fall 2021

Bay of Quinte Greens, Newsletter
Fall 2021

Comic Relief:  The tree hugger’s confession

I withdrew from the Green Party of Canada a month before the federal election because I couldn’t figure out what was happening with Annamie Paul and the party executive.  

I am a senior, retired, grandfather and rural homeowner.  What can I say about the wrath of others?  It seemed to me the federal Greens had fallen into public anger and blame, which is not for me. I prefer to just understand – or try to.  

There is no such animosity in the Ontario Green Party. For sure, provincial Greens are serious about the disastrous policies of the Ford fiasco (highway 413??!!) but our complaints are reasoned, articulate and science based. Moreover, at the municipal and provincial level, more is possible.  I am preparing for June 2022 and the provincial elections.

Vote Green.

Editor Jim

A Note from Mike Schreiner, President of the Provincial Greens

“On Ontario Agriculture Week, I’m calling on Doug Ford to commit to ending sprawl and cancelling Highway 413 to protect our farmland.

Ford’s sprawl-at-all-costs and pay-to-pave approach to development is ripping up prime farmland.

175 acres of farmland are lost every day in Ontario due to sprawl. That’s the equivalent of five farms per week.

Highway 413 alone would destroy 2,000 acres of farmland.

It’s unsustainable, and it threatens our food security and rural economy.
Instead of sprawling out, let’s build 15 minute communities with infill, gentle density, and mid-rise so we can preserve our valuable farmland. Instead of more highways, let’s invest in electrified and affordable transit.

And this Ontario Agriculture Week, let’s support Ontario farmers by filling our tables with healthy local food.”

Mike Schreiner
Leader, Ontario Greens

From Lori Borthwick, President of the BQGPO

Fall days 

Last week I took a refreshing vacation day and walked through several local conservation areas. The areas were beautiful, almost empty of people and full of birds on their migration. The bushes and trees held so many birds, feeding on the native plants and shrubs. 

As I enjoyed all the sounds, sights and smells of my nature walk I realized just how much it had restored me both mentally and physically. It reminded me just how important it is to protect these natural spaces, for the wildlife that depends on them, and also for us, as they remind us of what is truly important.

The trees, the animals that depend on these wild spaces and the land, cannot speak for themselves. They have no way to advocate for themselves, they are not heard in the chambers where decisions are made. The Ford Conservatives have continually reduced protections for all of our remaining wildlife and biodiverse areas. In the name of progress and jobs, important biodiverse lands are slated for development for the land developers that have financially supported Doug Ford’s Conservatives. 

There is a provincial election on June 2, 2022. If you feel called to speak for the natural spaces in Ontario then now is the time to volunteer for the Green Party of Ontario. We speak for the voiceless in parliament. We protect the land. We need your help to raise our voice in the next election. There are so many ways to get involved and help amplify our voices. You can visit BayofQuinteGPO.ca to learn more or GPO.ca.

More on Ford’s Throne (??!!) Speech, Abhijeet Manay

Ford’s throne speech was a disaster for climate. 

Last week Ford opened the new session of the legislature with a speech that was as unsurprising as it was unimaginative. And it didn’t mention the climate emergency once.

Instead of giving Ontarians the climate action and affordable housing we so desperately need, Ford promised more highways. Highways that will rip through Ontario’s green spaces and prime farmland and put more cars on the road, causing more pollution. 

Ford’s crusade against the environment is appalling. 

We’re calling on the government to make some real, evidence-based changes, instead of just repeating the same old rhetoric. Ontario Greens want to see a plan for childcare, affordable housing and most importantly, climate action. Not more highways. 

Tell Ford To Stop Building More Highways. 

Paving over more wetlands and farmland to supercharge urban sprawl will only make the climate and housing crisis worse. If the Premier truly wants to improve the quality of life for Ontario families then he cannot ignore the need to address climate change now. 

Instead of coming up with a new plan, Ford is proving he’s a one trick pony. Unimaginative and uninspired, Ford clearly needs ideas for how to help Ontarians build a better future. 

We have the plan Ontarians need. 

Join me in telling the Ford Government to stop spewing the same old rhetoric and work with us to come up with comprehensive solutions to Ontario’s biggest problems now. 

Abhijeet Manay 
Candidate for Beaches-East York 
Ontario Greens 

Don Wilford CFO of Quinte Provincial Greens on COP26 and Environ Mental Attitudes 

COP26 has started in Glasgow and Andrew Weaver has been widely criticized for saying that limiting global heating to 1.5°C is no longer possible. I agree with him for the simple reason that we’re already at 1.2°C and the delay between emissions and temperature means, at this point, that 1.5°C is already baked in. 

Of course, despair is no answer but then neither is fantasy. So some facts, at least as I understand them: 

  • Our fossil fuel use is a moving target – increasing exponentially with a doubling time of 37 years. In other words, by 2060 we will have used as much new fossil fuel as we have used in all of human history. Or at least, we will attempt to.
  • Peak fossil fuel production was around 2019, pushed back by fracking, which has caused environmental damage and released methane (that’s right, methane is not all about cows) into the atmosphere. A fracking field is productive for less than ten years. 
  • To be fair to oil companies, their goal is to find the increasing demand we’re demanding. If they don’t, we can expect energy prices to rise exponentially, impacting the poor most of all. 
  • 85% of our energy demand is supplied by fossil fuels, another 12% by nuclear and hydro. It means we basically need to reconstruct our energy infrastructure and doing it with renewables is just not realistic. 
  • GDP correlates with energy consumption with a correlation coefficient of around 80%. Given our energy mix, it means GDP growth locks in fossil fuel growth. 
  • Every wind turbine requires a copper cable as thick as your leg. We’re running out of copper. Yes, we can mine lower yield ores but it requires – wait for it – more energy… We’re running out of most of the resources we need and it’s far from clear we can replace our energy infrastructure even if we wanted to. 
  • And we’ve run out of time. The time taken to plan, finance, and build major infrastructure is measured in decades. And imagine the supply chain issues if every country demanded the steel, concrete, metals, and other resources, all at the same time. 
  • This was all foreseen – at least conceptually – by Limits to Growth, in the 1970s. It was not only ignored it was belittled. 
  • Scientists have warned that 2°C is a hard limit (1.5°C would give us a safety margin). Economists, on the other hand, have benignly suggested a 4°C rise would be “optimum” – partly because they consider most of the economy to be protected from climate change because it’s indoors – I kid you not. 
  • The existential crisis is tipping points – the first being the loss of arctic ice, which, in fact, may have already tipped. Current warnings are about our current climate worsening but tipping points take us into unknown new climates that humanity has never before experienced – the life support patterns we’ve evolved with and are no longer assured.

The best response I’ve seen to the Climate Crisis is carbon rationing. No one at COP26 is talking about carbon rationing and neither are we, or our media. 

Don Wilford On Hanley Park, Colonialism, Ticks, and Squares

A massive white oak on the property which germinated around 1840 

I had the pleasure, on Saturday 30th October, to join John Lowry of Quinte Field Naturalists, on a walk in Hanley Park North in east Belleville. I was much impressed. Sad to say, this wonderful woodland is threatened by development. 

When I got home I used Google Earth and had a bit of a revelation, probably something everyone knows but it hadn’t occurred to me.

A first growth White Oak in the Hanley Property

All those rods and chains, back in the days of colonialization! The land was laid out in squares (and rectangles), which became fields, and later were bought by developers for subdivisions. They in turn built in squares – square roads and square houses and it all looks pretty and tidy. But natural pathways – woodlands and wetlands – are non-conforming. They cut across our layouts as natural pathways for nature and wildlife. It’s interesting this was done because it’s not how it’s done in England, where I grew up. There, roads and farms and development follow natural features and contours. 

So what gave our colonial forbearers the right – even the idea – that straight lines should be imposed on nature? And how amazing to realize that even today, we’re locked in to the geometry they imposed. 

The Forest

By coincidence, my Saturday started with an article in the New York Times. One of its flagship writers, Ross Douthat, is stepping down after a long battle with Lyme disease. It’s associated with deer but more correctly with mice. Their populations are abundant in the small residual woodlots allowed by development – sufficient for mice but not for the birds or animals of prey to keep their populations under control. Across the north-eastern U.S. and Canada, Lyme and other tick-bearing diseases have become a serious threat. 

I highlighted Hanley Park with Google Earth and saw Stanley Park to the west and the hint of a wetland west of it. If we cared about wildlife and if anyone had a mandate to look at development in its entirety, we would see that Hanley Park is a continuation of a natural heritage corridor that should be preserved down to the lake – while the lakeshore is pretty developed, there appears to be a bridge and wetland access to Lake Ontario just to the east. 

Part of the Bell Creek Watershed

How wonderful if our developments could conserve natural features and corridors with due respect for natural habitat. Our gardens would enjoy visits from pollinators and our children would see birds and hear animals.

Our Provincial Policy Statement states (section 2.0), “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.” 

If we can’t make this happen in our local communities, what dare we say to our leaders in Glasgow? Save us from ourselves? 

Robert Williams on Del Luca’s Voting Project—An Open Letter to Ontarioians

Dear Andrea Horwath, Peggy Sattler and Mike Schreiner,

Ontario Liberal Leader Steven Del Duca has just pledged to resign if he can’t unilaterally ram through his hand-picked, winner-take-all voting system for Ontario: i.e. A non-proportional, winner-take-all “ranked ballot”. Properly called Alternative Vote (AV).

Del Duca is pledging to force through this voting system which experts show could deliver worse results than first-past-the-post incl.:

A winner-take-all system that will concentrate power at the top even more.

A system that will perpetuate even more false majority governments (with less than 50% of first choice votes) and still result in many millions of voters who had no impact at all on the election result and elected no-one.

Del Duca and the Ontario Liberals are counting on public confusion and deliberate misinformation to deliver them the non-proportional voting system they believe will work best for their party.

They are counting on a lack of serious leadership from the other political parties to get away with this scheme.

Ontarians deserve a fair and proportional voting system!
Del Duca’s single-minded partisan fixation on a winner-take-all ranked ballot —and blindness to the evidence—is EXACTLY why we need a Citizens’ Assembly on Electoral Reform that will place voter interests above party interests.

When partisan self-interest doesn’t line up with the evidence, voters loose.

Ontarians deserve an independent, non-partisan Citizens’ Assembly they can trust to recommend a voting system that gives every voter an equal and effective vote. Each such vote, unlike today, will impact the results of an election but no more or less than every other vote does.

Your voice and leadership in this moment is urgent.

Please show leadership on electoral reform now. The future of democracy in Ontario could depend on it.

Yours sincerely,
Robert Williams
Ottawa, Ontario, K1S 5N3, Canada

Civility? Advice from Chip Furlow, Political Public Relations Consultant

“What I tell all my clients who wanna get elected:  it’s easy.  1.  Have a simple solution for everything and 2. be sure and have people to blame.  Aside from that be brief and good looking.  It’s all about sales:  we’re selling you eh.  The opposition are all idiots.  Hate them.  That’ll be $12,000.”

Once Again The Importance of Donating and Volunteering

Don Wilford:  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 see our new climate plan explained in this video by Mike Schreiner, Dianne Saxe and Abijheet Manay.

Ontario’s next election is in June 2022 – just 7 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.

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 this fall, talk about what it means to you and your family, and consider donating to the Bay of Quinte Greens.  

Here is a link for local donations: https://gpo.ca/riding/bay-of-quinte-6/

Movie review: Dune 

Frank Herbert’s book Dune was published in 1964 when I was 20. I read it and was fascinated. The first movie version came out in 1985 and now we have Villeneuve’s film version (part 1 I think). I am haunted by the conflict: the Fremen indigenous desert dwellers of Arakis versus the Imperial pharmaceutical empire. No kidding. That’s how it seemed to me. I wonder; the Fremen seemed vaguely Islamic and they live in the desert and they are violent. The Empire is
technological, financial, violent and live in huge spaceships. The new film seems mostly about people hating and killing each other. It is also about huge explosions and the destruction of cities and machines. It is very loud and you can hear screams and crashes. What was moving in the book was the underlying sympathy for the native Fremen and their love of the environment in which they lived. The movie in this version lacks any sense of that element. I give it a one out of five.

Free Comic
by Jim Colby

Editor’s comment: 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.” 

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