Monthly Archives: December 2011


2011 Polling – Centre for Civic Governance at the Columbia Institute

Each year the Columbia Institute does polling on the local issues that British Columbians consider most pressing. Below is a comparison of results from 2007 to 2011.* You will find a breakdown of responses on the following page. Social Infrastructure includes: Homelessness, Healthcare, Poverty, Immigration/Integration, Education, Lack of social services/sense of community, Childcare. Economic Bottom READ MORE


Providing free food to students improves scores, reduces tardiness and boosts overall well-being

Despite the overwhelming evidence that shows that providing free healthy food to students results in an immediate jump in test scores alongside improved behaviour and reduced tardiness ,there is still no stable source of funding for such programs. Schools rely on donations from communities and businesses resulting in inconsistent delivery of programs. An article by Stephen READ MORE


Students rally to save arts focused high school

Students of Peterborough Collegiate and Vocational School (PCVS) are protesting the Administrative Review Committee (ARC) of the Kawartha Pine Ridge District School Board’s (KPRDSB) recent decision to close the school. The school is in Peterborough’s downtown core and students argue that closing down the school would violate the Province’s “Places to Grow Act,” which requires READ MORE


As Arctic sea ice melts, scientists discover large plumes of methane bubbling to surface

A team of Russian scientists studying  eastern Arctic sea ice has discovered large plumes of methane bubbling to the surface. It is estimated that hundreds of millions of tones of methane, a greenhouse gas 20 times more potent than carbon dioxide are locked in the Arctic permafrost. As climate change warms the planet these gases READ MORE


Fracking – a likely source of groundwater contamination

After complaints about the water started to flood in from residents of Pavilion, Wyoming, the EPA decided to do some testing. Results showed “that ground water in the Pavilion aquifer contain[ed] methane, benzene, other petroleum hydrocarbons and other chemical compounds.” The toxic chemicals are suspected to be the result of nearby fracking. The long list READ MORE


Cowichan’s new school board chair signals a shift in politics

The election of long time trustee Eden Haythornthwaite to board chair, signals a dramatic shift in politics for the Cowichan school board. Haythonwaite is accustomed to being an oppositional trustee, often having her motions quashed. She has routinely voted against cuts to classrooms and her dedication to fighting for education has finally paid off. Haythonwaite READ MORE


City of Toronto proposing major cuts to school board funding

A recent announcement that all city boards including school boards will be facing budget cuts of ten percent came as a surprise to many Toronto school boards. Two of the city’s largest boards had just met with the Mayor’s office to discuss coordination of services and cost saving measures days before the cuts were announced READ MORE


NFB film shows how Toronto’s apartment towers can be revitalized

Enlisting architects, animators and more importantly residents, an NFB film titled One Millionth Tower , provides ideas for revitalizing Toronto’s aging highrises. Some of the ideas include eliminating first floor apartments to make room for cafes and businesses, creating a marketspace, and networks and paths linking to the towers to parks and community gardens. Residents featured in the documentary READ MORE


Education twice as cost effective in reducing crime as incarceration – Report

A new UBC study titled “Education and Crime over the Life Cycle,” examines the impact of education levels on reducing property crimes. Co-author Giovanni Gallipoli explains,  “Our findings suggest that keeping kids in school, making them employable and improving their value in the labour market is nearly twice as cost-effective at reducing crime as simple READ MORE


Ontario Schools may start collecting data on language and ethnicity

Ontario’s auditor general is suggesting that school administrators start collecting data on students’ ethnicity, language and socio-economic status. The suggestion comes as several US states have found success in targeting programs to specific ethnic groups to raise graduation rates. The information would not be made public, but it could help administrators to fund and design READ MORE


The Future is Local: Progressive Governance Forum at Harrison Hot Springs

Join us at our Centre for Civic Governance  Forum for Progressive Governance in Harrison Hot Springs Friday March 30-Saturday March 31st. 2012.   Joel Bakan at The Future is Local from Centre for Civic Governance on Vimeo .     Equality and Public Education from Centre for Civic Governance on Vimeo . Local Is Global with Craig Keating and Alisdair Smith from Centre for Civic Governance on Vimeo .   Funding Formulas: When More is Less and Less -Joan Axford from Centre for Civic Governance on Vimeo . Featuring: Joel Bakan is an Associate Professor at the Faculty of Law at the University of British READ MORE


What will it cost if the world warms 3.5 degrees?

Current emissions reductions targets are likely to create a warming of 3.5°C by 2020, far below the original pledge of 2°C lower. The Climate Action Tracker has done an analysis that shows what the financial and environmental risks are. The tracker is continually updating according to the latest information available. What the current analysis shows READ MORE


Canadian cities considering Safety barriers on trucks

Several Canadian municipalities are looking at outfitting their trucking fleets with safety barriers. Cycling and pedestrian deaths from heavy trucks has gone down in Europe since guards have been implemented. The barriers cost approximately $1500 and Toronto councillor Glenn De Baeremaeker believes rails should be required despite the costs; “all of us accept today that READ MORE


Edmonton passes sexual orientation and gender identity policy

Edmonton is the first Alberta school board to develop a policy to make schools welcoming and safe for “students, staff and families who identify or are perceived as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, transsexual, two-spirit, queer or questioning their sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression.” Read more in the Edmonton Journal.