Names Matter…but not more than our collective health

What a difference in two weeks! Now we are in a second wave of Covid 19.

Our small Names Matter group was going to gather outside, six feet apart for a meeting. However, with this continuing escalation of new cases, we are going to postpone again. We cannot risk anyone’s health.

We recognize that students, parents and teachers are facing unprecedented problems every minute. There is so much fear and anxiety and now is not the time to ask them for their input. The DSBN is doing all they can to keep everyone safe.

Thank you to all who have responded. We will keep in touch through the Voice, email and phone.

Personally, I feel we are so fortunate to be living in Canada and especially in the town of Pelham.

We are surrounded by nature’s priceless beauty. Take a drive, or better still, take a walk through one of our parks, down the Steve Bauer Trail etc. to breath in the fresh air and sunshine.

Lucky us!

Vilma Moretti


COMMENTARY / OP-ED | Keith Currie

Clean fuel proposal raises concern for farmers

Since 2017, Canada has actively worked to legislate a Clean Fuel Standard (CFS) in biofuel production to help lower greenhouse gas emissions. New proposed regulations have been announced in September 2020 that have raised concern for Ontario farmers that these regulations will introduce crop production constraints and do not address compliance verification.

The CFS Regulatory Framework announced in 2017 was designed to achieve annual reductions in greenhouse gas emissions by setting lifecycle carbon intensity (LCI) levels for fuels used in transportation, industry and buildings.

In 2018, a CFS Regulatory Design that was introduced had compliance rules for fuel producers and suppliers to lower Life Cycle Intense fuels, as well as potential options to meet compliance, such as credit trading. For example, using CFS regulated feedstock to produce biofuel would generate a credit that could be used to meet a fuel compliance target or traded to another fuel producer/supplier to meet their obligation.

However, in September 2020, the Environment and Climate Change Canada (ECCC) presented seven new changes to the Clean Fuel Standard Regulation Design after the federal government announced the expansion of the previous 2018 regulations. These proposed guidelines raise concerns for farmers, as the regulations will introduce crop production constraints and do not discuss how compliance will be verified.

Canada established this criteria to help protect against direct and indirect land-use impacts, aimed to limit agricultural feedstocks that negatively reduce biodiversity, encroach on critical species habitat or convert land with high carbon stock.

The proposed regulatory changes brought up in September have resulted in elevated concern within Ontario’s farming community. When first announced, agricultural stakeholders were generally supportive of the Clean Fuel Standards act to increase Canada’s green fuel content.

If the proposed regulations are approved, the CFS will enforce regulations around riparian zones and protected areas. This will significantly impact future crop production and cropland expansion, especially in northern Ontario, where farmland is still being expanded. These new regulations would limit options for farmers on what crops they can grow for the biofuel market.

Many farmers are also concerned with the compliance and verification process these regulations will propose. Complying with regulations could create a disadvantage for domestic feedstock markets competing with imports. The federal government has not announced the verification process for compliance, making farmers concerned for the burden the process may have on them.

In January 2019, OFA submitted comments on the 2018 CFS Regulatory Design, supporting the higher green fuel initiatives. OFA stated that the CFS should recognize the continued value of the agriculture industry’s role and environmental stewardship achievements. We proposed that producers should be rewarded for their best farm management practices and carbon sequestration.

OFA is continuing to advocate for Ontario farmers amid the announcement of these new proposed regulations. OFA would like to partner and work together with Environment and Climate Change Canada and the federal government to create a set of attainable regulations for Ontario farmers. We want to collaborate to create regulations that can be verified and shine a light on farmers’ best management practices as environmental stewards.

OFA remains concerned for the burden this will create for farmers to adhere to the new regulations in the way they have currently been drafted. OFA hopes to work alongside the federal government to maximize opportunities and create an attainable Clean Fuel Standard for Ontario.

Keith Currie is president of the Ontario Federation of Agriculture.


COMMENTARY / OP-ED | Keith Currie

Is shinrin-yoku for you?

There’s no shortage of things to grumble and feel badly about these days. A gander at newspaper headlines or TV news broadcasts provides a plethora of bad news items to cause even the most optimistic among us to feel gloomy and morose. It appears there is a direct correlation between the size of the headline print or volume of the newscast to establish the level of gruesomeness. Such attributes make it difficult to ignore such sources of negativity.

Health care professionals report that such a barrage of negativism can affect the physical, psychological and spiritual well-being of even the halest of personalities. This constant exposure to such frightening occurrences can affect even the most Pollyannish persons among us. The recent COVID-19 pandemic has likely exacerbated the feelings of gloom and doom among many around the globe.

Other than relying on prescription medicines and other dangerous substances, there may be another unheralded therapeutic remedy to help reduce the negative effects of such a quasi-depressing environment. This therapeutic practice originated in Japan and is called shinrin-yoku —literally translated to English it means, “forest bathing.” I learned of this practice from an article in a major Toronto newspaper. According to Tami Astorino and Rachel Rubin, who operate a health and wellness enterprise in Philadelphia, “This practice is gaining a following as a way to reduce stress and anxiety and increase energy by more consciously appreciating nature.”

Medical researchers in Japan have found evidence that such a practice has physical benefits ranging from lowering blood pressure to boosting the immune system.

The objective of forest bathing is to cleanse the mind, spirit and body of the irritants of stress and anxiety. The exercise is to explore the forest and leisurely engage each of the five senses, one at a time. Look around and engage each sighting. Open your mouth, inhale and taste the clean air. Listen attentively for the sounds near at hand and at a distance. Open your mouth to taste the flavors of the forest growth. Feel the ground beneath your feet and between your fingers. Such actions are to vividly awaken each of your senses absent of stress and anxiety.

Rubins and Astorino now offer mini-retreats into the forest, a few hours in duration and report that each session sells out quickly. Participants report that forest bathing is a truly delightful opportunity to deeply connect with nature and find some inner quiet.

Astorino and other advocates of forest bathing suggest the practice will become part of mainstream wellness protocols.

It is a beautiful time, any time, to visit such as the nearby St. John’s Conservation Area and enjoy the health benefits that this pristine park provides. And should you do so, alone or with a close com-padre or two, why not try out the practice of shinrin-yoku? Our friends in Japan regularly practice this regimen and avowedly proclaim its benefits. You deserve a period of freedom from the stresses and anxieties of your busy lifestyles. Go now and enjoy a visit to the forest.


PELHAM AND COVID-19 Mayor Marvin Junkin

As GTA cases rise, Region still in relatively good shape

Good day to all! While areas north of the Region continue to face large daily increases in COVID-19 numbers, the numbers in the Niagara Region are rising, but at a far slower rate.

New cases on Oct. 9 totalled nine, with nine cases recorded on Oct. 8. The reproductive rate is at 1.1, just a hair above the desired 1. With only approximately one case of COVID-19 in the Region requiring hospitalization, Niagara hospitals continue to operate below the targeted use rate of 90%. Six to seven thousand residents are tested each week. The Regional target for positive tests is 5% or lower. In the week of September 27- October 3, 1.1% of those tested by the health unit tested positive. In that same week, Pelham had three residents test positive, with none requiring hospitalization. All are self-isolating at home.

On the Town front, we unfortunately have had some users of the community centre give Town staff pushback when asked some basic questions concerning their health before being allowed to enter the building, Really, people?

Staff are only following protocol deemed necessary to keep all users safe. If you feel violated by answering the questions then stay in your car while your child is practicing. There are some arenas in the Region that do not allow any spectators at all. We in Pelham do not want to go down this road, but we will not tolerate Town staff being subjected to rude and abusive behaviour. Please, let’s get back to behaving the way we Pelhamites are known for, friendly and respectful.

On a happier note, last Sunday our first public skate was held, and was deemed a success by staff. Skaters had to phone in and make a reservation, with 50 being the number allowed at any one time on the ice. All skaters followed the rules, and enjoyed the opportunity to put the blades on and have some fun while exercising.

Concerning council business, the new guy, Wayne Olson, continues to impress his fellow councillors and Town staff with his breadth of knowledge on so many topics, and his easy going, yet no-nonsense approach to Town business.

I hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving. We in Pelham have a lot to be thankful for!