Residents of Midway BC take ownership of local mill

Residents of Midway BC are now the owners of their local mill. Originally closed down in 2007, local residents invested a sum of $250,000 to become shareholders and give the mill a “new lease on life”. They needed to raise an additional $750,000 by August 31st to meet a mortgage payment deadline. The deadline was met and now the mill is set to reopen this October. The mill will create at least 35 jobs and will be renamed the Boundary Sawmill, the original name the mill held when it first opened. Read more in the Vancouver Sun.

Britain’s rivers once considered “polluted death” are now “teeming with life”

Britain’s Environment Agency credits the many habitat restoration programs and strict regulation of pollutants for the regeneration of rivers and the return of wildlife. Six rivers in particular made the list as most improved including the River Wandle, a tributary of the Thames. The Wandle was once considered a sewer, but is now considered one of the best urban fisheries in the world. Read more at the Vancouver Sun. 

A building that will live off rainwater, generate electricity and compost sewage

The groundbreaking has begun on the world’s greenest building, Seattle’s Bullitt Centre. The building will generate its own electricity with solar power, including enough for winter months, live off its own rainwater and compost its own sewage to be sent off site as fertilizer. The building will cover over 10,000 square feet and will be the world’s largest net-zero energy and net-zero water building ever. Read more in the LA Times. 

Report links Climate Change to Civil Strife

A new study that examines the impact of El Ninõ on human populations throughout history has concluded that extreme weather variations can lead to civil strife and sometimes war. “Lead author Solomon Hsiang of Columbia’s Earth Institute said El Niño was an invisible factor – but not the only one – in driving intra-border conflict.

By causing crop losses, hurricane damage or helping to spread epidemics of water-borne disease, it amplified hunger, loss, unemployment and inequality, which in turn fuelled resentment and division.”

Read article in the Vancouver Sun. 

Read study Climate cycles drive civil war in Nature.

Surrey’s Living Books program will lend local experts

Innovation in Surrey abounds! The soon to open City Centre Library will have an innovative  program that enlists local residents, who are experts in various capacities, to be available on loan for ½ hour to 45 minute conversations. The program is about sharing information and experience, and building community amongst Surrey’s diverse populations. Read more at Good Culture.

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Transferring of gas tax to municipalties would improve transit and ease congestion

Currently municipalities receive 10 cents for every dollar collected in gas taxes, but the Globe and Mail suggests that many municipal woes – from traffic congestion to crumbling infrastructure, would be fixed if the full amount were transferred. At present, “traffic congestion in the Greater Toronto Area alone costs the economy $3.3-billion in lost productivity.” Improvements to public transit would improve commuting times and create happier and healthier communities. Read editorial in the Globe and Mail. 

Jack Layton’s letter to Canadians

August 20, 2011

Toronto, Ontario

Dear Friends,

Tens of thousands of Canadians have written to me in recent weeks to wish me well. I want to thank each and every one of you for your thoughtful, inspiring and often beautiful notes, cards and gifts. Your spirit and love have lit up my home, my spirit, and my determination.

Unfortunately my treatment has not worked out as I hoped. So I am giving this letter to my partner Olivia to share with you in the circumstance in which I cannot continue.

I recommend that Hull-Aylmer MP Nycole Turmel continue her work as our interim leader until a permanent successor is elected.

I recommend the party hold a leadership vote as early as possible in the New Year, on approximately the same timelines as in 2003, so that our new leader has ample time to reconsolidate our team, renew our party and our program, and move forward towards the next election.

A few additional thoughts:

To other Canadians who are on journeys to defeat cancer and to live their lives, I say this: please don’t be discouraged that my own journey hasn’t gone as well as I had hoped. You must not lose your own hope. Treatments and therapies have never been better in the face of this disease. You have every reason to be optimistic, determined, and focused on the future. My only other advice is to cherish every moment with those you love at every stage of your journey, as I have done this summer.

To the members of my party: we’ve done remarkable things together in the past eight years. It has been a privilege to lead the New Democratic Party and I am most grateful for your confidence, your support, and the endless hours of volunteer commitment you have devoted to our cause. There will be those who will try to persuade you to give up our cause. But that cause is much bigger than any one leader. Answer them by recommitting with energy and determination to our work. Remember our proud history of social justice, universal health care, public pensions and making sure no one is left behind. Let’s continue to move forward. Let’s demonstrate in everything we do in the four years before us that we are ready to serve our beloved Canada as its next government.

To the members of our parliamentary caucus: I have been privileged to work with each and every one of you. Our caucus meetings were always the highlight of my week. It has been my role to ask a great deal from you. And now I am going to do so again. Canadians will be closely watching you in the months to come. Colleagues, I know you will make the tens of thousands of members of our party proud of you by demonstrating the same seamless teamwork and solidarity that has earned us the confidence of millions of Canadians in the recent election.

To my fellow Quebecers: On May 2nd, you made an historic decision. You decided that the way to replace Canada’s Conservative federal government with something better was by working together in partnership with progressive-minded Canadians across the country. You made the right decision then; it is still the right decision today; and it will be the right decision right through to the next election, when we will succeed, together. You have elected a superb team of New Democrats to Parliament. They are going to be doing remarkable things in the years to come to make this country better for us all.

To young Canadians: All my life I have worked to make things better. Hope and optimism have defined my political career, and I continue to be hopeful and optimistic about Canada. Young people have been a great source of inspiration for me. I have met and talked with so many of you about your dreams, your frustrations, and your ideas for change. More and more, you are engaging in politics because you want to change things for the better. Many of you have placed your trust in our party. As my time in political life draws to a close I want to share with you my belief in your power to change this country and this world. There are great challenges before you, from the overwhelming nature of climate change to the unfairness of an economy that excludes so many from our collective wealth, and the changes necessary to build a more inclusive and generous Canada. I believe in you. Your energy, your vision, your passion for justice are exactly what this country needs today. You need to be at the heart of our economy, our political life, and our plans for the present and the future.

And finally, to all Canadians: Canada is a great country, one of the hopes of the world. We can be a better one – a country of greater equality, justice, and opportunity. We can build a prosperous economy and a society that shares its benefits more fairly. We can look after our seniors. We can offer better futures for our children. We can do our part to save the world’s environment. We can restore our good name in the world. We can do all of these things because we finally have a party system at the national level where there are real choices; where your vote matters; where working for change can actually bring about change. In the months and years to come, New Democrats will put a compelling new alternative to you. My colleagues in our party are an impressive, committed team. Give them a careful hearing; consider the alternatives; and consider that we can be a better, fairer, more equal country by working together. Don’t let them tell you it can’t be done.

My friends, love is better than anger. Hope is better than fear. Optimism is better than despair. So let us be loving, hopeful and optimistic. And we’ll change the world.

All my very best,

Jack Layton 

Billionaire Warren Buffet says rich should pay more taxes

Multi-billionaire US investor Warren Buffet says that that wealthy people like himself are not paying their fair share of taxes and governments need to start collecting more revenue from the ‘super rich’.

To read Buffet’s New York Times op-ed, titled “Stop Coddling the Super Rich”, click here

Is it bad for cities to be in debt? Not necessarily

With all the talk of government debt recently — Toronto, $4.7 billion; Ontario, $240 billion; the U.S., $14.6 trillion — the spectacular figures and the concept of debt itself have become so abstract many people don’t even understand the conversation. The Toronto Star recently spoke with Dr. Enid Slack, director of the University of Toronto’s Institute on Municipal Finance and Governance, Ryerson urban planning professor and municipal finance expert David Amborski and senior staff in the City of Toronto’s finance department to answer the ABC’s of how municipal debt works.

To read the Star article, click here 


Norwood adds its name to growing list of municipalities calling for an exemption from CETA

Norwood Ontario has passed a resolution calling on the provinces and the federal government “to negotiate a clear, permanent exemption for local governments” from the Canada-European Union Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement. Like other municipalities, Norwood is concerned the CETA agreement will impact their ability to procure goods and services locally and that they would lose their ability to control their own water and waste facilities. Read more at the Community Press.