Morning Coffee – By Aaron Hall

Weather forecast for Wednesday, February 13, 2018

Today – Mainly sunny. Increasing cloudiness late this afternoon. Wind southwest 30 km/h gusting to 50. High plus 3. UV index 3 or moderate.

Tonight – Cloudy. Periods of drizzle beginning early this evening and ending before morning. Fog patches developing early this evening and dissipating before morning. Wind southwest 20 km/h. Low plus 2.

Ontario appoints chair to drive high speed rail project forward

Ontario has appointed the Honourable David Collenette to lead Ontario’s High Speed Rail (HSR) Planning Advisory Board–continuing progress to bring high speed rail service to the province and cut travel times between Toronto and Windsor.

Kathryn McGarry, Minister of Transportation, and Daiene Vernile, MPP for Kitchener Centre, were in Waterloo on Tuesday to announce Mr. Collenette’s appointment.

A former federal Minister of Transport, Mr. Collenette was the province’s special advisor for high speed rail.

As Chair of the HSR Planning Advisory Board, Mr. Collenette will continue to provide strategic support and advise government on this landmark project.

“High speed rail will transform how people travel across Ontario,” Collenette said in a press release.

“I am pleased to be able to continue to work to deliver this service for our province.”

The introduction of HSR would be a first in Canada, connecting communities from Toronto to Windsor, including a stop in Chatham-Kent, as part of Ontario’s Innovation SuperCorridor.

High speed trains would travel at up to 250 kilometres per hour on a combination of existing track and new dedicated rail corridors.

This would cut travel times between these major centres from over four hours to just over two.

HSR will help businesses attract the best talent and boost their productivity, and help Ontario make the transition to a low-carbon economy.

Ontario will continue to engage with Indigenous communities and municipalities while the environmental assessment, design work and ridership forecasting are completed.

The HSR line would serve a corridor that is home to more than seven million people.

The proposed stops are Windsor, Chatham, London, Kitchener-Waterloo, Guelph and Toronto Union Station, with a connection to Pearson International Airport.

As Ontario’s Special Advisor for High Speed Rail, Mr. Collenette authored the report, High Speed Rail in Ontario.

Ontario is working to appoint individuals with a breadth and depth of expertise to the high speed rail advisory board, including high tech, engineering, environmental sciences, transportation planning, and financing and delivery of infrastructure projects.

It will include representation from agricultural and business communities, Indigenous communities, and others from across southwestern Ontario, and provide strategic advice on major business issues associated with the project.

Ontario is making the largest infrastructure investment in hospitals, schools, public transit, roads and bridges in the province’s history. To learn more about what’s happening in your community, go to Ontario.ca/BuildON.

Heroes and Villains March Break Programs at Wallaceburg and Dresden Library

This March Break, Chatham-Kent Public Library will be the arena for an epic battle of good versus evil.

Will you dust off your superhero cape… or your evil laugh?

Will you break out your superhero moves… or hatch an evil plan? The choice is yours.

CKPL offers fun and engaging programs that will help you enjoy your March Break to the fullest.

Heroes and Villains programs offered at Wallaceburg Branch include:

Heroes and Villains programs offered at Dresden Branch include:

Chatham-Kent wants to hear from you

Do you use Chatham-Kent’s transportation service?

Do you have trouble getting to where you want to go?

They want to hear from you.

Chatham-Kent has released a transportation survey, and people’s feedback will be used in creating a grant proposal for the Community Transportation Grant Program provided by the Ministry of Transportation.

Responding to the survey is easy.

Complete the survey online at www.letstalkchatham-kent.ca, or visit any municipal center or library branch to pick up a copy.

Best of all, your response enters you into a draw to win a $25 grocery gift card.

Survey closes on Friday, February 16, 2018.

For more information, contact: Transportation Services, CKtransit@chatham-kent.ca

Canadian Agricultural Partnership: Building a Strong Agriculture and Agri-Food Sector

Canada’s agriculture and agri-food sector is a key driver of economic growth, innovation and trade. Economic indicators show a strong and dynamic Canadian agricultural sector, with a growing global middle class looking for our world-class products.

Federal Agriculture and Agri-Food Minister, Lawrence MacAulay, celebrated Canada’s Agriculture Day alongside farmers, ranchers, food processors, industry leaders and youth on Monday in Ottawa, where he officially launched the six federal programs under the Canadian Agricultural Partnership.

“The Canadian Agricultural Partnership reinforces the Government of Canada’s strong agenda for agriculture,” stated MacAulay in a press release.

“These initiatives will focus on priorities such as growing trade and expanding markets, innovation and sustainable growth of the sector, and supporting diversity and a dynamic, evolving sector. These investments will help ensure Canada’s agricultural sector remains a leader in job creation and innovation, and will help achieve our objective of expanding agricultural exports to $75 billion by 2025.”

The Partnership is a progressive $3-billion, federal-provincial-territorial agreement that will help chart the course for government investments in the sector over the next five years.

Developed with input from provincial and territorial partners, as well as industry, federal programs and activities under the Partnership will focus on three key areas:

– Growing trade and expanding markets ($297 million) – Providing core industry services, such as timely market information and sector expertise to help improve the sector’s competitiveness, growth and adaptability. Advancing and defending international trade interests, as well as improving market development and market access activities to address emerging needs of the sector, and of small and medium enterprises (SME). This will help expand markets and trading opportunities for the sector.

– Innovative and sustainable growth of the sector ($690 million) – Enhancing the competitiveness of the sector through research, science and innovation, and adoption of innovative products and practices, with an emphasis on the environment and clean growth. The Government will help support the resiliency and sustainability of the sector, helping farmers adapt to climate change, conserve water and soil resources, and grow their businesses sustainably to meet increasing global food demand.

– Supporting diversity and a dynamic, evolving sector ($166.5 million) – Strengthening the sector by better reflecting the diversity of Canadian communities, enhancing collaboration across different jurisdictions through a new Regional Collaborative Partnerships Program, securing and supporting public trust in the sector, and improving client services.

These three key areas include $686.5 million over five years in federal programs, and $467 million of federally funded activities that benefit producers and processors and address priorities identified by the agricultural sector during consultations in the development of the framework.

These investments will support trade policy and market access, trade commissioners, market development, market information, value chain roundtables, foundational science led by Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada and support for regulatory systems and regional collaboration.

Budget 2017 clearly outlines a strong commitment to the agriculture and agri-food sector and its importance to the Canadian economy.

It outlines investments inside and outside the Canadian Agricultural Partnership to help the agriculture and food sector reach new heights.

Specifically, Budget 2017 includes a strengthened focus on trade, along with investments in the areas of innovation through the $950 million, five-year, Innovation Superclusters Initiative, infrastructure, and value-added industries through the $1.2 billion Strategic Innovation Fund, which will all help Canada unleash the sector’s growth potential.

World news

If you have a suggestion, story idea, column idea, or if you want to say hello… drop me an e-mail at aaron@sydenhamcurrent.ca.