Why Urban Design and Planning Should Be THE Federal Election Issue

Image result for canada primary sources of carbon emissions
As you can see from the image above, the single largest source of greenhouse gas / carbon emissions in Canada – 20% – originate from CARS. Personal transportation, short trips on long roads.  Oodles of idling.
This is the same for the US. And other countries.
And yet sprawl continues. And we continue to sit in cars bitching about a couple of cents being added to gas prices.  And, truth be told, folks like me still want to blame the bitumen producers for all of the carbon (which, of course, is still substantial for a single industry!).
Once you take a moment to absorb this data, it becomes clear that we design our cities like hourglasses: too much sand is trying to get through a single, small entry point (ie. a downtown core), wasting valuable time and resources in the process.
Obviously, there are about a dozen easy policy considerations that we should be talking about and NOT the colour of anyone’s face, especially if they apologized in a genuine fashion.
Urban design rarely comes up in election campaign promises, but smatterings of the details do. Here’s a checklist of ideas related to urban design:
  • Nationally mandated design principles for roads, including a substantial amount of research and resources going into making better roads in place of existing bitumen/tar/gravel pot-hole generators.
  • Road design to include mandatory considerations for cycling and pedestrian traffic that are NOT simply adjuncts of roads. I am sick of fighting cars when cycling, trying to gain an inch or two of messy gravel shoulders when those around me in their cars gripe about what a pain I am.
  • House design that would ensure off-grid (or close to it) properties, such as gas/heating, electrical and water independence and extra taxes applied for monster garages. R-2000? Why not R-5000? Why not research and explore new materials that will be climate change friendly as opposed to continuing to build the same old ‘water mops’ that we allow in the suburbs?
  • Community independence and logical intensification. Focus on ways to minimize the need for people to get in their cars, drive 10km, park in giant parking lots and spend vast sums of money at international big-box stores.
  • Land use restrictions. Limit the amount of land – especially quality farm land that other countries would kill to possess – used for development. Implement ‘Agricultural Land Use’ and ‘Communal Park’ restrictions in many urban areas.
  • A parking tax levied on developers. Not applicable to qualifying downtown areas. Applicable mainly towards empty parking lots in the suburbs.
  • No more tax-free consideration for religious buildings. Phase out over time.
  • Mandate the integration of certain residential, commercial and farming uses for land as opposed to putting them in, pardon the pun, silos.
  • Farming, food policy and land-use requirements that look more like the EU standards of origin vs the mess we have now. By the way, did you know that your cheap ‘International blend’ wine is likely from China and not Canada, as they pretend it is?
  • Minimum public transit construction requirements. I’ve gone over this before. Any city larger than a certain population (eg. 500,000) will be legally required to continuously build efficient public transit services (ie. subways and independent LRT routes). No more buses that just add to congestion, please.
  • Develop nodes of high tech infrastructure that will encourage people to commute less and communicate more.
  • Massive subsidies to electric vehicles, especially those made in Canada.
For the record, I’m not a qualified urban planner or municipal worker, but as you can see, off the top of my head, I came up with at least a dozen recommendations that would help restructure our country’s pitiful public infrastructure.
If we’re going to solve the climate crisis, we have to get out of our cars.
It’s that simple.
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Doug Ford: Foreshadowing Andrew Scheer Conservatives

Want to know what’s coming down the pipe if Andrew Scheer gets his grubby mitts on the Prime Minister’s Office?

How about those labels that no one likes, using taxpayer funds to promote stupidity about climate change across the province of Ontario?

Picture that on a national scale.

Or this latest story about how Doug Ford was seen at the opening of a private American Catholic school in Niagara.

It’s sickening. What an abhorrent waste of taxpayer funds and government services.

My kid’s classes are going to peak to as high as 40 students per room, but Doug Ford could care less.

Let’s hope the ‘buck a beer’ crowd start to understand that the Conservatives – federal or provincial – don’t give a shit about them and just want to steal their vote.

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Canada’s Political Colour Spectrum, Updated

The writ has been dropped.

Canada’s political colour spectrum remains. I dove in deep more than 10 years ago (yikes!) when I assessed the apparent influence that each party’s colour motif has on their platform.

Here’s a quick reminder:

  • Red: anger. MY anger. I’m pissed with the Liberals for having dropped electoral reform. Led by old-money special interest groups.
  • Blue: male misogyny and domination over others. Bullying. Led by Christian right special interest groups and purveyors of subtle racist themes / memes.
  • Orange: all I can think of carnival clowns. Special interest groups are unions and the Conservatives (remember how they came calling when Harper needed to topple the Liberals in 2004?).
  • Green: pond scum. Special interest groups now seem to include The Conservatives, The Anglican Church (a whisper of difference/dogma/hubris exists between this school of thought and Catholics), anti-choice religion, Jesus Christ, high-paid political consultants, the mining industry and the Oil Patch or Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers.

On the last note, as we head into the election, I was all primed and excited about voting Green.

Oops … Elizabeth May opened her mouth and I stepped back from the abyss.

For a while, I was calling for Justin Trudeau to step aside because of the baggage he now carries on behalf of Quebec (aka SNC Lavalin).

Now, it’s Elizabeth May who may need to reconsider her role following her array of gaffs in the build-up to the election of 2019.

My prediction? My vote won’t matter. That said, the terrible choice of leaders that we have to choose from are still FAR better than what’s on offer around the world, but I will still try to do what I can to prevent Canada from re-entering the Stephen Harper dark days.

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More Strange Activity At Epstein Compound

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Weeks ago, Jeffrey Epstein apparently ‘committed suicide’. The media ate it up and rolled it out for us to digest in quick, consumable tidbits.

But the mystery about Epstein and his famous island continue.

This site captures a number of pictures using drone cameras cruising over the island. One shot even has someone in it who suspiciously looks like Epstein himself!

This whole Epstein-pervert-pedaphile-1%er thing didn’t end well and there are still many questions to answer for.

For instance, why are folks with MIT burying the massive array of donations that Epstein made to the institution? Obviously, they don’t want to have anything to do with a convicted felon, but why did they keep accepting his money?

Also, what should we make of the lead investigator on the Epstein case dying suddenly this past June, shortly before Epstein also got taken out of the picture?

Or, the strange disappearance of Epstein associate Jean-Luc Brunel, someone that could corroborate the details of the accusations against Epstein and the world of 1%ers that are potentially involved with the pedaphile island, plane rides and other unspeakable acts.

Perhaps the case will move forward with the accuser, Virginia Roberts Giuffre, a woman who was traded around like a hockey card at a sports convention. Shortly after Epstein’s death, more than 2,000 pages of testimony and evidence were released for public viewing. They identify hundreds of accused elites, along with details of events and occasions where child rape occurred.

Will there be justice in all of this? No, probably not.

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Alberta Is Now Absurta

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Warning: when Ford and Kenney lie and manipulate the governments they are running (ruining?), why should we expect anything different from Andrew Scheer?

Here’s a simple example.

Jason Kenney and his henchmen are taking the ‘public’ out of ‘public education’.

To be honest, I actually found this story about Alberta’s government receiving directives to remove the word ‘public’ from anything related to a range of school boards, but Press Progress has given us a proper update on the situation.

Here’s the original document. How long will this ‘public’ document be ‘public’?

Again, will a Scheer Conservative government do the same thing and bring us back to the incredibly dark days of Stephen Harper?

Will anti-choice, anti-homosexual, anti-science dogma suddenly appear from back-benchers if Scheer is elected?

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