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Yes, I parlez-vous

in Community/Opinion by

I was not born in Quebec. I have never lived in Quebec. I have zero aspiration of ever living in Quebec. Sure, that province is home to some wonderful people who’ve done magic with music, comedy, cheese, gravy and French fries and Stanley Cups.

But my home is — always has been, always will be – Ontario. I suspect my next move will be to a plot somewhere near my home outside of Dunsford.

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Kawartha Lakes brings rural issues forward at 2019 ROMA conference

in Around Town/Community by

Mayor Andy Letham and Ron Taylor, CAO, joined more than 1,000 rural municipal officials from across the province at the 2019 Rural Ontario Municipal Association (ROMA) Conference in Toronto from January 27 to 29.

Coming six months after the change in provincial government, the conference focused on the pressing challenges and emerging opportunities facing rural communities in Ontario. It was an opportunity for Kawartha Lakes to bring to the forefront the key issues facing our municipality.

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Reg Learn and the ribbons of steel: Train expert’s career spans nearly 70 years

in Community/Seniors by

How to even begin to do justice in a couple of pages to a distinguished career that spans close to 70 years? Reg Learn’s curriculum vitae alone runs to five densely-packed pages.

But let’s begin with that C.V. and his career arc. Reg trained as a locomotive engineer, starting in the steam era, but going on to operate electric, diesel electric, turbo and Bombardier LRC (light, rapid, comfortable) engines. In 1967 he entered railway management, moving steadily upwards, and 20 years later transferred to federal service with the Railway Transport Committee as Chief of Operations, Ontario District.

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Basic income judicial review: A view from the gallery

in Community/Health/Local News/Poverty Reduction by

Monday, January 28. Outside it’s bitterly cold, winds swirl, and an Alberta Clipper is expected to bring up to 20 cm of snow. In Osgoode Hall’s courtroom number three all is calm and well-ordered. Tiers of dark wood benches line the room below a vaulted ceiling and an elaborate chandelier.

But there’s an air of expectancy: Basic Income is having its long-awaited day in court, and not just any court, but the Ontario Superior Court of Justice.

The applicants are Dana Bowman, Grace Marie Doyle Hillion, Susan Lindsay, and Tracey Mechefske. Dana and Grace are in the gallery. They are being represented by Mike Perry, a qualified but not practicing lawyer. He’s dressed in robes borrowed from Lindsay lawyer Jason Ward. Mike is acting pro bono. All the other costs of bringing a case — filing fees, photocopying and printing, administrative support, expert fees and insurance — have been covered through a GoFundMe campaign launched last August. (As the hearing begins the amount raised sits at $9,770; the next day it will reach its $10,000 target, a total of 117 having made contributions).

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Court reserves judgment on basic income case

in Community/Poverty Reduction by
Tracey Mechefske, Dana Bowman, plaintiffs; lawyer and social worker Mike Perry; Advocate publisher Roderick Benns.

An Ontario Court has reserved judgment on the high profile basic income case which was argued by Kawartha Lakes lawyer and social worker Mike Perry in a Toronto court room today.

However, the court also recognized this was a time sensitive matter, given that the program will end as of March, 2019.

Many believe this will be a matter of days, not weeks, before the court rules.

The challenge heard today was the application for the court to overturn the decision to cancel the Ontario Basic Income Pilot. A pending class action lawsuit will only be heard if the court decides not to overturn the Province’s decision and the pilot doesn’t continue.

If needed, the court will later hear a class action lawsuit for damages over breach of contract for the new Ontario government cancelling the basic income pilot project prematurely.

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Over 80 per cent didn’t get needed health care due to cost, until basic income

in Community/Poverty Reduction by
Annie is 18-29, a student who works part time and seasonally. She was able to afford health-related items like eyeglasses.

OBIP Chronicles — The Ontario Basic Income Pilot baseline survey shows that nearly 38 per cent of the people collecting basic income needed health care but didn’t get it in the last 12 months. That’s because more than 80 per cent reported cost as the reason.

In the survey conducted by Basic Income Canada Network, there were many stories that reflected this reality.

Annie is 18-29, a single student who works part time and seasonally. With her basic income she was able to afford better food, housing, and transportation, but also necessary health-related items, like eyeglasses. She also chose to get dental work done that had previously been put off.

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Basic income was helping with crushing cost of housing: Survey

in Community/Poverty Reduction by
More than 58 per cent of people collecting basic income were trying to change their housing situation, according to a new survey.

OBIP Chronicles — Finding affordable housing in Ontario hasn’t been easy for decades. Finding it in Kawartha Lakes has been even more difficult of late, with the 2018 figures showing a 1.5 per cent vacancy rate, according to the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CHMC) 2018 fall report. A healthy vacancy rate is more like three per cent.

For people collecting basic income in Lindsay, Hamilton area, and Thunder Bay area, the pressures they were facing with housing costs were lessened with the new benefit they were receiving, although all of that is ending in March with the cancellation of the Ontario Basic Income Pilot.

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Council approves notable capital and water-wastewater budget

in Community/Local News by

At the special council meeting held yesterday, Kawartha Lakes Council approved the largest Capital Budget in the municipality’s history. The budget includes $47.1 million of investment, more than half of that going toward care of roads.

“The 2019 Capital Budget shows we have turned the corner in Kawartha Lakes. This Council is fully committed to looking after the $3.2 billion of assets we have, while ensuring affordability for our residents. I’m pleased that even with the magnitude of our roads program, upgraded recreational facilities and new park developments, we have been able to set aside capital reserves for the future. Our community will benefit this year, and for years to come, through the projects in this budget,” commented Mayor Andy Letham.

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The economics of homelessness as basic income pilot winds down

in Community/Poverty Reduction by

Seventy-six years ago, an American psychologist named Abraham Maslow emphasized the process of growing and developing as a person in order to achieve one’s potential.

He called this process a ‘hierarchy of needs’ and, in a testament to common sense, said nothing was more important than basic physical requirements like food, water, sleep, and warmth, as well as safety and security.

Typically, most of us find these things in the security of our income and in the security of own home. When we can’t manage to secure these most basic of needs, though, we’re certainly not going to be able to grow any further as individuals, let alone make a contribution to society. In fact, we will become part of the pressure on our society’s health care system, on our social services, and on our policing and judicial systems.

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Mulhern, Doyle run for federal NDP nomination

in Community/Local News by
Barbara Doyle and James Mulhern are running for the local NDP nomination.

Well-known labour activist James Mulhern and community activist Barbara Doyle are throwing their hat in the ring to win the Haliburton-Kawartha Lakes-Brock nomination. NDP members will have the chance to vote for their candidate for the 2019 federal election during a nomination meeting on Feb. 23 at Community Care Village Housing in Lindsay, at 1 pm. The event is open to the public but only registered party members are eligible to vote.

Mulhern, who is president of the Lindsay and District Labour Council, has lived in Lindsay for most of his life. He has worked in a number of fields from general labourer, painter, security, food service, health care, and presently, as a custodian.

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