“These waterways carry more than our history. They provide the lifeblood of our economy, the water we drink.”
Environmental Defence?s Aaron Freeman issues a dire warning: pollution in Great Lakes is reaching the point of no return.
Smog day afternoon
A smog day on the eve of the Ontario leaders debate. How serendipitous ? or not. Somehow the message that 1,700 Torontonians die each year from smog-related illness is getting lost in the suspect soupy mix of promises we?re being fed by pols about cleaning our air. Says Toronto Environmental Alliance executive director Franz Hartmann, ?Imagine if a jumbo jet carrying passengers crashed into the lake. The deaths are just as real.? TEA and the David Suzuki Foundation are inviting Torontonians to tell their personal stories about the negative effects of smog (www.torontoenvironment.org/smog_hike). The stories will be featured on posters of silhouette faces and mark the route along Yonge Street to be taken Sunday (September 23) on Toronto?s first Smog Hike. There have been 37 smog days so far this year in Ontario, more than twice as many as the 17 counted last year, making 2007 the second-smoggiest year since the province started issuing advisories in 1993.
Nice work by spinmeisters in the Conservative camp who leaked word this week that the PM is planning to meet with the Dalai Lama next month to send a strong message about respect for human rights to China. Too bad the PM doesn?t accord our own native people the same respect. Canada, New Zealand, Australia and the U.S. were the only countries to vote against last week?s UN declaration recognizing native rights. What was it that Harper was saying earlier this summer ? in the face of native blockades ? about settling native land claims?
Chasing cops? tails
The Police Services Board has entered the election fray, sending a letter to candidates in Toronto to ask if they favour giving the chief the power to suspend officers without pay ?in certain limited circumstances? when coppers run afoul of the law. We?d be more impressed if the intent here were to get rid of bad apples. Instead, it?s all about getting a handle on the bottom line ? namely, the cash suspended cops are bleeding from the budget while they?re waiting for cases to be heard. A better question might be why pols aren?t doing more to stop police chases that are killing people unnecessarily.
Hex on homeless
It?s incredible what a few dollars can do. A study commissioned by Woodgreen Community Centre found that five years after receiving monthly rent supplements, 81 per cent of former Tent City residents ? that?s 94 of the original 116 ? are still housed. The bad news is that the feds aren?t offering more to help other homeless people get off the street. Interesting, considering the cash Alberta is pouring into similar supplements to house the homeless right in the PM?s own backyard.