Saturday, February 27, 2010

Welcome to Our New Blog

The Toronto Chapter has had a dynamic year since our re-launch and we are looking forward to many important events in 2010.

We are currently working on four campaign areas; Water, Trade, Climate Change and Food.

Our Water Campaign consists of watershed sustainability, Great Lakes water quality and Toronto safe drinking water teams. Collaboratively we will be hosting a Water Forum on Saturday, March 20th at Toronto Metro Hall as part of our World Water Day activities. This will be a full day event featuring guest speakers from local and regional water associated organizations and government agencies. The goal for each water team is to assess the present situation of that issue in Toronto, identify which areas require additional focus and to offer our help to those areas which are in need of, and currently lack, public participation. If you are concerned with, or interested in learning about the myriad of water related issues the Toronto region faces, then we urge you to attend this pivotal event.

In addition, our Water Campaign has launched its Unfluoridate It! movement working towards educating the public about the health and environmental impacts of having fluoride in our public tap water system. Did you know that the fluoride added to our tap water is the scrubber waste from fertilizer production and not the same as the medical grade fluoride found in your toothpaste? We are calling for a moratorium on the addition of artificial fluoride to our drinking water to allow for proper assessment through public health and environmental impact studies, as well as public input.

The Trade Campaign looks to protect the capacity of communities to intervene and manage the economy in the pursuit of social goals such as equality, sustainable/stable jobs, protection of public commons such as health & water and other goals that focus on the protection of human and environmental rights. Free trade with Colombia, an undemocratic inter-provincial trade agreement between Ontario and Quebec, and current negotiations of the Canadian-European Trade Agreement (which directly targets the removal of provincial and municipal purchasing democracy) are all issues that the Trade campaign is organizing against. With the announcement that this year's G20 meeting will be held in Toronto, we will be participating in actions that call for the decisions of our elected leaders to make our economy more fair and democratic. We will be participating in The People's Summit (June 18th-20th) and the demonstrations against the G20 coordinated by the Community Mobilization Network during June 18th–27th.

Our newly formed Climate Change Campaign has the following three subgroups: transportation, air quality and agriculture. Our immediate focus is fighting the Metrolinx plan to use heavily polluting diesel trains on the Georgetown South Service Expansion and Union-Pearson Air Rail Link, with over 400 trains a day. This plan allows for the release of carcinogenic substances into the air through twelve neighbourhoods in the west end of Toronto, and the increasingly polluted downtown. Electric train systems are used worldwide but this plan will utilize the cheapest and most polluting system that exists. Once the locomotives and infrastructure are purchased as diesel, rather than electric, it is unlikely this rail corridor will be upgraded to electric to meet environmental standards. Our urgency is due to the fact that the provincial government is slated to have a downtown-airport rail line in time for the 2015 Pan Am Games. We are working closely with the Clean Train Coalition, a community group that is fighting to ensure that a green, sustainable transit option exists for Toronto.

The Food Campaign is focusing on food chain transparency which includes labeling transparency and consumer awareness. We also continue to host our educational/outreach information booth at The Stop's Green Barn Farmers Market, which takes place every Saturday morning at the Artscape Wychwood Barns (601 Christie St.). This new, innovative, community based space hosts over 40 farmers and vendors who believe in local, ethically sourced, fair trade and sustainable practices. As well as engaging the public on issues we are currently working on, our monthly (during the winter) and bi-weekly (during the summer) activities at the market also enable us to support the work of our regional area farmers and The Stop's community food program.

If you would like to know more or become active in any of our campaigns, we would love to hear from you. We also welcome volunteers to help us at rallies, manage information tables and participate in other outreach efforts. The best way to contact us is via email:

Our email list receives weekly information on upcoming events in Toronto, both for the Toronto Chapter and that of other like-minded groups. News highlights from the Council of Canadians national office are also included. If you would like to join this list please send us a request. We assure you that you will not receive emails more than once a week.

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