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.

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:-