May 12, 2022 – Martha Hall Findlay, Suncor Energy
Martha Hall Findlay is a Canadian businesswoman, entrepreneur, lawyer and a former MP from Toronto, who now is Chief Climate Officer for Suncor Energy, Canada’s largest integrated energy producer. Suncor’s operations include oil sands development, production and upgrading; offshore oil and gas; petroleum refining in Canada and the US; and its national Petro‑Canada™ retail distribution network.
As Chief Climate Officer, Ms. Hall Findlay leads Suncor’s efforts to address the nexus of climate and energy. Her duties include planning and managing many of Suncor’s external relationships and collaborations to build an environment that supports a positive future for Canadian energy. She was instrumental in the development of and plays a critical leadership role in the oil sands industry’s “Pathways to Net Zero by 2050” initiative, for which Suncor has been a leading sponsor.
Ms. Hall Findlay described how Suncor has set absolute emissions reduction goals aligned with its objective to reduce the company’s Green House Gas (GHG) emissions to net zero by 2050. Suncor’s plans include reducing its base business emissions through various technologies, including the near-term replacement of high emissions coke-fired heating, by developing and implementing new means of carbon capture and disposal on a large scale, and taking actions that reduce others’ emissions linked to its products.
Ms. Hall Findlay was candid in conveying how challenging all this will be to accomplish. Nevertheless, Suncor is determined to succeed while satisfying the expectations of diverse stakeholders including shareholders, multiple levels of government, regulators, lenders, and the public at large. Achieving success is critically important. The world’s demand for energy will inevitably increase in keeping with population growth and rising levels of global development. The energy industry, and in particular the oil sands, represent an important share of Canada’s overall economy, yet at present, the oil sands also contribute about 11% of Canada’s GHG emissions. Suncor believes success in reducing emissions from the oilsands to net zero is achievable – but it will require unprecedented collaboration by all of the stakeholders mentioned, and entail massive investments in emerging new technologies and process upgrades.
Ms. Hall Findlay made a convincing case that Suncor’s commitment to reducing GHG emissions to net zero is genuine and will be sustained. Her message is optimistic and a call for cooperative action. If other stakeholders will work with Suncor and its “Pathways” alliance partners, there is a real opportunity for this industry’s current negative impact on our climate to be neutralized.
June 9 2022, via ZOOM and In-Person - Dr. Thomas Homer-Dixon
Title: The American Polity is Cracked, and Might Collapse: Canada Must Prepare
Dr. Homer- Dixon is currently the director of the Cascades Institute at Royal Roads University in Victoria and holds a Research Chair in the Environment at the University of Waterloo.
He started by explaining how his background in International Relations, Defence, and Conflict Studies, together with his concerns over the challenges of climate change, combined to encourage him to write an op-ed in the Globe and Mail last December 31 which formed the basis of his talk to us.
He highlighted how the recent political developments in the U.S. and the rise of Trumpism have a number of parallels - the Weimar Republic in Germany in the 1920’s and modern-day autocracies in Hungary and Russia.
The increasing polarization of political and social values and the rise of violence in the U.S. could lead to a potential breakdown in democracy and even a possible civil war or at least extreme violence if the presidential election in 2024 is close and disputed.
He pointed out the need for Canada to be prepared for a totalitarian neighbour and trading partner and the risk of an extremely partisan, libertarian movement spreading into Canada. He, like many others, thought this unlikely until the truckers’ convoy in January and recent divisions within the conservative movement in Canada.
He is somewhat comforted by recent indications of factions in the Republican Party starting to separate from Mr. Trump. However, he points out that extreme views are now so deeply embedded in the GOP that these factions may be even more dangerous to democratic stability in the long run.
A very interesting, if scary, presentation which generated a lot of questions. While disconcerting, it was enjoyed by both those present and those on line. For more information, read his article in the Globe and Mail of December 31, 2021, or go to our recording of the event.
Dr. Homer-Dixon was thanked by Roy Hicks.
July 14 2022, In-Person - Dr. Mohamad Fakih
Title: An Immigrant Making it In Canada
Dr. Mohamad Fakih, Founder and President of Paramount Fine Foods. He is considered the "most admired CEO in Canada". He is a Lebanese-Canadian businessperson and philanthropist.
Founder of the Middle Eastern Halal restaurant chain, Paramount Fine Foods, Fakih is also known for his charitable work, philanthropy and community service through the Fakih Foundation.
August 11, 2022, In Person - Sarah Schnobel
Title: How to Best Preserve Your Autonomy
Ms. Schnobel addressed us on the spectrum of care options available to Ontario seniors from a very practical and hands-on perspective. These include active living in place supplemented with home care, retirement home independent living or assisted living, and long-term care. The presentation included some guidance on what to expect in terms of care and costs.
She also talked about the estate planning documents that should be prepared and a very practical list of the type of information and very importantly, their location (ideally shared with your will executor and family members). The information includes(among others) such things as – Wills, Power of Attorney, end of life instructions, insurance policies, bank accounts, brokerage accounts, tax returns, business agreements, property documents, debts, birth and marriage/divorce certificates, medical records, and care instructions, and passports.
She mentioned that planning aids to guide you through the task are available from financial and other organizations. Ms Schnobel was introduced by Alan Lyttle and thanked by Roy Hicks.
September 8, 2022 , Zoom - Peter Black
Title: Voting Systems and True Democracy
Mr. Black's talk included a description and history of the "first past the post" voting process used in Canada and proportional voting used in the majority of democracies.
He described the advantages and shortcomings of both systems. He described a mixed-member proportional voting process recommended to some Canadian jurisdictions. He mentioned that proportional voting is viewed by the proponents as being more democratic, less confrontational, and encouraging more voter participation. He encouraged members to support the adaption of proportional voting in Canada and explained how this might be done.
Click here for slide presentation
October 13, 2022 , In Person - Tara Buonpensiero ( Peel Region), Ricardo Razao (Peel Region) and Ben Phillips (City of Mississauga)
Title: Future Plans for Mississauga and Peel.
At our October general meeting, we were treated to an extensive presentation on the planning for land use in Peel and in Mississauga. The presentation included an overview of how the official plan is developed and updated taking into account provincial and municipal priorities for such items as growth, housing, transportation, the environment, and climate change. It included an exhaustive review of the evolution of the Mississauga official plan focusing on housing, transportation, and changing demographics. It mentioned that the growth of low-density housing in Mississauga is over and the focus in the coming years will be areas of high-density housing, transportation corridors, and housing for the “missing middle”.
Click here for presentation slides.
November 10, 2022, In Person - Matthew Wilkinson Historian City of Mississauga
Title: Mississauga's Manpower Contributions to the World Wars
On November 10, we had the pleasure of having a return speaker, Mathew Wilkinson of Heritage Mississauga (https://heritagemississauga.com/)
Matthew is a Historian with a deep understanding and records of the 89 Mississauga natives that lost their lives in WWII. As an aside, Canada suffered greater losses in WWI as a proportion of our population relative to our allies.
Matthew offered us an insight into many aspects of our communities contribution to the war effort from the manufacture of Lancaster Bombers in Malton to the largest small arms factory in the Commonwealth, just a stone's throw away from our meeting place at PCYC.
Mississauga did not exist in those days, and became such as an assembly of many villages: Streetsville, Port Credit, Lakeview and so on.
For those that might be interested in his full presentation, he can make it available for your review. It was very appropriate to listen to Matthew on this, the eve of Remembrance Day.
January 12, 2023, Via Zoom - Nickolas Roulx, Royal Canadian Geographical Society
Title: Travelling Canada - from the North to the South
Nickolas’s subject was the journey taken by himself and colleagues from the northernmost settlement in Canada (Eureka Weather Station) March 19 2021 to Point Pelee National Park, Canada’s southernmost point on November 8 2021. 7600 kilometers under human power in 234 days.
The journey itself was amazing and will be further documented by Nickolas, in a video and book. Brief descriptions can be found on the web … search Nickolas Roulx or AKOR Expedition. Or https://canadiangeographic.ca/articles/expedition-completes-longest-human-powered-north-south-crossing-of-canada/
His exciting talk was more than a 234 day dialogue of events. In addition to many photographs of all phases of the expedition, and the animals along the way including polar bears and musk ox, he described the conditions and his feelings during the various stages. The five sections included skiing(2), canoeing(2) and bicycling(1) and each had its trials and tribulations.
Conditions included being active in minus 35 degrees C for days on end, hauling canoes over moving ice, some days getting as little as 8km in a full day! In these conditions he admitted thinking “is it worth it?” “You couldn’t talk to the others, you are essentially alone, there is no source of music and it is a mental challenge to keep going.”
Much of the canoe sections was going up river. “If you fall in the water you are screwed!” was his comment, so long portages were in order to remain cautious and survive. After 115 days they reached their first tree of the expedition illustrating the extent of the Canadian arctic. Wollaston Lake indicated the end of the arctic and after all this time the “human interaction was too much for our brains to handle”. Two weeks later, having cycled 125km to 180km a day in this last part, they met their families at Point Pelee National park.
His description of the detailed travel preparation and the equipment upon which their lives depended; the raising of the required funding ($300K); the training and education they each needed; the detailed attention to the food taken to provide 7000 calories a day, etc. were all touched upon.
I, for one, am looking forward to more information in the future about this trip and what the group has in mind for their next adventure. They are definitely real “explorers”!
February 9, 2023, In Person - John Collins (aka Andrew McKinney), Author
Title: Living the Dream In Retirement
Author of "How I Lost My Hair Raising Teenage Girls and the lessons I learned", John tries to make the presentation funny and enjoyable; there was much discussion after about the challenges of teenagers; because the stories are all true. He has published his book under a pen name in order to protect the innocent and not-so-innocent.
John is a member of a Probus club in Brampton and has spoken to other Probus clubs. At our meeting, he spoke with humour and entertained us with delightful stories, all true, from his self-published book (Copies available from him, on line.)
He also took us through the process of self publishing a book.
He ended his presentation by serenading us on guitar, with one of the many songs he has written.
His talk was enjoyed by the largest attended post-Covid19 meeting we have had since resuming in-person meetings this year.
March 9, 2023, In Person - Bob Warren
Title: A Photography Lesson from an Expert
Bob Warren was our March speaker. He is an established photographer connected with the Mississauga Camera Club. Part of his presentation was about the care and handling of very expensive cameras. His excellent work included many landscape and sunrise images which are shown on his website bobwarrenphotography.ca under "My Photo Galleries". Some of his photos are in colour and some are in black and white.
Bob is a long-standing member of the Mississauga Camera Club and has served in a variety of administrative positions over the years. He has also exhibited his photography in selected locales. In addition, Bob is a member of a select group of photographers who are documenting the development of the Jim Tovey Lakeview Conservation Area along the shores of Lake Ontario in Mississauga. https://cvc.ca/project/jim-tovey-lakeview-conservation-area/
Bob is also a fellow Probian, a member of Credit River PROBUS. Follow Bob on his website http:\\bobwarrenphotography.ca and on Instagram bobwarrenphotography.ca
Bob and other photographers are documenting the Jim Tovey Conservation Area at the Lakeview development in Mississauga.
Several of Bob's images were familiar. We enjoyed his presentation.
April 13, 2023 In Person - Kitrina Fex - Executive Director Heart House Hospice
Title: Homecare, Hospice and Palliative Care
Our speaker for April was Kitrina Fex of Heart House Hospice, a most informative session on the services they provide and the need for a Hospice in Missisauga as it currently does not have one.
Mississauga residents are forced to use either Ian Anderson House in Oakville, or Dorothy Ley in Etobicoke. She was joined by the Board Chair and the person in charge of fundraising.
One of the biggest takeaways from her presentation was that organizations such as Heart House do much more than end of Life care. Importantly, they work with families to help them prepare for the fateful date.
The consensus view was that her presentation was helpful to their understanding.
While we had asked them not to make a pitch for donations, we encourage you to consider them in your gifting plans.
RJ(Jim) Carmichael (iPad)
May 11, 2023 In Person - Kevin Donovan - Toronto Star Investigative Reporter
Title: The Barry and Honey Sherman Case
Kevin was born and raised in Toronto and graduated from University of Western Ontario in 1985 with a degree in Political Sciences. He is the Toronto Star’s Chief Investigative Reporter who, for 38 years, has investigated governments, charities, businesses, lawyers, doctors and many other groups and individuals.
When he was assigned the Bernard and Honey Sherman Case, the initial determination by the police was that it was a murder of Honey by Barry followed by Barry’s suicide through hanging. However, upon review Kevin and his Investigative team it was determined that the case was actually a double homicide. Working closely with senior executive from Apotex, the pharmaceutical company founded by Barry Sherman, a more detailed assessment of the case was undertaken including the engagement of another coroner to review the initial autopsy. Although a number of weeks had elapsed since the original autopsy, further examination determined that Barry and Honey wrists had been tied prior to their deaths. That plus the sitting positions of the bodies when discovered eliminated any possibility of a murder/suicide.
It was only when this discovery was published as front-page news in the Toronto Star did Mark Saunders, the then Toronto Chief of Police, become involved. Part of Kevin’s investigation involved petitioning the court to unseal hundred of sealed documents from the police investigation.
The case remains unsolved and the Toronto police say that the Sherman Estate is embedded and central to the murder investigation. The police investigation highlighted a number of flaws and Kudos to Kevin and his Investigative Team who have been a major contributing factor to the ongoing investigation. Kevin remains personally involved in the case and continues to petition the court to unseal additional documents from the investigation.