canada

Once Upon A Rock Festival

Many years ago, almost 45 to be exact, I was barely 15 years old and the summers were chalk full of Rock Festivals.  In 1970, to celebrate the 100th Birthday of the province of Manitoba, a huge rock festival was planned. I WAS GOING TO BE THERE. ThIs festival would be called MANPOP.

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With a government grant we were assured to have the biggest and best Rock Bands of the day at the Winnipeg Stadium. 

These day’s, you can fill a stadium with one or two acts, but back then it was 16 hours of Rock, for today’s cost of a beer.  The tickets were well worth the money.  The local bands would start the day and as time flew by, the entertainment got better and better. 

The local bands included: The Fifth, Chopping Block, Mongrels, Justin Tyme, and Dianne Heatherington (she was our Canadian answer to Janis Joplin).

The 20,000 or so party animals were rocking up a storm and suddenly the sky turned black and the winds picked up and the torrential rains began. The festival would have been over, but arrangements were made to open the Arena next door and continue the festival.  It almost never happened, but some last minute negotiations kept the party going until about 4am.

The rest of this blog was taken from the Winnipeg Free Press archives and Wikipedia.  My memory was missing some details that I needed to validate:

The Man-Pop Festival was a music festival held in Winnipeg, Manitoba, on August 29, 1970. Led Zeppelin was the headlining act at the event. Other artists performing at the festival included The Youngbloods, The Ides of March, Iron Butterfly, Chilliwack, plus local bands, including Dianne Heatherington and The Merry Go Round.

The Man-Pop Festival was originally scheduled to take place at the outdoor Winnipeg Stadium. However, a summer rain storm tore down the awning protecting the stage soaking the PA system and amps, which forced the organizers to belatedly move the festival into the nearby Winnipeg Arena. This venue had lower capacity than that of the stadium, and when this capacity was reached, some 800 valid ticket holders were refused admission. This caused a near riot at the entrances of the arena, with many of its glass doors being kicked in by angry patrons.

Tickets for the festival cost $5.50 to $12.50. Led Zeppelin’s fee was $50,000. Because of the delays caused by the change of venues, Led Zeppelin did not actually take the stage until the early hours of the morning, and did so voluntarily, since they had already been paid pursuant to a rain clause in their original contract. It was through the exhortations of local singer Dianne Heatherington, whose national reputation came later, that Led Zeppelin was finally persuaded to perform.

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As a 15 year old teen this was one of the highlights of my youth.  And so goes another chapter in Leonard vs Life.

Winnipeg Taxis: In Short Supply

I have been in the taxi business since 1973.  I did spend several years as a professional jewelry appraiser and Graduate Gemologist.  I also worked as a manager for a large contact center.  My years in the taxi industry included driving, dispatching, training, owning and supervision. 

About 30 years of my working years involved taxis and I also developed a supreme knowledge of Winnipeg. Below is a section of the Taxicab Board website.  They operate currently under the provincial ministry of Municipal Government.  The mandate has not been followed.  Please enjoy the blog.

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The Taxicab Board is an independent quasi-judicial administrative tribunal established under authority of The Manitoba Taxicab Act to licence and regulate all taxicabs, wheelchair vans and limousines operating in the City of Winnipeg. As legislated, Board membership includes a member of the City of Winnipeg Council, the Chief Constable of the Winnipeg Police Force, and five other persons appointed by the Lieutenant-Governor in Council.

Objectives:
The mandate of the Taxicab Board is to ensure that persons within Winnipeg receive adequate taxicab service at a reasonable cost. The Board fulfils this objective through engaging in the following activities:

Conducts public hearings to consider applications for:
more and/or different classes of licences,
fare increases,
industry proposals,
interest group(s’) proposals, etc.;
Establish, review, and revise the limit on the number of taxicab licences, as determined by public convenience and necessity;
Control and issue taxicab business licences;
Review and approve taxicab business licence transfers;
Issue taxicab driver licences;
Facilitate training for taxicab drivers;
Assess and establish the fare structure and monitor actual rates charged;
Implement a comprehensive inspection program for taxicabs including general inspections, street patrols, mechanical inspections, and taxicab meter inspections;
Investigate and resolve complaints against taxicab operators and drivers;
Discipline taxicab operators and drivers by conducting Show Cause Hearings on perceived violations of legislation and regulations, or on complaints;
Monitor the accessibility of transportation for the physically disabled;
Monitor the health and viability of the taxicab industry in Winnipeg;
Determine policy and procedures which arise in the exercise of the Board’s discretionary powers and provide policy input to the Government on broader taxicab policy issues; and
Maintain a liaison with the taxicab industry, user interest groups, other taxicab regulatory agencies and governments.

Manitoba is the only province in Canada that has jurisdiction over the taxi business in its cities. All other cities in the other provinces control their mass transit including Taxis.

Winnipeg had 300 taxis way back in 1947. It was decided by the province that an additional 100 taxis was needed to provide employment for war veterans.  A company called Veterans Nash was formed in 1947.  That brought the total to 400 taxis in Winnipeg. 
Approximately 40 years later the province added 10 taxis in a luxury class.  These Cadillac taxis ran under a company called Blue Line, however, after 5 years it failed and those plates were converted to regular taxis bringing the total taxis in Winnipeg to 410.

Since then the Taxicab Board has added about 41 Accessible Taxis to the Winnipeg fleet. These are vans with wheelchair access. Total increase in 66 years is a whopping 51 taxis.  Winnipeg only has 451 taxis.  Compared to other similar cities we are very short on cabs.

The following statistics are drawn from Statistics Canada 2011-2013 and the Websites of the cities to be mentioned.

  • So, Winnipeg has 451 units to service 750,000 citizens or 1 taxi per 1662 souls.  Cost: $1.38/km
  • Calgary has 1466 units to service 1,214,839 citizens or 1 taxi per 829 souls.  Cost. $1.55/km
  • Edmonton has 1971 units to service 1,159,869 citizens or 1 taxi per 588 souls.  Cost.  $1.48km
  • Regina has 146 units to service 230,000 citizens or 1 taxi per 1250 souls. Cost. $1.81km

Winnipeg has the lowest cost taxi rides of the above samples. We also have a fraction of the taxis. Funny thing is that the price to pay if you want to purchase a taxi is about $450,000.  In the other cities named the purchase cost is a fraction of that.

Winnipeg taxi owners have a monopoly on taxis since the Taxicab Board supports this monopoly and refuses to allow more taxicabs in Winnipeg. 

Immediately, the new city council should begin negotiations with the province to take over the taxi service in its city.  The province doesn’t seem to realize that we have urban sprawl and almost twice the population since 1948.

The taxi service in Winnipeg is awful. So bad that a trip to our new airport can’t be guaranteed to be on time or even show up. 

If you go out for the evening and plan on a few drinks, do you deserve to wait 30 minutes to go out and even longer to return? Yes, if taxis were readily available we would reduce the drinking and driving.

Shame on the provincial government for not enforcing the mandate to provide service. It’s time to break the monopoly and bring Winnipeg in line with (at least) Regina. 1 taxi for every 1250 citizens. You want a better Winnipeg for visitors and its citizens. Start with the taxi service. It requires no civic investment. I’m embarrassed to have to force a 45 minute wait for a taxi at times. 

We should not be the lowest cost taxi and we should be able to service all of Winnipeg promptly. 

In closing, you should know that with the exception of Toronto and Vancouver, a taxi trades for 50 to 250 thousand dollars. Winnipeg = $450,000.

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Did we forget about Keystone XL to go to Iraq?

The Canadian Government is debating and ultimately will decide to join the USA in Iraq and Syria on a combat mission.

A combat mission from the air and no boots on the ground is devoid of Intel to determine targets. Canada, with its slashed defense budget, could better participate in humanitarian missions.

Since President Obama has yet to approve our Keystone XL Pipeline, in my opinion we should take a stand and hold back our troops until this approval is signed by POTUS.

As you can read below, the pipeline can only benefit both countries. Iraq and Syria can benefit no one in North America at this time. Harper needs to stand his ground!

Canada has done its part and has been a willing and patient partner throughout this process. This project will enhance our relationship with Canada and increase our drive towards North American energy security and independence, and there is no consultation required to arrive at that conclusion.

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Senate Democrats letter to President Obama in support of Keystone XL
Eleven Senate Democrats to President Obama
This process has been exhaustive in its time, breadth and scope. It has already taken much longer than anyone can reasonably justify. This is an international project that will provide our great friend and ally Canada, a direct route to our refineries. These refineries were specifically built to process heavy crude, and Canadian crude will help replace heavy crude imports from unstable and unfriendly countries like Venezuela.

Keystone XL makes sense
Alex Pourbaix – TransCanada Executive Vice-President
It has been our experience that with vigorous review and oversight, projects like the proposed Keystone XL pipeline can be constructed and operated without jeopardizing public health or the environment.

Letter to the State Department in support for Keystone XL from Missouri Gov.Jay Nixon
Missouri Governor Jay Nixon:

“Keystone XL opponents are running out of straws to grasp. Now that the Inspector General has found no conflict of interest, environmental groups should join LIUNA and others and sit down to discuss an all-of-the-above energy strategy to address climate change issues. We continue to urge the President to approve the project. It will unlock new jobs for thousands of working men and women and harness energy that a trusted neighbor can provide. Keystone isn’t just a pipeline – it is a lifeline for working men and women and for our nation’s energy security.” With IG Finding, Keystone XL Opponents are Running Out of Straws to Grasp
Terry O’Sullivan – General President, LIUNA
“Killing the pipeline would have little impact on reducing the use of fossil fuels and the greenhouse gases, such as carbon dioxide, that they emit. The Canadians, if they don’t ship it through Keystone, it’s going to come by rail. The big winner from not building Keystone is Venezuela, because their heavy oil has the same carbon footprint as the oil sands. [So] Venezuela or Canada, take your pick. Who is your favorite country and who is your neighbor?”

Boston Globe — Fossil fuels remain at the forefront, energy expert says
Daniel Yergin — Founder, IHS CERA
“What we probably need is more of a pipeline infrastructure and to diminish the need for rail transport over time. Frankly, I think pipeline transport overall probably has overall a better record in terms of cost, in terms of emissions and in terms of safety.”

Energy secretary: U.S. infrastructure unready for rail-crude boom
U.S. Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz
The State Department’s latest report reiterated that Keystone XL would be the safest pipeline ever built in the U.S. if TransCanada agreed to 59 additional conditions — and we have. These include additional protections like more remote shut-off valves spaced closer together, high-strength steel, more frequent inspections and burying the pipe deeper in the ground. All five federal reviews have concluded that this pipeline won’t have an adverse impact on the environment or on greenhouse gas emissions. The heavy oil from the oil sands is less carbon intensive than oil currently produced in California.”

pipeline – it is a lifeline for working men and women and for our nation’s energy security.” With IG Finding, Keystone XL Opponents are Running Out of Straws to Grasp 
The Canadians, if they don’t ship it through Keystone, it’s going to come by rail. The big winner from not building Keystone is Venezuela, because their heavy oil has the same carbon footprint as the oil sands. [So] Venezuela or Canada, take your pick. Who is your favorite country and who is your neighbor?”

Energy secretary: U.S. infrastructure unready for rail-crude boom
U.S. Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz
The State Department’s latest report reiterated that Keystone XL would be the safest pipeline ever built in the U.S. if TransCanada agreed to 59 additional conditions — and we have. These include additional protections like more remote shut-off valves spaced closer together, high-strength steel, more frequent inspections and burying the pipe deeper in the ground. All five federal reviews have concluded that this pipeline won’t have an adverse impact on the environment or on greenhouse gas emissions. The heavy oil from the oil sands is less carbon intensive than oil currently produced in California.”

LA Times — Myth vs. fact on Keystone XL
Alex Pourbaix — President Energy and Oil Pipelines, TransCanada
The State Department’s latest study — the product of more than five years of investigation — largely confirms the conclusions of previous assessments and those of many independent energy experts:

Keystone report from State Dept. puts common sense back in the pipeline
Washington Post Editorial
“The total annual GHG emissions (direct and indirect) attributed to the No Action scenarios range from 28 to 42 percent greater than for the proposed Project [Keystone XL].”

Department of State — Keystone XL Final SEIS
U.S. Department of State — Final SEIS
The U.S. needs pipelines, “not only to improve conditions in terms of rail, but trucks. With the Keystone pipeline, we’d take 500 trucks a day off our roads in western North Dakota.”

Hoeven: Obama will approve Keystone — The Hill
U.S. Senator John Hoeven — North Dakota
Canada has done its part and has been a willing and patient partner throughout this process. This project will enhance our relationship with Canada and increase our drive towards North American energy security and independence, and there is no consultation required to arrive at that conclusion.

Senate Democrats letter to President Obama in support of Keystone XL
Eleven Senate Democrats to President Obama
This process has been exhaustive in its time, breadth and scope. It has already taken much longer than anyone can reasonably justify. This is an international project that will provide our great friend and ally Canada, a direct route to our refineries. These refineries were specifically built to process heavy crude, and Canadian crude will help replace heavy crude imports from unstable and unfriendly countries like Venezuela.

Fatih Birol on environmental subsidies, carbon emissions and climate
Faith Birol – IEA Chief Economist
Canada emits just 2% of global greenhouse gases, and the emissions from oil sands contribute 0.16% to global emissions. For context, three coal-fired power plants in the United States emit more greenhouse gases than the entire oil sands industry.

Keystone XL makes sense
Alex Pourbaix – TransCanada Executive Vice-President
It has been our experience that with vigorous review and oversight, projects like the proposed Keystone XL pipeline can be constructed and operated without jeopardizing public health or the environment.

Letter to the State Department in support for Keystone XL from Missouri Gov.Jay Nixon
Missouri Governor Jay Nixon
“Keystone XL opponents are running out of straws to grasp. Now that the Inspector General has found no conflict of interest, environmental groups should join LIUNA and others and sit down to discuss an all-of-the-above energy strategy to address climate change issues. We continue to urge the President to approve the project. It will unlock new jobs for thousands of working men and women and harness energy that a trusted neighbor can provide. Keystone isn’t just a pipeline – it is a lifeline for working men and women and for our nation’s energy security.” With IG Finding, Keystone XL Opponents are Running Out of Straws to Grasp
Terry O’Sullivan – General President, LIUNA
“Killing the pipeline would have little impact on reducing the use of fossil fuels and the greenhouse gases, such as carbon dioxide, that they emit. The Canadians, if they don’t ship it through Keystone, it’s going to come by rail. The big winner from not building Keystone is Venezuela, because their heavy oil has the same carbon footprint as the oil sands. [So] Venezuela or Canada, take your pick. Who is your favorite country and who is your neighbor?”

Boston Globe — Fossil fuels remain at the forefront, energy expert says
Daniel Yergin — Founder, IHS CERA
“What we probably need is more of a pipeline infrastructure and to diminish the need for rail transport over time. Frankly, I think pipeline transport overall probably has overall a better record in terms of cost, in terms of emissions and in terms of safety.”

Energy secretary: U.S. infrastructure unready for rail-crude boom
U.S. Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz
The State Department’s latest report reiterated that Keystone XL would be the safest pipeline ever built in the U.S. if TransCanada agreed to 59 additional conditions — and we have. These include additional protections like more remote shut-off valves spaced closer together, high-strength steel, more frequent inspections and burying the pipe deeper in the ground. All five federal reviews have concluded that this pipeline won’t have an adverse impact on the environment or on greenhouse gas emissions. The heavy oil from the oil sands is less carbon intensive than oil currently produced in California.”

keystone-pipeline1

14 Misconceptions About Winnipeg Part 2

Once again this week I have challenged myself to find a topic for my “Leonard vs Life” blog.  I have decided that since all of my 58 years of life has been spent in Winnipeg, it would be a piece of work to explain what Winnipeg really is. 

Last week I presented 7 points that if improved would help put Winnipeg on the map as a Destination City. Here now are the final 7 points that would make Winnipeg a better place to live, rather than leave.

8. Winnipeg is one of the largest cities in Canada.  Barely. Statistics Canada says: Winnipeg is the 8th largest city in Canada with a population of 771,221 (2013).

Winnipeg has a significant and increasing Aboriginal population, with both the highest percentage of Aboriginal peoples (11.7%) for any major Canadian city, and the highest total number of Aboriginals (76,055) for any single non-reserve municipality.The Aboriginal population grew by 22% between 2001 and 2006, compared to an increase of 3% for the city as a whole; this population tends to be younger and less wealthy than non-Aboriginal residents. Winnipeg also has the highest Métis population in both percentage (6.3%) and numbers (41,005); the growth rate for this population between 2001 and 2006 was 30%. The city has the greatest percentage of Filipino residents (8.7%) of any major Canadian city, although Toronto has more Filipinos by total population. In 2006, Winnipeg ranked seventh of the Canadian cities for percentage of residents of a visible minority. The population is 67.5% white as of 2011 (down from 73.5% in 2006), while non-aboriginal visible minorities represent 21.4% as of 2011 (up from 16.3% in 2006). The city receives over 10,000 net international immigrants per year.

9. The new civic government, which will be elected this October, will be saddled with debt, audits of severe overspending that borders on corruption, and debates over infrastructure and rapid transit just to suggest a few challenges. Questionable planning and urban sprawl has stressed budgets and taxes out of control. 

10. Economic activity is on the rise. NOT.

The city is saddled with limited opportunities for young adults. Many families have been fragmented since after graduating from college or university the kids leave Winnipeg for greener pastures. Both of my daughters have left Winnipeg with no plans of returning. My sister has 2 sons who have also left Winnipeg. This results in slow growth of young educated population and a sliding tax base.

11. Winnipeg has a low poverty level.  NOT.

The number of families and singles living below the poverty level in Winnipeg is stunting it’s growth and in  my opinion the result of limited opportunity.  The busiest days for the economic activity in Winnipeg are limited and predictable. Most families living in poverty have 2 to 5 children.  On or around the 20th of every month Winnipeg comes alive when the Child Tax credit arrives. Shopping for groceries, spending on social activities and taxis are taxed to the limit. Three days later, the money is gone.  At the end of the month the 60,000 or so on Social Service support to get paid. Seniors get their pensions and it’s payday in Winnipeg. For 5 days economic activity spikes, bars and stores are full, taxis are in short supply, and then the money runs out.  Agencies like food banks, and shelters carry the impoverished until the cycle repeats itself. Without the government support Winnipeg would look like Detroit.

12. Winnipeg has a lot of taxi’s.  NOT. 

Compared to other cities Winnipeg has almost half the number of taxis it should. Statistics show a range of 1 taxi for every 600 to 1200 of population in all cities. Winnipeg has 1 taxi for 1750 in population. Considering the demand, we are way out of line.  It’s a little known fact but in 1945 Winnipeg had 300 taxis. I’m 1947 we added 100 cabs to employ war veterans. That brings us up to 400 in 1947. In 2014, Winnipeg has only 410 taxis and 41 accessible taxis. So in 67 years of growth we have only added 51 taxis to the Winnipeg fleet of 451 taxis. 

No coverage for urban sprawl. Hours of waiting at certain times of the day. I could go on but what’s the point? Better take your car to the Airport.  You might have to drink and drive.  Blame the province! Manitoba is the only province to control taxis in a city. In other cities the civic government controls the cabs through a civic taxi commission. It’s time to look at taxis as civic Infrastructure.

13. Civic planning is right on.  NOT

Did it make sense to build a football stadium at the south end of the city?  Did it make sense to move the Red River Exhibition to the West Perimeter?  Does the University of Winnipeg expanding on prime downtown land make for good planning? Why are we wasting so much money on rapid transit? Is Winnipeg really big enough to afford the billions it costs? How come we aren’t building up the downtown to increase density to support downtown as a vibrant community? These are my thoughts and I think you get the message. Civic planning is a FAIL.

14. Finally, as good as the media in Winnipeg reacts to stories that sell, I would like to see a little more effort on focus to create a Winnipeg that works.

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14 Common Misconceptions About Winnipeg Part 1

This week I have challenged myself to find a topic for my “Leonard vs Life” blog.  I have decided that since all of my 58 years of life has been spent in Winnipeg, it would be a piece of work to explain what Winnipeg really is.

1. Winnipeg is one of the largest cities in Canada.  NOT.  Winnipeg is smaller than Toronto, Montreal,  Ottawa, Calgary,  Edmonton and Vancouver.  Those cities have populations in excess of 1.3 million citizens.  Winnipeg, is a slow growth city of only 760,000 residents.

2. Winnipeg has always been a city of urban sprawl.  NOT.  Winnipeg was a small city mostly centrally located around the downtown area until 1971. Before that it was surrounded by many smaller cities; each with their own mayor, council, city hall and police/fire departments. They included the cities of West Kildonan, East Kildonan, Transcona, St. Vital, Fort Garry,  Tuxedo, Charleswood and Brooklands. All of these cities were merged into a Unicity called Winnipeg in 1971.

3. Winnipeg has always been a railroad center.  NOT.  The CPR originally was to be located north of Winnipeg in the City of Selkirk but Winnipeg enticed CPR to locate in Winnipeg by giving them tax free land in the center of the city for rail yards. To this day they are still located in the heart of Winnipeg obstructing growth.

4. Winnipeg has a vibrant nightlife.  NOT. Winnipeg is a weekend city. Most bars and clubs are closed or empty on Monday through Wednesday.  The city will come alive Thursday through Saturday.

5. Winnipeg has a vibrant downtown.  NOT. With the exception of the NHL Jets and the odd concert. The downtown of Winnipeg is empty after dark.  Fear of gangs and personal safety plays a major roll in this phenomenon.  Hardly like big city action.

6. Winnipeg has a large downtown population.  NOT. Although a few thousand residents  live downtown there hasn’t been any major residential development of housing in Downtown Winnipeg since the 70’s.  All major cities have 25 to 100 high-rise condo or apartment complex areas each holding 1000 or more residents. Not Winnipeg. We have subsidized apartment blocks or housing built in the early 1900’s cluttering downtown development. The Waterfront area is the only recent area of downtown development and that is low density.

7. Winnipeg is too cold for homelessness.  NOT.  Winnipeg has a large homeless population, with missions and food banks a major industry.  This has furtherstifled downtown development.

Next week I will conclude with the final 7 misconceptions of my city that I call ‘Little Winnipeg.’

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Out of the Bush

When you drive a taxi, every fare can turn into an adventure. This is a true story of a taxi fare with a sense of adventure.

Back in October of 1994 I was driving a night shift. At about 7pm, I was sent into the Winnipeg Airport to pick up a customer. This was a flight from northern Manitoba. At the terminal, I found my fare….. ayoung couple of aboriginal decent.

The man was dressed in jeans and a USA Secret Service baseball hat. His wife was also decked out in denim. They had flown in from Gods Lake which is a Cree Indian reserve.

They were extremely friendly and happy to be out of the bush. They were fishing and hunting guides and the season was ending for them. They had just guided a group of American fishing enthusiasts.

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He immediately handed me $100. I was asked if I could be their driver for the night. I said, “Sure”. He then handed me another $100. Okay, this was wonderful but u needed to know why he was so generous.

He said that the Secret Service hat was a gift from his last group. George H Bush. Yep, that one. The older Bush that was President of the USA until January 1994. The hat was from one of his security detail. Apparently, he paid big money for the best guide and although he never revealed his fee, my fare had a few thousand dollars in his pocket.

The first stop was for supper at the Ming Court. He asked me to join him and his wife. Okay, I like Chinese food. For that he called me a nice guy and offered me another $100. So, we went and dined and he told me stories about George W Bush. After dinner he thanked me for joining them and offered me another $100.

The next stop was to be the Bar at the St. Regis Hotel. The man had been drinking quite a bit during dinner and he fell down the 4 stairs from the restaurant to the lobby. I had to pick him up because he had messed up his foot. I put him Into the car and suggested a hospital visit to check hit foot. He was in pain, but still in a good mood. He thanked me for my assistance and hands me another $100.

I took them to the hospital emergency and pushed him into the room to check in. They told us that it would be a few hours wait for treatment. I asked my customers if I should wait and they said it could be a while so I could leave.

I thanked them for their generosity and his wife told me that they left some money in the back seat. He said that would be my TIP. His wife agreed.

So, back in the taxi I looked into the back seat and sure enough a small wad of $100’s. Only $600 for the tip. It was only 11pm and I had just earned $1100 for about 4 hours work, courtesy of President George H Bush Sr.

George

George

 

In a Drunken Stupor

Since my business was demonstrating monthly growth, so grew my workday….past 14 hours a day.

The ensuing exhaustion weakened my stamina to the point that I needed a way to get through the day. A customer of mine who noticed this challenge offered me a little vial of cocaine powder, and instructed on its use. That vial sat in my desk for a couple week’s.

One night I finally drew a couple lines of the cocaine and snorted away. After about 15 minutes I was energized and continued to work until 5 am. A couple days later I repeated the process with the same results. It wasn’t long before I was looking for a refill.

Eventually, unable to wake up in the morning,my day began with a couple lines of cocaine which continued throughout the day. Exhaustion was now the enabler to use of cocaine. By the middle of 1986, I had burnt my nose linings and could no longer snort the drug.

I then began to inject the coke and continued to do so until 1990. I was finally admitted to the hospital for treatment, where I remained for about 1 week.

Until the hospital stay my addiction was a secret. I was able to hide this sickness for 4 years but now it was game over. I was becoming financially strapped, and could no longer carry the load of work. My world was crumbling.

I was reminded of my story when Toronto Mayor, Rob Ford, finally admitted his addiction to alcohol and left office for rehabilitation in the USA. Mayor Ford liked his crack cocaine. The hard working mayor enjoyed a drink after a long day and when the alcohol buzz kicked in that was the enabler that led the mayor to crack use. Exhaustion first would motivate and enable the hidden desire for crack that required an initial alcohol buzz. He called it “a drunken stupor.” His demons caught up to him just as mine did.

Rob Ford

Rob Ford

Every Monday I will post a new blog post (the continuation of my story/the above post). Feel free to follow my blog and comment below.