Going for the Green … Licence Plate

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I beheld it reverently, almost with the awe of an innocent child on a mythical Christmas morning. Yes, Virginia, there is a green licence plate in Ontario. And it was attached, front and rear bumpers, to our new “zero emissions” Plug-in Hybrid vehicle. It was just in time to help Canada honour its lofty promises made at the recent COP26 Environment Conference.

Not only does the green Ontario licence plate indicate that your vehicle is clean and quiet, it also entitles you to drive solo in the designated HOV lanes. It also allows you to take advantage of the many green designated parking spaces and charging stations installed and expanding around Ontario. In my community, Katelyn Tozer with the Town of Caledon has been working on creating the infrastructure and resources needed to encourage and expand the use of electric and electric-hybrid vehicles. The planet loves a family with low emissions!

Canada’s lofty goals aside, it was really my neighbours who inspired me to get a “zero emissions” vehicle, Imagine in your neighbourhood, just upwind, is a family of four with six vehicles – four individual use cars and extra “pet” sports cars. One of the sports cars might be a work in progress, kept in their attached garage/mechanics shop where it would be frequently tuned, loudly belching clouds of petrochemical effluent into our  collective airspace.

Even more inspiring would be their habit of clearing their four cars of frost, ice and snow in the winter by leaving them idling for 20 minutes or so until everything melted off. Of course in the summer, the idling would be used to run the air conditioner to cool the cars down, You would try to set a good example by using a new emissions free invention called the combo snow brush and ice scraper on your family’s one vehicle. Or you would demonstrate the benefits of parking in the shade and leaving the windows open a crack in the summer, You would even put up a sign saying “No Idling Zone” to remind them of Caledon’s two minute limit on idling, but it would all be to no avail.

I slowly came to the realization that Canada could never meet our targets with that level of pollution right next door, so my family decided that the only thing we could do to compensate was to reduce our emissions to zero. Thus our decision to purchase the new Plug-in Hybrid vehicle. We had already signed up with Bullfrog Power when we first bought our home, so we knew we had green electricity going into the grid for every kilowatt hour of juice we used when we “filled the tank” so to speak.

We also considered, with gratitude, the roll of the dice that had placed us in a country with the resources and personal circumstances that allow us to make such a choice. Even in Canada, a majority of our population trying to survive under pandemic pressures have to meet other basic needs first before considering the luxury of a green vehicle choice. Perhaps our politicians should make it a priority to create a clean, green public transportation network to benefit all Canadians. How shortsighted it was for the Ontario government and Metrolinx to cancel the planned GO system expansion to Bolton, let alone all of the green programs and vehicle rebates. Bad Dougie!

Here is the challenge for Canada, for the globe. We tend to blame the large corporate fossil fuel industry for our accelerating climate change woes. We also need to address individual citizens and politicians who continue to engage in fossil fool behaviour. Idling your car for twenty minutes to melt off the snow is like a person infected with the coronavirus walking maskless  through a crowded supermarket screaming “FREEDOM” with spittle filled passion. William Wallace would not be impressed.

Educating the corporation, the politician and the individual as to the seriousness of the accelerating climate change emergency is a survival curriculum for the twenty-first century and beyond. Moving through awareness and knowledge to action is the challenge. In order to get people to change their behaviours, my mom used to advise me, “Sometimes you get more with the honey dipper than the fly swatter.”

More recently one of my mentors, Dr. William Fyfe, bemoaning the lack of progress on dealing with the planet’s most serious environmental issues, passionately told me: “Skid, it’s time to stop being polite to stupid people.” Yes indeed, it’s time for both the honey dipper and a really big fly swatter.

The way I see it.


Skid Crease, Caledon





The Last Debate

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September 10 2021. I voted today.

 It is now Friday, the morning after the English version of the last two Leader’s Debates in the Canadian federal election. The first, held in French, was on more global topics that ranged from international affairs to cultural identity, and produced no clear winner. However, Mr. O’Toole was on the defensive from the outset for his sly release of the CPC platform funding just hours before the debate.

The final Debate was all coast to coast to coast Canada, covering everything from climate change to affordable housing to Peace and Reconciliation, and there were clear winners and losers. From my perspective, the gold medal went to Annamie Paul. She was articulate, composed, well-informed, and kept the petulant boys firmly in their place. Unfortunately, the GREEN Party infighting earlier in the year guaranteed that she would not win the Prime Minister’s office. The outright loser, sadly for me, was Justin Trudeau.

I confess that my political leanings are centrist with a slight tilt to the left. The Vote Compass survey lets me know each year that I am clearly on the Liberal side of policies, with one toe in the Green and NDP ideologies, and the door clearly shut on the right wing Conservative Party of Canada and far right wing People’s Party of Canada. That being said, Erin O’Toole of the CPC may have walked away with a golden ticket to the Prime Minister’s office.

For an audience not aware of the CPC policies and practices that are in direct opposition to the smooth words that came out of Erin’s mouth last night, Mr. O’Toole appeared cool, reasonable and well-prepared to not answer a single question directly. He also cleverly took every opportunity to raise the irrelevant ghost of Jody Wilson-Raybould every time Mr. Trudeau was questioned about his commitment to indigenous peoples.

Mr. Trudeau, on the other hand, appeared defensive, angry, flustered and did not present at all well during the debate. Most annoying seemed to be the question: “Why did you call an election in the middle of a pandemic?” It was clear by the end of the night that the Prime Minister was asking himself the same question and had no good answer.

The result of which may be a minority Conservative government at best. At worst, it could have handed Navigator O’Toole a majority CPC parliament that will saddle Canada with four years of gun lobbyists, fossil fool projects, tax-breaks for the rich, and a return to colonial rule.

When I was trapped in the Twitter echo chamber I once tweeted that Erin O’Toole would never be Prime Minister of Canada. I take that back. Last night, Justin Trudeau may have just made that possible. I will still be voting for our local Liberal candidate, and still stand with the Liberal centrist policies and a belief in a Just Society. I simply couldn’t vote for the gaslighting Conservative MP we currently have in Dufferin-Caledon, nor support his fork-tongued leader.

So, why will Erin O’Toole possibly be our next Prime Minister? Neither the BQ, the NDP, the GPC, nor the PPC have the numbers to win. Econexus Research shows the NDP are holding steady at 19%, but the GPC at 3% and the BQ at 6% have both lost ground in the polls. However, the PPC have risen to 7%. an increase that shows us how far right the angry mob is marching.

That leaves a toss-up between the Liberals and the CPC tied at 32.5% each. There is a dark underbelly of anger in the country right now that has been fueled by pandemic health concerns, economic pressures, and anti-vaxxer selfishness and stupidity. That resentment, directed undeservedly towards the Liberal Party, burst when the election was called.

Undeservedly because it is important to remember that this Liberal minority government did not start the COVID-19 global pandemic. What they did do was guide Canada safely through the first Four Waves with solid health policies and reasonable economic stimulus. Even today’s job numbers showed us the good news that employment is up. Anyone who is angry at this government for pursuing a mandatory vaccine policy and vaccine passport is a complete COVIDIOT. Anyone angry at this government for spending billions on vaccines, health benefits, and economic assistance to individuals and small businesses should move to Florida or Texas.

Yes, we should not have called an election at this time. We should have quietly surfed the Fourth Wave with our noisy minority government until the waters calmed. Instead, we may have given the reins of power to a party that is only one polite policy notch down from the Republican horde to the south. Oh Canada.

The way I see it.


Skid Crease, Caledon

An Election Writ Large, Part 1

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Yes, the writ was dropped today for the next Canadian federal election, Parliament was suspended, and October 21 can’t come any too soon. It’s big decision time for Canada to either choose forward or the rear view mirror.

If we look back eighteen years into the past, it was a day that changed all of out lives when an act of unspeakable terror paralyzed our world. If we look eighteen years into the future, what kind of a world will we and our youth inherit. The next four years of governance in Canada – locally and globally – rests with an apathetic electorate who are too easily seduced by catchy songs, slogans, and spin masters.

But for those who are paying attention, here is my nutshell prediction for Election Day October 2019.

The NDP will bleed to the Liberals, and the Greens will simply bleed. The CPC will hold their yellow-vest and white colonial base but may lose their extreme alt-right to the PPC as the BLOC get blocked. We will potentially end up with a Liberal minority government where the balance of power could be held by Green or Independent MPs. If the Ford Factor comes into full play in Ontario, it could be a Liberal majority.

Either way, we will end up with a country where the foothills and the Prairies have turned hard right, so here’s hoping that the rest of the country can find centre ground and liberate us from a reign of sheer terror.

That’s the way I see it on September 11, 2019.


Skid Crease, Caledon