The PROBUS Club of Applewood
in Mississauga
January 2022 - Dr. Denis Crawford

Title: The Life and Teams of Johnny F. Bassett
Dr. Crawford provided us with great insight into the creativeness, persistence, the accomplishments and challenges faced by Bassett as he tried to influence the sports fans of the Greater Toronto Area. One could conclude Bassett was ahead of his time as fans, City politicians or the federal government seemed to only react negatively to his initiatives not recognizing what he trying to do. In many ways, he paved the way for other teams, namely the Blue Jays, the Raptors and the Indy, to follow and enjoy much success in Toronto with considerable support and interest from Ontarians and Canadians alike. He provided us with many details of his initiatives into football, tennis, hockey and Formula One racing in Toronto. The author clearly has done much research into Bassett’s adventures but also to be effective, he needed to understand market and the fans. The presentation was well done, was interesting and captured the attention of the audience throughout. Without this book, the history of Toronto sports teams would not be complete.

David Irwin

February 10, 2022 - Mark Fisher, BSc.,ICD.D  President and CEO, Council of the Great Lakes Region
Title: Encouraging Sustainable Economic Growth in the Great Lakes

Speaker introduced by Lloyd Posno and thanked by Reg Perkin
     The Council brings together an equal number of Canadian and USA representatives from the provinces and states bordering the Great Lakes.  The five lakes constitute the largest fresh water system in the world, and the area has a population of 100 million and total annual GDP of 6.0 trillion USD.
     The presentation was conducted in a Q&A format with Lloyd Posno directing questions to Mark Fisher.  Many topics were covered including climate change and contamination (global warming, water levels, oil pipelines, plastic waste); the relationship with our U.S. neighbour (their GDP mostly internal, ours mostly external; political and trade issues); and the challenges of staffing and funding the Council.
      Mark provided the following link to an Economic Forum his group is hosting this June This would be worth attending.
     The question period following the presentation was one of the busiest in recent memory and lasted about 20 minutes.  Clear indication that our members found Mark Fisher’s presentation interesting and informative.
Reg Perkin

March 10, 2022 – Gary Mar. President and CEO of the Canada West Foundation.

 Canada’s Trade and Security relationships with China – where are we headed?

Gary Mar was introduced by Lloyd Posno and thanked by Alan Lytle

The Canada West Foundation has been active for 50 years.  Its focus is on:
Natural Resources - Forestry, Mining, Oil and Gas. For more information see

Human Resources – How to prepare children with workforce competencies.

Trade, Investment, Infrastructure – Move from “shovel ready” to “shovel worthy”

Gary began his conversation with a brief trade history of China over the last couple of centuries.  For most of its history China was the largest economy in the world.  The British Empire took over in the 19th Century, the US in the 20th Century, and it is possible China will reassume that role in the 21st Century.

He looked at world politics through the lens of international trade and made the point that it is businesses, not countries, that trade. 

A key business in the west is oil and gas.  The current situation in Ukraine has highlighted the need for fuel availability until renewable energy can actually replace fossil fuels.  His point is that emissions are the key issue, not the fossil fuel itself.  Focus on technology solutions to eliminate emissions is important to combat climate change.

These solutions will help overcome emission issues and by working with our trading partners, including China, can enable Canada to be a bridge to clean technology.

On the security issue as regards trade he advises universities and companies to be wise to the possibilities of intellectual property theft and manage their business appropriately.

A very thoughtful and timely presentation which prompted a good discussion.

Alan Lytle

April 14, 2022 -  Bill Robson CEO C.D. Howe Institute
Title: Macro Mischief: Debt, Inflation, and Canada’s Economic Challenges

Bill Robson was introduced by Bob Weese and went on to discuss the economic state of Canada. Bill gave us the latest perspective on key issues Canada faces, including the latest Budget both missing and included items, upcoming Liberal spending plans vs the Bank of Canada strategy to combat inflation through raising interest rates, and the fiscal legacy of the pandemic, plus the real and perceived impact of inflation.

About the C.D. Howe Institute:  Widely considered to be Canada's most influential think tank, the Institute is a trusted source of essential policy intelligence, distinguished by research that is nonpartisan, evidence-based and subject to definitive expert review. The Institute's research is national in scope, and they host policy events across the country.

The Applewood Probus meeting had the new hybrid structure with half the attendees at PCYC and the other half at home on Zoom. The meeting ran very smoothly with questions fielded seamlessly from either audience.

Bill was thanked by Marcus Miller

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.

Lloyd Posno.
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.

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.

Roy Hicks
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 (

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.

Robert Carmichael

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

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”!

Alan Lytle
Past Speakers