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Trevor’s Take: Whither the Progressive Conservative?

in Opinion/Provincial by
Premier Leslie Frost.

Growing up, Leslie Frost was a hero to me. In our cupboard at home we had some Pyrex flatware — a wedding gift to my parents from Frost. The family connection was that my grandfather, who ran Bill’s Taxi in Lindsay, had driven for Leslie Frost.

Rushing Frost’s forgotten passport from Lindsay to Toronto with police escort was the stuff of legend in my house. That I went to a school named after him only increased my sense of connection to the man.

I follow politicians of every stripe and I’ve found myself wondering lately how a politician like Frost would fare in today’s meme-based, fact-agnostic, political atmosphere. His nicknames were ‘Old Man Ontario’ and ‘The Great Tranquilizer.’

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Learning from the first ‘farmers’ how to save the earth

in Environment/Opinion by

There is something about a drive through the country that is deeply satisfying. Green fields divided by tree lines or split rail fences. The occasional dry stone wall. Cattle or sheep dotted in the fields and cozy farmhouses flanked by wooden barns. An idyllic picture of a pastoral farming way of life.

When the first settlers came to Canada and encountered the Indigenous people of these lands, they did not realize that the land they were looking at also reflected a pastoral, farming way of life. There was so much lush greenery. The woods seems so thick and the animals so abundant. This was nothing like the farms they had left behind in England and France and Spain. This land didn’t appear to be managed. It didn’t look controlled. And it certainly didn’t look as though anyone was trying to raise crops or breed animals.

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Benns’ Belief: The absurdity of equating jobs with work

in Opinion by

Twelve issues ago Joli and I launched The Lindsay Advocate as a monthly magazine (and online publication) that would focus on the social and economic wellness of Kawartha Lakes. (It’s actually been a year and a half for our news site).

Wellness, to us, starts with big picture policy. It means we advocate for progressive social policies that will improve Canadian society. It also means we advocate for our small businesses as the engine of our local economy; the best form of capitalism is local and community-based, not corporate and faceless.

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Think you own your waterfront? Don’t be so shore

in Community/Environment/Opinion by

While the thought of the lake lapping the shore is not exactly top of mind these days, we Canadians do what we must, keeping warm in winter with reveries of cottage life, when the sun will shine again.

The question of where your property ends and Crown land begins along the shoreline is a topical issue for property owners bordering water. The growing concern surrounding climate change, including the decline of water levels and erosion of shorelines, threatens to muddy the waters even further.

So where does a waterfront property owner stand in 2019? It is commonly thought that a property abutting water extends to the natural boundary of the lake or river, while the Crown owns the foreshore, meaning the bed of land under the water. Seems pretty straight forward, right? Not exactly.

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Civic Engagement 101 in City of Kawartha Lakes

in Municipal/Opinion by

It’s fair to say that City Hall  affects us more directly than Queen’s Park or Parliament Hill. The water we drink, our roads and sidewalks, our parks and arenas, the bylaws that regulate our relations with neighbours, delivery of social services — all municipal matters. Altogether, according to City CAO Ron Taylor, there are over 200 municipal programs and services, delivered by over a 1,000 municipal employees.

Our elected mayor and eight councillors represent our interests. Their mission, Taylor reminded them at a February 13 meeting, is to provide “responsible, efficient and effective services.” But their powers go beyond that: Council policy and budget decisions set priorities and shape our future.

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What the Nordic countries can teach us

in Opinion/Poverty Reduction by
Reykjavik, Iceland. Nordic nations boast a high quality of life. Photo: Roderick Benns.

Walking the ancient Camino de Santiago, a large network of ancient pilgrim routes stretching across Europe, I met a fellow pilgrim named Uho, a Finnish man. It was late afternoon in the sunny courtyard of our hostel and I watched Uho plunge his feet into a bucket of cold water to revive his tired muscles.

Wanting to strike up a conversation, and having read about the high level of equality in Finland, I asked Uho if life was good there. He replied that it was, but many Finns only appreciated their situation only when they returned home after travelling outside of Finland.

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Troubled bridge over water in Fenelon Falls

in Opinion by
Kawartha Lakes Country Living Show

This Just In: A government-appointed official reported that there was “a great deal of dissatisfaction being expressed at Fenelon Falls” over progress on the bridge.

That may sound current, but it’s actually a report from 1887. And that’s not a typo: 18-87. It seems that figuring the best way (and the number of ways) over the Fenelon River is just part of the Fenelon DNA, perhaps as integral to a Fenelonite as as our perpetual rivalry with Bobcaygeon.

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Seeing examples of integrity in local politics

in Opinion by
Councillor Andrew Veale, foreground; Councillor Kathleen Seymour-Fagan, background.

With power (great or otherwise) comes responsibility and a potential for abuse. Over the past week Kawartha Lakes Council has taken significant measures to guide, support, and enforce ethical behaviour in municipal politics. It’s also, in a decision on disposal of surplus parkland, shown us what ethical conduct looks like.

Committees/ Boards/ Task Forces

In closed session at Tuesday’s meeting council approved citizen appointments to three committees (Airport Advisory, Waste Management, and Downtown Revitalization) a board (Drainage) and a task force (Development Charges).  

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The limits of church, the duty of state

in Opinion/Poverty Reduction/Seniors by

“When I give food to the poor, they call me a saint. When I ask why the poor have no food, they call me a communist.”  — Dom Helder Camara

When we broke the story about many seniors who are falling through the cracks, some spoke up to say this would be a great project for churches to take on. We disagree entirely and are happy to see Kawartha Lakes Paramedic Services begin to fill this gap, thanks to funding from the City for a pilot.

First, let me say that our churches, charities, and non-profits are run by some of the finest people one could ever meet. But it is part of the neoliberal, corporate-first mindset that has normalized the idea of charity to this degree.

The first food bank in Canada opened its doors only in 1981, supposedly a temporary response to a recession. Instead, they have proliferated across Canada as inequality has widened and ordinary Canadians have suffered.

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A good reference is an important part of job search success

in Business/Opinion by

At some point during your job search you will need to provide references. A reference is someone who can vouch for the skills and experience you say you have on your resume. Most employers will check references. It’s good to line up your references when you start your job search. That means calling the person you want to use as a reference and asking their permission to use their name and contact information.

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