Burlington chiropractor will be running the New York City Marathon in November; one of 52,000 people taking part.

sportsgold 100x100By Pepper Parr

July 18th, 2019

BURLINGTON, ON

 

How do you start a marathon when there are 52,000 people competing?

That was the question we asked Ashley Worobec, a sports chiropractor who practices in Burlington and has been accepted as a competitor for the New York City Marathon which is a 42km run that winds its way through all five New York City boroughs starting on Staten Island.

nyc-marathon

42 km marathon that will cover all five New York City Burroughs – with 52,000 runners.

 

Ashley Worobec - hair flying H&S

Ashley Worobec, sports chiropracter

Ashley was a participant in the Torch run during the 2015 Pan American games and has run the Boston Marathon.

She expects that her time in the New York Marathon will be in the 31/2 hour range.

The marathon selection is usually a lottery draw – she qualified at a half marathon run in Mississauga where her time was verified.

Why is she doing this? Not sure was the first part of her answer – to which she added that the challenge was a bog and given that she had not run a marathon since 2007 – two children will do that, she decided she was ready to get back into the game.

With her son now 10 and her daughter 7 – Ashley feels she can get away and do something her kids will understand.

The Gazette has decided to follow the 16 week prep time to the run which takes place November 3rd and then to cover the event as live as we can.

Each week we will be doing a piece on where she is in the prep event.

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Rate of opioid-related Emergency Department visits rose by 72% in 2017

News 100 redBy Staff

June 20th, 2019

BURLINGTON, ON

 

Community Development Halton researches and collects data that is relevant to the social well being of the community and publishes it as a “community lens”.

Data on the Opioid Crisis Canada is facing appears in the most recent Community Lens which we have presented below.

Canada is facing a national opioid crisis. The growing number of overdoses and deaths caused by opioids, including fentanyl, is a public health emergency. In 2017, there were over 4,000 deaths or approximately 11 lives lost each day because of opioid overdoses.

According to Statistics Canada, life expectancy at birth has stopped rising for the first time in over four decades as a result of the opioid crisis.

Opiod emerg visitsIn Ontario, the rate of opioid-related Emergency Department (ED) visits has been rising since 2005. Between 2015 and 2016, the rate increased by 20%. It rose by 72% the following year to 54.6 visits per 100,000 persons.

While the rate of opioid-related ED visits is lower in Halton than Ontario, the Halton rates have been following the same upward trend as the province. Between 2016 and 2017, the Halton rate of opioid-related ED visits went up by over 34% to 30 visits per 100,000 persons.

Opiod Death rateOpiod death age and sexThere has also been an increase in hospitalizations and deaths due to opioid overdose. In Ontario, over 2,100 hospitalization for opioid overdose and 1,200 apparent opioid-related deaths occurred in 2017. The opioid overdose death rate in Ontario rose from 3.5 deaths per 100,000 persons in 2005 to 8.9 deaths per 100,000 persons in 2017.

 

Related news story:

Find the  fentanyl.

 

 

 

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Battle to keep a CN rail hub out of Milton begins; it will be long and ugly.

News 100 blueBy Pepper Parr

June 20th, 2019

BURLINGTON, ON

 

Burlington, Halton Hills, Milton and Oakville will be bringing expert opinions and reports to a Federal Public Hearing on a 400-acre truck-rail hub proposed by the Canadian National Railway (CN) in the Town of Milton.

The project is currently being assessed by the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency Joint Review Panel. The Panel will host a Public Hearing in Milton from June 19 – July 17 to hear community concerns related to CN’s proposal, including environmental effects and how it may affect local residents.

Gary Carr

Halton Region Chair Gary Carr.

“We have been working closely with our Halton municipal partners to ensure residents’ concerns are heard. This project impacts more than rail lines – it will congest our roads, pose health risks and result in fewer jobs for the community,” said Halton Region Chair Gary Carr. “This is something that every resident and member of this community should be concerned about.”

The Halton Municipalities’ team of internal and external experts have identified significant non-rail aspects of the project that raise concerns for residents and the community. These concerns and expert opinions will be presented to the Panel during the Hearing:

Milton modal graphic

• Traffic congestion: The hub will operate 24 hours a day, seven days a week and result in 1,600 truck trips to and from the site each day. These truck routes will lead to more traffic on our roads and traffic will continue to increase as the site’s capacity grows. This congestion poses a risk to the safety of motorists, cyclists, pedestrians and families in the area.

• Health and safety: The proposed site is immediately adjacent to existing and future residential areas. Approximately 34,000 current and future residents, twelve schools, two long-term care homes and one hospital are located within one kilometer of the site. The site will generate increased levels of noise, air pollution and lighting, and significantly impact the community’s health and safety.

• Environment: Our community effort to protect the environment will be impacted by the effect of emissions, storm water discharge, water takings and watercourse alterations.

• Employment: The project will result in less serviceable employment lands and potentially fewer jobs for the Halton community. The site and the surrounding area is currently planned for 1,500 jobs and this project will only result in 130 jobs.

Additionally, CN has only revealed its plans for 400 acres on the site; they have not disclosed its plans for the remaining 800 acres. Experts have determined that the operations at this site can be significantly expanded which will further increase the impacts on residents and the community.

gordon_krantz_mayor

Milton Mayor Gord Krantz

“CN is not just asking us to support the current proposal, they’re asking us to have faith about what might come next. All the while telling us it is none of our business,” said Milton Mayor Gordon Krantz.

Conservative MP Lisa Raitt asks a question during question period in the House of Commons on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Wednesday, May 4, 2016. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick

Conservative Lisa Raitt is the MP for Milton

“I have spent several years listening to local groups, stakeholders, and individuals on the topic of the proposed CN intermodal facility in Milton,” said Hon. Lisa Raitt, Member of Parliament for Milton. “I have weighed all the facts for and against this project and have come to the conclusion that this site is not appropriate for this type of operation.”

“I commend the many residents who have voiced their concerns about this project and thank Mayor Krantz and Chair Carr for taking the lead during the Join Review Panel presentations,” said MPP Parm Gill. “As the provincial representative for Milton, I am committed to doing everything I can to ensure those voices continue to be heard as the Joint Review Panel makes their recommendations, and theFederal Government makes their final decision on this project.”

CN Milton hub protester“The Halton Municipalities are encouraging residents and the community to get involved by attending the Public Hearing or watching it live, using social media to be part of the conversation or by contacting their MPP or MP to let them know their concerns about the proposed project. Residents can also provide comments on halton.ca/cn and these will be used to update the Panel.”

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Halton Crime Stoppers assisting to combat Fentanyl

Crime 100By Staff

June 13th, 2019

BURLINGTON, ON

 

Crime Stoppers of Halton, in partnership with Halton Regional Police Service, is targeting the dangerous and increasingly widespread trafficking and dealing of Fentanyl and other opioids.

fentanyl a

“Fentanyl and related opioids are becoming ever more common in Halton Region and that raises concern for the safety of our communities,” says Constable Nadine Clarke, police coordinator at Halton Crime Stoppers. “Every tip from the public is investigated and every dose of Fentanyl taken off our streets is a life potentially saved”.

“Halton Crime Stoppers offers rewards of up to $2000 for valid tips that lead to an arrest, and all tips are 100% anonymous. Halton Crime Stoppers will never ask for your name, address, phone number, e-mail address or other personal information.”

Anyone with information on the trafficking or dealing of Fentanyl and related drugs in Halton Region are asked to contact Halton Crime Stoppers either by phone at 1-800-222-8477 (TIPS) or online at www.haltoncrimestoppers.ca.

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Bringing climate change to the table - single use plastics are killing us - it is now in the food chain.

Rivers 100x100By Ray Rivers

June 13th, 2019

BURLINGTON, ON

“Ben…I’ve got one word for you – Plastics” (The Graduate 1967.)

Read the polls, there isn’t much good to say about the government Ontario voted into office just over a year ago. So the announcement that it is planning to shift the costs of managing packaging waste from the tax base and onto the companies which create it, is worth celebrating.

We shouldn’t get too excited yet, however. The province is really only thinking about appointing a special advisor to recommend options, and results could take months, or even years. Still, this announcement is an encouraging headline from a premier who seems totally anathema to all things environment – killing the cap and trade carbon program, cancelling renewable energy and tree planting projects and fighting the federal government over the carbon tax, and so on.

But there is an ever-growing parade of doom-and-gloom environmental stories which frequent the news media these days. The fact is that an estimated 100 millions tonnes of plastic float in our oceans and some eight million tonnes are added to waterways globally every year.

Virtually all fish species now contain some plastic in their bodies – and so do we.

waste philippines-canada-waste

How the waste got out of the country is the first question and why we were so embarrassing long it bringing it back and then fining the people who shipped it out in the first place.

And when it comes to plastic waste, Canada recently became an international environmental pariah. China had stopped importing plastic waste, forcing large generators of the stuff, including Canadians, to divert exports to a number of third world Asian nations, ostensibly for recycling. But much of the waste was burnt or dumped anyway – but over there – out of our sight.

And a lot of it was too contaminated for recycling, prompting some of these nations to send the refuse back. Our own green PM looked particularly red-faced, caught in a squabble over our waste with the mad-dog president of the Philippines, even though the shipments had been made under the former PM’s watch.

Greenpeace together with the #breakfreefromplastic coalition conduct a beach cleanup activity and brand audit on Freedom Island, Parañaque City, Metro Manila, Philippines. The activity aims to name the brands most responsible for the plastic pollution happening in our oceans. A banner reads "Polluted by Single-use Plastic". Freedom island is an ecotourism area which contains a mangrove forest and swamps providing a habitat for many migratory bird species from different countries such as China, Japan and Siberia.

The sign says it all.

Earlier this year 186 nations, signatories to the UN sponsored Basel Commission, added plastic waste to the list of toxic substances not to be exported and dumped in developing nations. The US, almost alone as a non-signatory to the convention, opposed the motion but Canada signed on.

Mr. Trudeau has been under pressure to do more about the plastics problem notwithstanding the Basel amendment. For example, there was a Canadian Council of Ministers of the Environment report out last year calling for zero plastic waste. The EU and some other nations have already announced plans to ban single-use plastics.

Then Mr Singh and the federal NDP recently declared they would ban single-use plastics by 2022, were they to assume the throne. So Trudeau had no option but to announce he’d do a ban even a year earlier (2021). But given the legislative agenda it couldn’t happen until after the election in October anyway. So it’s a perfect election promise.

waste turtle and straw

The damage from single use plastics is seen at a painful environmental level.

Now everyone is wondering whether Mr. Scheer will fall in line and also announce a ban on single use plastics when he brings out his long-promised environment plan. This plan which has been promised and delayed almost since he assumed the leader’s mantle is now targeted for the end of this month. People need to contain their excitement though, recalling that his predecessor, Mr. Harper, never did deliver his promised climate action plan.

It is a reasonable assumption that Mr. Ford’s primary motivation for wanting to shift the cost of waste to industry is to improve his government’s bottom line. Nevertheless this initiative should provide an incentive for manufacturers to reduce the amount of packaging they use.

Economists call it internalizing the externalities – companies will need to find better ways of packaging their products or the products will cost more and be less competitive in the market place. Ironically for Mr. Ford, that is exactly the logic behind the federal carbon tax – get off the carbon bandwagon or be prepared to pay more.

Ford may also be thinking ahead about a possible increase in blue box items should his tearing up the Beer Store’s contract result in termination of their role as a used alcohol container depot. In any case one must remember that the Blue Box program was never intended to reduce our waste, just to divert it from landfill or incineration.

waste blue box

Beer bottles in Blue Boxes?

And the blue box has been more or less successful in that regard. But the program is costly in economic terms as well as in other ways – given the duplication of collection, etc. So shifting the responsibility for packaging waste back to industry might lead to a better option. In any case, not all of the waste, and plastic in particular, can be recycled and much of it ends up in landfill anyway.

Getting rid of single use plastics will have an impact on the oil producing sector, as well. While estimated at only 3% of today’s 100 million barrel global production, a universal single-use plastics ban will amount to another shovel of dirt on the grave of a dying industry. And how long will it be before even more plastics are heading for this future?

That must concern Mr. Ford’s ideological twin and defender of all that’s back to the future in Alberta. Mr. Kenny won his election on a promise go back in time, to expand rather than oversee the demise of Alberta’s number one revenue maker. Shuttering oil sands production and cancelling proposed pipelines was never something he’d dreamt of.

waste back-to-the-future-tribeca

Most of us had even heard of climate change when Back to the Future was on our screens.,

But Albertans who read the papers should have understood that Kenny’s promises to expand the province’s oil industry were nothing more than dreams, and an unattainable fantasy. I’m also a fan of ‘Back to the Future’, the epic 1980’s sci-fi movie. But even then, in 1985, before most of us had even heard of climate change, Doc and Marty’s DeLorean ended up being powered with garbage instead of petroleum.

Rivers hand to faceRay Rivers writes regularly on both federal and provincial politics, applying his more than 25 years as a federal bureaucrat to his thinking.  Rivers was once a candidate for provincial office in Burlington.  He was the founder of the Burlington citizen committee on sustainability at a time when climate warming was a hotly debated subject.   Ray has a post graduate degree in economics that he earned at the University of Ottawa.  Tweet @rayzrivers

Background links:

The Graduate –   Blue Box Changes –   Blue Box –    Ford’s Shift

Philippines Squabble –     US Waste Export –    Consuming Micro Plastics

Banning Single-Use –    Basel –    Oil Industry

Harper Environment Plan

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Final bio pesticide spray to take place Saturday June 8th: 5 to 7:30 am

News 100 greenBy Staff

June 6th, 2019

BURLINGTON, ON

 

A low-flying helicopter will be applying the final application a bio-pesticide over four wooded areas to control gypsy moth populations. This pest causes significant defoliation and potential long-term impact to the City’s urban forest. The first spray date was May 31.

The final application of the pesticide on June 8 will be completed between 5 and 7:30 a.m. and is expected to take 5-10 minutes for each park.

Mountainside PArk

Mountainside Park trees to get final spray.

The areas include:

• Forestvale/Kerncliff Park
• LaSalle Park
• Lowville Park
• Mountainside Park

An interactive map is available on burlington.ca/gypsymoth that allows residents to enter an address so they can see where the address is in relation to the spray areas.

Updates will be posted on the City’s Twitter and Facebook accounts @CityBurlington and online at burlington.ca/gypsymoth.

Rob Peachey, on the left, Manager Parks and Open Spaces for the city, talks through some solutions to managing the very large weekend crowds.

Rob Peachey, on the left, Manager Parks and Open Spaces for the city, talks through some solutions to managing the very large weekend crowds at Lowville Park..

The City’s contractor will be applying a Class 11 biopesticide, Foray 48B, REGISTRATION NO. 24977 PEST CONTROL PRODUCTS ACT, with active ingredient Bacillus thuringiensis ‘kurstaki’.

Steve Robinson, Manager of Urban Forestry advises that: “The first application went very well. This second spray is standard practice and will help ensure we protect our trees from this pest in these areas for many years to come. Strong trees with a healthy leaf canopy help reduce temperatures, act as wind-breaks, provide homes for animals and help prevent flooding and erosion. They’re simply good for everything which is why we do everything we can to protect and promote them.”

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School Board special athlete track meet to take place in Oakville June 14th.

sportsred 100x100By Staff

June 3rd, 2019

BURLINGTON, ON

 

On Friday, June 14, 2019, students from the Halton District School Board will participate in the 32nd Annual Special Athletes’ Track Meet at Garth Webb Secondary School (2820 Westoak Trails Blvd, Oakville). The track meet for athletes with physical and developmental challenges will take place from 9:30 a.m. – -2 p.m. Opening ceremonies begin at 10 a.m.

special athletes olympian-the-joy-of-sport

Concentration!

This year, more than 320 athletes are expected to participate, a significant increase considering only 12 athletes participated when the event began in 1987. Coaches, school staff and home school peers, friends, family members and volunteers provide support and encouragement for the athletes.

The Special Athletes’ events include 50m/100m races, softball throw (precision and distance), bean bag throw, Bocce (traditional), T-ball, and Frisbee throw.

special athlete - walker

Effort!

Additional events and stations have been added to the schedule including hoops/ropes and sensory exploration stations.

This event provides Special Athletes with an opportunity to demonstrate their skills and celebrate their successes with fellow students, friends and family. The Optimist Clubs of Halton Hills, Milton, Oakville and Burlington will be donating and serving hot dogs, hamburgers and cold drinks at the meet.

The rain/heat date for this event will be Tuesday, June 18, 2019 at Garth Webb Secondary School.

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Gypsy moth aerial spraying to take place tomorrow - Wednesday

News 100 redBy Pepper Parr

May 28th, 2019

BURLINGTON, ON

 

Tomorrow, Wednesday, May 29th, the City of Burlington will be using a low-flying helicopter to apply a bio-pesticide over four wooded areas to control gypsy moth populations. This pest causes significant defoliation and potential long-term impact to the City’s urban forest.

Application of the pesticide will be completed between 5 and 7:30 a.m. and is expected to take 5-10 minutes for each park.
The areas include:

• Forestvale/Kerncliff Park
• LaSalle Park
• Lowville Park
• Mountainside Park

aerial spraying gypsy moth

Said to be safe – the aerial spraying is necessary to caterpillars from eating leaves off trees.

Updates will be posted on the City’s Twitter and Facebook accounts @CityBurlington and online at burlington.ca/gypsymoth.
The City’s contractor will be applying a Class 11 biopesticide, Foray 48B, REGISTRATION NO. 24977 PEST CONTROL PRODUCTS ACT, with active ingredient Bacillus thuringiensis ‘kurstaki’.

About the Biological Pesticide
Bacillus thuringiensis ‘kurstaki’ (Btk) is a soil-borne bacterium that is applied to the leaves of affected trees while caterpillars are in their early stages of development. Once ingested, the bacterium disrupts the caterpillars’ digestive system with cessation of eating within 24-48 hours. Within days, caterpillars that have ingested Btk will succumb to its effects.

Btk does not have any negative effects to humans, birds or bees. Btk will affect other caterpillar species (known as non-target species). Due to its low residual nature and the narrow spray window of pest development, the non-target impact is expected to be low.

Individuals who have concerns should take reasonable precautions to avoid exposure during a spray program in the same way they would avoid pollen or other airborne materials during days when air quality advisories are issued. Residents can also reduce exposure by staying indoors with windows and doors shut during the spray period if spraying is taking place in their area, although this is not required by health officials.

As part of Burlington’s Integrated Pest Management (IPM) program, Forestry staff assess sites annually across the city and conduct egg mass surveys to determine areas that have exceeded an action threshold, whereby natural processes can no longer maintain pest population levels on their own. Although healthy trees can generally withstand defoliation several years in a row, trees which are already in distress from problems such as acute drought, compacted soils, diseases or other pests, may decline and die. Generally, healthy trees which are defoliated in spring, will leaf out again by mid-summer. Gypsy moth populations tend to be cyclical, with peaks every 8-12 years, followed by dramatic population decline of the pest.

The City of Burlington conducted a similar program in 2008.

For questions or concerns, please contact Brianna Thornborrow, Supervisor of Forest Planning and Health at brianna.thornborrow@burlington.ca or 905-333-6166, ext. 6145.

Steve Robinson, Manager of Urban Forestry explained that “Taking action now means protecting our trees both in the short-term and for the long-term. We are working with all authorities including emergency services, the Ministry of Transport and the Ministry of the Environment, Conservation and Parks to ensure a safe, fast and coordinated application to minimize disruption and maximize effectiveness.”

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FIT IN THE CORE RETURNS FOR THE SUMMER

eventspink 100x100By Staff

May 27th, 2019

BURLINGTON, ON

 

If there are yoga exercises being done on Sundays then summer weather must be here.

Yoga in civic sqThey were done in Civic Square in the past –they have moved to a location outside the Performing Arts Centre – 440 Locust Street

Kicks-off June 2nd!

Runs every Sunday | 10am – 11am

Fit in the Core is back again for the summer beginning June 2nd! Join us for free fitness featuring a different class & instructor every Sunday outside the Burlington Performing Arts Centre. All you need to bring is a mat & water bottle.

This event will be canceled in the event of rain. Please stay tuned to social media @DTBurlingtonOn (Twitter, Facebook & Instagram) for cancellation announcements in addition to our webpage.

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Rivers on computer-based doctor-patient interface - he likes it.

Rivers 100x100By Ray Rivers

May 23, 2019

BURLINGTON, ON

 

Seven in ten Canadians say they’d rather speak to their doctor over the internet than have to truck on down to one of those disease-laden offices where one spends more time in the waiting room than with your doctor. Health monitoring technology, most of which is delivered in a laboratory or specialty clinic (ultrasound, X-ray, MRI, etc.), has virtually obviated the need for the traditional annual physical examination.

This doesn’t mean one shouldn’t ever have, and see, a family doctor. But should we stop progress? There was a time when we only read the news in a newspaper. Today anyone reading my column has transitioned to reading on-line. So why can’t we also make the transition from the physical doctor’s visit to a more virtual reality?

Not to diminish the value of front line medicine, but increasingly the family GP has become a gate keeper and medical tour guide. Once a potential health issue has been identified the patient is typically off to a specialist.

So the Canadian Medical Association (CMA), the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada (Royal College) and the College of Family Physicians of Canada (CFPC) are launching a task force to examine virtual care technology and how it can improve access and quality of care for patients from coast-to-coast-to-coast.

Virtual demo

Demonstration of a computer-based doctor-patient interface.

Hamilton’s own Dr Richard Tytus, a CMA board member, Past President of Hamilton Academy of Medicine and resident physician at Steel City Medical clinic is leading a virtual care project using a computer-based doctor-patient interface. With the assistance of local health support staff, Dr. Tytus conducts limited medical exams for his patients, then diagnoses and prescribes on-line as needed.

Dr. Tytus has largely been focusing on those with mobility challenges, for example patients in nursing homes who can’t easily make the journey to his office. And while he has been successful working with that sub-group of the public, he also sees the potential to generalize this approach for a broader cliental including those with mental health issues, where accessibility and the benefits of immediate attention may be even more valuable.

Still, CMA president Dr. Gigi Osler says one big hold up is the matter of privacy. On-line data is thought to be less secure than files in a doctor’s office or the (hopefully) more protected E-health patient files . It’s one of the reasons your doc may not allow you to schedule an appointment directly over the internet. Dr. Tytus gets around the privacy issue in using his Skype-like appointments by obtaining permissions from the patient at the outset.

Another big hold up is government support. Governments may not simply be convinced of the cost/benefits of Telehealth yet. Ontario has actually slashed e-health spending in its latest budget. And besides the province still has its own, so-called Telehealth phone-in line, which generally defaults to directing you to your local emergency ward, because liability prevents real diagnosis.

Health care is primarily a provincial responsibility operating within the Canada Health Act. But, most provinces don’t even fund real telemedicine, so entrepreneurial medical practitioners and companies like the Maple group, are starting to fill the gap, offering private services.

Even after a century and a half of living together Canada’s provinces still dwell in silos of parochialism, limiting our progress as a nation vis-a-vis the rest of the world. And health care is no exception. One of the promises of Telehealth is the ability to bring the best health care professionals to your screen no matter where you live. But that would mean tearing down artificial provincial barriers.

A medical licence, for example, in one province does not transfer to another. Each province and territory has its own regulatory college and its own set of standards to license its doctors. And yet 9 out of 10 physicians support either a national licensing regime or universal recognition of provincial/territorial license.

It is expected that the joint medical task force will conclude to call on governments to implement a real Telehealth strategy with inter-provincial portability at the heart of any subsequently hatched program. Clearly Telehealth has a future beyond Dr. Tytus’ experiments among senior citizens in Hamilton. The challenge for governments, as always, is to work together to make it happen.

Rivers hand to faceRay Rivers writes 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. He developed the current policy process for the Ontario Liberal Party.

 

Background links:

The Annual Exam

Virtual Care

Ontario Telehealth

Telehealth Task Force

Canada Falling Behind

CMA Sees Hope

Maple Telehealth

Ontario Cuts E-health

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Four wooded areas in Burlington to be sprayed for Gypsy Moth in May.

News 100 greenBy Staff

April 11, 2019

BURLINGTON, ON

 

As part of an Integrated Pest Management (IPM) Program, the City of Burlington will be using a low-flying helicopter to apply a bio-pesticide over four wooded areas to control gypsy moth populations which causes significant defoliation and potential long-term impact to the City’s urban forest.

Gypsy moth undergoes four developmental life stages: these are the egg, larva (caterpillar), pupa, and adult. Gypsy moth females lay between 500 to 1,000 eggs in sheltered areas such as underneath the bark of trees. The eggs are covered with a dense mass of tan or buff-colored hairs. The egg mass is approximately 1.5 inches long and 0.75 inches wide. The eggs are the overwintering stage of the insect. Eggs are attached to trees, houses, or any outdoor objects. The eggs hatch in spring (April) into caterpillars.

Rob Peachey, on the left, Manager Parks and Open Spaces for the city, talks through some solutions to managing the very large weekend crowds.

Rob Peachey, on the left, Manager Parks and Open Spaces for the city, talks through some solutions to managing the very large weekend crowds in Lowville Park.

The areas include:

• Forestvale/Kerncliff Park
• LaSalle Park
• Lowville Park
• Mountainside Park

The exact date of the spraying is expected to be during the third and fourth weeks of May in the early morning. Weather conditions as well as insect development will determine the exact date.

Spray dates will be posted on the City’s Twitter and Facebook accounts @CityBurlington and online at burlington.ca/gypsymoth at least 48-hours before the spraying.

Residents can also use the website to enter their address to see where the spraying will occur in relation to their home or work.

gypsy mothgypsy-moth-caterpillarThe City’s contractor will be applying a Class 11 biopesticide, Foray 48B, REGISTRATION NO. 24977 PEST CONTROL PRODUCTS ACT, with active ingredient Bacillus thuringiensis ‘kurstaki’.

Application of the pesticide with be completed between 5 and 7:30 a.m.

About the Biological Pesticide
Bacillus thuringiensis ‘kurstaki’ (Btk) is a soil-borne bacterium that is applied to the leaves of affected trees while caterpillars are in their early stages of development. Once ingested, the bacterium disrupts the caterpillars’ digestive system with cessation of eating within 24-48 hours. Within days, caterpillars that have ingested Btk will succumb to its effects.

Btk does not have any negative effects to humans, birds or bees. Btk will affect other caterpillar species (known as non-target species). Due to its low residual nature and the narrow spray window due to larval development, the non-target impact is expected to be low.

Individuals who have concerns should take reasonable precautions to avoid exposure during a spray program in the same way they would avoid pollen or other airborne materials during days when air quality advisories are issued. Residents can also reduce exposure by staying indoors with windows and doors shut during the spray period if spraying is taking place in their area, although this is not required by health officials.

About Gypsy Moth
European Gypsy moth, Lymantria dispar, is a non-native invasive pest that was introduced in the late 19th century. It was first discovered in Ontario in the 1960’s and has been a major defoliator of deciduous and coniferous trees across Southern Ontario.

Integrated Pest Management
As part of Burlington’s Integrated Pest Management (IPM) program, Forestry staff assess sites annually across the city and conduct egg mass surveys to determine areas that have exceeded an action threshold, whereby natural processes can no longer maintain pest population levels on their own. Although healthy trees can generally withstand defoliation several years in a row, trees which are already in distress from problems such as acute drought, compacted soils, diseases or other pests, may decline and die. Generally, healthy trees which are defoliated in spring, will leaf out again by mid-summer.

Gypsy moth populations tend to be cyclical, with peaks every 8-12 years, followed by dramatic population decline of the pest.

The City of Burlington conducted a similar program in 2008.

For questions or concerns, please contact Brianna Thornborrow, Supervisor of Forest Planning and Health at brianna.thornborrow@burlington.ca or 905-333-6166, ext. 6145.

Steve Robinson, Manager of Urban Forestry explained that: “We need to take action to reduce the gypsy moth population in order to maintain the health of our valuable urban forest. Currently, populations are expected to be too high for their natural predators to keep them in check. By applying a biological pesticide with a measured approach, we will be able to reduce pest populations to manageable levels. Protecting our urban forests is a priority for the City as it greatly impacts our health, homes and recreation.”

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Rivers: Is extra billing for health care services and opening the door to two-tier health care on the way?

“The legislation is being implemented before parliamentary debate has even concluded and prior to any public hearings. The government created the Super Agency. It held its first secret meeting. The government dissolved the Boards of 20 existing agencies.

Yet the legislation has not even passed. Not only this but all public input and procedural protections that existed in previous legislation have been removed from this legislation which has been subject to no public consultation process prior to drafting.”
(March 18, 2019 – Natalie Mehra, Executive Director – Ontario Health Coalition)

Rivers 100x100By Ray Rivers

March 22, 2019

BURLINGTON, ON

 

I know what you’re thinking. If it worked for garbage why not provincial health care? Right?

Premier Ford’s younger brother Rob’s claim to his fame, besides his crazy antics which put Toronto on the front pages everywhere, was privatizing a part of Toronto’s garbage collection system to save money.

Ford waving

Bye bye local health care oversight.

So why not use the same tried and true formula with health care? Of course there is already substantial private sector involvement in Ontario’s health system, such as long term care, blood labs, and most doctors. Still, the opposition at Queen’s Park is convinced Doug’s plan is more privatization.

And that might account for why Ford and his team are busy willy-nilly disassembling and dismembering Ontario’s entire health-care apparatus. That and because those damned Liberals designed and implemented the system. Cripple the organization, create a crisis, then call in the consultants from south of the border to clean up the mess.

And they’ll tell you the other kind of privatization is the answer. That would be the kind that violates the Canada Health Act – extra billing for health care services and opening the door to two-tier health care. After all Mr. Ford seems to enjoy giving his middle finger to the feds when it comes to national programs.

The problem is we don’t know. And Ford is not telling. That might be because he doesn’t even know. Perhaps he hasn’t had time to put it all together, given it’s only half a year since the election, and re-inventing health care is not something you do in an afternoon. Then it could be the advice he’s getting from his crony, the guy with nearly a half-million dollar sole-source consulting contract, his old friend Dr Rueben Devlin.

Ford big grin

And how are we liking this government so far? Are we paying attention?

Christine Elliot - Super Health

Christine Elliott – Minister of Health

What we do know is that a super agency has been created, and everything is to be managed and controlled out of this super agency. Think of the irony, Ford the Marxist-hater building a Soviet-style centralized bureaucracy. Just about everything, including the world renowned Cancer Care Ontario has now been merged and lumped into this one oversized box.

The government has shut down the 14 local integration networks, the LHINs, which managed and allocated half of the provincial $60 billion budget among the competing demands from hospitals, long term and home care agencies. They will get their local budgets dictated from Toronto now.

There is mention of 30 or 50 voluntary regional health teams somewhere in the future to partly replace the LHINs. But it is anyone’s guess how they would work, given their limited roles. And it is hard to imagine how 30 administration units would be less costly than the 14 that have just been eliminated.

balls in the air

If the government drops a ball – who gets hurt?

No question there are a lot of balls in the air. And they’re going to stay up there for at least another three years according to Christine Elliott, the health minister. In the meantime, I guess it’s muddle through, the squeaky wheel gets the bed pan, and before you know it’ll be time to re-invent the system. That would take us to the next election and perhaps the next government.

‘Create a crisis’ was the marching song of the last PC government in Ontario. And it sure looks like create-a-crisis Mike is back in town, and back in charge, at least in spirit. Harris presided over the worst health care this province ever experienced. The longest hospital wait times in the country; cardiac patients literally dying in hospital corridors waiting for surgery; and cancer patients being bussed to Buffalo and Detroit for treatment.

According to the provincial auditor Harris’ restructuring efforts from 1996 to 2000, intended to bring common sense to the provincial health system, cost $3.9 billion mainly to lay off nurses and staff, close down local services, then rebuild them elsewhere. And his system savings amounted to only $800 million, leaving all of us in the hole.

We should be concerned and maybe even panicked at what is going on now, at how rapidly these changes are happening, at how little analysis has been undertaken, and at how little consultation has taken place. Even the official opposition seems overwhelmed, gob smacked or just sleeping. There have been no public hearings on any of these proposed changes or on the changes yet to come.

Ford staring

Rivers on Ford: “That might be because he doesn’t even know. Perhaps he hasn’t had time to put it all together, given it’s only half a year since the election…”,

There is no provincial program more important than health care. And that is particularly true for senior Ontario residents – those most in need of its services. It is the largest public expenditure item using up 40 cents of every tax dollar.

During the election campaign Ford bragged about how he was going to fix hallway healthcare by adding hospital and long term care beds. So far we haven’t heard of him doing any of that. Instead he is acting like God, creating a new universe of health care delivery out of the ruins of the one he is dismantling.

Mr. Ford may think he is inventing the wheel, but unless he is a miracle worker, he is just fixing what isn’t broken. He inherited a system with the shortest wait times and lowest costs of delivery per person in the country. He’d better not trash it.

Rivers hand to faceRay Rivers writes regularly on both federal and provincial politics, applying his more than 25 years as a federal bureaucrat to his thinking.  Rivers was once a candidate for provincial office in Burlington.  He was the founder of the Burlington citizen committee on sustainability at a time when climate warming was a hotly debated subject.   Ray has a post graduate degree in economics that he earned at the University of Ottawa.  Tweet @rayzrivers

Background links:

Ontario Health Coalition –    Elliott –    Toronto Garbage

Super Agency –     Regional Teams –      Cancer Care

A Sick Feeling –     Privatization –   Two Tier

Social Assistance –    Grifter Government –    No Consultation

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Group has organized walking groups - check it out.

eventspink 100x100By Staff

March 21st, 2019

BURLINGTON, ON

 

Walking is a healthy exercise.  It is also a time when you can think and wonder at all the things we have going for us and worry a little about the problems.

Walking with a friend is one of the most civil things a person can do.

Terry Fox - Eagles walking up path - back

Just out for a walk.

Burlington is encouraging members of the community to take steps toward better health with Just Walk Hamilton-Burlington, an outdoor community walking program led by local healthcare professionals and funded in part through the City’s Neighbourhood Community Matching Fund.

Join registered Kinesiologist Jordan Kilpatrick-Smith for a free, fun and supervised walk on Saturday, March 23 at 9 a.m. through Nelson Park and Sherwood Forest Park. Kilpatrick-Smith and the Just Walk team will meet community members at the Nelson Park parking lot located behind the Nelson Arena near the baseball diamonds (4183 New St., Burlington).

The walk will begin with a short educational talk titled, “Healthy Weight Loss to Gain Time, Money and Energy” followed by a guided walk at your own pace. Each walk is open to all abilities and pre-registration is not required.

Join the Just Walk group’s email list at justwalk-hb.weebly.com for information on upcoming walk dates and locations.

The group will be hosting 12 walks in Burlington between February and September.

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Application has been made for a retail cannabis operation on Fairview, east of Walkers Line.

News 100 redBy Staff

February 26th, 2019

BURLINGTON, ON

 

An application for a retail cannabis store in Burlington has been received by the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario. Written comments due by March 6

The Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (ACGO) has received an application for a retail cannabis store in Burlington at 103-4031 Fairview St.

Cannabis location

Proposed location for a retail cannabis operation. On Fairview east of Walkers Line.

Written comments about the proposed location at 103-4031 Fairview St. will be received by the AGCO until March 6, 2019 and may be submitted online at www.agco.ca/iAGCO. The AGCO will accept submissions from:

• A resident of the municipality in which the proposed store is located
• The municipality representing the area in which the proposed store is located and/or its upper-tier municipality.

Comments submitted to the AGCO should relate to the following matters of public interest:

• Protecting public health and safety
• Protecting youth and restricting their access to cannabis
• Preventing illicit activities in relation to cannabis.

After March 6, the AGCO will consider all written comments and available information to decide whether the application for the proposed store location will be approved.

Mayor Marianne Meed Ward has been an advocate for retail cannabis operations. During the election campaign she said she was surprised at the resistance to retail locations in the city.

When it came to a vote at city council Councillors Shawna Stolte, Ward 4 and ward 6 Councillor Angelo Bentevegna voted to not have retail outlets.

meed-ward-at-council

Mayor Meed Ward supports the opening of a retail cannabis site: two of the six Councillors were not n side with her.

The Mayor said: “This is the kind of location where it is appropriate for accommodating retail cannabis stores in our city. It is more than 150 metres from any school or any of the other locations of particular concern, including parks, pools, arenas, libraries or recreation centres. And it is also along transit routes and near the QEW/Hwy. 403.

She added that the city “won’t be submitting comments to the AGCO on this application given its suitability. The public can submit their comments by March 6 to the AGCO’s website. Burlington City Council is in the process of creating a task force to develop a set of standard comments we would provide to the AGCO, when applications come forward, that reflect community perspectives on where these should be located.”

Meed Ward has been appointed as one of four members of a working group at the Large Urban Mayor’s Caucus of Ontario (LUMCO), part of the Association of Municipalities of Ontario, that will work to develop similar guidelines for suitable locations. The working group includes mayors of two municipalities that opted in and two that opted out of allowing cannabis retail stores, recognizing that our concerns are similar. The guidelines we create will be shared with the AGCO and our municipalities.

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City staff at Seniors' Centre continue to make life difficult for the membership.

SwP thumbnail graphicBy Pepper Parr

February 22nd, 2019

BURLINGTON, ON

 

The Gazette keeps hearing about problems at the Seniors’ Centre on New Street. For the most part they are small niggling little issues but when collected together they suggest there is a deeper issue.

Seniors sign

Seniors’ Centre staff showing their concern for the comfort and safety of people who use the facility.

Do the staff really care about the people they are supposed to be serving?

These are seniors; the people who have paid their dues and have the right to quality time and more than just a measure of dignity.

The week was registration week – the Gazette published a news report on some of the problems that were being experienced with the registration process and the impact a change in the way programs are paid for was having on some people.

Earlier today we were sent a photograph of a sign that had been set up outside the entrance door advising: For your comfort and safety please do not line up outdoors.

The doors should be opened as early as possible so that the seniors can be both safe and comfortable.

There is a care taker in the building – he could unlock the doors and people could wait in the auditorium.

People get to the Centre as early as possible so they can obtain a number and be in the registration line based on the number they hold.  These people want to take courses – many of them that are exercise classes.  They want to remain healthy and active – but the staff seem to want them to stand out in the cold.

Burlington is a city that talks about the way it cares for its citizens but refuses to open the doors to a public building so that older people can get inside and stay out of the chilly if not downright cold weather.

What is wrong with these people?

Related news story:

Empathy appears to be in short supply as Seniors’ Centre

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Confusion on registering for program at Parks and Recreation; empathy appears to be in short supply.

News 100 redBy Staff

February 21st, 2019

BURLINGTON, ON

 

Registration for both 2019 Spring and Summer recreation programs opens February 23, 2019 for Adults 19+ and 55+. People can register for both programs at 9 a.m., doors will open at 7:30 a.m. for early arrivals.

Registration is available online at burlington.ca/play, in-person at Burlington Seniors Centre, Tansley Woods and Brant Hills Community Centres, or City Hall. Non-residents will be able to register on March 1, 2019.

Live and play spring 2016The Spring/Summer Live and Play guide, featuring listings for city recreation, sport and culture programs is available online on the City of Burlington website. Printed copies of the guide are available at City Recreation Facilities, City Hall and the Burlington Public Libraries.

The spring session programs begin April 1 and the summer programs will begin on July 8.

Following registration day, in-person registration is available at any customer service location. A listing of locations and hours is available at burlington.ca/servicehours.

For those choosing to register for both spring and summer programs, the option for a deferred payment for summer registration is available. Customers can access this payment option by registering in-person.

Mayor Rick Goldring has his membership application processed at the Seniors' Centre - filling another of his campaign promises.

Senior citizen former Mayor Rick Goldring signs up as a member at the Senior’s Centre. Today was program registration day.

The City of Burlington would also like to remind residents financial help is available through the Recreational Fee Assistance program for those that qualify.

Recreation Fee Assistance
Recreation Fee Assistance is funding made available to individuals or families who need help to pay for City of Burlington recreational programs.

Fee Assistance can be used for:
• Registered Programs
• Drop-In Programs
• Passes and Memberships

One Gazette reader explained that at a class at the Seniors’ Centre “we were told that the City had decided that moving forward there will be only 2 registration periods. This will start with the February 23rd Registration.

How this will work is as follows: On February 23rd seniors will be registering for programs. Seniors will be able to register for the spring session and/ or the summer session. Some of the classes have very limited space availability and if they don’t register for both in February chances are they won’t get into the class in the summer.

For some residents having to pay for both the spring and summer session could be problematic. We were also told that if the Senior’s membership to the Centre expired before the end of the last class the computer would basically kick them out and they will not be registered in the course. So it would mean that the senior has to pay for both sets of sessions plus the membership fee. Also the City is holding their money for months before completing the session.

We were also told that for those seniors who come into the centre to register, if they could not pay for everything at once arrangements could be made.

What about those seniors that register at home online – they do not have this option of spacing out their payment? More seniors register online, why should this option not be made available to them?

For those seniors who are away ( snowbirds) how will they know that the summer registration starts on February 23rd.

The reader made the point that “once again decisions seem to be made that are not discussed in advance with those who are most affected by these changes.”

Burlington Seniors Centre“Parks and Rec tried to make seniors bring their own equipment for Pilates (like large Pilate balls and bands) starting in the Spring and only when this came to light and reported on did Parks & Rec back down.

There appear to be a number of administrative level issues within Parks and Recreation when it comes to how the Seniors’ programs are managed.  The issue seems to be at the leadership level – staff do not appear to be very empathetic to the issues seniors face.

 

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Second information session on private tree bylaw to take place February 26 - bylaw becomes effective March 1st in Roseland community.

News 100 greenBy Staff

February 11th, 2019

BURLINGTON, ON

Second information session on private tree bylaw to take place February 26 – bylaw becomes effective March 1st in Roseland community.

The City of Burlington’s second public drop-in information session on the Roseland Private Tree Bylaw pilot is set for Tuesday, Feb. 26, 2019 from 7 to 9 p.m. in Central Arena’s auditorium.

The first drop in session took place at LaSalle Park, about as far away as one could get from where the impact of the bylaw is going to be felt.

The Private Tree Bylaw will come into effect on March 1, 2019, only within the Roseland community area, for two years. Later this year the city will begin the process of public engagement on the possibility of implementing a citywide private tree bylaw.

Appleby Village - trees on Pineland

These trees in the east end of the city are at the edge of land that a developer wants to put two apartment towers on – the trees would be cut down and replaced.

The pilot project aims to protect private trees with diameters larger than 30 cm, historic and rare tree species from damage or destruction.

Residents and businesses are encouraged to attend to learn more about how the bylaw will protect Burlington’s tree canopy and how it will impact their homes and businesses.

Businesses such as landscapers, pool companies, homebuilders, general contractors and tree companies are also encouraged to come and learn about the bylaw.

The first information session was held earlier in the month specifically for Roseland residents. Approximately 25 people attended the session.

Tree Guelph line close up -no name

Private property – private tree. This type of thing would not be possible under a private tree bylaw – without something in the way of consequences.

About the Private Tree Bylaw
No person can injure, destroy, cause or permit the injury or destruction of a tree with a diameter of 30cm or greater or of a tree of significance (historic or rare).

To read the full bylaw, including information on permits, exemptions and fines, visit Burlington.ca/PrivateTree.

Examples of exemptions include:

• Trees with a diameter of less than 30cm
• For the purpose of pruning in accordance with Good Arboricultural Practices
• For emergency work
• If the tree has a high or extreme likelihood of failure and impact as verified or confirmed by an Arborist or the Manager
• If the tree is dead, as confirmed by the Manager of Urban Forestry, or designate
• If the tree is an ash tree (due to the Emerald Ash Borer), as confirmed by the Manager of Urban Forestry, or designate
• If a tree is within two metres of an occupied building
• For more exemptions, visit Burlington.ca/privatetree

Willow tree wood

This will tree was taken down in |Spencer Smith Park because it was thought to be diseased and in danger of falling down. No permit was needed.

Permits
A person wanting to remove a tree with a diameter larger than 30 cm or of significance can apply for a permit online by visiting Burlington.ca/privatetree.

Fines
Minimum fine is $500. Maximum fine is $100,000.

Public Information Session
Residents and businesses are invited to attend an information session on the Private Tree Bylaw pilot on Tuesday, Feb. 26, 2019, from 7 to 9 p.m. at Central Arena (auditorium), 519 Drury Lane, Burlington.
The session will allow residents and businesses to learn about the Private Tree Bylaw and how it will impact their homes, business and neighbourhood by speaking with city staff including members of the Forestry Department.

For those who are unable to attend, more information can be found at burlington.ca/privatetree.

In comments from the Office of the Mayor Marianne Meed Ward said: “I know from talking to residents that there are many people in our city who are passionate about our trees. Their benefit extends far beyond the beauty they provide. Their ability to mitigate flooding and absorb pollution is tremendous. They are a critical part of Burlington’s green infrastructure; we need to protect them and that’s what we believe this Private Tree Bylaw will accomplish.”

Steve Robinson, Manager of Forestry explains that: “Every tree matters. Our trees are under constant threat from climate change, weather-related storm events, invasive insects and diseases, as well as people. The benefits trees provide to all of us are critical such as air quality, shade, and carbon sequestration. We are working hard to protect trees, including encouraging preservation and replanting to restore lost canopy. It takes decades for the lost benefits of one mature tree to be replaced. Together, we can keep Burlington green and healthy which benefits us all.”

GreenUp 2017 tree plant

When large numbers of new trees have to be planted scores of volunteers show up.

There are those that are having problems accepting that the city can tell them what they can do with trees on their property. Understanding that a tree is not a person’s property but a piece of nature that they have become stewards of while they are owners of the property. As a steward their role is to do everything they can to ensure the tree is cared for and allowed to grow to its full maturity and serve the environmental needs of the wider community.

One can no longer cut down a tree just because one no longer wants to rake the leaves up in the fall.

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Rivers: Universal pharma-care a no brainer - will save the country $8 billion as well.

 

Rivers 100x100By Ray Rivers

February 11th, 2019

BURLINGTON, ON

 

We’ve seen the numbers. Canadians spend almost $30 billion a year on some 600 million prescriptions. And we know we could save as much as $8 billion by transitioning to a universal nation-wide single-payer system. It’s a no-brainer, right?

Tommy Douglas

Tommy Douglas – advocating for universal health care.

What would a universal program look like? It could be modeled on Canada’s universal health care system. In fact that would make it the perfect complement – administered by the provinces and funded jointly by both levels of government. The provinces already have a seniors’ drug program in place, and Ontario even had an OHIP+, covering those youth without a private health plan.

But to go that route, the provinces would have to agree among themselves on the universality and portability aspects. And they’d have to agree with the federal government on their joint responsibilities and cost sharing. That kind of deal might have been do-able back when the feds and most of the provinces shared a common political stripe, but with national partisan bickering increasing in the lead-up to the 2019 federal election, it won’t likely happen this year.

Ford at joseph-brant-hospital-doug-ford

Doug Ford at the Joseph Brant Hospital

For starters, Ontario, which is preoccupied with cutting or ending former Liberal programs has little interest in adding anything resembling a new or expanded social program, especially one which might lead to increased taxes. And cost-sharing discussions with a federal government currently being sued over carbon taxes is definitely a non-starter.

On the other hand there are good reasons for the federal government to implement a cross Canada program all on its own, given federal jurisdiction in the management of pharmaceuticals in this country.

One might expect the provinces to welcome a comprehensive program, funded at the federal level, saving them the costs of current provincial drug programs. But provinces are always wary about federal intrusion in what they see as their areas of responsibility, particularly in Quebec, so it’s not that easy.

How can we afford it? Well folks we are already paying the costs…and more. The existing patchwork of federal and provincial government subsidized programs is being funded through your tax dollars. On top of that, there is the cash we dole out at the pharmacy, the subscriptions to private drug plans, and the lower earnings accompanying a work place drug benefit. And that doesn’t count the costs to both the health system and work places for people who can’t afford to fill their prescriptions and end up just getting sicker.

It’s what we learned after moving to single-payer universal health care. We can’t afford not to have Pharma care. The four to eight billion dollar savings estimates may be speculative but it’s clear the savings won’t be zero. Efficiencies will be gained as competing pharmaceutical programs are reduced. Lower prices should be expected by negotiating for larger orders and buying in bulk. And then, of course, there is all that drug and drug insurance company profit.

Big pharma

Profits for the pharmaceutical industry are among the highest in the world.

Besides partisan politics at the provincial level, the other obstacle to implementation comes from lobbying by the Canadian patent drug industry and its international parents. They have become wary of efforts like Pharma care to compromise their profits in the nation with the highest drug prices on earth, after the USA. So they have offered to voluntarily hold the line on drug price increases over the next decade.

Their offer, which they estimate at $26 billion has been spurned by the federal government and for good reason. One has only to look at countries like New Zealand for inspiration. They manage to keep drug prices as low as one tenth of those here.

Pharma care was an integral part of Tommy Douglas’ vision for the nation’s first medicare program which he enacted In Saskatchewan. It was also a component of the original plan for universal national health coverage which the Pearson government introduced in 1964. The federal Liberals, in 1997, campaigned on a pledge to develop a plan for the implementation of universal Pharma care but failed to deliver.

Layton_Quebec

Jack Layton won almost everything in Quebec in the 2011 election. That let Stephen Harper form a government with the NDP serving at the Opposition.

Only in 2004 had Paul Martin finally secured landmark inter-jurisdictional agreements for a number of social programs, including universal Pharma care. But dithering and being caught up managing fallout from the Liberal Sponsorship scandal took its toll. In 2006 Martin’s minority government fell thanks to Jack Layton’s NDP, and with it so did our hopes for universal Pharma care.

Stephen Harper wasted no time giving any more time to universal Pharma care. Tommy Douglas must have shuddered in his grave knowing that his own party had helped deprive Canadians of Pharma care for the next decade and a half. It was only last year that the Liberals announced setting up an advisory committee to plan for a national drug plan.

scheer mute

Scheer hasn’t had much to say on a universal health care plan.

And Trudeau’s own finance minister mused that it might require means testing for income, thus ending dreams of universality. He clearly needs a primer on what the term Pharma care really means. And so does opposition leader Scheer, who, like Harper before him, has been mute on the idea, except for partisan attacks on the person leading the advisory committee.

And if Scheer wins the next election… there may well be somebody else writing this column in fifteen years and she’ll be asking … It’s a no-brainer, right?

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. He developed the current policy process for the Ontario Liberal Party.

 

Background links:
Global Pharmacare –     Pharmacare –    National Program

Drug Prices Deal –     Advisory Committee –     Scheer

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Mayor speaks for her council on the issue of desperately poor homeless people begging on the streets of the city.

News 100 redBy Pepper Parr

February 1st, 20129

BURLINGTON, ON

 

The Gazette published a short piece on the problems homeless people in Burlington have coping with the bitterly cold weather.

We asked each member of Council and the Mayor for their thoughts on what could be done to help these people.

The Mayor and her team “consulted and, in addition to her own thoughts, many Councillors were also eager to jump in and speak about the ways our community comes together to support homeless individuals” said the Chief of Communications & Strategic Advisor.

She sent us the following:

“As you know, Burlington is part of Halton Region, which has several resources and processes for supporting the homeless during extreme cold weather and all year long.

“As you referenced in your earlier article, Halton Region funds the Salvation Army’s Lighthouse Shelter in Oakville. Outreach staff provide counselling and connect individuals in the shelter to community resources that can help them regain stable and affordable housing.

“Single individuals with no children can dial 311 and be connected with staff who will assess their situation and help them find the best available temporary option which may include staying at the Lighthouse Emergency Shelter, with family, friends or other options. Even though the shelter is not in Burlington, staff there can work with individuals to try and arrange transportation assistance to the shelter itself. In a cold alert, additional beds are made available at the Lighthouse to ensure those most at-risk are provided an emergency option.

Fire damage to the top floor of the Riviera Motel was extensive and arson was thought to perhaps be the cause of the blaze to the abandoned motel. No report yet from the Office of the Fire Marshall.

The Riviera Motel was once rented by the Region as a stop gap location for people who needed housing. It was torn down to make way for the Bridgewater condo and a Marriott Hotel.

“Families with children are immediately triaged into 1 of 8 emergency apartments located throughout the Region. Hotels are used as surge capacity, including in the City of Burlington.

“The Region is aware of individuals from time to time who do not wish to access emergency shelter services, and seeks to provide them with local supports around mental health outreach, housing related case management services, as well as emergency food. Any community group concerned about a particular individual in their community is encouraged to call the Region to access supports and services.

“Halton region also works with police and the COAST (Crisis Outreach and Support Team) to reach out to people who may be on the streets and get them help. In speaking today with Alex Sarchuk, Commissioner of Social and Community Services for Halton, we confirmed that when the Halton Regional Police see homeless individuals they refer them to the Region as well as the Canadian Mental Health Association who provide rapid response teams who work to respond quickly to instances of elevated risk. Through the Halton Housing First program, we also have the ability to provide permanent housing with wrap-around support services for high needs homeless individuals and families – these are located throughout Halton Region, including in the City of Burlington.

Salvation-Army

Seen as a front line responder the Salvation Army doesn’t have any space for the homeless in Burlington.

“We further want to mention the many other valuable service groups in our City that help the homeless with providing needed food and warm clothing. They are spread out through the city and include the Burlington Food Bank, Compassion Society, Goodwill, Salvation Army, Food for Life, and Halton Women’s Place.

“Resources are available so that there is no reason for anyone to spend a night on Burlington’s streets. The City of Burlington staff and leadership are always open to feedback from the community and continued evaluation of the programs that exist along with their use and effectiveness.

More information can be found on the website: https://www.halton.ca/living_in_halton/housing/need_emergency_shelter/

We had hoped we would get some individual comment from the members – what we got was a group think out of the Mayor’s office.  We wonder what Shawna Stolte of ward 4 would have to say and measure that against what ward 5 Councillor Paul Sharman would add to our understanding of these people.

Marianne Meed Ward was just a citizen when this picture was taken - now she is on the other side of the podium, sitting as a Council member. Should make for greay political theatre when the Medicca One zoning matter comes before committee.

Marianne Meed Ward was just a citizen when this picture was taken – now she is on the other side of the podium, sitting as the Mayor.

The Gazette has watched Marianne Meed Ward grow from a consistent and persistent city hall delegation into a candidate for office in a ward she could win in. In her first Burlington election she ran in ward 1 against Rick Craven – something he never forgave her for and got creamed.

Several days after her first win as the Councillor for Ward 2 she got a call from a resident complaining that there was a bag of garbage being blown down the street. Meed Ward did something that few politicians wouldn’t even think of doing. She got into the family van and picked up the garbage herself.

Her first few months in office were difficult – for city hall staff. Meed Ward blew through her postage budget in short order and ran out of money used to pay for the coffee and donuts she provided at her community meetings.

At one of those meetings, which were more like homework classes for the residents who just loved the time and attention they were getting, Meed Ward blurted out “I just love this job” –and indeed she did.

One would hope that in her own way Meed Ward will make phone calls asking around about how many people the police had to help out. Burlington can be surprisingly negligent when it comes to understanding and doing something about the really really poor people.

Marilyn Ansley got back to us after we published the first article saying she too was in touch with the Region – the most she was able to get was ‘they should call 311’.

Related news story:

No begging on the streets of Burlington.

 

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An illegal massage parlour in Aldershot shut down by developer

News 100 redBy Pepper Parr

January 22nd, 2019

BURLINGTON, ON

 

When it comes to matters of property – anything is possible and almost everything happens.

National Homes has a number of development applications on the go. The large development they want to build on Brant Street is working its way through the appeal process. The city didn’t process that application within the time frame required so National Homes appealed to the OMB.

There is another application – this one on Plains Road, referred to by the locals as the “bingo hall” development because the property National Homes bought includes a bingo hall.
It also includes the Good Fortune Chinese Restaurant

NH site on Plains Road

Plaza that National Homes wants to develop is the location of both a Chinese Restaurant and an illegal massage parlor. Who Knew?

At a Local Planning Appeal Tribunal (LPAT) a Mr. Zan Wang applied for status as a xxx. That request was denied because the matter Mr. Wang wanted to discuss didn’t have anything to do with the development of the property. It had to do with a lease Mr. Wang had on a property on the site National Homes site.

Mr. Wang wanted to participate in the appeal but was turned down by the Chair on the grounds that Wang’s issue was a commercial matter and outside the purview of the PHC (PreHearing Conference)and hearing.

From email traffic: Wang wanted to know when the issue of the six years remaining on the lease was going to be settled; he did not speak in opposition to the development.

On January 15th, the Wang family sent an emotional email to almost every email address they could find. It said:

Good Fortune notice

Sign placed on the door of the Good Fortune Restaurant

We are the owner of Good Fortune Chinese Restaurant in Bingo Plaza (490 Plains road east). We beg for anyone help, we are hopeless.

In the pre-hearing conference (hold on December 19, 2018, at City Hall), I suggested National Home because we have a long term of lease agreement (around another 6 years) with them, so we need a reasonable solution.

Unfortunately, the National Homes used an untruthful reason locked our restaurant without any formal notice on January 1st, 2019.

We never own National Homes any rents, and we are never in default. The only reason is we signed a long-term of lease agreement at the beginning. Our family restaurant is the “Obstacle” on their way to make their “Big Dollar”. They hired a group of lawyers to attack us, and they knew we cannot afford the legal fee like they do. Our family rely on this business to live, and most our neighbourhoods know how hard we are working in our restaurant.

I want to ask everyone a question! If the National Home treat the existing tenant like this, how can they deal well with all the neighbourhood in the future?

We prepared huge amount of food for the New Year holiday; however, the National Homes locked our out on January 1st, they gave us a real life “Nightmare”.

We just beg anyone can help our family.
Wang”s family – Good Fortune Chinese Restaurant.

The action on the part of National Homes seemed a little heavy handed.

A Gazette reader told us –“ Apparently they had an illegal massage parlour open up within their premises and were asked to remove it and did not comply.

“As we frequent the restaurant regularly, we have seen for the last year or so the door leading to what was signed as Betty’s Spa and Massage. The door and window to enter, which were covered over with signage, were next to the restaurant.

“We first noticed this about a year ago but never connected it to the restaurant. There was nothing visible to suggest it was in the same premises, either from outside or inside the restaurant, although we were never in the kitchen where a connection could have been, although there appears to be a side door at the other end of the restaurant that we don’t go by that may connect, but not obviously. And there was never any mention of it from staff inside the restaurant.

Good Fortune store front

One of thousands of Chinese restaurants across the province. This one appeared to have a side line business next door.

“We have been going there for four years and we never saw a connection as the massage space was empty most of that time. We didn’t know it might have been part of the restaurant premises for the lease.

Aside from that I don’t know what the covenants were on the lease. Or what process might have occurred before the termination to get them to close the massage place. There must be some paper on this.

Our reader continued: “ They may just be ignorant of what is a permitted use, covenants can say what the tenant cannot do. Maybe they thought they could use it. Not a pretty story.

“In any case, the business is basically ruined, National Homes is apparently holding them liable for costs and rents for the duration of the six year lease. Unless this is somehow overturned, NH won’t have to sue and buy out the balance of the lease remaining when the time comes. I have heard that commercial leases have teeth.”

Good Fortune Reviews

Reviews were mixed. What was being reviewed – the food or the Betty’s massage parlor?

Another reader asked: “Was the “illegal massage parlour located next to the Good Fortune Restaurant in another unit or in the back of the restaurant itself? If it was located in an adjacent unit, even if it was leased by the same owner of the restaurant why would the Restaurant be closed?

“Also how long has this massage business been operating and how long has National Homes known about it?”

The pressing question is: An illegal massage parlour in Aldershot? Who knew?

And who is Betty?

And has anyone told the Tourism department?  No one told the Bylaw enforcement Officer.

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