december 2020

Bay of Quinte Greens, Newsletter
December 2020

Welcome once again to the Quinte Provincial Greens online newsletter. The idea here is to provide info that Greens – people who care about the environment and social justice – might appreciate. So, we will range from very local things to international issues. Let me say that we welcome any feedback from our readers.

Green Policies: Online Speaker Series

The Online Speaker Series will continue in the new year. We are grateful to Dimitri Lascaris for launching the series with his talk on misguided conservative economics. An announcement of the next meeting will be sent out in January. 

News

The news is that Ford’s government has passed Bill 229 disabling Conservation restraints on development in vulnerable wetlands. At the same time, we are locked down as of December 26. At this writing it looks like Santa will need a wagon rather than a sleigh. Homelessness and habitat are problems for many. I’m not rich but I’m fortunate to be a Canadian, a father and a grandfather. This holiday season Myra and I will be donating to several local and distant charities in the name of our children. I wish everyone a joyful and a healthy holiday. 

Ford’s Highway

Below is a photo from a protest of the Ford Government’s dismantling of the Environmental safeguards on development in Ontario. It was a joint NDP and Green initiative and lasted from noon to 1am at Quinte Conservation on Old Highway 2. We gathered on Friday Dec. 11th at noon to protest Bill 229 Schedule 6.

The gathering was cordial and orderly even though the issue was serious.  Many drivers ‘honked’ support for the protestors while passed by appearing puzzled. One kind person handed off a box of donaughts for the crew purchased from a fast food franchise owned by a Canadian but controlled by wealthy Americans and named after a wonderful Toronto Maple Leaf defence man. 

Here is a note on Ford’s actions from Diane Saxe1 Deputy Leader of the GPO: 

1 The Doug Ford Conservative government elected in June, 2018, took strong exception to her critique of their rolling back Ontario’s climate change laws and policies.[25][27][28][29] Soon afterwards, on 15 Nov. 2018, they announced that her position would be abolished by legislation

Bay of Quinte Provincial Green Newsletter 2 December 2020 

Despite province-wide opposition, the Ford government has again defied your Environmental Bill of Rights and used a Budget Bill to gut crucial environmental protections. 

Sneaking an attack on conservation authorities into a Budget Bill is undemocratic. It cuts another hole through your Environmental Bill of Rights, short circuits public consultation, and prevents MPPs from properly examining government action. 

And because the Ford government abolished my office last year as the Environmental Commissioner of Ontario, there is no longer an independent guardian of your Environmental Bill of Rights to protest. 

No wonder they wanted to silence me. 

Tell Doug Ford To Cancel His Rollback of Flood Control 

What was in this sneak attack? What was so important that the Ford government had to ram it through before Christmas, during a pandemic, without allowing the public enough time and information to comment? Hamstringing conservation authorities so that they can no longer do their job: preventing powerful developers from filling in and paving over the precious natural areas that protect us all from flooding. 

As Commissioner, I reported to the Ontario Legislature (pdf) in my last environmental protection report on why we need woodlands and wetlands. We need them to keep the air and water clean, to keep birds and fish alive, and to reduce flooding, plus they provide beautiful places for healthy activity outside. 

Woodlands and wetlands are precious and irreplaceable; once they’re damaged or gone, we rarely get them back. 

and some of its functions transferred to the Auditor General.[30] Hundreds of scientists [31] plus the majority of Ontarians polled said that this move would have a negative impact on the environment.[32] Her last report was even more critical of the Doug Ford government.[33] After 25 years, the position of the Environmental Commissioner of Ontario, including the role of guardian of the Environmental Bill of Rights, ceased to exist when the Bill was amended on April 1, 2019.[16]

Bay of Quinte Provincial Green Newsletter 2 December 2020 

Who protects woodlands and wetlands (and people) against the rampant greed of rich donors to the Conservative Party? Our conservation authorities. Why did conservation authorities have this power? Because Ontarians said: “Never again!” after the enormous destruction of Hurricane Hazel in 1954. 

But now the Ford government is tying the conservation authorities’ hands so that their cronies can pocket short-term profits by turning wetlands into stores, parking lots and sprawl. 

Who will suffer the consequences, as the climate crisis worsens floods? All the rest of us. 

This makes no sense. It’s short sighted thinking to make the rich richer, but our province, people and nature poorer and more vulnerable. Instead of using the Budget to help developers, why didn’t the Ford government help people, schools, charities, small businesses, public transit and the arts survive the pandemic? 

We need to keep the pressure up.  Please send a message today. 

Thank you, 


The PEC Official Plan: Don Wilford

For Greens and all those concerned about protecting our environment, now is an important time. The County is adopting its new Official Plan (OP) after many years of debate and Belleville is updating its too (Quinte West’s was adopted in 2013).

Bay of Quinte Provincial Green Newsletter 2 December 2020 

Why is it important? Because land-use planning is one of the major responsibilities of our local governments, including subdivisions, zoning by laws, controlling approved developments, and, of course, protecting our local environments. 

Ontario’s Provincial Policy Statement sets the tone. It stems from the controversy over the Oak Ridges Moraine in the 1990’s, which culminated in Bill 122, the Oak Ridges Moraine Conservation Act of 2001, and subsequently the creation of a permanently protected Greenbelt across the moraine, above the GTA. 

The Act sets municipalities’ objectives for “Natural Heritage”. To quote, “The diversity and connectivity of natural features in an area, and the long term ecological function and biodiversity of natural heritage systems, should be maintained, restored or, where possible, improved, recognizing linkages between and among natural heritage features and areas, surface water features and ground water features.” Of course, this comes from previous governments – it is these very protections that the current government is seeking to overturn, including diminishing the ability of Conservation Authorities to protect important wetlands. 

In the case of the County, the proposed new OP includes 11 Natural Core Areas (NCAs) and Linkages – areas that protect our wetlands, woodlands, and wildlife habitats from development. If you’re a County resident, every ward has at least one protected NCA or Linkage. 

Of course, the battle between development and the environment will never cease as long as money is involved. That said, it’s not too late to get involved. The County’s plan will, hopefully, be approved on the 20th January with time for us all to review it and offer our support. 

Book Review, by Jim Colby
The Story of More, How We Got to Climate Change and Where to Go from Here,
Hope Jahren

Fifty years ago, a friend pointed out to me that the idea of growth as a single virtue in business was a misappropriation of a biological balance: 

Bay of Quinte Provincial Green Newsletter 2 December 2020 

growth and death. The son of a salesman, it had never occurred to me that expansion, development, consumption, marketing, and accumulation had any down side. I was naive. Now More is killing us, here is a wonderful book that cogently explains how we got here. 

Hope Jahren is an American scientist (paleobiology) who left her laboratory at the University of Hawai’i in 2016 to relocate to the University of Oslo in Norway where her studies of climate change were more appreciated and better supported. She was born in 1969 and raised in the heartland of American agriculture in Mower County, Minnesota. Her family had come to America from Scandinavia several generations before and were farmers.  She is an astonishingly good writer who in this both personal and global account gathers information on the origins, history and outcomes of the industrialization of food, commodities and energy in our brave new world. 

Bare facts are sometimes useless but are also sometimes decisively clear.  She writes: 

In 1817, only 3 percent of the global population lived in any kind of a city. Now, just two hundred years later, about half the people on planet earth reside in cities—that is, within urban centers containing at least one hundred thousand people. (p 21) 

The industrialization of nations required the concentration of the work force, produced pollution, urban poverty and the international marketplace.  Further on she maintains: 

What we saw in Chapter 6 with food, we now see with energy: all of the want and suffering in the world—all of it—arises not from the earth’s inability to produce but from our inability to share. (p. 88) 

People trying to come to grips with the enormity of the climate crisis and its origins face a very daunting recognition. Clearly entertainment and ignorance are easier than facing the complexity of the real. The refreshing thing about Jahren’s book is that the narrator is a real person who continually acknowledges the stress of looking clearly. 

The United States has met more than 90 percent of its energy needs during the last fifty years by burning fossil fuels. It drives me bonkers

Bay of Quinte Provincial Green Newsletter 2 December 2020 

that the American conversation about oil, gas, and coal is never about how much we use, only about where we can get more. (p106) 

While this book explains from a global perspective the history of wasteful consumption it also renders it all in personal terms (“Today we watch baseball games inside air-conditioned stadiums . . .” p.84).  

I am delighted as a 76-year-old guy to be informed and instructed by such a bright woman. The situation of our planet is dire. This book tells the facts with graceful realism. It remains to the readers to contemplate and act. 


The Importance of Donating and Volunteering

Don Wilford: Being together, this year, will be difficult for all and impossible for many. Thomas Homer-Dixon – Canada’s renowned political and climate scientist talks about Covid-19 in his new book, “Commanding Hope”. “I was thinking about the pandemic as a really vivid example of how things can change extraordinarily quickly”. He tells the story of how the crude climate models of 20 years ago got it basically right – predictions of climate heating, fires, droughts, and floods. And what more sophisticated models tell us about the next 20 years – how impacts will accelerate and affect more and more people. He dedicates his book to children, “It’s the best I can do to explain what I think you need to hold on to in your future.” 

The Green Party is the only party that is unequivocally committed to a green future for our children and a new way of doing politics. You can listen to our leader, Mike Schreiner, describe our 5-point, post-Covid, “Green and Caring Recovery Plan” here – tinyurl.com/yye5e2co. 

Ontario’s next election is in June 2022 – just 20 months away. If you agree that Green voices are essential in our next Provincial assembly, please consider donating to us – the Bay of Quinte Greens – we need money to put up signs, organize, and mount a competitive Bay of Quinte campaign – go to tinyurl.com/y25geka.

Bay of Quinte Provincial Green Newsletter 2 December 2020 

Canada’s tax system provides generous reimbursements – total donations up to $423 receive a 75% tax refund, up to $1,410 a 50% refund, and up to $1,625 a 33.33% refund. 

Please think of us at Thanksgiving, talk about what it means to you and your family, and consider donating to the Bay of Quinte Greens. 

here is the 5-point plan for a green recovery as mentioned in the newsletter. 

here is the 5-point plan for a green recovery as mentioned in the newsletter. 

HERE is the 5-point plan for a green recovery as mentioned in the newsletter.

Cartoon

Editor’s comment:  You made it to the bottom of the newsletter again!  Well done.  We would love to hear from you.  We need donations, members and volunteers.  Remember what Tarfon said:  “Do not be daunted by the enormity of the world’s grief. … You are not obligated to complete the work, but neither are you free to abandon it.”  We can help.

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