Ontario Conservative politicians running from carbon taxes

Going green is going too far.

The Liberal government in Canada’s province of Ontario has been in power for a long time, and is due for an election this June. The government is deeply unpopular outside of the big cities primarily because a) the Premier is a gay woman and b) green energy policies. I wrote about the last Premier stepping down:

It is the coal that killed him; In the last election he lost a huge number of seats in rural ridings divided by wind turbines on land and offshore. To save an important seat in Oakville, Ontario, he cancelled a natural gas peaker plant that was already ordered; This is growing in to a half a billion dollar scandal. Dalton was done in by his green energy policies and the NIMBY reaction to them. It is a cautionary tale.

Kathleen WynneOntario Wind Resistance/ Premier Kathleen Wynne up against Wind/via

The opposition Conservative party should have won the last two elections after all these scandals, but they kept choosing seriously right-wing leaders who scared urban and suburban voters (the majority in the Province now) away.

People's guaranteeProgressive Conservative Party Peoples’ Guarantee/Screen capture

Enter Patrick Brown, who became party leader in May, 2015. He tacked hard to the left as what used to be known as a “Red Tory”- unlike the USA, in Canada red means liberal and left, blue means conservative and right. His “People’s Guarantee” probably would be too left wing for American Democrats. It also had a carbon tax that seemed quite sensible; according to Tony Keller in the conservative Globe and Mail,

A revenue-neutral carbon tax is also beloved by economists, since it involves raising taxes on something our society wants less of – pollution – and using the money to lower taxes on the productive economic activities we want more of, such as paid work.

Then Patrick Brown got caught up in a #metoo scandal and was dumped as leader about three hours later, and there is now a last-minute leadership campaign to replace him. And the biggest question right now is who can run furthest and fastest from the carbon tax.

The candidate to come out against it was Doug Ford, yes, the late Rob Ford’s brother. He is picking up the hard right wing torch and will burn the province down, like he almost did to the city. He is quoted in the Star:

I am the only candidate who has been unequivocal in opposition to the carbon tax and … have been clear since day one. I will axe the carbon tax. Just watch me.

Christine Elliot is the experienced hand in the race, and is listening to the Vox populi:

I personally oppose a carbon tax, and I know many of you feel the same way. This leadership race is a way for you to have your say.

Not to be left out of the party, Caroline Mulroney, daughter of former Prime Minister Brian Mulroney who was a really red Tory, even signing a free trade deal with Ronald Reagan, has flipped over.

As the leader of our party I will not support a carbon tax. I’m a conservative and I’m not in favour of a new tax, especially Justin Trudeau’s carbon tax,” she said, adding she has “now had the opportunity to speak with hundreds of members of our party” and “consulted with members of our caucus and our nominated candidates.”

Patrick Brown told one interviewer that “we have to take climate change seriously. We can’t avoid conversations on the environment.” But apparently it is back to business as usual; if you are a Progressive Conservative, you can.

Source Article from https://www.treehugger.com/environmental-policy/ontario-conservative-politicians-running-carbon-taxes.html

Photo: Sunset ignites the ice on Lake Ontario

Our photo of the day is a story of fire and ice.

The photographer behind the Flickr account, A Great Capture, didn’t reveal very much about this photo, other than it was taken during sunset at Lake Ontario. But who needs descriptions? A scene like this needs few words other than “ahhhh.”

Would you like to see your nature photo featured as the TreeHugger photo of the day? Join TreeHugger’s Reader Photo Pool on flickr and add your pictures to the group.

Source Article from https://www.treehugger.com/slideshows/readers-photos/photo-sunset-ignites-ice-lake-ontario/

Photographer Captures Amazing “Pillars Of Light” In Northern Ontario, Canada

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Growing up in a small town in Northern British Columbia, Canada, the Northern Lights were a common sight. It wasn’t until I moved to Toronto back in 2010, that I actually realized how much I took this spectacular light show for granted as so many people I met had a longing to witness this natural beauty – it didn’t occur to me that I was actually lucky to witness this beauty as many people had only dreamed of seeing the Northern Lights. Since I left my home town, I have not seen the lights again, even though it’s all I want to see.

Although to view the aurora borealis is somewhat rare, there is another natural phenomenon that can be witnessed in colder climates in the Northern Hemisphere at night time, these have come to be known as “light pillars” as essentially, they are pillars of light and colour that seem to shoot up from the ground and into the sky, they are also very beautiful!

Every once in a while someone is able to capture this beauty on camera so that the rest of us who have only dreamed about such an event can have a glimpse at the magnificence that our mother, Gaia has to show us. Recently, photographer Timothy Joseph Elzinga was woken up by his 2-year-old son, Gibson at 1:30am after his son noticed these beautiful coloured lights dancing through the sky. Timothy grabbed his camera and was able to shoot some breathtaking photos, he later realized that what he was seeing was actually a natural phenomena known as light pillars.

“I thought it was The Northern Lights because we live in Canada. It was a super clear night, you could see everything. These lights were shooting into the sky, blasting hundreds of feet in the air and they were shimmering and moving.” Elzinga said.

What Are These Light Pillars?

Well, believe it or not, they aren’t messages waiting to be decoded sent to us from super advanced hyper dimensional beings – at least that’s not what mainstream science tells us. A light pillar is essentially an optical phenomenon created by our atmosphere. It is an interaction of light with ice crystals. When the temperature drops and the ice crystals position themselves horizontally as they fall through the air, they are acting as vessels for the light, and thus shooting it upwards into the sky.

If you haven’t been lucky enough to witness this natural magnificence for yourself, perhaps you will appreciate some photographs from various sightings of these pillars of light from around the world. Enjoy!

1. Pillars Of Light In Aftonbladet

2. In Moscow, Russia

3. Pillars Of Light In Ontario, Canada

4. Beautiful Light Pillars, Unknown

5. In Finland

6. In Jackson, Wyoming, USA

7. Light Pillars In Russia

8. More In Russia

9. Light Pillars Over Alaska

10. Light Pillars Over Nesbyen, Norway

Much Love

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Cobalt, Ontario

Cobalt, Ontario

October 31st, 2017

Via: Bloomberg:

Ironically, Cobalt, Ontario—population 1,100—was built on silver.

Remnants of a boom that transformed the town more than a century ago are everywhere. A mine headframe still protrudes from the roof of the bookstore, which was previously a grocery. The butcher used to toss unwanted bones down an abandoned 350-foot shaft in the middle of the shop floor and keep meat cool in its lowered mine cage.

While the last silver mines closed almost 30 years ago, a global push for the village’s namesake metal is promising to breathe new life into the sleepy town 500 kilometers (300 miles) north of Toronto. The whitish element (which “blooms� pink when exposed to air) was initially ignored by the area’s prospectors and later mined mainly as a by-product of silver. Now, global demand for cobalt, a component in batteries used to power electric cars for automakers from Tesla Inc. to Volkswagen AG, is changing the game.

Call it a cobalt rush in Cobalt.

“This area’s seen more airborne surveys in the last year than in the last hundred,� said Gino Chitaroni, a local prospector and geologist. “Two years ago, if you had a cobalt property you couldn’t give it away. All of a sudden, within six months, everything changed.�




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Source Article from http://www.cryptogon.com/?p=51921

Why Ontario Needs To Take A Hard Look At The Animal Cruelty In Its Zoos

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While many of us advocate against animal cruelty in a number of ways, when it comes to zoos, we often turn a blind eye — I know I certainly did for a long time. I had never really reflected on what zoos represented and how the animals were treated behind those bars. They were such a “normal” part of my childhood and I became so desensitized to them that I never really questioned their ethics until I reached adulthood.

They’re seen as an attraction, a form of entertainment meant to please the modern man, and so we ignore the fact that animals are suffering for our benefit. Zoos have been around for a long time, and you may have visited one years ago as a young child, or more recently with your own children; as a result, we’re indoctrinated into considering them “normal.”

When you really stop and think about it, however, zoos are just jail cells for animals who have done nothing “wrong.” We force them to lead their lives behind bars because we wish to observe them, even if that means keeping them in cages and forcing them to live in unnatural, and often times, unsafe environments. The irony is that we, as humans, are committing inhumane acts.

A lot of people assume that zoos in North America are “morally superior” to those in other countries, but that’s not necessarily the case. In fact, Ontario is home to some of the worst zoos in the country when it comes to animal cruelty.

Why Ontario Zoos Are Some of the Worst in Canada

Zoos have been under a lot of scrutiny in Ontario of late, and for good reason! This summer, undercover footage taken in a zoo in Southern Ontario, Papanack Zoo, revealed animals in “deep distress,” exposing the mistreatment that occurs within this zoo and the tiny environments in which these animals are forced to live out their days.

The video shows staff members prying open the mouths of a raccoon, skunk, and bobcat using wires and you can also watch the staff mishandling the animals. A Papanack Zoo employee was also heard detailing how he “smashed” a baby lion in the face numerous times as hard as he could as part of the animal’s “training.”

You can watch the clip below:

This isn’t the first accusation against this particular zoo, and the Ontario SPCA confirmed that it is “aware of animal cruelty allegations” against Papanack Zoo and is conducting a formal investigation into any potential illegal activity regarding provincial animal welfare laws.

However, Ontario is well-known for being fairly lenient toward zoos, aquariums, and other organizations that exploit animals for entertainment purposes.

Camille Labchuk, an animal-rights lawyer and executive director of Animal Justice Canada, reported:

For me, Ontario is the worst place in the country for animals in zoos. The province has long taken a hands-off approach to zoos, aquariums, and exotic animals more generally. You can’t build a patio in your backyard in Ontario without first getting a permit, yet it is still perfectly legal to open a zoo without getting a license, receiving training in animal care, or submitting to government inspection. . . . There are no zoo-specific regulations to protect animals or the public, and this lax legal regime leaves the province powerless to shut down a zoo – no matter how bad conditions might be for the animals confined inside.

Bowman Zoo was also under public scrutiny recently, as its co-owner Michael Hackenberger was allegedly witnessed whipping a tiger. It’s ludicrous that a tiger is living in a country like Canada in the first place, let alone being subjected to this type of abuse.

Well, these cruel actions have not gone unnoticed, as more and more people are starting to boycott zoos. The Toronto Star even published an article this year titled “Why bother re-opening Toronto Zoo?” that details how people are increasingly refusing to support their operations, and re-opening the zoo post-strike could be a waste of taxpayers’ dollars.

That’s right: Your taxes are used to support zoos! City taxpayers subsidized Toronto Zoo last year with an astonishing $12.6 million taken from property taxes, reserve funds, and capital budget transfers.

Of course, it’s not as simple as just  shutting down these facilities. These animals can’t be let back into the wild, and many of them could not successfully be reintegrated, either. Many would need to live in sanctuaries, or zoos would need to search for some other feasible, humane alternative.

But, it’s our responsibility to solve this issue, because we’re the ones that stole them from their natural habitats in the first place!

Final Thoughts 

To me, zoos are simply an old form of entertainment. They’re becoming outdated and ultimately less popular as more and more people wake up to the reality of their operations and how embedded animal cruelty is within these facilities.

It’s clear that we’re witnessing a shift in regards to animal cruelty — I mean, just look at how many people are adopting more plant-based diets, boycotting facilities like zoos, Sea World, and Marine Land, and purchasing cruelty-free clothing lines. Even Gucci just announced they’ll be banning the sale of fur!

It’s an exciting time for animal rights, as we’re getting closer and closer to actually achieving them. Remember folks, you vote with your dollar, so if you’d like to make a difference in animals’ lives, start by no longer supporting the organizations that exploit them!


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Ontario Cop Shot Himself and Then Made Up Story About Attempted Carjacking

The Ontario Provincial Police say one of their officers shot himself in the leg, and when confronted about it, invented a number of stories for his injuries—his own clumsiness, an unwieldy knife, and a group of would-be car thieves.

The officer also allegedly provided descriptions of those would-be car thieves, saying two out of the three were black men.

OPP Const. Darko Darkov was at home on Feb. 13, 2016, when he “shot [himself] in the leg with a legally owned firearm,” according to an OPP document.

Darkov went to a Scarborough hospital with an injured hand, stomach and thigh. The OPP alleges Darkov then told a doctor and police investigators a series of lies about how he was injured. The police force has laid two charges of professional misconduct against Darkov; none of the allegations have been proven.

The OPP say Darkov first told a doctor he’d accidentally cut himself while repairing his truck’s mirror with a knife. The doctor believed the injury was a gunshot wound, and contacted the Toronto police. After police interviewed Darkov at his home, they apprehended him under the Mental Health Act and brought him back to the hospital.

Darkov allegedly told police investigators three stories: that he’d injured himself with a knife, that he’d shot himself cleaning his gun, and that he had fled from a violent confrontation.

Darkov allegedly told police he was investigating a possible mechanical issue on his truck when three males—”two black and one white,” according to a summary of the officer’s alleged story—approached. “Yo nice truck,” the white male said. “I wanna ride you gonna give me a ride.”

Darkov claimed he refused, then heard a pop. After he drove away and realized that he’d been shot, he applied a tourniquet and went to the hospital.

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State of Emergency Declared for Ontario’s Turtles

A state of emergency has been declared in Ontario by the Ontario Turtle Conservation Centre, a major turtle trauma centre based in Peterborough that has already treated 600 injured turtles this year.

Despite the influx, the centre will still dedicate their time and care to any injured turtle brought to their attention. “We are beyond maximum caring capacity… we’ve never seen it this busy,” says Executive Director of the centre Sue Carstairs, who spends most of her days operating on dozens of turtles that have been crushed by cars.

Their admissions have doubled and they’re not sure why, though they hypothesize that the recent rains have something to do with it, as the wet weather is ideal for the cold-blooded creatures.

Many turtles are out laying eggs, and highway shoulders “are one of the best place for turtles to lay their eggs, because they’re soft, gravelly, and very warm,” says Amy Henson, a biologist with Science North in Sudbury, Ont.

This news alarms people like Amy and Sue, as seven of Ontario’s eight turtle species are already on the Species at Risk list. It takes turtles up to 20 years to reach full maturity, which makes increasing their numbers a difficult and slow process.

The number one risk these beautiful creatures face is being hit by a car. I myself have come close to hitting one, not immediately recognizing what the big block in the road was. Carstairs explains that, because most turtles have been injured on the road, they suffer severe fractures on their shell. Head trauma is also common for snapping turtles, as they can’t hide in their shell.

Henson suggests that if you’re able to help a turtle cross the road, by all means, please do! She outlines a few steps for doing so:

  • Make sure you’re pointing the turtle in the same direction they were going
  • Take them off the road two metres
  • Move the turtle quickly before deciding to pose for a photo to avoid confusing the turtle about the direction they were initially heading

Encouragingly, Amy suggests the centre’s increased admissions have less to do with more turtles being injured, and more to do with more people choosing to help them, which is a good thing. “The conservation centres are getting a lot of turtles because people care about them so much. And I think that’s a real win on conservation behalf,” she said.

There was also, thankfully, a recent permanent ban on hunting the snapping turtle in Ontario, to give the species a chance to recover.

“Having a legal hunt for a species at risk does add that extra threat. Turtles have a unique life experience . . . The population cannot handle the loss of one adult,” says Corsairs, “It’s not logical to have them legally hunted.”

If you find an injured turtle, you can contact the Turtle Trauma Centre,  and you can donate to the Ontario Turtle Conservation Centre if you’d like to help out further.



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