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.
Sierra Club Canada is calling on the federal government to follow the lead of European Union and take action to protect at-risk bee populations by banning three neonicotinoid pesticides: Imidacloprid, Clothianidin and Thiamethoxam.
The pesticides, which attack the bees’ nervous system, are being banned in Europe after strong evidence from a European Food Safety Authority study linked them to the bee die-off witnessed in Europe.
Starting this fall, clear food containers, the ubiquitous 'clamshells' used for egg cartons, fruit and vegetables, and baked goods, will be recyclable in the Toronto's Blue Box. This will divert 2000 tonnes of waste per year from landfill!
Unfortunately, the provincial government, in its energy policy document, exhibited its shortsightedness when it dismissed regional public transit as a viable option in its commitment to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. To date they have tended to view it as a transportation option meriting little importance on their agenda.
Local environmental organizations say a decision by Queen's Park to enhance its plan to protect the environment will be a boon for the Credit River.
Premier Dalton McGuinty announced today that the Province is expanding its Greenbelt Plan and adding provincially owned lands in Oakville to grow the greenbelt to nearly two million acres of protected land across the Golden Horseshoe.
The greenbelt stretches about 325 kilometres from Rice Lake, near Peterborough, to the Niagara River and was created to protect environmentally sensitive lands from urban development and sprawl.
A scroll of (over 10,000) signatures snaked down the steps at the legislature Thursday as environmental groups called on the government to complete the promised protections for the Great Bear Rainforest.
The headline of this article made me think of the legal forgiveness that car/truck drivers often get when they hit pedestrians or bicyclists. But that's not what they are talking about. They are talking about engineered transportation designs that allow for our mistakes and human nature. An example of forgiving design is the placement of rumble-strips on the road to alert an auto driver they are approaching a stop or may be driving off onto the shoulder. Unfortunately, some of these forgiving elements only serve to allow drivers to speed up or drive more carelessly.
Forgiving design elements are known but rarely applied to protect pedestrians and bicyclists but that trend appears to be changing.