Election Lawn Signs 101

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There is a federal election coming to Canada on September 20, 2021 and the flowering of lawn signs in this campaign has been relatively sparse in the Caledon area. That could be because it is considered one of the safest Conservative ridings in Canada, leading to the local attitude that you could run a dead cow as the Conservative Party of Canada candidate and it would win the Dufferin-Caledon riding.

That being said, there is still a diversity of political thinking in our rurban Town of Caledon, so I walked our local neighbourhood to get an insight into the psyche of the populace. Now, not to stereotype, but the choice of Party says a lot about the values we wish to state publically on our lawns. This is particularly true since Bolton made the international news with full video coverage of the angry mob that disrupted and caused the cancellation of the Prime Minister’s campaign visit to Caledon.

 For example, if we place a People’s Party of Canada sign it lets our neighbours know that we are on the extreme alt-right of the spectrum where the leader of that party tends to racism, sexism, intolerance, and we are basically registering a protest vote because the Maxime will get the minimum.

 On the other hand, if we display a GREEN party sign on our lawn, we probably tend to care for the environment and have a respect for diversity, but again a protest vote after the party ate itself alive in public. I have seen one of each of those signs in my neighbourhood.

 Sadly, nary a single orange NDP sign, which would however indicate that we had a strong sense of social justice and had bought into the myth that the ghost of Jack Layton, who played footsies with Stephen Harper for years, will save the party from anything but a mid-field finish.

 Which brings us to the two parties that will likely battle it out to form another minority government. If you are displaying a Liberal red sign on your lawn, you are content that the current government has brought us safely through the first few waves of this pandemic. We have emerged with a stable recovering economy and strong global health rating. And despite the opposition parties trying their best to manufacture scandals and create crises, it turned out to be all smear smoke and no fire.

 Finally, if you are displaying a bluish Conservative Party of Canada sign on your lawn, you probably tend to more right-wing views on things like tax-breaks for the rich, building pipelines for fossil fools, the Right to Choose for vaccinations but not for women, the right to own automatic assault rifles, and a suddenly found respect for drug addicts, all things indigenous, and military veterans. Better late than never. Sorry, my bias is showing here.

After the obscene protests in Bolton on Friday August 27th when it was revealed that members of the local CPC candidate’s team were part of the protest, I drew the line. Despite the candidate’s and party leader’s later statements of “zero tolerance” for such behaviour, all I see now when I spot one of those blue re-elect your Conservative MP signs is a horde of virulent Yellow Vesters, rabid anti-vaxxer Covidiots, and extremist cult Conservative Republicans shouting violent obscenities at our Canadian Prime Minister.

A dead cow is one thing. A rabid rat is a totally different proposition.

The way I see it.

***

Skid Crease, Caledon

Naked no more

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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!

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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.