Carbon Taxes

The Canadian Taxpayer Federation wrote an op-ed about carbon taxes a couple of weeks ago, which was picked up by the Waterloo Region Record. My response was published in The Record on 28 April 2018.

Canadians are demanding that governments act decisively

Carbon-tax advocates need to go big or go home — April 13

As a carbon-tax advocate, I need to respond to the challenge of the Canadian Taxpayers federation to go big or to go home. I totally agree that we need a significant carbon tax to change consumer behaviour. The pan-Canadian framework we have now with carbon pricing at $20 a tonne in 2018, increasing to $50 a tonne by 2022, is a start, but it is much too little to meet Canada’s carbon emission reduction targets. We need a tax that is at least $150 a tonne to start making real progress in reducing Canada’s greenhouse gas emissions. For reference, a $150 a tonne carbon pollution tax would increase gasoline prices by 34.8 cents per litre, while the $20 per tonne price that we have for 2018 increases gasoline prices by 4.6 cents per litre.

The question is whether this cost increase is fair to Canadians. We know that a carbon tax will modify consumer behaviour and spur investors and businesses to create alternatives to the use of carbon-intensive energy, through conservation and clean technology. That is a good thing, as it will reduce carbon emissions and position us as global leaders in a clean-technology future. Recently, the Ontario Progressive Conservative Party platform included the replacement of Ontario’s cap-and-trade system with a revenue-neutral carbon tax. It asserted that a carbon tax is more transparent than cap-and-trade, and by making the tax revenue-neutral, it can protect the poor and rural populations from price increases, and not grow government revenues. The PC party has backtracked from that promise, now saying that it would simply dismantle the cap-and-trade system. It is unclear whether that would simply leave Ontario with a backstop carbon tax in 2019 as promised by the federal government, or if a Doug Ford as premier would oppose any plans by the federal government for a carbon tax.

British Columbia has a carbon tax of $30 a tonne. The revenues collected by the B.C. government through the carbon tax are used to protect the poor and rural areas from price increases, and also to fund corporate and individual tax cuts. This is where the debate on carbon taxes needs to go next — how much of a tax we need for climate action and what to do with that tax revenue. Canadians are demanding that governments act decisively with an effective carbon tax that protects the poor and those living in rural areas.

Caterina Lindman
Waterloo Region leader,
Citizens’ Climate Lobby
Waterloo

The Canadian Taxpayer Federation is saying that carbon taxes need to be large to be effective, which is true. The minimum carbon tax level that the Federal government has mandated is a start, but it is too small to be effective. They are also saying that if the tax is large enough to be effective, Canadians will rebel against the price increases. At Citizens’ Climate Lobby, we think the revenues from the tax should be distributed back to households via an equal payment to each adult, with a half-share for children. This will protect low income households from the carbon tax, as low-income households use less fossil fuels than higher income households. Lower income households will get more money in dividends than they pay in carbon fees. As the carbon fee goes up, the difference between the dividend they receive and the fee they pay increases.

Citizens’ Climate Lobby also wants the government to end fossil-fuel subsidies. A subsidy to fossil fuels makes them less expensive relative to other fuels, and therefore, is counter to supporting clean energy. I am watching with concern that the federal government appears to be ready to support the Kinder Morgan Pipeline through guarantees and other subsidies. My friend, Laura Hamilton of Divest Waterloo, had a Letter to the Editor published this week about Kinder Morgan.

Regards,

Caterina

Pipeline project is not in the national interest

Re: Trudeau must act on Trans Mountain pipeline promise — April 11

The evidence of our destabilizing climate continues to mount across Waterloo Region, where residents recently braced for what Environment Canada anticipated as a potentially historic ice storm — this after extreme heat and flooding events this past year. The costs of climate change are increasingly obvious to us in this region. The solutions are also well known: we must reduce greenhouse gas emissions dramatically by pricing carbon, transitioning to renewable energy, using energy efficiently, and slowing the extraction and use of fossil fuels.

That’s why Canada’s intention to proceed with the Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain pipeline expansion — a project that would serve to expand Alberta’s tarsands production — is so alarming. Increasing emissions from the tarsands represent almost 60 per cent of the total projected growth in Canadian emissions between 2010 and 2030, completely undermining Canada’s commitment to reduce emissions by 30 per cent below 2005 levels by 2030.

Instead of supporting pipelines that lock us into increasing emissions and climate crises, Canada can demonstrate leadership by phasing out fossil fuel subsidies, winding down fossil fuel extraction, and investing in a low carbon future. This pipeline is not in the national interest — rapidly reducing emissions while respecting Indigenous communities is.

Henriette Thompson
Waterloo

Laura Hamilton
Kitchener

Angela Carter
Kitchener

Opinion | Pipeline project is not in the national interest | TheRecord.com

Letter to Interfaith Grand River

Thank you for organizing the Interfaith Community Breakfast. It was good to hear many talk about peace, love, love for animals and so forth.

Many of us are respectful of people’s choices to provide sustenance and mostly do not comment about the food offered. However quite a number of people have chosen to live a vegan lifestyle to inflict as little harm to animals and the environment as possible and sadly there was very little
choice available at this breakfast. My wife refused to come to the breakfast as being diabetic she knew there would be nothing much to eat.

The fresh fruit, especially the berries where particularly welcome. None of the food was labeled as vegetarian, vegan or gluten free. I had no idea what the granola (?) was and I could not partake, as there was no alternative such as soy or almond milk. No protein for vegans.

So I only had fruit and cucumber for breakfast. Here is a simple U-Tube showing seven vegan breakfasts

At the end of the day there was lots of scrambled egg, which I don’t eat, but no more fresh berries when I went back for a possible second. Here is a viewpoint from many vegans about eggs.

The eggs are produced in horrendous conditions on factory farms where the male baby chicks are suffocated or ground to death alive. The milk and milk products are produced from cows who are raped to keep them pregnant (needed to produce milk) and whose lifetime is cut short to four or five years when they stop producing milk at commercial rates. The mothers cry for days after their babies are removed forcibly within a couple of days after birth.

After your $25 breakfast I needed to return home for a bowl of oatmeal, raisins and berries and to enjoy my coffee with soy milk. Quite disappointing.

I am sure the kitchen could have provided other alternatives such as beans on toast that do not involve animal suffering. With all the talk of peace and love for the creatures on this planet and the environment, one would have thought the breakfast itself could have been a testament to God’s love.

James Sannes

Canadian Representative for

Unitarian Universalists Animal Ministry

 

For Earth Day: Address to the Federal Climate Action Plan Consultation

This is the full text of the speech delivered by Niara van Gaalen at the conclusion of the Federal Climate Action Plan Consultation held 18 August 2016 at Kitchener City Hall. It is reproduced here for Earth Day.

Hello everyone.

Niara van Gaalen delivers closing remarks There are many people who are standing on a cliff of deliberate, unconcerned ignorance, when it comes to climate change. When they look into the abyss of the future, they simply want the normal life their parents wanted for them. Unfortunately, with climate change already happening, it will not be possible to live the way our forefathers did. We must be better. And it must happen now.

The Government of Canada needs to lead by example. Everything that is owned by the government, and that they spend our tax dollars on, must from now on contribute to the end of climate change. Institutions, like hospitals, schools, and city halls such as this one, have to help us sequester carbon biologically, to transition to a low carbon economy, to encourage world population reduction, and to restore nature. Our government also has to stop subsidizing, and accepting money from, the large and irresponsible fossil fuel, agro-tech, pharmaceutical, and forestry industries.

There is a list of simple, small things that need to be mandatory and made easily accessible to everybody by law, in order to end climate change: things like rain barrels, recycling, composting, physically separated bike lanes, and excellent, affordable, and punctual public transportation. For every child born in Canada we ought to plant trees in their honour. And we must protect Canada’s great forests, for all time, in our constitution, by restoring what we have damaged, and by embedding in law the protection of 40% of Canada as forest cover. We must also strategically protect at least half of Canada’s 9.985 million square kilometres as pure nature, for all eternity. This is one of the greatest gifts you, as politicians and citizens, could possibly give your children.

There is another list of things — chemicals, substances, and practices, the most important of which being the mining of the tar sands and fracking — that need to be banned. One law, one person’s vote can stop these atrocities that are destroying the earth. It is well understood that these things are important to Canada’s economy now, but is there a price that can be put on the quality of life of your children and grandchildren? Please look at me, and the faces of all the children on earth, in all honesty, and tell us “no.”

It is essential that we move to a low-carbon economy. A carbon tax will help, but it needs to happen nation- and world-wide. We need to tax items that should not be banned, but are still harmful to the environment, such as meat, and we need to ban factory-farming of animals. We also need to change the financial system, and address the problem of tax havens. Many ask how we will pay for the changes needed to stop climate change. This is just one of many examples: by cooperating with countries world-wide, money that hides in places like Delaware, and London, England can be returned to the people to whom it belongs, especially in Third World countries. In a similar way, we need to renegotiate and rethink all treaties and agreements, such as the TTP, NAFTA, space and extra space the Vancouver Declaration.

Biologically capturing and storing carbon is the single best way we can act quickly to prevent some of the worst events that could occur due to climate change. We need to make biochar, and incorporate it into our soil, a huge and damaged carbon sink that can be restored, and can simultaneously offset at least about 20% of global greenhouse gas emissions each year. We need to make more items out of sustainable wood, green our cities, pressure countries that destroy tropical rainforest, and replant and restore the kelp forests on our coasts, to the benefit of both us and the otters. Renewable energy, such as concentrated solar power and geothermal, will also be a part of the solution. Every day there is word of new developments in carbon-storage techniques, and renewable and sustainable technology. The government must be deeply informed of all the technological possibilities, make sure that Canada’s citizens, especially young people, are a part of their development, invest money in them, and make laws to ensure they happen quickly.

It will be easier to stop climate change if we slow and reverse population growth. We have the means to support a few billion more people. But it will be so difficult, especially considering that this growth will occur in the Third World. The fewer people, the easier it is to act quickly, cooperate, and share. We must invest in women in other parts of the world so that they are in charge of their bodies and can plan their families, and we must educate women and all children. Canada, however, will likely receive many climate refugees and immigrants. We must plan, creating infrastructure and jobs with opportunities for fairly paid manual labour so that we can welcome them with open arms. On that note, considering the number of people, also consider dogs and cats, about 14 million in Canada, all of which require meat to feed. A carbon tax on non-working cats and dogs, would help to reduce their number, and persuade people to think twice about the environmental impact of a pet.

There can be no waiting for the right plan or the right technology to fix things. We have had decades to find a magic bullet and have not found it; we have to proceed without one. Although technology will help us to end climate change, we cannot engineer it away. I once read that there is no good time to have a baby. There is no good time to rebirth our world. Of course it is inconvenient that the biosphere has fallen ill; there is never a good time to be sick. But we still have to heal what we have damaged. I find it incredible that we can send a man to the moon, but we have failed to act proactively when it comes to climate change. We, the young generation, on behalf of all the other unique species on earth, expect the government to make drastic changes now, because the biosphere is incredibly fragile. We hold the government, and every single adult in Canada and across the world, accountable for all the actions you do and do not take. We must make another giant leap for mankind today, because otherwise all of mankind and every other living thing will suffer immensely. I challenge you, and expect you, to go and partake in this change, because to do nothing would be a betrayal of my generation.

Thank you.

Waterloo Region Town Hall – Federal Climate Action Consultation 2016 – Working Group Feedback

Nature Bonds

The petition to create a new financial security, Nature Bonds (E-1264 – Protection of the Environment) must be signed online by 3:00pm, 23 March 2018.

Addressed to the inhabitants of Canada

On the following interesting subjects:

  1. A move to protect 90% of Canada’s land and aquatic area as a permanent natural reserve.
  2. A move to zero carbon by 2024.
  3. As funded by the creation of a new financial security; Nature Bonds.

2017 marked the one hundred and fiftieth anniversary of our nation. This same year also marks 35 years since the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms came into effect. This is cause for celebration, but also a re-evaluation of what it means to be Canadian. What it means today to respect the ideals outlined by our forefathers.

I am thinking about the right to security of person, a right not only in our own country’s charter, but in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

Climate change, and the biodiversity crisis violate my generation’s (I’m seventeen) right to security of person as set out herein. Although the current government has taken unprecedented action on this issue, it will not suffice. It is a drop in the ocean of things that need to be done. Therefore I propose a very simple solution:

That we create a new financial security, Nature Bonds, in order to fund the protection of 90% of Canada’s land and aquatic area as a permanent natural reserve, and a move to net-zero carbon by 2024.

I understand that this is an incredibly ambitious goal, that this is a kind of previously unheard of action. However, “We meet in an hour of change and challenge, in a decade of hope and fear, in an age of both knowledge and ignorance. The greater our knowledge increases, the greater our ignorance unfolds” (Kennedy).

Everyone is susceptible to fear and ignorance, but we are stronger than that. We, as a compassionate and kind people, must come together to achieve the protection of the biosphere because if we fail, we betray every single generation to come. In six years the allied forces defeated both Hitler and Hirohito. In eight years humanity brought a man to the moon. We have had decades to counteract climate change and still no one has moved to do what must be done. Perhaps the ship has already sailed. But we must still try. A failure to do this would reflect cowardliness and an unprecedented failure of humanity when this generation and all generations to come need us most.

The goal to protect ninety percent of Canada’s land began with the knowledge of acclaimed biologist E.O.Wilson. He explains that, “The fraction of species that can be protected in one-half the global surface is about 85%. A biogeographic scan of Earth’s principal habitats shows that a full representation of its ecosystems and the vast majority of its species can be saved within half the planet’s surface. At one-half and above, life on Earth enters the safe zone.”

Canada has 9 985 000 square kilometres of land. When you combine the amount of arable land, permanent pastures, cities and other built-up land, the total occupied land is less than 10%. So, by that count we could easily protect 90% of Canada’s area— 8 986 500 square km.

Ninety percent makes sense because we must do more than we are doing now, as a country extremely gifted with space, and monetary resources. We must do more because other nations will be able to accomplish less. But truly, we must do more because it is the right and true thing to do.

I know that a good deal of land is already protected in Canada, through our national parks program, and other initiatives. This would just formalize and expand on what we have, and this 90% would include the parks and other currently protected areas. In addition, it is not my intention that people are forcefully relocated in order to create these protected areas.

The exact land that is protected should comprise of all the different ecological zones and regions in Canada, and as many different species as possible should be protected within this land. Sometimes, this will mean that areas such as roads will need to be temporarily closed, for example, during the migration of animals, in order to protect species.

Ninety percent should also apply to our coastlines, which are fragile and not well protected. 243,797 km of coastline, times the 360 km out that Canada claims, is 90 204 890 square km of ocean. If we include the great lakes’ 3800 km of coastline and all our smaller lakes, rivers, streams, etc. we have thousands more of square km of water to protect.

I propose that:

  1. This land and water will belong to all Canadian citizens.
  2. It is not allowed to be used for corporate gain for the next 30 years, to allow the area to regenerate to full health. At that point, a new discussion can begin on the topic of sustainably harvesting renewable resources.
  3. This protection means that all resources both underground and aboveground on the protected land will remain where they currently are.
  4. Aboriginal citizens will be allowed to harvest what they need in small and reasonable amounts for personal use, and all citizens who are camping or whatnot should be able to do the same.
  5. This land is to be maintained and restored so that it is as healthy and diverse as possible.
  6. It is to be extensively researched so that we better understand the nature of the ecosystems and wildlife that comprise it.
  7. All Canadians are allowed to inhabit this land on temporary and net-zero carbon structures.

As for climate change, in order to meet the Paris targets, we must aim to be carbon neutral by 2024. Most of our target dates are set for 2030, and so we only have to shorten the timeline by six years. If we do not aim for 2024, we will most likely not succeed in staying below 2 degrees of warming, the models show us. The government of Canada has not put out any information showing how their goals will bring us directly to the targets in time, and I believe that this is because they have not set ambitious enough goals to make good on the Paris treaty. We have already started the transition to zero carbon, as seen in the government report, Achieving a Sustainable Future. We must simply do it much more quickly and on an even grander scale.

And regarding how to pay for this I propose that we issue a new kind of bond, Nature Bonds, to fund it. I know that Canada recently made the decision to end the Canadian Savings bonds program, but what I am suggesting is a way to directly involve our citizens in our efforts, and it is an opportunity that cannot go ignored. I would like to remind you of the success of our private refugee sponsorship program, and I think that this bond program will allow us to accomplish similar successes with the environment. I am also thinking of war bonds, which are a capitalistic way of allowing individuals and corporations to raise funds for a common, patriotic goal. However, I want it to be clear that nature bonds would not be a privatization of government. They are a way for citizens to enable government initiatives that otherwise would not get the necessary financing.

Please note that the projects funded by the bond must have a clause in their contracts saying that if the project is not finished by 2024, there is no payment.

Despite a large investment on the part of the present government, we will not meet our Paris agreements if we go on like this. This bond will create the money that we need to invest in our society in order to create this fundamental shift. I cannot guarantee that all the benefits of investing in our society like this will create a monetary return in the traditional sense. However, it is not about the return on investment in the normal sense of getting whatever percentage on the money one originally puts in. The real return on investment in this case is preserving the earth for future generations.

I know that as a society newly come of age, we wish to prove to the world and to ourselves what are capable of. We have an opportunity to be visionaries, as we were in the making of historic moments such as at Vimy Ridge and Juno Beach, in the drafting of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, as peacekeepers in the Suez Crisis, and the signing of the Paris Agreement. We must do the seemingly impossible, and use the rich resources of our land, and the resourcefulness of our people in order to reverse this massive destruction of life. We must choose to protect our wildlife, our atmosphere, and an entire generation, not because it is an easy feat, but because it is hard, because it is a challenge that Canadians are willing to accept, one that we are unwilling to postpone, and one which we intend to win.

The Age of Consequences: Screening and Panel Discussion — Tuesday, 28 March 2017

Climate change may no longer be a choice, but we still have a choice of consequences. What will we choose: War or Peace?

 

THE AGE OF CONSEQUENCES investigates the impacts of climate change on increased resource scarcity, migration, and conflict through the lens of US national security and global stability.
 
Join us for a screening of this compelling documentary by the award winning directors of REQUIEM FOR THE AMERICAN DREAM. Participate in an engaging discussion with a panel of distinguished experts, to explore the implications of climate change from a peace and justice perspective.
 

Through unflinching case-study analysis, distinguished admirals, generals and military veterans take us beyond the headlines of the conflict in Syria, the social unrest of the Arab Spring, the rise of radicalized groups like ISIS, and the European refugee crisis — and lay bare how climate change stressors interact with societal tensions, sparking conflict… Whether a long-term vulnerability or sudden shock, the film unpacks how water and food shortages, drought, extreme weather, and sea-level rise function as ‘accelerants of instability’ and ‘catalysts for conflict’ in volatile regions of the world… The film’s unnerving assessment is by no means reason for fatalism — but instead a call to action to rethink how we use and produce energy.

(The Age of Consequences, Synopsis)
 

Panel members:

Photo of Rick Cober Bauman, ED of MCC Ontario 
Rick Cober Bauman, Executive Director – Mennonite Central Committee Ontario. Rick has served with MCC for 26 years, including 3 years in Labrador in the Innu Community of Sheshatshit, and the last 7 1/2 years as Executive Director of MCC Ontario. This experience has brought him into contact with many stories of relief, development and peace around the world. Rick works in the Kitchener office, but is available across Ontario.
 
 
Photo of Simon Dalby, CIGI chair and Balsillie School of International Affairs

Simon Dalby, CIGI Chair in the Political Economy of Climate Change, Balsillie School of International Affairs. Simon is also the Acting Chair of the Master in International Public Policy program, and Professor of Geography and Environmental Studies at Wilfrid Laurier University. His published research deals with climate change, political ecology, geopolitics, global security, environmental change, militarization and the spatial dimensions of governance.
 
 
Photo of Jessica West, Project Officer at Project Ploughshares

Jessica West, Program Officer at Project Ploughshares. Jessica is a Ph.D. Candidate in the Global Governance program at the Balsillie School of International Affairs, Wilfrid Laurier University, who is pursuing a specialization in conflict and security studies. She has a Master’s of Arts degree in International Affairs from the Norman Paterson School of International Affairs. Prior to beginning her doctoral studies, Jessica managed an international research project on space security and served as the editor of its annual publication as part of her role at Project Ploughshares.
 
 

When: Tuesday, 28 March 2017 6:30pm-9:30pm
Where: Conrad Grebel University College, 140 Westmount Road North, Waterloo Map

Please register at Age of Consequences – Film Screening and Panel Discussion Tickets | Eventbrite

 

This is a free event. Refreshments will be served.

Events – Divest Waterloo

Eleanor Grant comments on Ontario’s Long-Term Energy Plan

Conservation — Good But We Can Do Better

I greatly appreciate Ontario’s efforts to help homeowners with the cost of conservation measures such as more efficient furnaces and better windows. I also appreciate efforts to build more transit and reduce car use. Much more needs to be done to reach northern communities. Please restore Ontario Northland rail service and expand it. And please do everything possible to expedite rail service on the Kitchener line.

Electricity Supply Mix — Greatly Increase Renewable

The decision to back out of contracts for renewable energy was short-sighted. Please revisit these contracts and ask whether the subsidies could be reduced or eliminated, now that costs are rapidly falling. What Ontario REALLY needs to do is invest in large-scale renewable energy as a public corporation, as we did a hundred years ago with Niagara. Costs are now becoming manageable to buy in and operate such facilities in the public interest. Dalton McGuinty should not have backed down on off-shore wind. Please recommit to off-shore wind, with the lessons learned about obtaining buy-in and participation from affected communities. Please make it easier for small producers to provide their own on-site generation and/or be paid for feeding into the grid. This is the appropriate role for the private sector, NOT the ownership of megaprojects. Encourage local co-ops, First Nations, and municipalities to generate renewable power for local use, including micro hydro. I was pleased to hear that Ontario is entering into agreements with Quebec and Manitoba to purchase hydro power from them. Given all of these real and potential opportunities to increase the renewable supply share, Ontario should set a target for 100% Renewable.

Electricity Supply Mix — Phase Out Nuclear

The Ministry discussion guide states that Ontario plans to rely on nuclear power for the foreseeable future for baseload capacity. Sinking billions more into Darlington and Bruce, and squeezing more years out of Pickering, seems like a huge waste of money. Not to speak of the proximity to population centres and the still unknown cost of future disposal of radioactive waste. We must stop refurbishing Darlington, and set a target for getting out of nuclear power. A combination of local renewable generation, rapidly improving storage technology, and an overall shifting toward conservation and publicly owned large-scale renewable would make possible an increasing share of baseload capacity being reliably borne by renewable sources. Phasing out nuclear is doable.

Public Ownership Is Key — Start By Buying Back Hydro One

Note that leasing out Bruce Power – so that a foreign company could reap profits from operating it while leaving the cost of decommissioning the plant and disposing of the waste to the public – was a bad deal for hydro consumers and the public purse. As for Hydro One, taxpayers are losing hundreds of millions in revenue in perpetuity by selling it. We also lose influence and control, since there’s nothing to stop the shares from being sold and resold and eventually amalgamated by a many-steps-removed foreign investor. Seriously what could Ontario do to stop that from happening? Ontario is going to need a set of policies to facilitate: transmission of power from Quebec and Manitoba, transmission to First Nations and remote communities, transmission to the Ring of Fire, “net metering” with small producers, and possibly the cession of more control over local generation. ALL of these policies are likely to be resisted by private owners. Note as well, that many Local Distributing Companies are in danger of being bought up by Hydro One, resulting in massive loss of municipal control as Hydro One passes to private owners. It’s hard to imagine anything much more short-sighted than losing the ownership of our electricity grid. It’s costly to the treasury, and forecloses on the policy options we will need to prepare for the future. Ontario must reverse course right now, stop any more IPOs of shares in Hydro One, and diligently buy back what has been sold.

Those Rising Costs — Green Energy Is Not The Cause

Ontarians would be willing to pay if we were building public assets for the future, in which we could all take pride and hope. We are not willing to pay for subsidies to large players in a market that’s already shifting toward renewables in terms of costs and profitability. We are not willing to pay for keeping Pickering alive while selling surplus power at a loss. We are not willing to pay for refurbishing Darlington when cheaper alternatives exist. We are not willing to pay for the loss of public revenue that was ours from Hydro One, and for the exorbitant salaries of consultants and managers to handle the privatization. We are not willing to risk also losing our LDCs and municipal control over them.

Conclusion — Reducing Costs And Raising The Funds

Transitioning to 21st century energy will take investment, in renewable projects, transit, EV charging networks, and more. The cost of doing this can be reduced by committing to phase out nuclear, by recommitting to public power and getting rid of corporate subsidies, and by buying INTO renewables now that the cost is falling. But the public will still have to raise funds, perhaps through a mix of a modest increase in rates (not like the ones we’ve seen — many of these need to be investigated and rolled back), combined with a modest increase in income taxes (people might have more trust if the levy were earmarked), the promotion of Green Bonds, and the facilitation of hundreds of local co-ops. There are solutions, lots of them, if public trust is regained. I hope to have shown here some ways that the general public and government can happily work together to build a 21st century long-term energy plan for Ontario.

Toxic Tour 2016 Invite — 21 August 2016, Sarnia

From Esther Kern, CPT Canada Coordinator:

Here is an opportunity to learn more about the Indigenous community, within our own geographical area. I plan to attend on the Friday and Saturday, and for anyone coming from a distance, you are welcome to stay at our home in London, either before travelling to Sarnia, or after the event. I can also provide transportation to Sarnia for at least four people and we can discuss more details later if you decide to participate. I hope to see you there!

Best regards,

Esther Kern

CPT Canada Coordinator

Phone: +1-416-423-5525

Email: estherk@cpt.org

From: Aamjiwnaang/Sarnia Against Pipelines <asap1491@gmail.com>
Sent: 22 July 2016 19:25
Subject: Toxic Tour 2016 Invite

TOXIC TOUR 2016

Toxic Tour Teaser Trailer:

Toxic Tour 2016 is happening August 21st, 2016 and starting at 8:00am. This year will start off at:

1972 Virgil Ave Map
Sarnia, ON
N7T 7Y9

Come to experience Canada’s Petro-chemical Industry first hand. On this tour you will be able to learn history, what refineries are in the chemical valley, what they produce, and so much more. Witness the pollution with your own eyes, ears, noses, and feel what it has done to our land and our people. This year will be a two hour bus tour around the entire site of Chemical Valley and Aamjiwnaang.

This is an open event to anyone and any group and doesn’t cost a thing. We can provided free camping over night for the 20th of August. Meals are included for the day with vegan, vegetarian, and traditional meat options and are free. We ask you to bring Camping gear if you are camping. Your own plate, utensils, and cup or water holder. Tobacco to offer thanks to the Water, Bundles or sacred items are welcome, gifts for elders.

This is a free event and everyone is welcome

You can register at: Toxic Tour Registration

Sign up for the event on Facebook: Toxic Tour 2016 | Facebook

Our web site is Toxic Tour 2016 – AAMJIWNAANG SOLIDARITY AGAINST CHEMICAL VALLEY

The Agenda

  • 8:00-9:30 — Breakfast
  • 9:30-10:30 — Opening
  • 10:30-12:30 — Toxic Tour (classes)
  • 12:30-2:00 — Lunch
  • 2:00-4:00 — Toxic Tour(classes)
  • 4:00-600 — Ending

The classes will be announced soon.

Things that I should be aware of before I go?

No alcohol or drugs are to be brought to this gathering, no photographs are to be taken when ceremony are happening. This is a welcoming gathering to all, so no discrimination, but respect is to be shown to everyone.

Contact

Contact asap1491@gmail.com for further questions and concerns.

Take a Toxic Tour of Canada's Chemical Valley -- August 21, 2016, starts 8:00am

Aamjiwnaang Water Gathering — 19-20 August 2016, Sarnia

From Esther Kern, CPT Canada Coordinator:

Here is an opportunity to learn more about the Indigenous community, within our own geographical area. I plan to attend on the Friday and Saturday, and for anyone coming from a distance, you are welcome to stay at our home in London, either before travelling to Sarnia, or after the event. I can also provide transportation to Sarnia for at least four people and we can discuss more details later if you decide to participate. I hope to see you there!

Best regards,

Esther Kern

CPT Canada Coordinator

Phone: +1-416-423-5525

Email: estherk@cpt.org

From: Aamjiwnaang/Sarnia Against Pipelines <asap1491@gmail.com>
Sent: 22 July 2016 19:25
Subject: Aamjiwnaang Water Gathering

AAMJIWNAANG WATER GATHERING

The Aamjiwnaang Water Gathering is welcoming all ages to come to learn water teachings from Aamjiwnaang and area’s teachers. This event is free of charge, happening August 19-20, 2016 at

1972 Virgil Ave Map
Sarnia, Ontario
N7T 7Y9

This gathering is focusing on teaching why water is sacred.

This gathering is going to hold many opportunities to learn and grow. There will be classes like Language, History, How to Organize, Craft Classes, and many more. This is a great opportunity for everyone to experience and be apart of. It creates an open and welcoming space to learn. To also look at next steps.

The event starts everyday 8:00am and ends everyday 8:00pm. Camping is free! Camping will be offered for two days, the start date is 19 August 2016 and will end at the 21st of August, 2016. The camping area will offer a campsite, no electricity on campsites, common area Port–a Potty, shower rooms (during the community center’s hours) and Water Areas, and the community center beside the camp/ park area will be open from 8:00am – 8:00pm everyday. For camping bring camping gear, your own plate, utensils, and cup or water holder. Free meals including breakfast, lunch, and dinner. With Vegan, Vegetarian, and traditional meats.

You can also bring tobacco to offer thanks to the Water, Bundles or sacred items are welcome, gifts for elders.

The classes look like:

Day 1

  • Language
  • History of Aamjiwnaang
  • History of Chemical Valley
  • History of Indigenous Movements
  • Why is water sacred?
  • 7 Grandfather Teachings
  • Two-spirited people
  • Medicine bag
  • Local plants

Day 2

  • Art
  • Line 9
  • Green Peace Training
  • How to organize an event
  • Water Project
  • Medicine wheel
  • Environmental Racism
  • Next steps

The schedule will look like:

Day 1

  • 8:00-9:30 — Breakfast
  • 9:30-10:30 — Opening
  • 10:30-11:30 — Class
  • 11:30-12:00 — Break
  • 12:00-1:30 — Lunch
  • 1:30-2:30 — Class
  • 2:30-3:00 — Break
  • 3:00-4:00 — Class
  • 4:00-5:00 — Social
  • 5:00-6:30 — Dinner
  • 6:30-8:00 — Movie

Day 2

  • 8:00-9:30 — Breakfast
  • 9:30-10:30 — Class
  • 10:30-11:00 — Break
  • 11:00-12:00 — Class
  • 12:00-1:30 — Lunch
  • 1:30-2:30 — Class
  • 2:30-3:00 — Break
  • 3:00-4:00 — Class
  • 4:00-5:00 — Social
  • 5:00-6:30 — Dinner

Things that I should be aware of before I go?

No alcohol or drugs are to be brought to this gathering, no photographs are to be taken when ceremonies are happening. This is a welcoming gathering to all, so no discrimination, but respect is to be shown to everyone.

Contact

Contact asap1491@gmail.com for further questions and concerns.

Please fill out the registration online form.

Aamjiwnaang Water Gathering – AAMJIWNAANG SOLIDARITY AGAINST CHEMICAL VALLEY

Aamjiwnaang Water Gathering, August 19-20 2016, Maawn Doosh Gumig, 1972 Virgin Ave., Sarnia, ON; Camping sites and food will be available

Letter to the City of Waterloo on Zoning and Affordable Housing

To Waterloo staff and councillors:

Thank you for the opportunity to give input on the review of our zoning bylaw.

My response pertains mainly to Residential zones. At the end I’ll add some brief ideas on Commercial and Employment zones.

These are the underlying assumptions I am bringing regarding what kind of residential areas would be desirable to live in:

  • Remember that we are building neighbourhoods.
  • Every neighbourhood needs to include green spaces and gathering spaces that facilitate casual encounters with one’s neighbours.
  • Neighbourhood green spaces should be small, frequent, and linked together if possible — user-friendly.
  • Every neighbourhood needs to be walkable and cyclable. No overly long blocks should be allowed, especially if they block access to amenities. Where these mistakes have already happened — on Lester St. and Marshall St. — the city must do its utmost to buy back an easement to insert a walkway. Plus easements to continue these walkways right through to the LRT station beyond Phillip St. and from Lodge St. to the plaza. Extremely important that we find a way to do this.
  • Neighbourhoods would also benefit from having a community centre. Please zone in space for them. Make sure that a conversation is open between staff working on zoning and those developing a neighbourhood strategy.
  • Fewer parking spaces should be required for houses, apartments, and condos.
  • Many apartments and condos could be offered without parking. That is, less than one parking spot per unit.
  • In fact a maximum number of cars should be set, because of the nuisance that cars pose to neighbours. In the vicinity of my house several driveways are being used as parking lots for multiple cars, continually coming and going, so that it’s never peaceful to go to my front yard. I think anything above two cars on a residential lot should have to pay some kind of fee or penalty.
  • What this city lacks most is housing for the whole bottom half of the market, everyone from median income on down. No one is building for them. The young, the pensioners, and the people who serve us coffee, take care of the elderly, clean offices, and provide security at events, should be able to live among us in decency. Providing for this huge demographic should be a prime goal of zoning bylaws. We especially lack lower-end rental units.
  • Every neighbourhood should be planned to include a mix of income levels, and a mix of ownership and rentals.
  • As soon as Inclusionary Zoning becomes available in Ontario — expected in fall 2016 — Waterloo should make use of it for all new development.
  • If density bonusing is used (and I’m not sure it ever should be), the green space and/or affordable housing created should have to be in the same neighbourhood.
  • In traditional neighbourhoods we should make it easier to create secondary units, frequently without parking, to bring lots of affordable housing onstream.
  • And why should we care if a family wishes to use a one-bedroom-plus-den unit as two bedrooms to make it affordable for them? The city should not be in the business of harassing and micromanaging people. Making developers change dens to dining rooms will prevent all residents from having a home office/computer room or guest room. We should do a lot less micromanaging!
  • Finally, every neighbourhood should be visually appealing and where possible reflect the uniqueness of Waterloo and its heritage. New development should fit its context.

I hope these assumptions I’m coming from are also shared by Waterloo officials. How might they apply to the specifics of the zoning bylaw?

Discussion Paper on GENERAL REGULATIONS 2.10 Secondary Dwellings

If a house is spacious enough, why couldn’t it have a basement apartment and/or a coach house unit and/or an upstairs apartment or main floor addition, or even all of these?

Why should it matter that an apartment or coach house be with a detached house and not a semi-detached or townhouse?

Why couldn’t municipal services be connected up to a detached garage in the future (at the owner’s expense); why should the connection have to have existed prior to this bylaw?

Why should it matter what percentage of the floor area of the main dwelling the secondary dwelling is?

Why should every added unit have to have parking?

What DOES matter is that there be adequate green space on the property, that the added units meet standards of safety, space, and decency, and that noise bylaws be enforced. The lot frontage doesn’t matter. Whether the entrance faces the street or the side yard doesn’t matter. We need to pick our battles, so to speak.

I think we should encourage house designs that lend themselves to the future creation of accessory apartments. Give people choice. If a family wishes to create a unit for an elderly parent or a grown child, or both — or if a young homeowner or a widow wishes to add a “mortgage helper” apartment — make it easy to do these things. It should be expected that people will do it. Get rid of the rules that don’t matter. Allow there to be some units designated as no parking.

In this way hundreds of affordable accommodations could be added in the city very quickly, blending into their neighbourhoods and with no ghettoization.

Discussion Paper on LOW-DENSITY RESIDENTIAL

As above, we should anticipate greater density being added by homeowners over the years, and don’t let rules about bedrooms per hectare restrict this too much. It’s the gentlest way to increase density and provide much needed affordable housing.

Discussion Paper on HIGH-DENSITY RESIDENTIAL

I’ve only been able to view a map covering from Erb Street to University Avenue so it’s hard for me to pinpoint locations in the rest of the city.

I think our city needs more RMU-20 throughout the city to provide affordable rentals, now that the province allows frame construction up to six storeys. Not having to provide costly underground parking should allow more affordable units to be built. Don’t require a parking spot for every unit, especially Uptown.

Two good locations for RMU-20 are close to me in the core: Bridgeport Road between Peppler Street and Laurel Creek, and the houses just north of 151 King Street North.

Please change the zoning of 151-161 King Street North so that 151 with its tasteful-density additions is preserved, and the homes between there and the 12-storey building on the corner are designated RMU-20. Best use for that location.

The Bridgeport Road site could have RMU-20 closest to the homes on Peppler, and could step up to RMU-40 nearer the creek. I hope the city will facilitate removing the H provision where the gas station used to be (in front of the carpet warehouse). A good site for development, but not 25 storeys.

These suggestions would both decrease an 81 to a 20. But I’m happy to see an upgrade to RMU-20 proposed for Weber Street, Bridgeport/Royal, and Erb Street East and West. Another spot that should be upgraded to RMU-20 is the apartments at 29 Elgin Street — I’m not sure why it’s shown as R4 on the map. I would also be OK with some R-8 townhouses on King Street between Central Street and 151 King Street North, blending in with 151. That could fit nicely. Alternatively this corner might be a good location for a community centre serving both MacGregor-Albert and Uptown North. Something to think about.

I don’t think there should be any RMU-81 on King between Elgin and Noecker, and perhaps Marshall. (What happened at King/Noecker/James is a ghastly mistake, and I believe the city owes SERIOUS restitution to the St. Sofia church congregation for permitting this encroachment.) I suggest we need a category in between RMU-40 and RMU-81. Say RMU-50, which would allow 14 or 15 storeys. Existing neighbourhoods could more easily live with that.

Less than one parking space per unit should be required, in all of the above. Mandate more and better bicycle parking (this shouldn’t be a “bonus” point but basic). And we need to keep pushing the Region for better transit and be willing to contribute more revenue for it.

So I’m saying: more RMU 20, more allowance for accessory units in R 1-4, less parking, more bike parking, and no 25-storey towers: change RMU-81 to RMU-50.

This option is more affordable for everyone, allows neighbourhoods to feel coherent, and preserves the character of the city.

Discussion Paper on OPEN SPACE …

I like the vision of “urban open space system within built-up areas”. But I didn’t see anything about improving general walkability by avoiding overly long blocks.

Walk/cycle links need to be restored where poor planning in the recent past failed to provide for them: Hickory, Lester, Phillip to LRT and Brighton, Marshall, Lodge to plaza. This must be a high priority, so neighbourhoods can breathe again.

As mentioned above, it is urgent that the city buy an easement for a walkway close to the end of Hickory Street, or else all of Northdale will be locked in forever and frustrating to live in. And make sure the walkway continues all the way to the LRT station and University of Waterloo campus, with some green space along the way.

As for Lodge Street, there’s still time to acquire the land and build a walkway from Lodge Street to the plaza, while working to find a way to get an easement through to Marshall. Please make this a priority.

The ditch running behind University Plaza is a good potential place for green space. Would it be possible to extend it out to Weber and to Regina? This would provide more foot and bike access to the plaza, reducing bicycles on University. A footbridge (or several) over the ditch to the plaza, some trees and stone benches, and a walkway out to Lodge Street and eventually Marshall and Brighton … Please act now to make this happen! Put it on the zoning map. It could be a gem.

A parkette would also be the best use of the low land around the art gallery between Regina and Peppler. And it could eventually be linked across Peppler to Brighton Park. Please pencil it in and work toward assembling it over the years.

These are two or three examples of walking links and green space potential in my immediate neighbourhood. And are there any plans to complete Laurel Trail from Weber Street to Moses Springer Park? Just five or six houses …

Much more could be done with Laurel Creek uptown as well, as regards green space.

Parkettes need to be an integral part of all future development. As mentioned above, it should not be allowed to “horse-trade” parkland fees for green space far away; the green space should have to be where the development is. Same goes for affordable housing; it should have to be on the site.

Affordable housing, walkability, and green space. Zoning can do so much to enhance them all. In these ways we can build future neighbourhoods that feel safe and fostering for all the diverse ages, incomes, cultures, household types, and occupations of people who will live here.


Here are two articles on visioning urban growth that I found inspirational:

Density at a Human Scale, by Kaid Benfield:
http://www.sustainablecitiescollective.com/kaidbenfield/988196/smart-growth-not-all-urban-density-created-equal

Zoning for Happiness in Edmonton:
http://edmontonjournal.com/news/insight/in-a-happy-zone-how-planning-rules-can-improve-a-neighbourhood-vibe

And new info: Ontario’s Climate Action Plan will legislate away cities’
ability to require parking minimums:
http://tvo.org/article/current-affairs/the-next-ontario/why-parking-spots-in-the-gta-could-get-scarcer-and-pricier


Let me conclude with a few thoughts on Commercial and Employment zones:

Less parking! Less parking! Less parking! I support the points regarding parking made by TriTAG at:
http://www.tritag.ca/blog/2016/03/20/can-the-city-of-waterloo-move-beyond-parking-minimums/

Employment districts in north Waterloo need much better bike and bus access. They need to be much better integrated with the city and include mixed uses.

I also think we need a rule that nothing can be built that’s only one storey. Industrial “parks” are huge space wasters. If production needs to be on one level, some other use could be built above.

There also need to be strong incentives to include on-site renewable energy and green roofs.


Thank you for your time in considering all these suggestions regarding how Waterloo should grow. Our residential areas, and commercial and employment areas too, should promote neighbourliness and inclusion, and commitment to place, and good stewardship.

Eleanor Grant