Canada’s Court of Appeal “liked” The Navigable Waters Act

Sorry, in these FaceBook dominated times, I couldn’t resist this corny title 😉

In 1992 a federal Court of Appeal presided over by eight judges including Canada’s Chief Justice at the time, Antonio Lamer, concluded that the Navigable Waters Act was about more than boats and cottagers’ docks. The case I’m referring to was Friends of the Oldman River Society v. Canada (Minister of Transport), [1992] 1 S.C.R. 3. The Court of Appeal, in its judgement against the building of a dam on Alberta’s Oldman River, ruled that, though the prime purpose of the Navigable Waters Act was to protect navigation, complaints brought before it usually were about things (like bridges and dams) that might interfere with navigation. So the Court’s role was to consider whether other advantages of a project might be important enough to justify interference with navigation. Included among things to be considered, the Court ruled, was the effect of a project on the environment.

Quoting from the Court’s 1992 ruling:

As I mentioned earlier in these reasons, the Act (the Navigable Waters Act) has a more expansive environmental dimension,

Continue reading “Canada’s Court of Appeal “liked” The Navigable Waters Act”


In, But Not Of, The World… Huh??


I read someone write recently that they were

in, but not of, the world.

I have seen this statement so many (yawn) times, and I know that people intend it to mean good things when they say it… like they are relatively incorruptible, for example… 🙂

It struck me recently, however, as a dangerous idea.

What I mean by dangerous is that it seems to imply that the world is a distasteful, inferior place. Only someone who believes in heaven could even dream to think it. It can be used by the rapture folk to look at nuclear war and say,

Brrrringgg it onnnn.

I say to these honchos (and honchas?):

Hey! I kinda like this world and would like to see it go on as it is for a few more eons at least. I mean, I don’t expect to be around in my present atomic arrangement to see it through, but I’d sorta like to see at least some of my atoms put to decent use. I know that if I were, at this present moment, to cease to need my personal atoms, a few billion of them would end up as part of a spinner dolphin or a humpback whale, a painted lady butterfly, a cobra or a hammerhead shark. In fact, a huge number of those carbon, nitrogen, phosphorus, hydrogen and oxygen atoms that currently make up my DNA would end up in the cell nuclei of basically every other living individual on the planet. Cockroaches even. But I wouldn’t want their “little atomic selves” to have their choices restricted to cockroaches and/or amoebae only – or whatever other tiny folk that would survive a human-facilitated Armageddon of any type. That would be so limiting.

Seriously, fellow humanoids, I have actually heard my 7 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 atoms cry out with a single voice:

No Thanks!

I have it on good authority that no single atom or subatomic particle can exist by itself in isolation. The very concept of an isolated “particle” is a big, convenient fib told by scientists of the Western variety to oversimplify the dimly understood universe so that we can do things like chemistry and engineering, i.e. make stuff that separates us from the planet in, say, air-conditioned comfort. The more comfy or distracting crap we build, the more isolated we become from our ecosystem and the less empathy we feel for it. We are – really, folks –  so intimately connected to every other animate and inanimate thing on this beautiful, sapphire-coloured planet that, to my way of thinking:

It is ridiculous to think of ourselves as not of the world.

Slow Shutter Speed

Small Waterfall in Our Woods
Small Waterfall in Our Woods

My first successful experiment with long exposure times. I like the silken look of the water in this and the lack of obvious scale. It’s pretty hard to tell how big or small the waterfall is. Gotta say I didn’t stay out too long as it was threatening rain (I felt a few drops). This was taken with my old Konica-Minolta Maxxum 5D SLR using a Tamron f 2.8 90 mm macro lens and shutter speed priority. Exposure: 1 s, f-stop 29, ISO 100. I used a tripod and a cable shutter release and manual focusing. Tried different exposure times; this one worked best. Continue reading “Slow Shutter Speed”



Quite often, while walking in “Our Woods,” I get a little frustrated at seeing such a large number of geese on the two small, human-made lakes (converted from three human-made quarry holes) in the housing development near our bigger than needed two-storey house.  Often I have to focus on the path to avoid collecting goose poop on my hiking shoes. I might grumble, “What pests they are!” under my breath.

The other day I thought a little more deeply about it and realized who the real pests are on this planet.

Really, who are we humans to look down on other species as “pests.” I should know better. I get mailings from Greenpeace. We smarty-pants bipeds are pretty serious pests. In fact, the word pests is a euphemism when used to define Homo sapiens.

I get regular confirmation of our thoughtless pestiness on my regular walks through “Our Woods.” The above photo was taken today from the bridge across the brook that flows through the woods: a large, retired jack-o-lantern that someone thought would look cool smashed onto the stones. I have witnessed many much dumber examples, the dumbest being reported in this earlier post from May 2012.

Today’s comparatively minor incident reminded me of my goose poop reflection of a few days ago. The 20-odd straggler-gagglers that remain, but for our thoughtlessness, might have honked south with their friends weeks ago. Kind-hearted, not-too-deep humans like to feed them bread – probably not even whole-wheat or twelve-grain…  I saw someone feeding the Mallards and Canada Geese by the shore only today, and my mind immediately thought of… well… Peking Duck. I wiped the dripping saliva from my jaw.

‘Nuff said. Here are a few more photos taken recently:

When Camera Meets Hummingbird

Hummingbird at feeder

For a few years now the hummingbirds have stayed all summer. We’ve experimented with different types of feeder. This one I bought this spring at Canadian Tire. It comes in three parts: the antique glass bottle, an all-metal flower plate and a plastic bowl. It is the best one we’ve had: it’s easy to clean and fill and a key advantage is that the flowers are metal and do not detach, like the plastic insert flowers do. Probably less chewable if the squirrels get to it – but they don’t usually get past the cone below the feeder.

We have lots of hummingbird attracting flowers in our yards: monarda, nicotiana, and Wiegela shrubs, among lots of others. Haven’t noticed many males at our feeder. The males have the ruby throat. Our feeder gets visited about every 10 minutes – not quite a fast-food drive-thru, but there are plenty of flowers to give our tiny clients some variety. Sugar-water food: a third of a cup of sugar boiled briefly in a cup of water lasts about a week. I change it once a week to get rid of the bugs, so the easy clean feature is welcome.

These photos were taken with a 5 year-old Konica-Minolta Maxxum 5D digital SLR camera using a Sigma APO DG 70-300 mm f-4 – 5.6 zoom lens, which does a great job in well lit situations. Early morning, lower light shots are tricky, since this lens has to be steadied against something to avoid hand-held camera shake at these magnifications.


DO Hug The Trees In This Park

Never noticed this sign in Our Woods before. We were in search of blue herons who we’ve observed for the last few days in the two small lakes NW of our house. Yesterday we saw one about 15 feet away with a 10″ trout or bass in its mouth. It just stood there. We wondered why it didn’t eat it straight away.

Possible heron hesitation explanations:

  • It was put off its food by our sudden passing
  • It was trying to decide whether food so close to human habitation was safe
  • It was shocked to find anything other than big carp in the water
  • It had babies but had forgotten where the nest was

Possible explanations for the above sign:

  • Too many baseballs ending up in the lake
  • Too many windows nearby
  • There is no place to use a bat properly in Our Woods
  • Some potential improper uses make the authorities nervous

Some suggestions for additions to the above sign:

  • Do not use bows and arrows in the park
  • Do not use catapults or land mines in the park
  • Definitely do not drag huge, heavy objects, such as self-standing basketball hoops, into the park

One might assume that the above  sign suggestions are silly and unnecessary, but the third one might have actually prevented a real event. This, of course, assumes that the neanderthals that dumped their trashy hoop apparatus in Our Woods were capable of reading.

One positive suggestion for a sign:

  • DO hug the trees in this park

Respecting Serendipity

Muskoka Loon – 2008
It is so easy to diminish a blessing by hoping too hard that it will happen again. Instead, we should respect and appreciate fully how lucky we were to have experienced that blessed event. To expect it to happen again is to diminish the specialness of the first experience. It can also decrease the potential for ongoing joy that remembering the unique encounter can give us, and replace this joy with disappointment.
This can happen in something we consider to be terribly important, such as romantic love. More often, however, it is with everyday things. Continue reading “Respecting Serendipity”