Take Action

As we all work together to help curb covid-19, action can be taken on many fronts by mail, e-mail, on-line petitions, posts on social media and by telephone or just talk to a friend.

Political Action of the Week 

CANADA IS ON FIRE! -We need to act like it! 
Picture montage, boy in mask, woman running on trail, and couple in masks.

July 29: As extreme heat and out-of-control wildfires grip the country, communities across Canada are rising up to demand real action on the climate emergency from our political leaders. People in Huntsville (pictured here, about 15 came out), Parry Sound and 40+ other communities gathered for this 350.org event to demand emergency-level action on the climate crisis. 

We’re bringing the heat of the climate crisis to our Members of Parliament along with demands for action. We know that with an election around the corner, politicians are paying close attention. Dozens of MPs attended their local actions. Parry Sound-Muskoka MP Scott Aitchison was not expected to attend. It’s not too late to call Scott to demand emergency-level climate action. Click here to call.  There is a script.  It only takes 2 minutes.


CAM endorses Fossil Fuel Non-Proliferation Treaty
Picture of polluted sky with text: The Fossil Fuel Non-Profliferation Treaty

Climate Action Muskoka has endorsed the International Fossil Fuel Non-Proliferation Treaty, joining thousands of municipalities and organizations around the world. Learn more


Heat and Fires Everywhere

Emma Jackson of 350.org: “I spent my night in Kamloops rolling over every hour to check my phone, scouring Twitter to see whether new areas of the city were being evacuated, including where I was staying. I packed my bags before bed and left them at the door. The evacuation order was lifted and then returned, and then lifted once more. The next morning, my fear slowly dissipated and was replaced by rage — rage towards the oil and gas executives and political elite in this country who continue to pour billions into fossil fuel projects in the middle of a climate emergency.”

Unprecedented heat waves and devastating wildfires are sweeping the country. Canada is on fire because of the climate crisis. We must accelerate Canada’s transition off fossil fuels. Sign the petition to Trudeau.


Read the 94 Calls to Action of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission
Image of about 25 Indigenous people with text reading: Truth and Reconciliation in Canada

Concerned about the burials of children at former residential schools? This is the time to read the 94 Calls to Action of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (pdf).

Image of interactive map from Beyond 94: Truth and Reconciliation in Canada

You can also go to Beyond 94: Truth and Reconciliation in Canada, a website by the CBC that includes a video and interactive illustration showing where we are with each of the calls to action. We have a way to go.



Read up on the Huntsville Small/Tiny Homes Proposal
Picture of tiny house. Link takes you to council meeting. Councillor Wiebe's presentation starts at 1:07:30.

Set aside a bit of time this week to read about and/or view the exciting and innovative Small/Tiny House initiative—which would add 26 affordable homes to the town of Huntsville—proposed by Huntsville Councillor Jonathan Wiebe. In addition to helping to address the housing shortage in Huntsville, his project could become a model for other such projects in Muskoka. Read the Doppler story. Watch the webcast of Wiebe’s presentation. (It’s a bit confusing on the website. Scroll down to Related Videos. See image below. The one you’re looking for is Regular Council – March 22.  Councillor Wiebe’s presentation starts at 1:07:30.) 

Join the Legalize Tiny Houses and Homes in Muskoka Facebook Group – . Find the group – here.


Eight of Ontario’s most powerful land developers own thousands of acres of prime real estate near the proposed route of the controversial Highway 413, a Torstar/National Observer investigation has found. Read the full story – here.

Provincially Significant Wetlands no longer safe from development

This is an ongoing issue…

Urge the Government of Ontario to respect and uphold protections for Provincially Significant Wetlands and to stop its misuse of Minister’s Zoning Orders.

Over 6,700 emails sent, add your name – here


Say No to Schedule 3 in Bill 257 -March 12, 2021
Aerial photo of town with "Statement on Bill 257 regarding legislation to exept MZOs from planning laws and policy

Buried in The Provincial Government’s Omnibus bill (Bill 257) about broadband internet is Schedule 3 which amends the Planning Act so that Minister’s Zoning Orders (MZOs)—issued by the Minister of Municipal Affairs, with no public input—won’t have to comply with Ontario planning principals. It will be RETROACTIVE.  

***Environmental Defence and Ontario Nature, represented by Ecojustice, are challenging this MZO in Divisional Court. The parties assert the Minister unlawfully issued the MZO, which ignores protections for provincially significant wetlands under the PPS and the Planning Act. Faced with this lawsuit, the government is changing the law retroactively to override our right to seek redress in the Courts. Phone MPP Norm Miller and say NO to Schedule 3 in Bill 257: 705 645-8538 | norm.miller@pc.ola.org

Lobby for Electric Vehicles in Muskoka – March 5, 2021

The demand for electric vehicles is growing. Let’s encourage our local dealerships to bring in more of them by phoning and asking if they have an electric vehicle on their lot that you can come and test drive. If they say no, ask when they will have one available. It’s time to create a demand locally to be able to test drive and to purchase an E-vehicle right here in Muskoka.

Save the Ontario Fire College – Feb 19,2021

This is another example of downloading of service infrastructure by the Ford government onto municipalities and onto the firefighters themselves, who will now be responsible for the costs associated with this training.

Send your letter opposing this sudden closure here. For further information visit the Save the OFC Facebook page. Thank you!


Bring The Northlander Back – February 11, 2021
The Upcoming Ontario Budget: Where is the funding for the Northlander Passenger Train????

In 2018, Doug Ford and Vic Fedeli promised to restore the “Northlander” passenger rail service between Cochrane, North Bay and Toronto. The Ontario government will shortly be unveiling its budget for 2021, and we want to make sure the funding promised for the Northlander is included.

Please send a letter to your MPP, using the online campaign tool we’ve created, to emphasize the need to act now and keep this promise. 
Click here to send your letter

Support the Canadian Business Youth Council for Sustainable Development
Picture of sky overlaid with text that reads: Our Future, Our Business Manifesto. Canada's largest youth-led movement to change the way we do and teach business!

The Canadian Business Youth Council for Sustainable Development is a group of business students and young business professionals who believe our business schools are not giving us the necessary knowledge and tools to build a more just, sustainable, and prosperous world.

In response to this, over 65 youth organizations, representing over  500 young leaders have united from coast to coast to build a manifesto filled with 20 statements on the most important topics in sustainability and the future of business.

Read the Manifesto | Endorse the Manifesto

Climate Action Muskoka has endorsed this Manifesto and we invite you to do the same. Visit their website at https://www.businessyouthcouncil.ca/


Voice Your Opposition to Minister’s Zoning Orders (MZOs) – February 5, 2021

Minister’s Zoning Orders (MZOs) allow the Ontario government to directly zone land for particular purposes, without notice, without regard for environmental protections and circumventing consultation requirements. Intended as exceptions, their use by the current provincial government to railroad their climate-busting agenda is unprecedented. In the last two years alone, 40 MZOs have been issued by the Ford goverment. The chart below courtesy of

EnvironmentalDefense.ca.

Graph showing the use of MZOs since 1991, as of August 2020. From Environmental Defense.

This is a vital issue, not only for Ontario, but also for Muskoka. Take local action. Voice your opposition to the overuse and misuse of MZOs by the Ford government. Here is a prepared letter from the Ontario Greenbelt Alliance and Environmental Defense, ready to be edited with your comments. Be sure to localize it and make it your own, speaking specifically to Muskoka issues. We advise you also to copy and send it using your own email to Parry Sound-Muskoka MPP Norm Miller norm.miller@pc.ola.org.  Let’s flood his inbox at the same time!

Learn more about MZOs and their use in Ontario, in this article by Environmental Defense from August 2020 here.

DO YOU KNOW HOW YOUR MONEY IS FUELING THE CLIMATE CRISIS?

Fossil Banks No Thanks – Jan 29
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On January 29th, we’re running an event called Fossil Banks No Thanks and we’re teaming up with For Our Kids to bring our demands to as many branches as possible. We will be hosting a webinar with Climate Fast explaining the action and the larger campaign on January 24th.

WHY TARGET THE BANKS? Since the Paris Accord the Big 5 CDN banks have pumped near $500 BILLION (USD) into fossil fuel companies, undermining all of our hard work. Our BankSwitch Campaign asks Canadians to contact their branch manager and let them now they will be taking their money elsewhere in April 2021. The Fossil Banks No Thanks Day of Action is designed to spread the word about our banks’ complicity in the climate crisis to a wider audience.

Picture of U of T Climate Pledge Collective logo

On Earth Day 2021(April 22, 2021), thousands of Canadians are pledging to move their money to a credit union or whichever one of the Big Five cleans up their act first by cutting investments in fossil fuels.

The Big Five Canadian banks are all in the top 25 biggest fossil fuel funders in the world — three of them are in the top 10. Since the Paris Agreement they have poured $481 BILLION into fossil fuels. The tar sands are completely reliant on Canadian banks. [Source: Toronto350.org]


Immediately dismantle the Pickering Nuclear Station after it closes in December 2024

The Pickering Nuclear Station will end electricity production in
December 2024 after 53 years of operation. Pickering is one of the
world’s oldest nuclear stations and is surrounded by more people, within
30 km, than any other nuclear plant in North America.

Ontario Power Generation (OPG) is proposing to defer the dismantling of the Pickering Nuclear Station for 30 years. OPG believes the dismantling will
take approximately ten years, meaning the community will have to wait until 2064 for an opportunity to revitalize this prime waterfront site.

learn more here — sign petition here

SHOP LOCAL

Picture of pie charts comparing local economic return of shopping at independent businesses versus shopping at chains

Why shop local instead of online or at big box stores? Here are a couple of articles about why shopping local is  better for you, better Muskoka’s economy, and crucially, better for the environment. Why shop local? We got 6 fantastic reasons! —  Thriving Locally | What Happens When You Shop Local — Independent We Stand.

(And pssst: in addition to being far more economical, shopping at local second-hand stores is also better for the environment, and your finds are often of better quality. Muskoka’s got awesome vintage and second hand stores. ? )  

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Read-em and weep department

Bill 229 has passed as amended and has received Royal Assent -Dec 8, 2020

Another Twist of the Knife for Conservation Authorities from the Ontario Government

For immediate release: December 4, 2020 – ontarionature.org

Ontario government’s proposed amendments to Bill 229, Schedule 6 are a shocking escalation of attacks on public safety, natural values and safe drinking water

Phone your MPP now. Ask them to remove Schedule 6 from the budget Bill to stop this dangerous attack on the future of our environment.

environmentaldefence.ca

The Ontario government has just launched an all-out attack on Ontario’s protected forests and wetlands. Hidden in their latest budget Bill is a clause that will take away any control over the protection of our precious wetlands, forests, wildlife habitat and natural spaces from Conservation Authorities, and give huge new powers to developers to push through destructive projects.


Action Alert – We Need Our Conservation Authorities

On November 5, 2020, the Ontario government tabled omnibus budget measures Bill 229 in the Ontario Legislature, Schedule 6 of which proposes fundamental changes to the Conservation Authorities Act and to the conservation authorities’ role in land use planning.

CELA (Canadian Environmental Law Association) recommends that Schedule 6 not be enacted in its present form and instead be withdrawn in its entirety from Bill 229.

Further, CELA recommends that the Ontario government immediately seek to ensure that the current mandate of the province’s 36 conservation authorities is maintained and enhanced, in order to effectively protect, restore and manage the watersheds where 95 percent of the people of Ontario reside.

Bill 229 is the most recent in a disturbing trend of using omnibus budget measures bills to make substantial changes to environmental laws, thereby sidestepping the public’s right to comment under the Environmental Bill of Rights.
CELA hosted a Webinar November 17, 2020 about the proposed changes to the Conservation Authorities Act contained in Bill 229 now available on You tube here.

Read‘The developers are all in control’: Doug Ford’s government moves to limit the power of conservation authorities, sparking fears for the environment– muskokaregion.com -the Toronto Star. ListenDoug Ford Environmental Impact Assessment with Dianne Saxe – Planet Haliburton Podcast. Write Norm Miller

Read — more about Minister’s Zoning Orders — MZO’s. – Here


Conservation Authorities Under Threat — Omnibus Bill- Nov 19, 2020
Picture of map of train corridor

Bill 229, introduced last week by the Ontario government, is the most recent in a disturbing trend of using omnibus budget measures bills to make substantial changes to environmental laws, thereby sidestepping the public’s right to comment under the Environmental Bill of Rights.

Bill 229 includes proposed changes to Conservation Authorities and their role in land use planning that  could set back an ecosystem-based approach by decades. Find an easy-to-use form to send an email asking our government representatives to retain the current mandate of the province’s 36 Conservation Authorities HERE. Groups such as the Canadian Environmental Law Association are calling on the government to withdraw Schedule 6 in its entirety from Bill 229. You can also write to Premier Doug Ford and Norm Miller MPP. Get more information from the Canadian Environmental Law Association.

1. When you shop this week, ask for the store manager and (politely) request an alternative to in-store wrapping of goods in plastic. (Items like bread baked in-store, or produce which arrives in bulk and is repackaged in smaller quantities in plastic and on styrofoam trays.) Or you can get the manager’s name and send a letter to be forwarded to head office. Don’t forget to copy your letter to the local news media as an open letter to the editor. 

2. Sign this Environmental Defense petition urging the federal government to resist the plastic lobby, which is working hard to undermine the federal government’s efforts to ban some single-use plastics.


Call to Phase-Out Ontario’s Gas-Fired Power Plants – Nov 12, 2020

Picture of map of train corridor

Kitchener and Halton Hills Councils have called on the Ontario provincial government to phase out gas-fired power plants. Ask your Municipal Council to pass a similar resolution. You can download a draft resolution to send to your council here. You can sign as an individual – here. Read the Ontario Clean Air Alliance‘s report on how Ontario can phase out its gas-fuelled power plants here. | Find your Counsellors → Bracebridge | Georgian Bay | Gravenhurst | Huntsville | Lake of Bays | Muskoka Lakes | District of Muskoka 



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