spring 2022

Bay of Quinte Greens, Newsletter
Spring 2022

Welcome once again to the online newsletter.  

Tree huggers intro, Jim Colby

“When that April with his showers sweet the drought of March hath pierced to the root.
And bathed every vein in such liquor of which virtue engendered is the fleur,
And Zephyrus eek with his sweet breath inspired hath in every holt and heath
The tender croppes, and the young sun hath in the Ram his half course run
And small fowls maken melodie, that sleep all the night with open eye
(So priketh them nature in her courages):  then longer folk to go on pilgrimages”.
(Chaucer, Prologue, Canterbury Tales)

How can the world be so distressed when we mostly agree on beauty, kindness and joy?  Mostly.  I love Chaucer whose world was by no means perfect but was pre-industrial, technologically renewable, non colonial and local.  Times are daunting.  But we can’t go back and the way ahead is unclear.  As my Quebecois amis dissent “Laches pas la patate. Mon ami.”  Now especially we must look directly at the real.

In this edition of the newsletter are some things on which to reflect.

Erica Charleton the Bay of Quinte, GPO Candidate  We are delighted to have as a candidate in the upcoming provincial elections a bright young woman from the County.  Here is a brief bio:

 Young, smart, and savvy – Erica Charlton was born and raised in the County where she has a wide circle of friends and family. As a girl, Erica excelled in almost every sport and competed in pretty much every sports field and arena in the County. Her memories are of biking everywhere – to the beach, see friends or stop-in at a local establishment. She knows this place, how much it has to offer, and how important it is to care for it.

Erica studied at Carleton University where she obtained her degree in Law and Psychology. At the same time, she was a highly successful retail manager in wireless communications and received many leadership awards. In her spare time, she volunteered for CKCU Radio, including co-producing and co-hosting a weekly, live radio show. Now, back in the County, Erica is the mother of a young boy, Odin, children and is in the midst of changing her career to computer technology.

Erica is a passionate Green and strongly believes in a “Green and Caring Economy” – Green jobs, more time for family, and greater happiness. Erica ran for the Greens in the Federal election and is now bringing her passion to Provincial politics. Erica hopes that people in the Bay of Quinte will consider the Greens and vote Green on the 2nd of June.

Policy:  A Note from Mike Schreiner, President of the Provincial Greens.  

Main points of the Green Improved Mental Health Care Plan for Ontario:

  1. Expand access to mental health and addiction care under OHIP.
  2. Increase mental health and addiction spending to 10% of our health budget.
  3. Develop a 3 digit dedicated crisis response line and health-focused crisis response teams to respond to mental health and substance related calls.
  4. Reduce waitlists to 30 days or less for children’s mental health services.
  5. Support Indigenous-led clinics and healing programs for mental health.
  6. Create a dedicated Ministry of Mental Health and Addictions.
  7. Decriminalize drug use, expand safe consumption sites, and shift funding from the justice system to healthcare.
  8. Build 60,000 permanent supportive housing spaces with wrap-around mental health and other supports.
  9. Enhance mental well-being with connected communities and expanded access to nature trails, parks and protected greenspace.
  10. Invest in more Youth Wellness Hubs and community centres that offer access to local mental health services, spaces for social interaction, and supports for families.

You can read more at  https://gpo.ca/mentalhealth

From Lori Borthwick, President of the BQGPO

Editors note: Lori is a respiratory therapist, a busy job during COVID and one she has done for 33 years.  She is also Erica Charlton’s Campaign Manager.

 Springtime A much needed time of Renewal

This winter has seemed to be a long one for me and I imagine for many of you. The pandemic and the isolation just seemed to go on and on. The news was filled with sad and violent events, and has not  improved this spring. 

Still with the lengthening of the days my energy levels lifted. The migrant birds started to appear, red winged blackbird and robin song fills the yard. Even the grackles croaking is welcome. Sitting out surrounded by bird song I began to feel more like myself. I felt the lethargy and sadness of winter fall away and the rising optimism of spring filled my heart.

The world may not be in a better place, but how can I remain pessimistic in the midst of this renewal of life that comes each spring? I decided to take on some concrete projects to make the area around me better. I picked up garbage, I joined the local Cigarette Butt Blitz, I collected cans to donate to the land conservancy of Canada. These small but concrete actions made me feel more hopeful as well. Because everywhere around the world there are people out doing their best to make their world a little better, just like me.

That is one of the reasons why I am passionate about my work with the Green Party of Ontario. If you look across Ontario, or Canada, or the World you will find Green Party members working to protect our natural places, to protect the vulnerable in our societies. How can we ever lose by working to protect the people and places we love?

I hope that all of you can find the joy in this spring, this time of renewal and of hope for a better tomorrow.

From Don Wilford on being Green and understanding the times.

Editors note:  Don is a hobby farmer, originally a physicist educated in the UK and Canada.  He is a tireless investigator and is admirably impartial.  This is from an open letter to local Greens as part of a recent discussion.

In the run up to an election, there’s merit in discussing things we might otherwise choose to avoid.

The celebrated David Graeber argues that it is only in debate that we become fully functioning rational and emotional beings. In isolated aloneness we revert to base survival and endlessly repeating whatever prejudices help us.

On truth – I just received this month’s New York Review – this from an article on Steven Breyer’s recent book on the U.S. Supreme Court, “From Platos Republic to Ibsens The Wild Duck, from Pascals Pensées to Dostoevskys The Brothers Karamazov, writers have pondered the Noble Lie—the morality of resorting to falsehood and delusion to conceal, usually from the masses but sometimes from oneself, truths whose revelation would wreak havoc, or at least do more harm than good. It is a question that Justice Stephen Breyer, the dean of the Supreme Courts liberal wing and its fiercest proponent of the Enlightenment values of truth and reason, might have taken up in his latest book, The Authority of the Court and the Peril of Politics, published a few months before his recent announcement that he intends to retire from the Court.”

On Enlightenment values” – again David Graeber, who writes about Kondiaronk, Chief of the Hurons: “I have spent 6 years reflecting on the state of European society and I still cant think of a single way they act that is not inhuman and I generally think this can only be the case as long as you stick to your distinctions of mine” and thine.” I affirm that what you call money” is the devil of devils, the tyrant of the French, the source of all evils, the bane of souls and slaughterhouse of the living. To imagine one can live in the country of money and preserve ones soul is like imagining one can preserve ones life at the bottom of a lake. Money is the father of luxury, lasciviousness, intrigues, trickery, lies, betrayal, insincerity – of all the worlds worst behavior. Fathers sell their children, husbands their wives, wives betray their husbands, brothers kill each other, friends are false – and all because of money. In light of all of this, tell me that we Wyandotte are not right in refusing to touch or so much as look at silver.” 

On Media – full disclosure, I give money to Tyee because it’s not corporate. I also subscribe to the NYT, which I’ve come to love. But it never strays too far from its capitalist, American roots. Ditto the Guardian on the leftish side – for the most part I know what its columnists are going to say before I read their articles. They tend to be very steeped in their accumulated points of view. I despair over the Globe and am watching to see if the Star’s corporate take-over will change its hew. I’m well aware that all of this is profoundly “western” and I often consider the South China Morning Post but haven’t succumbed yet. And I increasingly listen to blogs – my current favourite is “Planet Critical”. It would be interesting to hear what others read. Truth is always elusive but it does not mean we can embrace falsehoods.

On Truckers – I read a great article in, I think, the NYT. Truckers lives have become hell: 1) what used to be a well-paying job has been squeezed by corporate profits, it’s become barely subsistence, and 2) surveillance – not just government (driving times now logged automatically so a driver can’t drive “a few more miles to finish the job”) but corporate owners who install cameras and monitor driving performance. To truck drivers who used to enjoy the “freedom of the road” and have now become prisoners in their cabs, vaccine restrictions were the last straw. On the other hand, the vast majority of truckers were not in Ottawa and many are immigrants.

On Greens -I believe Greens must embrace social justice AND small business owners, farmers, and progressive right-wing people. For Greens to achieve our goals we need to be a big-tent party in the centre not a small-tent party at the margins. 

On Caring and Socialism – I have come to believe the Green’s “caring” policy is essential. But I grew up in the UK, where, as a teenager I delivered Sunday newspapers. These were BIG papers and people would, typically, order two or three. I used to carry them in a leather satchel – probably 50lb of papers – and I’d run. I considered it great exercise and would time my performance.

I mention it because I delivered to a “Council Estate” – anyone who grew up in the UK knows what it meant. It meant socialism. At the end of WW2, when the Great Churchill was soundly kicked out of office, the Labour party built a socialist Britain built on three pillars: 1) every family (and it was always families, singles were not a “thing”) should have a roof over its head, 2) free and decent education for children, and 3) free healthcare. As Greens we may applaud, but all three have been rejected or undermined by popular choice. Education is now essentially privatized and is inaccessible to the poor; Council houses were sold by Thatcher – who could have guessed they’d fall into the hands of landlords – homelessness in the UK is now a crisis; and the National Health Service has been underfunded to the point of collapse. 

On Freedom – I recently watched a BBC documentary called, “The Trap”, about freedom and ending with a discussion of Isaiah Berlin’s rejection of “positive liberty” (being told how to be free to lead a proper life) and “negative liberty” (to do what you like), which, the documentary proposes, is a trap because it denies community. Can anyone ever be an island unto themselves?

John Lowry from Friends of Nelly Lunn Park.  Tucked away in the centre of Wollaston Township, Hastings County is an ecological gem – Nellie Lunn Park.  Photos by Sheila Currie

Photo by Sheila Currie
Photo by Sheila Currie

 The park comprises 100 acres (40 hectares) of undeveloped wilderness and features a mixture of forest and wetlands on the rocky Canadian Shield. In fact, 80 per cent of the property consists of wetlands that are considered environmentally protected. A trail system reaches 2 – 3 km into the property and one of its branches leads to a lookout on scenic little Urbach Lake, which is stocked by the MNRF for sport fishing.

The property is accessed via a road allowance that runs south from The Ridge Road, not far from Coe Hill.

This piece of wilderness was preserved as the result of the generosity of Second World War veteran Boleslaw Klincewicz who bequeathed the land to the township in 1981 for the purpose of a public park, named in honour of the love of his life, Nellie Lunn.

In the years since, this beautiful park has become a popular destination for those wishing to venture into a wilderness setting to hike, mountain bike or, during the winter, to go snowshoeing.

Unfortunately however the park’s very existence is at risk. In February 2021, the Wollaston township council decided to close the park to public access while they debated the future of the natural area. In July 2021 they proposed to sell the wilderness park ostensibly as a means of raising funds to add to the reserves to construct a large new fire hall. The implications of this are far reaching particularly when it is understood that the park constitutes 96 per cent of the township’s recreational land assets.

 In response, many local residents have banded t ogether to convince the council that this would be wrong. They have formed a local non-profit organization called the’ Friends of Nellie Lunn Park’ in their efforts to preserve this important wilderness area. They have been successful in delaying a decision on this matter while they gather the necessary support to ensure the Park is preserved for posterity in its natural state. A well-researched business plan has been developed by the group to demonstrate the various options that could be explored to maintain  this precious natural asset.                      

Those interested in showing their support for this worthy cause can visit the ‘Friends of Nellie Lunn Park’ website (url – https://www.fonlp.ca) or their Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/friendsofnellielunnpark.       

Atiya from  350.org

350.org is an international movement of ordinary people working to end the age of fossil fuels and build a world of community-led renewable energy for all.  You can check them out at  https://350.org  This is from a recent message.

Today, Trudeau unveiled Canada’s new emissions reduction plan — and there’s a big problem.

Despite a clear need to phase out fossil fuels, this plan assumes that oil and gas production in Canada will expand — with tar sands expansion expected to increase by a million barrels per day by 2030.

On top of that, while all of Canada is expected to reduce emissions by 40% by 2030, the fossil fuel industry is expected to only reach 30% reductions. That’s 10% less than the rest of the country. And, tax payers will be on the hook for financing the industry’s emissions reduction measures.

Plans like this are eating up the precious years we have left to phase out our dependence on fossil fuels and shift to a green energy economy. If the Trudeau government is serious about taking action on the climate emergency, they need to get moving on an ambitious Just Transition Act that works for people and the planet. Help make sure they get this message by making your submission to Natural Resources Canada’s public consultation on Canada’s Just Transition.

Once again, the Trudeau government has put forward a plan that fails to meet the urgency of the climate emergency. They seem to be more interested in propping up the fossil fuel industry and false climate solutions than making the kind of big investments we need in real solutions.

Imagine if the government actually took this as an opportunity to kickstart a major retraining program for oil and gas workers; announce massive funding for community-led renewable energy projects; or embolden Indigenous-led climate solutions.

All this and so much more is possible with a Just Transition Act that rapidly transitions us off fossil fuels while investing in workers and communities. Let’s make sure that the government hears from us. Use our one-click tool to make a submission to the public consultation process on a Just Transition.

Together, we’ve made over 7,000 submissions to the government portal. Let’s try and get to over 10,000 by the end of the week. We know that Big Oil has been trying to hijack this public process, but luckily, we’ve got people power on our side and, if enough of us speak up, we can drown out Big Oil’s attempts to undermine Canada’s Just Transition plans.


2030 Emissions Reductions Plan

FYI:  Lehigh Hanson Materials Ltd. (Lehigh), a part of Heidelberg Cement, is undertaking efforts to use Alternative Low Carbon Fuels (ALCFs) to supplement the energy required to make Portland Cement at their Picton Cement Plant (the Site).  

Lehigh will hold a series of online meetings to which the public are invited during which they will respond to question concerning this initiative.  One central question will be that of toxic products of burning plastics.  Here is something FYI:

ncineration of plastic waste in an open field is a major source of air pollution. Most of the times, the Municipal Solid Waste containing about 12% of plastics is burnt, releasing toxic gases like Dioxins, Furans, Mercury and Polychlorinated Biphenyls into the atmosphere. Further, burning of Poly Vinyl Chloride liberates hazardous halogens and pollutes air, the impact of which is climate change. The toxic substances thus released are posing a threat to vegetation, human and animal health and environment as a whole. 

Polystyrene is harmful to Central Nervous System. The hazardous brominated compounds act as carcinogens and mutagens. Dioxins settle on the crops and in our waterways where they eventually enter into our food and hence the body system. These Dioxins are the lethal persistent organic pollutants (POPs) and its worst component, 2,3,7,8 tetrachlorodibenzo-p-dioxin (TCDD), commonly known as agent orange is a toxic compound which causes cancer and neurological damage, disrupts reproductive thyroid and respiratory systems. 

Thus, burning of plastic wastes increase the risk of heart disease, aggravates respiratory ailments such as asthma and emphysema and cause rashes, nausea or headaches, and damages the nervous system. Hence, a sustainable step towards tomorrow’s cleaner and healthier environment needs immediate attention of the environmentalists and scientists. This review presents the hazards of incineration; open burning of plastics and effects of plastic in water and also a possibility of working out strategies to develop alternate procedures of plastic waste management.

Once Again The Importance of Volunteering and Donating

Don Wilford: 

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. 

Our next election is just weeks away – June 2nd 2022. If you agree that Green voices are essential in our next Provincial assembly, please consider volunteering for our campaign and donating too – go to bayofquintegpo.ca.

Like you, my wife and I received our cheques from the Ministry of Transportation – hundreds of dollars to buy our votes. I will be donating mine to defeating this government and I ask that you consider doing the same. 

It is money that could be used to fund the Green’s proposed mental health program to help school kids deal with the emotional scars of school lockdowns. Or to support nurses as hospitals once again fill up with the next wave of Covid cases.

The lost revenue will be another excuse to “cut costs”. Minister Elliott – who is not running for re-election – announced that Ontario will be opening its doors to private hospitals. Those who can afford it will jump to the top of the list while those who can’t will fall behind. During Covid, private long-term care homes had twice the deaths of municipal run homes. Conditions were so bad we had to call in the army and its reports were damning. The government’s reaction was to extend the failed privatized model to home-care and, if re-elected, it promises to extend it to hospital care too. 

We have the opportunity to choose a better way – a Green and caring way. Let’s choose it.

Book review:  Sheldon S Wolin, Democracy Inc, Managed Democracy and the Specter of Inverted Totalitarianism (Princeton, 2008).

Professor Wolin was a political scientist and taught at Berkeley, Oxford and Princeton.  He died in 2015.  He was also a bombarder in the Pacific campaign of the second world war. 

People who are concerned about the global momentum of capitalist consumerism as a barrier to sustainable economies should read this book.  Written at the start of Obama’s second term, Wolin looks at the decline of public participation in American politics. 

He begins:   “Democracy Incorporated describes certain tendencies in American politics and argues that they are serving to consolidate a unique political system of ‘inverted totalitarianism.’  (Preface, ix)

He goes on to consider the impact of ‘9/11’ on US foreign policy and the increased connectedness of global corporations and government offices.  He also echoes Chris Hedges view that there is little difference between behaviour of the two parties:

. . . before Obama took the oath of office., he and the leaders of the democratic party largely followed the initiatives proposed by the Bush administration during its final weeks.The major one was the $600 billion bailout of the major banks and credit institutions whose arcane and largely unregulated practices were mainly responsible for the crisis.  At the same time, the Obama administration hastened to staff its councils with seasoned veterans of the financial world . . . what could be more unchanging than the perpetuation of the cozy and longstanding relationship of Washington and Wall Street.  (Op cit, xiii)

Wolin uses the term “inverted totalitarianism” to describe the subservience of public service to corporate capitalism in the US—a consideration for Canadians as well.  He writes:

Inverted totalitarianism . . . while exploiting the authority and resources of the state, gains its dynamic by combining with other forms of power, such as evangelical religions, and most notably by by encouraging a symbiotic relationship between traditional government and the system of “private” governance represented by the modern business corporation.  The result is a system . . . that represents the coming-of-age of corporate power. ( xxi)

Wolin continues through a long and complex narrative to examine the military industrial complex and its recent consequences.

The virtual reality of the advertiser and the “good news” of the evangelist compliment each other, a match made in heaven. . . . The evangelists look forward to the “last days”, while the corporate executive systematically exhausts the world’s scarce resources. ( p 13).  

Wolin argues that in an earlier time public interest and justice were principal motivations in taking the burden of public office.  This writer recalls that when Northrop Frye was asked why he would take on an administrative position when he was in such academic demand he replied “If I don’t do it, someone who wants to do it may.”  For the selfless, politics is burdensome but necessary for the greater good.  Wolin summarizes the American dilemma:

As the scandals about Enron and WorldCom demonstrated, the self interest of the corporate executive takes precedence over the interests of the institution.  During the last decade corporate crimes and abuses involving the highest executive levels have been common place:  cheating, lying, deceptive practices, and extraordinary bonuses despite corporate failure, ruthless conduct and so forth.  (P 139)

Although this study, like Anne Applebaum’s Twilight of Democracy, is difficult to read it seems accurate.  People who look to take national, provincial and municipal policies in a safer environmental direction need to consider the spectre of sales and profit lurking behind present government initiatives.  This book fastidiously explains how unregulated capitalism corrupts democracy.

Comic Section:

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.” 

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s