Julie Dupuis

Oct 152012

Unoperating parks under-served, day-based jobs inadequate.

Gravelle: The program will continue to operate as day camps and students will be able to commute.by Julie Dupuis, Straight Goods News staff

Editor's note: This is PublicValues.ca Associate Editor Julie Dupuis's departing editorial. For her last issue, she shares her views on protecting public services in light of the Ontario government's latest changes to Ontario Parks programs and operations.

FRENCH RIVER, ON, October 4, 2012: Hitting home hard to a former Ontario Ranger (Esker Lakes Provincial Park, 1996) and current hiking enthusiast, the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources recently announced that ten provincial parks will revert to non-operating status while it will also be transforming the overnight Ontario Ranger program to a day-based one.

Formerly the Junior Ranger program, the overnight teen work/camp experience has been running for nearly 60 years. Many remember it as a pivotal time that influenced them greatly. We came away having learned new skills clearing trails, paddling canoes, planting or pruning trees, and making spawning beds. We met new people and were introduced to new hobbies, like jogging or knitting. Everyone received first aid and WHMS training, and had to take turns on kitchen and cleaning duty. The beauty of the program was that it didn't matter what you could already do, but what you were willing to try.

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Mar 202012

Secret international trade deal places too many restrictions on local governments.

by Julie Dupuis, Straight Goods News staff

FRENCH RIVER, ON, March 20, 2012: Awareness about the Comprehensive Economic Trade Agreement (CETA) between Canada and the European Union is growing and opposition is mounting. There are currently 45 municipalities in the country that have passed — or are in the process of passing — resolutions on CETA, some seeking full exemptions from the agreement. In addition, six school boards and nationwide and province-wide municipal associations have passed similar resolutions. In total, about four million Canadian citizens are represented.

The overarching impact of CETA is to eliminate most tariffs between Canada and the EU, but as critics such as the Council of Canadians note, CETA "changes non-trade related government policies that affect business profits", potentially including labour, health, intellectual property, cultural, farming, public safety and environmental regulations.

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Feb 252011

Canadians object to buying negative product when clean, safe water is free.

by Julie Dupuis, Straight Goods News staff

Throughout Canada, citizens are asking for bans on bottled water, which is costly, environmentally damaging, and less regulated for safety and water quality than public water supplies.

March 10 will mark the second annual Bottled Water Free Day encouraging citizens to request bottled water bans within municipalities, schools, and workplaces.

Another initiative challenges municipalities to become Blue Communities. Two criteria are to promote publicly financed, owned, and operated water services and ban the sale of bottled water in public facilities and at municipal events.

"Canada has one of the best drinking water systems in the world," says the Council of Canadians, but according to the Canadian Union of Public Employees, "it's increasingly difficult to access […]. Public fountains aren't being maintained or installed in new buildings."

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