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Rivers: When is a Tax Not a Tax ?

Rivers 100x100By Ray Rivers

April 18th, 2021

BURLINGTON, ON

OPINION

When you are wrong, you are wrong. The adult thing to do is to just admit it. The debate on carbon taxation is over and Mr. O’Toole has his job cut out educating those dinosaurs in his party who couldn’t even concede that climate change is real.

o'tOOLE SMUG 1

With O’Toole’s ‘green’ rewards, the more often you fill up your car the more more points you earn.

Everyone had been expecting to see his long promised Tory environment policy, ‘Secure the Environment’. But no one expected O’Toole to include a carbon tax, after all the criticism he had heaped on that idea.

Perhaps that is why O’Toole’s tax actually resembles a loyalty card, a kind of Petro-Point collector. Though since it is mandatory, it’s still a tax, something he doesn’t get. And he clearly also doesn’t understand that the incentive should be to reduce green house gas emissions. With O’Toole’s ‘green’ rewards, the more often you fill up your car the more more points you earn. And those points in your personal low carbon saving account entitle you to a ‘green’ prize of the government’s choosing – rather than a guaranteed fixed rebate on your taxes each year.

Some environmental groups have lauded O’Toole though they note that the bar for him to jump was pretty low. And this may all seem like heady stuff for the Tories, but his environmental plan reads like something the Liberals might have written a couple of decades ago – before we all wasted so much time talking about climate change instead of doing something about it.

Setting a goal of 30% for electric vehicles (EV) sales by 2030, may sound new age, but 30% pales when compared to Quebec’s decision to ban all gasoline car sales by 2035. And the Tory policy document offers no real plan on how to get there.

For a party which sells itself as a tax fighter and calls out its opponents as big taxers and spenders, fiscal conservatives will be holding their noses on election day. There are new taxes proposed for luxury vehicles, frequent flyers and even second homes, in addition to the new carbon tax. It is no wonder that the folks at the Taxpayers Federation are going ballistic, calling O’Toole out for breaking his promises.

O'Toole smug 4

Another billion for car battery development, another billion for hydrogen power from natural gas and five more billion for carbon capture and sequestration

And there are billions of dollars in new spending thrown in, as if the traditional Tory pre-occupation with debt no longer matters. There is a billion promised to develop mini nuclear power plants, another billion for car battery development, another billion for hydrogen power from natural gas and five more billion for carbon capture and sequestration – which involves pumping oil sands emissions into the ground and praying they will stay there.

O’Toole has borrowed from Andrew Scheer’s environment playbook, promising more natural gas exports to other countries to help them reduce their coal burning, whether they want it or not. And that probably would lead to more discussion of new pipelines. Interestingly he has backtracked on his party’s opposition to the Liberal’s low carbon fuel standard much as he has now accepted federal carbon pricing for industrial polluters.

There is a brief mention of ‘carbon border trade tariffs’ to level the field for Canadian companies competing against producers in other countries with less constraining environmental standards. This is something the Biden administration is also considering, though it’s an uphill battle against the free trade lobby. Still O’Toole is only committing to study the idea.

While O’Toole talks about increased energy supply he ignores the lowest cost option, the lowest hanging fruit – renewable energy. The Biden administration, south of the border, is banking on wind and solar to drastically shave US carbon emissions. Driving electric or hydrogen powered vehicles will not get Canada to its carbon goals if the electricity that charges/powers them comes largely from carbon based fuels.

O'Toole smug 3

O’Toole’s proposed carbon tax is seriously flawed and may actually lead to increased carbon emissions, rather than reduce them

O’Toole understands that the party he leads is out of step with the majority of Canadians, even in Alberta, who expect the country to deal with its pollution and meet its international climate goals. ‘Secure the Environment’ was intended to correct that imbalance. Unfortunately the plan is still too ideologically driven and still too overly consumed with a dying resource sector.

O’Toole’s proposed carbon tax is seriously flawed and may actually lead to increased carbon emissions, rather than reduce them. Further, his decision to introduce his own carbon tax and claim that it isn’t a tax, is shameful behaviour for someone aspiring to Canada’s highest office.

Why not just admit he’s changed his mind and now accepts the existing carbon tax framework, much like he has done for the industrial polluters. And why not confirm the reality that the carbon tax has neither proven a drag on the economy, nor overly hurt working Canadians. Otherwise he wouldn’t be promoting carbon taxation, even if by another name.

Rivers hand to faceRay Rivers writes weekly on both federal and provincial politics, applying his more than 25 years as a federal bureaucrat to his thinking.  Rivers was a candidate for provincial office in Burlington where he ran against Cam Jackson in 1995, the year Mike Harris and the Common Sense Revolution swept the province.

 

 

 

Background links:

Secure the Environment –    Loyalty Cards –    Worst of Both –

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Regional Police: We will not be stopping vehicles or individuals randomly

News 100 yellowBy Staff

April 17th, 2021

BURLINGTON, ON

 

A statement from the Regional Police sets out how they plan to respond to the decisions made on Friday by the provincial government.

Ford Doug with graph Apr 16

Premier Doug Ford referring to data prepared by the Science \table during his media event on Friday.

On April 16, 2021, the Government of Ontario announced new restrictions, including a two-week extension of the current province-wide shutdown, in order to curb the concerning transmission rates of COVID-19. The Stay-at-Home order requires everyone to remain home except for essential travel such as grocery and pharmacy needs, health care services, outdoor exercise, and work.

The Government of Ontario also announced enhanced enforcement measures for provincial offences officers, including police officers, under the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act (EMCPA).

The Halton Regional Police Service is reviewing the new regulations. At this time, our current enforcement response will remain the same, with a focus on the 4 Es:

• Engage
• Explain
• Educate
• Enforce

We will continue to work with our Municipal By-law partners and Public Health officials to respond to complaints and support proactive efforts to raise awareness. Our focus will remain on education and using enforcement only as a last resort.

We would like to reassure our community that our officers will not be conducting random stops of vehicles or individuals.

With the healthcare system at critical capacity, the Halton Regional Police Service continues to urge residents to take personal responsibility to follow all restrictions to limit the spread of the deadly COVID-19 virus.

Let’s do this, Halton.  Continue to be kind to one another. Many people are struggling with the duration of these restrictions and are very isolated. Ask people how they are doing. Then, ask them how they are really doing. A list of mental health supports and resources is available here.

As a final note, on behalf of every member of our Service, we extend our thanks to all essential workers and the frontline healthcare heroes of Ontario who are risking their lives every day to protect us all.

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Halton Regional Police Chief Stephen Tanner

Chief  Stephen Tanner added a personal note:  “We will always be committed to the safety, protection and security of the entire community.

It is my hope and expectation that our officers will not be put in the position of having to use enforcement as a mechanism to achieve what should occur through voluntary compliance. That is why we are committed to engage, explain and educate our public and we will resort to enforcement only as a last resort.

We will not be stopping vehicles or individuals randomly but will respond as required and when necessary. It is my hope that our citizens will continue to work cooperatively with us and with all levels of government throughout the weeks and months ahead.”

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In the next two weeks the infection numbers are going to rise dramatically - so will the death rate

News 100 redBy Pepper ParrScience table logo

April 17th, 2021

BURLINGTON, ON

One of a series of articles on the Science Table data that led to the decisions the Premier made to limit mobility.

Is there anything that can be done to change these numbers asked a reporter at the Science Table media event Friday afternoon.

The answer from Dr. David Williams was a one word stark answer:  N0

His colleague Dr. Adelstein Brown added  that “those numbers are baked in”

icu occupancy

The hospitals do not have the capacity currently to care for the number of people that need intensive care. The Premier has said 700 to 1000 beds are being added – most as field hospitals.

The reference was to the number of people currently in intensive care.  We know now roughly how many of those people will die.

One reporter wanted to know: Is this the disaster that was expected if the province relented back in February?

We did relent back in February and this is what we have to show for it responded Dr. Williams.

There was a choice to be made between economics and public health.

Brown and Williams

Dr. Adelstein Brown, on the left is head of the Science Table. Dr. Williams is the Chief Medical Officer for the province. His role is to advise the politicians.

The sudden appearance of particularly  contagious variants of Covid made a tough situation much worse.

It can get a lot worse added Dr. Williams who was on the media event with Dr. Adelstein Brown.

Brown heads up the Science Table while Williams is the Chief Medical Officer for the province.

The data presented shows clearly where the mistakes were made.

Chart April 10 0 covid

Many are of the belief that if the province had not relented late in February the dire crisis we face now could have been avoided.

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Data on mobility shows where the problem is - has the province made the right decisions that will lower the mobility?

News 100 redBy Pepper ParrScience table logo

April 17th, 2021

BURLINGTON, ON

                       One of a series of articles on the Science Table data that led to the decisions the Premier made to limit mobility.

Three hours before Premier Doug Ford stood before the podium Friday afternoon for a virtual media event, the Science Table held its media event during which they set out the evidence they had given the government a day before.

That evidence is what the government used to justify the decision they made to order people to stay in their homes.

The evidence was compelling and there was a lot of it.  The Gazette will report on that evidence in a series of shorter articles.

adelsteinn brown

Dr. Adelstein Brown

Dr. Adelstein Brown, who headed up a team of 120 volunteer scientists who gathered the evidence and did the analysis said, had some cogent comments for people who took the position that they could “work around this and do it their way” .

Many seem to think that is “not such a big deal”; they are more “angered by the rules than they are of getting Covid”.
Ignoring the rules is what got us to this point and why we now have to clamp down very hard.

Dr. Brown said there was “some” hope that we might still have a summer but there are huge obstacles to overcome before that can happen.

The focus for the medical community is getting people vaccinated, increasing capacity at the hospitals, dealing with the staff shortages and praying that doctors do not have to begin triaging patients.

For Dr. Brown and Dr. Williams the immediate concern was limiting mobility, forcing people to stay in their homes.

The data makes the point.

 

 

mobility 1 cell phone

Mobility has to be driven down to below that threshold dotted line. The scientists know where it is happening and why – the challenge now is to stop it.

 

mobility 2

A breakdown of why people are traveling is revealing: workplace travel leads. People are being infected by a very contagious variant of Covid

 

Dr. Brown made it very clear – there is no silver bullet. The hope for a summer is with strong adherence – without that adherence to the Stay at Home rule – summer is gone.

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Burlington reacts to the mobility restrains put in place by the peovince - Mayor calls special meeting of Council for Saturday.

News 100 redBy Staff

April 16th,, 2021

BURLINGTON, ON

 

Mayor Meed Ward

Mayor Marianne Meed Ward

Mayor Marianne Meed Ward has called an emergency meeting of Council for 10 a.m. tomorrow morning, Saturday, April 17 that will be held virtually to make some immediate decisions. Council will receive additional COVID-19 updates at the regularly scheduled Council Meeting on Tuesday, April 20 beginning at 1 p.m.  A livestream of Council meetings is available from the burlington.ca homepage.

Impacts to City services and programs

City Hall
City Hall, located at 426 Brant St., will remain closed.

One of the new buses added o the Burlington Transit fleet. There were busses that had more than 15 years on their tires - those old ones certainly rattled down Guelph Line when I was on one of them.

Part of the Burlington Transit fleet.

Burlington Transit
Burlington Transit is an essential service and will continue to run as scheduled including specialized transit and trips to vaccination clinics. The transit terminal at 430 John St. will remain open to provide PRESTO services including SPLIT passes. Presto services are available at Shoppers Drug Mart or online at prestocard.ca. Transit schedules are available online at myride.burlingtontransit.ca.

Parking
Parking enforcement is limited to safety-related issues such as fire routes, accessible parking, no parking/stopping areas and blocked parked areas. City parking time-limit restrictions have been relaxed to help those working from home or self-isolating. Parking permits and exemptions are not required until further notice.

Recreation Services, Parks, all Amenities and Facilities
City of Burlington facilities and recreation programming remain closed, and all indoor programs have been cancelled.

Outdoor gatherings in all City parks, such as Spencer Smith Park, Lowville Park and Beachway Park, are limited to members of the same household. Those living alone may join one exclusive household.

Tayandaga golf course

Tyandaga Golf Course.

Outdoor recreation amenities will close, effective April 17 at 12:01 a.m., including: playgrounds, sports fields, outdoor courts, skate parks, dog off-leash areas and Tyandaga Golf Course. If you need some fresh air and activity, it’s okay to walk, cycle or jog through your neighbourhood park, but please do not linger. Please stay 2 metres (6 feet) away from everyone else in the park or on a trail and take your waste home with you to dispose of it.

Roads, Parks and Forestry
Essential services provided by the Roads, Parks and Forestry Department will continue as needed. Residents with questions or issues can email RPF@burlington.ca or call 905-333-6166.

Construction
Non-essential construction sites as defined under the Provincial emergency order will be put on hold and closed off for public safety until restrictions are lifted.

Please stay home and only go out for exercise in your own neighbourhood and essentials such as groceries. Let’s continue to work together to keep each other safe from new COVID-19 variants. More than ever, we need to support our local healthcare heroes who continue to care for those who need it and preserve hospital capacity.

As the situation evolves and staff receives and reviews the updated order from the Province of Ontario, we will continue to comply and keep you informed on available essential services and what must be closed to keep City of Burlington staff and residents safe.

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Province limits mobility big time - police will have the right to pull you over and if they don't like the answer you give can issue a $750 ticket

News 100 redBy Pepper Parr

April 16th, 2021

BURLINGTON, ON

 

The message from the Science Table at 1:00 pm was direct.

You cannot meet with people who are not part of your household indoors

mobility 1 cell phone

We are way above the acceptable mobility threshold – if we do not reduce it the infections will spread leading to catastrophic conditions.

If people you meet are not part of your household – you meet them outside – six feet apart and wearing a mask

Get vaccinated when it is your turn.

Those instructions plus about 15 charts showing how big a mess we are in led to a 4:00 pm Press event with the Premier who put the province in the tightest movement situation since the War Measures Act was invoked in 1970.

The Premier said effectively immediately personal mobility was being restricted. You do not go anywhere other than outside for some exercise and when you do that – you do so alone or with family members.

Police and bylaw officers will be given the right to stop yo and ask you where you are going and why – and if they don’t like the answer you give they have the authority to issue you a ticket which the Deputy Premier said would amount to $750.

police trafficHeader

The police and bylaw officers will have the right to pull you over, ask where you are going and why.

Interesting note – it is the Chief Justice of the province who set that amount.

The Premier said mobility was being limited; enforcement will be increased and vaccinations will be prioritized and focused on those people most likely to get infected.

They were identified as people who have to work and live in households with people who also have to leave for work.

Big Box stores are limited to 25% of capacity

Worship – not more than 10 people

Golf courses are closed.

All non-essential construction is stopped.

Weddings limited to 10 people

The borders with Quebec and Manitoba are closed.

The province is working on having the borders closed to international travellers.

“We had few options left” said the Premier in his news briefing. “We are doing this at massive cost to the economy.”

The current Stay at Home order is being extended two more weeks.

A more detailed in depth article will follow

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Public school as we know it could disappear

News 100 redBy Pepper Parr

April 16th, 2021

BURLINGTON, ON

 

A number of years ago, when the Halton District School Board found itself having to closes some of the high schools we had citizens who were prepared to march on city hall to vent their frustration.

school-closing-banner

The plan to close high schools in 2014 didn’t go quite the way originally planned – parent protests resulted in a much different decision.

The center of the anger was Central High School, one of the schools on the first list of recommended schools to close.

The people at Central did not let than happen – and the school is still open and in the months ahead they just might get air conditioning that would make life a lot easier for both students and teachers.

The next battle for parents will not be with the school board – the province has taken steps that threaten education as we have known it in Ontario to go through a radical change.

Set out below are a number of slides from a deck that was presented to a group of people at the Ministry of Education.  We do not have a list of just who attended – but we are able to see just what it was they were considering.

Parents need to pay very close attention to this initiative.

We note with regret that there hasn’t been a word from the MPP for Burlington, Jane McKenna,

Ed first slide

Note the name of the committee – and the date on which they met.

Note the date -mere weeks ago.

Here is what they are setting out to do.

Ed - prov time lines

That is a pretty aggressive time line – what’s the rush?

Note even a mention as to when parents might be asked for their views. The province will just make an announcement, pobably on the Friday of a long weekend – which is when the really hard news gets released.

The province sets out what they will have to do legislatively to make this possible.

Ed legislation

This puts the school boards out of business – the province would centralize the content and have third parties deliver it via the internet.

What can parents do? Do what they did when the school board wanted to close Central high school. Protest, let the MPP and the Ministry of Education know that you are not on for this.

If you are on for this – just sit back, watch what the government decides to do – and kiss one of the best educational systems in the world goodbye.

Links to related news items.

The full presentation presented to Ministry of  Education

What parent groups and academics think of the idea – and the consequences i this goes forward.

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Halton Municipalities that oppose the CN rail hub planned for Milton are going to court to demand ompliance with laws

News 100 redBy Staff
April 16th, 2021
BURLINGTON, ON

 

Halton Municipalities and Conservation Halton resumed their 2018 Ontario court case against the proposed Milton CN truck-rail hub to ensure CN complies with laws that protect the health of residents and the environment.

This Ontario case by the Halton Municipalities and Conservation Halton seeks to protect the thousands of residents that live near the CN lands in Milton. “We are taking immediate action to address the serious concerns of Halton residents with respect to the proposed CN truck-rail hub in Milton,” said Halton Regional Chair Gary Carr. “No proposal should be allowed to go ahead before it complies with our laws. CN must be accountable to those who will be most affected by the project, and not just the Federal Government, which ignored its duty to protect the health of Halton residents when it announced its approval of this project.”

The Ontario case follows the January 21, 2021 decision by the Federal Government on this CN proposal. This federal decision allows CN to proceed further in the approvals process without addressing the conclusion reached by its own review panel that this proposal is likely to cause significant adverse effects on human health that cannot be mitigated. This Federal decision was also contrary to the panel conclusions that the proposed intermodal was likely to cause five other significant effects on air quality, the environment, and farmland that cannot be mitigated.

gordon_krantz_mayor

Milton Mayor Gord Krantz

“The Federal Government has let us down and ignored the expertise of the panel it appointed,” said Milton Mayor Gordon Krantz. “Let me assure all Miltonians, we will continue fighting and advocating for you at all levels of government and in the courts.”

Since CN announced this proposal, the community has voiced its opposition because of serious concerns with its adverse effects on air quality and human health, the safety of local travel in the surrounding area, and the site’s close proximity to more than 34,000 current and future residents, one hospital, 12 schools, and two long-term care homes.

This Ontario court case is the second court action taken this year by the Halton Municipalities. On February 21, the Halton Municipalities and Conservation Halton filed an application with the Federal Court of Canada to have the court review the decisions made by Federal Cabinet and the Minister of Environment and Climate Change that has allowed CN’s proposal to proceed further without addressing the many serious problems identified by the federal panel.

“The Federal Review Panel found that this project is likely to cause harm on human health,” said Burlington Mayor Marianne Meed Ward. “Regional Council has a responsibility to do everything in its power to hold CN accountable and ensure compliance with provincial and municipal laws.”

“While the Federal Government has given highest priority to the economic interests of CN, we put our duty to protect the health and safety of residents first,” said Oakville Mayor Rob Burton.

“Our communities and local representatives at all levels have voiced their concerns about CN’s proposed project,” said Halton Hills Mayor Rick Bonnette. “We need to continue to be a unified voice for Halton residents.”

CN site

A fear bigger that the proposal is that if it does get built – it will be expanded at some future date

“Protecting the environment and safety of our communities remains Conservation Halton’s top priority,” said Conservation Halton Board Chair Gerry Smallegange. “We stand with our municipal partners and will continue to advocate for the well-being of residents in our watershed.”

CN’s proposed truck-rail hub in Milton would create only a small number of jobs and not provide the kind of investment that has been planned for and approved in Regional Official Plan Amendment 38 (ROPA 38). Although concerns with significant adverse environmental effects on air quality and human health are paramount, this proposal’s permanent harm to anticipated employment, investment, and municipal finances is also significant. CN is ignoring the substantial benefits it promised in 2008 when it sought and ultimately obtained changes to Regional Official Plan Amendment 38. The low employment and investment numbers now advanced by CN for the current proposal could be achieved elsewhere by modernizing its existing Brampton facility.

 

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Keeping the faith that we will hear that applause again one day soon; because the show must go on!

artsorange 100x100By Tammy Fox

April 16th, 2021

BURLINGTON, ON

 

I find it beyond belief that we have been existing in this Twilight Zone of a pandemic for over an entire year now.  COVID has, and continues to have, absolutely devastating effects on everyone – personally, professionally, economically, socially – you name it.

Fox Tammy with glasses

Tammy Fox, Executive Director, Burlington Performing Arts Centre

We invested a great deal of time, effort and funds in developing a sold COVID-safety plan for BPAC last summer so that by early fall we would be in a position to welcome back reduced-capacity audiences in the safest way possible.  We increased our air filtration, purchased plexiglass screens and every type of PPE available.

We invested in a socially-distanced ticketing system and seating plans, as well as patron self-screening software.  We thoroughly sanitize the venue at least three times daily.  When we were finally permitted live audiences of up to 50 people for October and November we scrambled to put together an exciting ‘mini-season’ of incredible artists, like Tom Cochrane, Chantal Kreviazuk, The Spoons and more.

We sold out every performance and I watched as my technical staff’s eyes welled up with tears on our ‘opening night’, overcome with emotion at having the opportunity to finally return after 6 months of suspended operation to what it is that we all do best.  To the industry that we love.  And then just like that we were slammed back into the ‘red zone’ and the stage lights went dim once again.

Now we are once again in lockdown.  We are struggling to understand why we are not permitted to support our community and the Canadian arts ecology when we all need it most, by at the very least offering livestream performances.  A typical livestream production might involve 5 – 10 people, between staff and artists, carefully and safely socially distanced in our incredibly spacious venue – but no, the province has deemed that too risky.

Film shoots involving 100 cast and crew are ok.  For a long while, allowing hundreds to cram into malls and big box stores was ok.  But no livestreaming allowed!  Once simply can’t help but feel that the notion of the arts being somehow superfluous, non-essential to the health and spirit of a community is now up in lights on the marquee for all to see.  It’s a very scary time for our industry, which has been deemed ‘the hardest hit’.  Our industry will be the very last permitted to return to full operations.  Ours will take the longest to fully recover.

With that said, there is an incredible amount of heart and effort going into advocacy efforts for the live entertainment sector.  Federal agencies are doing what they can to keep us sustainable until life can return to ‘normal’.  I do believe that people are eager to return.  I feel that people are now truly becoming aware of the cavernous gap left in our lives and in our communities when the performing arts go dark.  You don’t know what you’ve got until it’s gone – but absence will make the heart grow fonder!

burlington-performing-arts-centre-hall-03-leed-gold@2x

There will come a day when there will once again be a full house

At present, I think that the best that we can hope for is offer a series of performances outdoors on our Plaza this summer. I hope to see us being permitted to operate at a percentage of capacity by the fall.  At some point someone has to do the math and see that 250 patrons spread out across a 718-seat venue is safer than 50 people crammed into a Walmart check-out line.

Jazz-SRO-768x451

An outdoor performance on the plaza where the best seats were on a marble bench.

In the meantime, we are constantly trying to find ways to support our staff, our patrons and our local artists and arts organizations and to keep our volunteers informed and engaged.  We have been working with the HDSB by offering students a virtual education series, and we are developing an artist residency program that will see us offering our space and services to local artists.  And mostly, we are working towards remaining optimistic and keeping the faith that we will hear that applause again one day soon.  It will happen.

Because the show must go on!

Tammy Fox is the Executive Director of the Burlington Performing Arts Centre

 

 

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Ontario government is discussing making full-time online schooling permanent in public education.

opiniongreen 100x100By Lana Parker

April 16, 2021

BURLINGTON, ON

 

Despite the lack of data documenting benefits to children, and emerging evidence of several drawbacks and harms, the Ontario government is discussing making full-time online schooling a permanent “choice” in public education.

This idea is being introduced without adequate research, and stands to become the latest measure that raises inequality and threatens the viability of education as a public good.

The Globe and Mail obtained an Ontario Ministry of Education presentation dated March 22, 2021, detailing the prospect of continued virtual learning after the COVID-19 pandemic. The province aims to partner with TVO to offer “fully independent online learning” for “Ontario and out-of-province secondary students” and also mentions continuing “synchronous remote learning” for elementary students.

The proposal coincides with apparent plans to continue to help fund Ontario education by selling curriculum abroad. In 2015, Ontario reported it had agreements with 19 international private schools that pay the province to deliver the Ontario curriculum.

Unpacking the known harms

empty classroomWhile the COVID-19 environment has produced unique challenges, many of the greatest difficulties for young people have been associated with the forced shift out of schools and into online learning. Online learning does not replace the complex, relationship-oriented learning and social environment in schools.

Fully online learning has had consequences for mental health, with increased feelings of social isolation. There have also been challenges to physical health, as youth grappled with a lack of physical activity and deteriorating eyesight. Even among older youth learners, motivation and engagement prove difficult to sustain online, with a higher potential for dropping out and worse outcomes for disadvantaged students.

Despite the negative outcomes associated with full-time online study for youth and without sufficient data to support its rationale, the Ontario government is introducing an unasked for “choice” that would set a detrimental precedent for public education.

Prov plan education

More screen time?

Some might argue that getting students comfortable with online technologies prepares them for future study and the workforce. In my research on youth literacy and online engagement, however, I explore how student proficiency in navigating technology should not be mistaken for understanding complex information.

students at computer screensMy work is part of a wider body of emerging research that examines how students make sense of the online environment — and how being online affects their literacy skills, including their capacities to form critical questions and navigate misinformation and disinformation.

I have also determined that literacy learning can be strengthened when students and teachers explore the emotional implications of contentious issues in a classroom community. In other words, leaving students alone in front of screens for even more of their already online-immersed day does not improve their critical thinking or engagement.

learning on lineFor adolescents, learning online doesn’t replace in-person interactions with teachers, other students and community members. These interactions, far from superficial or inconsequential, are at the heart of how students learn well. In the pandemic, many teachers have voiced concerns about how an online environment hampers their ability to tailor learning and to support their students with the full range of strategies that are available in the classroom.

Yet another worrying aspect is the risk to student privacy. There is ongoing concern about how tech companies may be gaining unprecedented insight into children’s lives and how data may be used.

There are also issues of tech monopolies that muddy the line between public education and private enterprise.

Generating revenue

Students have opportunities to engage with online learning in Ontario’s current framework. There is no need to introduce compulsory online courses or the option of full-time online learning.

With all the issues implied by full-time online learning, why would Ontario consider making this a permanent feature of public education? Before the pandemic, in February 2020, the government .

In a confidential Ontario government document written sometime between March and August 2019 and obtained by the Toronto Star, the current Ford government detailed a plan to dovetail cuts to school board funding with the opportunity to “to develop (a) business model to make available and market Ontario’s online learning system to out-of-province and international students.” It is telling that the document did not foreground the benefits of full-time online learning for students.

The reasons for this shift can be attributed to the ongoing drive to privatize public education through the twin aims of reducing costs and generating new revenue. The 2019 document also mentioned examining “feasible options for selling licensing rights to courses/content to other jurisdictions.”

Curriculum sales

The current discussions should be seen in the context of Ontario’s drive to create revenue streams through international student tuition and sales of curriculum to international schools.

Ontario’s March 22 proposal for online schooling describes a plan to develop curriculum and offer an education with little teacher support.

This “business plan” follows Minister of Education Stephen Lecce announcing the appointment of a former CFL commisioner to the role of TVO’s CEO. TVO’s website has been recently retooled to include an emphasis on “digital learning.”

Potential future harms

For children, fully online learning creates the conditions for further educational inequality. It is a particular risk for children with special education needs.

It can also produce unintended consequences: a recent study based in Ecuador showed female students working online were more likely to spend time doing housework than their male counterparts. It is not unimaginable that some families could select online schooling for their children so they could help with household work, care for family members and potentially supplement family income by entering the labour market earlier. The move also risks limiting opportunities for extra-curricular socialization and learning, including experiences with the arts and sports.

Once poorly researched educational policy comes into practice, it is difficult to undo irrespective of data that details its harms. Such has been the case with the introduction of standardized testing in Ontario, which marginalizes newcomers and students with exceptionalities, and encourages a narrow curriculum.

Over time, a policy of “choice” for full-time online schooling weakens public education by diluting in-person opportunities for students and eroding funding. An impoverished public system drives families into private schools, which further erodes the public good. Defunding and marketization will leave public education in a race to the bottom.

Background links:

Expanding student access to on line and remote learning – the provincial government agenda

Toronto reveals secret provincial government report about on-line learning –

 

Laura Parker is an Assistant Professor, Faculty of Education, University of Windsor

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Conservation Halton wants a tighter communications link with citizens.

News 100 greenBy Staff

April 15th, 2021

BURLINGTON, ON

Conservation Halton had an item in a recent newsletter that included the following notice:

Conservation Halton sign - angle

Administrative offices on Britannia Road

“Conservation Halton is looking for a better way to engage with residents about flood risks on their property and within their community and we’re hoping you can help. If you live in Burlington, Oakville, Milton or Halton Hills, please click here to complete a short survey. (It should only take five minutes of your time!):

A Gazette reader said: “Residents of south Burlington have been trying to impress upon the City the myriad water issues experienced in our community, and they’ve just heard numerous Millcroft residents express concerns about what will happen if the Argo development gets the green light. This is something that all Burlingtonians should be concerned about.”

CH Rivers and streamsEver since the 2014 flood Conservation Halton has upgraded the data gathering equipment they now – they are able to spot problems as they are developing and take appropriate action.

Their colour coded notices appear in the Gazette regularly.

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Damoff announces federal funding to cover air conditioning in Halton schools

News 100 yellowBy Staff

April 15th, 2021

BURLINGTON, ON

 

Pam Damoff, Member of Parliament for Oakville North Burlington brings some good news for the educators and their students:
$656.5 million dollars in funding to upgrade Ontario’s schools to make them safer for kids and teachers. Over $26 million dollars will be provided to schools in Halton Region to foster a safe and healthy environment for our valued educators, students, parents, and school staff.

Damoff ofice opening

MP Pam Damoff speaking with a constituent in her Oakville office

“The wellbeing of our community is of the utmost importance as we continue the fight against COVID-19.

“This investment is being made jointly with the provincial government through the COVID-19 Resilience Infrastructure Stream, with 80% of the funding from our government” explained Damoff who added that: ” The majority of the funding will support ventilation projects that improve air quality in classrooms.

Central High school

Students at Central High would be mighty pleased to see air conditioning installed.

Additional projects include installing water bottle refilling stations to improve access to safe drinking water, investing in network and broadband infrastructure to support remote learning, and space reconfigurations such as new walls and doors to enhance physical distancing.”

The students at Central high school will watch with some anticipation to learn if their school is going to see some air conditioning equipment. Climate change and the need to circulate air in schools built decades ago is no longer something nice to have.

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Joseph Brant Hospital at 94% capacity - CEO asks for public support in staying safe

News 100 redBy Eric Vandewall, President and CEO Joseph Brant Hospital

April 15th, 2021

BURLINGTON, ON

 

A short walk from Joseph Brant Hospital is Spencer Smith Park, a beautiful green space by the waterfront where, in past years, friends and families would gather in large numbers to enjoy the warm weather, music and food festivals and open-air movie nights.

We know how difficult this year has been for everyone – we feel it too. We all want to return to a time when we could enjoy the simple pleasures of pre-pandemic life. But we urge you to be patient, stay home and follow all public health measures. We need your help to avert a crisis.

Eric andewall TITLE

Eric Vandewall

Across Ontario, we are seeing enormous strain on our hospitals, and JBH is no exception. The new Variants of Concern have quickly taken hold and are fueling this third wave, causing a rapid surge in cases and hospitalization of patients with more severe symptoms.

At JBH, we are currently at 94% capacity and reached full capacity this past weekend. In just two weeks, the number of COVID-19 patients in our care has more than doubled and continues to increase daily.

We are doing everything we can to make beds available to the rising number of patients – both COVID-19 and non-COVID-19 – who require urgent, life-saving care. We have put all non- urgent surgeries and procedures on hold. We have added four intensive care beds and will be adding three more by the end of this week – 31 beds in total. But resources are limited, and may not be enough if the demand continues.

Hospital modular

Pandemic Response Unit

We have been working with our regional and provincial partners in managing COVID-19 care, so that no one hospital is overwhelmed. We have the capability to transition our Pandemic Response Unit – which is currently serving as a Halton Region Vaccination Clinic – back to providing COVID-19 care within 24 hours. We would continue to run the clinic, which has already administered more than 10,000 vaccinations, in another part of the hospital.

Like many of you, our JBH staff and physicians have made enormous sacrifices during the pandemic, and your unwavering support has meant so much. You helped us get through it, and we need your support once again.

Please follow public health guidance. Stay home unless it’s essential, such as buying food or picking up medication. Wear a mask, wash your hands frequently, physically distance from others and do not gather with anyone outside of your household.

There are skeptics who will try to convince you that this is all unnecessary. I can assure you, they are wrong. If this upward trend continues hospitals will be overwhelmed.

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Some seedlings need a foster home while they get themselves ready for their new home in gardens

News 100 greenBy Staff

April 15th,2021

BURLINGTON, ON

 

crocusSpring – even though it may not feel like it today it is the time of year that we turn our attention to the gardens.

With the stay at home order we are not able to get into our own plots at Maple Gardens however the community gardens don’t usually open up until May anyway.

Right now though there is a way you can help us out. We have seedlings that are in need of foster care and are looking for volunteers to care for them. Please contact Sam (our Food Bank Garden coordinator) at garden@burlingtonfoodbank.ca if you would be able to help her out with this and/or over the spring and summer.

We can see one of our plots already growing a nice crop of garlic, thanks to Lisa who had planned it all out last season for us.

If you are in need or know of someone who could use our help PLEASE have them email us at info@burlingtonfoodbank.ca or call 905-637-2273 to make arrangements to have food dropped at their door or make arrangements to pick it up through our curb-side pickup option. If you are a resident in Burlington, we are all here to help. Don’t struggle – give us a call.

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Ontario Now Accepting Public Feedback to Strengthen Municipal Codes of Conduct

News 100 blueBy Staff

April 15th, 2021

BURLINGTON, ON

 

The Ontario government has launched a 90-day consultation to obtain feedback on how to strengthen municipal codes of conduct. With the support of the Association of Municipalities of Ontario (AMO), the province is working to better ensure that municipalities, councillors and heads of council maintain a safe and respectful workplace.

Link to the survey is HERE

Jill Dunlop, the Associate Minister of Children and Women’s Issues is holding round tables with a variety of municipal stakeholders on how to strengthen accountability measures for members.

“Our government has been absolutely clear that we will not tolerate workplace harassment or discrimination of any kind,” said Associate Minister Dunlop. “It’s critical that everyone knows there are accountability measures in place for members who violate municipal codes of conduct. Our consultation will help determine what changes, if any, are required to ensure everyone can feel safe and respected in the workplace.”

The government is also collecting feedback on AMO’s recommendations for holding municipal councillors accountable, including increased financial penalties, suspension for certain violations, removal from office in certain circumstances, and better training and standards for integrity commissioners. This feedback is critical to ensuring effective accountability measures are put in place for members of council who violate their municipal code of conduct.

City council on innauguration Dec 3rd - 2018

It’s critical that everyone knows there are accountability measures in place for members who violate municipal codes of conduct.

“Municipal councils are looking for new tools and new measures to address modern challenges in local government,” said AMO President Graydon Smith. “Where there are serious code of conduct violations, municipal councils need the authority to take actions that are measured, appropriate and effective.”

Comments for the consultation are welcome through the online survey by July 15, 2021. Anyone can participate in the online survey to provide feedback. Municipalities are also encouraged to provide official feedback through the online survey. This is another step the Ontario government is taking to hold members who violate codes of conduct accountable for creating unsafe work environments.

“I encourage every Ontarian to participate in this process and share their thoughts and comments on how to bring effective accountability to municipal governments,” said Steve Clark, Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing. “We must ensure that the right tools are available and that above all people feel safe and supported.”

The role of the Integrity Commissioners municipalities hire will be given a close look with the potential for much needed training.

Burlington had difficulty getting strong relevant codes of conduct in place.  The two Goldring Council’s were at times content with what they add or were quarreling amongst each other on what they could live with in terms of a Code of Conduct.

There came a point where the then city manager had to get council to adopt the model the province had created and was prepared to impose on Councils that did have a code in place.

 

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School Superintendent supports Harvard author - computers will never take over education

opinionred 100x100By Julie Hunt Gibbons

April 15th, 2021

BURLINGTON, ON

 

Many of the challenges of this pandemic have been solved through the use of technology. The tools of technology have allowed the world of work to continue from a safe distance. Education in Canada has been no different.

Last year’s March – June shut down in elementary, secondary, and post secondary in Ontario was facilitated by the use of online learning, both synchronous and asynchronous, through a host of different learning management systems and educational platforms and applications. This year our provincial public health challenges have varied by population and demographic and we have used technology to respond accordingly.

FAILURE TO DISRUPT

Failure to Disrupt: Why Technology Alone Can’t Transform Education

Here in Halton, and the surrounding GTHA, students have experienced a variety of synchronous and asynchronous fully online and hybrid learning models in response to the need for student cohorting and swells in Covid-19 numbers. The recent pandemic response, coupled with decades of technological innovation and growing use, have led many people to cite technology as the panacea for educational change in this province and around the globe. They would do well to read Justin Reich’s latest book, Failure to Disrupt: Why Technology Alone Can’t Transform Education” (2020).

Reich does not base his claims on recent pandemic events. In fact, he wrote this book prior to the onslaught of COVID-19 and points out that the supposedly transformative educational technology of the past decade has done little to revolutionize learning. He debunks claims such as:

Harvard Business School’s 2009 claim by Clay Christensen that predicted that half of all American secondary school courses would be online by 2019,

Sal Khan’s claim that Khan Academy videos would reinvent education,

Sebastian Thrun of Udacity’s claim that in 50 years we’d have only 10 institutions of higher education in the world as a result of the success of massive open online courses (MOOCs).

Sugata Mitra’s claim that students no longer need schools or teachers as groups of children with access to the internet could teach themselves anything.

students at computer screens

Computers will be part of classrooms – but they will not replace classroom teachers.

Reich addresses MOOCs, autograders, computerized “intelligent tutors,” and widely adopted popular educational software in-depth and traces their hype, their potential,and their ultimate shortcomings. According to Reich, despite their economic success in making their creators wealthy, their benefit has been to primarily wealthy students and they have done little, if anything, to combat growing inequalities in education. Thus this has not been “true innovation” and has not radically changed the educational system in any way. Rather these tools have been adapted, tested, used or not used by educators within the system.

Technology does, and  will, continue to play a crucial role in the future of education but as nothing more than a tool for classroom experimentation and the expansion of educators’ pedagogical toolkits.

None of this should come as a surprise; the pandemic has evidenced extreme growth in the use of educational technology, but the key lesson of our online learning experiments in a pandemic have been that there is a want and need for human interaction. Educators have the uniquely human skills to engage (or not engage) students.  Education is at its essence a human skill and human pursuit.  Change and improvement to education must come from human iterations. There is no magic technological wand.

I join Reich in his confidence that when we take stock of the education our schools provided in our schools during the pandemic, we will see evidence of many new technological classroom and teaching strategies reflective of staff learning and the practicing of technological skills. These are valuable skills and our schools can and should build on them, continuing the process of learning how to teach, learn, and use our digital tools more effectively.   Educational improvement is a journey, not a destination and technology can shape and accelerate this journey but technology alone cannot transform education.

Huntley Gibbs looking left

HDSB Superintendent Julie Hunt Gibbons

 

Julie Hunt Gibbons Halton District School Board Superintendent of Secondary Program & Student Success, North West Oakville Family of Schools was a part of the team that created the iStem courses that began at the Aldershot High school. 

Julie was born in Ottawa, graduated  from TA Blakelock in Oakville then attended: University of Western Ontario |  B.A. Hon. |   Sociology and Political Science; University of Windsor | MA. | Sociology (Socio-legal Studies) and University of Toronto  |B.Ed. |Intermediate and Senior qualifications

Julie didn’t  intend to be a teacher. She did a Masters in Sociology (Socio-legal studies) thinking it would be a good stepping stone to Law School. It was while working as a Teaching Assistant that she fell in love with teaching.


 

 

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If you care about the way your children are to be educated - read on

News 100 redBy Pepper Parr

April 15th, 2021

BURLINGTON, ON

 

A number of weeks ago I heard a CBC interview about a book that talked about the concept of disruption and education.

FAILURE TO DISRUPTDisruption has bitten deeply into retail markets and has all but killed local newspapers.

Uber turned the taxi business upside down.

The Ontario government is now thinking about disrupting education and teaching both elementary and high school students on-line.

Halton District School Board Superintendent Julie Hunt Gibbons, who will be retiring in June after a long career as a teacher, did a review of Failure to Disrupt: Why technology alone cannot transform education

Her review led us to changes the provincial government is actively pursuing.

The Hunt Gibbons interview appears in the Gazette today – the scoop on what the provincial government appears to be planning will be in the paper on Friday.

Here is a glimpse of what the government is discussing internally at the Ministry of Education.

The full report will be published on Friday.

 

Prov plan education

A portion of the documents being used by Ministry of Education Consultation group.

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Getting vaccinated - 22 pharmacies in Burlington will jab a needle in your arm -free

News 100 redBy Staff

April 15th, 2021

BURLINGTON, ON

 

covid-19-vaccination-1500-991-2The AstraZeneca vaccine is available at Burlington pharmacies listed below.

Who can get a vaccine ?  Adults 55 and over in 2021 interested in receiving the AstraZeneca vaccine

Costco Pharmacy

1225 Brant Street

Burlington, ON  L7P 1X7

Map it (opens Google Maps)

 Appointment and location details
  • Appointment only. Call or visit their website to make an appointment
 Hours
  • Monday – Friday: 9 a.m. to 8:30 p.m.
  • Saturday – Sunday: 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Phone number

905-336-9660

 Website  – www.costcopharmacy.ca
 Metro Pharmacy

2010 Appleby Line

Burlington, ON  L7L 6M6

Map it (opens Google Maps)

 Appointment and location details
  • Appointment only. Call or visit their website to make an appointment

Hours

  • Monday – Friday: 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.
  • Saturday: 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.
  • Sunday: 9 a.m. to 7 p.m.
 Website  –metro.ca/covid19
 Mount Royal Pharmacy Ltd

2047 Mount Forest Drive

Burlington, ON L7P 1H4

Map it (opens Google Maps)

Appointment and location details

  • Appointment only. Call or visit their website to make an appointment
 Hours
  • Monday – Friday: 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.
  • Saturday: 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.
  • Sunday: 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.
 Phone number  –905-332-8893

Rexall

5061 New Street

Burlington, ON L7L 1V2

Map it (opens Google Maps)

Appointment and location details

  • Appointment only. Call or visit their website to make an appointment

Hours

  • Monday – Friday: 9 a.m. to 10 p.m.
  • Saturday – Sunday: 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.

Rexall

2201 Brant Street

Burlington, ON  L7P 3N8

Map it (opens Google Maps)

Appointment and location details

  • Appointment only. Call or visit their website to make an appointment

Hours

  • Monday – Friday: 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.
  • Saturday: 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.
  • Sunday: 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Rexall

2400 Guelph Line

Burlington, ON  L7P 4M7

Map it (opens Google Maps)

Appointment and location details

  • Appointment only. Call or visit their website to make an appointment
 Hours
  • Monday – Friday: 9 a.m. to 8 p.m.
  • Saturday – Sunday: 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Shoppers Drug Mart

3023 New Street

Burlington, ON  L7R 1K3

Map it (opens Google Maps)

Appointment and location details

  • Appointment only. Call or visit their website to make an appointment
 Hours

Monday – Sunday: 8 a.m. to 12 a.m. (midnight)

Shoppers Drug Mart

4524 New Street

Burlington, ON  L7L 2X8

Map it (opens Google Maps)

Appointment and location details

  • Appointment only. Call or visit their website to make an appointment

Hours

Monday – Sunday: 8 a.m. to 12 a.m. (midnight)

Shoppers Drug Mart

2080 Appleby Line

Burlington, ON L7L 6M6

Map it (opens Google Maps)

Appointment and location details

  • Appointment only. Call or visit their website to make an appointment
 Hours
  • Monday – Friday: 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.
  • Saturday: 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.
  • Sunday: 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Sobeys Pharmacy

1250 Brant St.

Burlington, ON L7P 1X8

Map it (opens Google Maps)

Appointment and location details

  • Appointment only. Call or visit their website to make an appointment
 Hours
  • Monday – Friday: 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.
  • Saturday: 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.
  • Sunday: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Wal-Mart Pharmacy

4515 Dundas Street West RR#1

Burlington, ON L7M 5B4

Map it (opens Google Maps)

Appointment and location details

  • Appointment only. Call or visit their website to make an appointment
 Hours

Monday – Sunday: 7 a.m. to 11 p.m.

Wal-Mart Pharmacy

2065 Fairview St.

Burlington, ON L7R 0B4

Map it (opens Google Maps)

Appointment and location details

  • Appointment only. Call or visit their website to make an appointment
 Hours

Monday – Sunday: 7 a.m. to 11 p.m.

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NDP Convention produces some strong election platform positions

opinionred 100x100By Andrew Drummond

April 14th, 2021

BURLINGTON, ON

 

This past weekend, over 2000 NDP delegates from across the country met at a virtual convention to discuss what direction the party should take moving forward and what policies are important for the NDP to push in the next federal election. The convention was not without its hiccups, and technical difficulties dominated the event in its first 24 hours. Delegates with a disability in particular were frustrated as captioning for the proceedings was not immediately available.

jAGMEET

Jagmeet Singh – a resounding 87% endorsement

The most publicly notable part of any political convention in Canada is the vote to endorse the Party Leader. NDPers gave Jagmeet Singh a resounding 87% endorsement which was higher than expectations. Jagmeet also gave a keynote address on the Sunday of the convention where he compellingly argued that without the NDP’s influence the country’s vulnerable would have been for worse off than they were. He quoted a line from a popular meme online: “I’ve heard it said that in this pandemic, we’re all in the same boat. I disagree. We’re not actually in the same boat. We’re certainly in the same storm, but some of us are in leaky lifeboats.” Singh also called out that the Liberal proposal for the CERB program had been $1,000 per month with a 3-month maximum. Only through the pressure tactics of the NDP caucus was the amount and duration increased.

But the core of any convention is the passing of policy the NDP grassroots wants the party to fight the next election on. More than 800 policy resolutions were submitted by riding associations across the country, and delegates prioritized those and then debated over the three days of the convention. The most notable new policies passed are below:

millionaire

He’s just an old fashioned millionaire.

Make the Wealthy Pay Their Share (80% marginal tax on incomes over $1,000,000)
Delegates in favour of this resolution argued passionately that Canadians earning this amount of income should be more responsible for ensuring a more equitable distribution of wealth across Canada. While exact figures aren’t available, the 99th percentile income in Canada is less than $300,000 per year. The number of Canadians making over $1,000,000 is incredibly small and yet a tax on those individuals would secure considerable funding for programs to help all Canadians.

Re-Establish a federal minimum wage at $20/hour
Delegates on this resolution were focused on the relationship between a minimum wage and a living wage. And after some discussion, delegates were aligned to the idea of $20/hour being necessary because of the incredibly high cost of living in many areas.

Halton was given as an example where the living wage here was $20.38/hour the last time it was calculated in 2019. The wage would only impact federally regulated companies but would hopefully have a significant impact on local economies as well.

Add Long Term Care standards to the Canada Health Act
The experience of Ontario has been noticed by people across the country. Delegates have been outraged at the poor conditions LTC residents have been forced to live in while the private companies managing the sites have been giving out huge dividends to their shareholders. With this policy, the NDP takes a stand that across the country LTC homes will no longer be allowed to be run as for-profit enterprises. It would also enshrine in the Canada Health Act a commitment that any federally funded LTC facility be required to provide a minimum of 4 hours of daily care.

Permanent Paid Sick Days for federally regulated companies
The research in the lead up to this policy shows that 58% of Canadians do not have any paid sick leave. Beyond that, the much touted CRSB program is not suited to day-to-day needs. When a worker starts getting sick, they need that first day off to prevent others from getting infected. The NDP passed a policy demanding 7 permanent sick days per year for all federally regulated companies. It is a very big step towards normalizing paid sick days as required in all businesses.

Canada’s Place in the World

refugee camp

Refugee camp support has always been a large part of Canadian foreign aid.

Historically, the NDP convention has shied away from taking stands on foreign policy. Resolutions calling for international action rarely get prioritized and debated. However, at this convention, the NDP delegates prioritized 2 powerful resolutions calling for action from Canada. First was to unequivocally support farmers in India against the repressive corporate takeover being funded by the Modi government. The second was calling for a boycott of all products made in the Israeli occupied territories as well as an embargo on arms sales to Israel until a fair peace is established with the Palestinian people. This was a landmark policy choice that puts the NDP clearly on the side of those being oppressed and demands Canada take action on the world stage.

Jagmeet blue strong pic

Jagmeet Singh, leader of the New Democratic Party

NDP convention 2021 was not perfect. The technical glitches marred what could have been a bigger unifying experience for delegates (Amends were made by refunding delegate fees to all members with a disability). But policies were passed that will drive the NDP platform for the imminent federal election expected later this spring. They are bold, progressive policies that will brand the NDP clearly as the most progressive platform between the major parties. They also give a clear strategy to escaping the economic downturn caused by the pandemic.

The 2021 NDP Convention made clear that the NDP members have a vision for what Canada should be and how it should take care of its people so no one is left behind. Protecting LTC homes, and fighting for a federal minimum wage will make real, material difference in the lives of Canadians. The biggest message from convention 2021 was that the NDP members share a common vision with Jagmeet Singh and are passionate about fighting for that vision in the next election.

Andrew Drummond was the NDP candidate for Burlington in the last provincial election.

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Borders with the US seem to be closed both ways - a blunt Stay at Home message

News 100 redBy Staff

April 14th, 2021

BURLINGTON, ON

 

We closed our border to the Americans when Trump was president.  The State of Minnesota has closed its border crossings into Canada.

border sign Ap 14

Whatever happened to those Welcome to America signs?

The American Centre for Disease Control (CDC) is now saying that even those who are fully vaccinated could be infected and spread COVID-19 variants if hey visit Canada.

The CDC rates COVID-19 travel advisories from Level 1 (low) to Level 4 (very high), and it has labeled Canada a Level 4 danger zone. The highest level warrants the following advice from the CDC:

Travelers should avoid all travel to Canada.

“Because of the current situation in Canada even fully vaccinated travelers may be at risk for getting and spreading COVID-19 variants and should avoid all travel to Canada.

“If you must travel to Canada, get fully vaccinated before travel. All travelers should wear a mask, stay 6 feet from others, avoid crowds, and wash their hands.”

Canada closed its border to the U.S. to nonessential travelers in March 2020. More recently, emergency regulations were issued to mandate that anyone entering the country must quarantine for 14 days (some exceptions), provide contact information and monitor themselves for symptoms of COVID-19.

The ban on most nonessential travel to Canada from the U.S. is in place until April 21, though it could be extended.

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