TVO - Friday, May 24, 2024 - 08:00 p.m. (ET) - Segment #3

at hamilton city hall is gone, but the problem is not, they just moved it somewhere else. So anyway. That column is a good one on that and we encourage people to have a look. The second column that I want to bring to people's attention actually isn't on our website, it is done by our friends at the hub. This was last monday, victoria day, and you may notice we are one of the few jurisdictions in the world, maybe the only one left, that still has something called victoria day, a holiday monday onto whatever it is, third monday in may something like that. John fraser, former journalist, former principal at massey college, he has a column on the hub website exploring why in this age of, if we can call at this, cancel culture, there apparently is no great campaign to cancel queen victoria. And the answer according to john fraser is apparently because the crown under victoria and many indigenous groups of her time made a lot of treaties and there was considerable and mutual respect of the time and therefore there is no effort today, say unlike with john a mcdonald or edward in ryerson, to cancel queen victoria. And that is why this past monday we still had victoria day. There you go. So two columns for people's consideration. >> John: and without we will go to the mailbag. >> Steve: if you have a burning question or insightful comment we love hearing from you. Jmm, reach her hand into the virtual mailbag and pluck out a letter if you would. >> John: technically not virtual mailbag this week, we will take a question from x, formerly twitter, a follow-up to a question we had last week on online voting. Writing, good conversation. Regarding the question about elections in ontario, have they export compulsory voting as a mechanism to maximize voter turnout? Lots of interesting discussion, civic duty versus government overreach, even electoral reform. Worth a chat? >> Steve: I say yes, with a chat. Let's do that now. I'm going to put you on the spot first, do you have a view on compulsory voting as they have in places like australia where they have compulsory voting and the turnout is like 96%? >> John: yeah, I mean I think the fact they do it in australia and I think it's a relatively minimal fine. >> Steve: like a parking ticket. >> John: it's enough to get people to go to the polls. The fact that they do it in australia I think is clearly an indicator that, you know, compulsory voting is not a slippery slope to absolute tyranny or anything like that. I do find myself wondering, because we are talking about the charter earlier, to force someone to vote is, you know, a change in their rights, let me put it that way. There are clearly examples where the government is able to force us to do things. The government can force us to sit on a jury, pay taxes, in times before they could force us to serve in the military. And so full for, you know, the government maybe able to argue that now we are going to force you to vote. I would be interested to see how that would play in the courts. I don't know what the answer to that would be. Me personally? We keep saying it, we support high turnout here. >> Steve: we are not the target audience of this measure because I've never missed a chance to vote in my life. From the moment I turned 18 I have voted in every single election I could and I bet you have too. So they are not aiming at us, aiming at other people who may not want to vote. And I don't know, I think if you were at risk of getting a 50-dollar fine for not voting you may get off the couch and make an effort to vote. >> John: I mentioned last week, you know, like online voting, this would not be the first thing I would propose. I think adding more days, that kind of thing, there are lots of other ways to make it easier to vote that I would like to see governments do first, but I would not rule out the idea of compulsory voting. >> Steve: I like the notion as well because when I've discussed this with others in the past they've said well what if I don't like any of them? And I say okay, that is your right, not to like any of them, but go to the polling station, take the ballot and then refuse it or spoil it or do something. To meet just not showing up at the polls does not really sends the message to anybody strongly enough or clearly enough that you did not like any of the options available on the ballot. If you take that ballot and you pass it back to the returning officer and say I'm sorry I am refusing my ballot because I don't like anybody, they have a special category for mentioning that and therefore that gets noticed. So I think it's growing on me. I think compulsory voting is growing on me. Thank you for sending us that tweet because you prompted a good conversation there. Thank you. That is the onpoli podcast for may 24th, 2024.

>> John: you can follow us on apple podcast and be notified when a new episode is available, and on the tvo youtube channel. >> Steve: any feedback, we are happy to here it, good, bad or indifferent. Send us an e-mail and be sure to include your first and last name and were you are located. And until next friday, everybody, goodbye. >> John: goodbye everyone. [ ] [ ] >> Steve: there may be one in your community. You may swim, be healed or borrow a book inside of them. They are eye-catching and often spectacular. We are talking about mass timber buildings. They are mostly used now in public structures such as community centres, universities and healthcare facilities, but our guest tonight will tell us that mass timber buildings could also help this province and country feel it's affordable housing gap. With that we are joined by in our nations capital via skype, steve kraft, principal with see hm fire consultants and phillip silverstein, principal at the architecture form -- firm, also coordinating instruction at george brown college in toronto. Christopher williams is here, vice president at timber systems, a markham, ontario manufacture of mass timber. And a forrester by training, now director of the mass timber institute, also here in toronto. It's great to have you three here at our table. Steve, thank you for joining us on the line from the nations capital. I think we have to start, christopher, to you first, there will be a lot of people who don't know what we are talking about here so let's start with how mass timber is made to begin with that ends up building a building. >> Certainly. Mass timber as a general concept is large sections of timber that are made from smaller members of timber. So not like plywood or strand board but two by fours and to buy sixes that are engineered and glued together in a fashion that allows us to make larger pieces that are more predictable from an engineering and strength perspective, that allow us to have predictability that we need is engineers and designers to build larger and more complicated structures than we traditionally have. >> Steve: hardwood, softwood, does it matter? >> Softwood. You could do it with hardwood but all of the construction material that is done for timber construction in canada is usually softwood lumber. Primarily spruce, pine, for or douglas. >> Steve: and I gather the technology behind this started in austria which maybe a bit unusual because you would think of a place with massive forests as being the place where this started, and they don't there, so how did that happen? >> Yes, it's a curious question but I think it really has to do with innovation. The austrians have a very small land-based, could fit many times over into ontario. Very little wood, wood is expensive and so really I think their first motivation for innovating, exploring, developing mass timber products is really sustainability. They wanted to use every scrap of wood that they could for an engineered wood product. And so when you look at sustainability, the less would you can use and optimize the stain ability by way of it's cost, by way of respect to climate change, sequestering co2, there are many ways to be sustainable and I think the austrians have done a good job in introducing it to us and I'm excited because we have been making wood products, lumber and pulp and paper for 250 years and we've been doing the same thing over and over again so I think this is a wonderful opportunity to innovate our forests and supply chains. >> Steve: this is new. So let's talk from an architectural perspective, what is the appeal? >> The appeal? Probably 100 things I could talk about. It's beautiful, it smells great, but really the appeal is sustainability. Sequestering carbon nature of the material. It can be regrown. Concrete does not grow on trees. But to have a material you can use as your structural system, it can be grown, harvested, it sequesters carbon, it's a miraculous material. It has the same structural properties as concrete and steal. It's a miraculous material and the speed of construction, the labour force is lower than most traditional construction methods the appeal is really the sustainability. >> Steve: it's go to steve and ottawa because we want to bring our fire expert in. We've only been talking for a few minutes but I can imagine people watching this or listening to this saying wait a second what about fire?

so people are going to ask, can't this stuff go up in flames is it as a safe ends steal and concrete? You been doing the experiments, what do you know? >> For the last 15 years we've been doing fire tests on mass timber, both fire resistant tests, tests on evaluating how it contributes to fire in a building. And at the end of the day, we can design a mass timber structure to perform from a fire resistance perspective, the ability to stay standing and in place. For the same duration as we built steal and concrete buildings for. And we've also looked at, from a fire perspective, the performance of how the mass timber impacts the fire. So at the end of the day we want to see that if we build a tall mass timber building, that is going to perform similar to traditional materials, concrete and steal. So what we are looking for is we want to see that in the event that the sprinklers failed to control the fire in the building, we want to see that the building is not going to adversely -- or it's not going to be impacted beyond what steel or concrete would. We want to make sure that building is not going to for example burn until it collapses, like we commonly see with perhaps single-family homes. >> Steve: let me clarify this. Is a building out of wood intrinsically more flammable than a building made out of steal and concrete? >> Intrinsically, yes. It will contribute to the fire, but at the end of the day what we are looking for is performance that would be comparable to a steal or concrete building. So these buildings are sprinklered and so it's rare that we would see in a high-rise mass timber building a fully developed fire. But in the case that we do, we want to make sure the building is designed such that the fire can burn out on it's own and not challenge the structure. [ ] >> Steve: what can you do with mass timber that you cannot do with concrete and steel? >> So mass timber is very interesting for a variety of different reasons. You earlier group, it was a very interesting discussion. The impact of mass timber design on health is effectively like a four-legged table, like this table. Design has a significant impact on ecological health and that was the discussion on your earlier panel. 1 cubic metre of wood is the equivalent of three and a half cars driving for a whole year, so that's very important. The other important thing is the designs impact on our physical health, our economic health. Clearly would is very important on economic health because a lot of the small communities in ontario, this is floating their boats and that impacts societal health. But the important piece of the puzzle is we are not building these buildings just to solve the ecological thing, we are building them to house people and so wood has an impact on mind health, which is the asset-based view of it, and what do I mean by that? If you look at the sound of wood, when you walk on a wood floor, that hasn't impact on the stress side. It begins to reduce it and increases the calming side of it. The cent of cedar, you know, that's all you go into, what that does is reduces your cortisol levels which puts you in a better frame of mind for thinking. And visually it is significant because it increases social interaction, relaxation, people want to linger and spend time together. If you look at it in schools, we use a lot of it in our school environments. Why? Because it enhances the performance of students on their tests. >> Steve: we've been hearing business and governments for decades complain about our lack of productivity in the country. You seem to have opened a potential door that could see numbers spike. What would have to happen in this country for there to be greater acceptance in a move towards doing more with this? >> We are clearly in a period where we are beginning to think more holistically on what we do and how we build. Why has that happened? Because we went through covid and why aren't we going back to the office? Because we have discovered there is somewhere else. >> Steve: we don't like being in tuna cans anymore. >> Because I perform better in these environments. And so obviously a lot of

Copyright protected and owned by broadcaster. Your licence is limited to private, internal, non-commercial use. All reproduction, broadcast, transmission or other use of this work is strictly prohibited.