A longtime rural resident, I use my 60 plus years of life learning to opinionate here and elsewhere on the “interweb” on everything from politics to environmental issues. A believer in reasonable discourse rather than unhelpful attacks I try to give positive input to the blogesphere, so feel free to comment upon rural issues or anything else posted here. But don’t be surprised if you comments get zapped if you are not polite in your replys.

Monday, December 20, 2010

There goes any hope of redemption...


OTTAWA - Prime Minister Stephen Harper today filled two vacancies in the Senate, announcing the appointments of Don Meredith and Larry Smith.   (Thus now having a majority of “Conservative” senators in the upper chamber)

The Reverend Don Meredith is the Executive Director and co-founder of the GTA Faith Alliance .......The Reverend attended Ryerson University and holds a master's degree from California State Christian University.  He is the Pastor of the Pentecostal Praise Centre in Maple, Ontario.

Larry Smith is a widely-recognized in Quebec.......known in Montreal from his days as a fullback with the Montreal Alouettes .........He has received numerous awards including the Commissioner's Award for conserving the CFL (2001),  the American Marketing Association-Marketer of the Year and Sports Personality of the Year

So a football jock come salesman to kick the shit outa ya and tell ya its for your own good, and a preacher who hold a “degree” from a U.S. “Christian” university to pray that the truth will stay hidden. This is the best two individuals that Harper can find to appoint to the Senate? When you consider that Duffy was one the last lot you can see how desperate he is to get his majority in the Senate so that he can rise to the position of Dictator of Canada.

Praise the lord, praise the lord, Harper is nigh........

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Blowing in the Wind

This blog has not seen much action of late however after todays experience I thought what is the use of a personal blog if one cannot have a good whine about the weather, old tractors, snowblowing and income shortages.

Out here in the wilds of the Klondike we do not have any 'new' stuff be it Ma's wheels, my tractor or Mikes snowblower but when the tractor gets to be almost as old as the owner then one must expect both to get a little persnickety in their combined dotage. Made in my home country of Jolly old England in the fiftys, whilst I was still wearing shorts to school, the Fergison tractor is a surprisingly reliable old girl but like the old man does not like these -20 wind chill mornings and when asked to gather herself together on such mornings to beat a path out to the road through 18” of snow gets a little cranky.

Today being the first time this year she was asked to do such a chore she was particularly reluctant, I got her heart started but the blood flow to the hydraulics was notably lacking, left to warm up she had a hissy fit and bust her fan belt. Now the old man has been giving her TLC for a number of years, and we have the skills to patch up the old girl when she quits, but why o why does she always do these things when its so friggin cold and windy? So out with the wrenches and off with the gloves, kneeling in the snow praying that it will only take 3 or 4 more trips inside to rediscover my fingertips we go to work to patch her up. Much cussing, wading thru 2 feet of snow to the tool shed, and asking for the wherewithal to have a least one piece of equipment that is younger than my son we bring her back to life. After a while to warm up that blood flow we get the old girl moving, sort off!. Meanwhile Junior blows a path back to the shop with the little antique...... only to find that his belt also needs replacing, (hey he was at least near the shop, lucky beggar!) and that one is only in her mid 20s not her late 50s!

Now Fergi is a game old bugger but 18” of packed snow is a bit much to ask of her so with blower and bucket raised we knock the top foot of white off all the way out to the road and back, now comes the hard part Fergi. Blowing the packed bottom foot of snow takes all she can do and half way out she starts coughing n gaging and almost gives up. Upon checking her out I see she now has a bladder problem and is pissing green fluid into the snow, upon further inspection I see she has heart failure and the old pump has just give out due to old age but the game old bird makes it back to her spot in the snow bank by the house.

Now her cousin died some years ago and we keep her in the mausoleum out back of the shed and it looks like we are going to have to do a heart transplant after first examining the replacement heart for defects or seizures. I just wish I could afford to bring in an outside surgeon but doubt whether any such technician would consent to work in a snow bank in the middle of winter anyway. Ah well I think she is going to get a bit of a rest till warmer days arrive, just wish I could get a rest as well but it looks like its shoveling time for this old antique!!

Now I know that folks out on the prairies will say “cold, that aint cold” and the folks down in London will say “snow, you aint seen snow yet” but Fergi and I, we have had enough of winter thank you very much. Is it spring yet?

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Climate Change Deal Reached?

Governments today reached an historic deal on climate change that commits all major economies to greenhouse gas cuts. The deal, brokered at international talks in CancĂșn, has been hailed as restoring faith in the multilateral UN process but will not reduce temperatures as much as scientists say is needed, and it pushes many of the most important decisions to future negotiations.
http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2 ... ummit-deal

And from E May
It has left me pinching myself. It is all beyond what I had hoped for.... It is not over yet. So fingers crossed...

But the texts I am reading are on BOTH the Kyoto Protocol (KP) and Long-term Cooperative Action (LCA under the FCCC). They are both free of square brackets which means the parties have agreed.
The KP text recognizes industrialized countries need to reduce emissions 25-40% below 1990 levels by 2020. It also sets out that a second commitment period under KP should use 1990 as a base year. It also recognizes the need to "raise the level of ambition of emission reductions" from industrialized countries.
The LCA text calls for no higher than 2 degrees, and that there is a need to consider keeping below 1.5 degrees. It calls for a "paradigm shift towards building a low-carbon society...". It also establishes a Cancun Adaptation Framework.
http://greenparty.ca/blogs/7/2010-12-10 ... rty-update

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Rick's Rant

As is usual Rick Mercer hit the nail squarely on the head....

I like it when light shines on the Canadian Senate. Because there's no doubt about it, it is a very strange and unique place. And let's face it, it has been a dumping ground for political hacks and bagmen since Mackenzie King was in short pants.

We all know it needs reform. So why is it such a big deal that Tory senators killed a bill? I mean the senate has killed bills before, right? Well not really, not like this. Because they didn't just kill a bill, they killed a bill without any debate. And that is the entire reason the senate exists. They are, despite the fact that Mike Duffy is a member, the chamber of sober second thought. And the Tory senators took a bill that had been voted on and passed by a majority of the duly elected members of the House of Commons – the people we actually vote for – and killed it without a debate. To put that in perspective, the last time it happened was the 1930s.

Think about this: Jean Chretien, who we all know, would have sold his own mother to get his own way and embarrass the opposition, he never tried this.

It’s one of those things; it's so undemocratic nobody actually believed any Canadian Government would do it. It's one of those things that’s just not done. And so when Marjory LeBreton, the senate leader, was asked about this, she just laughed and said, “Ha, it's legal."

Oh, that's a great defense there Marjory. It’s legal. It’s also legal to walk up to a veteran, stick a quarter in his poppy box and take all the poppies. But people don't do it. Because most of us, we like to think about what’s right, not what’s legal.  And if you're dealing with people who go through life and don't care about right or wrong and don’t care about democracy as we know it and only care about what they can get away with? All the reform in the world won’t make a difference.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

The Superhighway to nowhere!

It's the superhighway to nowhere if you don't live in a city or town” So says Connie Woodcock in the Toronto Sun , having written about this issue in the past in my blog here and here it was good to see this article published in a big city newspaper. The comments it gleaned showed the enormous divide that exists between rural and urban citizens, something that was also raised in the senate report on rural poverty referenced here . I will let Connie take it from here:-

“In six months of house hunting in rural Ontario, we’ve come to one conclusion that has become more inevitable the more we look: We have to move into town. We’ve looked and looked and looked but not a single rural property for sale in our area has the one essential without which we can’t work — high-speed Internet access.

That puts us on the wrong side of Canada’s digital divide.

Virtually all urban Canadians can access broadband easily and inexpensively. Thousands of rural Canadians — and not those who live in remote areas — can not. Urban Canadians can use their cellphones wherever and whenever they want. The rest of us can’t.

The CRTC held hearings last week into the future of broadband in rural Canada and whether it should be a basic service that must be regulated and available to all. The first people the CRTC heard from, naturally, were those who don’t want to do it — the big telecommunications companies like Telus and Rogers and Bell. You can guess what they said: Can’t be done; too expensive; market forces will take care of it … blah, blah, blah.

Several service providers said it was impractical, unnecessary and would cost $7 billion. A Telus vice president said the cost was too high and there are other alternatives. It’s enough to make you laugh, unless you don’t have service available and then it’ll make you cry. It’s the kind of argument which, in an earlier age, would have kept rural folk from having electricity or telephone service.

Indeed, Bell Canada, once the only phone service provider, dragged its heels offering private service, leaving many rural residents with party lines as recently as the 1980s. Having tried to do my job as a reporter doing fire and police checks on an eight-party line, I can tell you it was all but impossible. Bell finally finished upgrading just in time for the Internet age to begin.

And nothing much has changed. Now the big companies think I can get along without the kind of Internet service 95% of Canadians expect as their right. My house does have high speed access but I’m one of the rare lucky ones. Few others in my area do. Satellite service is available but it’s costly and unreliable and experts say it’s unlikely to improve significantly. Cellphone technology is even more expensive and unreliable. Yet we’re only a two-hour drive from downtown Toronto.

Ironically, the Internet is probably more important to people in rural and remote locations than it is to urbanites who have easy access to the whole gamut of cultural experiences. It evens out the playing field. Some kid in Iqaluit isn’t ever likely to see the inside of the Art Gallery of Ontario, but with broadband, he can tour the best in the world or get access to the same vast store of information urban kids take for granted.

This is also huge for rural people who need to be able to have the same business opportunities everyone else has. My husband and I couldn’t do our jobs without high speed. If you want to know just how desperately it’s desired, all you have to do it go into town to my local library any afternoon and watch the librarians refereeing use of the free wireless service.

This week, Liberal MP Marc Garneau, with whom I’m amazed to find myself agreeing, told the hearings if rural people aren’t guaranteed access, they’ll be second-class citizens. “All Canadians should have equal opportunity to succeed, no matter where they live,” he said.

He’s right. The CRTC must regulate broadband access and force compliance. Government subsidies would help and the sooner the better. Broadband needs to become the same basic right telephone service is to make sure everyone can access the future.

Republished by permission of the author.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Biodigester online soon

The Chatsworth and Georgian Bluffs biodigester, the first of its kind for a municipality in Ontario, is now producing gas and the hydro produced is expected to begin to feed the grid later this week This seems to be a win - win for local residents, not only does it provide a safe method of disposal of septage and other wastes but will, through tippage fees and hydro feedback tariffs, pay for itself and eventually make some money for the townships. Way to go Councilors, once again the little guys show how it should be done!

The Owen Sound Sun Times says:- The organics-to-energy facility was originally intended to be a solution to septic sludge disposal, which the province planned to ban from being spread on agricultural fields. Municipal officials now plan to quickly expand the list of acceptable waste to ensure a reliable supply of raw material. Fat, oil and grease from restaurants, leftovers from slaughterhouses and vegetable and fruit scraps from kitchens are expected to be added to the list.
Georgian Bluffs council authorized the township to take out a $1.2-million, 15-year debenture from the Bank of Montreal to pay for its share of the project's cost. Chatsworth also secured a $1.2 million loan. Revenue from the biodigester, expected to be at least $322,000 a year, will be used to pay back the debenture, township officials say.
Earlier they reported that :- Chatsworth and partner Georgian Bluffs will receive two-thirds of the money needed to build a biodigester for waste disposal. The municipalities are getting $1.66 million of the $2.5 million needed from through the communities component of the Canada Builds program.
The other $833,333 will be split equally between the two neighbouring municipalities. The biodigester will be built just south and east of Kilsyth, at a Georgian Bluffs-owned property about four kilometres north of the boundary with Chatsworth. The location was chosen because Georgian Bluffs had a ready site.
There seems to be a little confusion as to exactly how much the townships are on the hook for but either way its a great initiative and may actually help to reduce our taxes in a few years.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Where to draw the line?

The following was a response to a blog post by E May on the Green Party web site...

With municipal elections over and many having taken place using “alternative” voting methods, some of which enabled voters to make their choices over a period of a week prior to closing, I recently mused whether, should this trend ever get to Federal voting, whether opinion polls should be banned during that period. It seems that like political party advertising, opinion polls have a overly strong effect on voter preferences, particularly in the last few days before the polls close.

We SHOULD be voting for the best person to do the job, bearing in mind the overly strong influence that party politics has upon the actions of that individual after he or she is elected, that is not however how it works. Negative advertising, strategic voting based upon the latest polls, and Party Politics has a far greater influence than it should, but can we eliminate or reduce these things? In an open and democratic society (and I am starting to wonder if we can continue to describe Canada as such) can we dictate who says what and when?

Drawing the line between free speech and political interference with election processes is a very difficult line to draw but given the direction that such things are going is one that perhaps needs to be defined. When the ability to blast the airwaves with advertising has a measurable outcome as to the results (even if that outcome is to not vote) it is time to reconsider the rules, if for no other reason that the less affluent amongst us may well be disenfranchised by not being able to heavily fund those partys that may better represent our interests. Recent revelations that publicly funded utility companies are funding political campaigns reinforces my belief that we must look at restricting the manner in which such advertising is used and funded.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

You reap what you sow.

It was reported on CBC this morning that in a last ditch effort to win over votes for a seat on the U.N. Security Council, Canadian diplomats were giving out maple-leaf shaped bottles of maple syrup.
Maybe our government’s grasp of the concerns of the world’s nations is a bit lacking in substance.  Maybe it would have won some votes if the Harper government had sent any member of federal cabinet to the emergency meeting on the food crisis in Rome in June 2008.  Instead, we let our Ambassador to Italy sit there without instructions, speaking volumes about Canada’s concern for the world’s poor and hungry.
Maybe it would have helped if we answered the call for peacekeepers in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.  We were once the world’s number 1 contributor to peace-keeping.  Now we are 56th.  From over 3,000 soldiers deployed in the past to this year’s compliment – 57.
Maybe it would have helped if we had lived up to our commitments to fight poverty in Africa.  Or maybe it would have worked better than maple syrup if Prime Minister Harper had not ignored the special meeting on climate at the General Assembly, leaving for an event at Tim Horton’s instead of staying to deliver a speech.
I remember once, a long time ago, when I was at Sierra Club, speaking to a Conservative MP when Stephen Harper was Leader of the Opposition.  I won’t use his or her name.  I wouldn’t want her (or him) to feel the PM’s wrath.
I was pushing for any kind of commitment that, in power, the Conservatives would reduce Greenhouse gases.  The answer stayed with me.  Regardless of how achievable Kyoto would be, the MP saw no chance of the Conservatives being able to support action, because Stephen Harper would “always see Kyoto as one of those U.N. things.”
So, no matter how much we give out last minute bottles of maple syrup, and no matter how sincere the pitch for membership from the PM to the General Assembly seemed two months ago, actions speak louder than words.  The actions of the Harper government led to this outcome  --  not their words, nor the words of Michael Ignatieff in saying what everyone knew, that our reputation in the world was tarnished after four and a half years of Harper government policies.
You reap what you sow.  Let us hope that this is the nadir in Canada’s world reputation.  Let us commit to be the country we once were, with a Prime Minister and a House of Commons that understands what it takes to be a constructive member of the family of nations.

From http://greenparty.ca/blogs/7/2010-10-12/there-s-not-enough-maple-syrup-world

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Milk is Hazardous to Your Health

Not that thin highly processed stuff with all the rich cream and much of the taste and goodness removed that you buy in the store, but the stuff that comes from cows.
Now that may come as a shock to some city folk and indeed some lawmakers, not the bit about it being hazardous but the fact that milk actually comes from cows and actually contains rich cream and tastes wonderful. We here in Canada are in fact one of the few places in the world where we cannot buy Real Milk, pretty much all of Europe has it available, in the third world many get it direct from the cow as has mankind for thousands of years. Even the Queen of England drinks it! But our lawmakers have decided that not only must all milk sold to the public must be “processed” and pasteurized , thus giving a defacto monopoly of milk distribution to a few large “milk Processors”, but that we individuals are so uninformed that we must be “protected” from the very small risk of drinking “contaminated” real milk by a total ban the sale and distribution of same. Not only that but now it would seem those knowledgeable folks that choose to enter into a “cow share” in order to protect their right to choose what they consume and those that share the work of caring for said cows are now criminals distributing “hazardous substances”. Say What! Has The World Gone Mad?

If one was to use logic, not a talent one often finds in government, one would ask “given the numerous heath scares from contaminated meat products, after processing one might add, how is it the cow its self is not declared hazardous material,” or the beef cattle, pigs, sheep and other food products issuing from the gates of farms across Canada. Mind you the government is working on that one, the farmer that butchers his own cow and GIVES a roast or chop to his neighbor or relative is now also breaking the law (at least here in Ontario) and can be charged. Should he want to have his local abattoir do the work for him he had better get it done soon as the regulations put upon those massive operations, from whence all the contaminated meat comes, have also been put upon the little one or two man operations that have been producing uncontaminated meat for eons. Some of them for longer than some of the big boys have even existed. The result? All the small abattoirs are closing unable to absorb the costs of all the regulatory hurdles intended to keep the big boys in line, but are in fact further cementing the big corporations monopoly on our food supply.

That my friends is what this is all about, it has little to do with health issues, but a lot to do with the mega corporations desire for a food monopoly, and the governments total lack of support for the small supplier and the family farm. It is a policy that may well come back and bite us as the corporations both domestic and international get more and more control over our food chain from farm to plate.

A Tip o the Hat to Bruce on the Bruce for this one!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Chatsworth Wards for 2010 Municipal Election.

Have just been told much to my surprise that I am in Chatsworth ward not Sullivan as I had thought, I requested a map of the ward boundaries for clarification. My thanks to Will Moore at the township office for his assistance with this.

Ward 1 (Chatsworth) consists of the village of Chatsworth PLUS all the surrounding areas south of Grey rd 16, east of Con6 and north of Side rd 5 in the former Sullivan township PLUS the area south of the Holland-Sydenham townline, west of Veterans rd N and north of 20 sideroad in the former Holland township.

Ward 2 (Holland) consists of all of the remaining township to the east of Hwy 6

Ward 3 (Sullivan) consists of all the remaining township west of Hwy 6.

The map is pictured below, I have added a few place names and road names to make it easier to tell where the boundaries are. Click image to enlarge.

For a list of those who are running for a position on council see my previous post or the Chatsworth Municipal web site.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Chatsworth mayor retires. (updated)

Its official, Mayor Howard Greig has announced that he will not be seeking reelection in October. Howard served at various times as councilor, deputy mayor and mayor for the former Township of Sullivan since 1982, he has served as mayor of the Township of Chatsworth since amalgamation in 2000.
Chatsworth. Council has, under the guidance of Howard been, so far as I am aware, a cooperative and non confrontational venture unlike the constant sniping and personal attacks that some other local municipalities have, and still are, experiencing. Both Howard and the current councillors must be thanked for their efforts on our behalf, I suspect that their work is all too often taken for granted .
There have been no marked increases in property taxes in recent years which considering the downloading and/or reduced funding of mandatory programs from upper levels of government is no small feat. I hope that the new council will continue this tradition of cooperation and fiscal responsibility.

Tom Kuglin has also announced he will not be seeking re-election and deputy-mayor Bob Pringle is seeking the mayor's position.

Unofficially, with a week to go before nominations close here is the list of those standing for positions on Chatsworth Council. The list is subject to change up until nominations close at 2:00 p.m. on September 10th, 2010 at which time the official list will be published on the township web site where further information may be found (unfortunately in a PDF download).

(Final list updated Fri 10th 7pm)

Mayor (1 to be elected at Large)
BOB PRINGLE (current deputy Mayor)

Deputy Mayor (1 to be elected at Large)
TERRY MCKAY (current councilor ward 1)

Councillors (3 to be elected, 1 from each Ward)

Ward 1 (Chatsworth Ward)

Ward 2 (Holland Ward)

Ward 3 (Sullivan Ward)

The Election will be by mail in ballot which residents should receive early in October. The Election will take place on Monday, October 25, 2010 . The township will not be publishing any personal information on the candidates and I therefor invite the candidates to provide me with their CV and/or their reasons for standing for council. I will then publish it here for the benefit of our citizens, an email link is provided in the side bar of this blog.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Quiet in the Klondike

With fall fast approaching out here in the Klondike Hills we seem to be in a time warp with the days all blending into one. I love the quiet and peaceful times but now I keep having to look at the time / date at the top corner of the computer screen to know what day it is! My daily emails to a fellow old fart up on the Wiarton cliffs doesn't help much as he is just as confused as I am, must be sometimers coming on.

The tomato's take all of 5min to pick and as they have no leaves left due to “leaf spot blight” its not hard to see from the chair on the porch if I even need to do that, I will have to get off my arse soon and dig the spuds but the beets and carrots are doing so poorly this year that I may be digging them in the snow! I would get a cow for the output to fertilize the garden but it seems that some input is necessary at the other end of the beast, wonder if a neighbor will rent me one?

The wood is all split and finally after several years of building the pile we may even have some left over next spring, just as well for these old bones are finding it less fun to find, cut and haul those trees that need to be removed from our “managed forest” as each year passes. (Note to self – take a gentle stroll around the trails soon and mark trees for “harvesting” and see if its going to be an “easy to get to” or a “need a longer winch cable” sort of fall)

I'm ahead of the game on my winter woodworking projects as well, no need to bring the mill in this year, lots of pine, maple and cherry boards drying in various locations. Even ran a few through the planer yesterday so when the ambition strikes to get building I can get at it right away. The order is in for a center island storage / work area for my daughter kitchen so no problem with deciding what to make come those winter days, meanwhile these sunny days must not be wasted with work. Look at the gardens (look at the weeds!), plan in great detail the jobs to be done, make lists, sip on a beverage and enjoy the last of the summer whilst we can.

Even the political scene is relatively quiet, the Greens have decided to all pull in the same direction, Igniff is quietly raising his cholesterol on the BBQ circuit, Harper will unfortunately come in from the cold after his arctic “I love me” tour, and Jack.....Jack who? These quiet days of relative calm will all come to an end come September, the kids back to school, the other kids back to Ottawa, even our Humming Birds will be heading back to Mexico, so make the best of what remains of summer whilst you may.

Thats how it looks in these here hills with September almost upon us, and the need to write a few words on this blog comes upon me before my few readers think I have become lost in the forest or perhaps lost in my thoughts.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Ladies Night in Owen Sound.

The Grey Bruce Owen Sound Greens nomination meeting was most definitely a time for the ladies to shine with candidates Lynn Morgan and Emma Hogbin as well as Green party leader Elizabeth May and deputy leader Adrian Carr front and center. Approximately 100 green party supporters filled the room to hear the candidates speak and answer questions from the floor prior to voting taking place.

Lynn spoke about the demise of our democracy under the Harper regime and how the arrest of innocent protesters and bystanders at the G20 was comparable with the actions of several totalitarian regimes overseas. She said we are heading for more of a Lord and Serf relationship with our government than a representative democracy unless things change.

Emma spoke of her dream for the future, of a participatory democracy with citizens involved and excited about the possibilities, of using the modern tools available on the Internet and phone systems to include everyone in the process. The best quote of the night came at the mid point of her lively speech when remarking upon the choices to be made she asked whether if you find yourself to be riding a dead horse is it not best to get off!

Elizabeth May who spoke to the crowd whilst the votes were being counted later picked up upon that repeating Emma's assertion that the Greens CAN be elected to the HoC and that GBOS has a real good chance of being the first to do so, just before herself, given that the polls close here long before they do on the west coast.
Having just come from a meeting with some representatives of the local agricultural community she said that those in this area should be particularly concerned with Harpers assertion when referring to the closure of the prison farms that “learning how to farm was not a useful skill”. She said that Canadian values are clearly different from American values as evidenced by our social safety net, our sharing and caring about all out citizens and how the Green party's values reflect those values.

CEO Randy Dryburgh who MC'ed the meeting asked Elizabeth to announce the successful candidate and she read the name Emma Jane Hogbin to loud and sustained applause from the supporters. Elizabeth had earlier said that she rarely had the opportunity to say “may the best woman win” and it is no disrespect to Lynn that Emma's enthusiastic and bubbly personality, and ability to get folks to want to get involved that won the day.
Congratulation Emma, I am sure we will be hearing much more from and about you in the next few months.
Also see Greens pick Hogbin - Owen Sound Sun Times - Ontario, CA

UPDATE Emma has posted a copy of her speech on her blog here and there is a video of her “shortest ever” acceptance speech at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FxGCyDnm5Yo (1min 13sec)

Monday, August 16, 2010

A Reminder

.The GBOS Greens nomination meeting will take place tomorrow, Tues August 17th at 7pm at the Harry Lumley Bayshore Community Centre  in Owen Sound when both Green Party leader Elizabeth May and Deputy Leader Adriane Carr will attend and speak The public is welcome but only members of the Bruce-Grey-Owen Sound Green Party of Canada will be permitted to vote.
Stay tuned for a full report on the proceedings here at The Rural Canadian  later in the week.

More information on both candidates can be found in my previous post and at the GBOS Greens web site 

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Green Choices

I have been taken to task (perhaps rightly so) for coming out in favor of one of our candidates for the Green Party nomination in our riding over the other before fully knowing both candidates positions.
Having now met and talked to the second candidate , Lynn Morgan, I will try and correct somewhat that omission.

First off Lynn has said she is “passionate about our Green Values, and our humanity and responsibility in governance.” She was moved to stand in part by the G20 fiasco, the subversion of process in the tabling of the 900 page Budget Bill that trashed the Environmental Act, and the erosion of our civil liberties, wealth and health of the people. Being involved with several local groups dealing with housing, transportation and poverty issues she is incensed that over a million dollars was spent on the g20 with little or no benefit to Canadians whilst so many of our local citizens are struggling to make ends meet.

We spoke of the difficulty of citizens being heard by government and the need for an MP to represent the views of their constituents as much as possible and the difficulty of finding out exactly what that is. We spoke of communications and the difficulty of finding a balance between those who do everything electronically and those who don't even own a computer or texting device. She said it is essential to take her message, particularly the message that the Green party is not a one issue party, out to all the communities in our riding and to do so in a way where citizens can chat and interact in an informal setting.

Both in her professional career as a consultant and in her work for charitable and non profit organizations Lynn advocates for those who need their view better understood, she sees her candidacy as a natural progression from this and an opportunity to advocate for our entire region. She advocates for a bottom up democracy and like myself is very troubled by the top down oligarchical style of government we are increasing seeing, something she says that has been gradually occurring for at least a decade.

She sums up her position in three phrases, Responsible Government, Sustainable Future Planning and Upholding our Rights as Canadians to a democratic process.

A final note here, local media has been quick to point out that neither Lynn nor the other candidate Emma has any real previous “political experience”, given the mess that those WITH political experience are making of it in Ottawa I believe that may well be one of their biggest assets. Its time for some fresh ideas and integrity in the House. Its Time for Change.

The nomination meeting will take place at 7 PM on August 17th at the Harry Lumley Bayshore Community Centre  in Owen Sound when both Green Party leader Elizabeth May and Deputy Leader Adriane Carr will attend and speak The public is welcome but only members of the Bruce-Grey-Owen Sound Green Party of Canada will be permitted to vote.
More information on both candidates can be found in my previous post and at the GBOS Greens web site

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

A Political Green Soul Mate?

I recently had the opportunity to speak with one of the two ladies running to become the Grey Bruce Owen Sound Greens federal candidate and seem to have found a political soul mate.

Emma Jane Hogbin is an enthusiastic & articulate young lady with a passion for democracy, she believes that government, political partys and candidates should be as open as possible and believes, as I do, that the GPC most closely represents those values. Like myself she has sought out the platform documents of the various parties and found them non existent , lacking in content or misleading, excepting for the Green Party’s Vision Green document, where like myself found a clear and broad ranging document giving the GPCs position on every thing from the economy to democratic renewal to quality of life issues. No one individual will agree 100% on everything but I personally found little that I could seriously disagree with, why don’t you take a look and decide for yourself, ignore the spin, and read the comprehensive party position. Good luck finding a similar document from the other parties to compare positions!

She is passionate about making politics accessible and like myself has deep concerns about the state of our democracy and the lack of the long promised “open and accessible” government as well as the lack of respect & decorum in the House.. She is a strong advocate for our Grey Bruce region, supporting the local environment and local people, choosing to spend money locally, deciding to work from home globally, but choosing to live very locally, and again like myself has her own business here in the region. That it is a tech company and that she is right on top of the latest Internet technology seems to me to be a bonus as I believe a large part of the future of an accessible and democratic government rests with Internet access to data. :

She has said that the choice in this nomination race could be expressed as between someone who seeks to get people excited and involved and someone who perhaps was more familiar with and focused upon GPC “policy”. It’s a difficult choice, some are all about policy whilst others may be more about the individual running, getting folks “excited about politics” is a pretty difficult goal but if she can reach enough of those folks who are turned off and do not vote then it just may work. All I can tell you that after a 10 or 15 min conversation with her I was excited to have a candidate who was so passionate about democracy, which readers of my other blog Democracy Under Fire will know is a pet issue with me. Given my jaundiced and cynical view of our federal politics in particular, that is no mean feat!

That this passion and concern for our democracy mirrors not only my own but Green Party leader Elizabeth May,s gives me hope for the future of the local “greens” and our region and our country. Without democracy all the “policy” in the world is but window dressing!

It is perhaps a little unfair, as I have not spoken to the other candidate Lynn about these issues, but at this point I think it is clear where my choice lays. To balance that I will post extracts both bios for the benefit of local greens. If you fall into that category do learn more about these two ladies and join us at the Bayshore on Aug 17 to hear them speak, renew your membership if necessary and vote for the Candidate of your choice.

Nominations are open until Thur July 29th, the nomination meeting will be at the Harry Lumley Bayshore in Owen Sound on Tuesday August 17. It is rumored that Elizabeth May will speak and deputy leader Adriane Carr will also attend. Further details will be posted here and on the local Green Party web site.

Emma Jane Hogbin 2010 – GPC Candidate

Emma is committed to helping people define and achieve success. She is passionate about creating opportunities for people to participate equally in their community of choice. In 2007 and 2008 Emma hosted HICK Tech, a rural technology conference which highlighted the unique challenges and opportunities her community faces. In January 2010 she was recognized by The Google Diversity Programme for her efforts in increasing female participation in software development.

Currently employed as a freelance technical author, Emma works from her home office in Owen Sound, Ontario. She is a highly sought after technical speaker and has given presentations around the world about the importance of small business, open source software and the role of women in technology. Her first book, Front End Drupal, is a best seller within its industry.

The Green Party is a natural fit for Emma. She was selected to be a Legislative Page at the Ontario Legislature while attending public school and was later a Legislative Usher while studying at the University of Toronto. She graduated from UofT in 1999 with a BSc in Science and the Environment where she focused on the politics of migratory fish species. Emma brings with her the experience of two successful campaigns run in Bruce-Grey Owen Sound where she acted as Web consultant. In addition to her own riding, Emma has a family history with the Green Party--her great uncle Richard Thomas was one of Canada's first visible Green Party candidates nearly 20 years ago.

In 2005 Emma returned to her home town where she continues to be inspired by her book store owner mother, her artist father, the local farmlands and the short deciduous trees which surround her.

Lynn Morgan 2010 – GPC Candidate

As a Business Management/Project Management Consultant for over 20 years in the technology field, I assist organizations, businesses and individuals to make better use of their technology. I am analytical/logistical and intuitive with strong leadership skills.

I am a board member for the following groups: The Women’s Centre Grey & Bruce Inc., the Affordable Housing Coalition Grey Bruce and the addictions education group LEAD. Past volunteer activities have included board membership with the Adult Literacy Group, Non-Profit Housing Association, and the Property Standards Committee, in Thunder Bay. Other volunteer work included the Heart & Stroke Foundation, Canadian Diabetes Association, and the Arthritis Society, Habitat for Humanity, HAYWEST, and Home and Community Support Services. I created the Holland Chatsworth School Literacy Library database and coordinated the Sauble Beach Clean-up in September 2007 in conjunction with the Great Canadian Shoreline Cleanup.

Currently, I am the Recording Chair for both the Executives of the GPC and the GPO Bruce Grey Owen Sound EDA since 2008. Previously, I volunteered in the 2008 Federal Election campaign. In the last local municipal election, I worked as a Deputy Returning Officer.

My values...I believe we are stewards of our Country and all the people in it. We, as citizens, need to assume this community responsibility at all levels now. Our voices need to be united and speak out against the non-existent government-directed environmental action and the economic policies that subject growing numbers of Canadian citizens to subsist in poverty. We need to focus our efforts on living without fossil fuels and building our economy to support sustainable green industries. We need to be a voice for those in our community who suffer injustice or marginalization and who despair of ever gaining equality or being respected. We need to inspire people with our integrity to re-enter the political mechanism – get them out to vote! We need to speak out against policies that deprive people of their homes, livelihoods and hope. We need to start by wresting Canada back from the brink of destruction; socially, environmentally, and economically. It starts here...one voice added to others in our community...one community added to the other ...for all of Canada.

My personal thanks to both candidates for making this commitment, whoever comes in second will be no less a winner than the nominated candidate. Up with Democracy.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Sirens in the bush.

Recently we have been hearing whoops and wails coming from the back of our bush so whilst trimming our trails I took a detour to where I knew we previously had found a red foxes den. I fear Mr Fox is no more, for a family of Coyotes has moved in and upgraded the small entrance to a 2 foot diameter hole. The large mound of sand (numerous wheelbarrows full) at the entrance speaks to both the size of the den and to what’s within the side of the drumlin (glacial deposit) where they have taken up residence.

Nearby an area of 10 to 15 sq ft is worn bare of any vegetation where presumably the Kitts romp and play. Well defined trail lead away from the den in several directions.

This would also explain why our Grouse population seems diminished this year, no doubt the Wild Turkeys that wander through will take a hit also. I usually leave Ma Nature to do her own thing in our managed forest, interceding as little as possible so I do hope that they do not become aggressive, move up closer to the house or have a face off with our Australian Cattle Dog and force me to take a more active role!

Meanwhile it sounds like police, fire and ambulance have all parked in the bush with their sirens going. Ma Nature at work!

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Green Party of Canada Convention

The Green Party of Canada is having their convention in August and as with any political party will be considering a number of resolutions on policy and governance. Unlike any other party the grass roots membership can view and vote upon these resolution on line, this post will then be of primary interest to existing members of the GPC. Others however will be able to get a small insight into the things that are being considered (and as with any political group that covers a spectrum of opinion) and will find links to Vision Green the official green party position on a variety of topics.
These links to Dave Bagler's blog are then to make it easier for GPC members to make their decision, you don't have to agree with Dave (I disagree on several items) but you will find these a quick way to identify those issues in which you have a particular interest. Thanks for your efforts on this Dave! Please read the official motions before voting but do vote upon as many motions as you can.

BGM Resolutions Review



BGM Resolutions Part 1: Council Structure and Obligations

 GPC members wishing to discuss any of these motions in detail should do so in the non public members section of the GPC web site where they will find groups dedicated to the Policy, Constitution or Directive motions.
Democracy requires dialog, the Green Party of Canada includes all its members in that dialog why not join them.

UPDATE – For another point of view see “Sudbury Steve,s” Posts about some of the motions and the “spin” around them.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Hydro demand July 7 - 3pm

For particular attention of those who say wind power (and solar) can replace nuclear.
Ontario Demand: (3pm Wed July 7) 24,974 MW

Operating Reserve Requirement: 1,453 MW
Today's Projected Peak: (at 5:00 p.m. EDT) 24,866 MW
SUPPLY Generation by Fuel Type:
Nuclear: 9,325 MW
Hydro: 3,759 MW
Coal: 5,050 MW  (Still over 20%)
Gas: 5,405 MW
Wind: 39 MW (0.16% of demand or 3.5% of installed capacity)
Other: 1,038 MW

Hourly Imports: 2,118 MW - Exports: 2,111 MW
Today's Generator Availability at Peak: 26,790 MW
Maximum Ontario Import Capacity: 4,600 MW (approx.)

From http://www.ieso.ca/imoweb/media/md_index.asp

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Credit where credit is due.

Regular readers will know I am not a particular Liberal supporter but having stumbled across an announcement that Ignatieff was going to do the rural bbq thing this summer to promote rural issues I checked it out and found the following announcements from May:-

Michael Ignatieff announced a future Liberal government would introduce a $3,000 refundable tax credit for Canada’s volunteer firefighters. It’s a policy meant to recognize the tens of thousands of men and women put their lives at risk to keep us safe when they don the firefighter’s uniform.
..............a future Liberal government would introduce a $3,000 refundable tax credit for Canada’s volunteer firefighters. It’s a policy meant to recognize the tens of thousands of men and women put their lives at risk to keep us safe when they don the firefighter’s uniform.
A future Liberal government will achieve the goal of 100 percent high-speed internet connectivity within three years of being elected, and expand mobile phone coverage for rural and remote Canada. (and are) building on our commitment to legislate a Rural Canadian Postal Service Charter that would prevent further reductions in rural mail service by pledging to work with Canada Post to modernize rural community mail centres with high-speed internet connectivity.
And........ committed to helping Canadians eat healthier, home-grown food through a new national food policy based on healthy eating, safe food, sustainable farm incomes, environmental land stewardship and international leadership.
As well as announced............... that a Liberal government would help attract doctors, nurses and nurse practitioners to underserved rural communities by forgiving up to $20,000 of their student debt over four years.

Now I am not sure that winning the rural vote will do much for the Liberal fortunes with us being such a small part of the fabric of Canada but is sure is nice to see someone in Ottawa getting out in the country and trying. These things are all “no brainers” I would think, and relatively easy to implement (except for 100% connectivity within 3 years?) but talk is cheap and we know how these things get lost once elected, but still its a step in the right direction for rural and remote residents.
Thanks for that Iggy!

Saturday, June 26, 2010

A better way?

There must be a better way for world leaders to consult with each other than the CF we have seen in fortress Toronto of late. Given that all the real work is done by aides & staff, mostly before such meetings, are they even necessary at all. What will be accomplished here that could not be accomplished by a few phone calls, possibly a conference call or video conference. Do not these nations have the capability to set up secure connections in these days of electronic communication? And if they must meet there must be better places and methods.

Option one would be one of the several Canadian Forces Bases across our country, it easily secured by personnel already available, already on the federal payroll and who don’t get paid overtime. It does not disaccommodate any civilians or shut down large portions of any cities, it does not impact businesses to any great degree excepting that the Hotels would not be accommodating 20,000 police “troops” who would be largely unnecessary. The “leaders could even fly in directly into the secured area avoiding shutting down major highways and city streets! Accommodation for the “VIPs” could be arranged a far less cost, perhaps it would be good for them all to spend a night or two in army barracks or typical married quarters? Hell there would even be money left over for building fake lakes in the nearest aircraft hanger!!

Option two which I have seen proposed several time also makes more sense, that cruise ship in the middle of Lake Ontario would give them all the accommodation AND security needed and no fake lake required, hell they could even cruse the shores of any or all of our lakes whist at it. Seems a moving target would be even safer for these rather questionable proceedings.
As for the press not having access to the leaders in such a venue, for the most part they do not now. Why any of the international press even bothered coming except to report on fortress Toronto I do not understand, (except to get those free meals & drinks on our tax dollars) they could get just as much information (as provided by the government spin doctors and “approved” reporters) from their desk in Moscow, London or Timbuktu 

I am sure there are other solutions MUCH better than the last minute Harper CF, many have suggested that ALL such meetings in future be held in the UN compound, and why not, its already set up for such meetings. What is the point of a country “hosting” such meetings other than for political gain? Somehow I don’t think the Harper regime is going to gain much from this fiasco either domestically or internationally.

If a “government” cannot arrange a meeting of a few “leaders” better and at less cost than this how do we trust them to run the country? I for one do not!

Monday, June 21, 2010

Murdoch on Rural Democracy

The pursuit of green energy in the fields of rural Ontario is just another example of a Toronto-centric mentality by governments at Queen’s Park, says MPP Bill Murdoch.
“We have a problem in rural Ontario, we’ve had it for a long time,” Murdoch said in a recent interview. “Everything at Queen’s Park being, it’s OK for Toronto so it’s OK for the rest of Ontario.”
Murdoch says it’s this “attitude” that fuelled his comments earlier this year that Toronto and the rest of the province should go their separate ways.
Murdoch acknowledges his proposal to hive the rest of the province off from Toronto is not likely to happen. But he appreciates the chance to air his concerns.
“It’s great to have this discussion, and hopefully the least that will come out of it is that McGuinty will start to realize we are serious in rural Ontario, and do want some say. Where it goes I have no idea. I’m looking for input.”
The Green Energy Act, which removes municipal input into the construction of wind farms, other than an obligation to consult, is the latest in a long line of initiatives that favours urban over rural areas, he says.
“You can almost take any bill and look at it, and it’s designed for Toronto.”
He mentions the Clean Water Act.
“There’s no compensation in there for anybody if you have to, say, fence all the rivers on your property — no compensation for the land you lose plus all the work you do. Does that affect anyone in downtown Toronto? Not one iota!”
On the species at risk legislation, he says, “they could stop you from cutting your hay in a field because there might be some sort of a bird out there that’s endangered, and no compensation again. It just goes on and on and on.”
The urban-over-rural mentality isn’t unique to one party, he says. Rather, it crosses the political spectrum.
“Rural Ontario has just been dumped on forever, because we don’t have enough votes . . . and I’m not saying McGuinty is the only one, it’s been like this for ages. Who killed the spring bear hunt? And there was no consultation on that.” (The hunt was ended in 1998 by the Progressive Conservative government of Mike Harris).
On the Green Energy Act, Murdoch expresses surprise that provisions curtailing local input on proposed wind farms didn’t generate more of a reaction from municipalities. And he doesn’t mince words when responding to McGuinty’s “nimbyism” remark in early 2009, when the premier said that safety and environmental concerns would be the only legitimate objections to green energy projects, including wind farms.
“It was awful. Arrogance, arrogance! It’s because he has a vast majority and he knows that he can win every seat in Toronto and down in that area . . . that’s where all the power is, and that relates back to what I’ve been (saying about) the Toronto mentality. It’s the most arrogant thing I’ve ever seen somebody do — take away the rights. And the municipalities are starting to pick up on that. They were a little slow; we have municipalities in Grey and Bruce now who say we’re not going to allow them, but they have no choice.
He added: “When my resolution went to Queen’s Park, I didn’t really get support from the municipalities. Now, they are all saying we don’t want this to happen, but they were asleep at the switch and McGuinty rammed it through.”
Murdoch’s resolution called for a moratorium on new wind energy projects, pending an independent review of health-impact claims. It was defeated.
“I felt there should be a moratorium on any more in rural Ontario until we actually get the facts. If we put a moratorium on it, it would get done. People do say, ‘oh we are looking at this, or we’re looking at that,’ but it drags on and meanwhile there are more wind farms going up.”
It seems unlikely there will be a moratorium on new wind farms in Ontario anytime soon. This spring the government announced the approval of 184 renewable energy projects, among them wind farms.
The projects are expected to generate 2,500 megawatts of energy.
Recently the government announced 512 renewable energy projects, capable of producing 112 megawatts of energy.
With the Green Energy Act in force, and renewable energy an integral part of the government’s electricity-generating strategy, Murdoch says, “it’s in Dalton McGuinty’s hands” whether or not a wind farm is approved.
“The municipalities don’t have any say about it. I realize there are a lot of groups out there upset about it, but, you know something, they don’t have anything . . . to protect them.”
He worries the streamlining into provincial hands of the approvals process for wind farms represents “a slippery slope” of eroding municipal responsibilities.
“Once you get away with this, what’s next? What’s the next one they are going to do? They’re going to say, ‘oh we don’t need the municipalities, so we’ll just do it from here.’”
While the lack of local input on a wide range of issues is a symptom of the “Toronto mentality,” the MPP says, the roots of the problem run deeper.
“The whole system is screwed up. It comes to the point where we don’t have what you call representative democracy anymore. We have what you call party democracy. You get elected in an area, and then they expect you to toe the line and do what the party tells you to do.

“In this country we elect our dictators, other countries just appoint them.”

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Explore the Bruce!

Explore the Bruce, come see our forest of wind turbines, come stay at one of our nearby campgrounds where you can experience for yourself the wooosh of the blades and the flickering light as they cut through your view of the evening sunset on Ontario's Sunset coast!
An application has been filed to build a 240-megawatt wind farm near Mar on the Bruce Peninsula.
Tribute Resources Inc. of London, Ont., said in a news release that it recently set up a wholly owned subsidiary, Mar Silver Birch Limited Partnership (Mar LP), and incorporated Mar Wind Corp. as the general partner to apply to the Ontario Power Authority for a Feed-In-Tariff agreement and "to ultimately develop the project" north of Wiarton.
Tribute said it has "executed options to lease lands with 35 landowners for approximately 10,000 acres on which to place the turbines."
Mar LP's applications to the OPA say it anticipates being ready to start commercial generation by the fourth quarter of 2014 "subject to the construction of a new . . . transmission line" that connects to the Hydro One grid, the company's news release said. "Mar LP intends to pursue an application to the Ontario Energy Board in 2011 for a leave to construct the new transmission line as well as the necessary routing and environmental studies."
Tribute said it has been working on the wind energy project since 2005, when it began a three-year wind resource data program. The company erected an anemometer — a device that measures the force of wind — on land east of Sky Lake that it leased from former South Bruce Peninsula mayor Carl Noble.
From the Owen Sound Sun Times with a tip o the hat to Wind Concerns Ontario.

Can we find a worse location for these industrial installations, can we perhaps place them any further from the Toronto users who consume so much of our power? Having already destroyed much of the view further south on the sunset coast now we are moving up to one of the most naturally unique and desirable tourist areas in Ontario if not Canada.

The Bruce Peninsula with its large expanses of forest, fens, alvars, beaches, small lakes and wetlands is not the place for these industrial turbines. The Bruce Peninsula supports a rich diversity of plant and animal life. Some of the rarest ferns and flowers in Ontario can be found here, including the threatened dwarf lake iris and lakeside daisy. The diversity of orchids on the Bruce Peninsula is among the highest in North America: 44 species. Seven at-risk reptile and 17 at-risk bird species live here, and astounding concentrations of dozens of bird species can be found at the globally significant Cabot Head Important Bird Area during their migration. Part of the Bruce Peninsula has been classified as a UNESCO World Biosphere Reserve.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Abattoirs - Death by Regulation

Once again Bruce on the Bruce has hit the nail on the head, this time I will just post some extracts but I think you will get the point. Government regulations are indeed killing our ability to provide local produce to our citizens whilst at the same time they tell us to support small suppliers by shopping local. For what, sausage from China? Read on!

Kelvin Arnold of Sullivan’s Butcher Shop in Wiarton told a crowd at a meeting in Elmwood Wednesday night that some of the provincial meat industry inspection regulations are “physically impossible” for him and other small butcher shop and abattoir owners, “and extremely costly.” Arnold says he’s spent more than $75,000 in the last three years trying to comply.
“But there’s no way you can question the rules, or not do what they want,” he added. “They’ll just shut you down.”
Stricter regulations are destroying small abattoir across Ontario, threatening also the farmers who use them and reducing opportunities for people to buy local food, said Barb Klages, a member of the Malcolm Women’s Institute, who spearheaded the organization of the information meeting.
Sullivan’s shop is spotless you can eat off the floors. The meat he sells is outstanding! He knows what he is doing. Sooner or later the Government is going to push him a little too far and he is going to shut down. Then where will we get sausage? Canada Packers, you know that company that made half the country sick a couple of years ago while mishandling the products they produce and have the gall to call it sausage!.
Don’t know of anyone getting sick from Sullivan’s shop!!  Fifteen years ago, Ontario had more than 900 businesses to process meat and poultry. Today, there are about 130.
Paisley-area farmer and NFU spokesman Grant Robertson called small abattoir “the small jewel in the food system who must be protected” and I say lets protect them!
Judy Trimble of Desboro, a farmer who sells directly to consumers from her farm, admitted the loss of local small abattoir “may end our enterprise” after 22 years of selling “what consumers want — lean, fresh, smaller portions of beef cut just the way they want. Small abattoir owners have outstanding skill sets . . . for them it’s a calling, not a job. When we lose them, we all lose.”
Bill Murdock and Larry Miller had better get off their fat asses and deal with this. If it isn’t stopped and stopped now there won’t be any small butcher shops left.
Its my sausage BACK OFF GOVERNMENT!!!

I agree entirely however neither Bill nor Miller will have any effect against all them city folk who think their sausage comes from a factory and beef grows in the back room of the grocery store from demanding more & more regulations that only the big corporations can afford to adhere to!

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

If I had a billion dollars

If I had a billion dollars (If I had a billion dollars)
I'd build you a lake (I would build you a lake)
If I had a billion dollars (If I had a billion dollars)
I'd buy you furniture for your lake (maybe a nice Muskoka chair, or a hammock)
If I had a billion dollars (If I had a billion dollars)
I'd buy you a steamboat (a nice reliant paddleboat)
If I had a billion dollars, I'd buy you vote

If I had a billion dollars
I'd build a gazebo in your town
If I had a billion dollars
When I'm done I'll just tear it down
If I had a billion dollars
Maybe we could put a jumbotron in there
(You know, we could just take the steamboat there and hang out,
even though it's nowhere near the summit,

but Baysville is really cool - they have an LCBO in a trailer)

If I had a billion dollars (If I had a billion dollars)
I'd buy you rubber bullets (but not real rubber bullets that's cruel)
If I had a billion dollars (If I had a billion dollars)
I'd buy you an exotic meal (like a duck breast, or maybe fugu)
If I had a billion dollars (If I had a billion dollars)
I'd but John Diefenbaker's remains (All them crazy Prime Minister's bones)
If I had a billion dollars I'd buy your vote

If I had a billion dollars
We wouldn't have to walk to the lakeshore
If I had a billion dollars
We'd build it in Toronto cause it costs more
If I had a billion dollars
We wouldn't have to eat Kraft dinner
(but we would eat Kraft dinner because we're trying to showcase Canada to the world here and Kraft Dinner is Canadian, right?)

If I had a billion dollars (If I had a billion dollars)
I'd buy you a canoe (but not real canoe that's cruel)
If I had a billion dollars (If I had a billion dollars)
I'd buy you a fence (maybe concrete, or razor wire)
If I had a billion dollars (If I had a billion dollars)
I'd buy you a sound cannon (haven't you always wanted a sound cannon?)
If I had a billion dollars If I had a billion dollars
If I had a billion dollars
If I had a billion dollars...

I'd be Steve.

Courtesy of Jennifer Smith over at Runesmith. Brilliant Jennifer!

Update, here is a link to a version with links to the various abuses mentioned :-
and Jennifer and friends have produced a video of the song:-

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Who is in control?

I spotted this at Bruce on the Bruce and thought it worth repeating, particularly the bit about how much control the Province has over our Municipal councils decisions.

People living here and those who live here part time have expectations.

The Province controls the Municipality legislatively. They control the revenue the municipality achieves through MPAC and through transfer payments.

They control new construction and housing through regulation and or the building code produced by NGO’s as well as through legislation the Province introduces.

Engineering standards are set by the Province and the NGO”s by regulation.

If the MOE decides that we need sewers or that our existing infrastructure needs updating they are mandated to do so at their will.

If a group of taxpayers want a street paved or a bridge improved or a new Medical Center built and demand it the city fathers are faced with election issues should they decline the request. Or in the alternative should the majority of Council vote to give it it gets done.

Now if going through the tunnel the Province cuts transfer payments for what ever reason the Municipality is forced to increase the tax base or go broke.

Now if the area wants to attract tourists to the area to develop an economy thus generating more tax revenue, they must make investment into infrastructure according to the parameters set out by the Province or the NGO”s.

Yes the Council has input but they are really driven by the Province who denies that they are responsible for Municipal tax increases.

The problems associated with the demands of locals both part-time and full-time combined with the Provincial direction which is contingent upon who we have elected Provincially really dictate the actions of Council.

Having said that, if you don’t want local tax increases then stop demanding new roads, more services, new medical centers etc.

There is only so much money both from a consumer stand point as well as a government stand point.

To expect all the services that Toronto has in Grey Bruce without the tax base you are dreaming unless you are prepared to continue paying additional dollars to provide those services etc.

Case in point Owen Sound and their rec center. In my opinion we need this like we need a hole in the head but yet they are building it or in the case of TSBP a Medical Center.

It comes down to stupid is as stupid does! You cannot have things both ways. Our elected reps are at the mercy of their masters, that is you and me and the Province. Damned if they do and damned if they don’t.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Food Sovereignty negotiated away

The Canada-E.U. Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement negotiations are based on commitments to place corporate rights before social and economic justice, democratic control, and ecological sustainability. Negotiations are progressing quickly and with little public scrutiny until now.

Trade Deal Attacks Seeds, Farmers, Food Sovereignty

Agriculture is a critical economic sector that will be severely affected by the proposed trade agreement with Europe. The trade deal will concentrate even more power in the hands of corporations, at the expense of farmers and food sovereignty.

Corporations Get Powerful New Tools to Control Seeds

The trade deal would give biotech, pharmaceutical, pesticide, seed, and grain companies powerful new tools to force farmers to buy seeds at high prices, on corporate terms. It would give corporations even more power to ultimately decide who farms and how.

Eliminate the Right to Save Seed?

The trade deal would almost entirely eliminate the rights of farmers to save, reuse and sell seed.

Plant varieties can be protected as intellectual property through Plant Breeders Rights as well as patents on genes. The trade deal would give rights holders an unprecedented degree of control over seeds and farming by committing Canada to adopt UPOV'91, the draconian 1991 version of The International Convention for the Protection of New Plant Varieties. The inclusion of UPOV'91 in the deal is completely unnecessary and is excessively harmful to Canadian farmers. Seed breeders would have the right to collect royalties on seed at any point in the food chain!

The draft of the trade deal also says that biotech corporations could seize the crops, equipment, and farms, and freeze the bank accounts of farmers who are deemed patent infringers, like farmers who find unwanted contamination in their fields.

End Supply Management?

The deal would commit Canada to reducing or eliminating agricultural subsidies and other government supports to farmers over time. Supply management systems that have allowed farmers in the dairy, poultry, and egg sectors to earn a decent living are under attack. The Canadian Wheat Board (a farmer controlled grain marketer) is also very likely under threat.

From - http://www.tradejustice.ca/Food-Sovereignty?bl=y

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Rural Tax Rates Rise!

Recently my local municipal Council has, like many other rural municipalities set their annual budget and have noted that due to lost revenue from the Provincial Government have had to raise our taxes. This has been an ongoing problem for such municipalities for four or five years now due to the “downloading” of the Farm Tax rebate and Managed Forest tax rebate program costs to said municipalities. Prior to 2006 the province paid for these tax discounts directly and promised to compensate the townships for such costs when they changed the manner of administering the program for the 2008 taxation year.

Since that time there has been a steady dwindling of funding returning to rural townships to cover the reduced taxation on these properties (such rebates are MANDATED by the province should property owners apply for same). The Association of Municipalities of Ontario says that “Today it pays only $65.8 million, about one-third of the original amount allocated” and that “ the total amount of the tax rebate that municipalities would expect under the original plan, because of higher assessments, has ballooned to $253.2 million, almost four times what the province pays rural municipalities now. Municipalities have had to come up with a whopping $187.4 million from other tax sources to make up the difference.”

More specifically - North Dundas a municipality “heavily dependent on agriculture which collected $13.1 million in taxes in 2009, is short $800,000 in tax revenue because the province has reneged on its promise to pay the full tax rebate.”

“North Dundas is not alone. SDG collected $31.2 million in taxes last year but lost $4.4 million or 14 per cent of the revenue because of the decreased farm tax rebate.”

“Prescott-Russell County is losing almost as much as SDG. Areas with an agricultural base are highly affected. Some of the rich agricultural counties like Middlesex in western Ontario have the same problem.”

“In the Municipality of Brighton, (they) get nothing from the province. The reneged deal means the township has to collect $140,000 more through increased property and industrial taxes.”

“Kawartha Lakes collected $908,789 from eligible farmland and managed forests in 2009. But if the land had been taxed at the full tax rate, the city would have received $3.6 million. The consequence was the $2.6 million shortfall that Kawartha Lakes believes should have been paid by the province was charged to local property and business owners.”

And in my own Township of Chatsworth, Mayor Greig says “They lost 273 thousand dollars in Ontario Municipal Partnership Funding and another 400 thousand from the farm tax rebate program. ……. the shortfall translated to 12.7 per cent of their budget.”

“He says the province's new funding formula is seriously flawed and "it's almost criminal what they're doing".

For those that are unaware of this program and the way such tax rebates work here are a few details:-

Farm properties satisfying the eligibility requirements are taxed at 25% of the municipal residential tax rate. The farm residence and one acre of land, surrounding it, will continue to be taxed as part of the residential class.

OMAFRA has the responsibility to determine and report eligible properties to the Municipal Property Assessment Corporation from property owners submitting the multi-year application.

To be eligible for the Farm Property Class tax rate, the following criteria must be satisfied:

The property must be assessed as farmland it must be part of a farming business generating over $7000 of gross farm income and be reported to Canada Revenue Agency. The farm business operating on the must have a valid Farm Business Registration number. More than 50% of the property must be owned by Canadian citizens or permanent residents of Canada. If the property is owned by a business which is a sole proprietorship, the owner must be a Canadian citizen or permanent resident.

To receive the Managed Forest tax rebate the property owner must submit an approved forestry plan (renewable every 5 or 10 years) and the plan and forest must be reviewed by a licensed forestry technician for approval and renewal. The plan can only be applied to properties over 10 acres and a minimum of one acre surrounding any residential areas cannot be included. It cannot be applied to “commercial operations” and a minimum density of trees also is required.

Until recently Townships have been quietly lobbying the Ontario government to stand up to their promises to fully compensate municipalities for said rebates because “.It’s an issue we hate to bring up because it can reverberate back on farmers. Some people think farmers should pay the full tax rate." No doubt some of our urban cousins will be of that opinion, but such a point of view shows a lack of understanding of the plight of our farming community (particularly the family farm) and perhaps a lack of acknowledgment of the need for the preservation of forested lands for future generations health and well-being.

I submit to you that our farms and forests are critical for the future of all citizens in Ontario, indeed Canada, and not just the “local municipality”. If we are to have a tax incentive for these lands to continue to produce the food we eat and clean the air we breath (and I believe we should) then the cost of such programs must be spread across all those that benefit, and that includes residents of both rural AND urban areas. The rural population and farming population is steadily declining and such extra costs spread out over a small sparsely populated(by urban standards)area can be considerable.

It seems that the Ontario Government has already made their choice, rural municipalities are to be ignored, don’t fund their costs for provincially mandated programs, override their zoning bylaws and motions regarding wind turbine installations, enforce expensive water testing regimes and food processing regulations without regard to the effect upon the struggling rural areas. After all those rural folk are totally outnumbered by the urban population so their vote counts for little. By the time oil prices go through the roof, terminal seed terminates our crops, countries cease to export food in order to feed their own and urban populations look to us rural folk to feed them it will be to late. Multinationals will own all the land, our villages will be “retirement communities” and few will be left to care for our farms and forests.

Pessimistic, you bet, but it’s increasingly looking like a more lightly scenario.

I’m “Rural” and will do everything I can to remain so.

With extracts from



A request for further information from Chatsworth Township did not receive any response.