How to assess your community’s smart energy initiatives

While communities see the potential, they require tools and resources to support their efforts in community energy planning

How to assess your community’s smart energy initiativesBy Tonja Leach and Ericka Wicks QUEST QUEST and Pollution Probe recently launched the Smart Energy Communities Benchmark, a first-of-its-kind tool that provides a powerful benchmark that Canadian municipalities and utilities can use to assess their Smart Energy Community progress. Municipalities have a growing interest in community energy planning because it offers opportunities to strengthen…

Crime rises along with police budgets, yet cities are no safer

Toronto is a perfect example of a municipal system out of touch with effective policing. More money and new processes don't result in less crime

Crime rises along with police budgets, yet cities are no saferPolice services are once again hard at work preparing annual budget submissions for the next fiscal year. The cost of policing continues to mount year after year, and the justifications seem to repeat year to year as well. The budget for Canada’s largest municipal police force, the Toronto Police Service (TPS) now exceeds $1.2 billion,…

Winnipeg’s statue cleansing a distortion of history

The mayor is misreading the events of the Northwest Rebellion and romanticizing a nasty moment in our country’s history

Winnipeg’s statue cleansing a distortion of history“The red coats we know, but who are those little black devils?” This was the question posed by a Métis prisoner after the Battle of Fish Creek. Thus was born the nickname of the military unit that would later be known as the Royal Winnipeg Rifles, one that had been sent west to help crush…

Why won’t you clean up after your dog?

Clearly signs don’t work; video surveillance isn't effective; handing the culprit a bag only works if you witness the event; and enforcement is hit or miss

Why won’t you clean up after your dog?When my husband and I set out to find a new home in a new community, we were delighted to buy a wonderful acreage that backed onto a municipal trail head. It seemed perfect. Since I work from home, I’d be able to get a daily walk in without ever having to jump into the…

Municipalities, utilities on the front lines of extreme weather

Smart Energy Communities are not only more resilient, they also create new opportunities for local economic development, lower energy costs and a cleaner environment

Municipalities, utilities on the front lines of extreme weatherBy Aida Nciri and Eddie Oldfield QUEST Canadian municipalities and energy utilities are on the front lines of the impacts of climate change. A recent report by the Insurance Bureau of Canada highlights the financial costs of climate change, with insured damage for severe weather events reaching $1.3 billion in 2019. Of the top 10…

Epidemic of illegal firearms overwhelms Canadian cities

Corrections institutions are merely holding facilities with few effective rehabilitative programs. They must have programs for safe, effective reintegration

Epidemic of illegal firearms overwhelms Canadian citiesAn analysis by the CBC covering two decades of homicide statistics for Winnipeg reveals a major shift in the types of weapons used. It’s happening across the country. Winnipeg had 44 homicides in 2019, more than in any other previous 10-year period. Police seized 1,771 guns in 2018, up from 1,195 in 2017 and 825…

Municipalities must take the lead in getting the lead out

The astonishing levels of lead in Canada’s drinking water requires action. That means taking simple measures at the local level, aided by federal incentives

Municipalities must take the lead in getting the lead outBy Paz Gómez Research Associate Frontier Centre for Public Policy Canadians have been exposed to a silent health hazard for more than 40 years: high levels of lead in tap water. Although a clear case of municipal mismanagement, Toronto shows the issue can be handled at the local level with minimal federal oversight – given…

The Coronavirus – 1918 all over again?

We are no better prepared than we were for the great influenza pandemic of 1918

The Coronavirus – 1918 all over again?Clusters of a dozen or so deaths may get nonstop “if-it-bleeds-it-leads” press coverage. But the lack of preparedness for the really, really big threats may be met with virtual radio silence – until panic breaks out. The worst, possibly existential, threat is the stealthy, invisible one that multiplies exponentially –  in the accurate sense of…

Vancouver’s absurd housing market shuts out millennials

Is the affordability crisis – and the lack of government intervention – a metaphor for something much worse?

Vancouver’s absurd housing market shuts out millennialsI want to describe Vancouver’s awful housing market as a metaphor for something else. I’ll reveal the ‘something else’ later in the column. For now, let’s just stick with Vancouver, the city I grew up in. When I was a little boy, our Dunbar neighbourhood had a broad cross-section of residents. Our family’s cleaning lady…

When disasters strike, seniors need priority attention

The majority of deaths and injuries resulting from natural disasters involve seniors

When disasters strike, seniors need priority attentionBy John Hirdes and Sandy van Solm University of Waterloo The combination of an aging population with increases in natural disasters has had deadly consequences for seniors. Quebec health authorities estimated that as many 70 people died as a result of the 2018 heat wave with a humidex of over 40C. Most heat-related deaths in Montreal involved…
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