Wednesday, August 13, 2008

What's the water like...?

In the category of: "So you think you've heard stupid so far...?", I have just received the following phone call from a gentleman who works for the Ministry of the Environment, Province of Ontario. (He was calling us, not surprisingly, from Toronto).

- "Hi... is this the Coast Guard here?"

- "No... you've reached the General Enquiries line for Fisheries and Oceans Canada here in Ottawa, ON. How can I help you?"

- "That's odd... I just took your number off a website here for the Coast Guard...though I noticed that it said in the upper corner: Fisheries and Oceans Canada...".

- "Should you realize it or not, Sir... the Canadian Coast Guard is in fact part of Fisheries and Oceans Canada. Now, how can I help you?"

- "Oh... okay. I work for the Ministry of the Environment here in Toronto. I have a female caller here who is looking for information on water conditions for Lake Ontario."

- "By water conditions, what do you mean, sir?"

- "Choppy... is the water choppy? She wants to take her dog swimming and wants to know if the water is too choppy to do that...".

- "Let me see if I understand this... your caller wants to take her dog swimming in Lake Ontario and so she is looking for a type of marine weather forecast for that area?"

- "Yes... pretty much. I have already been through the Ministry of Natural Resources for the Province of Ontario and it's not them. She thought it was us... Hah! Not likely...".

- "I think you'll find sir, that weather reports, specifically marine weather forecasts, are issued by Environment Canada".

- "Nope...".

- "What do you mean: 'Nope'...?"

- "I already called them and they said they have nothing to do with that. They referred me to you...".

- "Did they now...? Sir, Environment Canada is THE federal entity responsible for the gathering and dissemination of weather data across Canada. Through their Weatheradio service, they broadcast weather conditions, forecasts, warnings and watches across Canada (including Toronto...) on a VHF-FM radio band. They also have their Weatheroffice web site, which also provides marine weather forecasts. Finally, they have their Automated Telephone Weather Service, which also provides recorded marine weather forecasts...".

- "Well, I phoned them and they said they had nothing to do with it...".

- "Depending which section of the hundreds that make up Environment Canada that you were talking to, I can see how you might have gotten that response... Truthfully though, I don't see any section of the federal government of Canada, giving information on swimming conditions for small dogs. Be it in Lake Ontario or elsewhere...".

- "But I thought the Coast Guard did that...?"

- "Allow me to elucidate you, Sir... The Canadian Coast Guard's Marine Communications and Traffic Services provide marine weather bulletins, for small craft operators when there is a sudden change in weather conditions. These are broadcast over marine VHF channel 16 and they are intended for recreational boaters and commercial shipping, not necessarily dog owners."

- "Oh...".

- "So if I may suggest, Sir... here is the regional number in Toronto for Environment Canada's Automated Telephone Weather Service, where your caller can obtain the regional marine weather forecast for Lake Ontario...".

The fact that this lad worked for the Province of Ontario and was every bit as clueless as his female caller, no surprise whatsoever. I have ceased being amazed at the level of stupidity Ontario residents are capable of displaying.

I'm just waiting for any of them to begin casting aspersions at Maritimers...

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