Parks Canada issues gag order

Have you read this article about Parks Canada issuing what essentially amounts to a gag order on its employees regarding the agency and the Conservative government?

IMHO, this agency is just asking for trouble.  Do the communications staff at Parks Canada not understand the power of Social Media?  With so many online platforms and networks available to them, I predict that staff will rebel!  They will find a way to say anything they choose, possibly even when restricted by a formal agreement as part of their continuing employment.  Just one question:  Have you ever heard of the online group called “Anonymous“?  Anonymous will probably grab this headline and build a fire with it like you just provided them several thousand Airmiles for free gas.

I plan to follow this story to see how courageous the union employees become.  Management will toe the line, I’m sure.  It will be especially interesting to see what ex-employees have to say after many of them receive their termination papers due to cuts.  And in support of free speech, retirees might have a mouthful to contribute!

I was a civil servant for many years and had lots to say about the municipal government for whom I slaved (opinionated? who me?).  But even I, a lowly supervisor, felt the potential wrath of those with power. So through better judgement and a desire to have a roof over my head and eat, my thoughts remained in the bubble over my head.  I did not utter (write?) a single critical comment publicly.  Of course I didn’t have Facebook, Twitter, WordPress and Google+ etcetera back then.  Hmmm, what might I have done if all these networks had been available to me then?  Maybe I’ll reach back to the craziness of the 1990s leading up to the day I was called to the big HR boardroom at Metro Hall to receive my final papers and tell the story all these years later.  What have I got to lose now?  And let me assure you folks, it’s a doozy!

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Use the internet to get off the internet!

How many of you use the online app meetup.com?

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I discovered this site when I was looking for groups of women like me to have some real life fun.  I only see my long time gal friends infrequently because we are all so busy and don’t live near each other.  So I was delighted to find a wonderful group of women in my area who go to a variety of events, restaurants, movies and any other activities that interest the participants.  I am a total social animal online but I enjoy face to face social contact even more.  So I had to do something to vary my information intake and reduce my screen time. I wanted to hear the chatter of people’s voices and see the expressions on their faces.

Thanks to the organizer, the group has had a wonderful time meeting, chatting, bowling, eating, dancing, relaxing, going to each others homes and so on and so on.  I am sure that meetup.com stimulates business because I don’t think any of us would have spent our money in some of the venues available in our area had we not met each other.  Here are some of the places we have been and had such a wonderful time that I just had to tell you about them:

The Briars – In March 2012 our group organizer managed to secure a great rate for one of the lodges that could accommodate 10 of us.  We’ll never get that price again so I am very thankful I was involved.  We ate, we danced, we ate, we drank, we laughed, we had spa treatments, we treasure-hunted, we ate, we played games, we swam.  We became known there as “THE TEN” and had a  fantastic time!

Eggsmart –  This is a nice little breakfast place we went to one Sunday morning not too long ago.  Diner style with great food, great service, average price.  There are several locations so we went to the one closest to us.  There is a store locator on this website so you can find the one nearest to you.  It was a beautiful sunny day.  We met some new members and had a nice chat that day. The place was packed!  They did not get great reviews on Urban Spoon but I would not let that stop you.

Nino D’Aversa Bakery –  The group meets up here occasionally for coffee & treats or brunch.  The service is a running joke between us all but we still like it and continue to go there.  They seem to have lots of customers but if you read the reviews you will wonder why!  They are not complimentary at all and I know why from first hand experience. Once we had to share our ketchup bottle with the whole restaurant.  However, we are a pretty easy going group and like to linger over our food & drinks.  They never rush us out and the location is convenient for us.  Here is another Urban Spoon review.  The negative comments about the service are all true but again, don’t let that put you off.  The desserts are a little pricey but just amazing!  My favorite is the Fudgy Wudgy Chocolate Cake!  I gain weight just thinking about it!

The Chance Dance Centre – I am not attending this meetup but a bunch of our members are taking some classes there and seem to be enjoying it immensely!  The organizer was smart enough to ask for an introductory price for the group and the owner actually did the first lesson for free!  Smart move because they got business out of it for doing so.

If you find yourself online 16/7 or more (like me), then USE THE INTERNET TO GET OFF THE INTERNET! Check out meetup.com and look for a group in your area.  You will be amazed at the variety of interest groups there are with people who want to get together to learn, have fun, meet professionals in their industry, read/review books, eat, dance, etc, etc!  The choices seem endless but if you don’t find a group that fits your interests, you can start up your own!

And if you do sign up for a group, please come back here and let me know what you did and if you enjoyed it!