Seventy Killed. Suspects Known. No Charges Laid.

Who killed Joshua Remigio? Will we ever find out who did it? Sadly, he will be blamed either partially or fully for his own demise last week at the age of 29 while working on an electrical panel in a greenhouse in Leamington Ontario. There was far more information released about what happened to him than what is normally first reported after a traumatic workplace incident in Ontario. The standard news report, which was written 70 times in 2017 and likely in equal or greater frequency this year, is usually:

“The Ministry of Labour is investigating a fatal incident at ______ on _______.

A worker was ______ said _______ spokesperson with the ministry.

_______ spokesperson with _______ Police, said officers responded around ____ to the incident, which occurred at _______ .

A ___ year-old construction worker was transported to hospital by paramedics ____ said, but later succumbed to his injuries.

“This is currently a coroner’s investigation and our officers will support the coroner throughout the investigation,” said _________ “The Ministry of Labour is simultaneously conducting an investigation into the cause of the incident.”

Stop-work orders have been issued to the company until conditions are met regarding operating manuals for equipment, the inspection of equipment by a competent worker, and the provision of information, instruction and supervision to a worker.”

In the print dominant days, these reports were generally relegated to the back pages or used as filler for a blank between ads. Nowadays, you will rarely see this story as the opener on a home page unless it is a super slow day. When the stop work order is lifted, the wheels will continue to turn. No flowers, candles or teddy bears will be placed at the scene. No brass plaque will ever mark the spot where someone has given their life for industry and business, as they do time and again in this province and the world over every single day.

There will be no honour parade for Joshua on Leamington’s Erie Street to the church or graveyard. Fellow workers by the thousands aren’t going to fly in from all over North America to attend the ceremony. He won’t be on the top of the news cycle for a week or two with an endlessly scrolling montage of photos cribbed from Facebook and Instagram. No sombre footage will be shown of the partner and family heading forlorn into the memorial service. A weaponless murder doesn’t get many eyes on the page or screen and never seems to raise the ire of the public. We continuously forget and the cycle is given permission to continue by all.

If someone walked into a public place and killed 70 people, it would be the dominant news story for years. Yet scores of people dying under similar circumstances for the same reasons in a steady stream has trouble getting on the radar, unless it can be framed in a tidy manner like an episode of Law and Order. When this many people die, it isn’t an accident or one off tragic incident, it is a pattern like any that would be left by a serial killer. By its nature and structure, a certain amount of injuries and fatalities are required to keep industry profitable and please shareholders. Google any random large company name followed by the word “death” and you will get some idea of the body count necessary to maintain a profitable portfolio. That is by design, not by accident.

There will be a report issued in a year or two, which may get a mention beyond the trade papers but probably not. The business and the bosses may get a fine, or possibly not, but no one will be paying attention except for health and safety advocates and the labour community, who will then be accused of playing politics with a tragedy. Joshua will not be addressed by name in the findings but referenced merely as “a worker”, leaving one to piece together which incident it was and where it happened to be able to put a face to the fallen.

Who killed Joshua Remigio? Will we ever find out who did it? We all know exactly who it was but we are all complicit in letting the culprits go free, every single time.

May he rest in peace and never be forgotten.

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La Passion du L’Immersion

If you wish to spice up any random conversation in this town, mention either French Immersion or parking. Never mind talking about the government or taxes, the French Immersion discussion will always inflame passion, or as the French call it, passion. If such heart felt emotion could be channeled toward all of the other problems of the world, we’d have none. The first time I heard somebody say “my daughter is in FI”, I had no idea what that was. It sounds like a wing in a children’s hospital. I’ve had someone stop speaking to me for a while after a rollicking FI debate. They were going on and on about the First Nations people, and in their view how they get things for free, the usual whitey-beats-on-the-Indians talk when I added “Well, aren’t your kids in French Immersion? Talk about milking the system.” Prepare for the shunning. The truth can hurt though. Guelph has plenty of schools. The one down the street from me is sitting empty. Attawapiskat, Ontario has a new elementary school but went without one for FOURTEEN years. Can you imagine the FI parent’s response if that were the case down here?

This week’s Tribune headline, “All options for French Immersion to be focus”, is slightly inaccurate. They never look at ALL options. When it comes to FI, the end result will always be the choice that suits the army of parental elite who are manipulating a public asset and moulding it into a private-ish one. Is there any other name for a system that involves taking over entire schools, relegating the poorer not as clever nit laden unwashed to separate locations or establishing bus routes that might as well have private school logos on the side? Segregation perhaps? When I pass by Ecole John McRae on Water Street, I can’t help but feel that there is some kind of misguided social engineering going on that should not exist within a public system that was designed to provide a well rounded education for every child. If French Immersion is such a great thing, then the entire system should be a FI one. That is the unexamined option, giving it to every kid whether daddy is a professor or a sheet metal worker. Or not at all.

But that would diminish it’s status, non? Your child is no longer that special if every little waif is learning their le,la and les and all of them are left unable to spell correctly in either official language. Mon dieu, we have FOUR school systems in this province funded by public dollars. Each one of them is loaded with administrators who have identical duties with the different boards. The education budget for Ontario is 22.5 billion dollars and I’m still hearing through the vine that some teachers are told there is no money for basic resources such as books or gym equipment. Building special schools for a subset of kids within an existing system only adds to the burden, financial and bureaucratic. How is it I can volunteer with Action Read, a local literacy organization, and be partnered with a guy who has a bona fide high school diploma, BUT HE CANT READ A SENTENCE? He slid through 13 years of a system that completely failed him. A non profit staffed mostly with volunteers should not need to pick up the slack, over and over again.  It’s great that they do but somebody needs to address the root of the problem. Tout suite.


A singular, secular school system is an idea that is long overdue in this province. If we keep clinging to antiquated arrangements such as separate schools for immersion, religion and language, not unlike our separate stores for beer and liquor, then this place is sunk. Within this future utopia there should be plenty of opportunities created to speak and learn French pour tout le monde. They could Skype it up on occasion with the children of the north who speak Inuinnaqtun and Inuktitut along with English and French. It will take wonderful, memorable teachers to do this and they are out there, waiting for the resources. This could be an amazing province if children were not hindered in their education by ancient divisions and blatant classism. And if all of this comes to pass, you’ll still be able to channel your passion into a long tirade about that parking ticket you didn’t deserve. “I was only in there for 30 seconds……………”