Category Archives: Past

Bern Grush: An Adult Conversation about Autonomous Vehicles: Conflicting Narratives about the autonomous vehicle future

Bern Grush is the Chief Innovation Officer at Harmonize Mobility, Inc. He is an author, innovator and entrepreneur in the fields of autonomous vehicles, parking reform, and road pricing. He is the principal author of the 2018 textbook “The End of Driving: Transportation Systems and Public Policy Planning for Autonomous Vehicles”.

In 2017, Bern was named Toronto Star Wheels’ Newsmaker of the Year for his RCCAO report “Ontario Must Prepare for Vehicle Automation: Automated vehicles can influence urban form, congestion, and infrastructure delivery” which Maclean’s magazine called “…fascinating and carefully argued…” He has been described as the top, current independent thinker on autonomous vehicle deployment.

Bern holds degrees in Human Factors and Systems Design Engineering from the Universities of Toronto and Waterloo, and has published over 400 papers and articles on urban transportation issues.

Conflicting Narratives. There are (at least) 15 oft-repeated narratives about the future of automobility and its automation. Each is polarized creating dissonant understandings of possible, realistic, desirable or unacceptable futures. These will tend to confuse, dilute and delay planning responses to these potential changes.”

Bern’s website: http://endofdriving.org/
Bern’s Presentation: Bern Grush: An Adult Conversation about Autonomous Vehicles: Conflicting Narratives about the autonomous vehicle future (pdf)

One of the audience questions our speaker was asked at this event was: “Will our electric grid be sufficient to handle all the electric and automated vehicles that you are describing?” The short answer Bern provided was: “Yes, but managed pricing may be needed to smooth out demand”.

Since then, Bern has sent a link to a short OPG marketing video that extends his answer by explaining the concept of vehicle-grid integration: Bern adds: “While this is still only a partial answer, this matter is clearly an important and large consideration. Ontario (and elsewhere) will still need to add more generation in addition to pricing and integration innovations.”

Beth Beattie: Why we need leaders in our community to publicly disclose their mental illnesses, September 24, 2019


In 2002, Beth Beattie was diagnosed with bipolar disorder. The stereotype of people living with bipolar disorder is that they are inherently unstable and unreliable. Beth did not want to be thought of in those terms as a lawyer. As a result of stigma, both societal and self-imposed, she did not share her story outside her family and closest friends for 14 years.

Beth was not alone in her seclusion. The statistics on the number of mentally ill people in Canada is astonishing. One in five Canadians are living with mental illness right now. 50% of people will experience a mental health crisis by the time they are 40. Only one-third of those people seek help for their mental health conditions.

In 2017 Beth made the decision to disclose her illness to colleagues. After receiving considerable support at work, she quickly began speaking and writing on the topic of living and working with mental illness. Beth has made presentations to thousands of lawyers in the public and private sectors. She has also made presentations to schools, corporations and at various levels of the Ontario government as well as the British Columbia Prosecution Service.

Through all of the work she has done, Beth has seen the necessity of leaders in our community, be them professionals, senior executives, teachers, religious leaders, etc. disclosing their mental illnesses. It is through role models speaking out that other people with mental illness will be motivated to reach out and get the help they need. When isolation ends, stigma is reduced.
Beth was called to the bar in 1994. After being a litigator at Fasken Campbell Godfrey for eight years she joined the public sector. She is currently senior counsel at the Ontario Ministry of the Attorney General Civil Law Division, Ministry of Health Branch. Beth has a broad-based litigation practice and has expertise in the areas of Coroner’s inquests, human rights, forensic and civil mental health, OHIP eligibility and long-term care home compliance. Beth has a Master of Laws from Osgoode Hall Law School in alternative dispute resolution.

Since January 2018 Beth has been a friend of the Bell Let’s Talk campaign. Her story has been featured on television, radio, print media and billboards across the country.

Beth is a founding member of the Mental Health Illuminati, a group of lawyers with lived mental health experience, which provides programming in the Ministry of the Attorney General and beyond. 

Beth is on a mission to help improve the lives of those living with mental illness as well those who care for them.

Media Links
Lexpert article, August 28, 2019 “Hypocrite, Heretic or Heroine? Why I Believe Senior Lawyers Should Disclose Their Mental Illness at Work”

Podcast “Shaking Off the Mental Health Stigma” March 26, 2019, interview with Dr. Julie Macfarlane

Bell Let’s Talk Page 2018-2019

CBC Metro Morning Radio, June 21, 2018, interview with Matt Galloway (No longer available at CBC Radio)

CTV primetime special aired January 31, 2018, “In Their Own Words”

Globe and Mail article dated August 29, 2017 “I’m Finally Out of the Mental Health Closet and Have Never Felt So Free”

The Search for Earth-like Planets, Dr. Michael Reid, Associate Professor of Astronomy, University of Toronto, Department of Astronomy and Astrophysics, April 30, 2019

Biographical Information
Dr. Michael Reid is an Associate Professor of Astronomy in the University of Toronto’s Department of Astronomy and Astrophysics. He earned his PhD from McMaster University and did post-doctoral work at the Submillimeter Array in Hawaii before joining the faculty of the University of Toronto. His expertise is in making astronomy accessible to everyone, using non-technical language. He also works as the Public Outreach Coordinator for the Dunlap Institute for Astronomy and Astrophysics, where he organizes events and programs designed to share cutting-edge astronomical research with the public.

Presentation: The Search for Earth-like Planets
For thousands of years, people on Earth have wondered whether we are alone in the cosmos. Until very recently, we couldn’t even know whether there were other planets orbiting other stars. But the technological advancements of the last twenty years have transformed our understanding of our place in the universe. We now know of thousands of planets orbiting other stars. How similar are these planets to Earth? Do any of them actually host life forms of their own, and could they support life as we know it? And how soon will we know? In his presentation, Dr Reid will explore what we know about Earth-like planets – and what big mysteries remain.

Dr. Chris Twigge-Molecey: “China, Alluring Panda or Pandora’s Box” March 26, 2019

Whiff member Chris Twigge-Molecey P.Eng., Ph.D., FCAE, FCIM, will give a talk on “China, Alluring Panda or Pandora’s Box.”

Dr. Chris Twigge-Molecey retired in 2013 from full time work at Hatch Ltd. where he worked for 42 years. He joined Hatch in 1971 and has held a wide range of both technical and management positions. His technical contributions have included implementation of technology development programs management of R&D programs as well as design and commissioning of full scale metallurgical plant. He lead the development of Hatch business in several overseas markets including Russia, Chile and China. He was a member of Hatch’s board of directors from 2007 to 2011.
Continue reading Dr. Chris Twigge-Molecey: “China, Alluring Panda or Pandora’s Box” March 26, 2019

Sue Lougheed Thompson: The Paradox of a Parkinson’s Disease Diagnosis – A Personal Reflection, February 26, 2019

Sue Lougheed Thompson: The Paradox of a Parkinson’s Disease Diagnosis – A Personal Reflection
Sue Thompson, Harry McMurtry and Dr. Ross Sugar on their 500 Mile Walk in 2016.
Sue Thompson is a physical education teacher, but in the summer of 2016 she took on the endurance challenge of a lifetime. She, along with two other people living with Parkinson’s disease (PD), walked 500 miles in 45 days from the Bronx to Toronto to demonstrate what all people with the disease can achieve.
Continue reading Sue Lougheed Thompson: The Paradox of a Parkinson’s Disease Diagnosis – A Personal Reflection, February 26, 2019

Geordie Hyland, on the U.S. ‘distance learning’ revolution, January 29, 2019

Brief summary
Geordie is a C-level executive in the education field. His online education experience in the United States includes K-12, Higher Ed and Continuing Medical Education (CME), in North America and internationally. Geordie has held management positions overseeing large teams of educators as well as roles in Ed Tech and social entrepreneurship.

Full bio
Geordie Hyland is Executive Vice President at Ultimate Medical Academy (UMA), a nonprofit healthcare educational institution based in Tampa, Florida that employs more than 2,000 faculty and staff and serves 15,000 online students and 45,000 alumni across the United States.
Continue reading Geordie Hyland, on the U.S. ‘distance learning’ revolution, January 29, 2019

Councillor Jaye Robinson, October 30, 2018

Jaye Robinson is a Canadian politician who was elected to Toronto City Council in the 2010 city council election, defeating Cliff Jenkins in Ward 25. Previously, Robinson had run against Jenkins in 2003. The close race was marked by an election night error. The city website announced that, with all the ballots in, Jenkins had lost to Robinson by 30 votes. However, only 90% of the votes had actually been counted, and by the time the full count was completed two hours later, Jenkins had pulled into the lead by 80 votes and held on to win.
Continue reading Councillor Jaye Robinson, October 30, 2018

Eleanor McGrath, documentary filmmaker, ‘Forgotten’, 2016, September 25, 2018

‘Forgotten’ is a 2016 documentary film about the Canadian ‘British Home Children’ experience from 1869-1940+ during which time some 100,000 children were sent to Canada from the UK. As a result, about one in every nine families in Canada descend in some way from a ‘home child’. September 28th will mark Canada’s first British Home Child Day.
Continue reading Eleanor McGrath, documentary filmmaker, ‘Forgotten’, 2016, September 25, 2018