Naked no more

For years now, my favourite opening gambit for inviting a  prospect to an Interview was, “Meet you, 10:30 A.M., Naked,” It always worked as an intriguing hook.  But soon, there will be Naked no more in Caledon.

Yes, sadly, my favourite meeting place is closing and the wonderful and talented Svetlana is moving on to new chapters in her life.

I have met politicians, journalists, budding authors, neighbours and new friends over the years at Naked Café and loved every minute of it. Whether it be lessons in journalism from Hap, editing sessions with Max, neighbourhood gossip with Bob, ghost writing with Ruth, or meetings with random spirits, it was all wonderful.

One of my favourite memories  was recreating a “Coffee in Cars with Comedians” episode when one of my former students turned up in her Porsche to take me out for a local coffee. Of course we went to the Naked Café, We titled that story, “Coffee in Cars With Canoeists.”

And most recently, I walked in to Naked to protest the closing, and met Bonnie for the first time, She was just picking up her order to go. We started up a conversation over our shock at the closing, and now Bonnie and her long distance twin Clyde are literary confidents. It reminded me of that famous Leo Buscaglia story, where he gets on an elevator with a total stranger, says hello enthusiastically and gives him a big hug, “Do I know you?” asks the other man. “You do now!” answered the always ebullient Leo.

The Naked Café had a loyal following who enjoyed the friendly atmosphere, great fresh food, and specialized baked goods. Svetlana, you and your wonderful staff will truly be missed … but not forgotten.

So this week, I have booked it up – today Bonnie & Clyde, Wednesday Max, Thursday Bob, and Friday for a solo Turmeric latte. Next week, who knows what random intersections and conversations may occur. If you’re looking for a good story, I’ll meet you there … Naked at 10;30 …

***

For anyone who may have missed the sign on the door, Friday, January 31 is the last day to go Naked in Bolton.

 

 

Bill 66 ahead, approach with Caution!

Caledon Open For Business Once upon a time, Ontario had a Greenbelt Act, and a Clean Water Act,  and a Planning Act, and a Lake Simcoe Protection Act.

Then the good citizens of Ontario, tired of the governments that had protected all this, voted in a new government. The Premier, who promised in his campaign to protect our Greenbelt, then declared: “Ontario is OPEN FOR BUSINESS!”

In a pointed Tweet recently, the comparison was made that, “Bill 66 is to wealthy developers in the Greenbelt like horse tranquilizer was for Bill Cosby.” In a gentler form, we are reminded of Aldo Leopold’s Sand County Almanac, where he wrote: “There is yet no ethic dealing with man’s relation to the land and to the animals and plants which grow upon it. Land, like the Odysseus’ slave girls, is still property. The land relation is still strictly economic, entailing privileges but not obligations.

Leopold wrote this in 1949 and The Sand County Almanac remains to this day a cornerstone of environmental studies and a poignant reminder of what it takes to truly become a conserver society. We have a white colonial masters’ attitude to the land, and the rape and pillage we have inflicted over five centuries in North America has not abated. We have yet to realize that we and the environment are one.

In an attempt at reconciliation, these days our municipal Councils give lip service thanks to the First Peoples whose lands we stole, breaking every treaty that we signed along the way west. Upon those lands this year in the Golden Horseshoe of Ontario, our elected officials will sit in Town Halls debating the pros and cons of Bill 66. The year is 2019. There should be NO DEBATE. You either fully protect the rights of the land and its beings with seven generation decisions, or you don’t.

In a recent interview Tim Gray, Executive Director of Environmental Defence, stated, “The Ontario government is lying to its constituents about protecting the Greenbelt when Bill 66 clearly gives a secret process allowing municipalities to negotiate deals with developers without hope of appeal.”

You either fully protect the Greenbelt, the Oak Ridges Moraine, the Niagara Escarpment Biosphere, and all watersheds originating therein or you don’t.

Recognize our history. When the colonial victors opened Upper Canada to immigration after the War of 1812, it took less than forty years for European settlers to deforest 80% of southern and eastern Ontario. 10.000 years of Great-Lakes St. Lawrence forest enriched  topsoil were depleted and eroded. The Great Lakes, the world’s largest source of fresh water, the gift of our last Ice Age, were polluted in less than 200 years because of deforestation, agricultural run-off and industrial waste.

We should learn from our history and try not to make the same mistakes. But we don’t, and the cost is always paid by the survivors. Our sacred protected spaces are not open for business.

Ronald Wright concluded in his brilliant A Short History of Progress, “If civilization is to survive, it must live on the interest, not the capital, of nature….Each time history repeats itself, the price goes up.

The Way I see it,

***

Skid Crease, Caledon

  • a full analysis of Bill 66 will follow. In the meantime, interested readers can go to the environmentaldefence.ca or ontarionature.org sites for a natural perspective on how to Stop Bill 66.

 

Ontario News Now … IS NOT

Skid Crease is a member of the Canadian Association of Journalists, an author, an internationally renowned speaker, and a lifelong educator currently living in Caledon, Ontario.

***

In 2018, Doug Ford, candidate for the leadership of the Progressive Conservative party of Ontario, blocked the mainstream media from his campaign tour and instead co-opted Lyndsey Vanstone, reporter turned staffer,  to be his “media spokesperson” for “public events” that were privately recorded and staged. Enter Ontario News Now!

Lyndsey moved up quickly through the Doug Ford dynasty beginning in June of 2018. In less than six months she rose from being his Press Secretary, to his Executive Assistant, to the Deputy Director of Communications for the Progressive Conservative Party of Ontario. Impressive! Granted that Lyndsey has a legitimate broadcasting certificate from Seneca College and has a personable and articulate onscreen presence, which makes “Ontario News Now” seem like a legitimate news outlet.

It is not.

It is a propaganda tool, pure and simple, for Doug Ford and the “Progressive” Conservative Party of Ontario. Much like Fox News and Breitbart works for Trump, so does the Toronto Sun and “Ontario News Now” unabashedly support the right, some would say far right, of the political spectrum. And while the Sun is classified as legitimate, lower grade reading level media, “Ontario News Now” is not legitimate news in any way.

“Ontario News Now” is the private tool of a political party with a populist political boss. It is to legitimate news broadcasting what the now defunct and disgraced “Caledon Perspectives” was to legitimate community newspapers – in that case, the marketing ploy of a development corporation that sought to intimidate and misinform the citizens of Caledon. That propaganda newspaper is gone, but the damage remains with the wool still pulled over the eyes of a segment of our tribalized community. The only difference between these two media manipulations was that one was paid for by a private corporation. the other is paid for by the taxpayers of the province.

“Ontario News Now” will probably be with us for the next four years. Let’s hope that the provinces’ citizens become more media literate and can learn to separate the wheat from the chaff.

Here’s a good sensory image to help us . Every time an “Ontario News Now” broadcast or Tweet comes across your phone, imagine that you have just stepped in an unwanted warm pile of poop that a neighbour’s pet left on your lawn. It’s what my olfactory nerves pick up every time I see Doug Ford on the screen intoning, “My friends…”

The way I smell it.

***

Skid Crease, journalist, Caledon

*image from reddit.com, original by cartoonist Graeme MacKay