Saturday, 25 April 2009


27 degrees outside. Talk of Sporting Life, Mississauga & Ottawa in the air. Looks like race season is upon us folks.

Grabbed some new kicks after my home girl kicked ass at Boston this week (nice job SPE). Bike tires are pumped again and itching to get back into some ‘non spinning’ rides. Started a new weight-routine on Wednesday. And my front crawl can no longer be described as ‘Pheobe-like’=)

All in all, it’s time to snap out of the random winter routine and into a proper program again. This Sunday marks 20 weeks until the big test of ’09 - the Suburu Muskoka Ironman 70.3 (the ‘half’ IM ... While I may be comfortable on my feet, I’ll be attempting swim and bike distances I’ve never come close to touching before. Basically - It’s gonna be a hard but fun four and a half months, and I gotta shoutout in advance to all the good people I’m running and riding with for both pushing and putting up with me ... these might be individual events, but we’re definitely in ‘em together!

On that note – fire me a message if anyone out there’s looking for people to run or bike with ... we’ll be plotting short, medium, and long workouts all summer long with fun peeps, and definitely embrace strength in numbers!

And if not – watch out for deets of a big September party in cottage country if that’s more your thing-;)

NCFC's 'Running Against Crime' marathon team, ING Ottawa Marathon 2008 (above)
TNRL crew, Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon 2007 (below)

Monday, 20 April 2009


Any runner's in a position to webstream while at work - can catch today's Boston Marathon at the following link:

If there are any friends/fam or other runners you wanna track online, receive live updates on etc - you can do so by entering their last name and bib # via the Boston Athletic Association's site at:


Wednesday, 15 April 2009


This story first appeared in the Winter 2009 publication of the YOUTHLINK Connector ...

As the new manager for YOUTHLINK’s Inner City programs, I have been deeply impressed with the passion and commitment shown by my new co-workers, whether they be direct service support workers, counselors, administrative support people, or managers.
Woven through every conversation and every program update has been an excitement about what we can offer to youth.

There are many words used to describe the youth for whom we provide support services – street-involved, homeless, vulnerable, atrisk, marginalized, system shy – and while these terms are useful to help people understand a bit about the circumstances that may have led the youth to our doors, none describe the strength, courage and tenacity they have demonstrated in order to survive.

The social exclusion faced by many of the youth because of generational and/or situational poverty, mental health issues, racism, abuse, neglect, cognitive and/or developmental challenges, family conflict, substance use, and/or conflict with the justice system is profound.

Many youth have a history filled with reasons to be wary of service providers. And yet, every day I see youth opening up, trusting in the staff at Inner City and Youth Skills Zone, accessing support and creating the links they need to move from simply surviving, to thriving. The youth are compassionate, intelligent, caring people whose lives have often been filled with heart-breaking challenges.

The dynamic support flowing through all aspects of services provided by the staff members of Youth Skills Zone and Inner City Drop-In makes a huge difference in the lives of the youth.

At Inner City, our message to youth is, “you don’t have to leave your past at the door—it is a valuable asset in building your future.”

The Peer Educator Program is just one example of how Inner City programs honour the youths’ pasts and help them use the skills developed through crises as
strengths they can build on to move forward in their lives.

I believe strongly in our ability to reach young people through our Inner City programs with this message and to provide real opportunities for them to develop these strengths. We are providing essential services for youth who have rarely, if ever, found the support and acceptance they have needed through mainstream systems.

As we continue to enhance our programming through computer training curriculum development, health promotion programs and new partnerships to support youth living with mental health issues, we will be reaching out to public, non-profit and private sectors for support.

We want to show street-involved youth that there is a wider community that believes in them as much as we do.

--Sabina Chatterjee, Manager, Inner City Drop-In and Youth Skills Zone

Tuesday, 14 April 2009


On May 14th I'll be attending Blueslink - a Toronto fundraiser in support of some wonderfully effective inner-city programs supporting street-involved youth.

If you're going to be in the city, it's gonna be a fun night of Blues, giveaways and live music in support of a great cause. Check out the link for more info ...


Friday, 10 April 2009

Army suppressing PTSD diagnoses?'s Mark Benjamin & Michael de Yoanna break the first of a string of stories stemming from the tape of a US Army Dr acknowledging the pressure he has faced to not diagnose PTSD in soldiers & veterans coming to him for health assessments, and the investigative journey and roadblocks that have since ensued with Military officials and the Senate Armed Services Committee.

Saturday, 4 April 2009

Food Insecurity

Paul Caron, a former food inspector with the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) began speaking out this week about the weakness of our nation's food security, specifically regarding our vulnerability to cases of bioterrorism or future outbreaks of naturally occurring diseases (eg Salmonella, Lysteriosis).

When probing for details, it's hard not to agree with him that the status quo is inadequate and embarrassing, especially given the high level of awareness generated during last year's Maple Leaf Foods fiasco. Examples of vulnerabilities cited, in the context of meat, include:

- Where the US inspects all meat entering their borders, Canada not only pre clears meat imports before they're even at the border, but gives exporters at least three days notice whether their shipments will be checked or not checked.

- Once crossing the border, it's not just that only 1/10 shipments are sent to inspection facilities for a closer look, but of that 1/10 - the foreign company that sends its meat to Canada can hand pick which specific facility will 'inspect' their product. Pretty independent, huh?

Moral of the story, in the absence of new measures, one can smuggle just about anything into Canada via meat shipments.


Wednesday, 1 April 2009

What happens to seized contraband?

On Monday, The Canadian Press shed some light on the findings of a recent audit of the Canadian Border Services Agency (CBSA) and specifically, what the heck happens to the guns, drugs, and other contraband that are seized.

Most seizures end up in Quebec or Ontario (Toronto, Windsor regions). Among the more ridiculous findings ...

- Meth, hash, steroids, blow, etc are all ending up in landfills because guards don't know that they are supposed to be destroyed

- In addition to drugs, guns & ammuno are sent to storage facilities/warehouses with either substandard or non-existent inventory controls

- Of 68 inspection sites, physical security was substandard for half of the interior facilities and for all of the exterior facilities. For example: 70% of warehouses were not continuously monitored (by guards, camera's or motion detectors); 15 sites, there was no control of access by non-government persons; and 23 sites had no inventory controls whatsoever.

Recognizing the potential goldmine this is for organized crime - I would love to also read a similar report of what happens to goods seized by police officers, to see if security or destruction practices are just as shotty. Both CBSA and police forces love to report on how much contraband they "remove" from the streets - but given reports like this, how certain can we be that they are actually staying off of the streets! While they often receive endless credit for removing such items from the market, rarely ever do we think about those numbers critically and ask for them to be put into a more meaningful context.

Going forward, it's time we start demanding much more transparency and accountability from our police and border services about the proportion of seized contraband that are actually being destroyed, and/or being stored in high security facilities with low risk of finding their way back to market.


Link to CBSA audits/evaluations: