Temperatures drop, what should a city do for the homeless?
Jon Dziadyk is the Ward 3 Councillor for Edmonton.
No one moves to Edmonton for the weather, and we used to have record unemployment. We now have a substantial homeless population and that tells me that many currently experiencing extreme hardship were once bundled up, cozy, in an Edmonton home. Times have changed. Likely, in years past, they were productive members of society: sleeping in their own bed and working in the morning. Various government policies, economic cycles, bad luck, bad choices, addictions and/or mental illness may have led to their downfall. A government needs to be compassionate and utilize common sense: enter the municipal response to those shivering on the streets during our latest deep freeze. I am disappointed in what is happening in light of what could happen. The goal of any homelessness policy should be to rehabilitate with dignity. The solutions should be practical, modern, and not complicated.
Anti-pipeline protestors took to the streets in both downtown Toronto and Ottawa this afternoon, bringing traffic to a halt. In Toronto, the major artery of Bloor Street was blocked. While in Ottawa, protestors stopped traffic in Byward Market.
Protests and blockades opposing the Coastal GasLink pipeline have entered their 12th day, bringing traffic and the nation’s economy to a standstill.
The scene in Toronto is intense, with thousands marching.
“Obviously we’re a country of the rule of law and we need to make sure that those laws are followed,” Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said about the protests on Monday. “We are going to continue to focus on resolving this situation quickly and peacefully.”
Nationwide protests that claim to be in solidarity with the Wet’suwet’en have exploded after RCMP arrested pipeline protestors on Wet’suwet’en territory. Protests have already effectively shut down VIA Rail and CN Rail and at least two US border crossings.
The Wet’suwet’en Tribal Council supports the pipeline project.
A huge group of anti-pipeline protestors swarmed the Toronto subway and blocked major train tracks on Saturday to spread their message of solidarity with demonstrators in northern B.C. who oppose the building of the Coastal GasLink pipeline.
After riding the subway from Matt Cohen Park to Pioneer Village, chanting with megaphones the entire way, the protestors arrived at major train track near York University where they proceeded to set up a blockade.
Police served an injunction to the anti-pipeline protestors, who proceeded to burn it in defiance. Protestors also threw rocks at drones that were monitoring the situation.
The emergency action was organized by Rising Tide Toronto and Porcupine Warriors and had 684 confirmed participants on Facebook. The actual number was closer to 200.
Via Rail announced on Thursday afternoon that they are suspending all train travel across Canada as a result of the ongoing anti-pipeline blockades. Most of CN Rail traffic has been affected as well
Liberal Transport Minister Marc Garneau said he “very concerned” by the anti-pipeline protestors, but has taken no action to remedy the situation thus far. There has been no definitive action taken by the Canadian government to clear the rails as of yet.
The protests and blockades began as a response to the raid of an anti-pipeline camp in Northern British Columbia that was set up to oppose the building of the Costal Gaslink pipeline on Wet’suwet’en territory.
The Wet’suwet’en Tribal Council supports the pipeline project.
The drop in temperature has been a bit much for many, including the earth’s surface. Toronto experienced what are known as “frost quakes” Friday, a rare weather phenomenon.
“My girlfriend and I were sleeping—and my girlfriend is a very heavy sleeper—but this boom woke up the two of us,” said Joel Lopez, who lives near Yonge Street and St. Clair Avenue to the Toronto Star.
“It was really loud.”
Lopez described the crack as sounding like a water pipe burst which he heard around 2 a.m. and again at around 7 a.m. Lopez heard another crack that he said sounded like someone dropping a dumbbell through his bathroom vent which seemed to cause a vibration.
The scientific name is “cryoseism,” and it occurs when there is a sudden drop in temperature that goes from above freezing to below 0 degrees Celcius which causes the water in the ground to freeze.
Kelly Sonnenberg a Weather Network meteorologist, explained the process of frost quakes, “The rapid cool-down allows groundwater to freeze and then expand causing loud cracking or popping sounds of the ground splitting,” Sonnenburg said. “Even minor shaking or rattling can be occasionally felt.”
Sonnenburg said that quakes are most common during midnight and dawn, when the temperatures hit their lowest overnight lows. Soil and rock that are saturated with water begin to expand which puts pressure on the soil and rock until an explosion occurs.
An extreme cold alert for Toronto has been issued by Environment Canada for Friday. Temperatures are expected to drop to -30 C with windchill for the GTA.
Correction: A previous version of this story had an incorrect headline that claimed Jill Scheyk was a librarian. She was actually a library trustee.
A former board member of the Edmonton Public Library claims that the library CEO asked her to resign after she requested that the CEO apologize for posting a “transphobic” article to her Twitter acount. On Monday, Jill Scheyk gave the library her letter of resignation, according to CBC News.
A spokesperson for the Edmonton Public Library told The Post Millennial the CEO was not involved in the library board’s decision.
The Library CEO, Pilar Martinez, posted an opinion article that was published by the National Post to her Twitter account in October 2019. The article supported a librarian from the Toronto Public Library named Vickery Bowles.
Bowles defended free speech when guest speaker Meghan Murphy was set to speak at the library. Meghan Murphy is the founder of a website called Feminist Current.
Many people in the LGBTQ community wanted Murphy’s lecture to be canceled because they did not agree with her views. The library stuck with their initial decision and allowed Murphy to speak because the appearance did not go against their policy.
Murphy’s speech was held in October and hundreds of people showed up to protest the event.
When Scheyk saw the article posted on Martinez’s personal Twitter account, she emailed Martinez asking her to make an apology for the post.
“I had written an email privately to Pilar [Martinez] and the rest of the board members, you know, kind of framing this as, ‘I’m sure you didn’t intend it this way but this is actually some really transphobic language, and I think this is pretty offensive to people in the community and I think we really owe them an apology,'” Scheyk told CBC News.
She also learned about a blog post that Martinez made in support of free speech. The post was added to the Edmonton Public Library website on Nov. 1.
“Controversial or even offensive speech does not equal hate speech,” said Martinez in her post. “Censorship is a double-edged sword — while it may support your personal views today, it may be used to censor your views tomorrow.”
Scheyk, who joined the EPL board in May of 2015, disagreed with the post. She then made her own post on Twitter encouraging members of the public to engage future board meetings.
“I just kind of tweeted without really referencing the issue because I didn’t want to stir any additional reaction,” said Scheyk. “Just to say, ‘You know, if you have feelings about what we’re doing here at the library, our board meetings are open to the public.’”
The board sent a letter to Scheyk on Nov. 12 informing her that she had breached the EPL’s code of conduct. The letter noted that if Scheyk wasn’t able to meet the board’s expectations “it may be that the duty of the trustee is to resign.”
The letter also said that her behaviour “provided a catalyst for anonymous and extremely disrespectful input towards our CEO and EPL in general.”
“Your email to the CEO and copied to the board on Oct. 31, 2019, encouraging an apology from our CEO to particular community members was without awareness or input from the board.”
Scheyk later made the decision to hand her resignation into the library.
The chair of the library’s board of trustees, Fern Snart stated in an email that the board would not be making specific comments on the situation because Scheyk’s resignation is an internal matter.
“I can assure you that the EPL board of trustees is focused on acting in the best interest of Edmontonians and the library, and we welcome diverse views and healthy debate around the board table–in fact, it is what makes EPL great.”
On Tuesday, Scheyk said, “It was good to finally be able to voice my concerns out loud. You’re under a gag order as a trustee or employee. I actually feel like I have more impact now than I could have as a trustee.”