Letters to Editor

GENEROUS COMMUNITY

Christmas 2018 has come and gone.  Volunteers at the Elmvale & District Food Bank took a brief holiday but are now back hard at work.  A lot of sorting, date checking, carrying of all the food received from generous food drives held by local schools, organizations and individuals will keep volunteers busy.  Each year we are overwhelmed by the Community Support both financially and with donations of food.  

This year the Elmvale & District Food Bank prepared 60 hampers for families plus five stockings. These hampers provided assistance to 160 individuals – including 67 children. Whitfield’s Drug Store and Steelers Restaurant allowed the Food Bank to have “gift certificate trees” at their locations.  Gift Certificates received were distributed to teenagers.  

We cannot begin to name the individuals and organizations that provided support at the Christmas Season. We would need a lot more papers and I am sure I would forget someone. Please check out our facebook page where we try to acknowledge groups and individuals.   

The Food Bank is open Wednesday 4:00-6:00 and Thursday 10:00-noon.  We are a community program and are here to help as required.   

 

Solar Panels

Just read the Editor’s Musings in the Feb 7 issue about disposing of solar panels.

Just curious why one would dispose of or rather trash old solar panels. I can see if the contract may be expired or they are not producing full power and the system is due to be replaced.

But if they are not physically or electrically damaged they could certainly have a use in lower end applications. Cottagers, hunt camps and RVers could use them to charge batteries with the appropriate charge controllers. Universities or hobbyists might also be interested.

Also if someone is getting rid of them because they 20+ years old the might have included more silver than new ones.

Anyway before just trashing them it might make more sense to re purpose them.

Food for thought.

Tom

Editor - Silver - I looked it up.

Right now silver is not in short supply and is not very expensive, nor a large part of the cost of a solar panel. But the day is coming that solar pv will strain the silver markets and prices will climb. A solar panels uses 20 grams (0.705479 ounces) of silver that cost about $15 per panel. On Monday, Silver was trading at $21 per ounce.

When sunlight shines on a silicon cell it generates electrons. The silver paste that is used in the solar PV cell collects these electrons and subsequently forms an electric current. ... Without silver, solar panels could not be as efficient in turning sunlight into usable energy.

Silver is a necessary component of today’s solar panels. But thanks to researchers at Stanford University, solar panels in the near future may incorporate gold to improve performance and efficiency. Conventionally designed solar panels are made up of cells that absorb solar energy. Oct 18, 2016.

As a general solar industry rule of thumb, solar panels last 25-30 years. However, this doesn’t mean that they stop producing electricity after 25 years – it just means that energy production has declined by what manufacturers consider a significant amount.

The most efficient solar panels on the market today have efficiency ratings as high as 22.2%, whereas the majority of panels range from 15% to 17% efficiency rating. SunPower panels are known for being the most efficient solar panel brand available on the market.Jan 1, 2019.

Thanks Tom!

 

What we lose if Ford guts the Endangered Species Act

Dear editor,

Doug Ford’s government is reviewing the Endangered Species Act (ESA).

This is alarming news, based on his government’s past record.This is a critical moment for endangered species. Some of Ontario’s most beloved animals are at risk of disappearing forever. Caribou, polar bears, songbird and turtle species are in decline in this province. The list of endangered species is growing.

The biggest problem with the Endangered Species Act is that it has never been properly enforced. Successive governments ignored deadlines, made minimal efforts, and watered down the rules.

Industry enjoys massive exemptions from the ESA’s strict measures. This has to stop. The government must get rid of the sweeping exemptions to the ESA, then enforce the rules.

Based on the content of the review, the Ford government seems focused on making it even easier for logging, mining and other industry to destroy the ecosystems that endangered species — and we — need for survival.

It is urgent that we take action. Ontarians must push Ford to address the real problem — the decline in our endangered plants and animals.

Each one of us can take action by writing to our MPP and participating in the ESA public consultation. Endangered species are depending on us for their survival.

Sincerely,  Jordan Webb         Tiny, ON

 

Why Appeal when you’re looking at the Act anyway?

Dear Editor

Five years ago, Jeff Bogaerts, knowing there was a systemic problem with the Ontario Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act (OSPCA), launched a charter challenge to correct a serious wrong.

Now after five long years the ruling came down, from the Court, saying that “law enforcement bodies must be subject to reasonable standards of transparency and accountability.”  And that the “OSPCA is a private organization.  Private organizations by their nature are rarely transparent, and have limited accountability…that a private organization having such powers was simply unacceptable,” and therefore sections 11, 12 and 12.1 were deemed unconstitutional because they granted police powers, including warrantless entry, to a private organization.

This has to do with making sure there was accountability with enforcement.  As stated in a case from 2018:

“[23]  … “trust us, we got it right” have no place in our democracy. In our system of governance, all holders of public power, even the most powerful of them—…—must obey the law: …. First, there must be an umpire who can meaningfully assess whether the law has been obeyed and grant appropriate relief. Second, both the umpire and the assessment must be fully independent from the body being reviewed. …

[24]  Tyranny, despotism and abuse can come in many forms, sizes, and motivations: major and minor, large and small, sometimes clothed in good intentions, sometimes not. Over centuries of experience, we have learned that all are nevertheless the same: all are pernicious. Thus, we insist that all who exercise public power—no matter how lofty, no matter how important—must be subject to meaningful and fully independent review and accountability.”

Just last week the Attorney General’s (A.G.) office announced it is appealing the OSPCA case.  According to some articles the A.G.’s office says "This principle does not meet the criteria for a principle of fundamental justice set out by the Supreme Court of Canada." 

It gets worse!  The Minister of Community Safety and Correctional Services, in charge of animal welfare, is quoted as saying:  "While our government has decided to appeal to the Ontario Court of Appeal ... that does not mean that Ontario's animal welfare regime cannot be strengthened and improved."  And as the province has been involved with stakeholders to do just that - question…if they are already meeting to improve the animal welfare regime and the courts have stated that these sections are unconstitutional – why is the government wasting tax-payer’s money by appealing?  Sounds like this government just doesn’t want to uphold your rights during the process of restructuring the Act, now doesn’t it?

Elizabeth F. Marshall,

Director of Research Ontario Landowners Association

 

Ontario Making Life Easier for Parents and Families

The Ontario government is working for the people by proposing legislative amendments that, if passed, would make it easier for home-based child care providers and authorized recreational and skill-building programs to serve more children.

"We listened to parents and families, and we committed to making life easier by helping them find more affordable child care and early years options," said Lisa Thompson, Minster of Education. "These proposed changes would provide more families with the child care support that they want and need."

The proposed amendments to the Child Care and Early Years Act, 2014 (CCEYA) and the Education Act are part of the government's recently introduced Restoring Ontario's Competitiveness Act. They would help increase access to child care and early years programs while maintaining high standards and aligning age-eligibility rules with kindergarten and camps. They would also remove some restrictions on home-based child care, making affordable child care more available.

The proposed changes include:

Increasing the number of young children that home-based child care providers can have in their care, from two under two-years-old, to three under two-years-old

Lowering the age at which home-based child care providers must count their own children towards the maximum allowable number of children in care, from six-years-old to four-years-old

Reducing the age requirement from six-years-old to four-years-old for authorized recreation programs that serve children after school

Removing the restriction that a parent must receive financial assistance before licensed in-home child care services can be provided for their child.

"These changes will give parents freedom to choose child care options that work best for them, in locations close to where they live and work," added Thompson. "It will give families more options while keeping their children safe by maintaining the same provincial health and safety provisions and progressive approach to enforcement."

 

Food Freedom Day

by Jim Partridge President  Food Freedom Day was celebrated on February 9th this year. This is the date when the average Canadian will have earned enough money to pay his or her grocery bill for the entire year. In 2019 we also celebrate Canada Agriculture Day on February 12th. We thank Nicholyn Farms in Springwater Township for hosting our press conference to announce these two important dates.

Canadians spend approximately 11% of their disposable income on food according to studies. For this year, that totals about $3,700. In recent years the amount has increased slightly, which may be attributed to shifting eating habits and weather impacts on certain commodities. We are fortunate that we all have safe and abundant access to affordable food making our food costs one of the lowest in the world, thanks to our dynamic agricultural industry.

To celebrate Food Freedom Day and Canada Agriculture Day, this basket of goods represents some of the diversity of agricultural items produced by local farmers and processors in the Simcoe County area.

The Simcoe County Federation of Agriculture thanks you as a local media outlet for spreading the word, that Simcoe County is an important part of the AgriFood business in Ontario and Canada.

I am attaching an information sheet that outlines some of the key statistics of farming in Simcoe County provided by the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture Food and Rural Affairs that illustrates the tremendous contribution to the economy and employment by local agriculture.

We thank you for your support and hope you enjoy this basket of local fresh food.

Simcoe County Agriculture Facts

There are close to 2,000 farms in Simcoe County

Over 500,000 acres are in agriculture production with about 375,000 acres in crop production

Over 500 of the local farms are producing Oilseed and Grains

Over 13,000 acres of potatoes are grown in Simcoe County

There are close to 150 agricultural suppliers and merchant wholesalers in operation

Agriculture in Simcoe County is quite diversified representing most segments including oil seed and grain, livestock such as cattle, pigs, hogs, sheep, goats, poultry, vegetables, fruits and greenhouse operations including a growth in marijuana commercial farming operations.

More than 1,000 farms have capital investments of over $1,000,000

Farm revenue in Simcoe County is close to a billion dollars a year and a significant part of the $13 billion Farm Cash receipts for Ontario’s Commodities.

Simcoe County employs close to 30,000 people in agriculture making it the largest single private sector employer.

Information Source is OMAFRA

 

Trudeau's broken omnibus bill promise at the heart of his SNC-Lavalin troubles

 by Aaron Wudrick, Federal Director

Like a character in a Greek tragedy, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is suffering for perpetrating an anti-democratic abomination he once decried: an omnibus bill.

Keeping that promise may have saved him from accusations that his office pressured former attorney general Jody Wilson-Raybould, who suddenly resigned from cabinet on Tuesday, to let SNC-Lavalin negotiate a so-called remediation agreement instead of facing full prosecution for millions of dollars worth of corruption in Libya.

Before getting into the gritty details, let’s start with that pious promise about omnibus bills.

“I wouldn’t use them, period,” said Trudeau in 2013. “There will always be big bills, but they need to be thematically and substantively linked in all their different pieces so that they form a piece of legislation.”

Apparently, the prime minister’s view changed. Last year, the 556-page Budget Implementation Act included a change to the Criminal Code to allow for the possibility of remediation agreements instead of prosecutions for companies accused of corruption.

Imagine the surprise of the parliamentary finance committee when a Department of Justice lawyer showed up to mention the budget included changes to the Criminal Code. To their credit, MPs of all parties raised concerns.

Essentially, the Trudeau government snuck in a loophole to help corporations evade criminal prosecutions and deliberately shielded the measure from the scrutiny of elected officials.

That raises a new question: if legislators weren’t involved in making this change, who was?

Into this legislative tragedy enters SNC-Lavalin.

In early 2015, the RCMP brought charges against SNC-Lavalin in relation to work the firm did in Libya between 2001 and 2011.

SNC-Lavalin said the charges were “without merit” and stated on Twitter that: “We will contest the charges in the interest of our current employees and their families, clients, investors, partners.”

However, SNC-Lavalin’s strategy seemed to shift from denouncing the charges to intensive lobbying.

In 2016 and 2017, the firm logged 67 meetings – including 23 interactions with the Prime Minister’s Office – to lobby on “justice and law enforcement” issues.

Ultimately, Ottawa embarked on a consultation regarding an alternative to corruption prosecutions.

In the fall of 2017, the discussion guide produced at the outset of the consultation suggested deferred prosecution agreements could be considered depending on “whether [the accused] reported the wrongdoing without undue delay and provided information unknown to law enforcement.”

By the time the legislation became law, the loophole had grown to give prosecutors the flexibility to consider “the circumstances in which the act or omission that forms the basis of the offence was brought to the attention of investigative authorities.”

The original language makes self-reporting critical, but it was the RCMP that brought to light alleged corruption in Libya and SNC-Lavalin called the charges “without merit.”

Remediation agreements may or may not be good policy. But tailoring the process of creating them to suit one big company, and then burying the proposals in a budget bill are not the way to go about implementing them.

If Parliament had provided proper democratic oversight, this loophole might not be law today – and might have saved Trudeau from even the perception of interfering in an ongoing criminal prosecution that has now cost him a cabinet minister and created the worst ethics crisis of his time in office. He is learning the hard way about the dangers of omnibus legislation – and he should now honour his own promise to put an end to this undemocratic practice.

 

Canadian Taxpayers Federation goes to court to stop Ottawa’s carbon tax

REGINA, SK: The Canadian Taxpayers Federation opposed the carbon tax in the Saskatchewan Court of Appeal today.

“Carbon taxes will cost Canadians a lot of money without helping the environment and our lawyers made strong arguments on behalf of taxpayers in court today,” said Todd MacKay, the CTF’s Prairie Director. “We applaud the Saskatchewan government for bringing this action and giving opponents of this tax a shot at defeating it in court.”

The CTF’s lawyer’s challenged Ottawa’s arguments that a carbon tax is effective. The CTF also argued that a carbon tax is, in fact, a tax, not a “fee” or a “levy” or any other federal creation. Lastly, the CTF challenged the constitutionality of the carbon tax legislation because it allows the prime minister to impose carbon taxes in any region and at any level without giving members of Parliament vote, but, according to the constitution, only Parliament has the right to impose taxes on Canadians.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau plans to impose a federal carbon tax on any province that doesn’t already have one. In April, Ottawa plans to start collecting a carbon tax will start at 4.7 cents per litre of gasoline and rise to 11.6 cents per litre.

British Columbia has the highest carbon tax in Canada, but, according to provincial analysis, the province’s emissions have risen five out of the last six years.

Saskatchewan, New Brunswick and Ontario are arguing against the carbon tax, as well as the opposition United Conservative Party from Alberta. The federal government is joined by British Columbia in arguing for the carbon tax.

Nine groups, including the David Suzuki Foundation, are supporting the federal carbon tax in court.

Only two groups are opposing the carbon tax in the Saskatchewan Court of Appeal: the Agricultural Producers Association of Saskatchewan; and, the Canadian Taxpayers Federation.

“The Canadian Taxpayers Federation is proud to stand with farmers and the overwhelming majority of Saskatchewanians to fight the carbon tax,” said MacKay. “We’re confident that we’ll win the fight against the carbon tax in the Court of Appeal and the court of public opinion.”

 

 

It's All About Who Our Children Want to Be in the Future

Parents are often faced with a dilemma when a child no longer wants to participate in an extracurricular activity. Typically, registrations are for an entire year, or at least a season. If a child is very young, it might be a question of adjusting to a new situation. Talk to the instructor, and if it would help, remain on the sidelines for the first few lessons until the child is comfortable. 

If, after several weeks, the child is not having fun, and becomes upset about the prospect of going to the lesson, it is hard to justify forcing the child to continue. Yes, you may lose your fees. The emotional well-being of your child is more important, and you can try again in a couple of years. 

Sports, dancing, and creative activities can all be done without the structure of formal classes; very young children can do these with their parents. If they develop a love for an activity because they have positive associations with it, as they get older, they will want to participate with others. 

If they have unpleasant experiences with forced formal lessons, they may avoid and activity for which they may have a lot of natural talent If the child is older, and has chosen the activity, there is something to be said for fulfilling a commitment. Often, if they know they must complete the term, they settle in and find it is not so bad after all. 

If the child continues to resist an activity, parents must examine their reasons for pushing it in spite of the child's resistance. We are here to support them in becoming what and who they want to be, not who we want them to be.

Gwen Randall-Young is an author and award-winning Psychotherapist.  For permission to reprint this article, or to obtain books, cds or MP3's, visit www.gwen.ca. Follow Gwen on FaceBook for daily inspiration. 

 

5 bucks and a blue marker

Water Column By Erin Archer

It was a beautiful, sunny day…warm; the promise of a dip in the Bay. I pulled in to my drive; Divine timing…up pulled a Midland Taxi. Out she stepped with freshly curled whites and thoughtfully assembled dress.  A petite Granny with a smile as bright and big as a Super Moon lighting the nights sky.

She had come only for a moment, to deliver a message, and with it came far more then just words. “Thank you for everything that you all are doing. I can’t afford much, but this I have for you.” And she handed me…

            5 bucks and a blue marker….

The POWER in that exchange is hard to put in to words. We hugged, I thanked her and I cried. I cried tears of HOPE. The effort exuded by her to take that journey, carried with it the love of a thousand people. Fully rejuvenated by her actions, it lifted and carried us once more.

Through this movement, I have been given a beautiful gift; insight. I am blessed that I get to see stories like this unfold EVERY day. There are plenty of reasons to feel doubtful;  plenty of reasons to feel defeated, but when you lead with your heart, you find golden moments like these.

Connection of people; sad, breaking, appalled, angry, hopeful, passionate, driven, dedicated. I promise, you will feel it all! Your life forever changed by once strangers…

Our concerns with the operation of the Teedon Pit, which removes up to 600,000 tonnes of the filter every year and 6 million liters of the Worlds Purest Water EVERY DAY, NEED to be addressed! Please join me at the Elmvale Tim Hortons Sunday February 24th. I will be there 9am-2pm. Sign our letters to the Ministries and Councils and find out how you can get involved.

Tuesday March 5th 4:00pm-7:00pm at the Wyebridge Community Hall, CRH is hosting their Public Open House, set-up with booths of their professionals. Come armed with your questions and concerns regarding their application for expansion! We will be rallying for an hour before so bring your drums and dress for the weather.

I look forward to spending time with you. The water thanks you.

Peace, love and light E

 

More CO2 – More Photosynthesis – More Greening

Someone decided to study plants that have grown for generations near high CO2 springs.

Normally these studies look at FACE experiments and then criticize those experiments because they are only single generation.

Guess what they found.?

In a new meta-analysis, Saban et al. took a different approach and assessed all of the data collected for plant response to high CO2 concentration from plants grown for multiple generations over many decades in naturally high CO2 springs. Such springs are found across the world – with 23 highlighted here- and many have been the focus of studies on the physiological responses of plants to rising CO2, similar to those undertaken in FACE experiment. Comparing these two approaches, plants subjected to higher CO2against plant lineages that have had time to acclimate, has never been done before.

High CO2 springs harbour a vast array of plant types and in contrast to FACE, provide critical insight into the decadal, long-term response of plants such as those likely to occur in future, where multiple generations ensure that time-travelling seed sources are no longer an issue. Remarkably, the analysis shows that many of the responses for spring plants are similar to those observed in FACE experiments. This gives us confidence that plants are likely to keep responding positively to rising CO2. They will not become acclimated and the increased global greening that is currently happening across the world, 80% of which is attributed to rising CO2 is likely to continue.