Stop Sprawl

Stop Sprawl 

Dear editor, (my letter sent to several publications by Environmental Defence)

I am a grandfather and I want my grandchildren to live in a world that is decent and has the same supports of our lives that I have had. For this reason I am opposed to the development plans of the Ford PC government in Ontario. He and his party have handed housing development over to his developer friends. The result is and will be continued housing sprawl, especially into the Green Belt immediately north of Toronto. Housing development sprawl means that people live in a housing development in the middle of shrinking green space only able to use the expensive car on crowded roads to get groceries and other needed amenities. In fact sprawl will cause people to demand even more roads. One of the major developments that will definitely increase sprawl is the proposed GTA West transportation corridor, which is mainly a 6 lane highway running east-west between Hwy 401 and Hwy 400 through our precious Greenbelt and prime agricultural land such as the Holland Marsh which produces so much of our vegetables. This proposed highway will definitely encourage the sprawl that we don’t need. We are in the midst of a climate crisis. This means that highway building and fossil fuel powered transportation needs to be brought to an end. Instead let us create real main streets in the towns and cities we already have, with low rise rental and owned apartment structures with all amenities no more than a 15 minute walk or bicycle ride away. This is a picture of survival for our grandchildren, not the sprawl that will only enrich the developers and impoverish the rest of us. 

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Letter to Jo Taylor, President and CEO of Ontario Teachers Pension Plan, regarding the strike against Wine Rack

Dear Ms. Taylor:
I am writing to you as a retired secondary school teacher who receives an OTPP pension.


I have learned that my pension board is the major owner of Arterra Wines who operate a retail outlet known as Wine Rack. My wife and I have actually shopped at a Wine Rack store near us in East Toronto. 


I have learned from some employees of Wine Rack, including a long time young friend, that Wine Rack has not been treating its employees in a fair way with respect to wages paid and respect for workers rights to have a say in their work schedules. 


I was told that workers are only paid minimum wage and that they can have their work schedule altered by management without any worker input. For example one worker told me they can have their hours reduced unilaterally to 4 hours per day. This person correctly said, that they cannot afford to live in Toronto on such reduced hours. I was also told that workers do not have any benefits. I also understand that these employees have been considered to be ‘Essential’ during the pandemic. I know from personal experience that the store near me at 1858 Danforth Avenue has been open every day including weekends and including evening hours. I didn’t hear that employees received any overtime pay. I was told that Wine Rack management gave out some grocery gift cards to some employees at the whim of management. In other words if a worker was not on good terms with management thay may not receive the gift card. I have also read that management would not allow union communication on bulletin boards at retail outlets. I understand from the letter sent to you by Harvey Bischoff, President of OSSTF, my federation, that Arterra/Wine Rack/OTPP have not been willing to negotiate with the workers’ union – the Service Employees International Union – SEIU Local 2.


I ask you, is this any way for you and OTPP and Alterra Wines to treat other union workers, especially these mostly young people who have recently graduated from our schools, which I and others worked to educate? 


Your refusal to negotiate with these low waged workers, most of whom are young in my observation, is just inconsistent with the values that we as teachers have espoused and taught through all our years of teaching our students. I as a teacher for 33 years in Ontario also participated in several strike actions or withdrawal of services. These were very difficult for me but I realize that they were necessary in order to achieve justice for our students and our fellow teachers. 


I also object to receiving a pension on the backs of workers who are being abused and disrespected with respect to their rights.


Please adhere to the request by Harvey Bischoff of OSSTF to contact Arterra Wines Canada immediately to get back to the bargaining table and negotiate a fair collective agreement that respects the members of SEIU Local 2.


I would appreciate a reply to my request for you to support, in the context of my being a retired union employee, the union employees of Wine Rack. 


Sincerely, Murray D. Lumley

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My Letter to Jagmeet Singh, Federal NDP Leader, Asking the NDP to Recognize Resolutions Asking for Fairness/ Human Rights for the Palestinian People

Dear Mr. Singh:

I am speaking as a long time member of the NDP, presently a member of the Beaches-East York NDP Riding Association. 

I listened to CBC Radio One’s The House on Saturday, April 3, 2021 when you were interviewed regarding a number of policy issues for the Federal NDP and which will come up at the NDP Policy Convention this coming weekend. I agreed with most of your answers, such as the policy on energy and on asking the super-rich to contribute more during the pandemic. But I was very disappointed in one section of your interview with host Chris Hall. 

At the 20:29 minute mark of the segment, you were asked some direct questions by host Chris Hall regarding resolutions on Israel-Palestine relations. I note that he asked you twice about these resolutions (I have voted for some that came from members of my riding association that are asking for acknowledgement of the injustice that has been brought on Palestinian people in their long-time homeland Palestine by members of the Israeli state and its military the IDF). 

You spoke about being opposed to anti-semitism and being for human rights, but not once did you say the word Palestinian or Palestine. I too am opposed to anti-semitism in all its forms. But I do not believe it is anti-semitic to criticize the actions of the Israeli state when they break international law by allowing Jewish settlements to be built on territory they occupy supposedly temporarily. I do not think it is anti-semitic to criticize the demolitions of Palestinian homes in the West Bank and East Jerusalem which has been going on for decades and is presently accelerating in East Jerusalem. 

I had the opportunity to visit the Holy Land on a tour with a group of Christians in 2018. Beside the holy sites we also spoke to representatives of organizations that work for peace in Palestine/Israel as well as visiting a 70 year old Palestinian permanent refugee camp in Bethlehem. We also saw with our eyes and heard with our ears how the Palesinian people, both Christian and Muslim are treated as second class citizens and worse – worse roads, worse services etc.; special highways that only Israeli’s are allowed to travel on etc. There is the appearance of an Apartheid state with actions that are designed to make Palestinians give up and go elsewhere, which most of the Palestinian Christians have done.

We also visited in the home of a family in Bethlehem who told us that they can trace their ancestry in Bethlehem back 800 years. So why should they leave? There is a law that was passed in recent years that says that any Jewish person anywhere in the world has more right to live in Israel than any Indigenous Palestinian who has ancestry and documentation going back 800 or more years. How can this be called support for human rights?

I also do not adhere to the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) definition of anti-semitism because it does not allow for legitimate criticism of the Israeli state, just as one should be allowed to criticize the actions of any political state. 

I am asking for the Federal NDP to be honest with Canadians regarding what is happening in Israel/Palestine. I do not believe that a two state solution is even possible any more because of the divided nature of what is left of the West Bank for example. This means that what I support is a one person one vote solution – that every person living in Israel/Palestine is given the same human rights as any other citizen there, with rights for eveyone to practice the religion of their choice. 

I would ask that the Federal NDP of Canada support this. Anything else cannot be called equal citizenship in Israel/Palestine.

I ask for a reply to my letter.

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Submission re: King Township Council asked to endorse a Ministerial Zoning Order (MZO) for development of protected Greenbelt and Oak Ridges Moraine lands

To King Township Council:
I live in the City of Toronto and would like to make my submission to King Township Council. I understand that you must receive it by December 14, 2020 at noon. 
I have quoted in italics, parts of the Environmental Defence media release that has helped me understand this issue and it gives many reasons why King Township Council should not endorse a Ministerial Zoning Order regarding the sensitive lands in question.
My submission is that King Township Council not endorse a Ministerial Zoning Order regarding these sensitive lands and that this proposed development not be allowed to happen. It is my understanding that the Green Belt and the Oak Ridges Morraine are lands protected by legislation, from development of this kind as stated in the media release by King Township Councillor Debbie Schaefer (see media release below). And as Ms. Shaefer says, such an MZO if endorsed precludes public consultation on such a proposed development. Public consultation is absolutely required. 
I will not state all of the reasons that have been given over the years to preserve the Oak Ridges Morraine and the Greenbelt from development but it is my understanding that the Oak Ridges Morraine and Greenbelt are necessary to preserve due to their value to the watersheds of the Humber and Don Rivers which pass through Toronto on their way to Lake Ontario. This is about preservation of clean water that is required by agriculture, and by residents of the GTA. The Oak Ridges Morraine and Greenbelt should not be subject to development such as in this proposal. 
I have written two submissions to Ontario Doug Ford, Premier of Ontario, Rod Phillips, Minister of Finance, Steve Clark, Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing, and Rima-Berns-McGown, my  MPP for Beaches-East York on the recent Ontario legislative Omnibus Bill 229, opposing Schedules 6 and 8. These schedules were to allow MZO’s to cancel legal protections of wetlands and other sensitive areas by our wonderful Conservation Authorities as well as allowing development where at risk species live, with the possible consequence of endangered species going extinct. Unfortunately Bill 229 passed last week and it seems very suspicious that this proposal to endorse a MZO on this land in King Township should come up so quickly. It is also true that the present Ontario government is using MZO’s to bypass environmental protections and from public scrutiny at a rate that is far higher than any previous government has used them. This is disrespectful of democracy and citizens’ rights to know and comment on decisions that are affecting the common good, and nature itself. 
In one of my submissions I used the following arguments:”In the meantime, I have read in the media that six members of Ontario’s Greenbelt Council have stepped down — joining David Crombie, the council’s chair — to protest proposed government rules they say would gut environmental protections in the province. I have long known of and respected David Crombie and what he stands for and his resignation along with the others should be considered a scandal by you and all citizens of Ontario. Here is a quote from Mr. Crombie – “Ontarians can successfully realize the great values and benefits of the Greenbelt through the effectiveness of watershed planning, the strength and resilience of the conservation authorities and the power of public participation and open debate,” Crombie said in his resignation letter. “It is now clear that the government’s direction (Schedules 6 and 8) … disastrously assaults all three of these primary conditions,” he wrote. “This is not policy and institutional reform. This is high-level bombing and needs to be resisted.
I have also included part of a speech dated December 2, 2020, given by UN Secretary General António Guterres – 
UN Secretary-General provides his starkest climate warning yet
The Chief UN diplomat, António Guterres, in his 2 December speech at Columbia university on the state of the planet, abandoned diplomatic niceties and spoke in his strongest language yet on the twin global crises of climate and biodiversity:

Humanity is waging war on nature. This is suicidal. Nature always strikes back — and it is already doing so with growing force and fury. Biodiversity is collapsing. One million species are at risk of extinction. Ecosystems are disappearing before our eyes … Human activities are at the root of our descent toward chaos. But that means human action can help to solve it.For the full Guardian article on his speech see: Humanity is waging war on nature, says UN secretary general (Fiona Harvey, guardian.com, 2 December 2020).
I am sure you would all agree with the important words of Mr. Guterres in asking all of us to end the war on Nature. Then I ask you, how can you ignore the plea of Mr. Guterres who is speaking for humanity, to stop the ‘war on Nature’ globally, without yourselves acting to stop the war on nature ‘locally’, because what you are doing with Schedules 6 and 8 represents a war on our watersheds in Ontario. You cannot have it both ways!” 
I would also make a plea to the Augustinian Fathers to please think about what they are proposing and withdraw it. This is piecemeal destruction of nature. Nature that we still have left should be protected for our grandchildren, their grandchildren and so on. Right now we are on a path to losing it all in a few short years due to the climate crisis and the greatest animal and plant extinction in 65 million years. Let us act to preserve nature. Please do not endorse a MZO that reverses the protection of the Green Belt and the Oak Ridges Morraine.

Media Release of Environmental DefenceDecember 11, 2020, Toronto, Ont. – A religious order, whose Trustees include key players in land speculation and greenfield housing construction, is requesting Council approval of a request for a Minister’s Zoning Order (MZO) that would let it build (among other things), a hotel development on the Greenbelt and the natural core area of the Oak Ridges Moraine. The surprise request, set to be considered by King Township Council on Monday, December 14th, is causing concern among King Township residents and environmental NGOs due to the location of the proposed development and the anti-democratic manner in which the proposal is being advanced.Augustinian Fathers (Ont.) Inc., presently controls a modest monastery and shrine on one corner of an isolated, largely-forested and wetland-covered 814-acre Oak Ridges Moraine estate. They are seeking to convert it to a sprawling multi-use commercial complex, which would include among other things a hotel, conference centre and the now customary token seniors-centre-in-the-middle-of-nowhere. These are not permitted uses on this vital and very sensitive part of the Oak Ridges Moraine. Unlike normal municipal planning processes, the issuing of an MZO, as requested, would not provide any opportunity even to assess the wider consequences of building near or within the vital Mary Lake and Seneca Lake wetland complex, let alone to determine how and whether those consequences could be mitigated.While the considerable Provincially Significant Wetlands on the site would ordinarily engage the protection of Conservation Authorities, that protection was undermined last week, with a new law that forces Conservation Authorities to permit destruction ordered through a Minister’s Zoning Order and to negotiate a “pay to slay” agreement that would allow the developer to pay a fee in exchange for the right to destroy the natural values.“If King Council endorses the request for an MZO and the Minister then issues it, it would add to the list of MZOs that have been issued that permit development in previously protected wetlands, river, valleys and forests,” said Tim Gray, Executive Director at Environmental Defence. “It would also be the first one ordered on the Greenbelt where Municipal Affairs Minister Steve Clark has promised to avoid at all costs.”Regarding the surprise MZO request, CEO Susan Walmer, Oak Ridges Moraine Land Trust said:“An MZO on the Oak Ridges Moraine beside a kettle lake wetland complex that feeds the East Humber River? Slipped onto the final King Council meeting of the year? This is not a Happy Holiday greeting. Citizen action in the 1990’s created the Oak Ridges Moraine Conservation Plan and citizens must now protect it. Development on the Moraine without proper environmental studies and public input is not acceptable now and never will be.”King Township Councillor Debbie Schaefer was similarly concerned:“It would be a total mockery of the three year process King has just gone through to create a new Official Plan if King Council were to endorse this MZO. The new Plan was just approved by York Region in October 2020. Every other landowner needs to follow the process of making an application with extensive, comprehensive studies assessing the environmental impact of any changes, including the introduction of municipal services to this area which is outside the urban boundary of King City. King prides itself as being a good steward of the Oak Ridges Moraine. To endorse changes proposed without the necessary studies would be a terrible violation of our own principles. Furthermore, endorsing a MZO, which by its nature, precludes public consultation is very inconsistent with King’s belief that effective planning of our community requires public engagement.”

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Remove schedules 6 and 8 from Bill 229, Protect, Support and Recover from COVID-19 Act (Budget Measures), 2020.

Dear Premier Ford, Minister Phillips, Minister Clark, Rima Berns-McGown, MPP:


I am a retired teacher, originally from the Niagara Peninsula and who lived in Ancaster, Ontario near the Hamilton Region Conservation Authority (HRCA). As a science teacher I led many students to an outdoor classroom at Christie Lake on the top of the Niagara Escarpment which was created by a dam for the purpose of controlling the regular flooding of Spencer Creek into the town of Dundas, Ontario. The HRCA was also important as an educational facility for many students including my four now adult children. We all understood the value of Conservation Authorities in taking care of our watersheds in Ontario, protecting all of us from overdevelopment in the watersheds. 
I have already sent you a copy of my submission to  public hearing on Bill 229, Protect, Support and Recover from COVID-19 Act (Budget Measures), 2020 (except Minister Clark) in which I ask that Schedule 6 (proposed changes to the Conservation Authorities Act and consequential amendments) and Schedule 8 (proposed changes to the Crown Forest Sustainability Act, 1994) both be withdrawn in their entirety from Bill 229
These schedules remove the authority of Conservation Authorities in Ontario to protect sensitive areas such as remaining wetlands, heritage forests and species at risk or endangered species. These schedules also seem to represent a forgetting of the history and reasons for the creation of Conservation Authorities in the first place – ‘flood control’ in our watersheds – beginning with the disastrous and deadly flooding of Hurricane Hazel in 1954. These schedules also allow a Minister of the government of Ontario to issue MZO’s – ‘Minister’s Zoning Orders’ – to completely bypass environmental protections in law in order to allow development on areas that have been deemed sensitive by Conservation Authorities. 
Here is a quote form Environmental Defence – A Minister’s Zoning Order (MZO) is part of Ontario’s Planning Act and allows Municipal Affairs and Housing Minister Steve Clark to make a ruling on how a piece of land is to be used in the province, with no chance of appeal by municipalities, citizens or environmental groups.
In the meantime, I have read in the media that six members of Ontario’s Greenbelt Council have stepped down — joining David Crombie, the council’s chair — to protest proposed government rules they say would gut environmental protections in the province. I have long known of and respected David Crombie and what he stands for and his resignation along with the others should be considered a scandal by you and all citizens of Ontario. Here is a quote from Mr. Crombie – “Ontarians can successfully realize the great values and benefits of the Greenbelt through the effectiveness of watershed planning, the strength and resilience of the conservation authorities and the power of public participation and open debate,” Crombie said in his resignation letter. “It is now clear that the government’s direction … disastrously assaults all three of these primary conditions,” he wrote. “This is not policy and institutional reform. This is high-level bombing and needs to be resisted.
I have also included part of a speech dated December 2, 2020, given by UN Secretary General António Guterres – 
UN Secretary-General provides his starkest climate warning yet
The Chief UN diplomat, António Guterres, in his 2 December speech at Columbia university on the state of the planet, abandoned diplomatic niceties and spoke in his strongest language yet on the twin global crises of climate and biodiversity:

Humanity is waging war on nature. This is suicidal. Nature always strikes back — and it is already doing so with growing force and fury. Biodiversity is collapsing. One million species are at risk of extinction. Ecosystems are disappearing before our eyes … Human activities are at the root of our descent toward chaos. But that means human action can help to solve it.For the full Guardian article on his speech see: Humanity is waging war on nature, says UN secretary general (Fiona Harvey, guardian.com, 2 December 2020).
I am sure you would all agree with the important words of Mr. Guterres in asking all of us to end the war on Nature. Then I ask you, how can you ignore the plea of Mr. Guterres who is speaking for humanity, to stop the ‘war on Nature’ globally, without yourselves acting to stop the war on nature ‘locally’, because what you are doing with Schedules 6 and 8 represents a war on our watersheds in Ontario. You cannot have it both ways! 


Please do the right thing for all Ontarians including our children and grandchildren. Remove Schedules 6 and 8 from Bill 229.

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My Written Submission to Public Hearing on Bill 229, Protect, Support and Recover from COVID-19 Act (Budget Measures), 2020.

I am in agreement and do support the Canadian Environmental Law Association’s submission to this public hearing, dated November 27, 2020. The submission refers to Bill 229, Protect, Support and Recover from COVID-19 Act (Budget Measures), 2020. 

They recommend and I fully agree with their statement that – 

Schedule 6 (proposed changes to the Conservation Authorities Act and consequential amendments) and Schedule 8 (proposed changes to the Crown Forest Sustainability Act, 1994) both be withdrawn in their entirety from Bill 229. 

The link to their submission is here: 

My own comments, as a private citizen and a senior who has lived all of my life in Ontario, for asking for the withdrawal of Schedule 6 and 8 from Bill 229 are:

1. My adult children grew up in Ancaster, Ontario and they and my wife and I benefited greatly from being near the Hamilton Region Conservation Authority. Their education programs helped our kids to understand the value of nature and the absolute need to protect it. We could walk on the Conservation lands trails anytime of year and we did so. I cannot imagine weakening Conservation Authorities as has been done already with cuts to their budgets. My wife and I have also been members of the Bruce Trail Conservancy since its inception in the 1960’s. We knew some of the pioneers who developed that nature trail along our wonderful Niagara Escarpment. We have contributed to the purchase of lands that will be kept natural and enjoyed by many coming generations. This is what we should be doing, not weakening Conservation Authorities protections of natural landscapes that our grandchildren and their grandchildren can continue to enjoy. 

2. These schedules do not belong hidden in an Omnibus Budget Bill. They should be out in the open as Environmental legislation that is subject to robust public comment. They have nothing to do with a COVID-19 Recovery Act. 

3. This is a bad time to be removing protections of wetlands, forests, meadows, species at risk and endangered species in Ontario as these Schedules will do if our Conservation Authorities are weakened. With respect to wetlands, experts indicate that we have only 1% of the original wetlands left in Ontario and we can ill afford to be removing them all piecemeal as Schedules 6 and 8 would permit. It is well known that wetlands provide a valuable service – millions of dollars –  in cleaning air, water and providing necessary habitat for migrating birds, reptile such as snakes and turtles and amphibians such as frogs, toads and salamanders. I have personally visited wetlands in Picton, Ontario and several in cities in Northern California that are used as the final step in sewage treatment and also serve as wildlife parks that are visited by thousands of people.

4. We are living in what is now described as the Anthropocene Epoch, which means that we humans are presently having the most pronounced negative influences on nature. It means that we and our children and grandchildren are living in the greatest extinction event in 65 million years (that was the Dinosaur extinction) and we humans are the cause of the present extinction. We should not be making it easier for subdivision developments and forest clearcutting to cause species who live there to go extinct. The remaining green spaces that we still have, particularly in Southern Ontario need to be protected from development of any kind. Subdivisions should no longer be permitted to be built on green spaces. There is plenty of room in our present cities and on brown spaces for density increases to accommodate projected human growth in Ontario.

5.  Allowing Schedule 6 and 8 to be passed will just allow for more ‘sprawl’ of housing developments on green spaces. These developments have no provision for public transit, so that the only means of travel for residents is the private automobile. This will just add to the already terrible gridlock on our roads and highways and will be the cause citizens to lobby for more road space on agricultural land and sensitive green spaces (think of proposed Highway #413). For reasons of addressing the Climate Crisis we need to be reducing automobile use, not increasing  its use. 

6. Since Covid-19 is given as the reason for including Schedules 6 and 8 in an Omnibus Budget Bill let me add that scientists who study these matters are telling us that Covid-19 is an environmental catastrophe, caused by viruses that exist in an endemic way in wildlife, that jumped to humans in a wet market in Wuhan China sometime last year. The same kinds of events have happened in Africa with the jump of Ebola viruses from monkeys to humans. These events are happening because humans are invading nature to such an extent that we humans are coming into contact with biological material that we should not be in contact with. To me this is a kind of disrespect of nature. Instead of increasing the destruction of nature we should be doing our utmost to protect natural habitats that are left to us. Scientists are also telling us that we need to be setting aside as much as 40 to 50 % of landmasses and oceans as natural areas with minimal human contact. In fact where ocean reserves have been set up, they have allowed diminished biodiversity to make a come back in decades that the scientists say is remarkable. Again I say that Schedules 6 and 8 should be removed from this Omnibus Budget Bill 229. 

7. Schedules 6 and 8 are an assault on local democracy. They will allow an Ontario government Minister to bypass all the environmental protections in law as well as prevent local public comment on proposed developments, by allowing a Minister to use what is called a Minister’s Zoning Order or MZO. This had a use in the case of a collapsed roof of a supermarket in Elliot Lake, so that a new supermarket could be built quickly. But the present use of MZO’s by a Minister to do an end run around lawful Environment protections of a wetland such as the Duffers Creek Wetland near Pickering in order to build warehouses on that wetland is a travesty and an abuse of a MZO and should not be permitted. Conservation Authorities represent local democracy at work and Schedules 6 and 8 allow a government Minister to run roughshod over local decision making. We need more local democracy, not less. 

8. Finally I am very concerned with what kind of world we are going to leave to our children, grandchildren and their grandchildren. If we allow every green space near us and afar to be paved over with sprawl, very soon we will have only ourselves left in a stripped down planet. I don’t think that we can survive the wanton destruction of what is actually our own life support systems. And I think that it is psychologically damaging to us to realize that we are becoming more and more lonely as we see the coming extinctions, not only of our favourite large animals but of creatures that we have not even identified yet. We really don’t know what creatures are living in each of the separate biomes and environments that our Creator left us to live with. It behooves us to stop destroying. Please remove Schedules 6 and 8 from Bill 229. Thank you,

Murray Lumley

Toronto, Ontario, 

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Restore Ranked Ballots in Ontario Municipal Elections

To: Premier of Ontario Doug Ford, Attorney General Doug Downey, Rima Berns-McGown, MPP for Beaches-East York, Mayor of Toronto John Tory, Brad Bradford, City Councillor for Beaches-East York, Nathaniel Erskine-Smith, MP for Beaches-East York


Dear Premier Ford:
In Bill 218, Supporting Ontario’s Recovery and Municipal Elections Act, 2020, the following statement is made: Schedule 2Municipal Elections Act, 1996 Currently, the Municipal Elections Act, 1996 provides a framework for conducting ranked ballot elections for offices  on a municipal council. Amendments are made to remove that framework. Ontario Regulation 310/16 (Ranked Ballot Elections) made under the Act is revoked. 
I disagree with the reasons you have given publicly for cancelling Ranked Ballots for Municipal Elections.

First you say it is too expensive. The City of London, Ontario had a ranked ballot election in 2018 and it cost just $2.00 per elector more, mostly due to the changes that needed to be made for this type of election. It will not likely cost that much more in the future. 

Secondly you say that it is too confusing for us especially during the pandemic. But you were elected leader of your Party by a ranked ballot election and we have watched many party leader elections by ranked ballots, including the latest Federal Green Party leader election. Please give more credit to our intelligence!

Thirdly you or some of your friends who oppose electoral reform say that if first past the post was good enough for our founders it is good enough for us. No it isn’t. Our electoral systems in Canada – at all levels of government are now ‘outliers’. Most western governments now use some form of proportional representation rather than the outdated first past the post system. Just look at new Zealand and Australia and almost all European electoral systems. The Ranked Ballot works best for municipalities because there is no obvious party system there. 

Cancelling ranked ballots in municipal elections makes no sense since the City of London, Ontario used them in their 2018 election and now they would have to go to great expense to go back to the first past the post system. So much for money saving! And other municipalities are considering ranked ballots – Toronto in a subsequent election, Kingston, and more.

 
Some advantages of ranked ballots are: 

1. less rancourous elections due to candidates wanting to be included by others’ supporters as second choices.


2. the person elected must get at least 50% (sometimes a bit less due to exhausted ballots) of the vote support, eliminating the embarrassing (at least to this elector) finding that a city councillor was elected with only 17% of the vote which has happened; often it is no more than 20%. What this means is that the majority of the electors did not want this person representing them!


3. It opens up city councillor positions to new faces and communities. With first past the post, a new non-incumbent candidate even with the same views, is often asked to not run because they are considered ’spoilers’. (This happened in my Ward 19 in the last municipal election – a woman candidate I supported was asked to drop out after Doug Ford reduced the number of wards by half. She rightfully refused, altering the election outcome which wouldn’t have happened with ranked ballots). And it is most often women and women of colour who are discouraged from running in the first place. In fact there is no research data on this since we don’t know the names of those who are discouraged from running. I strongly suspect that this is the major reason you are cancelling ranked ballots – because it would mean fewer career incumbents who are mostly old white men. 


4. More citizens will vote if they see their candidate has a fair chance. I note that the recent Toronto Centre Federal By-election had a turnout of only one in eight possible electors in a First Past the Post election. This is catastrophic for electoral participation. We need electoral reform!


Here is a positive example of how the use of ranked ballots has opened up the system: “London (Ontario) elected its first Black female councillor in 2018, Arielle Kayabaga. She told the Star Wednesday she was motivated to run when she went to an information session and learned about ranked ballots. “I’d seen women get attacked because they were women or they were mothers,” said the single mother of one. She also noted the city’s history of racism. “I wasn’t sure that I wanted to run knowing that people were going to be attacking me based on my gender and my skin colour.” But when she learned a ranked ballot system may force people to focus on their own campaigns, she said it was the boost she needed. “Thinking that was going to be less of a barrier pushed me to want to run.” Kayabaga was in the lead with 29 per cent of the votes on the first round, according to official election results, and eventually secured the seat with 49 per cent of the vote on the eighth round.”


I see that today, October 27, Omnibus Bill 218 goes to second reading in the legislature. The media are focusing on this tiny section to the detriment of the economic statements in the rest of the bill. You still have the chance to remove this miniscule Schedule 2 from Bill 218. You must realize that your government is going counter to history and that we will eventually have proper electoral reform. Why not do it now. Please restore the framework for conducting ranked ballot elections for offices on a municipal council.
I would appreciate a reply regarding my request to keep the use of Ranked Ballots in Ontario Municipal Elections.

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My Brother Keith Was a Mechanical Wizard

https://tallmanfuneralhomes.ca/tribute/details/8857/William-Lumley/obituary.html#tribute-start

From an early age Keith built Meccano building structures and moving vehicles. He received an additional extended set from our parents every Christmas. 

When he got a bicycle, he dismantled it, cleaned and oiled every part and put it back together in better shape than it was originally. Keith had two bicycles, a spiffy three speed, with ribbons and decals and a ‘beater bike’ with no fenders and one speed. In his early teens he had a close friend that he rode bikes with and spent time with in and out of school. 

Keith moved on to cars – he bought cousin Mervyn’s 1948 Mercury coupe, and soon installed a Cadillac V8 engine with special features, making it much more powerful and fast. At the end of high school Keith was accepted into the Mechanical Engineering program at the University of Waterloo, following in cousin Mervyn’s footsteps. He found two engineering student friends whose friendship would last a lifetime – Bill MacGregor and Clark Hannah. Keith taught Bill everything he knew about modifying cars and they remained friends, each collecting specialty cars. Bill still owns the ’48 Mercury coupe. 

During the early days of his working life, Keith purchased a business in Niagara Falls known appropriately as Supreme Mechanical Contractors. He and his crew did a lot of the industrial plumbing, gas piping and boiler maintenance in Niagara Falls and in later years, Keith by himself added to and maintained the boiler system at Niagara Falls General Hospital. He even helped Murray and Linda, designing the plumbing in their home renovation in Ancaster. I know that Keith helped others including Bill MacGregor with his home near Welland.  

Keith loved and was loved. In addition to loyalty to friends, Keith loved and was loved by his wife Valerie Prudhomme and their three children, Trevor, Garett and Trisha. There were the strains of marriage and geographical separation, between Ontario and British Columbia. But connection was maintained by phone calls, regular visits to Ontario by Trisha with Valerie and Garett in later years. Keith, Murray and Linda travelled to BC to surprise Trevor on his 40th birthday in 2010 and Keith and Murray to Garett and Kathryn’s wedding in 2011. Keith saw his grandson Lucas in 2010 and Lucas and Taya in 2011. He saw his grandchildren one more time when Trevor, Paula, Lucas and Taya came to visit in August of this year when Keith became ill, to assist Keith at Cavendish Manor Retirement Home where Keith lived for 19 years. Trisha and her partner Mike also visited Keith in early September and assisted in his move to Hotel Dieu Shaver Hospital End of Life ward in September. Garett arrived Saturday and was with his dad when Keith passed on Sunday morning. 

Keith loved and was loved by brother Murray and his wife Linda and our children and grandchildren whenever he visited us at Christmas, Easter and Thanksgiving or when we talked on the phone for hours or had lunch or dinner at Murphy’s restaurant in Port Dalhousie or Fish and Chips at Dorthy’s The Commercial Roadhouse in Stevensville, ON.

Keith loved and was loved by Bill and Lydia MacGregor & Barb and Clark Hannah and by Ronny Fantinel who also shared Keith’s passion for restoring and modifying cars from Keith. All of us are trying to say farewell to Keith and we will miss him. 

Three Bible passaged have come to my mind in recent days:

Ecclesiastes chapter 3, verses 1 to 8. ‘A Time for Everything’ – read by Tom Lumley

Ecclesiastes chapter 12, verses 1 to 7. ‘the spirit returns to God who gave it.’ – read by Garett Lumley

Luke chapter 15, verses 11 to 24. ‘The Father’s Love for his son’ – read by Murray Lumley

Poem – read by Rute DaCosta (Tom’s wife)

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Use Conscience Canada to let the Federal government know that you want war spending to be converted to public health needs.

Use the Peace Tax Return of Conscience Canada to make a declaration against paying for war.  See https://www.consciencecanada.ca/?page_id=132 and for the easy electronic version which you can do right from your computer. Just follow the easy instructions. https://www.consciencecanada.ca/eptr/

Below is my Peace Tax Return and letter to my MP and several cabinet ministers. I used Option B which means I withheld some of my Federal tax line and sent it to Conscience Canada Peace Tax Fund in Trust to be held there until the government creates its own Peace Fund. I can ask for the money back at any time.

Peace Tax Return for the 2019 tax year

Option B: Declaration of Conscience and Redirection of Part or All of Military Taxes

I am a conscientious objector to war and object to being forced to support war by the conscription of my taxes.

Under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms I request that none of my taxes be used for war.

I request that legislation be enacted to create a government controlled Peace Fund for non-military peace-building purposes to which the military portion of my taxes can be diverted.

On grounds of conscience I am herewith:

– diverting a symbolic portion ( ) of owed federal tax to the Peace Tax Fund of Conscience Canada, pending the creation of a government controlled Peace Fund.

Murray Lumley
April 16, 2020

Dear Minister,

I oppose war and killing and I am unable in good conscience to pay taxes which support war and the preparations for war. Canada has respected conscientious objection to bearing arms for over two hundred years. However, in this time of high tech warfare, governments need to conscript our money, not our bodies.

Also near the beginning of the current Covid-19 Pandemic, the Secretary-General of the United Nations, António Guterres made a speech entitled, “The fury of the virus illustrates the folly of war”. In it he said, “Our world faces a common enemy: COVID-19.
The virus does not care about ethnicity or nationality, faction or faith.  It attacks all, relentlessly.
Meanwhile, armed conflict rages on around the world.
The most vulnerable — women and children, people with disabilities, the marginalized and the displaced — pay the highest price.
They are also at the highest risk of suffering devastating losses from COVID-19.
Let’s not forget that in war-ravaged countries, health systems have collapsed.
Health professionals, already few in number, have often been targeted.
Refugees and others displaced by violent conflict are doubly vulnerable.
The fury of the virus illustrates the folly of war.
End the sickness of war and fight the disease that is ravaging our world.
That is why today, I am calling for an immediate global ceasefire in all corners of the world.
It is time to put armed conflict on lockdown and focus together on the true fight of our lives.
To warring parties, I say:
Pull back from hostilities.
Put aside mistrust and animosity.
Silence the guns; stop the artillery; end the airstrikes.
This is crucial…to help create corridors for life-saving aid, to open precious windows for diplomacy, to bring hope to places among the most vulnerable to COVID-19.
Let us take inspiration from coalitions and dialogue slowly taking shape among rival parties to enable joint approaches to COVID-19.
But we need much more.
End the sickness of war and fight the disease that is ravaging our world. It starts by stopping the fighting everywhere. Now.
That is what our human family needs, now more than ever.”

I am asking my Federal government to be as inspired as I am by the Secretary-General’s speech. End the contract for armed vehicles with Saudi Arabia that you have just confirmed is going ahead, despite what Mr. Guterres has called for. Cancel the purchase of U.S. made fighter planes that have no defence use in Canada. Cancel the contract for the building of armed navy war ships (build coastal patrol craft and search and rescue aircraft but not armed).

All of these weapons of war are stealing from the true threats to our security – pandemics such as we are experiencing and global climate catastrophe and species extinction which is also under way and which encourages the spread of pandemics. Also as General and President Eisenhower said, these war preparations represent theft from the poorest of humanity.

Canadian forces are increasingly being asked to fight wild-fires and floods, which are consequences of the climate catastrophe and are even now being asked to assist with the pandemic. But they do not need to be armed for offensive actions. We could just train willing volunteers to be civil defence units to help with the disasters we are experiencing.

Freedom of conscience is guaranteed under the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. I ask that you support a bill similar to Private Member’s Bill C-363 (2011), ‘An Act respecting conscientious objection to the use of taxes for military purposes’, which would allow me to direct that all my taxes be spent only for peaceful purposes. I am asking that you work to bring such a bill to a vote in the House of Commons. This kind of tax provision is needed in order for Canada to respect its commitment to freedom of conscience.

 

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Letter to Jagmeet Singh and Mae Nam – Beaches-East York NDP Candidate

Dear Jagmeet:
 
I have been a loyal NDPer for many years and have campaigned both provincially and federally for the NDP at all elections over the past 22 years. 
 
I am concerned for what is happening to Canada’s Innu and Innuit people in Labrador as they are presently losing their land to the Muskrat Falls Dam as it fills with water. Another future tragedy will be the poisoning by mercury of the people who live downstream because the builders of the dam decided not to remove the vegetation that is now being submerged. Science tells us that the rotting vegetation will release mercury into the water and subsequently into fish and other living things that people will eat. Another Grassy Narrows catastophe in the making! 
 
PM Trudeau’s government provided $9.2 billion in loan guarantees for this dam. Trudeau has so far been unwilling to make any statements regarding this loan guarantee and the suffering of the Indigenous people of Labrador. 
 
Both you and Trudeau have made statements in support of Reconciliation with our Indigenous people. But words are cheap. I have attended rallies in Toronto at Trudeau fundraisers where people inside have asked Trudeau to keep his promise to pay for the building of a mercury hospital/hospice for the ill people of Grassy Narrows First Nation. Trudeau has avoided talking about this issue as well, as recently as Tuesday August 13 which rally I attended. Trudeau just changed the subject and began to speak of ‘reconciliation’ – just words!
 
Will you speak publicly in support of the Indigenous people of Labrador and their Canadian allies, against this destructive dam, and speak against the $9.2 billion loan guarantee that PM Trudeau will not allow past his lips?
 
Please contact the Labrador Land Protectors (jamesglearning@yahoo.ca) or the Ontario Muskrat Solidarity Coalition (tasc@web.ca) to learn how he can put out a strong statement condemning what is happening at Muskrat Falls.
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