GUELPH POLITICAST #233 - Parks or Wreck

12Aug

Despite conventional wisdom about there being no news in August, over 100 people went to Margaret Greene Park last week to confront City councillors, staff, and Metrolinx reps about a plan to build a traction power substation in a portion of the park. The events in the west end capture in a microcosm of big concerns about public engagement, and development running roughshod over neighbourhood concerns.

As you've surely heard,  Metrolinx, the crown corporation that owns and operates GO Transit, posted a virtual town hall outlining their plan to electrify the Kitchener GO Train line. One slide identified the placement of something called a traction power substation, or TPS, on a trail that runs from Margaret Greene Park behind some residential homes on Ferman Drive. The infrastructure, which is usually the size of cargo container, will change the shape of the park, and the implications did not go unnoticed.

The way that Metrolinx has handled this public engagement, and the behind the scenes discussions with City staff on the placement of the TPS that even seemed to catch Ward 4's councillors unawares, has fit into an increasing common narrative. For years, people have been feeling more and more cut out of the planning process, and in the case of Margaret Greene Park people are no longer willing to stand for it. This week, we've got two people who are standing up to Metrolinx.

This week’s guests are Crenda King and Ashley Lewis who both live in the neighbourhoods around Margaret Greene Park, and they both have a new found sense of political activism to protect this area that means so much to them and their families. This week's podcast will take you to the park where King and Lewis will talk about their concerns, their thoughts about the process so far, and whether or not they trust City Hall, Metrolinx, and other authorities to respect their point of view when it comes to the fate of their beloved neighborhood park.

So let's go to the park and talk about how to save it on this week's Guelph Politicast!

Metrolinx has extended the deadline for the virtual town hall until August 28, and you can find those materials and leave your input here. And you can keep up with the fight to protect Margaret Greene Park at the "Save Our Greenspace: Margaret Greene Park" Facebook page here.

The host for the Guelph Politicast is Podbean. Find more episodes of the Politicast here, or download them on your favourite podcast app at iTunes, Stitcher, Google Play, and Spotify.

Also, when you subscribe to the Guelph Politicast channel and you will also get an episode of Open Sources Guelph every Monday, and an episode of End Credits every Friday.

Open Sources Guelph - August 5, 2020

10Aug

This week on Open Sources Guelph, there are a lot of unknowns. Will there be a proper school year with COVID still a thing? Are we ignoring Canada's growing far-right extremism and conspiracy theorists? And what about future political leaders, who is going to run alongside Joe Biden on the Democratic ticket, and who will lead the Green Party of Canada into the next election? This week, we'll try to get some answers.

This Thursday, August 6, at 5 pm, Scotty Hertz and Adam A. Donaldson will discuss:

Class Struggles. It's almost exactly one month till the start of the school year, and for a lot of parents across Canada that means making a tough decision: If the schools are open, do I feel the precautions make it safe enough to send my child there? It's a tough call, and the details change between provinces and school boards, but with reports of outbreaks at American schools that have re-opened, what assurances do we have that school will be COVID cool in September?

Parks and Wreck. Among the problems facing the country, one that's been overlooked is a small group of conspiracy-minded people camped out at the National War Memorial called "the Canadian Revolution." This group has been demanding that Prime Minister Justin Trudeau be arrested or investigated for pedophilia, child trafficking, and other charges, and if you think this sounds suspiciously like QAnon level stuff, you're right! Are we paying enough attention to these fringe groups?

Veep Stakes. Former Vice-President Joe Biden will be announcing his running mate sometime in the next week or so in the lead up to the Democratic National Convention where he will officially assume the Democratic nomination for the presidency. The VP selection has a lot riding on it, not just because people want a forward, progressive-leaning pick, which will definitely be a woman, but because this person will likely be the presumptive nominee for President in 2024. Any guesses?

Follow the Leader's Race. A lot of people have been talking about the Conservative leadership race, but there are actually two Federal parties in the midst of a leadership contest right now. The Green Party race has twice the number of candidates as the Conservatives, but probably hasn't garnered half of the coverage, and this is a key moment for the Green Party as they plot a path forward without the leader that put them on the electoral map. So who looks good to succeed Elizabeth May?

Open Sources is live on CFRU 93.3 fm and cfru.ca at 5 pm on Thursday.

End Credits - August 5, 2020 (The Old Guard)

7Aug

This week on End Credits, we're going to enjoy a taste of summer as usual, still watching movies at home, but watching movies that best suit a summer's day at the multiplex. On this episode, we're going to review The Old Guard, which is the Netflix version of a summer blockbuster, and before that, we're going to look at all the potential blockbusters Spielberg never made.

This Wednesday, August 5, at 3 pm, Adam A. Donaldson and Tim Phillips will discuss:

Uneven Stevens Epilogue. For the last few weeks, we've been ranking all of Steven Spielberg's films from worst to best, but with nearly 50 years in the business, Spielberg's been attached to a lot of different projects over the years. So as an addendum to our Spielberg ranking, we've got one more list: the Top 10 Spielberg projects that Spielberg never made, or got made by someone else!

REVIEW: The Old Guard (2020). Look at that picture at the top. Now that is a group of badasses, right? Lead by the Queen of Action herself, Charlize Theron, The Old Guard is Netflix's latest entry in the big Hollywood summer action game and features Theron's Andy leading a quintet of immortal warriors in a modern world where they can no long hide in the shadows. Sounds like the start of a beautiful franchise, but does this sure to be part one of a series get us hooked?

End Credits is on CFRU 93.3 fm and cfru.ca Wednesday at 3 pm.

GUELPH POLITICAST #232 - Behind the Scenes of the Remote Council

5Aug

City council is one of those things that has more less operated the same way for decades, You’ve got your elected officials, and the relevant City staff around the big central table, media covers the goings on from their appointed desk, and there’s a gallery full of spectators and supplemental staff who will take part in the meeting when called upon. It’s simple, and it’s how things have always been done... at least until COVID-19.

As part of its COVID-19 emergency measures, the Ontario government amended the Municipal Act to make certain allowances for cities, towns, and regional governments to hold meetings remotely. Guelph was one of the first early adapters to go to the digital council meeting, and the first COVID response meeting happened on March 23, a little over a week after Guelph, and indeed the country, shut down in response to the outbreak.

Those initial forays on March 23, and then again on April 16, led to an adjusted summer schedule for council that allowed them to handle City business while keeping physical distance and then also creating a way for council to hear from the public. Has it been an adjustment? Yes, but it’s seemed like an easy one, at least from the point of view from council observers. So how has it been going behind the scenes?

On this podcast, we’ll talk to the man best qualified to discuss those behind the scenes details, City Clerk Stephen O’Brien. O’Brien will review the changes that have allowed the virtual meetings, and whether they were considered before COVID-19. He will also talk about the advantages and disadvantages of virtual council meetings, and which of those changes might remain after the immediate effects of the pandemic are over. And finally, O’Brien will talk about the current status of the ward boundary and council composition review, and when you will be able to have your say about what council might look like in 2022. 

So let's talk about how council meetings have changed in the pandemic era on this week's Guelph Politicast!

City council meetings will continue next week with the planning meeting of council, and the latest COVID-19 response meeting. In September, city council will return to a more regular schedule while still being physically distant, and stay tuned to Guelph Politico for all that coverage.

The host for the Guelph Politicast is Podbean. Find more episodes of the Politicast here, or download them on your favourite podcast app at iTunes, Stitcher, Google Play, and Spotify.

Also, when you subscribe to the Guelph Politicast channel and you will also get an episode of Open Sources Guelph every Monday, and an episode of End Credits every Friday.

Open Sources Guelph - July 30, 2020

3Aug

This week on Open Sources Guelph, it's going to be a Canadian affair with a splash of conspiracy. From coast to coast to coast, people are talking about the controversy that rhymes with "Me", but there are concerns in select localities including questions about mass murder on the East coast, and questions about the limits of Free Speech in Alberta. And speaking of Free Speech, yes, we have to talk again about conspiracies.

 

This Thursday, July 30, at 5 pm, Scotty Hertz and Adam A. Donaldson will discuss:

 

WE Are What WE Are. It was a big week for the still ongoing scandal involving the Federal government's decision to allow the WE Charity to administer nearly a billion dollars for youth volunteerism. The Kielburger Brothers testified Tuesday as they try to valiantly save their non-profit's reputation, if not its very existence, while Prime Minister Justin Trudeau himself will testify just before showtime on Thursday. So where does the story go from here, and will there be any lessons learned?

 

Under Pressure. David Bowie and Queen must have been in the back of the head of the Nova Scotia government this week as they finally announced a public inquiry into the April massacre there, which is still the worst mass shooting in Canadian history. Originally, they were going to go with a simple review, but immense public pressure forced them to change their minds. So will a public inquiry get the answers people need, and will the government's heart really be in it?

 

Kill Bill 1. A few weeks ago, the Alberta government passed Bill 1, or the Protecting Critical Infrastructure Defence Act. Sounds pretty innocuous, right? Well, don't tell that to environmentalists in the Wild Rose province because they smell a rat, a rat designed to stop them from exercising their right to protest big oil and pipelines. So is Alberta and Jason Kenney using the pandemic as an excuse to stifle Free Expression for their friends in the fossil fuel business?

 

Fake Drastic Expertise. A viral video posted Monday night featured a group of people in front of the Supreme Court of the United States (?) talking about how everything that real medical professionals have told you about COVID-19 is wrong. It's another in a long line of conspiracy theories concerning the pandemic we've heard, and they're made worse because they're amplified by the President of United States. Will anything break this conspiratorial stranglehold on people?

 

Open Sources is live on CFRU 93.3 fm and cfru.ca at 5 pm on Thursday.

End Credits - July 29, 2020 (Colour Out of Space)

31Jul

This week on End Credits, we're all about the Colour. It's not real, but it is spectacular, and it's the basis for this week's review, Colour Out of Space, which is now streaming on Netflix. Before that though, we will finish off our ultimate ranking of Spielberg film, and there may be some discussion about a tough weekend for loses in the film industry.

 

This Wednesday, July 29, at 3 pm, Adam A. Donaldson and Tim Phillips will discuss:

 

Uneven Stevens Part 3 of 3. Forty-five years ago this summer, Steven Spielberg changed movies forever with the release of Jaws, and that was merely just another step on his run as the most successful filmmaker in 125 years of cinematic history. This week we continue the definitive* ranking of Spielberg’s films with the Top 10. (*May not actually be definitive.)

 

REVIEW: Colour Out of Space (2020). The works of H.P. Lovecraft have been hugely influential, but they've not been easily adaptable, which is why Colour Out of Space is such a unique product. Well, there's also the mythic careers or director Richard Stanley and star Nicolas Cage, but mostly it's the Lovecraft, and his timely interpretation of humanity as just another cog in the cosmic machine. So is this Colour as spectacular and terrifying as advertised?

 

End Credits is on CFRU 93.3 fm and cfru.ca Wednesday at 3 pm.

GUELPH POLITICAST #231 – Big Concerns for Small Business

29Jul

This week, we’re going to talk about small business, and we’re going to talk about it from two sides: the nation-wide trends on how entrepreneurs are trying to survive the pandemic, and a unique local example from a small business owner who has loudly and publicly asked for more help as we’re entering this important recovery phase of the crisis. How's business? It's complicated.

 

If you’re an entrepreneur running your own small business, and especially if that business depends on the regular traffic into a bricks and mortar storefront, these are very tough times. Three quarters of all small businesses in Canada have been forced to carry some kind of debt because of COVID-19, and according to the Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB), that debt now sits at $117 billion altogether. How are small businesses going to overcome this and other challenges?

 

We're going to get help answering that from two people this week. First, we will focus on the big picture with Ryan Mallough, the Ontario Director of Provincial Affairs for the CFIB. Mallough will talk about the worst case scenario for small business, the potential for a “second wave” of business closures in the fall as certain government measures expire, and the best ways that small businesses can overcome COVID challenges, especially in the digital realm.

 

After that, we will hear from Ryan Brooks, who is the CEO and founder of Ctrl V, a virtual reality arcade with nearly 20 different locations across North America. Brooks will talk about why he sent out an email to Ctrl V customers about getting more Federal and Provincial government action to support small businesses, and what those governments have done so far that’s been both helpful and unhelpful. Brooks will also talk about the effects of the pandemic on his own small business, and what factors will make or break some of the various Ctrl V franchises.

 

So let's talk about the challenges of small business, and the possible solutions, on this week's Guelph Politicast!

 

To learn more about the Canadian Federation of Independent Business click here, and to learn more about Ctrl V click here. To read the email that Ryan Brooks sent out to customers to rally support for small businesses from the government, click here.

 

The host for the Guelph Politicast is Podbean. Find more episodes of the Politicast here, or download them on your favourite podcast app at iTunes, Stitcher, Google Play, and Spotify.

 

Also, when you subscribe to the Guelph Politicast channel and you will also get an episode of Open Sources Guelph every Monday, and an episode of End Credits every Friday.

Open Sources Guelph - July 23, 2020

27Jul

This week on Open Sources Guelph, we are once again overwhelmed by the dregs of living in the year 2020. On the one hand, we've got stormtroopers on the streets of American cities, and a burgeoning blowback of abuse and assault allegations here in Canada. On top of that, we've got work issues in spite of the pandemic, and those pesky fascistic and colonial statues aren't going anywhere. What happened to a slow, summer news week?

 

This Thursday, July 23, at 5 pm, Scotty Hertz and Adam A. Donaldson will discuss:

 

Portland oh-no! The most active of the Black Lives Matter protests have died down, so why were the streets of Portland, Oregon filled with unidentifiable government goons putting activists into unmarked cars? No one knows who these people are, or what agency they're a part of, but it goes all the way up to President Donald Trump. Is this performative fascism for the camera, or is this a warm-up act for actual fascism pre-election in November?

 

#MouAussi. It hasn't really broken through into English Canada yet, but there is a MeToo reckoning happening now in Quebec. With a couple of exceptions, like Simple Plan bassist David Desrosiers, the majority of the accused are not well known outside of Quebec's insular celebrity culture, but that's not the only thing that's different about Quebec, where it's much easier for people to sue for libel even if the allegations are proven true. What can we learn from this new phase of MeToo?

 

Work Weak? We've reached the point in the pandemic where we're talking about how to get people back to work, and while the Federal government has extended the payout period for the Canadian Emergency Benefit Response, business owners are now shaking their fists because people are getting paid more to not go to work and stay safe. What's missing from the debate? If people are feeling that they're not paid enough to risk going to work, shouldn't we be talking about paying them more?

 

Statue of Limitations. More statue news this week as three protestors were taken into custody in Toronto for painting a Sir John A. MacDonald statue at Queen's Park pink, meanwhile Halton Regional Police were investigating the defacement of a Nazi monument in Oakville as a hate crime. Wait a minute, there's a Nazi monument in Oakville? You better believe it, which is another thing we've discovered about ourselves in another difficult week of reassessing our racial biases.

Open Sources is live on CFRU 93.3 fm and cfru.ca at 5 pm on Thursday.

End Credits - July 22, 2020 (Relic)

24Jul

This week on End Credits, even though we're in the middle of another summer heat wave, this new episode of the show might send a chill down your spine. For our review this week, we're going to discuss the new family-bases horror flick Relic, and before that we will continue our career recap of the man with the beard (and the box office).

 

This Wednesday, July 22, at 3 pm, Adam A. Donaldson and Candice Lepage will discuss:

 

Uneven Stevens Part 2 of 3. Forty-five years ago this summer, Steven Spielberg changed movies forever with the release of Jaws, and that was merely just another step on his run as the most successful filmmaker in 125 years of cinematic history. This week we continue the definitive* ranking of Spielberg’s films with the middle 11. (*May not actually be definitive.)

 

REVIEW: Relic (2020). It would be insulting to call the trend of high brow horror movies "smart horror", but this week we have another example of the best of the art form. Relic tells the story about three generations of woman coping with the deteriorating mental condition of the matriarch, but are the weird things happening in the house the fault of dementia, or is it the fault of some supernatural presence? Here's a question: Why not both?

 

End Credits is on CFRU 93.3 fm and cfru.ca Wednesday at 3 pm.

GUELPH POLITICAST #230 - Messaging on a Bottle

22Jul

It’s hard to imagine a more personal environmental issue for many in Guelph than water. We’re a community that gets our drinking water from ground sources, and that means we have to be even more guarded about potential threats to those sources, which has long included private water taking operations. Some big changes are coming in that sector as you might have heard, and we’re going to get perspective from an activist and a politician.

 

A few weeks ago, the Government of Ontario announced proposed changes to water taking in Ontario, and around that same time Nestle Waters announced that they’re selling their water bottling operations in Canada. To water protection advocates, it’s like hell froze over twice!

 

Way back in 2016, the water taking contract between the Province and Nestle Waters operation in Aberfoyle expired. Still, Nestle has been taking water for the last four years, and all the Ontario government has done in the mean time is put a moratorium on new water taking permits, a moratorium that carried over when the new government took over in 2018. Now that moratorium is set to expire, and Nestle is selling its water bottling operations in Canada to a Shelburne company. What the heck’s going on?

 

To answer that, and other questions, we will be joined on this week's podcast by Robert Case, who is the chair of the Wellington Water Watchers, and Guelph MPP and Green Party of Ontario leader Mike Schreiner. We will hear from Case about his thoughts on Nestle leaving Canada, and whether Nestle is the canary in the coalmine for the profitability of bottled water. Then, we will hear from Schreiner as he talks about the politics being played by the Ontario government, and where this issue sits in terms of other government action on the environment.

 

So let's consider the future of bottled water and water bottling on this week's edition of the Guelph Politicast!

 

To learn more about the Wellington Water Watchers, you can go to their website here, and to learn more about the update to Ontario’s Water Quality Management framework, you can click here.

 

The host for the Guelph Politicast is Podbean. Find more episodes of the Politicast here, or download them on your favourite podcast app at iTunes, Stitcher, Google Play, and Spotify.

 

Also, when you subscribe to the Guelph Politicast channel and you will also get an episode of Open Sources Guelph every Monday, and an episode of End Credits every Friday.

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