GUELPH POLITICAST #262 – The View From the GRCA Board

24Feb

It's a difficult time for conservation authorities across Ontario. Pandemic? Yeah, that’s part of it. Conservation authorities can’t take part in their usual programming, and they’ve lost normally dependable funds because of that, plus there are all the new precautions they have to take in areas of their parks that are open. But that’s just the beginning of the current headaches for conservation authorities.

Back in November, the Ontario government announced the 2020-21 provincial budget, and like their previous budget there was some very non-budget related stuff in the fine print. Schedule 6 of the budget bill, Bill 229, took away some autonomy from the province’s 36 conservation authorities including a clause that forces those authorities to issue permits at the insistence of the minister. There was some disagreement on that.

The person now charged to work through those disagreements on our end through the Grand River Conservation Authority is Guelph/Eramosa Mayor Chris White. White has been mayor of Guelph/Eramosa since 2006, he was Warden for the County of Wellington from 2011 to 2014, and he’s been part of the GRCA board since 2014. He was appointed chair of the board just last month, and the complex situation coming out of Bill 229 is a lot to deal with for someone with less than two months on the job, so how's he coping?

That’s one of the questions Mayor White will answer, and he will also talk about why the GRCA is so important to him, and the current stresses the GRCA is facing because of the pandemic. On the issues with the Province, White will talk about why he intends to proceed with the working group in good faith, and the legitimate issues concerning the management of conservation authorities that really do need to be addressed. And finally, White will discuss his goals and concerns for 2021.

So let's talk about the view from the GRCA board on this week's Guelph Politicast!

You can learn more about the Grand River Conservation Authority at their website. The next meeting of the GRCA board of directors is this Friday at 9:30 am, which is also the annual general meeting for the GRCA, and you can find the agenda and links to the virtual meeting 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 Apple Podcasts, 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#314 - February 18, 2021

22Feb

This week on Open Sources Guelph, we will consider a great many others. This episode of the show will take us from the still bruised U.S. Capitol for one senate hearing, to the red chamber of our own senate where there's very important social matters being debated. From there, we'll talk about election misses on the east coast, and the aforementioned salesmen above.

This Thursday, February 18, at 5 pm, Scotty Hertz and Adam A. Donaldson will discuss:

Acquitted Place. Even though it was the most bipartisan impeachment vote in American History, the Senate was still 10 votes short of preventing Donald Trump from running from office again and losing his post-presidential privileges. To say it's disappointing is an understatement, but this may not be the end of the troubles for Trump who is already being sued for the insurrection by the NAACP and is facing electoral fraud investigations in two states. So now what?

Death Notes. Canada's assisted dying legislation is in the midst of a court-demanded upgrade, but the friction now is between the House of Commons and the Senate as the upper house is debating their amendments, including new provisions that will expand access to doctor assisted dying. The real question is whether or not the House will take up the amendments, especially now that the Liberals don't have a majority, so is this process about to get somehow more complicated?

The Vote was Rocked. Newfoundland and Labrador is in the middle of a pandemic like the rest of us, but unlike the rest of us they are also in the middle of a provincial election. A spike in new COVID-19 cases prompted election officials to cancel in-person voting in favour of an all mail-in election, which has forced the extension of the deadline and a lot of questions about proper election procedure and making decisions without input from opposition parties. Did Elections NL eff-up?

The Aristocrats. Earlier this month, Centre Wellington councillor and deputy mayor Steven VanLeeuwen joined something called the "End the Lockdown Caucus", a group of Canadian politicians who find accepted actions to stop the spread of COVID-19 "too restrictive". It's a group that includes Maxime Bernier, Derek Sloan, and Randy Hillier, but are we to take this as a serious political movement, or are some of Canada's most well-known political agitators just living up their reputations?

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

End Credits #186 - February 17, 2021 (Judas & the Black Messiah)

19Feb

This week on End Credits we're getting back on track with another tribute to Black History Month. Judas and the Black Messiah is the movie we're reviewing on this episode of the show, and perhaps in keeping with the theme, we will also talk about the week's news, which was all about problematic white celebrities doing and saying gross and inappropriate things.

This Wednesday, February 17, at 3 pm, Adam A. Donaldson and Peter Salmon will discuss:

The New Cancelled. It was quite a week for geek icons behaving badly. On the one hand, we had Gina Carano being fired by Lucasfilm for sharing conspiracies and anti-Semitic memes, and on the other hand we had more allegations against Joss Whedon, but these ones come from the halcyon days of his work on Buffy the Vampire Slayer. We'll talk about both stories.

REVIEW: Judas and the Black Messiah (2021). In 1969, the 21-year-old leader of the Chicago Black Panthers, a young man named Fred Hampton, was killed in an early morning police raid, and what nobody knew at the time was that his trusted head of security was an FBI informant. Daniel Kaluuya and LaKeith Stanfield star in this true life story ideally situated for a Black History Month release, but does the movie live up to the moment, and its important place in the culture?

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

GUELPH POLITICAST #261 - The Impossible Return of Con-G

17Feb

From 2009 to 2014, a group of University of Guelph students who were fans of gaming, comics, anime and other geeky things organized a yearly winter convention designed to bring people together and share their passions. It was perfect in its way, but all good things must come to an end, but sometimes they come back, and they come back at the most surprising times.

In so much as the demise of Con-G had to do with the core group of now-former U of G students growing apart, and moving on to adult demands like careers and families, it was also a victim of its own success. There was no venue in Guelph big enough for the size of event that Con-G had become, so the organizers took the money they made and donated it to the Guelph Food Bank, and that was apparently the end of it. 

They moved on, but in the shadow of the pandemic there was opportunity. Could you run a convention where size was only limited by your audience’s bandwidth? Could you capture the fun, creativity and camaraderie of an in-person con while running it all online? This week, we're joined by Lindsay Barker, who is also one of the originators of Con-G years ago, and ask her all about the miraculous comeback.

So this week on the podcast, Barker will recap the history of Con-G, and why the pandemic provided the perfect opportunity to bring it back. Barber will also talk about how she and her fellow organizers, all Con-G originals, are adapting all their favourite events for an online audience, and the technical and organizational challenges of a virtual convention. And finally, she will also discuss the growing geekiness of Guelph, how she will judge the success of the event. 

So let's talk about how the con is back on on this week's Guelph Politicast!

You can find all the details about Con-G, which takes place at your home this weekend from February 19 to 21, at the Con-G website, or through its various social media channels on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube and Twitch.

The host for the Guelph Politicast is Podbean. Find more episodes of the Politicast here, or download them on your favourite podcast app at Apple Podcasts, 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 #313 - February 11, 2021

15Feb

This week on Open Sources Guelph, we've not news, analysis and a healthy dose of informed speculation. We will spend the first half of the show talking about provincial politics as the economy is re-opening and the legislature is returning. In the second half, we will talk about that latest spectacle happening now in the U.S. Capitol, and then we will go to India where farming has become a matter of international interest.

This Thursday, February 11, at 5 pm, Scotty Hertz and Adam A. Donaldson will discuss:

Normal-ish. This week, most Ontario schools got back to in-person classes, and on that same day Premier Doug Ford announced that most of the province will come out of the state of emergency and lockdown the day after Family Day next week. This is good news for a lot of struggling small businesses, but the typical Ford government approach to announcing a direction without a plan remains intact. So is this a good move, or is the Province threatening to undo weeks of hard work?

Same Time, Next Year. Also returning next week is the Ontario Legislature. The Provincial government has been in recess since the second week of December, so the opposition parties have had a lot of time to think about what they're going to do, and the NDP have decided to shake up their front bench. Why does this matter? Because this time next year we will be talking about the coming Provincial Election. So do opposition parties stand a chance against the kinda okay Ford?

Impeachment 2: Impeachment Harder. The second impeachment trial of former social media influencer Donald Trump began this week in the U.S. Senate, and Day One did not go well. While the House managers delivered a harrowing video and an emotional opening statement from Rep. Jamie Raskin, Trump's lawyers stumbled through a rambling counterargument that did not belie the reputation of the only lawyers Trump could get. So there's a chance Trump might be convicted this time, right?

Old Mohindra's Farm. You may have heard about the protests being held by farmers in India against their government, what's the deal? Well, they're protesting the passage of three new bills in the Indian Parliament that thousands of small and family farmers in the country say will give too much control to argricorps, including the possibility of price fixing. The anger and concern have been felt be Indian communities all the way here in Canada too, so we will talk about why this has become a global affair.

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

End Credits #185 - February 10, 2021 (Malcolm & Marie)

12Feb

This week on End Credits, get ready for mortal combat! Not the video game, or any ancillary products based on that franchise, but a verbal title bout between two great actors playing a romantic couple. This week we're reviewing Malcolm & Marie on Netflix, the most honoured studio in this year's Golden Globe nominations, which we will also be talking about.

This Wednesday, February 10, at 3 pm, Adam A. Donaldson and Candice Lepage will discuss:

Golden Moments. Normally at this time of year we're thinking about the Oscars, but the pandemic delay is giving us our first taste of awards season just now with the Golden Globes. The nominations were announced last week, and we will review the nominees and the ones who are on track for Oscars, plus we will pay tribute to the late, great Christopher Plummer.

REVIEW: Malcolm & Marie (2021). You know those fights that either make or break your relationship? That's what Malcolm & Marie is about. Directed by Euphoria creator Sam Levinson, the film features Zendaya and John David Washington as the titular couple, facing off for almost two hours and scouring almost every corner of their relationship in the process. It's an acting class by two great performers, but does it work as a film and as a [pandemic] production?

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

GUELPH POLITICAST #260 - Still COVID [Winter Edition] with Dr. Mercer

10Feb

As this week started, the 7-day moving rate of confirmed cases is just a few points above the red line of 40 per 100,000, while the test positivity rate is now at 3.6 per cent. This is good news since it was just a month ago that the numbers were over 115 per 100,000 and five per cent. The numbers are going down, but where does the local medical officer think we stand in all this?

According to data presented at the Board of Health meeting last week, the second wave peaked in our region on January 9, and that was before the outbreak at the University of Guelph. At the same time, we've also seen a precipitous increase in fatalities from the virus in the last month, which is especially noteworthy since there were months that went by where we had no deaths from COVID in our area.

Things have changed though. While delays in receiving vaccine distribution are a pain, Public Health has completed a full round of first doses for residents in long-term care homes, and are now handing our second doses. Our numbers are steering lower, and there was the announcement Monday that Ontario will be lifting the state of emergency and lockdown measures in most of the province by this time next week. The hope is that the worst is over, but there are still so many unanswered questions about the road ahead.

This week we’re joined by Medical Officer of Health Dr. Nicola Mercer, for the fourth time in the last year, to cover the latest in pandemic developments. Mercer will address the vaccine delivery delays, and why we shouldn’t be worried about short-term holdups. She will also talk about variants, and how we will know if there’s a case of one of the variants in the region. And finally, Mercer will discuss the long-term effects of COVID, and the reasons why we’re see so much loss of life in our senior population. 

So let's catch-up on COVID-19 in our area with Dr. Mercer on the Guelph Politicast!

You can visit the Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph Public Health website for up-to-date information about the pandemic, and the latest public health advice. Look for further guidance about the re-opening of the local economy to be released sometime later this week, and look for coverage on Guelph Politico.

The host for the Guelph Politicast is Podbean. Find more episodes of the Politicast here, or download them on your favourite podcast app at Apple Podcasts, 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 #312 - February 4, 2021

8Feb

This week's Open Sources Guelph has a lot of ground to cover, which is weird because there's not much we can do about foreign travel with new Federal government restrictions. So we're not going anywhere, but we will be talking about the coup in Myanmar along with those new travel restrictions. In the back half, our featured guest will be the former environmental commissioner who's got a tough appraisal of the green record of the provincial government.

This Thursday, February 4, at 5 pm, Scotty Hertz and Adam A. Donaldson will discuss:

No Jab for Cutie. There's been a lot of discussion these last few weeks about Canada's place in the international supply chain pecking order for COVID-19 vaccines, and that's got a lot of people sweating. At the same time, the Federal government introduced new restrictions on foreign travel, especially to sunny destination spots, which has earned the vicious ire of snowbirds everywhere. We'll talk about the Federal government's latest actions to fight the pandemic.

The Parallax Coup. Myanmar is back under military control after a weekend coup d'etat that unfolded in live view of a woman hosting an aerobics video (see above). Aung San Suu Kyi, once seen as the shiny promise of democratic reform, is back under arrest, which forces world governments to call out the Myanmar military in support of a democratically elected leader who oversaw the continued oppression of a Muslim minority. We'll try to untangle this complicated story.

Saxe of All Trades. For years, Dianne Saxe was the tough but fair Environmental Commissioner for the Province of Ontario, but the Ford government eliminated the position in 2019, and then proceeded to do other things that got on the nerves of environmentalists province-wide. Saxe is now the deputy leader of the Green Party of Ontario, and she joins us this week to talk about getting into politics, and the environmental issues coming out of the pandemic.

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

End Credits #184 - February 3, 2021(Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom)

5Feb

This week on End Credits, we continue a streak that's now more timely with our first episode for the month of February. In this edition of the show, we will review another Black story featuring a Black cast and a Black director, and it's called Ma Rainey's Black Bottom. And in an effort to further diversity, we will officially kick off Black Heritage Month with a tribute to the directors.

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

Black Heritage Month: The Directors. Like the headline says, the month is February and that means it's time to reflect on Black History. This week, End Credits does its part by considering great Black directors and their signature films; from Spike Lee and Ryan Coogler, to John Singleton and Kasi Clemmons, and all the incredible talent in-between, we'll give a great list of films and we'll tell you where to find them.

REVIEW: Ma Rainey's Black Bottom (2020). The year is 1927, and Ma Rainey is the Mother of the Blues. One day in Chicago, she and her band record a new album, and the consequences will be felt for years. Viola Davis delivers a powerhouse performance as Ma, but attention also goes to Chadwick Boseman in what would turn out to be his final performance. Ma Rainey's Black Bottom is a veritable supernova of acting talent, so how does this August Wilson adaptation stand among the year's other great performances?

GUELPH POLITICAST #259 - It’s Been a Weird Year for Pets Too

3Feb

According to an article on the CBC website last month more than one in three Canadian homes now has a dog, and two out of every five homes now has a cat, and then there are all the birds, hamsters, guinea pigs, lizards and goldfish who are just as beloved by their humans. The reason for this shift is COVID-19, more people are spending time at home, and they are looking for company. So it’s a good news story, right?

Not quite. There have been instances in our area of people falling victim to scams; they buy a puppy online, but no actual puppy ever arrives as some con man walks away with their wire transfer. That’s one of the reasons why people put their trust in the Humane Society, an organization with a 125-year history of “protecting and caring for the many animals with whom we share our community and our lives.”

Still, there have been uphill challenges for the Humane Society, who were supposed to have moved in to their new and more spacious home in the Hanlon Creek Business Park by now, but got delayed because of COVID-19. From pet care, to hosting potential new pet owners, to taking pets to get needed care at the veterinarian, there’s a lot of work at the Humane Society that doesn’t stop because of the pandemic. So how are they coping?

This week, we’re joined by Adrienne McBride, who is the executive director of the Guelph Humane Society, to talk about the issues they’re dealing with, and the effects of the pandemic on both people and the animals. She will also talk about the pandemic's impact on fundraising, especially in the case of building the Human Society’s new headquarters, which is behind schedule and still $2.3 million short of its fundraising goal for the project, and more.

So let's talk about pets and the pandemic on this week's Guelph Politicast!

To learn more about the Guelph Humane Society, how you can help, or how you can potentially adopt a pet of your own, you can find all that information on their website. You can also go to UnleashHope.ca to learn about how you can support the fundraising efforts to finish construction on the Human Society’s new “fur-ever” home. (Sorry.)

The host for the Guelph Politicast is Podbean. Find more episodes of the Politicast here, or download them on your favourite podcast app at Apple Podcasts, 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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