A blog to give a voice to our concern about the continued erosion of our democratic processes not only within the House of Commons and within our electoral system but also throughout our society. Here you will find articles about the current problems within our parliamentary democracy, about actions both good and bad by our elected representatives, about possible solutions, opinions and debate about the state of democracy in Canada, and about our roles/responsibilities as democratic citizens. We invite your thoughtful and polite comments upon our posts and ask those who wish to post longer articles or share ideas on this subject to submit them for inclusion as a guest post.
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Sunday, January 4, 2015

“Nature Deficit Disorder”

At first glance this would seem to have little to do with our central theme here at Democracy Under Fire but when we look at the actions of the Harper Regime in creating legislation to cover protection of The Rouge Valley Park should it be transferred from the Province to Parks Canada then the link becomes clear.

The Rouge Park, a 40-square-kilometre swath of forested valleys and farmland at the eastern ends of Scarborough and Markham. The proposal is for the province to transfer ownership of it to the federal government so it can add another 10 square kilometres, linking it to the Oak Ridges Moraine and creating Canada’s first national, urban park.

The province created Rouge Park in 1990 and has established a suite of management plans and guidelines for permitted activities and development. In agreeing in prinicipal to transfer ownership to the Feds it stipulated that Parks Canada would have to “meet or exceed” the ecological protection currently in place.

Bill C-40, the classification’s new legislation, says only that management must “take into consideration the protection of [the park’s] natural ecosystems.”

And our federal Environment Minister Leona Aglukkaq says that prioritizing ecological integrity is “simply unachievable in an urban setting,” arguing it would lead to the eviction of farmers. Conservative MP Peter Kent told Parliament that prioritizing ecological integrity would mean letting wildfires, pest outbreaks and erosion proceed unchecked. This despite the fact that such protections are already in place, and have been for some time, under provincial management.

Now we come to the antidemocratic bit ..........

On Nov. 5, the Conservative MPs on the environment and sustainable development committee voted down all 18 amendments the opposition had proposed.

Environment and Sustainable Development Committee eh, perhaps it should be renamed the Destruction of Parks Protections Committee?
We have seen this time and time again where various committees dominated by Conservative MPs have voted down EVERY proposed amendment aimed at improving a bill or seeking to find some consensus on the legislation. I find it hard to believe that all of the amendments proposed for this bill are without merit to the point where they would not be considered. It is simply yet another example of the “we are right, you are wrong” mentality of the Harper Regime whereby nothing anyone outside of the PMO says is even considered.

Ontario Infrastructure Minister Brad Duguid is holding firm. “Ecological integrity is crucial. Our concern is how these lands are passed on to future generations. I can’t, in good faith, recommend a transfer until they address the concerns ignored at the parliamentary committee.”

Some observers use the term “nature deficit disorder” to describe a growing affliction among urban kids. Mr. Robb (The manager of Friends of the Rouge Watershed ) says in the 25-plus years he’s been introducing people to the Rouge Valley he’s witnessed a growing disassociation between kids and the outdoor world. The Rouge, he says, is perfectly placed to help bridge that gap. “Kids can get here on public transit,” he says. “And when they do, we can show them a good-news story about healing and setting the balance back right.”

It would seems to me that not only do the Cons have Nature Deficit Disorder (NDD) but also Democracy Deficit Disorder (DDD)

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Alan Goodhall said...

I found myself on a trip down memory lane as I read your post this morning.

I grew up in north Toronto and on more than one occasion my buddies and I would throw some food in a backpack and jump on the Sheppard East bus, ride it to the end of the line which in the early seventies happened to be the Rouge river valley. Nature deficit disorder was something we never had to worry about in our youth even though we lived in the big city.

I'm not surprised by the actions of our federal government in regard to the Rouge river valley and the creation of an urban park.

I'm glad it's an election year, is all I can say.

Rural said...

Indeed Alan, we can but hope enough folks see what the Harper Regime is doing to the rules surrounding such important and hard won protections.

the salamander said...

.. to say that Peter Kent has ZERO STANDING regarding any environmental issue would be a gross understatement. Seems he plans to run again, stating 'unfinished business' .. including some arcane involvement regarding The Rouge Watershed.

Look back at his lickspittle service to Stephen Harper in lockstep with the late saint Jim Flaherty, Joe Oliver, Keith Ashfield, Gail Shea, Nigel Wright, Ray Novak et al and those Energy Partners...

SARA re endangered species became a punching bag as did court orders to fulfill Ministry of Environment's Mandate to initiate programs on behalf of species. Years of defiance per Stephen Harper's dictates, Hordes of lawyers concocting appeals, end runs, and refusals, delays.

Letting Peter Kent off for his weak collusion to gut environmental protections and legislation would be sinful and un-Canadian.. Polluters Pay.. and Kent and the others mentioned above are the poster Boyz n Girlz against Environment, Species & Habitat.

Every one of them truly think that allowing the extirpation of keychain species such as boreal wolves, wild salmon comes with Zero Consequence & that The Harper Government are righteous overlords

Rural said...

The only thing they care about Salamander, is the thirst for power to the detriment of all else.