Long Drive

Took five hours last night to go from the Terry Fox Esso in Kanata to our hotel on Sherbrooke in Montreal. Left at 5PM, arrived at 10PM.

And only about an hour, maybe an hour and a half of that can be attributed to me
  • trying to clear snow out from under my driver's side wiper blade by reaching out the window, lifting it up and then letting it whack back on the windshield;
  • but breaking it in the process, causing it to fall off the car;
  • having to get off the Queensway at Metcalf without a driver's side blade;
  • confirming that the plastic retaining clip is, in fact, broken;
  • driving to the nearest gas station on Bank Street;
  • discovering they don't have wiper blades;
  • walking up Bank Street to the next gas station, finding they do have wiper blades but that they are A) "All Season" blades not winter blades, and B) not the right size;
  • buying a blade anyways on the theory that a sucky, mis-sized blade I can mount is better than the properly-sized Reflex blade I can't mount;
  • walk back up Bank Street, pausing only to fall on my right knee;
  • mount the new blade -- which takes more time than it should because of the complexity forced by a universal mount on the blade that I've never seen before plus less-than-clear instructions in the package;
  • get back on the highway, which from Bank Street and Catherine requires one drive to down to Laurier, across to Nicholas, then back up to the highway;
  • drive to the Canadian Tire on Blair because A) we know where it is B) we know how to get there C) it is more-or-less on our way;
  • buy a proper blade;
  • mount it;
  • get back on the highway at Montreal Road.


What is it with gas stations not stocking wiper blades any more? I remember a few years back I tried to buy blades at gas stations (back when I was horribly disappointed with those complex, crappy winter blades that Canadian Tire was exclusively selling) and came up empty. So I'm not really surprised that the first station didn't have any blades. Perhaps I'm more surprised that the second station did.

Then I decided to continue down the 174 instead of heading back to the 417. We managed between 60 km/h and 80 km/h most of the way, although there were a couple of instances where we were the only lights on the road visible for several minutes at a time. That made me nervous because the snow was pretty deep in places, and if I managed to throw the car into the ditch we might be waiting some time before someone found us. Even though the snow had let off a lot when we got off the 174, there were still huge piles of it on the road and I did wonder at time if pressing on, or at least not backtracking to the 417, would prove to be one of those things you go "well in hindsight..." about.

It was also perhaps the first time that I really missed the Subaru since it went three years ago now. The Legacy would have laughed at those conditions -- it has laughed at worse -- and while the Mazda was adequately safe, it never felt glued to the road the way the Legacy did.

We stopped in Hawkesbury for Tim Horton's and a pit stop, and at that point I got the first indication that I'd hurt myself more than a little bit -- I couldn't put power through my leg, although I could stand on it.

When we crossed over to Quebec -- just after we got on the 40 -- we collected up behind two snow plows. Those plows are kind of impressive to be right behind, you can see the huge amount of snow that they remove from the road. That was pretty depressing, as it was something like 9PM at that point and we passed a sign saying Montreal 66 while we're going 40. I was resigned to riding their wake all the way in, which would be (pause for brief math break) around an hour and a half. But no, after we passed a construction site, both plows peeled off into Rigaud.

After that we made some good time, maybe a little too good. I didn't think I was overdriving the conditions, but the fact that we'd just been at the head of a parade, and then released, and not passed by crazy quebec drivers? That made me think maybe I was over-doing it a bit. But before we made the island, a couple of nuts driving 4wd monsters in a big hurry to get to their accident whooshed past us, and that made me feel a lot better.

Then it was a simple matter of following the Google Maps directions I'd printed out, and we arrived at the hotel pretty much bang on at 10PM.

That's easily one of the more complicated drives I've had to make.

One upside: all that tedious motoring along at sub-walking speeds and then rarely achieving, let along exceeding, 90 km/h on the way here means we probably got great gas mileage for this trip.


Dear Minister Toews:

Dear Minister Toews:

I read with interest your endeavors to rid Canada of Child Pornography (Tories on e-snooping: ‘Stand with us or with the child pornographers’, 13 February 2012). Clearly child pornography is a crime against the most vulnerable of victims and undermines the very fabric of Canadian society when we stand idly by and permit it to happen.

That said, your bill to require ISPs to provide warrant-free "lawful access" to law enforcement agents is potentially a huge violation of personal privacy. While I am the first to stand with you in condemning those evil child pornographers and to accept that in the battle of the just there will be some collateral damage, it occurs to me that there is an easy compromise to be reached here.

I'll make you a deal.

Modify your bill such that lawful access:
  • can ONLY be provided in cases DIRECTLY under investigation for child pornography and/or terrorism*; and
  • the evidence leading to the requirement for such lawful access must be presented to, and approved by, a judge within 16 business hours of the lawful access demand being placed on the ISP (ie if the evidence would have supported a warrant the police can get one after the fact -- and the evidence collected from lawful access would not be admissible in justifying the warrantless access itself); and
  • any and all information or evidence gathered directly or indirectly without a warrant is inadmissible for any and all other charges which may be contemplated or arise from such information; and
  • that any and all public officials accept personal, extraordinary, total and complete liability for maintaining the secrecy and privacy of this information collected against accidental or malicious release;
...and I'll support your bill. Focus the law against the targets you want to apply it to, don't make a dangerous tool for investigators to get "creative" with. We can balance the requirement of the police to move quickly with the obligations to maintain citizen privacy. Otherwise, I'll have to stand with those who say: Better a goodly number guilty men go free, than one innocent man be wrongly convicted. Which may include the child pornographers. For ours is a country of laws and due process.


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