Climate Catastrophe Will Cost Us More

The Ford Regime of Regressive Conservatives is trying to dumb down Ontarians with their campaign of propaganda and misinformation about the “job-killing carbon tax” by mandating that all gas stations in Ontario carry a sticker on their gas pumps that claim to show the increased costs in fossil fuel for the average family. They fail to show the rebates that come back from the federal government to the average family. They also fail to show the costs of climate catastrophe for the average family.

Enter the Green Party of Ontario with their own gas pump stickers that tell the truth: CLIMATE CHANGE will cost us more! Thank you Mike Schreiner. These magnets, as illustrated in the lead image, can be ordered from the Party’s website. I wish they also had flags we could fly from our cars, and lawn signs we could place in front of every gas station, and billboards that would clear the smog of Boss Ford regime’s polluting propaganda.

Our taxpayer dollars are being used against us by this government. Every TV ad we see, every broadcast we hear, every Ontario News Not sham reality TV fake breaking news special is another pile of El-Toro-Pooh Pooh from Dougie’s dumbing us down team. It is time to say a loud and passionate NO to big and powerful and environmentally illiterate politicians! Get your BS off our gas pumps!

Let our MPPs know that this is a violation of our intelligence, of our energy that should be going into mitigation efforts, of the health of our children, and of the biodiversity of our ecosystems. Doug Ford is driving the Ontario bus into the future at high speed looking in the pre-paleolithic rear view mirror. And any supporter of the Regressive Conservative Party who is supporting him is complicit.

So, all of you good, hopefully thoughtful and intelligent people who are Ontario Conservative Party members, as scientist Bill Nye said on John Oliver’s Last Week Tonight Show recently:

“Grow the f–k up. You’re not children anymore. I didn’t mind explaining photosynthesis to you when you were 12. But you’re adults now.”

Ah, and of course, adults who are right wing conservative politicians always act in the best interests of their local and global communities, right? No. They only do the right thing if their communities demand that they do so, and if they don’t it is time for a ride out of town on a rail and covered in tar sand oil and feathers.

If you are an Ontario Conservative supporter at this point in 2019, you are for deregulation and cutting red tape solely for the economic benefit of wealthy developers and corporations AND you are against social justice, environmental security, public education, and sustainable development. In my riding of Dufferin-Caledon, Sylvia Jones is the Conservative MPP. She does not speak for me and I regard her as an enemy of the people as long as she sycophantically claps for every Doug Ford pronouncement.

We fixed Ford’s gas pump sticker. Now it’s time to fix Ontario. It’s time to open up our windows and collectively scream,

“We’re mad as hell, and we’re not going to take it anymore!”

The way I see it.

***

Skid Crease, Caledon

*image from the Green Party of Ontario

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Something is Rotten in Dufferin-Caledon

WARNING: This editorial is long, but worth the read before the next federal election.

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Politics has been a blood sport since its inception, most notably captured in the phrase, “Et tu, Brute?” Yep, Julius didn’t see the dagger in the hand of his buddy Brutus and suddenly lost a lot more than his power.

In Canada, we have many examples in recent history. The long knives were out for leaders Kim Campbell, Stephane Dion, and Thomas Mulcair when the party “insiders” decided it was time for a leadership change.

In Ontario over the past two years we have seen the chaos that ensued when the provincial Progressive Conservative Party pulled the rug out from under its elected leader, Patrick Brown, went through a farce of a leadership convention with accusations of impropriety on all sides, and finally anointed a new “leader” who had won neither the popular vote from convention candidates, nor the majority of votes.

Locally, the Conservative chaos continued the past month at the federal level with the nomination process to replace long standing MP David Tilson in the riding of Dufferin-Caledon. Ever since Liberal Murray Calder lost the seat to Tilson in 2004, this district has been in Conservative hands.

*Backgrounder:

In 2004 our former electoral districts of Dufferin-Peel-Wellington-Grey were rearranged as Dufferin-Caledon. Tilson had been the Conservative provincial representative for Dufferin-Peel under Mike Harris. When it became apparent that the Ontario populace had turned their backs on Harris, he retired to take a victory tour of Europe. The Conservatives selected Ernie Eves as their new leader. Eves had no elected seat in parliament. Tilson gave up his provincial seat for Mr. Eves so that he could slide into parliament as Ontario’s new Premier. Tilson switched from provincial to federal politics. A confused electorate voted, and Tilson won his seat in federal politics.

Back to the future and the confusion now rocking the federal Conservative nomination process in Dufferin-Caledon. On a local level, this is bigger than SNC Lavalin. Consider that if a provincial party, established in 1854 or a federal party established in 1867 can’t have an honest and transparent candidate selection process, they shouldn’t be given the reins of power. Here’s how it should work.

Potential candidates who submit their names for MP positions are put through background checks and financial audits by the National Candidate Selection Committee (NCSC), NOT the local riding association. Approved names are passed on to the local riding association for assistance in vetting. Party membership lists are controlled by the Conservative Party Executive, not the local riding committee.

Now, in order to win a nomination, candidates encourage their supporters to sign up as party members. All candidates for all parties do this. The more supporters you have at a nomination convention, the greater your likelihood of winning. For the Conservative Party of Canada, a $15 entry fee gets you in the door, provided you meet the following criteria:

“In order to join a political party, there are certain requirements to join:

  • You must agree with the general principles of the party (they will often get you to sign or tick a box online stating that you agree)
  • Most parties will not allow you to join if you are a member in another party (there is no way for them to police this, they rely on the honour system)
  • You must be a resident of Canada (no, you don’t even need to be a citizen, just a permanent resident in Canada)
  • You must be a minimum age (this differs between political parties, but it is usually as low as 14 or 16; so if you’re in high school, you can be a member of a political party with all the rights that come with it – which includes voting in a nomination race).
  • You must have been a registered member for 21 days prior to the candidates’ convention.”

This should be easy. The federal Conservative Party was founded in 1867, switched to Progressive Conservatives in 1942, united the right to become the Conservative Reform Alliance Party (CRAP) and when the acronym didn’t quite work, became the Conservative Party of Canada in 2003. Confused? Yes, and that’s the purpose of changing your name every few years. On the other hand, the Liberal Party of Canada has been the Liberal Party since 1861.

On March 15, 2019, Harzadan Singh Khattra, buoyed by an enthusiastic crowd of his community supporters, won an easy victory. It was immediately appealed by the third place finisher, Barb Shaughnessy, apparently out of fear that his nomination would lead to a Liberal victory in Dufferin-Caledon. She did not give any reasons for those fears. When she lost the local riding association appeal, she sent it to the National Council. On April 25, 2019, the removal of Mr. Khattra as the victor was announced by the NCSC and confirmed by the National Council.

Now normally, the second place finisher from March 15, Mr. Kevin Weatherbee, would be declared the candidate. However, remember that politics is a blood sport. Sounding a lot like a squeaky wheel desperately trying to get some grease, third place finisher Shaughnessy quickly declared that she felt she would have the majority of support.

At the same time, she began to circulate email rumours that Jennifer Innis, the local party President, would be jumping ship from her municipal position as Regional Councillor to enter federal politics. In response, Ms. Innis clearly stated that she had made a commitment to remain in municipal politics for this term. Known to be a respectful and ethical local politician, Innis made it absolutely clear that the Shaughnessy rumours were “categorically false.”

Now the party is left with few choices: either the second place finisher wins, or there will be a new nomination process. Or, as happens when time is short and there is a candidate controversy, the Party Leader can bypass democracy and anoint whoever he or she considers to be a winner for that riding.

Dear Conservatives, you’ve had over one hundred and sixty years to practice. Try to get it right this time.

The way I see it.

***

Skid Crease, Caledon

*image 1 from redmolotov.com

*image 2 from independentsentinel.com

 

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Climate Change Primer

What you are about to read is not a fairy tale or a love story. I am a cynical optimist, and I will not lie to our children. It is time to stop telling them that our environmental efforts are going to, as one local eco-organization states, “reverse Global Warming for a brighter world for our kids.”

Today, April 1, 2019, is officially dubbed “Fossil Fool’s Day” in honour of Premier Doug Ford’s cancellation of our international Cap and Trade program for carbon pricing. As a result of his government’s environmental illiteracy, all Ontarian’s will have to pay more for carbon based fuels. The planet will have to pay more in the long run.

The premier is not worried. The fuel for his new pimped-up SUV, dubbed “Car Farce One”, is taxpayer subsidized. But Dirty Doug is really only an extreme example of our failure to deal with a planet under stress. The real issue is our inability to understand the scope of the issues and to address them realistically.

First, we are dealing with accelerating climate change, of which global warming is only one component. Secondly, nothing we as humans can do now will reverse accelerating climate change. If we had seriously wanted to do that, we should have started decades ago when the World Meteorological Association announced in 1988: “Humanity is conducting an unintended, uncontrolled, globally pervasive experiment, whose ultimate consequences are second only to global nuclear war.

The most we can do now is mitigate the impacts of that experiment.

The total sum of our environmental efforts right now will be to set a good example for surviving future generations, to leave a legacy that at least we tried to be intelligent beings on Earth. In the cosmic scale of things, the tiny flicker of time that is our human existence means nothing to the planet. Earth has gone through global cycles of freeze and thaw for millennia before humans appeared. The only difference now is that we did this one to ourselves.

This current state of climate change has not been caused by meteoric impact or volcanic eruption, but by one species consumption of stored solar energy from fossilized plants. A species whose population soared from 7 million to 7 billion in the blink of a cosmic eye – in my lifetime alone from 1946, the world’s population of humans has almost quadrupled. We are a species whose consumptive habits may have bankrupted the resources of life for future generations of all living things. Then again, Earth has kicked back from previous pre-human Extinction Events. The planet will correct our abuses all on its own.

We need to stop telling our children that it’s going to get better. Thanks to the Internet they know we are lying. It’s not going to get better if we continue consuming like 1%er trophy hunters. Start teaching them how to live elegantly with less. All the Prius drivers in the world won’t reverse global warming but at least we’ll look honourable trying. The planet will go into the next cooling phase regardless of our meagre efforts. In the interim, the goals of teaching our children to seek a brighter future should be about living happily in a caring conserver society in whatever time we have left. Period.

The pot of gold isn’t at the end of the rainbow – it is the rainbow.

The way I see it.

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Skid Crease, Caledon

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*image from, ironically, axethecarbontax.ca

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Aggravating Aggregates

Well, just when you thought it was safe to go back on the Oak Ridges Moraine and hike in Ontario’s Protected Greenbelt … the day was Friday, March 29, a sunny cool morning …

There I was riding my trusty old bike in for a spring tune-up at the North Hub Bike Shop on Healey Road when I came across a quiet meeting being held at Bolton’s Hampton Inn.  A small group of environmentally concerned citizens were out in front protesting a meeting going on behind closed doors between politicians and industry representatives, apparently with the goal of opening up the Moraine and Greenbelt to unfettered aggregate extraction. Rumours ran wild.

Those pesky “red tape” items like the Endangered Species Act, and the Clean Water Act, and any Act that might interfere with Doug Ford’s “Open For Business” mantra were said to be on the “exemptions for extractors” list.

In attendance were Caledon’s Mayor Allan Thompson, and Susan Foxton, Mayor of North Dumfries, and Sylvia Jones Minister of Community Safety and Correctional Services (MPP for Dufferin-Caledon), , and John Yakabuski Minister of Natural Resources (MPP for Renfrew-Nipissing-Pembroke), and his Parliamentary Assistant Toby Barrett (MPP for Haldimand-Norfolk), and Steve Clark Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing (MPP for Leeds-Grenville-Thousand Islands and Rideau Lakes), and Dave Smith (MPP for Peterborough-Kawartha), and a couple of aggregate industry representatives, a few government and corporate staffers, and some police. There was no public admission to these discussions.

That’s 2 Municipal Mayors, 5 Conservative MPPs, 4 Ministers, and aggregate industry lobbyists/representatives behind closed doors in a private meeting in little old Bolton. My spidey senses were tingling, but not having my Press Pass with me, I only talked briefly with the very well behaved “protesters”, let the hotel staff know that I was passing on a hello to our Mayor, and left. On foot. My bike won’t be ready until Tuesday. That I know for sure. What I may never know for sure are the details of that meeting.

Those details should be made public. That is the best way to avoid the ridiculous rumours that back room handshake deals were being concocted at secret meetings. I mean, seriously, what idiots would compromise the integrity of the Greenbelt Act and the sanctity of the Oak Ridges Moraine. Seriously.

But just in case, keep an eye on this one, Caledon. When Schedule 10 was exorcised from Bill 66, I predicted the end runs would begin. At this point, no one knows what was discussed behind closed doors at the Hampton Inn in Bolton, so follow the money. Regardless, the citizens of Caledon need to make crystal clear to government and industry: you can develop and extract all you want … within the strictest of environmental guidelines, honouring that “red tape” that prevents rape and pillage, and protects our waters and land and all species for seven generations to come.

Caledon is Open for Environmentally Literate and Ethical Sustainable Development. Period.

The way I see it.

***

Skid Crease, Caledon

  • image from inthehills.ca
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Balancing the Egginox

Two decades ago when I met my wife, she introduced me to a ceremony of balancing eggs on their ends at the exact moment of equal day and night in our portion of the northern hemisphere. I scoffed internally, but, out of love and half asleep, went along with the 2:00 am ceremony.

When at the exact moment of the Equinox, my egg snapped to attention, upright and perfectly balanced, almost like a gravitational field had pulled it upright, I was blown away. I became a believer. For every year since on the equinox in spring and fall, I have balanced my eggs.

Sometimes they stand for several days before toppling over, as usually happened when our then young son ran through the dining room. But never a year when the eggs did not balance.

Now some have suggested that, with extreme patience and a little glue, you can balance an egg on its end at any time of the year. Heresy! Consider the science of this. The axis of Earth is at 90º to the sun only twice a year in our tiny part of the world. Balance is perfect. No wonder the ancients took this time to cleanse, restore balance in their lives and begin to spin stories of the rebirth of the Sun King. It’s all geography.

That’s why the federal government released its budget this week … everything in balance, Well, for sure by 2023 … on the egginox.

You may laugh, but this afternoon, at exactly 5:58 p.m. eastern time, I will be at our dining room table, balancing our free-run, organic, Omega 3 enriched Golden Girl  eggs. I may not have faith in Conservative politicians, or in organized religions, but I have seen the Egginox light. And I believe!

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p.s. You think we don’t have Passover eggs and Easter eggs for a reason? Really?

 

* image from snopes.com

 

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