What I learned at a focus group on the East Energy Pipeline

Firstly – apologies for the long absence. It has been a strange few months, and life has gone in all kinds of frustrating, exciting, weird ways and this blog was neglected.

Now, for last week. I was contacted by a group I signed up for back in university that does focus groups. I’ve only ever done one other, not certain what about. They asked me questions, primarily, about my interest in politics. Strangely, they seemed pleased about my enthusiasm for it.

Last night, I arrived in a polished office, where I and a number of other women (2 of women of colour in a group of about 10). They had sandwiches and cookies laid out. A couple of the women noted with some discontent that the men got the 6pm spot, while we only started at 8.

We’re shown into a room with huge pads of paper which we never used. A nice older guy walks us through the paces. We can say whatever we want, we’re not expected to represent anyone but ourselves, we’re not expected to know much about the subject, but anything we’d like to share we can add. This is shaping up to be pretty darn interesting!

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Milestone Partnership between Ontario and Quebec to address Energy Needs Sensibly

Today’s good news story is actually already a week old. Unfortunately, other stuff has dominated the news and Premier Wynne’s remarkable achievement has flown under the radar.

ClŽment Allard / CP
ClŽment Allard / CP

Can I just take yet another moment and bask in this one politician’s effort to restore my faith in politics? Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne has joined hands with Quebec Premier Philippe Couillard to sign a milestone deal, likely as a way of sticking it to Harper for being a dangerously incompetent Prime Minister who actively avoids the provincial leaders because he doesn’t like them.

The deal eliminates the need for Ontario to build yet another massive, costly, inefficient, and environmentally disastrous power plant. It will allow the funds that were going to go towards building that to be reallocated to real infrastructure needs within the province. It creates a stronger economic tie between the two provinces. It places higher priority on renewable sources of energy. It helps Quebec gain income in ways other than equalization payments and does not put any additional strain on their production as our needs are beautifully complimentary. It allows Ontario to pay significantly less for energy. It puts us a step closer to a national energy plan, even if Harper refuses to join in.

Is more work needed? Of course. Is this a tremendous first step? Absolutely.

Goddamn this is exciting.