lot of stock in this. World Tribune is not exactly the AP.

    ______________________________ ______________________________

    Al Qaida claims responsibility for blackout

    SPECIAL TO WORLD TRIBUNE.COM
    Monday, August 18, 2003
    Al Qaida's Abu Hafs Brigades has claimed responsibility for the blackout last week in the Northeast and Midwest United States. A communiqué by the Abu Hafs Brigades made reference to Operation Quick Lightning in the Land of the Tyrant of this Generation."

    It was published as "the third communiqué by the "Brigades."

    In the first, they accepted responsibility for the downing of an airplane in Kenya. The second accepted responsibility for the Jakarta bombing of the Marriott hotel on August 5, 2003.

    The new communiqué says that in compliance with the orders of Osama bin Laden to strike at the American economy, the Brigades struck two important electricity supply targets on the East coast, according to the Middle East Media Research Institute. The Brigades say that they cannot reveal how they did it, because they will probably have to use the same method again soon. The communiqué also claimed that the operation was meant as a present for the Iraqi people.

    The following are excerpts from a report by the London-based Arabic daily Al-Hayat about the communiqué: [1]

    The Blackout was 'a Realization of Bin Laden's promise to offer the Iraqi people a present'
    "A communiqué attributed to Al Qaeda claimed responsibility for the power blackout that happened in the U.S. last Thursday, saying that the brigades of Abu Fahes Al Masri had hit two main power plants supplying the East of the U.S., as well as major industrial cities in the U.S. and Canada, 'its ally in the war against Islam (New York and Toronto) and their neighbors.'
    "The communiqué assured that the operation 'was carried out on the orders of Osama bin Laden to hit the pillars of the U.S. economy,' as 'a realization of bin Laden's promise to offer the Iraqi people a present.'

    'The Americans lived a black day they will never forget'
    "The statement, which Al-Hayat obtained from the website of the International Islamic Media Center, didn't specify the way the alleged sabotage was carried out. The communiqué read: 'let the criminal Bush and his gang know that the punishment is the result of the action, the soldiers of God cut the power on these cities, they darkened the lives of the Americans as these criminals blackened the lives of the Muslim people in Iraq, Afghanistan and Palestine. The Americans lived a black day they will never forget. They lived a day of terror and fear… a state of chaos and confusion where looting and pillaging rampaged the cities, just like the capital of the caliphate Baghdad, and Afghanistan and Palestine were. Let the American people take a sip from the same glass.'

    'The U.S. will not live in peace until our conditions are met'
    "It added: 'we heard amazing statements made by the American and Canadian enemies which have nuclear physics universities and space agencies, that lightning hit and destroyed the two plants. And we are supposed to believe this nonsense. If the blackout occurred in one or two cities, their lie would have been credible. But the fact is that the blackout hit the entire East and part of Canada.'
    "The communiqué continued: 'one of the benefits of this strike is that the U.S. will not live in peace until our conditions are met, such as releasing all the detainees including Sheikh Omar Abdulrahman, and getting out of the land of the Muslims, including Jerusalem and Kashmir.'

    "The authors of the communiqué said that the strikes aimed at 'hitting the major pillar of the U.S. economy (the Stock Exchange)… [and] the UN, which is opposed to Islam, and is based in New York. It is a message to all the investors that the U.S. is no longer a safe country for their money, knowing that the U.S. economy greatly relies on the trust of the investor…'

    'The gift of Sheikh Osama Bin Laden is on its way to the White House'
    "The communiqué mentioned that some economists said the blackout in the U.S. and Canada would cost the U.S. Treasury no less than ten billion U.S. dollars and in order to 'break the hearts of U.S. officials, just know that the cost paid by the Moujahideen to sabotage the power plants was a mere seven thousand dollars. Die of sorrow!'
    "The communiqué ended with: 'we tell the Muslims that this is not the awaited strike, but it is called the war of skirmishes (to drain the enemy), and that the American snakes are enormous and need to be consumed and weakened to be destroyed. We tell the people of Afghanistan and Kashmir that the gift of Sheikh Osama bin Laden is on its way to the White House; then the gift of Al Aqsa, and do we know what is the gift of Al Aqsa, where and when? The answer is what you are seeing!'

    [1] Published in English on Dar Al-Hayat website, August 18, 2003,

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    Eves said preventing any more blackouts in Toronto was not an option. Each town and city is allotted a specific amount of power and it is up to them how to use it, he said.
    Kind of says it all, doesn't it?


    The Americans lived a black day they will never forget. They lived a day of terror and fear… a state of chaos and confusion where looting and pillaging rampaged the cities, just like the capital of the caliphate Baghdad, and Afghanistan and Palestine were. Let the American people take a sip from the same glass.'

    I see the former Iraqi Information Minister has found new employment.... :

  11. #11
    55 Years & Still Rolling hwoods's Avatar
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    Thumbs down Time for a change...........

    Time to throw out the idiots??? Sure is. But, it's also time to change the very foundation of government as well. Scrap the Prime Minister and all those things that go with the European style government and establish something similar to the U.S. Here, we may not be perfect, but we have some control over the mutts, like knowing exactly when the next 20 elections will be held. I am amazed that, in this day and age, that people put up with the stuff that Canada seems to have to endure, solely because of a type of government that was outmoded many years ago. Dump the idiots, dump the system that feeds them. Stay Safe....
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    Default Re: Time for a change...........

    Originally posted by hwoods
    Time to throw out the idiots??? Sure is. But, it's also time to change the very foundation of government as well. Scrap the Prime Minister and all those things that go with the European style government and establish something similar to the U.S. Here, we may not be perfect, but we have some control over the mutts, like knowing exactly when the next 20 elections will be held. I am amazed that, in this day and age, that people put up with the stuff that Canada seems to have to endure, solely because of a type of government that was outmoded many years ago. Dump the idiots, dump the system that feeds them. Stay Safe....
    Easier said than done. In order to change our system of government those in charge must buy into the change and buying into the change may put them being in charge in jeopardy. To put it in a not so simple way, Ontario would have to be relieved some of their power but in order to do that Ontario would have to agree and they're not apt to do that.

    The purpose of a Canadian Member of Parliament is only to get re-eleted and for an Ontario MP to suggest moving the balance of power to the regions is political suicide. The Prime Minister holds the Country at his mercy, knowing that as long as one province, Ontario votes for his party then the rest of the Country can go to hell and he remains untouchable. The regions can't spur change it can only happen in the heart and until voters in Ontario are willing to give up some of their power we are stuck with the Shawinigan Madman.

    Another subject is Chretiens total indifference in regard to the fires in the west. He is far more interested in hosting French President Chirac than he is in dealing with domestic issues. If he was musical you could say "Chretien fiddles while BC burns".

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    Forum Member RspctFrmCalgary's Avatar
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    I guess I wasn't really shocked, just needed to vent.

    Now he plays with us, oh I might quit sooner .... YEAH RIGHT, ONLY IN OUR WILDEST DREAMS!

    National Acadian Day gets more attention from Chretien than the fact that BC is burning.

    Maybe he's secretly hoping BC and Alberta will burn up and he'll be rid of us once and for all.
    September 11th - Never Forget

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    Maybe we need to stop electing our Prime Ministers from Quebec they might be a little more interested in representing ALL of the Country.

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    Forum Member RspctFrmCalgary's Avatar
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    BINGO!!!
    September 11th - Never Forget

    I respect firefighters and emergency workers worldwide. Thank you for what you do.

    Sheri
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    Originally posted by LadyCapn
    Maybe we need to stop electing our Prime Ministers from Quebec they might be a little more interested in representing ALL of the Country.
    We're doing our part here in the dark side (west) now it's up to you to convince all of your firends in "upper" Canada. If you vote liberal you are not part of the problem, you are the problem. Be part of the solution.

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    Forum Member Lewiston2FF's Avatar
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    Just to lighten the mood a little.

    A French Canadian and a Guy from Ontario were walking along the Lake Ontario beach arguing about politics when one of them stumbled over an object in the sand. When they picked it up and cleaned it up to see what it was a Genie came out.
    The Genie said to the two, "Since you have rescued me I will grant you each one wish".
    The French Canadian decided he would go first and said, " I wish for a 300 foot high wall to be built around the province of Quebec to that we can finally be separated from Canada".
    And with that the Genie said done, and so it was.

    When it was the guy from Ontario's turn the genie asked him what he wanted, and he thought about it for a little while, and finally he looked up and said, "Fill it with water".

    Shawn M. Cecula
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    IACOJ Division of Fire and EMS

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    MembersZone Subscriber mcaldwell's Avatar
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    Default Re: Time for a change...........

    Originally posted by hwoods
    Scrap the Prime Minister and all those things that go with the European style government and establish something similar to the U.S. Here, we may not be perfect, but we have some control over the mutts, like knowing exactly when the next 20 elections will be held.
    Even if they are considered a farce by the rest of the world? (Just kidding... sort of.)

    We Canadians like to bitch about our politicians just like everybody else, but at the end of the day, we are still relativaley proud of our system. We like to poke fun at you yanks for your "two party" system that basically puts a new poster child on the same old approach to special interest govt for the rich, and we sure love to brag that our last federal election was done and counted in less than 14 hours. And if you ask any Canadian on the street what his most valued Canadian legacy is, he'll usually say free Health Care.

    At the end of the day, any of our Western "Democratic" systems can still be compared to a rickety old car barely hobbling it's way down the road, but we Canadians are still happier living with our duct taped "socialist" government agenda and putting up with Quebec, than any other system out there.
    Never argue with an Idiot. They drag you down to their level, and then beat you with experience!

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    FREE HEALTH CARE?????

    I don't know what you're smoking out there in lotus land but one of the biggest problems is idiots thinking our health care is free and free to abuse. We pay through the nose for medicare that's why we are one of the highest taxed countries in the world. Even Piere Trudeau stated in his memoirs that "the great cost of medicare, is the dismantling of the Canadian armed forces." What do you think paid for your "free" health care in the first place. I have read that if you took the money that your tax dollars pay for your "free" health care and placed it into a private health care plan, you would not only get a higher standard of health care but it would also be comprehensive and include dental care and pharma care.

    You're right our election was over in less than 14 hours, in fact it was over long before you voted and Ontario put our delusional Prime Minister back in power with just 46% of the popular vote.

    Speak for your self when you say what Canadians want. I'm proud of my country but ashamed of my government and your so called "socialist agenda".

    I would also find it interesting to hear what the people in Kelowna and Cranbrook think of our federal government and its indifference towards their needs.

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    Default Ya think Canada's Head of State is bad???

    10,000 dead before the French Prez speaks!

    PARIS (AP) - France's government turned its attention Friday to
    farmers whose animals have died and whose crops have withered in an
    intense heat wave estimated to have killed up to 10,000 people.
    Agriculture Minister Herve Gaymard estimated that the damage to
    French farms was between $1.1 billion and $4.4 billion.
    "Everyone knows the cost is high for farmers, and national
    solidarity must play a role," he told Europe-1 radio. Prime
    Minister Jean-Pierre Raffarin was to host talks with farmers'
    representatives later Friday.
    Jean-Michel Lemetayer, president of the FNSEA farmers union,
    said agriculture was devastated.
    "The atmosphere in the countryside is extremely morose," he
    told The Associated Press. "Every day without rain aggravates the
    situation."
    On Thursday, President Jacques Chirac made his first comments on the heat wave crisis, promising "everything will be done" to
    correct failings in the health system that was overwhelmed by
    victims.
    He also leveled criticism at the public, saying many elderly
    victims "died alone in their homes."
    "These dramas again shed light on the solitude of many of our
    aged or handicapped citizens," said Chirac, who has been
    criticized for not speaking about the heat crisis earlier.
    France's longest and hottest heat wave, with temperatures that
    topped 104 in the first two weeks of August, probably caused some
    10,000 deaths, said Hubert Falco, secretary of state for the
    elderly. The government says a complete death toll is still being
    compiled.
    In a separate interview with Le Monde newspaper, Falco said the
    crisis showed France is coping badly with aging.
    Falco said "mortality linked to the heat wave was highest"
    among people over 85 - who now number 1.2 million in France, and in
    10 years will total 2.4 million.
    Nearly 80 percent of retirement facilities are short-staffed, he
    said. "Our society was not prepared," Falco said.
    Falco told another newspaper, La Provence, that he envisions a
    new emergency plan for retirement homes, where many victims died.
    He said he wants to be able to mobilize personnel quickly in case
    of disasters and decentralize decision-making.
    While other European governments have not reported the huge
    death toll of France, signs are emerging of significant spikes in
    deaths in several countries where temperatures also soared.
    The Central Bureau for Statistics said the heat claimed
    500-1,000 lives in the Netherlands, and Portugal's Health Ministry
    estimated more than 1,300 dead.
    Germany, which was not as hot and is counting its dead more
    slowly, has tallied just 30 heat-related deaths.
    Italy's Health Ministry has refused to give figures, but calls
    by The Associated Press to several major cities found marked
    increases in deaths compared with last year. Genoa had 693 in the
    first 18 days of August, compared with 475 in the whole month last
    year. In Turin, 732 died, more than 500 of them aged over 70,
    compared with 388 last year.
    In France, morgues and funeral homes overflowed with bodies and
    painful questions are being asked about why so many elderly people
    were left alone.
    "People have lost their sense of responsibility," said Nadia
    Finkielman, lending support to a grieving friend at a Paris morgue.
    "They think the government is going to resolve every problem in
    their life."

    (Copyright 2003 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)
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