Saturday, May 17, 2008

Taking Some Photographs

A lot has been happening to change the face of downtown Brantford. Since moving here the past July I've learned that there has been a number of attempts to revitalize the downtown core of Brantford Ontario. One of the most recent efforts has been the establishment of Harmony Square. It is a public square that the city is attempting to use as a meeting place for the community.

It has become the centre for a group which calls itself the Brantford Arts Block. It is a
Brantford Arts Block is a community arts organization that was founded in 2006 to advocate and create arts-based neighbourhood revitalization, both in Brantford's downtown and area-wid

It has put on a number of events that bring people to the downtown to use their artistic ability. I suppose it could be called a grassroots movement to enhance culture and the arts.

Today they had a PhotoCrawl. The call was for photographers, either amateur or professional to bring their cameras downtown and take some pictures. The photographs could be of anything that struck the interest of the person with the camera. Now when I read that I thought "I have a camera, I like to take pictures..".

The day didn't start that well, but by afternoon it cleared up and became a great day. So with the sun and just a few clouds I jumped on the bike and headed to Harmony Square. There I met about 7 others, some with equipment that was very impressive and one with a simple digital camera like myself. One fellow came up to me and immediately recognized my Ubuntu button. He was another Linux user, going back to Red Hat 4. So it was good to talk to another fanboy. Out of that I discussed open source with another one of the photographers, so it was fun.

We were told to walk around and take pictures. The subject matter was whatever subject caught your interest.

So I did.

What impressed me was some of the interesting buildings in the area. If they could revitalize the core, these structures could become very interesting places of business and living. There is a lot of potential there that is waiting to be used.

It was a lot of fun.

The next event on the calendar is Drum Circle featuring instruments created by local thingmake Dave Hind.

Should be interesting as well

Thursday, May 08, 2008

No Electric Car for You

Canada has a lot going for it; clean air, except in our cities, clean water, except in places where we have oil, and our cities. We do have mountains, great towering things.

What we seem not to have, especially if Transport Canada has its way, is an Electric Car.

The Economist ran this article regarding a bureaucratic response to the possibility of building an electric car in Canada. To sum it up, they are dead set against it.

The Dynasty Electric Car Company and Zenn Motor Company both want to develop a low speed vehicle for the Canadian Market. The purpose of these cars is to provide people who drive in cities an opportunity to drive a car that produces zero emissions.

Canada has an abundance of electricity, and so you would think it's a perfect fit, especially in Central Canada where we don't hit oil every time we stick a shovel into the ground.

However the good people at Transport Canada seem to be concerned about the safety record of these vehicles.

To quote:
It doubts they would stand up in a collision with a delivery truck or a sport utility vehicle. Officials say they crash-tested one which didn't fare well, though they refuse to release the data.

Let's put this in perspective, the same vehicles, the SUV has a questionable safety record itself. However no one has ever suggested that SUV's be pulled off the road as a dangerous vehicle.

So, what is going on here?

May I suggest a letter to your local MP and ask that first of all, Transport Canada releases the safety finding of the LSV ( Low Speed Vehicle) and brings to the public debate as to why Canada should not allow these vehicles on our road. While you are at it, send a copy to Lawrence Cannon who is the Minister of Transport, Infrastructure and Communities, mentioning how electric cars will benefit our communities, more then SUV's could ever.

So get those pens going.

Saturday, May 03, 2008

The Clawback is ending

If you go to some of my links, you will notice there's one for Make Poverty History. The belief is this, we can end poverty in our life time.

One of concerns of Make Poverty History is the ending of child poverty. You can read the statistics, but let me share them.
* One in six Canadian children is poor.
* Canada's child poverty rate of 15 percent is three times as high as the rates of Sweden, Norway or Finland.
* Every month, 770,000 people in Canada use food banks. Forty percent of those relying on food banks are children. These statistics point to a betrayal of Canada's children. What makes the persistence of child poverty all the more disturbing is that Canada is a rich country, a country that ranked fourth in the world on the 2004 UN Human Development Index.

This is the reality. The Parliament of Canada once called for the ending of child poverty by the year 2000. We're now 8 years after the event was supposed to happen and it's still here.

Usually when talking about child poverty, the blog becomes a critical one, after all, child poverty exists because governments refuse to move, however I want to share some good news; the clawback of child tax credit is ending in Ontario. For years this has been a provincial disgrace, one that has been basically ignored but now it is coming to an end. I received a news release stating that the Province will no long clawback that amount. This is very good news.

I wrote a letter to my local MPP, Dave Levac commending the government for doing end the clawback.

I know it's not perfect and there is still much to do, but it's a start and I felt the need to commend the government for doing something good.

Another action of the Provincial government is the Ontario Child Benefit.

Like I said, its the first step, but an important one.