Wednesday, 18 June 2014

The Hanoski case remains in limbo at the Roman Catholic Diocese of Kingston. When will we know its costs and ramifications?

Where the rubber hits the road.

The Joe Hanoski Case: 
Some questions still need answers. If the civil suit launched by Joe Hanoski is settled what has it cost the Diocese of Kingston? 

by Tom Thorne

One of the most read set of articles on this blog are the Joe Hanoski series that I wrote in 2012. These articles concern an alleged sexual abuse of Joe Hanoski by Father Paul Hamilton.  Another priest, Father Michael Reed is also mentioned in the Hanoski civil suit.  Both Fathers Hamilton and Reed remain on the books of the Diocese of Kingston at this time.

Even after two years these stories continue to be accessed all the time. There is a pent up interest concerning the outcome of this civil case and at the moment we do not know that outcome because it can be settled out of court. Silence by both Joe Hanoski and the Roman Catholic Diocese of Kingston Ontario can be a provision of the settlement agreement. If that is true then this case remains an enigma.

In the case of retired priest Rene Labelle, also of the Kingston Roman Catholic Diocese, criminal charges were laid by the police and Crown and by January 2014, and after a very public trial offering details of the sexual assault, interference and exploitation Labelle was sentenced to 16 months in jail to be followed by 30 months of probation and counselling. A very public process. Currently Father Labelle is still listed as a priest by the Diocese of Kingston, in care of the Catholic Pastoral Centre in Kingston, Ontario.

The Joe Hanoski case is very different. Hanoski brought a civil suit rather than a criminal charge against father Paul Hamilton. The action was also registered against theRoman Catholic  Diocese of Kingston. Also mentioned in this case was Father Michael Reed. Father Hamilton was abruptly removed eight years before this suit was launched and sat in a limbo for almost a decade with no charges and no action on the part of the police or the Crown that I am aware of. Father Michael Reed was removed from his parish when Hanoski launched his civil suit.

Currently Father Paul Hamilton remains on the books of the Archdiocese of Kingston. He seems to remain in limbo at the Catholic Pastoral Centre. Father Michael Reed at the moment can be reached according to the Diocese website, through Blessed Sacrament Parish in Amherstview, Ontario where the pastor is Father Stan Alanen. A look at the parish website reveals no mention of Father Reed. Why is he listed at this parish in the Diocese website list of priests? Does he have duties at this parish? 

It seems that the Diocese of Kingston uses the Catholic Pastoral Centre as a place where priests languish when they are taken from their parishes. It also seems that when charges cannot be established beyond a reasonable doubt in a criminal court alleged victims resort to a civil action to get justice.

As a member of a parish that is part of the Diocese of Kingston the silence about the Hanoski civil suit is irritating. Either the case is sitting in some kind of legal logjam or it is settled. If the civil suit was settled, then funds from the Diocese of Kingston or from some insurance company were used to get a settlement. 

Civil suits are not launched for esoteric reasons. There has to be a dollar value placed on the case. In addition, there are the legal costs for Hanoski’s lawyers and the lawyers for the Diocese of Kingston that have to be accounted for in any settlement.

In this case Hanoski sued for an alleged $3.5 million dollars.  There simply needs to be a transparent accounting of these costs by the Diocese including the legal costs on top of the settlement for defending the diocese’s liability for priests in this kind of trouble. 

© Copyright Tom Thorne 2014, All Rights Reserved.

Tuesday, 10 June 2014

Ontario Election: Voters will likely elect a Conservative minority choosing from the bland options before them. That means a replay of this election in two years.

Angela Horwath, Tim Hudak and Kathleen Wynne all want our vote 
without showing any real leadership for Ontario's future.

The Ontario Election: voting for the bland, the blander and most bland option. 

A move to the right is possible but only held in check by the NDP keeping a Conservative minority government on a short leash.

by Tom Thorne

On the eve of the 2014 Ontario Provincial Election it looks as if we are moving towards another minority government of some kind. The electorate may change from Liberal to Conservatives mostly for a change mainly because  Liberals have been in office for 11 years and they are looking tired.  

Many polls show a dead heat. This of course will leave Angela Horwath's New Democrats with the balance of power again whether the Liberals or Conservatives form the new government. That also means in two years or so we will probably return to the polls.

Kathleen Wynne is wearing the perceived negative excesses of her predecessor Dalton McGuinty. It's hard to escape gas plant scandals when the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) interview former premier McGuinty during the election. Wynne has to also wear the fact that she was a senior member of the McGinty cabinet. This situation is perceived as an election negative. It may be the reason why the electors change horses.

Tim Hudak on the other hand is seen as a right wing ideologue who no one really likes. Well spoken in an evangelical way, he has trouble doing math about his election program. Independent economic experts easily pull apart his Million Job plan and his 100,000 public sector job cuts. That makes his competence an issue. Just how he expects to carry out this simultaneous cut and growth plan is anyone's guess. He's short on detail and credibility. 

But Tim Hudak could come up the middle to become Ontario's new minority government premier despite his vagueness and penchant for right wing viewpoints. One thing is certain if he doesn't become premier this time his life as leader of the Ontario Conservatives is limited. In addition Ontarians may do their usual balancing act of electing a Liberal government when there is a right wing federal government in power.

Ontario is slipping economically. We are losing classic manufacturing jobs along with the Rust Belt  border US states. The economy is in some kind of transition. To what is a serious question that goes unanswered by all Ontario political parties.  

That transition seems to feature high educated youth unemployment or under employment. Manufacturing is becoming more automated and the need for well paying jobs is lessoned. Jobless recoveries are the new reality and Ontario companies are sitting on capital waiting for some sign that the economy can and will improve.

A major food processor Heinz can destroy the economic well being of Leamington and Essex County because they claim their costs are too high to operate profitably in Ontario we need to rethink our economic strategies. 

Heinz, after a 100 years in Ontario, is shifting their operations to low cost right wing US states who have destroyed unions with right to work legislation. There is no loyalty to any Ontario community when profits drop or multinational boards of directors make their decisions.

In my view Tim Hudak will implement similar labour policies in Ontario if he ever gets a majority.  He will make the argument that our labour costs are too high to compete in North America and the world and to implement his Million Jobs Plan he will need anti union legislation. Wages will have to drop as too many people look for too few jobs.

When we examine the 100,000 public sector job cuts Tim Hudak says much of this operation will be done by retirements and natural attrition. This remains troubling.  If someone retires it doesn't mean that the job they do is unnecessary. 

The wider public service involves organizations  from TVOntario to our hospitals and social services not just Queen's Park bureaucrats. A 100,000 wage earners taken out of the Ontario economy is guaranteed to become an economic downer. Shades of Mike Harris but this time on steroids.

So Ontario voters face a Liberal regime with 11 years in office and a tawdry reputation from the McGuinty years. The New Democrats are really only looking to realistically become the balance of power while irritating organized labour during the election. The Conservatives have gone much further to the right where trickle down economics, lower corporate taxes and less government is their mantra. 

Truly a bland hokum election. None of the leaders have told us what they intend to do about the rising costs of electricity in Ontario.  Few exciting ideas have emerged from this campaign. There has been no real definition of how high technology information based economies develop and thrive. 

The status quo concerning youth unemployment and under employment is all we get. None of them have solutions to this social ill. There is nothing in this campaign that shows us a future we can get behind and vote for with any conviction.

© Copyright 2014, Tom Thorne, All Rights Reserved.