Halton Regional Police Service Launches Black Heritage Cruiser Design Contest

News 100 blueBy Staff

February 1st, 2021



In honour of Black History Month, the Halton Regional Police Service (HRPS) and its Black Internal Support Network are soliciting the community’s help in the design and creation of a Black Heritage Police Cruiser.

“Due to the pandemic, we are unfortunately unable to organize or participate in Black History Month events like we historically have,” says Deputy Chief Roger Wilkie. “This cruiser is a unique way for us to highlight our commitment to working with and learning more about our region’s African and Caribbean community, not only during Black History Month, but year-round.”

This initiative is in collaboration with and supported by the following community partners:

HRPS cruieser with rainbow stripes

The Regional Police have in the past wrapped a vehicle supporting a part of the community.

• African Caribbean Council of Halton
• Black Mentorship Inc.
• Canadian Black Chamber of Commerce
• Canadian Caribbean Association of Halton
• Caribbean and African Coalition of Canada
• Halton Black History Awareness Society
• Halton Regional Police Association
• I am. I can. I will.

Together, the HRPS and these community partners envision this dedicated police vehicle featuring key figures and imagery that celebrate the region’s rich history of African and Caribbean culture.

“This wrapped vehicle will symbolize the Service’s commitment to, and solidarity with, the black community,” says Constable David Joseph, who proposed the design project in collaboration with members of the HRPS Black Internal Support Network. “Together with our community partners, we hope this project will help expand our collective awareness and appreciation of black heritage in Halton.”

All residents of Halton are encouraged to submit design proposals that highlight the rich history of African and Caribbean culture in the Region of Halton. From contributions to the Underground Railroad, to key figures, and significant historical landmarks, the vehicle wrap could highlight a number of contributions from right here in our own region.

Submissions will be accepted throughout Black History Month, February 1 – 28, 2021. A selection committee comprised of the HRPS Black Internal Support Network and community partner representatives will select a winning design. The individual who submits the winning design proposal will be awarded a one-time $2,500 youth scholarship to be used personally or by someone of their designation for post-secondary education. This one-time scholarship is proudly funded by the HRPS and the eight community partners listed above.

Visit to learn more about the contest and submission criteria, and to submit your design.

The HRPS would like to thank its community partners for their support of this initiative. This project is just one of many ways we are working together to strengthen the way we serve our diverse community.

The HRPS would also like to thank the community in advance for its submissions. The final design and content of the cruiser will be at the discretion of the HRPS, in consultation with the submitter and the HRPS Black Internal Support Network.


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Burlington COVID-19 Task Force members announced

News 100 blue

By Pepper Parr

February 1st, 2021



The City has created a Burlington COVID-19 Task Force

It is huge.

Halton has a very good student immunization rate - 93% of students are immunized.

It is all about getting a needle in your arm. – a Task force with more than 25 people is not what people want to hear – Tell me when I will get my inoculation and where do I go.

The Task Force will share information and mobilize community and agency resources to support our hospital and healthcare workers as we prepare for an anticipated surge of patients in the coming days and weeks and work through a recovery period, as well as coordinate our broader community efforts on COVID-19.

Members will bring information and/or requests for assistance back to each of their own organizations and emergency response tables.

While this information-sharing and collaboration is already happening, the Task Force simply formalizes this effort and adds some structure as we collectively serve our community.

Membership includes community leaders and decision-makers representing various organizations and agencies involved in the COVID-19 response. New members may be added as the situation evolves.

Each participant is likely to be a member of their own organization’s COVID-19 response group, with an ability to bring information from that table, where appropriate, to the Task Force, and vice versa.
Invitees are similar to the panelists on the Mayor’s recent public telephone town hall.

Community response to that event was overwhelmingly positive, with residents specifically mentioning that they appreciated the assembled panel of cross-functional experts and leaders, and seeing the evidence of collaboration, sharing of information and coordinating of efforts to serve them.

Invited guests/organizations at this time:

Chair, Mayor Marianne Meed Ward

City of Burlington Emergency Control Group:

Burlington Fire Department:
Karen Roche, Deputy Fire Chief
Amber Rushton, Business Continuity and Emergency Planning CEMC
Dan VanderLelie, President, Burlington Professional Firefighters Association

City of Burlington:
Tim Commisso, City Manager

Joseph Brant Hospital

Eric Vandewall, CEO and President
Dr. Dale Kalina, Medical Director of Infectious Disease

Halton Regional Police Service:
Roger Wilkie, Deputy Chief of Police
Superintendent Anthony Odoardi

Halton District School Board:
Stuart Miller, Director of Education

Halton Catholic District School Board
Pat Daly, Director of Education

Halton Region:
Lynne Simons, Senior Advisor to the CAO

Members of Parliament:
The Honourable Karina Gould, Minister of International Development, MP, Burlington
Pam Damoff, MP, Oakville-North Burlington
Adam Van Koeverden, MP, Milton

Members of Provincial Parliament

Jane McKenna, MPP, Burlington
Effie Triantafilopoulos, MPP, Oakville-North Burlington
Parm Gill, MPP, Milton

TEAM Burlington:
Carla Nell, Burlington Chamber of Commerce
Anita Cassidy, Burlington Economic Development
Pam Belgrade, Tourism Burlington
Brian Dean, Burlington Downtown Business Association
Judy Worsley, Aldershot Business Improvement Area
Lita Barrie, CEO, Burlington Public Library

United Way Halton & Hamilton, Halton Poverty Roundtable
Tyler Moon, Senior Manager, Community Impact

The Burlington Food Bank:
Robin Bailey, Executive Director

Burlington Hydro:
Gerry Smallegange, President & CEO

Reach Out Centre for Kids:
Kirsten Dougherty, Chief Executive Officer

Royal Hamilton Light Infantry:
Lieutenant Colonel and Commanding Officer Alex Colic

Diocese of Hamilton
Rev. Rob Thomas, Chaplain, Burlington Fire Department

Halton Islamic Association
Sr. Osob

NUVO Network
Bridget and Shawn Saulnier, Owners

Burlington Foundation
Colleen Mulholland, President and CEO

Food for Life
Graham Hill, Executive Director

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Adam van Koeverden says the CN hub

News 100 blueBy Staff

February 1st, 2021



Addressing the Speaker of the House of Commons Friday morning Adam van Koeverden said:

Milton NO signMr. Speaker, last week, the Minister of Environment and Climate Change released a list of the 325 conditions that the CN intermodal project must meet before it could proceed with any development in my riding of Milton. I recognize that these conditions address some of the concerns raised by my community and that this conditional approval is a technical assessment not an endorsement by the federal government. However, let me be very clear that these conditions do not change my position. I have always advocated for a rejection of this project and I remain strongly opposed.

AVK with two women

Adam van Koeverden speaking to Milton residents

Today, I want to directly address this to CN. Its own regulations recommend against new residential development within a thousand metres of an existing intermodal facility. Therefore, why would CN consider building one that same distance from a strong, growing and vibrant residential neighbourhood?

This fight is far from over. Miltonians will not give up. I will not give up. For me and our community, our top priority will always be protecting our people’s health and a clean environment. In instead, I encourage CN to invest its time and energy in a community that welcomes this development and all the benefits it claims an intermodal will bring.

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Federal government gets thanked by the Chamber of Commerce - Region of Halton and its municipalities feel they have been betrayed.

News 100 blueBy Pepper Parr

January 31srt, 2021


hud ad star

Full page advertisement in the weekend Toronto Star


The good people of Milton don’t see the federal government decision to allow the inter-modal hub that CN Rail has planned for the Town of Milton.

While the direct and immediate damage is focused on Milton the damage the truck traffic will do to the northern part of Burlington is significant and will never end as long as there are freight trains using the rail lines that will lead into the inter-modal hub.

There will be a reported 1600 trucks a day coming and going and while they all won’t pour onto the north Burlington roads – there will likely be more than the roads were built to withstand.

CN is of course delighted and they convinced all their friends at many of the local Chambers of Commerce organizations to take part in the sponsoring of a full page advertisement in the weekend edition of the Toronto Star thanking the federal government.

What seems to have been forgotten is that while the Chambers of Commerce represent the business interests in a community those very business interests stand to suffer and lose once the inter-modal hub is operational.

Tractor-trailer traffic in the community will increase, housing developments will suffer – the value of the homes in the immediate locale of the inter-modal hub will be assessed at a lower value than they would have been if the inter-modal hub was built somewhere else


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Oakville Burlington MP touts for Terry on the new $5 bill

News 100 redBy Staff

January 30th, 2021



You have to give Oakville North Burlington Member of Parliament Pam Damoff more than a high five for giving the drive to get Terry Fox on the new five dollar bill more than the old college try.

The Petition she presented to the people at the Mint who will be printing the new $5 bill had 1251 Burlington signatures on it.

An announcement is due soon on who will be on the currency.

What the Gazette didn’t know was that Ms Damoff is a football fan.

Here she is speaking in the House of Commons yesterday:

Damoff polar ear dip

Pam Damoff taking the Polar Dip on a New Year’s Day – not this past year though.

“Mr. Speaker, eight worthy candidates are being considered by the government for the new five-dollar bill, but one stands out from the rest: Terry Fox.

“I am proud to sponsor an e-petition initiated by Burlington resident and CFL Hall of Famer, Tony Gabriel, to have Terry Fox chosen to be on the five-dollar bill.

“In 1980, Terry embarked on the Marathon of Hope to raise funds for cancer research. When he came through Ottawa, he participated in a ceremonial kickoff at an Ottawa Rough Riders game. Tony told him there was not one person on the team that could possibly physically do what Terry was doing.”

Damoff and Gabriel at marker

Tony Gabriel and Pam Damoff beside the Terry Fox marker on the Burlington waterfront.

This gave Terry an emotional lift. The Marathon of Hope made Terry Fox a household name and a Canadian hero. Over $800 million has been raised for cancer research in Terry’s name.

As Tony would say, let us get Terry in the end zone. It is time to put him on the five.

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Mayor struggles with meaning of

News 100 blueBy Pepper Parr

January 29th, 2021



“Hope is certainly on the horizon” said the Mayor who voted along with her colleagues to extend the face mask bylaw to the end of the year.

MMW at swearing in with Chain - superior look

“Hope is certainly on the horizon”

The hope the Mayor was talking about was the arrival of a vaccine which, according to the information the Mayor got from the Provincial COVID19 Vaccination Task Force, vaccination efforts will take through the spring and summer, and likely into the fall.

Not exactly on the horizon is it ?

For the foreseeable future, additional health measures will still be necessary – washing hands, wearing a mask, staying 6ft apart from anyone we don’t live with.

Foreseeable future isn’t exactly on the horizon either.

Meed Ward in a mask

Mayor Meed Ward: Clearly there was a struggle in determining just what “on the horizon” means.

“We want to be up front with the community about that” said the Mayor, “and be clear about the need for continued health measures and our bylaws for some months. Council did discuss ending the bylaws sooner, and in the end unanimously voted to extend to the end of December.

“My own view in supporting this extension till the end of December is that it is better to be up front and honest with our community.”

We are still in this pandemic for a long period of time, and that it is preferable to be able to lift the regulations early, than dash the hopes of our residents if we had to continually extend the bylaw.

Clearly there was a struggle in determining just what “on the horizon” means.

What is perfectly clear is that this council has extended the bylaw that governs the wearing of face masks to December 31st, 2021.

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Senior Well-being During COVID-19 - not that good

background graphic greenBy Staff

January 29th, 2021



CDH Community Lens graphicCommunity Development Halton publishes material relevant to the well-being of the Region. The following is their most recent in a series referred to as a Community Lens.

We know that the impact of COVID-19 has affected many in Halton and, in particular, older adults. With restrictions on accessing stores and the financial constraints brought about by the pandemic, there has been an impact not only on accessing healthy, appropriate food, but also on interaction with others. This change in interaction can lead to social isolation and loneliness, especially amongst older adults and those living with lower incomes.

There is evidence that shows the negative impacts of social isolation and loneliness. According to a recent report by Angus Reid, more Canadians report being socially isolated and lonely since the pandemic began.

The Putting Food on the Table project is a partnership between Sheridan Centre for Elder Research, Food for Life, and Community Development Halton to better understand the needs of older adults who receive food supports from Food for Life. A survey went out in the summer of 2020 to approximately 1,000 older adults (aged 50 and over) in Halton who receive food supports from Food for Life asking about their nutrition, food security, food needs, health, and overall well-being. A total of 217 surveys were returned.

This Community Lens provides an overview of some of the responses to questions related to feelings of social isolation and other impacts of COVID-19.

The majority of the respondents (74%) to the survey were women, with the largest group consisting of women in their 70s. The survey also found that the women who responded have different living situations than the men. They tended to be widowed, whereas the men tended to be married or living with a common law partner. Almost three quarters of the women who responded to the survey lived alone, compared to less than a quarter of men, who lived alone.

A series of questions were asked to understand the impact of COVID-19. As shown in the chart below, respondents were more likely to leave their homes to get groceries and other supplies versus for recreation or socializing.

CDH Graph on seniors getting out

Furthermore, of the 31% of respondents who reported leaving their homes less than once a week for groceries or other supplies, it was found that 90% of them reported leaving their homes less than once a week for recreation or socializing. This means that about a quarter of these older adults are leaving their homes less than once a week for any reason. This indicates the inclination for people to stay home due to the pandemic during the summer of 2020. A follow up question on the comfort of leaving home found that almost 40% of respondents said they were uncomfortable or very uncomfortable leaving their homes during the pandemic.

Senior on telephone

The telephone is the only access to other people for many seniors during the COVID19 crisis.

Knowing the importance of socialization for well-being and mental health, a set of questions were asked about socialization. When asked if they had someone to socialize with, 15% responded “No” and for those who did have someone to socialize with, 11% said they socialize less than once a week. When asked how they socialize with others, the responses were varied, with the telephone playing an important role in their lives. Given the move of many services to online delivery, 36% of respondents indicated challenges with access to the Internet and 32% indicated a level of discomfort learning new technologies.

Finally, when asked about their well-being during the pandemic, 41% said that it has stayed the same or is better while 40% said that their well-being is worse. In addition, when asked how much of a risk COVID-19 is to them, 77% of these older adults indicated being in the “high risk” or “somewhat high risk” category.

The CDH Research team has worked hard to develop changes to the “older adult food package” from Food For Life to improve the over all experience and provide additional resources to support the older adults. A second survey is currently underway to learn about the impact of this work, what changes may have occurred with the second wave of COVID-19, and what work still needs to be done.

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Catch the Ace Lottery is Back - Brant Hospital and Rotary are the Sponsors

News 100 yellowBy Staff

January 29th, 2021



Brant lottery

Someone is going to win $1,000 guaranteed

How does Catch the Ace Work?
Draws take place weekly, and one lucky person takes home 20% of all the ticket sales that week. And to celebrate the launch, the weekly prize for week 1 is $1,000 guaranteed!

The winner will have selected an envelope, containing one playing card from a standard 52-card deck. The envelope selected by the weekly winner is opened, and if it contains the Ace of Spades, the winner takes home the progressive jackpot. If it is any other card, 30% of ticket sales from that week are added to the progressive jackpot and tickets go on sale for the following week’s draw.

lottery ticket dealHow do I purchase tickets?
Tickets are only available online at catchtheacelottery.ca. The deadline for each draw is Wednesday at 3 p.m.

Lottery dateTicket purchasers will select one envelope per transaction, regardless of the number of tickets purchased.


The Catch the Ace Lottery is in support of the Rotary Club of Burlington North and
the Joseph Brant Hospital Foundation.


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Damoff to hold on -line Town Hall on federal budget - February 11th

News 100 redBy Pepper Parr

January 29th, 2021



Damoff with LiberaL sign

Oakville North-Burlington MP Pam Damoff in full election mode

Pam Damoff, the MP for Oakville North Burlington will be holding an on-line Town Hall on the federal budget.

The event is part of the federal government’s pre-budget consultations and will take place on Thursday, February 11, 2021, from 6:00pm – 7:00pm.

All residents of Oakville North-Burlington are welcome to attend. To register for the virtual Town Hall and for additional details about the discussion please click here.

At this point in time the federal government is throwing billions into the economy to keep things as stable as possible while everyone works at beating the COVID19 virus which keeps sprouting variants which makes the job very difficult.

Damoff explains that “when COVID-19 is under control, our government has a plan to make smart, targeted investments to jump start our economic recovery, restore growth, create jobs, build a greener, more competitive, inclusive and resilient economy and repair the damage done by the pandemic.”

Over the coming weeks, the government will host virtual round tables with diverse groups of people from a range of regions, sectors and industries, including those hardest hit by the pandemic, to allow our government to hear the best ideas from Canadians and experts across the country about how Budget 2021 can best support Canadians through the pandemic and help us build back better. The round tables are an opportunity to discuss the very real challenges Canadians are facing and listen to the ways that the government can ensure a robust recovery that leaves no one behind.

Participants will be able to share their ideas and priorities about how the government can best invest to create jobs, strengthen the middle class, and build a greener, more competitive, more inclusive, more innovative, and more resilient economy.

Prebudget graphic

Pam Damoff: “After the virtual Community Town Hall, my office will compile a report detailing the suggestions from Oakville North-Burlington residents to submit to the office of Federal Finance Minister and Deputy Prime Minister the Hon. Chrystia Freeland. The number of participants is capped at 100 and priority registration will be given to residents of Oakville North-Burlington.

“All Canadians are invited to share their ideas through an online questionnaire at LetsTalkBudget2021.ca, which will be available until February 19, 2021.

“In last year’s 2020 Fall Economic Statement, our government committed major federal transfers to the Provinces. Below, I have outlined the federal transfers to Ontario for reference.

“In Ontario:

• $16.2 billion through the Canada Health Transfer, an increase of $616 million from the previous year; and
• $5.8 billion through the Canada Social Transfer, an increase of $182 million from the previous year.
• $5.1 billion for Ontario through the Safe Restart Agreement:
o $1.2 billion support with the costs of increasing testing capacity, perform contact tracing, and share public health data that will help fight the pandemic;
o $466.0 million to support health care system capacity to respond to surges in COVID-19 cases and to support and protect people experiencing challenges related to mental health, substance use, or homelessness;
o $287.4 million to address immediate needs and gaps in supportive care and provide health and social supports for other vulnerable groups;
o $776.6 million to support municipalities with COVID-19 operating costs
o $1 billion to ensure critical transit services are maintained;
o $1.2 billion to ensure health and non-health workers have access to the personal protective equipment that they need; and
o $234.6 million to address the reduced availability of childcare spaces and the unique needs stemming from the pandemic.
• Up to $763.3 million available through the Safe Return to Class Fund
• $1.1 billion through the Essential Workers Support Fund

Pillars of Canada’s COVID-19 Economic Response Plan by the Numbers in Ontario:

• Canada Emergency Business Account: as of January 21, 323,617 loans provided to businesses, worth a total of $16.35 billion.
• Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy: as of January 10, 791,810 applications, for a total of over $23.32 billion in subsidies paid out, helping protect 1.72 million jobs.
• Canada Emergency Response Benefit: as of October 4, over 3.5 million Ontarians supported. In a population of 14.7 million, this is nearly 1 out of every 4 people.
• Canada Recovery Benefit: as of January 10, $3.3 billion provided to 682,080 Ontarians.
• Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit: as of January 10, $94 million provided to 110,220 Ontarians.
• Canada Recovery Caregiving Benefit: as of January 10, $375.2 million provided to 106,690 Ontarians.

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The Slo-Pitch league is taking registrations for the summer season - will we have a lock-down free summer?

sportsgold 100x100By Staff

January 28th, 2021



The crack of the bat that can be heard even if you are seated way up in the bleachers of a large ball park, a sound that North Americans just love to hear.

Given the way we have had to live our lives for the past year, taking in a ball game would be nice. Being able to sit with friends with a beer in one hand and a hot dog in the other is something to look forward to and might aid us in getting through the current lock down.

The Burlington Oldtimers Slo-Pitch has begun to promote their summer league offering; we assume they believe the lock down will be lifted by then.  Running from the plate to first base wearing a mask doesn’t sound all that appealing.

summer baseball


The teams play on Wednesdays at 10:30 am at Sherwood Park where there are four diamonds – if that much space is needed.

Like everyone else they will be watching for changes from the provincial government on what people can do.  The moment there is even a hint the games can take place the Slo-Pitch people will be onto Teresa Campbell, their contact at Parks and Recreation, looking for approval to start the season.

 If you had previously registered and paid for 2020 then there is no further action required by you.

However, if you had previously requested a refund of your 2020 registration fee then the league treasurer will reach out to you closer to when the season is anticipated to start.

Become part of something special in your community. Let’s face it, what better way is there to get a little exercise on Summer nights! Get your friends and relatives to join too.

• Men’s 35+ league
• Way too many games… PLUS two tournaments!
• Twice a week
• All games in Burlington with short fences 🙂
• Best people ever

The league asks newcomers to do a self assessment in order to fit them into a team.  It is brutal.

bosl assesment

Looks like there is room for everyone in this league.

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Photo of the day: Not for the faint of heart

News 100 blueBy Staff

January 28th, 2021



It was one of those bleak winter days that often follow a snow storm.

Close to blistering cold but not cold enough to freeze Lake Ontario water and not cold enough to keep those barking mad surfers out of the water.

The photo offering today shows someone pushing through the water hoping to catch a decent wave.

Not for the faint of heart.

surfer jan 27

Photo by Helene Dube

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One item is vital; another doesn't seem to make much sense - and the city needs another lawyer

News 100 redBy Pepper Parr

January 28th, 2021



The Operations draft budget suggests a tax increase of 4.99%.

The Mayor doesn’t like the look of those numbers and has said that she could live with a 3.99% increase and asked the Finance department to come back with some suggestions as to how this might be done.

Members of Council will be given Budget Action Requests (BAR) which is how the members of council ask (tell?) Finance where changes can be made to get the required number.

It is not at all certain that every member of this Council is as married to the 3.99% number as the Mayor. It difficult to see but the word we have from council sources (given to us as background and on a not-for-attribution basis) is that Council would like to have their views being equal to the Mayor’s.

The budget is far too big to do a really deep analysis – we certainly don’t have the resources to do that work and we are not at all sure that very many people would read through it all. So we have picked 10 items to comment upon, and asking the question – why this spend?

The Gazette doesn’t want to overwhelm with detail so we are going to do three at a time over the next few days.

First: a spend of just under $50,000 for a part time audio visual person.  Why?

Information Technology Services (ITS) is seeking to hire a part-time A/V Specialist to support audio and video technology within the Council Chambers, web streaming of Committee and Council sessions and virtual meeting services required due to COVID.

The ITS department currently has a single A/V Specialist and has no effective backup that would be able to support a meeting of Council in the event that this sole resource becomes ill or is otherwise unavailable.

Mayor plexi in place

The Mayor, the City Clerk and Dave – the AV guy are the only people in the Council Chamber when the meetings are “virtual”. Without Dave – no one would know that there was a council meeting taking place.

The part-time A/V Specialist will also provide backup and supplementary support of other types of public engagement meetings and corporate A/V including the Emergency Operations Centre, Halton Court Services, general meeting rooms and training facilities.

There a significant risk that a Council meeting could not be easily held and could only be conducted in a very constrained and modified fashion that would fail to meet the expectation of Council and the public. There currently is no viable plan B.

This spend is a must – vital actually. Right now a man named Dave Thompson runs the audio visual system that delivers council meetings to the public as a web cast on the city website.

Dave is run ragged every time there is a Council or Standing Committee meeting. There are at time some minor mistakes – they are usually corrected very quickly.

If Dave were to become victim of COVID-19, or slip on a banana peel somewhere, a council meeting would not be broadcast – and if it isn’t made public – is the meeting still deemed to have taken place?

We think Dave is pretty close to the hardest working man in the city – quite why a backup person wasn’t hired six months ago defies explanation.

Approve this one in a flash and find a way to get it approved before March – which is when the budget is expected to be approved.

The people who concern themselves with Risk Management certainly dropped the ball on this one.

Where do the numbers come from ? Figure this one out.

Municipal Finance people do accounting differently. All too often people with strong private sector experience and a lot of experience handling budgets and balance sheets are stunned when they look at city financial statements.

Frank McKeowan, the one-time Chief of Staff for Rick Goldring when he was Mayor once said that municipalities don’t have balance sheets or Profit and Loss Statements. To some degree he was right.

There is an item on the budget for $116,700..It is described as the cost for a service that is being delivered.

Transit - seniors with Gould

The Seniors pushed for years for a better transit deal. It took six years but with a new progressive thinking transit director and a council that saw transit as a necessary service – changes came about.

The service being delivered is free use of transit between 9:00 am and 2:30 pm Monday to Friday. Seniors will board any bus in the city use their Presto Pass and not be charged for the trip they are taking.

So what does the cost of $116,700 represent?

The buses are already on their routes – there is no additional expense.  Does the $116,700 represent money the city thinks it would have received if those seniors had been required to pay a fare ?

The free fare program has proven to be very popular – ridership numbers soared when it was first introduced.

Those ridership numbers do increase what the city gets in the way of gas tax rebates from the province.

The city seems to be budgeting for funds it would normally get at the fare box, and because it will not be getting these funds, the city has put in a figure of $116,700 to offset the loss!

Before the pilot began, seniors accounted for approximately nine percent of the transit ridership.

Key successes from the pilot include:

• Almost 70,000 rides were provided for seniors for free from June to December 2019
• Mid-day boardings increased by over 2.5 times, this is directly co-related to the increase in the number of seniors using transit
• Ridership did not change outside the free period, seniors who already used transit did not shift their travel times to the free period
• Senior ridership increased by 41% between June 2019 and February 2020
•• The growth in seniors made up approximately 35% of Burlington Transit’s overall ridership growth from 2018 to 2019
• Increased ridership could potentially increase provincial gas tax by $13,000

Based on the success of the program, it is recommended to continue this program on a permanent basis.

Great idea – but what does the $116,700 that the budget book shows as a project cost amount to.  How does not getting paid amount to a cost?

So why is the $116,700 figure even in the budget book.

Hiring another lawyer? Afraid so.

Ideally the person hired will save the city a reasonable amount of money and a lot of grief.

Local Planning Authority Tribunal (LPAT) hearings amount to groups of lawyers arguing the merits of the developers’ plans while the city lawyer argues why the LPAT appeal should be dismissed.

One additional solicitor position is being requested for the Planning, Development & Real Estate practice group in order to support the on-going work of Community Planning. At present, the practice group is led by one Deputy Corporation Counsel and consists of one Solicitor assigned to real estate law, and one Senior Law Clerk supporting planning, development and real estate. The demands for legal service has been steadily increasing and there simply isn’t sufficient capacity in the current staffing level to continue to “do it all”.

The Key Drivers of the growing demand for legal service support for Community Planning are the same drivers that are impacting Community Planning organizationally. Legal works very closely with Community Planning on policy initiatives, at the front and back ends of development files, and on any resulting appeals. As has been identified, Community Planning is expected to grow from current staff complement of 29 to 51 over the next 3 years.

The proposed development V a

Every development requires input from the legal department. This development has been “in the works” for at least six years.

– approximately 50 active major development files (7,000 residential units, 40 Tall/Mid-rise buildings, employment, commercial)

– 30 major development pre-consultations to date

– pre-building permit applications are up more that 50% over last year

– # of application approvals “on hold” due to ICBL continuation

– major policy development work either in progress or anticipated in the forseeable future including comprehensive zoning by-law review, housing strategy, Regional municipal comprehensive review, various urban design guidelines, cultural heritage study, adjusting the Urban Growth Centre and removing the MTSA from the downtown .

The addition of one solicitor position would resource the planning and development practice group to take on the day-to-day legal support for Community Planning.

The additional resource will create capacity for the Deputy Corporation Counsel to manage the sheer volume of LPAT work that is coming out of the planning and development area. The government has reversed changes made to the Planning Act with respect to how hearings are conducted. The legislative changes will result in more appeals for the municipality to defend, and lengthy and expensive hearings de novo.

The sheer volume of appeal work will be handled by a combination of internal and external legal resources. The magnitude of the job to be done requires a great deal of internal coordination. The nature of the appeals demands that the appeals are handled consistently so that the city doesn’t lose sight of the inter-relatedness of much of the work that is underway.

Finally, the additional position allows for greater succession planning in the Planning, Development and Real Estate practice group. The City is at a point where it will have a new official plan and new comprehensive zoning by-law. Bringing on a new solicitor will allow this individual to start “on the ground floor” as these new instruments are applied and tested. Building that internal capacity is important in a small department like Corporate Legal Services.

Failure to expand Corporate Legal Services internal capacity will have negative consequences for the City:

-Risk of failing to deliver key results on Council’s Strategic Plan (defend the new OP, defend the changes to the planning instruments, defend changes to the comprehensive zoning by-law, development of MTSA’s along major transit corridors)
– Risk of failing to provide timely advice to Community Planning on a day-to-day basis.
– Heavier reliance on the use of external counsel which is more costly to the municipality.
– Failure to develop our internal talent to the detriment of the individual and the corporation. Succession management is critical given that specialized positions have proven difficult to fill in the past.
– Reputational risk to the department if we are unable to meet the needs and expectations for legal services.
– Potential for increased legal risk to the corporation. Having legal involved early on in planning issues makes for better decision-making.

There are key applications being processed such as the Nelson Quarry expansion that may have environmental impacts. Dealing with these types of issues requires a lot of planning and legal resources and have the potential to end up in major, lengthy hearings.

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Sustainability is much more than something you think you should do - it reaches all the way down to the bottom line

News 100 greenNicole Ramberg

January 27th, 2021



Reduce, reuse, recycle: the mantra of sustainability. We all know that these three actions are vital in the path to becoming more sustainable, but implementing them is something quite different.

There is now an acceptance of the need to use our resources, whatever they might be, differently if we are to keep this planet alive.

EARTH 1st (R) bigOne Ontario Corporation has found that they could get into the business of the three R’s – they have been doing just that  since the founding of the company in 1887.  One of the more recent projects is the recycling of roofing shingles.

At Walker Industries, everything from budgeting to acquisitions to policy creation is filtered through their “SEE model” – emphasizing the importance of social, environmental and economic sustainability as a core values.

Walker Industries started out as, and remains, a family-owned company that offers  a range of products and services including aggregates, construction, concrete, biosolids management, and alternative low carbon fuels, to name a few. So, what is it that makes them stand out from competing companies?

For starters, they are Canada’s largest fully integrated resource recovery company, steadily increasing the tonnes of resources recovered every year. This refers to the resources that would otherwise end up in landfills, but are instead kept in use, being recycled, repurposed and reused.

Walker accepts asphalt shingles at its Thorold location and repurposes them to be used as recycled asphalt products – just one example of their commitment to resource recovery.

Walker 3 dir shingle

The shingles are shredded and then ground up into usable products.

They recover the shingles that roofers dumped at transfer stations in the Toronto area and have a contract with the Niagara Region to take any roofing shingles that are dropped off there.

They grind the shingles, separate out any portion that isn’t recyclable and then grind the balance into small, almost sand-like pieces that have been used as bedding for large pipes in the liquid transportation business.  The grindings replace the use of stone bedding for the large pipes.

The people at Walker talk in terms of lessening the need to rely on virgin products when a recycled product can do the job just as well.  The shingle grindings get used when temporary roads are needed in landfill sites.

The project, begun in 2016, was profitable from the year it started.  In 2019 they took in 20,000 tons of shingle and turned out close to 98% reusable product.  Less expensive and easier on the environment.

While a private company, Walker Environment puts out an annual report.  Last year they reported a 30% reduction in electricity use, over 1000 hours of employee volunteer hours and a 212% increase in shingles processed to recycled asphalt.

Recently, Walker Industries entered into a project with Enbridge and Comcor Environmental, to construct the largest renewable natural gas plant in Ontario. The facility, which will be located in Niagara, is expected to generate energy to heat the equivalent of 8,750 homes annually, and reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 48,000 tonnes.

Walker will play an important role in the partnership – they will be capturing gas from their Niagara landfill, processing it into renewable natural gas, and injecting it into the Enbridge distribution network. The project is currently underway and is expected to be finished by the end of the year.

Sustainability requires a collective effort.  Walker has been involved with Sustainable Hamilton Burlington advisory group for quite a while, with Walker Emulsions being a Sustainability Leadership Program member. The involvement has allowed for learning opportunities, credible recognition and ultimately contributing to a more sustainable economy.

The Walker Industries head office crowd did their part.

In 2013 the Walker Environment Group decided that they could reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 4 megatons if they turned the temperature in all their office locations down two degrees. Staff were asked to wear a sweater to work – something funky to make it interesting. The staff went one further – they decided they would hold sweater contests and they had people knitting during their lunch hour. For the Walker group of companies it is all part of the Earth First approach to business.

Sustainability efforts at Walker go beyond its partnerships and business operations. Input from employees have driven different initiatives, like shoreline cleanups or participating in Habitat for Humanity community projects. What started as hobby beekeeping amongst a few employees turned into a project with Niagara College’s commercial beekeeping program – allowing for those precious pollinators to do their thing around their landfill in Niagara.

Tim Murphy, VP of Environmental Performance at Walker offers the following for people who want to inject more sustainable thinking into their organizations:

1. Understand what sustainability means to your organization – often environmental is the first to come to mind, but there is also social and economic sustainability to take into account

2. Understand where you’re at currently – where do you stand after determining what sustainability looks like?

3. Come up with a plan to address expectations – once you know what sustainability means and where you stand, what do you want moving forward?

4. Be realistic – It’s easy to have big goals, but can they actually be achieved and sustained long-term?

5. Approach goals accordingly – sustainability is a long-term journey, and the longer sustainable operations are in place the less they are a project, and the more they become a part of work culture

As with any organization, things are not perfect. Challenges and obstacles present themselves in the face of pursuing environmental, economic and social sustainability. What’s important is continuing to learn, adjust, and move forward in the journey to becoming more sustainable.

It is certainly do-able.  Walker Environmental made a very profitable business out of it.

Nicole Ramberg is a graduate of McMaster University where she completed a Bachelor of Science in Environmental Sciences.  She is currently a student at Fleming College in Lindsay ON, where she is studying Ecosystem Management Technology.

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The hospitality sector has found a way to get their craft beer into your house - they use Growlers and Howlers

News 100 yellowBy Pepper Parr

January 27th, 2021



When I saw the media release I didn’t know what a Growler was. Interesting approach to the delivery of craft beers.

The media release announced that on January 1st, Beertown Public House was among the first set of restaurants in Ontario to successfully launch a Growler Program – offering freshly poured local craft beer for guests to take home, bring back, re-fill, and repeat.

beertown 2

64 and 32 ounce sizes of your favourite craft beer that you can’t get at the supermarket or the LCBO

The program, they say, celebrates the most recent amendments to Ontario’s liquor laws which permits licensees to sell premixed cocktails and growlers. Beertown is offering Howlers (32oz half growlers) to foster the joy of discovery and promote a “keep cool, drink fresh” mentality.

The province still requires “some” food be provided with the brew; Beertown tosses in a handful of nibley food to cover that base.
Guests can choose from an ever-changing selection of Ontario Craft beers, quirky imports, and kegged cocktails. Once finished, they can bring back their empty glass growler to refill, and exchange it for a freshly sanitized one.

The Growler program has allowed the Beertown to continue to support Ontario Craft Breweries during this unique time, and curate a “Beertown experience” for their guests right at home. It has become a popular choice in the Beertown Bottle Shop – a series of retail pop-up shops that sell consignment wines, cocktail kits and 6-packs that cannot be found at your local LCBO or grocery store.

Beer town 1

Craft beer – they have more than 100 on their list and mixed cocktails: curb side service as well.

The Growler Program is available at all Charcoal Group Restaurant locations across Ontario, including: Beertown Public House, Sociable Kitchen and Tavern, The Bauer Kitchen, and Wildcraft Grill and Long Bar.

Where did the name Growler come from? The term likely dates from the late 19th century when fresh beer was carried from the local pub to one’s home by means of a small galvanized pail. It is claimed the sound that the carbon dioxide made when it escaped from the lid as the beer sloshed around sounded like a growl.

Who knew?

Beertown offers an impressive take out menu. You can find it on line.

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Finance department provides a budget simulation tool - figure out how you would send the money

News 100 redBy Staff

January 27th, 2021



During February City Councillors will be debating the Operations budget which threatens to come in at more than 4% higher than last year.

Councillors are now going through the 436 page document and preparing BAR forms (Budget Action Request) that set out what changes different members of Council want made.

This is the place where pet projects get advanced. If a council member can drum up enough support and get 4 of the seven votes the project becomes part of the budget.

What will get a little tricky is the desire to keep the tax increase as low as possible and at the same time deliver something that matters to the people who voted for you at the same time.

These will get debated during the month.

The plan is to have an agreed upon budget before city council to be approved on March 3rd.

This year, the City is piloting an educational budget simulation tool, Balancing Act, to educate the public on the City’s budget and highlight the challenge of maintaining and improving services to the public, with limited sources of revenue. Using this tool, the public can simulate where they would recommend City Service budgets be amended to either increase or reduce overall spending and revenues.

The “simulation” exercise lets people decide what should be kept in the budget and what could be left for another time. This is an exercise for people to see what the impact of their choices would be – it won’t be taken by city hall as your advice to them.

It’s a little on the complex side but it is worth the effort.

The approach the city takes to the creation of the budget is to present it in what they call a Services Delivery approach. All the expenses are pulled together into one of seven categories.
You will see a list of where the city spends the tax money and other sources. There are seven categories.

city services graphic

The Service Delivery categories put the spending into groups that make it easier to see where the tax dollars are going.

Simulation 1st page

See if you can come up with a different allocation of the tax money and still have a balanced budget. Have fun.

There is a link to get to the simulation program.

Anyone who thinks they might have what it takes to be a member of council is well advised to try their hand at budget making.

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A little windy for the birds today

News 100 yellowBy Pepper Parr

January 26th, 2021



It got a little windy out there this morning.
birds single cardinal

Wasn’t much on the ground for the birds around the house to eat.

birds feeding 2

The Blue Jays would not share – they would chase off anyone eating.

The Cardinals don’t get along all that well with the Blue Jays (does anyone get along with a Blue Jay?)

They would huddle in some branches and then take their turn for a quick trip to the bird feeder and then scramble back to the bushes and let someone else grab a bite to eat.

Yesterday there were more than a dozen doves sharing the space; this morning not one of them in sight.

bird eating alone

Hanging on tightly – the wind was more than this one was comfortable with

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Retail Theft Investigation Leads to Arrests and Charges

Crime 100By Staff

January 26th, 2021



The Halton Regional Police Service (HRPS) 1 District Criminal Investigations Bureau has completed an investigation into a series of retail thefts and robberies that took place throughout the region.

Suspects in these occurrences entered retail stores and stole large quantities of merchandise including high end fragrances, formula and energy drinks (see attached photo). In some instances, when confronted by staff the suspects utilized threats or violence to aid their escape.
Stores were targeted in Milton, Oakville and Burlington.

On January 24, 2021, investigators arrested executed two warrants (one at a residence in Toronto and a second at a retail store in Toronto).

William Berry (40) of Carrying Place has been arrested and charged with:
• Robbery (x3)
• Theft Under $5000

Marc Sestito (32) of North York has been arrested and charged with:
• Robbery (x2)
• Theft Under $5000

Du Xu (39) of Toronto has been arrested and charged with:
• Possession of Property Obtained by Crime Under $5000
• Possession of Property Obtained by Crime under $5000 for the Purpose of Trafficking

CrimeStdoppers-HaltonAll three have been held in custody pending a bail hearing.

Anyone with information in regards to this investigation is asked to contact the 1 District Criminal Investigations Unit at 905-825-4777 ext. 2416.

Tips can also be submitted anonymously to Crime Stoppers. “See something? Hear something? Know something? Contact Crime Stoppers” at 1-800-222-8477 (TIPS) or through the web at www.haltoncrimestoppers.ca.

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Guidelines to help doctors decide how likely it is that a patient may live or die in the short term issued by the province.

News 100 redBy Staff

January 26th, 2021


Correction:  The 44 students infected at a university student residence were at McGill University – not the University of Guelph. The correction has been made.

This is a stark news report.

Dr Brian Goldman, the man behind the CBC radio program White Coat Black Art interviewed a number of medical professionals about a Memorandum that was first sent to hospitals in the province and then sent to doctors setting out the criteria as to which COVID-19 patients would get care and who would not get care.

header with goldman These documents contain guidelines to help doctors decide how likely it is that a patient may live or die in the short term. Depending on the circumstance, ICU doctors may be forced to use these guidelines, and not offer critical care to patients who are unlikely to survive. The more strained the system becomes, the more drastic the decisions ICU doctors will need to make.

Making such a drastic decision becomes necessary when there are just no more beds or ventilators to help those who are infected.


Patients in critical care units in a Toronto hospital.

This short video sets out the bleak choices doctors may have to make  in deciding who gets care.

Dr David Lepofsky said, “You can’t decide who lives and dies by a government memo.”

Michael Warner

Dr. Michael Warner, medical director of critical care at Toronto’s Michael Garron Hospital

Dr. Michael Warner, medical director of critical care at Toronto’s Michael Garron Hospital said that, “On a good day, the [emergency department] can be bananas. And if we’re ever at the point where this policy becomes something that we have to use, I think the situation will be where you’re running around just trying to keep people alive.

“There are tools that we’re supposed to use: checklists to evaluate from an objective basis the likelihood the patient will survive a year from their critical illness. And if the patient is not offered critical care, it’s not like they’re left with nothing.

“They’re supposed to be offered palliative care, or some other form of care in hospitals so that when they ultimately die, they can die in a comfortable, dignified way.”

The province has extended the lock down for an additional 14 days. The number of new infections are lowering but not by nearly enough.

Forty-four students at a residence at the University of Guelph were reported infected.

Almost every resident at a long term care in Barrie is infected, with more than 25 having succumbed to the disease.

There is a crisis on the other side of the door.  Every time someone strays from the rules that are in place that door opens up just a little.  If that door is opened enough we will be facing a very very hard time; the closing of a restaurant will seem so insignificant.

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Halton students heard one of the best speakers in the country talk to them about the Rights of Children

News 100 blueBy Pepper Parr

January 25th, 2021



There are times when having to do something ‘virtually’ turns out to be a plus.

The Halton District School Board held their second Symposium on the Rights of the Child.  It came very close to being cancelled after more than a year of work that looked like it was going to be laid to rest by COVID.

They had a fabulous speaker lined up and were looking forward to a good turn out.

That was in March of last year – and of course things changed for everyone.

The Halton Director of Education, Stuart Miller said that it looked as if the event would have to be cancelled but senior staff and the Director took a closer look at what they were up against and realized that if they web cast the event through their Facebook page they would draw much more than the 250 + they got in 2019.

They certainly got much more than the 250 +  –  there were 3400 people logged into the Facebook page. Stewart points out that many of those log-ins were from a classroom that would have had 15 to 20 students taking part.  There could have been 5000 students listening.

Stephen Lewis

One of the strongest speakers in Canada, Stephen Lewis addressed thousands of Halton students virtually on Friday about the Right of the Child.

They were fortunate to have one of the great Canadian orators and a very passionate advocate for social justice in this country.  Stephen Lewis, a Companion of the Order of Canada, the holder of 42 honorary Doctorates, is a living legend.

Hearing Lewis speak when he is really passionate about his subject is something one never forgets.

Lewis led students and community partners in a day long program focused on children’s rights.  “I spent a large chunk of my life” said Lewis, “dealing with the Convention on the Rights of the Child.”

“When I worked with UNICEF, I was responsible for travelling around the world to persuade governments to ratify the Convention on the Rights of the Child and take all of its clauses seriously. The Convention provides a tremendous range of rights for children, all of which I hope to be addressing before you.”

Lewis was joined by Michel Chikwanine, now a motivational speaker, author and human rights activist based in Toronto and originally from the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Chikwanine is more than a child advocate. When he was not much more than a young boy he was kidnapped from the soccer field outside his school in the Democratic Republic of Congo; he and his childhood friends were “recruited” to be rebel soldiers.

Michel Chikwanine

Michel Chikwanine: Kidnapped as a young boy and forced to serve as a child warrior

Chikwanine is a compelling speaker. People find themselves riveted to their seats when he speaks.

At the end of what was a very full day the Students were to create a Call to Action, a document that would set out what they wanted to do about improving the Rights of the Child.

Superintendent Rob Eatough will be responsible for overseeing the development of these Calls to Action.

Tomorrow the Gazette will publish interviews with some of the students who took part in the event.



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Our Mad Premiers


“Ford threatened to shove an incendiary device into the “ying-yang” of any Pfizer executive if they did not give Ontario more coronavirus vaccines.” (CP24 – January 21, 2021).

Rivers 100x100By Ray Rivers

January 24th, 2021



It would be funny if it wasn’t so deadly serious. Pfizer is reducing its shipments of COVID vaccine due to the need for a stoppage to upgrade its production facilities. So it is disappointing. But the company says it will still meet its commitment for total shipments by the end of March, and beyond.

That sounds reasonable given that its other customers will also suffer delays, including European nations where the our vaccine is actually being manufactured. And remember that hardly anyone had even heard of COVID last year at this time, so getting any kind and amount of vaccine here is a blessing.


The speed with which the vaccine was produced was impressive.

Ford scowl - cropped

Premier Doug Ford: not having a good day.

But that’s not good enough for Ontario’s fearsome premier who has called the Canadian president of Pfizer to complain, and is threatening to rent a truck and cross the land border to demand a million doses from newly installed US president Biden.

No doubt Ford’s demand would be well received, except that as bad as it is here with COVID, the US is worse. And does Ford really think Biden will give him a million doses when his biggest election promise was to inoculate 100 million Americans in his first 100 days in office.

Ford was largely responsible for the surge of COVID cases in Ontario. He loosened restrictions on social activity too rapidly in the late fall. But that he owns the surge hasn’t stopped him from casting about to lay the blame on someone else. In this case it is the Trudeau government and their contract with Pfizer. But it’s not the first time. He went after the Prime Minister over sloppy border control, though in that case rightfully so.

Not to be outdone in the crazy game is Ford’s BFF in Alberta, Jason Kenny, who has threatened to bypass the federal government and buy vaccine directly from…. somewhere. But his biggest headache today is that newly elected US president Biden has cancelled the Keystone oil pipeline, which Kenny was counting for extra cash on to help get Alberta out of its current hole.

Obama and Biden cancelled the pipeline back in 2015, but then Trump OK’d it again. Kenny must have thought Trump would win the US election because he poured $1.5 billion into the project and gave another $6 billion or so in loan guarantees. I guess he wasn’t reading the papers because everyone knew that Trump wouldn’t get re-elected, except Trump, of course.

Kenney + Trudeau

Not. the best of friends it would appear.

It was Biden’s election promise and Kenny went ballistic when the new president followed though on it. Kenny demanded Trudeau do everything but launch a nuclear missile on Washington to get him to change his mind But how could Canada apply trade sanctions over a pipeline permit that is entirely in the hands of the US president and over US territory? How does the PM ask Biden to compensate Alberta because its premier was betting that Biden wasn’t going to win.

There is a faint hope that some rules of the old NAFTA might still apply and help Kenny get some kind of compensation, but I wouldn’t hold my breath. There were a thousand jobs on the Canadian side building the pipeline to nowhere – the Jason Kenny line. Those jobs are gone and Albertans will likely eat the $1.5 billion and more.

Losing Keystone is not the end of the world. Oil production in Alberta will still continue unabated as will selling it to the US. Keystone was significant only because it would have allowed Alberta to export even more oil than it already does. So Alberta’s oil industry will continue to operate, it just won’t get bigger – at least not until the federally owned Trans Mountain pipeline twinning is operational.

Tesla 3

Tesla 3 – Take a ride in one – appreciate the near total silence.

But the reality is that fossil fuels are a dying proposition. Tesla sold almost a half million electric cars in the USA last year and now everybody is getting into the game. After all, gas powered vehicles cannot be sold in Norway after 2025, the UK by 2030 and Quebec and California after 2035. Does anyone other than Jason Kenny think the world needs another oil pipeline?

Jason Kenny might get some of his billions back by whining to Trudeau and Biden, and taking his case to NAFTA. But he won’t get Keystone back. There is no future for oil in Alberta, or anywhere, and the sooner Kenny comes to that realization the better for the people he serves.

Ontario should be glad that Doug Ford, as embarrassing as he can be, and not Jason Kenny is premier of this province. Now if only Ford could get our COVID numbers down.


Background links:

None of that Crap –    Trudeau Letter on Keystone –    How is it Going Jason

Keystone Options –    Raging Jason

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