KAWARTHA LAKES: Ross Memorial Hospital (RMH) is pleased to be one of 128 Ontario hospitals receiving Health Renewal Infrastructure Funding this winter.
MPP Laurie Scott visited RMH to make the announcement, on February 15th, and to tour the areas where the projects are underway.
Ross Memorial Hospital is receiving $400,000 for the following urgent repairs:
A set of safety doors in the Psychiatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU) must be replaced, to ensure a safe environment for patients, physicians and staff.
Roof replacement is required on the Obstetrical Unit and the 4th floor skywalk, stretching from the Surgical Unit to the orange elevators and stairwell.
“We’re grateful for the support of the provincial government, through this funding program, to address these urgent repair projects,” said Veronica Nelson, RMH Vice President and Chief Operating Officer. “Maintaining the integrity of our building is vital to our ability to provide a safe and healthy environment, for our patients and staff, every night and day.”
“The health and safety of patients, families, and staff is a top priority for our Government,” said MPP Scott. “We continue to make investments to improve our health care system and work toward ending hallway health care. I am pleased to see that this funding will enable RMH to undertake important repairs, to enhance the safety of their facility.”
The Health Infrastructure Renewal Fund (HIRF) assists hospitals with upgrading, improving and maintaining their facilities. Grants through the HIRF supplement hospital needs on a priority basis. This allows hospitals to decide where to invest the money and lets them proceed quickly with projects.
KAWARTHA LAKES: Jamie Schmale, the Conservative Deputy Shadow Minister for Natural Resources, released the following statement, on February 22nd, regarding the National Energy Board’s recommendation to the Liberal cabinet on the Trans Mountain Pipeline:
“Today’s recommendation from the National Energy Board, while positive, changes nothing. Prime Minister Trudeau’s government is still months away from making a decision, with no timeline for when consultations with First Nations will conclude or when a final decision on the project will be made.
“This 22-week reconsideration process by the National Energy Board was unnecessary, costly and only further delayed the construction of the Trans Mountain Pipeline.
“Within a week of the Federal Court of Appeal ruling, the Conservatives had a plan to rescue the project. This included calling for immediate emergency retroactive legislation, to affirm the National Energy Board’s determination Transport Canada was the appropriate department to assess the impact of marine traffic, related to the Trans Mountain Expansion.
“Meanwhile, thousands of Canadian families who rely on the energy sector for their jobs and livelihoods continue to suffer. Energy workers are paying for Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s mistakes.
“This is part of the Prime Minister’s plan to kill Canada’s energy sector. Liberal errors on the Trans Mountain Expansion, their ‘no more pipelines’ Bill C-69 and other anti-energy policies have destroyed Canada’s reputation as an attractive destination for the kind of energy investments that creates jobs and opportunity.
“Energy workers and their families deserve better from their government. A government led by Andrew Scheer will stand up for Canada’s energy sector, with the leadership needed to help energy workers and their families get ahead.”
EVE-LYNN SWAN The Standard
Over the past few years, large-scale farming has changed the look of northern Durham region’s countryside. Tree lines and fences have been cleared away, expanding the size of fields. Coils of perforated black plastic tubes have been buried in regular rows of trenches. Creeks have been directed into culverts.
For one Nestleton-area couple, the change was noted when it happened on nearby farmland and they didn’t like what they saw. They investigated and came to the conclusion that one corporation was buying a lot of land and altering the landscape.
Using local newspapers, the husband, a retired business owner, David Malcolm, published a call to action. In December, 2018 he wrote a passionate letter to the editor. The letter was published again in January, as a paid ad. In February, another ad featured a headline, a few paragraphs of text and a cartoon. It concluded “Please call your Regional Councillor or any other elected official to stop this carnage. Once it’s done there is no coming back. Life will change for all of us.”
The corporation has remained silent.
Should citizens heed Mr. Malcolm’s call? To help readers decide, over the next few weeks The Standard will feature interviews and information about farming practices, ownership, politics, land severances and planning issues, ecology and economics.
Seated at an oak table in the Malcolm family’s sunny dining area, artist Joanna Malcolm adds colour to a simple line drawing and also adds background information, recalling she’d driven through rural Scugog all her life, but in April of 2018 she noticed the land changing. “This industrial farmer has been moving towards this [area] for a number of years already, but I didn’t really pay attention until it was happening right in my back yard. I could see him taking down the fence lines and removing the significant trees. That’s when it really got my attention and I knew I needed to do something about it.”
She took pictures of an excavating machine next to fallen trees. Even though David and Joanna bought their 56-acre property from David’s father and were familiar with farming practices, they searched the internet, becoming aware of large-scale agriculture’s practices said to improve yields and profitability.
They also learned about problems associated with what they came to call industrial agriculture and related government policies around land ownership.
As 2018 progressed, the Malcolms noticed a request for a change to Durham Region’s official plan to make the creation of bigger farms even easier.
In plain terms, the new severance model allowed a large parcel of land to be bought by a farmer whose land is nowhere near the new property and allowed it to be divided into two pieces: A big piece for farming and a small piece which could be sold as a residence. Before this change to the Official Plan, a farm had to be joined or abutting the land being purchased in order to allow a severance.
David gestured toward papers covering the table in front of him. “They (Durham Region) were just letting anybody, any big farmer say “yeah, we’ll just take the house off. Whether you’re attaching farms together, consolidating, it doesn’t matter. You can buy a little farm over here, whether you own anything beside it, we’ll let you take the house and leave the property empty.” He continued, “What these companies [don’t do] is go and buy farms as farms… because they’re too expensive. Like they’re ten or twelve thousand dollars an acre, so what they’re doing is going after every hobby farm they can buy for a million dollars, sever, sell off the house and they only got $400,000 into the property.”
But in order to oppose Official Plan Amendment #172, David and Joanna were told studies and plans and lawyers would be required and costs could be upwards of $30,000. They thought about it, decided they could buy a lot of ads in local newspapers and bring the issue to their fellow citizen’s attention, and dropped their defiant plans. The amendment was approved by Durham Region Council on September 12th, 2018.
Even though non-abutting farm parcels could legally have “surplus” residential dwellings severed, the Malcolms went ahead with their publicity plan and call to action.
With emotion causing him to speak louder, Mr. Malcom told The Standard, he fears the sale of thousands of acres to a few farmers concentrates ownership, making the large farms too expensive for smaller-scale farmers to buy. And once severed, those big pieces of land cannot have houses built on them, ever.
Not that future farmers hoping to grow fruit or vegetables would want the land once wheat, corn and soybeans had taken much of the good nutrients out of the soil, he noted, adding, he’s also concerned about the health of lakes and river systems as agricultural pest control and fertilizer products are funnelled into man-made drainage systems without the benefit of filtering through soil.
Joanna mourns the loss of hedgerows and the carbon those trees fixed; wonders if the birds and animals that used the fence lines as protected travel ways will be safe. She tasted the dust as soil blew across the bare fields last year and she ponders the future cost of repairs to stressed infrastructure, as channelled water floods local roads.
Parents to six children, the Malcolms are passionate about maintaining the social, economic and ecological balance of rural Ontario in the face of many changes.
Grandchildren may someday read David’s declaration: “I’m just one person in this incredible area, and thought, for history I want it recorded on which side I sat” And they will have access to a letter Joanna wrote to politicians regarding the changes, in which she asked if they would be responsible environmental stewards: “Will you be the hero, or the bad guy, in your grandchild’s bedtime story?”
Please read upcoming editions of The Standard for more information on this complex issue. Next time: How land severances and consolidations change rural areas.
DAN CEARNS The Standard
SCUGOG: Multiple vehicles were involved in a collision on the causeway on Hwy. 7A in Port Perry on Monday, February 25th.
The accident occurred in Scugog just after noon.
“The blowing snow coming from the North resulted in whiteout conditions along the causeway. Visibility was poor. There were eight passenger vehicles, two commercial vehicles and a coach bus involved. The accident caused road blockages of both lanes,” Scugog Fire Department Duty Captain Todd Soomre told The Standard.
Captain Soomre added injuries from the accident “were considered to be minor”, with those involved transported to Lakeridge Health Port Perry.
Members of the Ontario Provincial Police were at the scene to investigate. Snow and wind made conditions on roads across Ontario dangerous on Monday.
“Weather conditions played a key role in the cause of the incident,” Captain Soomre said.
For people who plan to drive in winter conditions, Captain Soomre had a message.
“Please drive accordingly to the weather conditions, reduce your speed and keep a safe distance between vehicles.”
SCUGOG: A 43-year-old Port Perry woman is in critical condition, following a vehicle collision on Simcoe St. North, north of Raglan Rd. in Oshawa, on Thursday, January 24th.
According to police, a little before 8:30 a.m., officers from the East Division were called to a serious motor vehicle collision involving three vehicles, on that stretch of roadway.
Police say, a red Toyota Rav4 was travelling southbound on Simcoe Street North, when the vehicle lost control and crossed the centre line, veering into the northbound lane. In the northbound lane, the passenger side of the Rav4 was struck by a black Ford pick-up truck. The third vehicle was following the Toyota Rav4.
First responders attended the scene within minutes, and provided medical assistance to the female driver of the Toyota Rav4. The woman was transported to a local hospital, then air-lifted to a Toronto area trauma hospital, with life-threatening injuries. At this time the woman remains in stable, but critical condition. The other drivers did not sustain any injuries.
Police had that area of roadway closed for several hours, for evidence collection.
Anyone with information about this incident or who may have witnessed this collision is asked to call Detective Constable Bill Scott of the Traffic Services Branch, at 1-888-579-1520 ext. 5217.
EVE-LYNN SWAN The Standard
KAWARTHA LAKES: The farming community heads to the city, Wednesday, March 6th and Thursday, March 7th, when the 39th annual East Central Farm Show takes over the Commonwell Exhibition Building, at the Lindsay Fairgrounds, starting at 9:30 a.m. daily. Those who work 9 to 5 should mark Wednesday evening, before 9 p.m., on their calendars as the show closes at 4 p.m. on Thursday.
The East Central District Soil and Crop Improvement Association brings farm technology and farm equipment dealers, crop input and soil management companies, livestock feed suppliers, farm organizations, insurance, and financial and program service companies under one roof, all for a $5 admission fee. And for Soil and Crop Association members, admission is free and memberships are available at the door for $20. Parking is free.
The opportunity to see farm machinery from all the big manufacturers, up close, is enough to bring respect to the most impatient automobile driver. Those tractors are big.
Take a break from looking at new and computerized machinery and stop by the Kawartha Antique Power booth. It is a non-profit organization, consisting of 234 full-time members and 25 junior members, who plan and host an annual antique power heritage show the third weekend of June, at the Lindsay Fairgrounds.
For those looking to research environmental farming practices, the East Central Farm Stewardship Collaborative (ECFSC) is made up of 11 member organizations, and will be there showing farmers and farmland owners how to access technical support and funding for environmental improvements. The Ontario Woodlot Association will be nearby, offering sustainable forest management information. Farther along the row is Eleanor Reed, forester and owner of Lands & Forest Consulting, who will help enact those woodlot plans. Pineneedle Farms and H. Richardson Farms sells trees, so be sure to see them, too. Ecocert Canada works to certify organic products, so be sure to find out what it takes to qualify.
Beef farmers will have a chance to catch up with their friends, at Peterborough Cattlemen and the Beef Farmers of Ontario; perhaps with some pie or lunch supplied by the 4-H groups? Have a look at booths representing the Herefords, Limousin, Shorthorn, Charolais, and Simmental beef breeds. RK Animal Supplies’ line of grooming products for show animals is worth a look, too.
“Actively seeking, testing and adopting optimal farm production and stewardship practices” is the Vision Statement for the eastern group’s parent organization. With a mission to “Facilitate responsible economic management of soil, water, air and crops through development and communication of innovative farming practices,” the Association uses the annual show to bring new information and technology to its membership.
The East Central Region of the Soil and Crop Improvement Association includes Durham and York Regions, the counties of Peterborough and Haliburton and the City of Kawartha Lakes. Members meet to share ideas, visit other farms, view demonstration days and participate in conferences. Crop trial participation helps the farm community assist with applied research, improving productivity and profits. Newsletters bring advice from soil and crop experts.
DAN CEARNS The Standard
UXBRIDGE: Durham Regional Police (DRPS) opened the new Uxbridge Community Policing Centre, on Thursday, February 21st.
The new centre is located at 11-307 Toronto St. South, and replaces the former satellite office which was located on Brock St., and had to be closed because of the Uxbridge Culvert project.
“Connecting with the community and building trust is a critical component of modern policing. We are glad to continue the long history of DRPS officers working closely with this community from the new central home base,” Durham Regional Chair John Henry told those in attendance at the official opening.
The building will be used by officers as needed, so it will not have regular public access hours, but will be a facility where officers can meet with members of the public when necessary. Just outside the office there is an emergency phone installed, where residents can link up directly with DRPS Communications. The office can also be used by officers to work on reports when they are in the Uxbridge area.
“This is a really exciting time for us because we’re finally back in Uxbridge with a storefront operation,” North Division Inspector Dave Saliba told The Standard. “Our officers have a place they can come to. It allows them to attend here, talk to people who have concerns and complete their reports and do all of the administrative requirements as a front-line police officer.”
Inspector Saliba also said having this location will be beneficial for North Division officers.
“If an officer needs to do a report, complete a report on something that has just occurred, then they can do it here in the station and at that time. If somebody were to walk in through the front doors, we can also address those concerns at the same time as the officers are dealing with their reports,” he said. “The intention of the substation will be for officers to attend here as needed. If somebody comes and they need to speak to police in person, we can absolutely do it here. We can also deal with them at their residence or wherever for that matter.”
When the former Brock St. location closed, the Uxbridge Fire Department allowed Durham police to use their station in the meantime.
“Our officers were allowed to go there, which was really beneficial for us, so we’re very thankful to the Uxbridge Fire Department for that,” Inspector Saliba said.
Uxbridge Mayor Dave Barton explained the importance of Durham police having this office in the Uxbridge area.
“Policing is so important to our residents. We’ve heard it over and over during the campaign, at almost every house we went to,” he said. “A police presence in Uxbridge matters to our community.”
Scugog Mayor, and member of the Region’s Police Services board, Bobbie Drew said “the visible presence of the DRPS in our northern communities is an important priority.”
“This station is another way to make the DRPS more accessible to the citizens it serves,” she added.
The facility is 1,533 square feet. DRPS Chief Paul Martin said the opening of this building represents a commitment to good policing in North Durham.
“This is one of those tangible reminders that we are here to serve the North. The North is very vast in size and we need places to meet with the community, and [for] the community to see us in a tangible way, and this is one of those opportunities,” Chief Martin said.
Former Uxbridge Mayor and former Regional Chair Gerri Lynn O’Connor said she was happy to see the new station project completed and opened.
“We fought for this station because we knew we needed it, and I have to say, to the Chief and to the board, a huge thank you for your support,” she said. “The residents of this community have a place in which they can come and express whatever it might be that’s bothering them. This is an awesome facility.”
CLAUDIA SYTSMA The Standard
KAWARTHA LAKES: On February 14th, 2019 the Ontario Superior Court of Justice released its decision, regarding an application brought forward, on November 28th, 2018, by lawyer Mike Perry on behalf of four recipients of the Basic Income Program and study project, to overturn the decision made by the Ontario PC government to cut funding to the Program.
In their decision to uphold the Provincial government’s cut to this program, Judges J. Thorburn, J. Reid and J. Myers stated, in a written summary, “the responsibility for the management of public funds rests with the government and not the court...”, and reiterated further in the document, “the distribution of government funds per ce is a political not a judicial function.”
What makes this case so compelling is, the Basic Income Program was structured as a research project, involving over 6,000 participants, and was not a government funding initiative, apparently making ethical standards of practice, guiding and overseeing its implementation. In Canada, research studies involving humans must adhere to and apply the ethical principles and articles outlined in a document called the Tri-Council Policy Statement. This court case examined whether the Minister of Children, Community and Social Services, Lisa Macleod, did breach those principles when she announced its cancellation, in July of 2018.
The court had to review opposing and well-argued interpretations, from expert witnesses, who submitted affidavits supporting the government's action’s as ethical, or declaring them as unethical, with one expert making the observation, “Ethics, however, is mired in disagreement within and outside the field.” In contention, and deliberated by both sides, were the following issues:
One; were the participants advised correctly as to the accurate timeline of the project, as is ethically required. In an information pamphlet given to them as part of the contractual agreement, the project was described as “lasting up to three years”. In dispute, is whether this wording suggests a firm commitment of the three-year term, or does it provide an “escape clause”, justifying termination of the program at any point determined by the Ministry.
Two; were the participants’ right’s violated because of the manner in which the cancellation of the project was conducted, thus putting them at, what one expert described as, “unnecessary or avoidable risk”. Court documents entitled the ‘Factum of the Applicants’, noted an oversight review board for the Basic Income Program and research project, called “Veritas IRB”, was engaged at the onset of this study. Initially, the previous government, under Premiere Wynne, signed a Protocol Submission Form, giving Veritas IRB the authority to review and oversee the program under the jurisdiction of the Tri-Council Policy of Canada. However, when the current government, led by Doug Ford, cancelled the program, Veritas IRB disputed its dissolution citing, “no ethical justification was provided for this decision...”. According to court documents, the Minister’s office, through correspondence dated November 26th, 2018, then terminated its engagement of Veritas “in light of (its) position”, effective immediately.
Although not being an ethical consideration, it was also presented to the court, Minister Lisa Macleod, in Legislature on August 1st, 2018, when responding to a question as to why the Basic Income Program was being cancelled for thousands of recipients, many of whom are veterans, disabled, chronically ill, and single mothers, answered the program was, “actually dis-incentivizing people from working”, and later commented the best social program “is a job.”
Response by the applicants to this assertion is, no data, research or studies have been produced by the (Minister) to support this contention. However, the lawyer for Applicants, Mike Perry, produced the government’s own study showing 30% of participants were employed, and 14% of those were actually working two jobs.
According to the ‘Factum of the Applicants’, the Minister has stated that the Basic Income Program was canceled because, “if it were to proceed, it would be too expensive; costing $17 billion, and leading to a 20% HST.” Drew Vanderduim, Senior Program Analyst, FISCAL Planning Unit, Attorney General, Government of Ontario was cross-examined, on December 12th, 2018, and was asked about what reports or studies were sourced for the Minister’s estimation of increasing HST to 20%, and provided no answer based on advice from his counsel.
The applicants will now proceed with a class action lawsuit for damages incurred, as the result of the early cancellation of the program. Lawyer Mike Perry stated, “People are not disposable. Governments can’t just throw people aside. No matter (what) people’s opinion (are) on a basic income as a social policy, we can surely all agree that you don’t make a financial commitment to people and then just pull the plug early, throwing them under the financial bus.”
It can be observed, in this decision, the courts did not rule specifically on whether the termination of this project violates the Tri-Council Policy Statement. They refer to a number of other judgments which upheld a funder’s right (the Province) to make policy decisions that are not in violation, and cannot be subject to judicial authority, quoting another case in which the judge stated, “While it may sometimes seem unfair when rules are changed in the middle of a game; that is the nature of the game when one is dealing with government programs”.
DAN CEARNS The Standard
SCUGOG: Scugog Township council has decided to continue to allow the Port Perry BIA to choose their own directors.
At a meeting on Monday, January 21st, there was discussion on the BIA’s bylaw, regarding the process of creating the BIA board.
“What we initially considered doing was, we thought it would be prudent for us, given that there have been some difficulties with the BIA, from my understanding over the last two years anyway, that we would appoint directors to the BIA. Then we reconsidered and decided that what we should do is appoint directors to the BIA and let the BIA appoint some of those members,” Ward 5 Councillor Lance Brown explained. “Today, upon consideration of any number of submissions from people, I presume business people in this area, we have decided that we will let the BIA, in essence, appoint its own directors with the proviso that we will vet that.”
Councillor Brown’s message to the BIA was “we hope that you choose the right people, and we look forward to those people that are being brought forth.”
Ward 2 Councillor Janna Guido stressed the importance of the BIA continuing to select their directors themselves.
“I feel strongly that we need to allow our membership a say in who is representing them on the BIA board,” she said.
Mayor Bobbie Drew explained the issues the Township’s relationship with the BIA has experienced.
“We’re looking for some positive changes. It’s been a very difficult year, with communications being very poor, and the relations have not been positive between the BIA and council, the BIA and staff and the BIA and all of their members. It’s our understanding, from talking to some people today, that the nomination form did not go out to everybody, It was hand delivered to some businesses and that all members had not been notified of the annual general meeting,” she said.
At the meeting, council decided to make a change to the membership size of the BIA, going from 11 directors, which included nine BIA members and two councillors, to 9 directors, eight of which will be BIA members and one will be a Scugog councillor.
As part of a separate motion, brought up by Councillor Brown, council voted to allow the BIA membership to vote in their directors, with the board members later being approved by council. However, the motion included conditions, such as the BIA provide council with confirmation of all members being notified of the board election and all members receiving a nomination package.
The World Day of Prayer (WDP) was originally started by Christian women in 1927. This ecumenical movement, welcomes all denominations, and people of all races, cultures and traditions, and brings together participants from around the globe to pray together, on this day, for peace and social justice for women and children around the world.
The WDP acknowledges the strength which comes from unity of purpose amongst Christians, and bases their movement on the motto of 'Informed Prayer and Prayerful Action' being the cornerstone of change, to influence, address, and reconcile the root causes of suffering and injustice. This initiative strives to inform and shine a spotlight on current global concerns, and encourages participants to use their talents to support equitable social change. Since its inception in the United States, the movement has grown worldwide, and now includes committees from over 170 countries who actively work together, to plan the yearly service within their community, and yearly create a spotlight on one countries' needs and challenges.
This year the country of Slovenia was chosen, and their message for service will be, “Come-Everything is Ready”, meaning come to praise, thank, and proclaim the kingdom of Love.
Several churches will be hosting the World Day of Prayer event. In Scugog Township, one of these locations is the Greenbank United Church. Everyone is welcome to their service, held on Friday, March 1st, at 1:30 p.m., located at 19991 Hwy 12, on the corner of Hwy. 12 and Cragg Rd. Minister Stephanie Richmond stated, “An invitation has been extended to all the surrounding churches, of all denominations. The World day of prayer is an opportunity for people to come together in unity, all over the world, and feel spiritually connected. There is something really empowering when you know that people all over the world are lifting up their voices in prayer on the same day, and praying for the same cause. It gives us a chance to hear the voices that are often neglected, (but) it also offers hope, and stories of success, and [it] is an opportunity for us to grow and learn and offer prayerful support. During the service there is an offering that is collected and the money is used to fund World Day of Prayer in Canada, and grants for projects to restore hope to women touched by injustice. I do believe that prayer changes us. When we open our hearts and listen deeply to God's Spirit of love for all people, we see the world differently, and we feel compelled to do our part.”
In closing, Minister Stephanie also provided the following inspirational quote from Mother Theresa. “I used to pray that God would feed the hungry, or do this or that, but now I pray that God will guide me to do whatever I'm supposed to do, what I can do. I used to pray for answers, but now I'm praying for strength. I used to believe that prayer changes things, but now I know that prayer changes us, and we change things.”