I appeared on Global News Toronto last night on behalf of TTC Riders to offer a few comments on the TTC fare increase coming into effect this weekend. Even though they spelled my name wrong, I was happy to have some good quotes make it into the online and broadcast versions of the story: “I […]
Science takes things apart to see how they work. Religion puts things together to see what they mean. They speak different languages and use different powers of the brain.
-Rabbi Jonathan Sacks, The Great Partnership
As the quotation above suggests, the schism between scientific fact and religious belief is, in fact, one that shouldn’t exist. Yet, given the kinds of absolutist thinking that permeate the world today, demagogues and zealots suggest the two are mutually exclusive, an invalid proposition if one’s belief in transcendent truth manages to rise above seeing the narratives of the world’s religions as literal truths.
It (Read more…)
* Citizen-based lobby group applauds Ontario Government’s public engagement on greening the economy Hundreds of citizen climate lobbyists to participate in new discussion paper to dramatically reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 (Sudbury, ON) – Citizens’ Climate Lobby (CCL) applauds the government of Ontario for initiating public discussion on plans to transition Canada’s largest province […]
Rouge Park in autumn.
Canada’s Rouge National Urban Park Act began second reading in the Senate earlier this week after sailing through the House of Commons is just six months.
Tobias C. Enverga Jr., a Stephen Harper appointed Senator for Ontario, is acting as the bill’s sponsor in the Senate.
On Monday this week, Enverga Jr. spoke on the bill, urging all Senators to offer their support. “One hundred years from now I am confident that the decision to preserve this remarkable place as our country’s first national urban park will be viewed as one of the most (Read more…)
Endangered American Eel.
LAWYERS ACTING ON BEHALF of the Ontario government told the courts last month that Ontario’s endangered species legislation is now only concerned with the most dire of species listed under the law.
The Woodland Caribou; the American Eel; the Blanding’s Turtle — these and more than 150 other species currently listed as endangered in Ontario will only receive the full weight of government support when they teeter on the brink of local extinction.
So much for our “gold standard” Endangered Species Act.
In September 2013, lawyers from Ecojustice announced Ontario Nature and CPAWS Wildlands League were suing (Read more…)
Pretty much every time I hear Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper or one of his Conservative minions speak, I think of this song: “Propaganda” by the defunct punk/Oi! band Blitz. The same goes for when I hear Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne or one of her provincial Liberal hacks spew BS talking points. Even though the crooked politicians and partisan bureaucrats are obviously lying and spinning the facts, I realize that a large percentage of the population takes what they say at face value. It is scary and demoralizing to contemplate.
Here’s my suggestion for an updated version of one of (Read more…)
Despite united opposition against the proposed National Urban Park, Conservative Bill C-40 passed third reading Monday. The legislation is now on its way to the Tory-dominated Senate for further review.
Orchard Trail in Rouge Park.
The passage of Bill C-40 in Ottawa earlier this week, creating the country’s first National Urban Park in Toronto’s Rouge Valley, is not the cause for celebration a large number of its proponents hoped it would be.
Many of the countries leading environmental groups — including Ontario Nature, Environmental Defence, the David Suzuki Foundation and Friends of the Rouge Watershed — lamented the fact that in (Read more…)
I haven’t talked a lot about Ontario Politics much of late, but for my first post of the New Year, a few things have caught my eye I wished to comment on.
First, the Beer Store and its attempt to bring local craft beer dealers onboard is being viewed by some as a too-little too-late gamble in a desperate attempt to hold off competition to its monopoly. This series of paragraphs in a Toronto Star op-ed from Martin Regg Cohn is significant for me:
As more Ontarians realize that The Beer Store isn’t what they thought it was — not (Read more…)
Keystone XL wasn’t the only pipeline project to rankle Canadians in 2014.
WIDESPREAD PUBLIC DEBATE on building vast networks of snaking energy pipelines throughout Canada dominated the country’s environmental newsreel in 2014, and will continue making headlines in the year ahead.
A collection of Canada’s top environmental NGOs told Reeves Report the climate change file — particularly an uptick in news stories, op-eds, consultations and street-level protests over whether and where oil and gas pipelines could be situated — was the environmental story of the year.
Devon Page, head of environmental legal group Ecojustice, said there has been more conversation (Read more…)
Every December, I name a “Person of the Year” – the individual who left their mark on Canadian politics over the past year, for good or for bad. Below is a list of recent choices:
2013: Rob Ford & Naheed Nenshi 2012: Allison Redford 2011: Jack Layton 2010: Rob Ford & Naheed Nenshi2009: Jim Flaherty2008: Stephane Dion2007: Jean Charest2006: Michael Ignatieff2005: Belinda Stronach2004: Ralph Klein
I’ve never picked Stephen Harper because, duh, obviously the Prime Minister is going to have an impact on politics. And 2014 was no exception. In a year which (Read more…)
The Greenbelt Alliance wants better protection for the ecologically sensitive area, which remains at risk from sprawl, mega-highways and contaminated soil.
Map of Greenbelt and other protected lands in Southern Ontario.
SOUTHERN ONTARIO’S 7,200 square kilometre Greenbelt and the prime farmland and headwaters it contains remain at significant risk from expanding urban development despite protective legislation in place for a decade.
Ontario’s Greenbelt at Risk, a study from the Ontario Greenbelt Alliance and Environmental Defence, believes the Ontario government must do more to strengthen protections for the sensitive Greenbelt space stretching from Welland east to Coburg and north to (Read more…)
Everyone wants the 10,500 acres in the Rouge Valley to be made into a national urban park, yet few but the Harper Tories think their plan for the green space is the best path forward.
Rouge Park at Sunrise. (Flickr Photo Courtesy of Snuffy.)
ON A MEDIA TOUR this week of the proposed park on Toronto’s eastern boundary, federal NDP environment critic Megan Leslie (Halifax) told reporters she will advise her caucus to oppose government Bill C-40 despite the personal difficulty she feels in opposing the park.
“I’m in a parallel universe where I get applause for voting against (Read more…)
A control test site for invasive plant phragmites at Wasaga Beach on Lake Huron.
LIBERAL NATURAL RESOURCE MINISTER Bill Mauro reintroduced the Invasive Species Act Wednesday, the first standalone legislation in Canada geared towards stopping the spread of invasives into the province
There is currently a patchwork of more than 20 different federal and provincial pieces of legislation affecting the control of invasive species in the country but none are designed specifically with invasive species in mind. Ontario is keen to change that, Mauro said.
“Our proposed legislation will help to address these legislative gaps,” he told a crowd (Read more…)
On Oct. 1, New Democratic MP Brian Masse from Windsor, Ontario introduced a private member’s bill calling for tougher action and better coordination across Canadian governments in the fight against Asian carp.
The bill would make it illegal to import Asian carp — or “invasive carp,” as Masse calls it in his remarks — into Canada unless the fish is dead. And, to make sure border guards aren’t fooled by fish on ice that later spring to life in water, the fish must be eviscerated. Through a change to the Fisheries Act it would also forbid the inter-provincial transportation of (Read more…)
A STANDOFF IS BREWING east of Toronto in the Rouge Valley between Queen’s Park and the federal government over the proposed Rouge National Urban Park.
Ontario Infrastructure Minister Brad Duguid made it clear to federal Environment Minister Leona Aglukkaq that the province would not hand 5,400 acres of land it owns, stretching from Lake Ontario to Markham, over to Ottawa to create the new 10,000 acre park.
Map of existing Rouge Park.
At issue is the wording of Bill C-40, the Rouge National Urban Park Act, which began second reading in June. Much of the 5,400 acres Ontario controls (Read more…)
Sorry. False alarm. Turns out it was the sound of Ontario NDP leader Andrea Horwath doing a fancy dance as she practices her routine for the November leadership review she is facing.
In Toronto this past Saturday, more than 200 members of the party’s provincial council were witness to the reborn Horwath expressing her allegiance to essential party principles, principles that were decidedly absent in the provincial election she forced last June that saw her party lose the balance of power it had held.
Averred the rechristened leader:
“We believe in fighting each and every day for a more equal (Read more…)
GETTING SERIOUS about tackling greenhouse gases has to start with dramatically cutting emissions from Ontario’s transportation sector, the province’s environmental watchdog warned recently.
In releasing his latest update on efforts to curb climate change-inducing emissions in Ontario, Environmental Commissioner Gord Miller told reporters at Queen’s Park the biggest sector emitter of greenhouse gases has witnessed the smallest efforts at reducing GHGs.
“The biggest section is transportation emissions and that’s a section where we have achieved only miniscule changes,” Miller said. “The growth in transportation means our emissions are increasing from the 1990 base.”
Since 1990 — the baseline year (Read more…)
But only a little bit. And only because her campaign is being criticized from within.
As I noted in a recent post, Ontario NDP leader Andrea’s Horwath’s hubris following what almost everyone else would call a failed Ontario election campaign has been both unseemly and wholly unjustified. She initially avowed that she had no regrets about causing the election, terming it a success despite the fact her party lost key Toronto ridings and, more importantly, the balance of power. However, now that she is being publicly taken to task by both Peter Julian and Cheri DiNovo, Horwath seems to (Read more…)
SO MUCH OF THE THINKING around climate change has evolved since 2007 that Ontario’s seven-year-old climate action plan is now “irrelevant” according to Environmental Commissioner Gord Miller.
In releasing Looking for Leadership: The Costs of Climate Inaction this morning, Miller said the province has been a leader in the climate file but has not kept up with the changing social, scientific and economic dynamics of climate change since Ontario’s Climate Change Action Plan was released in 2007.
In particular, Miller identified four areas where society and science have moved beyond the baseline assumptions about climate change it held seven years (Read more…)
A $400,000 ASIAN CARP science lab was opened by Public Works Minister Diane Finley Monday as part of $17.5 million committed by Ottawa to fight the spread of this aquatic invasive species.
Captured grass carp at Dept. of Fisheries and Oceans research lab in Burlington, ON (Andrew Reeves)
The new lab in Burlington, Ontario — which is housed in the Department of Fisheries and Oceans’ Canada Centre for Inland Waters — will allow sample testing to be done in Canada rather than relying on genetic testing of water samples to be done in the United States to identify Asian carp DNA (Read more…)
The other day, while watching some reactions to the Ontario Throne Speech, I couldn’t help but note a truculent and smug Andrea Horwath, the leader of an NDP party now diminished by her foolish decision not to support a progressive budget, thereby triggering an election that few wanted. She opined that the now-majority Liberal government will have to make massive cuts in order to balance the budget by 2017-18. Indeed, she called the speech a Trojan Horse plan.
Who knows? She may be right, but the fact that she gambled and lost the leverage her party enjoyed in the legislature (Read more…)
IN ANNOUNCING her new cabinet last week, Premier Kathleen Wynne has charged former Transportation Minister Glen Murray with taking over Ontario’s newly revamped environment ministry.
Murray, the sitting MPP for Toronto Centre and former mayor of Winnipeg, assumed command of the environment ministry from veteran MPP Jim Bradley who is Ontario’s longest-serving environment minister after eight years on the job in two separate stints.
Wynne has also asked Murray to take on a new challenge, perhaps the most pressing issue facing the planet in the 21st century: climate change. No, Murray won’t be tasked with single-handedly solving the world’s shifting (Read more…)
To listen to post-election Ontario Tories and to take them at their word would suggest that the lot of them were simply dupes of Machiavellian forces over which they had no control. Up to and including the day of the election, they all appeared to be solidly behind their leader and his plans. After their abject failure to win the hearts and minds of Ontarians, that narrative quickly changed, most notably in Lisa MacLeod’s disavowal of both her leader and his program.
The latest exercise in what many would describe as arrant hypocrisy was evident in newly-appointed Tory interim leader (Read more…)
A coalition of worried environmental groups is calling on Premier Kathleen Wynne to refrain from transferring provincially owned land in Scarborough to Ottawa over fears that ecological protections in Bill C-40, the Rouge National Urban Park Act, are substantially weaker than those already in place.
Days after the federal Conservatives called C-40 for second reading debate on June 19, Environmental Defence, Ontario Nature and Friends of the Rouge Watershed issued a joint release saying the bill from Environment Minister Leona Aglukkaq “fails to meet the standards needed for a sustainable national park that respects conservation science.”
The bill (Read more…)
The other day I wrote a commentary on recently re-elected Nepean-Carlton Ontario Progressive Conservative Lisa MacLeod. In a thinly-disguised job application/op-ed piece for the Star, Ms. MacLeod talked about what is needed for revitalized leadership of her party, brought to electoral ruin by the soon-to-be-departed leader Tim Hudak. Perhaps not surprisingly, MacLeod’s prescription for renewal seemed to reflect her ‘skillset.’
It is a self-assessment with which not everyone agrees. In today’s Toronto Star, two letter-writers point out what the party needs, and their prescriptions do not seem to include Ms. MacLeod:
Re: Ontario Tories need fresh leadership, Opinion June (Read more…)