Archive for 2006 September

Breakfast with Anthony, musings on transportation

Anthony Perl, the Urban Studies Director at Simon Fraser University, is an old family friend who I met 24 years ago when he and Charlie lived at Massey College in the University of Toronto.  At the time, Anthony’s main claim to fame was that he had become the president of the National Association of Railroad Passengers by sending proxy ballots in pre-addressed envelopes to the entire membership, and therefore came into the convention with half the members in his pocket.  His main competitor was the love of his life, who at the time regarded him as childish and in need of much refinement, but was eventually persuaded to marry him.  He is very engaging.

His fascination with trains led him to focus on public transportation policy in his political science studies, while writing travel articles for train magazines.  In promoting trains, he started to research the environmental benefits of rail transportation and came to be concerned simultaneously about oil depletion and global warming.  And from there he moved onto sound urban planning.  A whole career built around trainwatching with his dad as a boy.     Read more »

Jim Harris and Green Party of Canada blogs

If you’re interested in starting a blog, but don’t know how to start, the Green Party of Canada has just made it a little easier.  They have a new blogging resource for members at:

Jim HarrisJim Harris, former GPC leader and one of our Toronto-Danforth members, just wrote to me earlier today (well, actually yesterday now, as the site was down so long it’s now the morning after) to announce the appearance of his blog there, which you can see at:

Count on Jim to write well. I think his blog should be one to watch for, and I’ve linked our EDA blog to his.

I’ve looked the blog area of the GPC site over and there is room for improvement.  For one thing, there’s no link from the main site.  For another the “new members” listing isn’t a link, and it should be.  But it’s a start and will surely improve.  I’m looking forward to watching it grow.

Surviving peak oil

Professor L.D.D. (Danny) HarveyOn Wednesday night, I went to a Post Carbon Toronto meetup, where Professor Danny Harvey made a presentation about how we are going to survive the perils of peak oil.  It’s nice to know that the technology to reduce our reliance on fossil fuels exists.

Now, for those of you whose eyes are glazing over as you read the words “post-carbon” and “peak oil”, let me explain.  Peak oil and post-carbon groups are basically interested in the time following the point where production of oil peaks.  Standard economics predicts that once supply can no longer keep up with demand, demand will be forced to drop through price increases.  It is clearly in the interest of oil and gas companies to keep telling people that they don’t need to prepare for the upcoming scarcity, which is many years away, because that way they can be sure to extract the highest prices once demand is forced to go down.  If, on the other hand, all world governments sensibly addressed climate change with effective conservation and efficiency programs, demand would go down through less painful measures, and fuel prices would remain low as production declined.     Read more »

Introducing Andrew and Ed

2010 update:  This post dates to 2007.  Andrew James, current President of the Toronto-Danforth Green Party of Ontario riding association, is running for Toronto City Council in Ward 30.

His campaign website is

Andrew JamesEd Chin This evening a very small group gathered at Riverdale Library to meet two candidates for City Council, Andrew James running in Ward 29, and Edward Chin, running in Ward 30. It was a calm and relaxing evening, with a lot of advice being offered about what to focus on and what to avoid.  I’ll be offering my endorsement to both of them, and lobbying the Green community to pitch in to help these guys.

One encouraging sign is that I ran into Robin Green of the Beaches EDA at the Big Carrot, where I was stocking up on organic snacks for tonight’s event.  He was prancing around in full bicycle wear, those lovely black skin-tight legging things, yellow jacket and helmet in hand, and offered financial support for anyone who opposed Case Ootes, the incumbent in Ward 29 who has declared he will eliminate bike lanes in his ward as part of his election platform.

I brought my camera for the first time, and Charlie took these pictures.  If I can remember to keep bringing it, perhaps we’ll liven up the blog.

Global Warming — St. Lawrence Centre Forum

Yesterday, I was distributing my energy plan at the St. Lawrence Forum before listening to Elizabeth May share her wisdom on global warming, alongside a panel that included Ralph Torrie, a very respected longtime energy expert who has been advising the city, Jose Etcheverry, a climate change researcher for the Suzuki Foundation, and a representative from Environment Canada.  Usually, the St. Lawrence Forum features hearty debates by experts on opposing sides of the issue, but in this case, everyone was on the same side.  The organizers had invited the federal environment minister, Rona Ambrose, to defend Prime Minister Harper’s sabotaging of what few programs existed to combat global warming, but she wisely chose to be unable to make it.

So it was a sobering evening, though Elizabeth was witty as usual, and Ralph Torrie had several dry remarks that caused an eruption of laughter sometime after he delivered them.  Once again, the point was driven home to me that things may be a whole lot worse than we think.     Read more »