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Diversity to council

Varied backgrounds make businesses stronger


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October 2021 • Vol 4 • Issue 42 PUBLISHED BY

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15 12 Editorial: Council made the right decision on ORVs, keeping them off Lindsay streets 13 Opinion: The people in power will need to help change the rules of the game for diversity to thrive 15 Cover Story:

We’ll elect a new council in one year. Shouldn’t we have more diverse candidates?

28 How do you feel about vaccine passports? We asked six Kawartha Lakes residents for their thoughts.

28 35 Mental health has suffered during COVID Here’s what we can do about it


4 Letters to the Editor 8 UpFront 11 Benns’ Belief 31 Cool Tips for a Hot Planet 36 The Local Kitchen 37 Crossword 39 Friends & Neighbours 40 Just in Time 42 Trevor’s Take

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Old pool memories

Re: “Plunging into the Past,” the Just in Time in your August Advocate. My family (a single mom with seven children) moved to Victoria Avenue in Lindsay in 1968 when I was in Grade 3 at Alexandra Public School. We could not afford very much, having a single-family income and many mouths to feed. We were very blessed that someone anonymously gave us a family swimming pass to the Rotary outdoor swimming pool — and did we ever get our money’s worth! We lived at that pool every minute it was open. It was such a great place to spend the summer. I, along with a few sisters, swam on the competitive swim team for many years, so we spent extra time training in the pool on top of our swimming lessons and our leisure time. It was very exciting as a youngster going on a school bus to another town to compete in swimming races. I doubt that anonymous donor ever knew how much of an impact their kindness had on our family and especially me, as I went on to become a competitive swimmer, a lifeguard and swimming instructor, a swimming examiner, an employee of the Town of Lindsay at the outdoor pool as well as a member of the first lifeguarding/instructing staff of the new Lindsay Aquatorium when it opened. I became involved with Ontario lifeguard competitions and ran the first Lindsay Aquatorium lifeguard competition. So many years of happy memories. Jane Hay, Barrie

Frustration with council over boat launch, water access

This letter is an expression of frustration and disappointment regarding the City of Kawartha Lakes Council and municipal staff’s actions with regard to a public water access and boat launch at the south end of Chemong Lake. Over the past 60-plus years this site has provided the community with opportunities including a gathering spot, picnicking, swimming, fishing and a boat launch site. In the spring of 2018 this all changed when several incidents involving new owners of abutting properties threatened the community’s access to the property. This disruption included abusive and rude language. When this matter

was first brought to council’s attention it included a petition with over 100 signatures. Council requested a staff report back to council. The report and presentation from Director of Community Services Craig Shanks downplayed the significance and value of the site to the local community. Since then, council has added cement barriers and allowed changes to the site by the abutting owner including three large boulders on the public portion. There are numerous council statements, documents and policies including a park master plan and municipal plan that discuss protection for local communities. After three years of expressing these concerns to the municipality it appears that council has abandoned the local community and has elected to do nothing. With no attention to the site, it will be rendered unusable. If this action is indicative of how a progressive, forward-thinking council works we should be concerned. Nick Lasch, Omemee

Senior says safety comes first when she drives her ATV

I really appreciated the letter from Dick Helleman in the September issue of The Lindsay Advocate. For we who enjoy riding our ATVs, hurrah. I am a senior and have just moved to Lindsay and I own an ATV. I don’t have a trailer, so if the route through town is not approved by council, I can see myself selling my ATV. I would certainly miss going on the trails, as it is a relaxing day for me and friends. Safety is our first issue. We are responsible. Carol Wallace, Lindsay

What about the farmland?

I just read the article about possible developments on the east side of Lindsay around I.E. Weldon Secondary School. I have no idea why this council or any future council would think it would be a good idea to pave over hundreds of acres of Class 1 agricultural land. If the development starts it will not stop; our best land will be houses, streets and commercial developments. The food-producing ability of this land will be gone forever, and to get our food we will be at the mercy of people that had the foresight to keep land like this in agricultural production. There couldn’t be a more short-sighted, poorly thought-out plan for anyone to consider. Come on council; you can do better. Sandy McQuarrie, Lindsay


Supporting vaccines for youth in school is propaganda, says reader

Re: Your editorial (September Advocate) “We need mandatory vaccinations for youth in school.” One of the opportunities a small, local, non-corporate-controlled magazine has is to, at the very least, ask some hard questions. It could assist the reader to use their critical faculties. It could avoid being a mouthpiece for the propaganda of the day. Unfortunately, the editorial in question offers little in the hopeful areas I suggest and is exactly the propaganda-supporting piece I find so disappointing. The article is loaded with unsubstantiated generalizations, and polarizing, emotionally laden comments. These comments support the marginalization of those who choose not to vaccinate. I wonder what tyrannies have had programs which were justified with the platitude “for the greater good?” I have firm ground for my objections to vaccinate despite your apparent opinion I do not. You say I wear my unvaccinated status as a badge of honour. No, I simply don’t want to give my rights of refusal away to government and corporate interests that I know don’t really care about me or my loved ones. Marc Bilz, Lindsay

Missed opportunity to talk about first-past-the-post

I like Trevor’s analogy to the present state of affairs in our local riding (“Leslie Frostwood: His election to lose”, September Advocate), and wish to congratulate him on the success of his virtual candidate, the blue woodpile. Naming his candidate “Leslie Frostwood” brings to mind another Frostism, from the 1950s, when Premier Leslie Frost introduced Ontario to the provincial sales tax. It was popularly known then as the “Frostbite.” But to get to the point of the article: “the race in our riding hasn’t usually been a nail-biter...” That must qualify as being in contention for the understatement of the year. And it is true for so many ridings throughout the country, where lopsided victories are the norm. Thus, many voters choose not to bother casting their ballots, knowing that it won’t make a particle of difference to the outcome. That was Trevor’s opportunity to jump in with a rational discussion of the weaknesses of our outdated first-pastthe-post electoral system. But instead, he shifted our attention to a topic not directly related, saying, “I despise divisive campaigns.” Is there any other kind? It’s called dividing up the vote. CONT’D ON PAGE 6

Quantify Numbers that matter


of Canada’s population growth comes from immigration.


54,000 international students settled permanently in Canada in 2018. Source: Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada


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I, too, had a weird dream. I painted my cord of wood orange. Unfortunately, my candidate came in a distant third. But all was not lost. A cute family of striped kittens took refuge under my woodpile. I named my candidate the “Orange Lodge.” Carl Sweetman, Lindsay

Grass Hill memories

I wish to thank Ian McKechnie for his lovely article in the July edition of The Lindsay Advocate, “In Search of Grass Hill.” I am the daughter of Harold and Nan Belfry, who owned the general store. Susan Belfry, Fredericton, N.B.

Explaining the heat spike in the 1930s

Re: the letter in the October edition of the Advocate, “What about the heat spike in the 1930s?” It is true. It happened. There is this thing in science called an outlier when a mean statistic goes a little haywire for various reasons. In 1934, in particular, the heat wave was devastating to the U.S., particularly in the central plains where the dust bowl and arid conditions created a desert scenario. Several factors caused this, including above-average ocean temperatures on both coasts, poor land management or farming practices across the central plains, and heat funnelled up from the Gulf that set up shop over the plains. Now for the concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere. Yes, it is a small concentration. Estimates range from .04 to .06 percent. But if you understand the science, you will know that it punches well above its weight. CO2 is transparent to some wavelengths, which pass right through it, but not infrared, which it reflects to the surface. Then you can see how it has increased global temperature by more than a degree over the last 100 or so years. The increase in temperature causes higher evaporation, and to compound that, warmer air holds more water vapour, also reflecting that radiation back to the surface. It has become quite empirical (obvious) now that with increasing global average temperatures, a huge rise in drought and storm intensity and exc eptional rainfall and flooding around the globe, life as we know it may well change much sooner than any of us think. Brian Smith, Lindsay

Sorry, not sorry

Your unsigned editorial in the September issue of The Lindsay Advocate, entitled “We Need Mandatory Vaccinations for Youth in School” was an outrageous promotion of a practice that is, in fact, illegal in Canada. Please do your research before printing such offensive and dangerous garbage. In particular, take note of Public Health Canada Volume 23S4-May 1997: “Unlike in some countries, immunization is not mandatory in Canada; it cannot be made mandatory because of the Canadian Constitution.” You would also be well advised to note that promoting illegal practices, particularly promoting dangerous experimental drugs to children and youth, carries significant legal liability. If this was your editor’s personal opinion, I recommend they not shy away from signing it. If it is the position of your magazine, I will be expecting an apology in your next issue. M. Horton, Kawartha Lakes Editorials are not signed because they are often written by two or more people and are, in fact, the position of the magazine. In the same Public Health Canada volume that you cite we note their unwavering support for vaccines, even in the preface. Vaccines have been so successful in preventing public health catastrophes the volume’s authors even list three revealing disadvantages to vaccines. These are complacency without the proper scrutinization and updating of vaccination programs; opposition to vaccines from new generations that have never had to live through the scourge of preventable diseases and therefore don’t understand a vaccine’s value; and how widespread coverage is increasingly difficult to get when there remains a stubborn segment of the population that chooses not to get vaccinated. Also, we lastly note that if something is not mandatory that does not make it illegal. ~The Advocate

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Singer makes fresh start in Kawartha Lakes

Stella Panacci

Stella Panacci got her start in the music scene in the 1990s in the Toronto area as an indie pop drummer and songwriter and lead singer for the band Kat Rocket. Now relocated to Kawartha Lakes, she is getting set to release an album that has been two years in the making. Panacci says her most treasured memories are here, especially at her grandparents’ cottage on Pigeon Lake. “I’ve always been a dreamer, and I have always loved Neil Young,” she said, adding that when she was younger, she believed she’d “catch a glimpse of him in town or something, like a sasquatch. “I always pictured him writing the song “Helpless” right at the black railway bridge as you go to the Omemee locks to park and launch the boat.” Panacci, who calls her musical style folk/rock/alt country, says she was just eight years old when her grandma pushed her onto the stage at the Bobcaygeon Fair where she won first prize for singing “River Road” by Crystal Gayle. “I won $20 and I felt lucky.” Before the pandemic she was finishing up an album when everything went sideways. She lost her job and a close cousin died of a respiratory infection. That’s when she packed up and moved to Kawartha Lakes to start a fresh life chapter. The new album is slated for release this month. Visit to learn more.

Janetville mansion open for tours in mid-October When Paulette Sopoci was younger, she’d stare at the imposing yellow brick mansion in Janetville from her school bus, imagining she’d one day live there. As she got older, and life took her to Toronto for her career, the house was no longer on her radar. Then a friend mentioned to Sopoci that it was up for sale, and those childhood emotions and memories returned. “Without question I was certain I wanted to purchase it,” she said. She did so without regrets. “I had never been in the home previously and it has met my expectations in every way. And adding my personal design touch has really made it feel like home,” Sopoci told the Advocate. Known locally as the Janetville mansion by some and the doctor’s house by others, Primrose Hill Manor, as Sopoci has named it, is opening for tours, which should please lovers of history, design and architecture. They can check out the extensive renovations when it opens to the public on Oct. 16 and 17 for a heritage tour. The new owner said she is looking forward to sharing its new look with Kawartha Lakes residents. Sopoci, who worked for an entrepreneurial coach-

Paulette Sopoci is opening up her manor to visitors this month.

ing organization called Strategic Coach for 30 years, is now planning to do more with her new home, including hosting small weddings, corporate events and corporate Christmas parties at the manor. Contact Sopoci at or call 647-404-4120 for more information about the tour.


Business UPFRONT

Cruise Holidays of Lindsay Thrive Coworking }} Celebrating 15 years with Community four unique voyages }} Business aims to offer office space with built-in networking

Owner Cheryl McDonald on the last last cruise she took before the pandemic in October 2019. She hosted hosted a group sailing round trip from Montreal with stops along the St. Lawrence River and in Newfoundland.

A series of “distinctive voyage” sailings offered by Cruise Holidays of Lindsay is just part of the way the company is celebrating its fifteenth anniversary in 2021. The voyages will be hosted by travel advisers who work at the William Street office in downtown Lindsay. The four voyages include a 10-night Eastern Mediterranean cruise from Venice to Rome next May, and a 12-night Black Sea cruise round-trip to Athens in June. A 12-night Greenland and Iceland voyage from New Jersey to Reykjavik and an eight-night French Riviera cruise in September 2022 are also available. The small business owner says her travel advisers — Lisa Whyte, Vivian Warren and Pat Kuypers, who all live in Kawartha Lakes — are a big reason for the success of her travel agency, which is locally owned and operated.   Cruise Holidays will also hold a series of “Travel Tuesday” webinar presentations this fall. “We had so many clients — including myself for our 40th wedding anniversary — whose special celebration travel was cancelled due to the pandemic,” McDonald says. “In some cases, due to finances, age or illness, those celebrations can’t be rescheduled. So, my best advice is not to wait for that magic date, but to travel while you are able.”  McDonald is in fact seeing that advice being taken for their 2022 and 2023 bookings. “People are booking their bucket list trips and longer vacations.” For more information visit or call 705-324-3110.

Matt Geraghty has been working at home for almost three years, back when he started Matty G Digital in February 2019. “Working from home is great but I experienced first-hand that there are a lot of problems with it,” says Geraghty, including distractions and spotty rural internet. “I still do not have anywhere to meet people that I work with, which does not always make me feel professional.” That’s why Geraghty has created Thrive Coworking Community at 18 Kent St. W. in downtown Lindsay, designed by Home by Tim+Chris of Fenelon Falls. It’s 2,000 square feet with eight to 10 private offices, shared space (to fit about 14 people), a boardroom that can accommodate 12, a recording studio and more. Meg Geraghty, Matt’s wife, is his partner in the new venture, bringing expertise from her ten years of experience as an office manager. “I had this idea about three and a half years ago when we moved to Lindsay. We know a lot of people locally that work from home and recognized from conversation and experience that it can be isolating and lonely,” Matt says. Geraghty says as businesses look to downsize and scale back their workplaces, and more people are creating opportunities for themselves as entrepreneurs, “there is a growing need for hybrid office space,” that allows for part-time work away from home. “We need to stop saying that Lindsay and Kawartha Lakes is just a retirement community. We are seeing more people move up from Durham Region and Toronto. It is an exciting, growing, wonderful community that we have here.” Visit or call 705-995-2034 to learn more.


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Past and future city

This is a story about the past, circa 1970-80. It’s about a little town with a river running through it (and a sprawling rural county) that seemed far away from the vast smudge of lights of Toronto. The world was smaller then. Both in real terms (3.7 billion people in 1970 versus 7.9 billion today) but also because things just didn’t happen as fast. Travelling to Toronto from the little town and rural areas wasn’t something that happened as often back then, or as easily, as it does today, at least for most people. Now, our cars are faster and better. Our access to information is instant. Our desire to do more and see more is piqued. We are less content to be still. Continental supply chains and transportation hubs link us and bind us more tightly than ever. Life is quicker, while distances have somehow shrunk. The big city has also swollen now, its edges bursting into fields and forests. The multiculturalism the little town and rural areas had never much experienced before is changing. It is inching northward, one family, one dream at a time. Perhaps their exit from the big city is a reaction to faster, bigger, “better.” Perhaps better just means something different now. This is us, of course, and our relationship to Toronto’s sprawl. Now is the moment in time where we recognize that change is upon us and that it is irresistible. How we respond to that change should be one of the defining moments of our municipality and its people. On our Business Upfront page in this issue, entrepreneur Matt Geraghty says we “need to stop saying that Lindsay and Kawartha Lakes is just a retirement community.” He adds, “We are seeing more people move up from Durham Region and Toronto. It is an exciting, growing, wonderful community that we have here.” Indeed. And as we welcome people from a wider variety of backgrounds than ever before, it’s incumbent upon us to start thinking more about diversity — in our politics, in our business landscape and in our cultural offerings. How will we be more open to the richness of experience that immigrants and second- and third-generation Canadians bring from their varied backgrounds? Council should not be the domain of only retired middle class white men (two female councillors notwithstanding), which is not to suggest these men are not serving their community, of course. Similarly, how can we ensure federal and provincial nomination races are more transparent and inclusive? If we build our institutions better, including tweaking our rules to be more welcoming, we will benefit greatly from the array of experiences that diverse perspectives bring, as we discuss in our lead story this month. So, yes, this is a story about the past — but inevitably it’s a story about our future and the possibilities before us.



Council gets it right on ORV issue Barring an outstanding procedural issue that came before council at their Sept. 21 meeting, Kawartha Lakes City Council has decided not to allow ORVs (also called ATVs) on Lindsay’s streets to connect a north-south trail system. Instead, the city will look at a bypass around Lindsay. Council got it right. An ORV Task Force, chaired by Councillor Pat Dunn, had been asked to find a route that meant ORV owners wouldn’t have to put the machines on their trucks or in a trailer to take them farther up north. That may be an inconvenience, but the original suggested path would have seen many Lindsay streets directly affected: Logie, King, Wellington, Victoria, Angeline and more. Once town residents caught on to what was about to happen, a grassroots group called Keep Our Roads Safe in Lindsay formed, soliciting residents’ opinions and encouraging them to vote against the proposed route in a city-commissioned poll. In the end, 66 per cent of Lindsay residents who voted in that poll opposed an ATV route in Lindsay.  Dunn tried to paint this as a vocal minority, and he also wondered if the outcome would set a precedent if “every time we don’t want to make a decision we have a poll.” We find this statement at odds with Dunn’s former candidacy with the Reform Party, a party that believed that more referenda were needed to make decisions. In other words, it advocated for public opinion to be sought out more often, rather than letting a political body lead. Councillor Ron Ashmore appeared upset at council, alleging that “secret deals” had been made among councillors (ostensibly Councillors Andrew Veale and Doug Elmslie, who led on this issue). But as Mayor Andy Letham said, “two councillors talking is not deal making.” Councillors should in fact be collaborating on a regular basis, not just grandstanding at monthly council meetings. Lindsay is a growing town with increasingly busy streets. Allowing ORVs on them would have been unsafe and unnecessary.

LETTER SPOTLIGHT Stay home until you’re vaccinated That’s it. I’ve had enough. I’m not holding back any longer. Refusing a COVID vaccination is beyond understanding or credibility. If people don’t want to be vaccinated then please stay home until reason returns. I have heard that even a few health-care workers are refusing to be vaccinated.That is the epitome of irresponsibility. If you are determined to infect yourself then please stay home so you will not infect anyone else. May common sense save the day. Cam Finley, Lindsay



For real diversity to happen, those in power must start the process ELIZABETH FRASER Elizabeth Fraser graduated from Carleton University and is pursuing a Master of Public Policy degree at McGill University. She wants to address important social issues within Canada, including poverty reduction, the housing crisis and systemic inequality.

Canada needs more leaders who are diverse, whether in politics, boardrooms and in our communities. While there have been significant initiatives over the past few years to enhance diversity within these spaces, there is still a lack of representation in leadership positions. Those positions are where it really counts — where individuals can effectively shift the culture to support diversity, break down barriers and foster an inclusive environment for everyone. As a young woman with ADHD — a neurodevelopment disability — it was important for me to run as the Green Party candidate in the 2019 federal election. The voice of women, especially young women, and those with disabilities, are often missing in leadership roles. One of the limitations that comes with homogenous demographics in leadership is the limited perspectives at the decision-making table. History has shown that individuals belonging to equity-seeking groups — women, racialized individuals, 2SLGBTQIA+ folks and people with disabilities — cannot rely on those outside these groups to respond to their needs. Ultimately, only those who have lived experiences can truly understand and communicate what their needs are. To make sure that future decisions in our governments, businesses and communities can adequately respond to the needs of diverse people, those same individuals must hold leadership roles. Representation in leadership is also important in upholding principles of equality within our societies. Members of equity-seeking groups are referred to as such because they are disadvantaged or unequally treated

within society. These inequalities are further compounded for individuals who hold multiple, or intersecting, identities. It is undeniable that these inequalities are systemic — they are present in all aspects of our societies and institutions. As such, they are difficult to overcome. Challenging this status quo through a diversity of perspectives allows leaders to understand what elements of our governments, businesses, or communities contribute to these inequalities. Unfortunately, there are still significant barriers to diverse individuals in accessing leadership positions. While there has been improvement in female representation in leadership roles, specifically in boardrooms, women of colour, Black and Indigenous people, and those with disabilities are still vastly underrepresented. This is mirrored in political representation as well, with white men still holding most positions within the House of Commons. Diverse individuals continue to experience barriers to leadership opportunities due to wage disparities, resistance to change, stereotyping and a lack of mentorship opportunities. How do we move forward? Although the instinct may be to have diverse people answer this question, much of the work must come from those already in leader ship roles. One of the biggest challenges for people of diverse backgrounds in participating in leadership roles can be anxieties or perceived risks of putting yourself in a potentially vulnerable position. Taking an empathetic approach to increasing equity, diversity and inclusion requires authentic initiatives by existing leaders, with an understanding that greater diversity only expands and improves the capacity of governments, businesses and communities. This, I believe, will ultimately lead to a stronger, more effective leadership and a more equal society. There are many resources available through organizations such as the Canadian Centre for Diversity and Inclusion if you are interested in fostering diverse and inclusive spaces.


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diversity crisis in municipal politics CONT’D ON PAGE 16

What does a mayor do? The mayor acts as chief executive officer of the municipality and provides leadership to council, presiding over council meetings so that its business can be carried out efficiently and effectively. The mayor represents the municipality at official functions and carries out the duties of the head of council under the Municipal Act.


About $113,000 per year (Full-time), plus expenses.

What does a councillor do? A councillor’s primary role is to represent their ward and the people who live in it. Councillors attend city functions and ceremonies, ward or town hall meetings, community groups and constituent meetings. Councillors determine how many committees they wish to participate in. Each year one councillor is appointed deputy mayor.


About $48,500 per year (Part-time), plus expenses.

THE DIVERSITY CRISIS IN MUNICIPAL POLITICS Since the last round of municipal elections in Ontario in 2018, experts have been parsing the results and many say they are very concerned with what they have discovered. It is clear to many in the media, politics and academia that municipal councils do not reflect the people they govern, with most councils lacking proportionate representation of racialized minorities, women, Indigenous people, those living in poverty, those under the age of 40 and members of the LGBTQ+ community. Solutions do exist to this lack of diversity, including making council positions full-time jobs, moving council business to the evening, introducing political parties into municipal politics, implementing term limits, establishing programs that support and mentor candidates from non-traditional backgrounds, and engaging and educating all groups on the importance of municipal government. NUMBERS DO NOT LIE

The municipal elections of 2018 caused students of municipal government to sit up and ask questions. Vancouver, Toronto and Montreal elected such shockingly non-diverse councils that individual researchers in Ontario began to investigate whether the lack of diversity reflected in the Toronto vote was common across Ontario. Apart from a few bright spots in 2018 like Peterborough City Council with over 50 per cent diversity, municipal councils looked as they almost always had: a collection of aging white men being re-elected time and time again. Research done by Cynthia Mulligan of CITY News reported that in Montreal, with a 31 per cent visible minority population, 94 per cent of the city council elected is white. In Vancouver, with 54 per cent of the population identifying as visible minorities, 80 per cent of the council elected is white. In Toronto, with 51.5 per cent of the city identifying as visible minorities, the council elected in 2018 was 90 per cent white. Analysis across Ontario by the Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM) reinforced the same sad narrative of a glaring disparity between the general population of many Ontario municipalities and the makeup of the councils governing them. Numbers from London, Ottawa and Sioux Lookout show the same patterns found in Canada’s megalopolises, with communities of diversity significantly under-represented. The situation in Sioux Lookout is particularly concerning, where a community with a 37.6 per cent Indigenous population has only one Indigenous representative on a six-member council. According to the Federation of Canadian Municipalities, only 26 per cent of municipal leaders and 18 per cent of mayors come from Indigenous, racialized and immigrant women populations.


Locally, Kawartha Lakes council, consisting of eight councillors and a mayor, features only two women and no racialized minorities or other representatives of diverse communities. Muskoka Regional Council has 28 members with only four women and no racialized minorities, while Peterborough County Council has 15 members of whom 7 are women but none represent racialized communities. Durham Regional Council, representing some of the most diverse communities in the Golden Horseshoe, has 28 members, of whom 7 are women and only two represent racialized minorities. “(A lack of diversity) was standard in rural HARRY KITCHEN Ontario for decades,” said Trent University Trent University Professor Professor Emeritus of Economics Harry Kitchen. Emeritus of Economics He has decades of involvement with municipal councils across Ontario and oversaw the creation of the city of Kawartha Lakes. “Seldom did I ever work with a council that was anything but older white men. My dad and dad-in-law were typical of these retired farmers who made the move into municipal politics. Council meetings were in the afternoon and they would not change the times. Full-time employees couldn’t serve. It was retired people only.” There is a clear disconnect between who lives in these communities and who governs these communities. How has this happened?


“It is not a simple answer,” said Kawartha Lakes Mayor Andy Letham. “Lack of interest in local politics leads to a lack of interest in running for positions ... which leads to a lack of diversity on local councils. Running for council requires a financial commitment, time commitment and a flexible schedule commitment. I would argue that those constraints eliminate 75 per cent of the population from having an interest in representing their community. Or, they might have an interest but simply can’t make it work for personal, family or financial reasons.” The lack of diversity is not a reflection on the quality of current council members, of course, but it does carry a message about who tends to run for office. “(Council) certainly attracts a retired, self-employed, financially stable kind of demographic,” Letham said. “Young people are working to pay off loans, juggle a family, and are not so financially set...” There are numerous barriers to achieving elected office for many segments of Ontario society, including time, money and support, MAYOR DIANNE THERRIEN says to Peterborough Mayor Dianne Therrien, City of Peterborough

What do boards or committees do? Municipally appointed boards and committees provide advice and recommendations to council. Most committees include members of the public and members of council. Some advisory committees are required under provincial legislation, while others are created by council to address a specific topic. Advisory committees or task forces may be created on a temporary basis with a specific end date. Being a part of a committee is a great way to get a sense of how municipal politics works, and it’s a valuable contribution to your community. These are volunteer positions.

How can I get involved?

Interested in joining a board or committee? Go to committees for more information on each committee and how to submit your name for consideration. More information about the election process and candidate rules, regulations and procedures is also available at




who presides over one of the most diverse councils in central Ontario, says that “In places like Peterborough where (council) is considered a part-time job, this means that people need to manage their career and other aspects if they want to run,” Therrien said. “If a single parent with young kids wants to run for council, they need to either bring their children along door-knocking, which any parent will tell you is not feasible, or find child care during campaign time.” She added that running for office is a challenging decision and in communities that are predominantly white, that challenge is compounded for candidates from diverse communities, who experience racially motivated comments coming not just from constituents, but from staff and their council peers. Peterborough councillor Stephen Wright is a self-described member of the BIPOC community. (This is a U.S. term that has found purchase north of the border, meaning Black, Indigenous, and People of Colour). “Roughly 73 per cent of Canadians today are of European descent, meaning that only 27 per cent of the Canadian population descended from outside of Europe. As a result, many minority groups often feel alienated and struggle to integrate into the public sphere. It is common for minorities to lose faith in civic bodies when their unique concerns are not heard. Some communities may not feel public life is a viable option for them, especially when they see a lack of diversity and representation within the governing body.” Wright added that running a campaign requires considerable time and money. “Members of diverse groups

often work precarious jobs and do not have the time or the resources to invest in a campaign.” he said. To successfully campaign for any kind of government position, Wright said, a person needs great networks, the ability to fundraise, and even to sustain oneself financially for an extended time if they have to forgo income while running. “Those things aside, the community that you are asking to trust you might not connect with you. This is common in regions that fundamentally lack diversity. Stigmas and stereotypes often have more significant impacts when diversity is low.” The Federation of Canadian Municipalities, which set a goal of 50 per cent female representation in municipal politics by 2026, says women are not under- represented because they are unqualified. Thirty-five per cent of Canadian women 25 to64 hold post-secondary certificates compared to 30 per cent of men in the same age cohort. Instead, the FCM’s website points out that deeper systematic issues in our society are to blame. “These include stereotypes, biases, systematic discrimination, unfair distribution of household responsibilities as well as policies, processes and attitudes rooted in colonialism and patriarchy.” The FCM has stated publicly that pursuing gender parity and greater diversity in political leadership “is a matter of balance, fairness and justice.”


Multiple options do exist for reforming the way municipal councils are elected and expanding the diversity on council of all disenfranchised groups. The only thing lacking, at least right now, is the political will of those making the decisions to experiment with changes that might threaten their own power.

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Kitchen, Letham and Therrien said there is value in taking a serious look at this potential reform. “There is a credible argument to be made that making council positions full time with a credible salary would help the issue with diversity,” Kitchen said. “Councillors are not overpaid. I was involved with two separate commissions looking into salaries of councillors in Niagara Region and Ottawa-Carleton. Independent committees made of a broad cross-section of citizen volunteers, after looking closely at the data, recommended significant pay increases in both areas.” Letham said that making councillor a higher-paid full-time position “would attract a younger, more diverse population.” Therrien pointed out that in mid-sized cities like Peterborough and Kawartha Lakes, council jobs are theoretically supposed to be part-time positions, but in reality, the workload is full-time. That makes sitting on council unappealing for many who would need to balance their council commitments with their primary careers, a difficult task at the best of times. Leaving a full-time job for one that pays about $50,000 isn’t always realistic.



Many councils in Ontario meet during business hours to ensure senior staff can contribute their expertise to complex policy discussions. While daytime council meetings benefit the city’s bottom line by reducing the need for staff overtime, it is a hardship to prospective council members who are not retired or self-employed. The current Kawartha Lakes council features four retired people (Letham, and Councillors Doug Elmslie, Pat O’Reilly and Pat Dunn), four self-employed people (Councillors Tracy Richardson, Kathleen Seymour-Fagan, Emmett Yeo and Ron Ashmore) and one still working a traditional day job (Andrew Veale). This council, as currently constituted, has no impediment to meeting during the daytime multiple times a month. They also have no reason to change the typical meeting times, which exclude many of those who might want to serve but are still working full-time. The Federation of Canadian Municipalities has made it a cornerstone of its diversity policy that employers need to make workplaces more flexible to empower people of all genders to be able to serve and have a balance between career and family.



As Canadian municipalities struggle with appropriate representation for the entirety of their communities, they may wish to look the United States,

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where the presence of the Republican and Democratic Party fully ensconced in municipal politics has ensured that both women and racialized minorities do not feel intimidated from running and are proportionally represented. The party apparatus backs them up so it doesn’t feel like they’re left to face a daunting campaign process on their own. Research by CITY’s Mulligan found that in Los Angeles, 50 per cent of the population are recognized racialized minorities and they make up 53 per cent of council. In both New York City and Chicago, the populations are 55 per cent racialized minorities and minorities fill half of the council seats in both cities. Under this model, there are fewer concerns about funding, logistics or volunteers as the party apparatus provides that much-needed muscle to level the playing field for candidates from very different backgrounds. Another option is municipal-specific political parties such as those in Vancouver, Quebec City and Montreal. Candidates have the backing of a larger organization but must then also toe the party line when in office.



Legislation requiring municipal representatives to step down after a certain number of years in office is another possibility. Term limits would open up the positions of councillors and mayors after a set number of years, encouraging fresh new perspectives every 8 to 12 years. “Term limits might be an answer, but they are virtually unheard of in Canadian politics and very controversial,” Erin Tolley, an assistant professor of political science at University of Toronto, wrote in 2018 on the Policy Options website. Mississauga Mayor Bonnie Crombie added that long-serving incumbent councillors are “notoriously difficult to unseat” and sometimes diverse candidates have to wait for a death for a seat to open up for them to have a legitimate chance of winning, she told the CBC in 2018. Andray Domise, a political activist who lost to Rob Ford in the 2010 Toronto mayoral race, told City TV that Ontarians should at least consider term limits, pointing to his own city. “We have councillors who have been in power in Toronto since the 1980s.”




The Federation of Canadian Municipalities says that “to achieve gender parity and open doors for women across all diversities, we need women and men who are willing to champion and support women running for office and remaining in office.” Having a mentor could be crucial for politicians from diverse communities who may lack important contacts, money and name recognition in campaigns that are often under-reported by cash-strapped local media. Lesley Parnell, the longest-serving woman on Peterborough city council, credited former mayor Daryl Ben051916 Tracy Hennekam BC proof.indd nett with keeping her engaged and involved with important committee and portfolio assignments when she was the only woman on council in 2010. “I do not regret (the workload) at all as I learned much plus really felt in the loop,” Parnell shared. The Peterborough mayor encouraged citizens who know someone who would be a good elected representative to suggest they run and support them if they decide to do so. “Numerous studies tell us that women and marginalized people are less likely to run for office and that it takes up to a dozen times for them to be asked before they decide to do it,” said Dianne Therrien. “Together, we can make sure that everyone is represented in politics, though we still have a long road ahead of us.”


INCREASED PUBLIC EDUCATION/ ENGAGEMENT ON THE IMPORTANCE OF MUNICIPAL GOVERNMENT Kawartha Lakes Mayor Andy Letham said increased engagement starting in educational settings could help. “Local politics exposure at the school level might help create an opportunity for some who might not have considered it.” Education and engagement are the keys to increasing diversity within government and public service, Councillor Wright said in an emailed response to the Advocate. “As governing bodies, we need to continue to let minority groups know that their experiences and perspectives are valued and essential. We need to highlight the importance of public life and civic interactions. We also need to establish new channels for discourse and find new ways to implement policies that support minority communities. When minority groups feel more seen and heard, they will likely see the value in participating in and leading civic discourse.”

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KIRK WINTER Municipal Affairs

NOTES FROM CITY HALL No ORVs on Lindsay streets Kawartha Lakes council has not approved a plan to create a route for off-road vehicles (ORVs) through the town of Lindsay. It will instead be looking at creating a bypass around the town to allow the north and south trails still to be connected. Councillors Andrew Veale and Doug Elmslie spearheaded this new proposal, which was presented to council’s committee of the whole on Sept. 7. Veale and Elmslie say they both see it as a compromise that will respect the wishes of the residents of Lindsay who oppose off-road vehicles on their streets and get the trails eventually connected for the use of the local ORV community. Veale proposed that staff bring forward the cost of a bypass route around Lindsay that would go down Golden Mile Road to KL Road 36 and after the construction of an ORV/pedestrian bridge in the area of the old railway crossing, would connect to Thunder Bridge Road. Councillors split 4-4 on the Sept. 7 motion, with Veale, Elmslie, Emmett Yeo and Pat O’Reilly supporting it and Ron Ashmore, Pat Dunn, Kathleen Seymour-Fagan and Tracy Richardson opposing. Mayor Andy Letham cast the deciding vote to support the motion. Council confirmed the decision at its Sept. 21 meeting. Vaccination requirements for council chambers Council approved in principal a memorandum from Mayor Andy Letham that would authorize requirements for anyone attending council chambers in person to be fully vaccinated, or to provide proof of a negative COVID test within the previous two days. Councillor Ron Ashmore spoke against the motion call it “divisive, discriminatory and unconstitutional.” Council recommended approval of the memorandum by a vote of 8-1.

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What words do I use?? ELIZABETH FRASER Sometimes, talking about individuals with diverse identities can be intimidating, especially if you don’t know the right words to use. What follows is a brief list of and definitions for some of the common words used when talking to or about racialized individuals, people with disabilities and 2SLGBTQIA+ folks. This list is by no means comprehensive and further reading is recommended. Please remember that if you don’t know how to refer to someone, you can ask! It may be uncomfortable, but it’s important in allowing that individual to identify in the way they choose, which may be different than someone else who holds the same identity. Racialized People: Most provincial human rights commissions across Canada use the term “racialized people” as opposed to “people of colour.” The Ontario Human Rights Commission says, “Recognizing that race is a social construct, the Commission describes people as ‘racialized person’ or ‘racialized group’ instead of the more outdated and inaccurate terms ‘racial minority,’ ‘visible minority,’ ‘person of colour,’ or ‘non-White.’” BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, People of Colour) is a U.S. term. Of course, it is always best to use someone’s specific identity to refer to them when possible (i.e. Black, Latino/a/x, Asian, multiracial, etc.) Indigenous Peoples: used to refer to all First Nations, Métis and Inuit in Canada. When possible, use the specific word and/or the group (i.e. Curve Lake First Nation, Red River Métis). Neurodivergent: when someone’s brain learns, processes and behaves differently than is “typical”; includes those with Autism Spectrum Disorder and ADHD. Person with a disability: this is an example of people-centred language when talking about those with disabilities and replaces “disabled persons” because people come first! Use specifics when you can, simply replacing “disability” as above. Gay/lesbian/bisexual/transgender person: although the term 2SLGBTQIA+ can be used inclusively, it is best to use someone’s preferred identity. These words are adjectives, not nouns (“a gay” or “transgendered” is not appropriate). You can find out what pronouns others use by volunteering your own. You can always search for appropriate terms online as used in Canada. And of course, these terms may change over time as people choose new ones with more appropriate nuances.

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Diversity has created a richer experience for local businesses

WILLIAM McGINN Writer-at-large

There’s a common refrain in areas like this, where residents are mostly white, once the topic of diversity comes up. “We just don’t have much diversity so it’s not a concern here.” That is not the experience of everyone, though. Last year at a local march in support of the Black Lives Matter movement, two local teenage girls of colour, Selina Reevie and Peyton Caldoza, told the crowd how difficult it sometimes is to live in Kawartha Lakes and be Black, sharing memories of the aggressive behaviour they have endured, as well as ongoing stereotyping. The staff at Grr8 Finds Market in Fenelon Falls, most of whom are members of the LGBTQ community, were victimized last year in what the OPP described as a hate crime. Several men tried to intimidate staff, yelling homophobic slurs, and even stalking the store from their truck at one point, attempting to intimidate the staff again and the customers who frequented the store. Rylee Rae and Randy Meredith of Grr8 Finds Market, Fenelon Falls, provide a safe space for high school kids to talk about identity issues.


One of Pinnguag’s classrooms ready for STEAM students. Bonnie Evans of Pinnguaq.

Incidents like these show first, that there truly is diversity in Kawartha Lakes, and second, that issues related to diversity should be everyone’s concern. But what are the benefits to a business of a diverse workforce or of making diversity part of its identity? Randy Meredith is the owner and founder of Grr8 Finds Market. Meredith says his place has become a safe zone throughout the years for people who identify as LGBTQ. Local high school kids have been able to come in to discuss their personal issues, for instance. “It’s their decision on when they talk to their parents, it’s their decision when they come out, but sometimes they need somebody just to talk to,” he says. “So they come in. And grab some candy while they’re at it.” One of Meredith’s workers is Rylee Rae, head of Kawartha Lakes Pride. On the side Rae is working with the city on new Pride benches, two at the Trent Severn Waterway lock and one at the entrance to the Fenelon Falls Chamber of Commerce. Rae has also helped organize meet and greets for the community. Emphasizing Meredith’s point, she says staff at the store “have counselled many people from behind the counter.”

Diversity is also important for non-profits, as the experience of Pinnguaq shows. This organization has a foothold in both Iqaluit, Nunavut, and in Lindsay, where founder Ryan Oliver hails from. Pinnguaq ‘s large office on Adelaide Street includes a “makerspace” where kids and young adults can do hands-on work with STEAM principles (science, technology, engineering, art, math). The non-profit brings technological opportunities to rural, remote and Indigenous communities. It also publishes a magazine called Root & STEM, distributed all over the country, and hosts a podcast of the same name. Bonnie Evans is an operations coordinator at Pinnguaq. She grew up in East Preston, Nova Scotia, and moved to Ontario in 2012. After working at a law firm in Toronto for three years, she moved to Lindsay with her then-fiancé, now-husband, accountant and pastor Ralston Evans. The two of them owned an office in the same building as Pinnguaq, and she was able to learn about the work the non-profit was doing. She says she “wanted to find some type of work that was meaningful to me, where I could make a difference and feel like I had contributed in some way.” She landed a position as administrative assistant working with Pinnguaq’s chief operating officer. This job experience “has been even better than I expected,” she said. CONT’D ON PAGE 26


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She sees greater diversity in the near future for Kawartha Lakes. “With the way the housing market is going, there will be an influx of BIPOC people moving to Lindsay. With it will come many opportunities for people in the community to further embrace the diversity of people coming into the area.” Diversity just makes good business sense, too, she says. “When employees are valued and treated with dignity, respect and honour,” they “will give 110 per cent back to the organization.” The openness and respectful environment at Pinnguaq, Evans says, has helped her to overcome barriers, and has inspired her to return to university. Although she is doing her full-time job and university studies concurrently, she says it’s worth it. “I have never felt so valued and well respected in any organization. Everyone is treated equally and fairly. They allow (employees) to contribute our ideas of how we can further grow and develop the organization into a social enterprise.”

The openness and respectful environment at Pinnguaq, Evans says, has helped her to overcome barriers, and has inspired her to return to university. Greg Picken is Pinnguaq’s senior lead, communications. “From day one, our organization has been about inclusiveness and diversity, and that includes making sure we reach out to a diverse audience but also respecting diverse traditions. If we only come at it from a Eurocentric or a settler-focused mindset, theres opportunities were going to miss for understanding the world around us and what we can learn from it.” Picken says the company works with the communities it serves. “We codesign everything so it speaks from their experience in the world that they can relate to,” referring to northern Canadian and Inuit perspectives.


Understanding and meeting people where they’re at was part of the personal inspiration for Meredith when he opened Grr8 Finds. “It was about me being who I was and wanted to be but never allowed myself to be,” which had the effect of being a beacon for others. After the attack on him, his staff and the store in the summer of 2020, there was an outpouring of local support, and Meredith said things have been going fine since then. If you look at the positive things you can take from the experience, he says, it’s “even more clear we have an amazing community. They have been behind us a million per cent.” Before the pandemic, the Gr88 Finds staff used to hold coffee and game nights at Boiling Over’s Coffee Vault in Lindsay. With restrictions loosening, Meredith and Rae are organizing new in-person events, and hoping to spread them out across Kawartha Lakes. “You often hear about doing these events at churches, and I don’t always feel that awesome walking into a church. Where you vote on whether or not my existence is acceptable isn’t a place where I feel super awesome,” she says. By contrast, Meredith recalls how some local churches have married LGBTQ people and had tables at the annual Pride Picnic. Cambridge Street United Church in Lindsay has held a special service as part of Pride Week for the past several years. The new priest at St. James Anglican Church in Fenelon is Indigenous bringing another aspect of diversity to a town that has embraced him and his family, as it has the family of Rev. Caleb Kim of St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church. “Ultimately,” said Picken, “the more we can learn about each other in our different backgrounds and experiences, it just strengthens us as people and as a community as a whole.”

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Now that Ontario has had a vaccine mandate for a few weeks, we asked Kawartha Lakes residents how they felt about having to show proof of vaccination to enter some Ontario businesses and services. David Perry (Coboconk) Sign me up for a protest!

Eric Hall (Norland) With a passport there is no choice but to get the vaccines or do without. They will need to come up with a system for on-the-spot testing for the unvaccinated that is non-invasive to keep everything fair for everyone.

Kristina Bartlett (Fenelon Falls) I’m fine with it. It’s the same as having that yellow card for the kids when they were in school. It can go right on there.You are going to need something if you want to travel, so why not get ahead of it?

Tom Wood (North Verulam) If people choose not to be vaccinated, they are not just putting themselves at risk, they are a vector for the continued spread of the virus to others — not to mention the added burden on the health-care system. I’m definitely in favour of a vaccine passport (to) put pressure on the vaccine-hesitant to quit listening to conspiracy theories and get the vaccine.

Nikki Judson (Kinmount) I think the mandating of a vaccine passport or app has jeopardized our civil rights. This would have been less concerning if the handling of COVID had been consistent from the get-go. I feel the frequent message changes contribute to uncertainty and fear among people.

Scott and Pam Carleton (Rosedale/Los Angeles) As much as we hate to have others dictate how we manage our lives, this is a global pandemic and we should all be looking beyond the politics. The worst part of this is that these discussions are creating a deeper divide in society. All of that being said, if a vaccine passport puts others at ease for travel or social interaction, we are all for it.

~compiled by Geoff Coleman


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Cool Tips with Hot Planet Ginny Colling

Omitting emitting is good for what ails us Imagine you’re in a game show, facing two doors. Behind door No. 1 is a gas-powered car, engine running. Behind door No. 2 is an identical electric car, also running. To win your choice of car you must spend two hours inside the hermeticallysealed room with that running vehicle. Now the choice becomes life or death. The planet is not hermetically sealed, but it’s not as well ventilated as it used to be, thanks to our burning of coal, oil and natural gas — fossilized carbon that had been safely stored underground for millions of years. Since the Industrial Revolution we’ve been burning the stuff and releasing that ancient carbon back into the atmosphere. Our atmosphere is like a porous blanket, keeping in just enough of the sun’s heat to make life on Earth possible. Adding that ancient carbon has thickened our atmospheric blanket. And you know what happens when you put on a thicker blanket. Today we’re all feeling the heat and seeing the climate disruption. So what can we do about it? Not everyone is ready to run out and buy the car behind door No. 2. But as drivers we can make low-carbon choices right now, without replacing our cars. 1. Drive the speed limit or close to it. Studies show that when driving at highway speed, for every 10 km/h we slow down, we can save 10 per cent in fuel costs while polluting less. 2. Accelerate gradually/use cruise. Acceleration burns the most fuel. A light foot and consistent speed burn less. 3. Avoid idling. Get out of the car at Tim’s to order that double-double (or better yet, support a local coffee shop instead). You’ll save on significant emissions and get some exercise. And don’t worry about burning more fuel turning the engine off

and on than idling. Stopping and restarting consume less gas and emit less CO2 than idling for more than 10 seconds. Experts suggest that when idling to warm the car, keep it to three minutes or so and then ease into your trip. That’s enough to warm up most vehicles quickly. Or, instead of idling, install a block heater. When I lived in Alberta, almost every car had one. You plugged your car in and when you were ready to leave, voila — easy engine start and quick heat. As an alternative, use a portable car heater to warm the interior. To save energy, plug it into a timer so it comes on a couple of hours before leaving, so it’s not plugged in all night. If all Canadian drivers reduced their idling by just three minutes a day it would be the equivalent of taking 320,000 cars off the road, according to Natural Resources Canada. And it would improve health. Pollution contributes to lung and other health problems and each year causes some 15,000 premature deaths in Canada. It’s especially important to keep children and their young lungs away from idling vehicles, because tailpipe pollution is denser at kid level.

The Big Picture

If you really want to make a long-term difference, support government ZEV (Zero Emission Vehicle) standards. They require a gradually increasing percentage of vehicles sold to be zero emission (electric, plug-in hybrid, hydrogen). The federal government recently mandated that all new car sales be ZEVs by 2035. B.C. and Quebec have adopted interim sales targets. In the first year in Quebec, not only did all manufacturers comply, but many also sold more ZEVs than required. And when you’re ready, choose door No. 2. Because it can be a life or death choice for our kids and the planet.





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Pandemic has worsened our mental health; here’s what we can do about it NARESH JAMES Naresh James is a retired executive director of the Canadian Mental Health Association, Kawartha Lakes branch, in Lindsay.

Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, it was estimated that one in five people will suffer from depression, and two per cent of the population is believed to suffer from a serious mental illness. We also mainly avoided talking about mental health due to ongoing stigma. Since the pandemic, though, media reports have shown a rise in anxiety, depression, sleep and eating disturbances, increased use of drugs and alcohol, weight gain, domestic abuse, suicidal ideation/deaths, financial worries, food and housing insecurities, loneliness and an increase in the feelings of helplessness and hopelessness. Undoubtedly, scientific developments during the pandemic have been admirable, but the price of the past 18 months has been very high to the economy, family, social harmony and mental health. COVID-19, a public health crisis, also became a mental health crisis, both here in Kawartha Lakes and across the country. The adverse impact of lockdowns and loneliness has been unprecedented. This has affected children, youth, adults, seniors, people of all genders, races, educational and income levels. It’s also important that people in the helping professions seek professional help for their own mental health, as they too may suffer from compassion fatigue, anxiety, depression, hopelessness, helplessness and PTSD. But unlike the pre-pandemic time, at least we are now more open to talking about mental health and mental illness. While it’s normal to feel overwhelmed, it’s not okay to continue to struggle for long stretches of time. Therefore, three strategies are suggested. Physical health: Maintain a healthy lifestyle — create a routine and reorganize your life accordingly, remembering that an organized and disciplined life brings harmony and happiness. Maintain a balance between work and home, eat properly, get enough sleep, exercise, limit

drugs and alcohol use and screen time, and hike or bike mindfully, preferably in the woods to connect with the nature. Mental health: Consult a mental health professional or a family physician if you are experiencing signs of anxiety, depression, prolonged feelings of sadness, loss of energy, loss of interest or purpose, difficulty seeing meaning in life, disturbances in eating, sleeping, and enjoyment of life. Acute or prolonged stresses can trigger pre-existing psychological problems or exacerbate existing symptoms of mental illness. Accept the pandemic and stay armed with facts through reliable sources. Being busy in meaningful activities to keep your mind from wandering into negativities and disturbing thoughts is important. During isolation, use technology to foster close relationships with family and friends. Go beyond yourself to help other people in need. Helping others is empowering, and volunteering brings meaning to our lives.

COVID-19, a public health crisis, also became a mental health crisis, both here in Kawartha Lakes and across the country. The adverse impact of lockdowns and loneliness has been unprecedented. Spiritual health: If you are not in an intensive-care unit, have food and shelter and are alive, you have a lot to be thankful for. Millions in the world can’t even dream of what we have. Look at the broader picture — we are not alone. Remember, our ancestors endured similar pandemics successfully. Practice gratitude; it’s a mental vaccine for distorted thoughts and destructive negative emotions. Faith in a higher power and hope can keep us resilient. Yoga and/or meditation helps us calm-down and refocus to maintain harmony. Living mindfully helps us to live in the present instead of worrying about the past or the future. Rest assured, this pandemic too shall be tamed like other past pandemics.


The Local with Kitchen

Diane Reesor



Fried was the only way that Diane ever ate butternut squash growing up. Her mother just made it that way. In fact, Diane didn’t discover that there was any other way to prepare butternut squash until she was first married! This recipe has a wonderful colour, flavour, and texture.

Fried Butternut Squash • 1 butternut squash, the longer the neck the better • butter or oil • salt • pepper • cinnamon, optional • brown sugar, optional Method Slice the squash in half-inch (1.25-cm) rounds, then remove the skin. Melt butter or heat oil in frying pan over medium heat. Place squash rounds in pan. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Fry until brown, flip then fry on the other side. Brown sugar and cinnamon may be added after the squash has been flipped. Serve warm. In the unlikely event that you have leftovers, cube them and use for garnishing soup or salads. Story and photos by Sharon Walker

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We're Growing the We're Growing toto the We're Growing to the Movies Movies Movies We're Growing to the Movies ACROSS

by Barbara Olson byBarbara Barbara Olson by Olson © ClassiCanadian Crosswords ClassiCanadian Crosswords ©©ClassiCanadian Crosswords CROSSWORD by Barbara Olson © ClassiCanadian Crosswords


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Stopping injustice a life goal for young Lindsay woman

WILLIAM McGINN Writer-at-large

Having graduated in April 2021, she works at Tony’s All her life she’s considered herself an advocate for Best Pizza & Wings, where she’s worked part-time those who have been wronged, but last year in June for several years, and is considering a job in security. was when Brooklyn Korz’s first involvement on the After getting further experience, she then hopes to front lines took place, at Lindsay’s Black Lives Matter work in crisis intervention or a unit that deals with child rally, where more than 200 people walked, shouted and exploitation. kneeled — and which she had a part in organizing. Her own road to being open as a gay woman has Brooklyn didn’t speak at the rally, but “Peyton (Calbeen bumpy. “I can remember thinking I was different doza, a young woman of colour who did address the in middle school but I never fully realized and came out group) was my friend, and when the worldwide protests to myself when I was 16.” Now began, we didn’t know if someout and proud, she decided against thing like that would happen locoming out during high school becally because our town is considcause she heard terms like “gay” ered pretty small, and we hadn’t being used towards other people really seen something on such a as an insult. I know what that’s like. large scale before in Lindsay and “Not until I was 14 did I know the Kawartha Lakes.” word was definitively not an insult. She told the Advocate she and Now I’m proud to be in the definiPeyton came up with ideas for tion of the word too.” social media sharing and began That doesn’t mean it’s easy. organizing when they found out “I wear a lot of clothes some peoSelina Reevie and Abby Jardine ple might consider to be only for were doing something similar the boys, so I’ve definitely experienced same weekend. The four of them some looks of disgust, some snide created the Black Lives Matter comments from strangers, but I’ve of Lindsay Facebook page, with never truly experienced bullying Selina and Abby organizing disfrom it. People didn’t come to me cussions with the police to shut outright and say ‘We’re not friends the street down for the march. anymore,’ but after coming out I Brooklyn says during the BLM Brooklyn Korz. definitely lost contact with people. protests, “it sort of solidified that But it was never really a loss to me. I want to go into policing because If they weren’t going to support who I was, it was fine.” I want to make the (social justice) changes we all talked She enjoys taking trips through town and Ken Reid about.” Conservation Area, either walking or riding on her longShe would then go into the police foundations proboard. She also likes watching horror movies and docugram at Georgian College in Barrie. “I’ve wanted to go mentaries, and playing video games on the side. She lives into policing for as long as I can remember,” she exwith her mother Rochelle, father Jim, and little sister plained, “but the specifics of the unit I want to work on Emma, and is coming up on two years with her girlfriend didn’t come up until I started seeing people from those Kayla. units in various presentations through college.”



The Life of Brenda O’Keefe

}} 1920s trailblazer

Pedestrians walking to the north end of St. Paul Street will encounter a curious-looking house set back among the trees, just as the road curves to become Denniston Street. From one angle, the home resembles a typical suburban bungalow; from another, it evokes the look of a small cottage. Sitting squarely on the long-gone Canadian Pacific Railway right-of-way steps away from the Lindsay boat launch, 103 St. Paul St. is certainly among the most picturesque properties in town, particularly during the autumn. Brenda O’Keefe lived here for nearly seven decades — a period that saw her contribute in countless ways to the betterment of her adopted home community prior to her death on Nov. 15, 2020. Brenda’s civic engagement has much to teach anyone aspiring to a life of service in local politics. Born Brenda Brett on July 5, 1928, in England, O’Keefe came to Canada in 1947 to look after the children of Mr. and Mrs. Peter Griffin, who had employed her as a nanny while still living in the United Kingdom. (This relationship itself had roots in Kawartha Lakes: Mr. Griffin’s grandmother was Mabel MacKenzie, a daughter of Kirkfield’s illustrious rail baron Sir William MacKenzie). Not long after her arrival in the Lindsay area, O’Keefe met her husband, Leo O’Keefe, at the Big 20 Restaurant, a long-time eatery on the south side of Kent Street. They were married in 1948, and the first of their four children was born in 1949. After living in a wartime house for a few years, the family took up residence on the St. Paul Street property in 1951, a building they added to over the years. “It was the gathering point for the family,” O’Keefe’s eldest son, Michael, remembers.

IAN McKECHNIE Writer-at-large By the 1960s, O’Keefe had her fingers in multiple pies. Her father, Charles Brett, who had emigrated from England and settled in Lindsay, was working with Dan McQuarrie and Dr. William Schwartz to bring the Victoria County Museum into being. At the time, most of Ontario’s burgeoning community museums were staffed entirely by volunteers who often lacked the resources necessary to run and administer them. Undeterred, O’Keefe enthusiastically dived into the

Brenda O’Keefe.

role of curator and ably assisted with the myriad tasks necessary to the proper functioning of a museum. “Mum had an amazing capacity for organizing, for managing people,” observes her youngest daughter, Elizabeth Winkelaar. When O’Keefe wasn’t busy volunteering at the museum or working as a registered nursing assistant at the Ross Memorial Hospital, she was serving on the


Lindsay Public Library Board. It was through her participation on the library board that she first got involved in the political scene. In her first time running for elected office in the 1970s she just barely got in, with nine votes separating her from fellow candidate Enzo Gentile. As O’Keefe said later in life, “He came up to me and said, ‘I’m not going to ask for a recount, because I think that you’ll do a good job,’ and I was so happy.” Though not the first woman to be elected to town council — that was Ada Greaves, in 1943 — O’Keefe stood out in a chamber that was dominated by men. She was supported and encouraged by Bud Bates, the town clerk, who provided her with whatever information she needed to help make decisions. O’Keefe learned the ropes quickly, and within a few years topped the polls among all councillors in a municipal vote. “She never talked about being a feminist,” Elizabeth says, “but she acted like one,” paving the way for many more women to participate in the political process at the local level. O’Keefe’s father donated money towards her first campaign, and she had the support of her family on the ground: Elizabeth remembers going door-to-door to campaign for her. Throughout the 1970s, O’Keefe served on numerous boards and committees, including the Lindsay and Ops Planning Board, the Lindsay Board of Parks Management, the Public Library Board and the Executive Committee for Community Improvements of the Downtown Business Area. After retiring from the Ross Memorial in 1981, O’Keefe volunteerIn her first time running Hospital ed in numerous capacities well into for elected office in the the 21st century. At 80, she served 1970s she just barely got as a census commissioner and in in, with nine votes sep- 2016, she was serving on the Kawararating her from fellow tha Lakes Accessibility Advisory candidate Enzo Gentile. Committee. “My parents were very optimistic, forward-thinking people, As O’Keefe said later in always thinking about how to make life, “He came up to me Lindsay a better place,” says. and said, ‘I’m not going “She enjoyed the people,” Michael O’Keefe says of his mother’s to ask for a recount, many decades in public life. This interbecause I think that est in the well-being of others exyou’ll do a good job,’ and tended well beyond the council I was so happy.” chambers. O’Keefe was active in the Imperial Order Daughters of the Empire, a national women’s charitable organization, and was always ready to aid those in need. “A lot of people called my mother for help,” recalls Elizabeth, who notes that her mother was often the first point of contact for those leaving situations of domestic violence or poverty. O’Keefe would put them in touch with a church or other agency through which a safe space could be found. Perhaps the house at 103 St. Paul Street serves as a metaphor of what public service means — whether in elected office or otherwise. Inviting and unpretentious, yet full of character, it exemplifies everything O’Keefe brought to her tireless work as an advocate for this community.

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Ranked balloting has my vote

Often, when it’s my turn to cook supper at home, I gather the kids and we vote to decide what we are having. It’s a simple system: The results determine where I am going to order takeout from. Showing the kids democracy in action — where a majority decides what our little community will do — helps assuage my guilt about being lazy and generally unmotivated in the kitchen. Thing is, my little exercise may teach about the concept of majority rule, but it doesn’t teach anything about how our democracy works. For most of us in our province or even within our own city, a minority of people elect our representatives who then go on to decide our fate by majority rule. We use a “first past the post” (FPTP) voting system; the candidate with the most votes in a given riding wins. On its face that sounds pretty simple. It’s how a horse race works — and it’s the name from which our system derives. But what if we thought about elections in a bigger way? That’s why many citizen groups around the world advocate for preferential or ranked balloting. One simple iteration of this is to rank your first, second and third choices. With this system winners are selected by a majority of voters. Why does this matter? Too often a minority decides for the majority. In our last municipal election, only two of the nine positions were elected by a majority vote, with one councillor winning with a mere 20 per cent of the votes cast. Advocates of this system say that the idea can lead to more congeniality during campaigns, and perhaps more importantly, encourage and enable more diverse candidates to enter. When it was tried in London, Ontario in 2018, most observers declared that it led to a more diverse council. Ranked balloting is not without its possible flaws. It can be prone to more strategic voting and even strategic candidates. (Google “RCMP investigation into Alberta’s UCP leadership campaign” to understand the latter.) After the success of the London experiment several other Ontario municipalities expressed interest in trying it. Sadly, Premier Doug Ford’s Conservative government eliminated the possibility by removing ranked balloting from the Municipal Act, weirdly as part of a 2020 COVID-19 recovery bill. Ford told reporters that we have been voting using the FPTP system since 1867. He also said that voters shouldn’t be confused. It is ironic that Ford himself was elected as the leader of the PC party with a — you guessed it — ranked voting system. Ford’s decision not only disrespects the intelligence of the voting public, it is another example of the government imposing its views on what a municipality might want.



to this month’s crossword, We're Growing to the Movies page 37 1


















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A S O N 52





















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By Barbara Olson © ClassiCanadian Crosswords


Flato Developments wants community engagement in Lindsay and Cameron

}} Rental properties, detached homes, estate homes and community infrastructure all part of vision

Lindsay’s east side has not had a lot of attention in many years but that will change if Shakir Rehmatullah, president of Flato, has anything to do about it. Flato is looking to build new homes of all shapes and sizes, from purpose-built rentals, to seniors’ residences, to detached and semi-detached homes. He also wants to see new businesses become part of the development for a commercial plaza, such as a large grocery store for the east side, new parks, and maybe even a recreation space, depending on what the community feedback is like. Rehmatullah held a community open house at The Pie Eyed Monk in Lindsay recently, which was an opportunity for residents to hear about the proposed plans and offer their own feedback. In Cameron, Flato wants to build larger estate homes on Sturgeon Lake on Long Beach Road, on one acre lots. Smaller, all-season cottages are also part of the plan, and maybe even a resort, pool, and restaurant, along with a golf course. Rehmatullah says as many jobs as possible will be local, noting it only makes sense to support the community where they are building.

A public information session was held in Lindsay to show the public the preliminary ideas for building community on the east side of the town.


Flato held a public information session outdoors in Cameron to discuss its plans and get feedback.

Home is where the heart is.

Thank you for welcoming us into your community! FLATO Developments is a residential and commercial real estate builder in southern Ontario committed to giving back and supporting the communities where they build and operate. To learn more about FLATO’s past and future developments, community commitment, and philanthropic support, visit

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October 2021  


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