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Go  Beyond

No doubt, you’ve noticed the rise in TV ads highlighting the advent of plant-based foodstuffs. This newest food trend is positioning itself to grab our attention, tempt our wallet and perhaps satisfy our taste buds.

A&W ads tout their team up with Beyond Meat, plant-based product titan, and became the first national burger restaurant to serve delicious plant-based proteins as noted by the Financial Post. Other food chains, including Tim Horton’s quickly began following suit.

A recent front-page article in the Business section of the Toronto Star drew my attention to the fact that our own Maple Leaf Foods Inc, the Canadian meat processing mammoth, has bet hundreds of millions of dollars that plant-based meat alternatives will become mainstream as flexitarians make different food choices in restaurants and grocery aisles. The new “meatless” protein looks, cooks and tastes more like ground meat than ever before. With the addition of beet juice the faux beef even bleeds. There's even a move towards "faux fish".

The article goes on to state that the move to the creation of plant-based protein sources is supported by the spotlight on the health benefits of a more plant-based diet and the conscious move by many to reduce their reliance meat as their source of protein to be more in sync with reducing their impact on the environment. Recent Mintel polls confirm that 60% of Americans say they are trying to eat less meat, while a Nielsen survey found that 40% are trying to eat more plant protein. Food companies are seeking to move beyond the traditional 7 to 10 percent (US stat) who identify as vegetarian or vegan and recruit consumers from the remaining per cent of the mainstream and claim their buying allegiance.

Whether it’s for your health, the planet or just plain curiosity you might want to try the new plant-based products now available as a take-out choice or at your local supermarket.

-Sr. Nancy Wales, csj


Weekly Pause &  Ponder

In the words of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., it is time to inject “new meaning into the veins of human civilization.”  We need to expand our sense of love beyond the personal, to its social and political implications as well.  Only in doing so will we cast out the darkness that now hangs like a specter above the world.  It is time for us to get deeply serious about love.

from The Shadow Effect,  by Marianne Williamson. 


Our Society’s  Soul

“There can be no keener revelation of a society’s soul than the way in which it treats its children.” 

 - Nelson Mandela 

We find ourselves feeling a sense of disgust as we repeatedly view images of children impounded under deplorable conditions in US detention centres. We might even silently rage, “Children deserve much better”.

Let us not be too quick to our wag our fingers at our southern neighbours. A recent study, “Towards Justice: Tackling Indigenous Child Poverty in Canada” released jointly by the Assembly of First Nations and Upstream, a non-partisan thinktank, paints the lamentable circumstances faced by First Nations children in Canada.

“Child rates are deplorably high for a country as rich as Canada”, critiques the report’s co-author, David MacDonald, senior economist of the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives. Current statistics cited in in the article, “Study finds poverty rife among First Nations Children” by Nicholas Keung in the Toronto Star concretize the shameful and unpardonable situation endured by First Nations children.

  • 47% of status First Nations children live in poverty (53% for those living on reserve and 41% for those living off reserve)
  • The poverty rate of First Nations children is two-and-half times above the national average
  • First Nations children have experienced long-standing underfunding by government since 1996 when increases were tied to inflation not to need or population growth, a growth rate 4 times that of their non-Indigenous counterparts
  • These poverty rates have not markedly changed over the last decade
  • The report calls for increased investment to tackle insufficient housing, nonpotable water, and gaps in education and health services

As federal hopefuls begin in earnest knocking on our doors, showcasing their platforms, and bombarding us with TV ads, Be Prepared. Be ready to question, yourself and them,  how they will enact policy changes and budget allocations to change the numbers and categorically change the present and future lives of First Nations children. May future reports spotlight how WE THE NORTH are making it right.

Click here to view the full report

- Sister Nancy Wales, csj


Toronto Star article cites the study here, "Almost half of Status First Nations children live in poverty," study finds :  https://www.thestar.com/news/gta/2019/07/09/almost-half-of-status-first-nations-children-live-in-poverty-study-finds.html


Inside the Say No to Nestlé  Campaign

I work as the Campaign Director for the Wellington Water Watchers. Paul Baines, (CSJ Blue Community Coordinator) invited me to write for this blog to update you on our campaign to Say No To Nestlé’.
The Sisters of St. Joseph in Canada and the Sisters of St. Joseph of Toronto recently made generous financial donations to WWW to support this campaign. WWW is launching the next phase of its campaign to Say No To Nestlé. I will write in this blog once a month to keep you up to date on and invite you to join with our campaign.

Say No To Nestlé is an ongoing campaign to stop Nestlé’s water taking in Wellington County. Nestlé currently has permits which allow it to extract up to 4.7 million litres of water per day in Aberfoyle (where it also operates a bottling plant) and in Hillsburgh. Guelph, which is located nearby, is the largest city in Canada that relies 100% on groundwater for its drinking water.

Nestlé is seeking permission for a third well – Middlebrook – in Elora.

View this 8 minute animation on Nestlé’s water taking in Wellington County and our campaign to Say No To Nestlé’.

Wellington Water Watchers is also campaigning for the Ontario government to end the practice of issuing permits to take water for bottling in communities across Ontario. Currently the Ontario government permits the extraction of more than 4.5 billion litres of water each year by commercial bottling by multiple corporations in Ontario.

WWW expects that any day Nestlé will submit an application to renew their permit for water taking in Aberfoyle and Hillsburgh.

In 2016 the Ontario government of Kathleen Wynne imposed a moratorium on permits to take water for bottling – in response to the campaigning of WWW and many others.

Doug Ford’s government lifted the moratorium on existing applications (although it maintained the moratorium on applications for new wells – like the proposed Middlebrook well in Elora).

When Nestlé submits its application there will be a 90-day consultation period – which is conducted completely online – through the Environmental Bill of Rights process. This online consultation excludes concerned people from direct contact with decision-makers. It is designed to separate politicians from people who are concerned about the environmental consequences, commodification of water, plastic waste, and disregard of Six Nations treaty rights of bottling Ontario’s water. In addition, the criteria set by the government for evaluating permits to take water does not assess the cumulative impact of water taking on underground aquifers.

For all of these reasons Wellington Water Watchers opposes Nestlé’s water taking for bottling.

WWW demands that Doug Ford’s government impose a full Environmental Assessment on the policy of issuing permits to take water so that there can be a full public discussion of water bottling by Nestlé and other commercial water bottling operations in Ontario.

You can tell Premier Doug Ford now you support a full Environmental Assessment by clicking here.


PS - If you would like to sign up for the newsletter of the Wellington Water Watchers you can do that here.


Weekly Pause &  Ponder

For to be free is not merely to cast off one’s chains,

but to live in a way that respects and enhances

the freedom of others.

- Nelson Mandela


Copyright 2013. Congregation of the Sisters of St. Joseph in Canada.