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.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Canada v Philippines

The Philippines appeal to the world at the climate talks in Poland......
"We cannot sit and stay helpless staring at this international climate stalemate. It is now time to take action. We need an emergency climate pathway," said Yeb Sano, head of the government's delegation to the UN climate talks, in an article for the Guardian, in which he challenged climate sceptics to "get off their ivory towers" to see the impacts of climate change firsthand.
Sano, whose family comes from the devastated town of Tacloban where the typhoon Haiyan made landfall on Friday, said that countries such as the Philippines did not have time to wait for an international climate deal, which countries have agreed to reach in Paris in 2015.
"What my country is going through as a result of this extreme climate event is madness," he told delagates from 190 countries, as UN climate negotiations get underway for a fortnight today in Warsaw. "The climate crisis is madness. We can stop this madness. Right here in Warsaw. Typhoons such as Haiyan and its impacts represent a sobering reminder to the international community that we cannot afford to procrastinate on climate action..

And Canada's official position on climate change......
Canada has dropped any remaining pretences of supporting global action on climate change by urging other countries to follow Australia's example in gutting its climate plan.
In a formal statement, the Canadian government said it "applauds" the move by Australia this week to repeal a carbon tax on the country's 300 biggest polluters.
"Canada applauds the decision by prime minister Abbott to introduce legislation to repeal Australia's carbon tax. The Australian prime minister's decision will be noticed around the world and sends an important message," the formal statement from Paul Calandra, parliamentary secretary to Canada's prime minister, Stephen Harper, said.
The Harper government withdrew from the Kyoto protocol on climate change in 2011 and Canada has failed to meet its own international emissions to cut greenhouse gas emissions – almost entirely because of its mining of the carbon-heavy Alberta tar sands.

A pox on the Harpler regime and its anti science pro oil industry stance!

  Canada was awarded a ‘Fossil of Disbelief’ as part of the long-running ‘Fossil of the Day’ awards series at the UN climate talks in Warsaw. The special award was granted for the Canadian government’s recent public support (expressed by the Prime Minister’s Parliamentary Secretary) of a broad move by the Australian government to repeal that country’s comprehensive climate legislation.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

And the bad news is........

A massive audit of federal conservation policies by Neil Maxwell, the commissioner of the environment and sustainable development, paints a picture of mismanagement and neglect when it comes to Canada's natural heritage.

Management plans for some 12.4 million hectares of designated national wildlife area date on average from 1992, says the audit. It found half a dozen wildlife areas and 22 migratory bird sanctuaries that should have been removed from the list because they no longer meet the criteria.
At Canada's national parks, funding for "heritage resources conservation" — effectively the natural beauty of the parks — decreased by 15 per cent last year compared with the preceding six years, "with further reductions planned as part of decisions flowing from the 2012 federal budget."
Staffing for conservation at national parks has declined 23 per cent and scientific staff positions are down by more than a third, says the report — and that was before the latest round of cuts.”

We all know that there is no magic source of funds for such programs and that it all ultimately comes from the taxpayer however it seems that our federal government has no problem finding funds to promote oil pipelines through some of the most unique and vulnerable natural areas in Canada. Seems to me that their priorities are all out of wack! But don’t worry there will be an announcement just before the next election touting some 'new' funding for such programs...........!

Good new for a change!

This week, the Ontario Government made history by becoming the first province in Canada to provide a tax credit for farmers who donate fruits and vegetables to local food banks. Beginning in January 2014, farmers in Ontario will receive a 25 per cent tax credit based on the fair market value of produce that they donate to local food banks and community meal programs.”

This should be a no brainer for all the provinces and indeed even the Feds but please note that it is a tax CREDIT so that small producers who may well be having difficulty in making any great profit will receive minimal benefit for it. Tax credits, be it for donations or medical expenses or whatever, are great for those who's income is such that they pay substantial taxes but does little for those living closer to the subsistence level.

Still every little helps and the food banks certainly need the help for there are still thousands of families in Canada who rely upon them.

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Are the Grey-Bruce Greens in Trouble?

Regular readers here will know I am a supporter of the Federal Greens, mostly for their strong stand on protecting and improving our democracy, something on which their Leader Elizabeth May stands head and shoulders above her fellow MP's, but also for their clear and documented stance on a broad range of other issues. I bothers me greatly then when it appears that the local (Grey-Bruce-Owen Sound) Green EDA (Electoral District Association) is once again got one foot on the slippery slope to de-registration due to lack of support and difficulty in retaining an executive core group. This is even more troubling when one considers a little history in the riding and see that just a few years ago both the Green Party of Canada and the Green Party of Ontario in this riding received some of the highest percentage of votes for the Greens from all of Canada.

I dont know if this difficulty is common to all political EDA's , just those in Grey-Bruce or just the local Greens, nor do I know if the number of folks who are members of the GPC is typical, percentage wise, compared with other riding’s or Partys. Of the thousands eligible to vote in this riding only about half bother to do so and of those only a very small percentage voted for the Greens last time around. That number is still in the thousands but insofar as I know only a few hundred are interested enough to be members of the GPC and of those just a small handful are active in maintaining a presence in the riding in the form of a District Association. Herein lays the problem.

Its hard to see what has caused this drop off of support, is it a general discontent with all things political, is it that folks are too busy trying to find and keep a job to be bothered with it, is it that the decision of whether to support the best person, the best party or the best leader has become too much of a catch 22? Perhaps its that many of us have already decided to vote ABC (anybody but conservative) in order to rid ourselves of this corrupt and dictatorial regime and will thus support whichever candidate seem most lightly to defeat the current sitting MP. We all know that the interest falls off between elections and that just a few weeks before the next election is due there will be a resurgence with legions of supporters knocking on doors and trying to get the householder to vote for THEIR party or candidate, the big boys will spend thousands on slick TV ads extolling the virtues of their particular platform and leader. But what of the little guys? The Conservatives have successfully cut of the miniscule amount that all partys got from per vote funding leaving the Greens in particular in a very tough position, it will be up to local EDA's to fund any election expenses be that simply signage, radio or newspaper ads or whatever, Thus local active support will be essential. I do not believe that such support can be effectively mobilized at the last minute, it must be built up over a period of time and this is where the EDA of a political party comes into play.

Whilst most folk think that an EDA is just there to select and support a local candidate I believe that if they are going to be effective they should also strive to keep their political viewpoint in front of of the citizenry between elections. In order to do that they must have an active communications strategy and the members willing to devote the time and energy towards both those things. If left to a small handful of supporters this simply falls by the wayside due to a number of reasons, not the least of which is reduced enthusiasm brought on by lack of support. Also on the list is 'burnout', other commitments, personality conflicts and other such thing as may be found in any volunteer organization. There is little doubt that such things have plagued the GBOS Green EDA in recent times and perhaps more could be done to communicate with supporters to encourage their active involvement, they have tried, their web site has been updated, a facebook page created, even a newsletter was mailed out to members but non of these things seem to have been effective and each requires those dedicated volunteers to maintain the conversations.

This then is the situation for the supporters of an up and coming political party and where the local Greens seem to be sitting right now, will the overdue AGM occur soon, will a new and enthusiastic executive suddenly appear on their doorstep, will members willing to devote some time into writing newsletters or articles for the web site show up, or will they once again be simply scrambling to provide the minimum required to remain registered with Elections Canada? At this point I don’t know, but I do know its up to you Green Party Supporters!