Austerity and obscurantism. These were the defining features of the first full calendar year of Stephen Harper’s majority government, which came to a quiet close this week.
Take, for instance, Bill C-38, Canada’s longest-ever federal budget. Setting out $5-billion in spending cuts, the budget was the most austere in over a decade. And yet, despite the depth of the slashes and thus their potential to remake the country, their nature and likely impacts remain intentionally obscure. As part of an omnibus budget, most of the cuts were not evaluated by the relevant parliamentary committees; details about their implementation were withheld from watchdogs and opposition MPs; and many cuts were to programs without which it will be very difficult to measure the price we’ve paid for austerity.
Environmental activism has come of age. As recently as twenty-five years ago, its adherents were commonly disparaged as tree huggers and extremists. In the years since, thanks mostly to such disasters as the Exxon Valdez and Deepwater Horizon oil spills, they have outgrown these pejoratives—in the eyes of reasonable people, at least. A turning point was Al Gore’s 2006 documentary, An Inconvenient Truth, which for millions of viewers settled the debate on climate change.
The Long-Term Energy Plan review now underway in Ontario demands our attention despite its sleep-inducing name. The choices the Wynne government makes will affect your pocket book, our economic competitiveness and the health of our environment.
"To everyone who came out to Russell Lake Takes Root Oct 5, I can't thank you enough! From the businesses who made the event so hospitable to the community members who helped plant 1600 trees in just under two hours, what an amazing demonstration of how communities come together. I hope people enjoyed themselves today and that you might consider joining us the next time we have an event! Photos from today may be posted in the future on the HRM Diverse Facebook page..
The break is over and we only have a few days to convince the Ontario government not to weaken its already inadequate enforcement of the Endangered Species Act.
The Natural Resources Ministry wants to stop issuing permits to developers wanting to build in areas where endangered species are living. Instead of being required to obtain a permit (as is the case now) when working in sensitive habitat areas home to endangered or threatened species, developers and industry would only have to voluntarily comply with existing rules and regulations. In our business "voluntary regulation" is an oxymoron; a misnomer for deregulation or the wholesale gutting of regulation (remember voluntary labeling of GM foods – 10 years later we’re still waiting for that to happen).
[Halifax, NS] - HRM Diverse, a program run by the Sierra Club Canada, Atlantic Canada Chapter is hosting a series of expert guided nature walks this summer throughout the HRM. Geared toward members of the public who want to learn more about wilderness in urban settings, a monthly expert will guide the walks and provide information and answer questions. The first HRM Diverse Walk will be held at Point Pleasant Park on Saturday June 29th at 1:00 PM, and will meet in the Tower Road parking lot.