We rant about politics in Canada and local politics in Peterborough, Ontario. Open discussion. All welcome
Episode #115 — How can Peterborough get ready for a turbulent future?
The future is always a secret cache of promise and menace. But Spring 2022 finds us in Peterborough awash in a unique flood of unknowns. We are facing two elections: the Ontario provincial vote on June 2 & the municipal election on Oct 24. The ongoing war in Ukraine is upsetting markets and adding to supply chain woes, thereby inflating the prices of everything. Prices for real estate, rent, fuel and food were surging before the war, and now they are going through the roof. Salaries are not keeping up. Homelessness is on the rise. Inflation is climbing. We are done with the pandemic but the pandemic may not be done with us. Most people are adhering to the guidelines issued by Peterborough Public Health, but a vocal minority refuses to abide by those guidelines. The pro-vaccine / anti-vaccine issue is dividing friends and families.
In 2021, Peterborough had 44 deaths due to opioid overdoes or drug poisoning. As of the end of April, there were 14 additional deaths. Despite progress with a safe consumption site and perhaps a clean drug supply, the opioid crisis is still with us. Many businesses have struggled during the pandemic; some have had to close. Our downtown needs help. And on Saturday, May 21st, our region was hammered by a highly destructive wind storm; some Peterborough residents are still without electricity. And all of these trends and dilemmas are taking place under thelooming thunderclouds of the climate crisis. The IPCC Report released on February 27, 2022, says “This report is a dire warning on the consequences of inaction…It shows that climate change is a grave and mounting threat to our wellbeing and a healthy planet”.So many of these issues are far beyond our local control. While we cannot “future-proof” Peterborough against all of these issues, what can we do as a community to play the hand that the immanent future is about to deal us? The future is here right now. And the future always shows up locally first. Listen to what our guest panel says about the issues we should address in order to improve the resilience of our community and our region. The panel grapples with the issues of poverty, housing insecurity, food insecurity, urban planning, community solidarity and climate disruptions. I need to thank panellists Stephen Wright, Annie Jaeger, Dane Bland and Cheryl Lyon for their enthusiasm and their provocative ideas. This panel discussion was recorded online on Sunday, May 29th.
The two musical interludes in this episode were sourced from the Creative Commons. In order of appearance…Artist: LukHash – Music: “The Other Side”; Artist: Le Conquerant – Music: ” Guitar“
Episode #114 — Nuclear pelleting in Peterborough: The March 21-22 Judicial Review
BWXT’s nuclear manufacturing plant on Monaghan Road in Peterborough, Ontario
On March 21, 2022, the Canadian Environmental Law Association (CELA) was in Federal Court on behalf of Citizens Against Radioactive Neighbourhoods (CARN — https://www.nopellets.ca/). CARN has asked the Federal Court to reconsider a decision by the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC). This Judicial Review has attempted to prevent nuclear fuel pellets from being made in a residential neighbourhood next to an elementary school.
The original decision to approve this change in operations came down on December 18, 2020. This decision approved a 10-year licence for BWXT to produce uranium fuel pellets at their facility located in downtown Peterborough on Monaghan Road south of Sherbrooke, just 25 metres from the Prince of Wales Elementary School playground. CARN sought an order from the Court declaring that the CNSC’s issuance of the licence was unlawful, and for the licence conditions allowing for this change to be deemed invalid and of no effect.
This episode was recorded on March 15 with Peter Harris, one of CARN’s organizers. Harris explains the approval process entailed in the potential certification of this nuclear manufacturing operation. He also reviews the health and safety implications of this operation for the community surrounding BWXT’s plant in the legacy GE Hitachi building on Monaghan Road. CARN was unable to identify any other nuclear facility of this type located next to a school anywhere. The Court’s decision will be announced anywhere between 2 and 6 months following the Review.
Episode #113 – Trucker convoys, blockades and demonstrations: The winter 2022 anti-vax protests so far
As we look back at the recent pro-vax and anti-vax demonstrations, the trucker convoys, the blockades, the protests in Ottawa and elsewhere (including the slow-roll convoys in Peterborough) and the Emergencies Act invoked then revoked by Justin Trudeau, what do we see? What does our country look like? The Ottawa Occupation started on January 28th and ended on February 20th. The slow-roll protests in Peterborough have been a disturbing feature of our Saturday afternoons. What will be the legacy of this winter of discontent? What is causing these rifts and injuries to our social fabric? How deep are these wounds? And what might be the solutions? How might the healing start? Are we ready for what comes next?
Panellists Jilly Tilley, Dane Bland, Annie Jaeger and Stephen Wright evaluate the damage of these weeks of civil unrest and measure the potential political impact of these events on future elections. In assessing the comparative performance of our federal political parties in responding to these protests, Dane Bland concluded, “We all lost”. The panel explores the impact of social media on supporters and the general population. They also look at the policing of these protests across the country. This discussion was recorded online on February 27.
Episode #112 — Author Kate Story reads from her latest novel “Urchin”
While Pints & Politics usually sticks to its lane by commenting on contemporary politics in Peterborough, Ontario and Canada, we like to go exploring occasionally and leave the maps behind. Author Kate Story’s latest novel, Urchin, was published by Running the Goat Books and Broadsides of St. John’s in October of 2021. According to the Globe and Mail, Urchin is “A breathtaking mix of Newfoundland fairy lore and history as readers follow non-binary Dor – spy, adventurer, gender questioner – out into the snowy streets of St. John’s in December 1901, when Marconi has arrived in Newfoundland to receive the first wireless trans-Atlantic radio signal and Dor’s been hired to find out what Marconi is really up to...”
Having listened to the author read at her virtual book launch last fall, we were reminded again of the deep pleasure of putting aside all our preoccupations and allowing ourselves to be read to. Urchin is a mesmerizing tale from another time that resonates with an authentic tone across today’s world. The musicality of Story’s voice and her deep sense of place –having grown up in St. John’s- creates a thoroughly engaging listening experience. Enjoy!
The first two musical interludes on this episode were sourced from the Creative Commons. In order of appearance…Artist: LukHash – Music: “The Other Side”; Artist: Le Conquerant – Music: “ Guitario“
The exit music was sourced from the Memorial University of Newfoundland Digital Archives Initiative —Artist: The St. John’s Extension Choir – Music: Ode to Newfoundland
Episode #111 — Covid Management in Ontario & Political Instability in the USA
This podcast examines two issues: (1) How is Doug Ford’s government in Ontario doing in their management of the pandemic? (2) What level of instability might emerge in the US as a result of the mid-term elections and what might be the impacts of this putative instability on life in Canada? As the pandemic rolls on, the Ford government seems to lurch from indecision to indecision. Rapid Antigen Tests are being distributed, but not equitably. Schools are open, but the safety of students is questionable. Are we at the end of the beginning of this pandemic, or is this the beginning of the end?
In the US, the Biden administration seems to stumble from indecision to indecision as well, disappointing loyalists and angering opponents. Will the mid-term elections in November be fair? Is democracy in the United States of America in danger? To what extent will the radicals within the Republican Party highjack the electoral process? Should Canadians be paying closer attention to the potential impacts on our economy and our livelihoods of a politically unstable USA?
Thanks to our panellists — property manager & businesswoman Jenny Lanciault, paralegal professional, photographer and comedian Jill Tilley, & Peterborough City Councillor Stephen Wright — for their ideas and insights on these complex issues. This podcast was recorded online on Sunday, January 17, 2022.
Episode # 110 — Peterborough’s City Council: How did we get here? Where are we going?
What has happened to Peterborough’s City Council over the past 4 years? What narrative could explain how we went from the top-down approach of the Bennett years to the optimism of a new, “progressive” council in 2018 to the apparent dissolution of the current season? Of course, there are many narratives that could take us from then to now. This had to be a collective effort as the truth wears many masks to this dance. What role did the pandemic play in this council’s effectiveness? What has been the role of social media and online communication in this council’s relationship with its citizens? What have we learned about the role of women in local politics and the pressures to which they are subjected? Do we have a distorted view of how much power the City Council wields? What is the balance of power between the council, the mayor and senior city staff? Who’s really in charge here and who should be in charge?
Joining this online discussion are a few members of our regular politics panel plus a few guests: property manager & businesswoman JENNY LANCIAULT, Curve Lake First Nation Councilor and Ontario NDP Indigenous Peoples Committee Chair SEAN CONWAY, co-editor of Transition Town’s Greenzine and Peterborough Bridges volunteer, CHERYL LYON, artist and arts advocate ANNIE JAEGER, and LGBTQI+ activist, community manager and Director Development for Rainbow Railroad… DANE BLAND. This episode is about 62 minutes in length; it was recorded online on November 19, 2021.
The musical interludes on this episode were sourced from the Creative Commons. In order of appearance…Artist: LukHash – Music: “The Other Side” Artist: Remy Bourgeois – Music: “Aube”