Agree ro Disagree: It’s time for Pay before you pump.


You may have heard of the tragic story this week involving Maryam Rashidi. She was a gas station attendant who was killed by a stolen truck she attempted to stop. You can read the story here.

From time to time, I get requests to do an Agree or Disagree. It’s somewhat serendipitous that this happened today as I planned to do one anyway.

However, I’m going to post her perspective. She is an ESL teacher and she is concerned about the cuts to LINC Programs.

This might be controversial, however, I think it needs to be said. Immediately, people were calling for federal laws to be changed to prevent gas & dash. However, NO ONE mentioned the concern that came to my mind first. When are new staff trained in emergency prevention and response procedures? This started with a stupid crime, but ended up being worse than it needed to be. This woman should not have died. 

My question is: did she get the proper training from her employer? Did she get an orientation & employee SOP manual before or on her first shift to read, review, and ask questions? In this industry, along with other convenience story cashiers, etc, shouldn’t this kind of training be mandatory first?!!!! Especially for new immigrants who may not be familiar with our culture or customs. 

The gas station where the attendant died, is close to my house. The attendant, a new immigrant, could have been one of my students, or one of my colleagues’ or friends’ students. 

I had not seen this perspective or questioning from news reporters yet, except just now, from CBC TV, but it only quotes the Centex president citing “policy”, not what is actually done. 

Many times, I have had students tell me that they don’t get very much in the way of proper training, especially for low-level, minimum wage jobs. Employers just assume that they already know; or will learn in on the job, over time. This is unacceptable!!! 
Especially when the Centex president says that gas theft occurs every day = then new (gas station) employees MUST be properly trained BEFORE starting their first shift! 

They could have given her an SOP manual to read, and reviewed it with her on her first shift. I would like to know if this was done???!!!! Will the owners and managers of that Centex gas station be held liable for negligence, for not training their employee? What, exactly do Alberta Employment and Labour laws say about this?. . . . Could or should Mr. Rashidi sue Centex? 

Perhaps if Maryam Rashidi would have gotten a proper employee orientation that included Emergency Response Training, a new employee handbook and SOP, etc, then hopefully she would still be alive, because she would have understood the danger in the choice of trying to stand in front of a big truck, trying to stop 2 idiots in the process of stealing less than what? $100.00 worth of gas? 

ALso, I’m asking, encouraging, pleading, and urging anyone that teaches English as an additional Language, to talk about this with their students, to help teach critical thinking & problem solving skills to new immigrants, so even if they do not receive the proper training in their entry level (& for many, their first job in Canada!!!), they will be able to make safer choices when faced with danger. 

Kevin Olenick, you have a great social media forum. Could you please discuss this? 

Yes, this crime should not have happened. Those boys did not think, and behaved horribly selfishly. 

However, this is NOT ONLY about instituting a gas & dash law. People with criminal intent, will always find a way to circumvent obstacles in committing their crime, no matter what technology is put in place to prevent that crime. 

***NOT preparing your employees properly for this kind of emergency situation, should also be considered criminally negligent!! ****

How are new immigrant employees supposed to respond well in this situation? We cannot assume that they have the same “common sense” skills that we grew up with in our society. Different cultural customs, education, traditions, etc all affect “common sense” or critical thinking/ problem solving skills. If I were suddenly plucked from Calgary and dropped into a refugee camp not far from a war zone in the Middle East, I probably wouldn’t do very well either!!!! 

And yet, our government still strips away the resources (Like slashing funding to the LINC program and other immigrant-serving programs) to help new immigrants acclimate to our culture, and is satisfied with lower level language proficiency requirements for citizenship, because they want a cheaper labour force who is willing to do all the crappy, low-paying jobs that natural-born Canadians turn their noses up at. 

Obviously I’m upset!!! I don’t want to see this happen to any of my students. This should never have happened. It could have been prevented. And that makes me very, very sad.

Do you Agree or Disagree that’s it time to pay before you pump? Or, is there a need to improve emergency training?

Or do we need to do both?

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Agree or Disagree: It’s time to get rid of photo radar.


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You have seen them. You have probably been caught by them.

The Photo Radar.

In Edmonton as an example, they have collected over $40 million dollars in fines in 2014. That is over $9.9 million dollars more than projected.

The Edmonton Journal reports that the fines turned into a $10.9 million dollar deficit into a forecast of a $14.1 million surplus.

Now the idea is that photo radars is to prevent speeding. But, the fact is it hasn’t. There is still concerns. I’m going to let you read some thoughts from Edmonton Mayor Don Iveson. He is for photo radars. You can read his thoughts here.

However, let’s be fair and look at both sides. This is a perspective from a Calgary man who is fighting against photo radars. You can read that http://www.calgarysun.com/2014/11/09/calgary-man-wages-one-man-war-against-cash-generating-photo-radar-trap-in-citadel

What do you think? Time to get of photo radars?

Agree or Disagree: Alberta should tax “soda pop and sugary drinks”


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The Alberta Policy Coalition for Chronic Disease Prevention would agree.  The APCCP is compiled of 17 provincial health groups, including The Heart and Stroke Foundation.

They are suggesting that the Provincial Government tax soda pops and sugary drinks.

The reason is “”Decreased sugary drink consumption has major benefits for Albertans, such as reduced risk of chronic disease, improved quality of life, increased productivity and academic performance for students, as well reduced health care costs.”

You can read the article here.

I just want to make a small point. Smoking prices increased. They have even put bans on where you can smoke! But, people still smoke.

My instant reaction is this. How would a tax  prevent people from drinking soda pop and sugary drinks?

Agree or Disagree: We understand the issues surrounding Domestic Violence


Tomorrow, December 6, is the National Day or Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women.

I  had a “conversation” with an individual over Twitter regarding an incident this weekend with an National Football League player murdering his girlfriend and then himself at the players facility.  The guy was mocking the incident. He actually went as far as to say he was glad the player died. When I challenged him on his view, he did have some defenders.

The biggest tragedy amongst the many in this situation is there is a three month old girl that has lost her mother and her father.

A while back, a comment was made that I need to open up the door to discuss prevention in some issues. I did take that comment to heart, as it was from someone I respect.

This article http://www.statcan.gc.ca/pub/85-224-x/2010000/aftertoc-aprestdm2-eng.htm is from Statistics Canada.  It sights percentages of reported cases of domestic violence. You will note some interesting things. This was one of them from the report.

Younger Canadians were more likely to report being a victim of spousal violence than were older Canadians. Those aged 25 to 34 years old were three times more likely than those aged 45 and older to state that they had been physically or sexually assaulted by their spouse.

 Also,

n 2009, victims of spousal violence were less likely to report the incident to police than in 2004. Just under one-quarter (22%) of spousal violence victims stated that the incident came to the attention of the police, down slightly from 2004 (28%).

So it seems over time, there becomes a sense of silence for those that are victims of violence. Be it age, or in years.

So although not a comfortable topic, how or are we able to have a discussion surrounding these issues? Also, do you think that domestic violence is preventable?