Climate Change, The Pandemic and Multi-Use Pathways (MUPs)

The greatest long term threat to humankind is undoubtedly climate change. While the planet can no doubt survive anything short of a collision with a planet sized meteorite or asteroid, climate change has the potential to be be disastrous to human habitat.

In the short term the greatest threat to humankind is the COVID-19 pandemic.

While both of these threats are said to be non-discriminatory and many claim “we are all in this together”, that clearly is not true because while the threats may not discriminate, our societies and dominant economic system certainly do. Both climate change and the pandemic have a greater impact on the developing world than the developed world, and within the developed world a greater impact on poor and marginalized communities.

But what does this all have to do with multi-use pathways (MUPs).

Climate change has created multiple freeze-thaw cycles every year, rather than one each spring, causing excessive damage to cycling infrastructure, in particular MUPs. At the same time the pandemic has created an increase in outdoor activity and in particular much greater demand for bicycles putting much greater demands on cycling infrastructure including MUPs.

This is is the impact on a typical Ottawa MUP in Kanata.

Bridlewood Small Hydro Corridor Multi-Use Pathway (MUP)

We need to improve our multi-use pathway standards so that they do not completely deteriorate after one winter and connect the MUPs together to create a city wide system for recreational and utilitarian use, commuting, shopping, etc.

While considering this we need to keep these important facts in mind. Improving cycling infrastructure increases the number of people using bicycles for utilitarian purposes like commuting and shopping, which reduces the strain on roads and automobile infrastructure and reduces road traffic congestion. At the same time improving cycling infrastructures costs considerably less improving automobile infrastructure. Leaving the only reasonable conclusion that the most cost efficient way to reduce road traffic congestion is to improve cycling infrastructure.


The Argument for White Supremacy

It seems that the main argument of the white supremacists is that white western European countries would not have conquered the world if they were not superior societies.

Of course conquest and colonization involved looting, pillaging, plundering, murder, and rape. This theory assumes that societies that excel at violent conquest are superior societies. Interestingly these same societies demonstrate their violent priorities, particularly at times of financial crises, when cutbacks are made to education, health and social services while the military and police, the agencies of the state charged with violence, are prioritized and protected.

Indeed, perhaps the most successful (at gaining wealth and power over others) of these societies, while offering no right to education, health care or housing, provides a constitutional guarantee of the right to own weapons.

They say within every falsehood is a kernel of truth so I am willing to concede that perhaps the white supremacists, and the societies that they worship, may indeed be superior at violence.


The future of Laurentian University is in the hands of a flawed process and an anti-education government

When Laurentian University was founded it was not to create a profit making enterprise but to create an educational institution to serve the north, one that went on to include an important partnership with the Franco-Ontarian and Indigenous communities.

Using a mechanism (Companies' Creditors Arrangement Act) designed to ensure profit making enterprises can continue to earn a profit as a means to solve it’s financial problems is doomed to failure from the start. I fear greatly that this great institution will be damaged beyond repair by this process as our anti-education provincial government and “businessman first” Premier stand idly by and watch.

We now have a process based on making cuts to ensure profitability and prioritizing revenue earning programs rather than than prioritizing the programs most important to the institution and the community.

The first thing that should have been done to address Laurentian University's future was to identify the most important programs, particularly those that can only be provided by Laurentian University or provided better there than elsewhere.

At this time of reconciliation there is one program at Laurentian University that stands out from all others and that is the Indigenous Studies Program, and supports for Indigenous students and ties to the Indigenous community. This is a program that is historically important not just to Laurentian University but to all of North America.

A plan to save Laurentian University must have its indigenous component at the forefront. The Indigenous Studies Program should not only be preserved with no cutbacks but expanded. Retaining a few courses and slapping them together into a token program is the worst thing that could be done and would be about as disrespectful as could possibly be to the Indigenous community.

That, of course, should not be the only priority. Near the top should be programs and research in the social sciences that focus on Northern Ontario in particular and northern communities in general.

In the sciences and engineering sectors, programs, courses, and research dealing with the ecology and environment of the north should prioritized along with programs and research related to the mining industry.

As well, programs in the health sciences and professional schools designed to meet the particular needs of Northern Ontario, such as social work, nursing and midwifery, also need to be protected.

The traditional arts programs and courses may be easier replaced by programs at other institutions but courses relating to northern history and culture, including francophone culture and history, should be protected.

As an Honours Bachelor of Arts (Political Science) graduate (May 1973) I would be remiss if I did not mention the Political Science program, which in my time provided me with a unique education in both applied and theoretical politics with a particular Northern Ontario focus.

Only after it has been determined what needs to be saved to protect the unique Northern Ontario mandate of the University should an analysis of what should be done to solve the university’s financial problems be undertaken. Gutting the university is not the answer. Strategic investments are more likely to be succesful.

To be done properly this process would require extensive community consultation, impossible with the flawed process that has been chosen that puts the process in the hands of bankers and accountants rather than educators and community representatives.

With the ultimate decision making power in the hands of a provincial government that is anti-education and anti-community I fear for the future of Laurentian University.


Ontario’s COVID-19 Disaster in Five Words

The Ontario government would like to blame the behaviour of Ontario’s citizens for this disaster implying somehow we are so much worse than the citizens of other countries, and even other provinces, that are at the end of this crisis as we enter the worst of it. The fact is other jurisdictions acted quicker and stronger and got through the worst quicker because they put the health of their citizens first.

Ontario has from the start tried to get by with half measures because the government’s priority was protecting business interests, the sacred economy. Now the government is flailing about trying to appear to be doing something while failing to implement many of the measures recommended by public health experts, and implementing others that will have little impact beyond punishing the citizens of the province for the government’s inaction and ineptitude.

Indeed the priority of Premier Doug Ford is not protecting the health of Ontario. His priority is not even governing the province of Ontario. His priority is reflected in the five words he uttered so proudly “I’m a businessman first”.


So Why Would I Buy An E-bike

It’s not that I have anything against e-bikes. I think they are great for people who want to use them as basic transportation or for whom cycling would be difficult otherwise. But for me cycling has always been a recreational activity I do for exercise, so for myself, I have viewed an e-bike as cheating.

So what has got me to change my mind. Well first my wife Christine decided she wanted one and that got me interested as well, so we went looking at e-bikes.

The first e-bikes we became familiar with were the Cubes because a number of friends had them. To us they seemed bulky and heavy looking. I tried riding one for a short time without power and found it as annoying as those heavy Dutch bikes I once tried. No offence is intended here to light Dutch bikes. I am sure they exist.

But we were both looking for something lighter and less scooterish and more bikeish. We came across a Parkway Civia at a local bike shop and it looked exactly like what we were looking for and the description stated “We intentionally made the Parkway a bicycle first, and an electric bike second.” Sounds just about right.

But they also had a Norco Scene VLT, which though it looked heavier was actually only one pound heavier than the Civia, and it was a Norco.

Christine decided to buy the Scene early in March. She waited till the salt was washed off the roads to take it out and it has proven so far, after a few days at least, to be a great bike.

Now my ideal e-bike is a bike that I can ride as a regular bike with the availability of an electric assist if I should ever need it (for particularly strenuous hills or winds or longer rides). So I took the Norco Scene VLT out for a ride for an hour without electric assist and it proved to be as easy, if not easier, to ride than my Brodie Sterling hybrid.

So, at the very end of March, I decided to get one for myself but by then the shop we got Christine’s at had none left. I ended up getting the last one available in Ottawa at a different shop. Norco does not have any available to order direct from them either. I am now anxiously awaiting delivery.


The Unspoken Privilege – English Privilege

We all know what White Privilege is but no one seems to speak about English Privilege.

English privilege is simply the ability of English language speakers to get by practically anywhere in the world without learning another language. It brings with it a sense of entitlement. English speakers get annoyed when the have to read subtitles because everything should be created for them. They go bonkers when being forced to read French on cereal boxes.

English privilege is, of course, strongly aligned with White Privilege.

The world has English Privilege because of British imperialism and colonialism, “the sun never sets on the British Empire”. The British hordes scoured the earth looking for riches and in so doing pillaged and enslaved it’s peoples. Indeed the whole basis for the sense of Western European superiority is the idea that the societies most successful at warfare and in capturing and enslaving other people are obviously more advanced and culturally superior to the people they enslave.

This relates directly to the idea that societies based on living in harmony with nature are primitive and those based on dominating nature are civilized.

People willing to live peacefully in harmony with nature are obviously inferior to these more advanced societies, at least that is the rationalization the White Supremacists use to justify themselves.


Build a Better City – The Ultimate Reality Show

The worlds biggest reality challenge - two groups of 10,000 workers in 100 groups of 100 each face of to see who can build the better city on two separate plots of virgin land.

The first group has each team of 100 competing with the other teams each trying to build a better section of the city as quickly and least costly as possible. No collaboration is allowed and absolutely no social engineering is allowed. Shareholder rewards is utmost. This is the free market group.

The other group, the central planning group, has all 100 teams meeting and planning together before working on their individual sections where they communicate all lessons learned to the other group. Social engineering is required and the groups are required to consult with the people that will be living in the city in the planning process.

Who will build the better city ? Will it be the capitalists or the socialists ? Will the result be Ottawa or Copenhagen ?


Does Canada Need a Head of State

        From Twitter
 Adrian Harewood
        23 Jan
        Why in 2021 is a Canadian Prime Minister, the leader of a #G7 nation, still reporting to a #Queen who                doesn't live in his country and has never lived in his country? #JuliePayette #JustinTrudeau #Canada

This is just one response to the latest “scandal” involving the monarchy. In this case it was the Governor General. In others it has been members of the Royal Family. In each instance we seem to see a flurry of criticism of the monarchy. Although the misbehaviour of individuals is not necessarily a good reason to question an institution such behaviour always acts as a catalyst for questioning the role of the monarchy in Canada.

The usual response is a “debate” over whether we should get rid of the monarchy and replace it with something else, presumably a republic with a president rather than a monarch. That of course is not the only option.

One option I have never seen discussed is whether or not we actually need a Head of State.

Could we essentially retain our system of government without a Head of State, in effect a constitutional monarchy without a monarch.

Is this not the ultimate evolution of democracy. While governments need leaders should a nation state not be led by the people, not by a designated privileged individual. Would this not be the ultimate expression of the rule of law rather than the rule of man.

How would this work in practice.

The constitutional parliamentary duties now performed by the Governor General, granting royal assent, prorogation and dissolution of Parliament, etc. would be performed by a body that actually has constitutional expertise, a panel of Supreme Court justices. When it is necessary to canvas the House of Commons to determine who has the confidence of the House that function could be carried out by the Speaker and confirmed by a confidence vote.

The Prime Minister would continue to speak for the government and the Speaker of the House of Commons could speak for Parliament and when appropriate on behalf of the country as a whole.

Our system of a constitutional monarchy and parliamentary government reflects our history and it works. If we are tempted to change it we should be bold.


Sharing My Desktop PC Wallpaper Collections

When I'm not mountain biking or cycling, mapping trails or ranting about political or social issues I may be taking photographs. The last few years I have been using the better ones as computer wallpaper, changing it every five days or so. These are slideshows of these collections.

2019 and before



Bikes from Eh to Zed

A bike  What everyone needs. Everyone should have a bike.

B bike  Be at one with your bike. Be the bike.

C bike  A homophonic cross reference to bicycle. See bike.

D bike  To get off your bike. The rode is over and it is time to D bike.

E bike   The latest trend, electric bicycles. We need say no more.

F bike  Distracted drivers favourite word for bikes. The f...ing bike came out of nowhere.

G bike  A bicycle used by the FBI. The G man arrived on his G bike.

H bike  What drivists imagine bicycles to be, a thermonuclear device that wipes out everything in it's path.

I bike  What I do. No more need be said.

J bike  To bike crossing traffic. Dammit there goes another J biker.

K bike   A famous series of bikes made by Chrysler in an alternative transportation universe.

L bike  Eleven's bike, of course, nothing strange about that.

M bike  A catchy tune about bikes, MMMbike.

N bike   A variable representing the number of bicycles one has.

O bike  The national anthem of cycling, alternatively a carol about decorating your bike for Christmas.

P bike  A bicycle with a built in urinal designed for riding on Ottawa bike paths where toilets are non-existent.

Q bike  An online community promoting drivists favourite conspiracy theories about bicycles.

R bike  What pirates will tell you is their favourite land-based means of travel, ARRRBikes.

S bike  I bet there's an app for that somewhere in the galaxy.

T bike  A fast, sporty bike, “she'll have fun, fun, fun, 'till her daddy takes the T-bike away”.

U bike  The soon to be invented Underwater Bicycle.

V bike  Bicycles used by allied soldiers during WWII.

W bike  When one Underwater bike isn't enough.

X bike  A variable bicycle.

Y bike  Because, just because.

Z bike  A bicycle pronounced differently in the United State than the rest of the world.