South Shore of Ostrander Point (Image from CountyLive.com)
Seven months after learning a contentious wind project at Ostrander Point had been halted by the Environmental Review Tribunal, an Ontario divisional court overturned that decision Thursday, paving the way for development to begin later this year.
In July 2013, the Tribunal agreed with the Prince Edward County Field Naturalists that if development of a nine turbine, 22.5 megawatt project from wind proponent Gilead Power was allowed to proceed that local Blanding’s Turtles – a provincially threatened species – would suffer irreparable harm from vehicle traffic on access roads leading (Read more…)
Woodland caribou listed in Canada as a species-at-risk. (Photo by U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service)
Ontario’s Environmental Commissioner Gord Miller is warning Queen’s Park could face sharp reprimands by the courts for its failure to uphold wildlife protections under the Endangered Species Act.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, a federal court confirmed last week the Government of Canada does indeed have a responsibility to follow its own species at risk legislation.
The decision, handed down by Madam Justice Anne Mactavish on Feb. 14, stated the Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) and the federal Ministry of the Environment “acted unlawfully in failing (Read more…)
Sorry for the provincialism of some of my recent posts, but I can’t quite ignore political hypocrisy on any level. Three recent entries have attempted to chronicle the sad devolution of Ontario NDP Leader Andrea Howath from that of principled politician to political opportunist; with the tantalizing prospect of power, she has forsaken the NDP’s traditional constituencies of the poor and working class (sorry, I guess you folks just don’t have a strong enough electoral presence) for her new BFF, small business and ‘the middle class.’
Quite properly, and much to their credit, The Toronto Star is not giving (Read more…)
What dance party is that, you ask? Why, the one being hosted by the leader of the Ontario New Democratic Party whose name, it is rumoured, is in the process of being rejigged into the New Dance Party.
At least, that is how it appears to this political observer. As I opined yesterday, Ms. Horwath seems to be in the midst of an identity crisis, at least if her silence on key progressive issues such as the minimum wage is any indication. But perhaps that crisis is to be short-lived, given the letter she has sent to Premier Kathleen (Read more…)
In light of her refusal to say much about anything, a political disease she may have caught from her federal cousins, Ontario NDP leader Andrea Horwath is being viewed increasingly as little more than a political opportunist. Probably the most recent example of this sad state is her reticence to articulate a position on Ontario’s minimum wage.
Two weeks ago, Martin Regg Cohn offered this:
When did the party of the working poor lose its voice? Listen to the sound of Horwath clearing her throat when she finally emerged from the NDP’s Witness Protection Program this week — nine days (Read more…)
Last night, there were 2 byelections in Ontario, which were seen as a test of what the political winds are like in Ontario these days. The Ontario Liberals and Premier Kathleen Wynne was hoping to wrest away Thornhill from the PC’s, while Niagara Falls, in Tim Hudak’s backyard, it was seen as a test to see which opposition party would wrest it away from the OLP.
It was not a very good night for the OLP: in Thornhill, the PC candidate won comfortably – with vote totals only slightly down from the last general election, while in Niagara Falls, Liberal (Read more…)
If oil and gas pipeline proponents can talk about indirect economic benefits stemming from new pipeline infrastructure, opponents should be able to consider the environmental impacts of those indirect actions when arguing against them, according to the Pembina Institute’s federal policy director.
Fair is fair, according to Clare Demerse, and if oil and natural gas companies tout the economic benefits of upstream oil sands production and downstream refining when making the case for new pipeline infrastructure, organizations like Pembina should be able to include the environmental and climatic impacts associated from such activities in the national discussion about our (Read more…)
Were I a gifted artist (or any kind of artist, for that matter) I would draw Andrea Horwath in a two-panel caricature. In the first panel, index finger raised, she would be turning to her left, and in the second, to her right, testing the prevailing winds. That would, I believe, adequately capture what I, perhaps a tad harshly, characterize as the political prostitution of the Ontario NDP leader.
Like her long ago party leader, Bob Rae, who even today refuses to admit he made some grievous errors during his time as Ontario’s Premier by trying to placate and court (Read more…)
There has been very much a predictable reaction from business to the Wynne government’s decision to raise the Ontario minimum wage to $11 per hour as of June 1. Even though this modest increase will do little to lift the working poor out of poverty, the commercial sector is running about shouting that the sky will fall, prognosticating a loss of jobs as they take up a defensive position against something that will, they claim, eat away at their profits.
The following video from City TV offers a smattering of a debate over the issue; unfortunately, I no longer seem (Read more…)
The statement yesterday by Sochi’s mayor that there were no gay people in Sochi was idiotic.
The statement today by Thornhill Progressive Conservative candidate, Gila Martow, is nearly as idiotic:
Thornhill provincial Progressive Conservative byelection candidate Gila Martow called the move to raise the minimum wage this week “a vote-buying, feel-good kind of message,” in an interview. “If you think about it, what does it mean? I don’t think that, especially in the Thornhill riding, there’s too many families… that are working — the parents — at real minimum-wage jobs,”… I would like you to show me a few families (Read more…)
It’s dispiriting when newly rival factions of the environmental movement clash over what has become a touchy subject in green circles. Worse when disagreements end up in the justice system.
Yet that’s exactly what played out this week in a Toronto appeals court.
In an issue the media have dubbed ‘turtles versus turbines,’ the Prince Edward County Field Naturalists (PECFN), a group often led publicly by outspoken grandmother and wildlife advocate Myrna Wood, found themselves in court this week defending a landmark decision from the Environmental Review Tribunal in July, 2013 which halted a renewable energy project at Ostrander Point (Read more…)
One year after The Economist signalled an ”unwelcomed coal renaissance”, Bloomberg News reported Jan. 6 that Europe’s lust for lower energy prices was reviving lignite mining for coal-fired generation in a big way.
Lignite, a low-quality form of coal that contains less units of energy and greater volumes of carbon than traditional coal, is once again the prize European energy firms are seeking in open-pit mines in Germany, Poland and the Czech Republic in an effort to wrestle high-energy prices to the mat.
According to Bloomberg, new coal developments “go against the grain of European Union rules limiting (Read more…)
Like a scab (not the metaphorical kind so beloved of the extreme right) that I can’t resist picking away at, once more Ontario Progressive Conservative Leader Tim Hudak looms large. Although I wrote about him again very recently, the magnitude of either his ineptitude or his arrogance, depending on one’s perspective, is worthy of further examination.
As noted in my previous post, young Tim recently announced his Million Jobs Act, one that promises untold riches in the form of ‘good-paying jobs with benefits’ for Ontarians if only we reduce corporate taxes and enact free trade with the other (Read more…)
Yesterday won’t count as one of Ontario PC leader Tim Hudak’s better days. First came this snippet from the Windsor Star that the party had “fired” their candidate in Essex from last election over a dispute on “right to work” legislation:
Dave Brister was fired today as the Ontario PC candidate in Essex for publicly criticizing the party’s support of right-to-work legislation…“I was asked to recant my opposition to RTW legislation in exchange for retaining my position & I refused to do so,” Brister tweeted. Brister was a popular and conservative Windsor city councillor before stepping down to run in (Read more…)
Although I have written several previous posts on the need to substantially increase the minimum wage so that it becomes a living wage, I have been planning an update. However, I doubt that today will be the day for that update since, once again over my morning coffee, I have come across two thoughtful letters in The Star that I feel compelled to share with you.
Although the first letter looks at the poverty pervasive in Toronto thanks in no small measure to the current Ontario hourly minimum of $10.25, the second looks at the broader provincial consequences of (Read more…)
Tim’s Contemplative Face
Anyone who reads this blog regularly is probably aware that I am no fan of Ontario’s Progressive Conservative leader Tim Hudak. A callow lad at best, a duplicitous mini-demagogue at worst, the lad who would be premier has always struck me as one with limited imagination and no real vision, content as he is to spout the usual right-wing bromides (unions bad, workplace democracy good).
With a spring election looking increasingly likely in Ontario, young Tim has lately shown his egregious contempt for the electorate’s intelligence by attempting to reinvent himself with a private member’s (Read more…)
This wasn’t unexpected, but here is the official news:
Premier Kathleen Wynne has called byelections for Feb. 13 in Thornhill and Niagara Falls…The riding of Niagara Falls became vacant after Liberal MPP Kim Craitor resigned. Thornhill MPP Peter Shurman stepped down after a very public dispute with PC Leader Tim Hudak.
This will not only be a test for Premier Wynne, to see what incumbent voters think of her and how she’s handled things, approximately a year after she was chosen as Premier by the OLP, but a major look to see whether Tim Hudak, who hasn’t exactly caught fire (Read more…)
Virtually all incidences of modern Conservatism – Canada and the US, federally, state/provincially and municipally, from politician to politician – has a consistent central theme. Campaign planks comes and go, but this is the frame of the Conservative movement. It is also a lie, known by all who say it to be false, and at best a sort of spun half truth used for partisan gain. I’ll let the Ontario Tories’ big new Million Jobs Act talking point number one be the choice example of this theme: “Reduce debt and taxes to encourage employers to hire and to signal to (Read more…)
Canada has an obligation to help the United States pay for physically separating Lake Michigan and the entire Great Lakes basin from the Mississippi River watershed to contain the spread of Asian carp, though the cost may reach $18 billion or more.
The latest report from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers released Monday found preventing the aquatic invasive species Asian carp from entering the Great Lakes could cost upwards of $18 billion over 25 years if the most expensive control option is chosen by American lawmakers.
After having spent years studying the growing problem of controlling the aquatic (Read more…)
Anyone who has experience with the elderly, be they grandparents, parents, or extended family members, knows that their medical needs are often complex, and their isolation profound. As we age, there is no assurance that despite our best efforts to keep healthy and vigorous, we will not find ourselves in the position of needing a great deal of help someday.
During my mother’s protracted final illness, the last two years of which were spent at home under the loving ministrations of my father, home care became an essential part of their daily routine. For about an hour-and-a-half both in the (Read more…)
We don’t know what will make headlines in 2014. After all, most political predictions are about as accurate as a Forum poll.
So I won’t try to guess how 2014 plays out, but here are a few things we can reasonably expect to see this year:
With the new electoral map coming into force, all parties will begin nominating candidates, as they gear up for the next election. And since the media loves election speculation, there will no doubt be more rumours of the 2015 election being moved up to 2014 – though I can’t imagine Harper would want to (Read more…)
Crowd riding north on Church Street to ‘Save Jarvis’
Ontario’s efforts to expand cycling infrastructure across the province may have taken a subtle but significant step forward on Dec. 12 with the second reading passage of legislation that would require paving one metre wide shoulders on all provincial, non-400 series highways.
Bill 137, the Paved Shoulder and Construction Bicycling Act, from Progressive Conservative MPP Norm Miller (Parry Sound–Muskoka), if passed, would require the Ministry of Transportation to factor in one metre wide paved shoulders on all provincial highways on a go-forward basis as routine maintenance and repaving efforts unfold.
GO workers wait ahead of announcement from Ontario government about green bonds (Oct. 30, 2013)
Ontario made a small splash in the financial world at the end of October when Premier Kathleen Wynne and two top cabinet ministers announced the province was set to become the first Canadian jurisdiction to issue “green bonds,” a debt tool for governments to raise money solely to fund environmentally friendly initiatives.
“These bonds will help attract institutional investors, and they will be competitively priced based on what the market bears,” said Finance Minister Charles Sousa at the announcement.
Craig Alexander, senior vice president (Read more…)
Young Tim’s Mad Face
Readers of this blog will know that I have no use for Ontario Progressive Conservative leader Tim Hudak, an acolyte of Mike Harris who learned the essence of that hated leader’s philosophy when he served in his cabinet in the 1990s: divide, conquer, sow dissension, lambaste instead of lead, etc., etc.
In yesterday’s print edition of The Toronto Star, the lead letter neatly summed up young Tim’s vacuity of vision and his vicious vilification of unions. I have taken the liberty of copying it from the paper’s digital edition for your consideration:
Re Hudak targets (Read more…)
News roundup: November 30, 2013
Here are a few thoughts about recent Canadian political stories (in no particular order).
Liberal spin on the Toronto Centre by-election
Justin Trudeau and the federal Liberals have been falsely claiming they ran a wholly positive campaign in the Toronto Centre by-election, and that this is why they beat the “angry” and “negative” New Democratic Party (NDP).
First, the Liberals did go negative during that campaign, including distributing a flyer that was a personal attack against NDP leader Tom Mulcair. When called on it, the dishonest Liberals cynically claimed that the personal attack was not (Read more…)