49.6°C. No, that wasn’t the temperature in Death Valley, or Baghdad, or the Australian outback. 49.6°C was the temperature recorded in Lytton, BC on June 30.
Until the start of that week, the record was 45°C, which had stood since 1937. The village of Lytton has now been almost completely destroyed by a fire believed to have been started by a spark from a train. The heatwave in BC is also likely to have contributed to 719 sudden deaths, according to coroner reports, triple the normal number of expected deaths.
Despite the fact that burning of fossil fuels is driving climate change, there are never ending commercials for trucks, for gas powered yard equipment, for cruises, and all other kinds of goods and activities that are driving this crisis. We need to move away from the neoliberal capitalist dogma that free markets solve all problems. Markets need to be regulated, and operate within specified constraints.
Climate change is not a threat to the Earth. This ball of rock will continue hurtling round the sun for billions of years to come. Nor is it a threat to life on Earth, as evolution will lead to new species occupying ecological niches vacated following mass extinctions in the Holocene Era.
But climate change is an existential threat to human civilization as we know it. Droughts will increase the risk of wildfires, reduce water availability, and affect crop yields, rising sea levels, and higher temperatures will make large swathes of land uninhabitable, driving massive levels of migration.
We are in a climate emergency, and our governments need to act like it is an emergency. Huge amounts of investment are needed to reach a net-zero carbon emission world by 2050, and it is a matter of resources, not money.
What good is money if there is no food to eat, water to drink, or air to breathe?
I write to ask if you, too, are puzzled by what has recently unfolded in Kemptville?
What is puzzling?
- a prison decision on first announcement is said to be unalterable,
- the building of the announced prison on the south entrance to Kemptville’s downtown;
- BUT then, (from information obtained by JOG and CAPP, two groups opposing the prison project) it seems: Kemptville does no t meet the criteria for a prison to be built here!
- however, even knowing this is the situation, senior Ministers, Steve Clark, Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing, and Sylvia Jones, the Solicitor General of Ontario, continue?
Apart from knowing through anecdote, do we know what the majority of residents support or not? Why not? I find this a puzzling situation. Do you as well?
Who defined the criteria that the Kemptville location failed to meet? Well, the Ministry of the Solicitor General must have been a major actor. Regardless, the criteria set out by the Ontario Government is not met by the placement of a prison here, and the decision stands as unalterable. Why?
Does this have the suspense of a fiction novel yet? What do you and your readers think? Thanks to the sleuthing by JOG and CAPP, 10 unredacted pages, under Freedom of Information, show the failed Kemptville assessment against Ontario Government criteria. Is it time for Sherlock yet?
Mostly, I am puzzled by the style of governance. When should this prison project decision be unalterable? Hey, if it met the criteria; if the residents of this community had been properly included in the reasoning, and the logic transparently presented, perhaps the feeling of being treated as expendable, except at election time, would not seem to negate our voices and so our vote.
The Ministry of the Solicitor General sets or manages the criteria that was not met by the Kemptville location. If criteria are not met, why insist on a project? If this is done in the managing of this project, it leads one to question how many other projects that do not meet planning and management criteria are just pushed through as unalterable decisions?
UNALTERABLE is a closing off word. To me, it means shortcutting and imposing, regardless of alternatives that should be explored. What is this governance style? Does it qualify as a democratic process?
There are multiple facilities that stand on Ontario-owned land that are to be closed or demolished. Why are such lands not used? The comeback for the MZO may be that it is a tool to expedite urgently needed resolutions? I actually understand that, on an urgent EXCEPTION BASIS, that may be true. But a prison project slated for completion of construction in 2027 or thereabouts does not seem to meet the urgency explanation?
How can we, the taxpayers/ voters in this part of Ontario, be part of how important changes to our vicinity are planned, and managed? Normally, one would expect the Mayor and Council to ascertain the majority opinion and play that role on behalf of North Grenville residents. You know: planning based on measurable criteria that can be compared from one option to another. But when this process was applied, it seems Kemptville did not meet the requirements.
When we elected Steve Clark, did we suspect our elected MPP could announce a prison to be put in our midst as an UNALTERABLE decision? In the context of the style of this announcement: Who is he representing on the Ontario Government stage? Why can our Mayor state “They do not require our permission to proceed”? Where is it written, in the many Planning and other Acts of Ontario, that, even if a town does not meet the criteria set out by the Provincial officials to judge the feasibility of locating a prison, the residents, voters, tax payers must accept the Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing edict that the decision is unalterable?
There are Ontario provisions for Planning that set out a well expressed division of powers and responsibilities between the Ontario level and the municipal level.
There is a requirement for consultation, preservation of farm and wetlands, support for municipal priorities, and much more. These laws and regulations are based on planning and cooperation by the various levels. Even things like meeting planning and economic criteria are part of the Ontario Governance statements.
If some of these processes are inefficient, why not update them to be more efficient and supported by modern information tools?
Mayor Peckford’s June 23 article in the North Grenville Times stated: “the Municipality and the Ministry of the Solicitor General are moving towards a shared understanding of the potential for community driven agricultural initiatives on some of the surplus land that the Ministry will not use.” Perhaps because the criteria for placing the prison here were not met? That seems a cause to move the shared understanding to some other place than our town for this prison?
I conclude by saying, if this had been a transparent, well managed issue, and especially with majority support, I would then not be writing. In a democracy, compromise can be called for. However, the existing process is DICTATED.
The irony is, the prison proposal applied to Kemptville fails the very criteria set out by the Ministry of the Solicitor General for an appropriate location for the proposed prison.
Is the MZO, Ministerial Zoning Order, a tool of democracy, or good planning and governance? “Ay, there’s the rub.”
In the Ottawa Citizen a few days ago was a story by Russ Moses and his memoir recounting his childhood experiences at the MOHAWK Institute residential school in Brantford, Ontario, during severe wartime and post-war conditions from 1942 to 1947.
This was submitted by his son John Moses. It is one of the saddest accounts I have ever read, if not the saddest. People question why we bring this up now. I did not know what happened at that time to these children.
We need to know and understand and help the surviving victims of this horrible criminal organized practice. An absolute crime against humanity. It cannot be covered up any longer.
I again have my regular heroes from this week’s edition of the N.G. Times.
Dr. Justin Piche: “this is not a done deal, far from it. It’s too bad that your municipality has positioned itself in this way, but you can still win.” He gives me hope!!
Jim Bertram: “Right Meets Might” – an excellent article! Also, I consistently repeat, but keep appreciating the continued, consistent efforts of CAPP and JOG.
And, very concerning, Rachel Everett-Fry’s report about MP Michael Barrett opposing the ban on “Conversion Therapy”. Is he perhaps recently out of the “Dark Ages”? The “Conversion Therapy” is barbaric and as if belonging to medieval times. Methods include talk therapy, shaming tactics or physical “treatments” such as shock therapy linked to long term trauma.
This is horrible. How can a representative of the government be so incredibly backward thinking?
Letter to Merrickville-Wolford Council
Re: Site preparation taking place off County Road 15
I am concerned with the work that has been initiated on part of lot 6 & 9, Concession # 1.
A land clearing company has created roads and entrances to the property. Today Air Roc well drilling was seen to be entering the land.
This land is adjacent to both Phase one and Phase two residences in Merrickville Estates. Many of us who live in this area have been recording the sights and/or sounds of whippoorwills, Blanding’s turtles and rat snakes, all identified as species at risk, all of which nest or move in and out of the lot where heavy equipment is now at work.
I understand that County approval is required to “permit” the entrances. I hope that such approval was given and that there were clear limits to the extent of the work that could be undertaken.
In speaking with Councillor Cameron and the Deputy Chief Building Official, it is my understanding that the Municipality was not involved in any planning or decision‑making regarding what is obviously the developer’s preparation to initiate his subdivision proposal.
Since early 2019, I have expressed concern about the “species at risk” and their habitat in this area that have now been disturbed seemingly with no input from the Municipality, its own advisory committees or its citizens. All of which fly in the face of both the strategic and official plans that have been approved either by Council or the County.
Please see attached Official Plan references.
My presentation to the Planning Advisory Committee on April 15, 2019 and a follow‑up letter to the Chair of that Committee on April 16, 2019 are attached for your information.
I request that Council identify a local official to exercise oversight of the work currently being done and that citizens on adjacent properties and others interested in the protection of forest cover, wet lands and the wildlife in them be apprised of damage already done.
The land moving and tree clearing are in a space that was considered for “significant wetland designation” until last year. Surely some attention should be paid to this area despite the fact that the designation was revoked.
Would you please provide me with some assurance that the natural environment on this land will be a municipal/county priority until actual plans and studies are presented for public and Council input and consideration.
Open letter to Annamie Paul
Given that your new shadow cabinet member Richard Zurawski has proclaimed (as illustrated in the screenshot below) that the GPC is harbouring an antisemitic BDS terrorist group, and given Zurawski has proclaimed that Mr. Manly and Ms. Atwin are promoting that terrorist group’s agenda, and given hate speech such as Zurawski’s against the GPC is a violation of the code of conduct, I ask the following:
- Will you immediately denounce Zurawski’s accusations?
- Will you immediately remove Zurawski from the shadow cabinet?
- Will you call for Zurawski’s expulsion from the GPC?
- Or will your handling of this be akin to the way you handled accusations of antisemitism against Green MP’s from your spokesperson Noah Zatzman ‑ leaving them undenounced and by default representing your position?
representative to GPC Council