Kitchener–Conestoga Green Party AGM, 15 March 2018

Meeting
Meeting!
The Kitchener–Conestoga provincial Consituents Association and the Kitchener–Conestoga federal Electoral District Association will be having their Annual General Meeting in four weeks:


What: AGM for Kitchener–Conestoga Green Party CA and EDA
When: Thursday, 15 March 2018 from 7:00pm to 8:00pm
Where: Kennedy’s Restaurant
Location: 1750 Erb’s Road, St. Agatha, Ontario Map

We’ll elect new executive for the upcoming year. Positions to be filled are:

  • EDA Chief Executive Officer (currently Bob Jonkman)
  • EDA Financial Agent (currenty Laurel Russwurm)
  • CA President (currenty Bob Jonkman)
  • CA Chief Financial Officer (currently Laurel Russwurm)
  • Up to three Principal Officers (currently Marie Bridel, David Weber, Wiyanna Green)

The AGM is at 7:00pm, but please join us for dinner at 6:00pm, and feel free to stay and chat about politics over a beverage until closing. Have a look at Kennedy’s menu!

Everyone is welcome to attend the AGM, but only paid-up members can vote or run for the Executive. Lapsed members can renew their membership that night, but new members need to submit their membership payment by 1 March 2018.

The AGM also marks the closing day for candidate nominations for the Provincial Election. If you’d like to run, please contact Maureen Balsillie, Organizer for the Green Party of Ontario at maureenbalsillie@gpo.ca or +1–519–400–1437

The Kitchener–Conestoga Nomination Contest will be held in early April to select our candidate for the June provincial election.

Hope to see you at a Green Party event soon!

–Bob Jonkman

President,
Kitchener–Conestoga Green Party of Ontario
Constituents Association

bob.jonkman@greenparty.ca

WR Greens Election Planning Meeting — Thursday, 15 February 2018

The 2018 Ontario election is fast approaching, and it’s time to get ready. People are hungry for a different kind of politics – one based on honesty and integrity. Mike Schreiner and the Green Party of Ontario will bring that refreshing voice.

This Thursday, the five local Green Party ridings are coming together to plan our next few months. Join Stacey Danckert, candidate for Kitchener Centre, and Zdravko Gunjevic, candidate for Waterloo, in this open meeting.

What: Election planning meeting
When: Thursday, 15 February 2018, 7:00pm – 9:00pm
Where: Re/Max Office
Location: 720 Westmount Rd East, Kitchener Map

The agenda will include:

  • brainstorming goals for the election
  • building a pathway to achieve those goals

All are welcome. Please bring along anyone who would like to contribute! The Green Party is committed to grassroots decisionmaking, and we are going to build a campaign that resonates for people here in Waterloo Region.

Check out the Green Party of Ontario priorities to get a feel for the party’s policy priorities. If you have any ideas or questions in the meantime, just send an e-mail to kitchenercentre@gpo.ca

See you there!

Sam Nabi
Communications Chair, Kitchener Centre

Farewell to Michael Purves-Smith

[reblogged from Kitchener—Conestoga Greens blog]

It’s clear that Elmira resident Michael Purves-Smith was celebrated in the realm of academia as a professor, and in the realm of music as a conductor, composer, and performer.

But the Michael Purves-Smith I knew was an engaged citizen concerned with democracy and local politics.

When the provincial Liberal Green Energy Act made a mockery of local planning in Elmira, Michael led the opposition to the Biogas plant against insurmountable odds. In my wildest imaginings I never expected to see the citizens of Elmira picketing Woolwich Township.

Michael’s passionate concern for the future of this planet led him to don Leadnow colours in hope of bringing real change to Canada.

And his was a familiar face at environment events throughout the region like the “Beyond Crisis” screening at the Waterloo Princess Theatre last fall.

Michael sought to lead Canadians beyond lip service to effective climate action, going so far as to write his own novel to wake us up to the urgency of climate change.

Michael Purves-Smith at his “Rocky Mountain Locust” book launch

The environment event Michael was working on before his passing has been put in limbo; it would be a suitable memorial for his event partners to carry on with: Partnering with Nature To Heal The Biosphere

Michael and Shannon Purves-Smith at the 2016 Green Party Convention, Calgary

There simply aren’t enough people like Michael Purves-Smith in the world.  If we follow his example of dedication and hard work, together we can prevail, both for ourselves and our children’s future.

Michael will surely be missed.

— Laurel Russwurm

Celebration of Life

Join Michael’s friends and family for a Celebration of Life memorial on Sunday, February 11th, 2018, at 7:00 p.m., at Knox Presbyterian Church,
50 Erb St. West, Waterloo.


Further reading:

Purves-Smith: ‘Gentle, beautiful’ (The Record)

Biography (Music centre)

Tribute (The Elora Festival)

A Tribute to Michael Purves-Smith (Wellington Wind Symphony)

Michael Purves-Smith speaks to CTV following the protest and Woolwich Council Meeting (2014)

 

SOLD OUT 2018 GPO Convention This Weekend

This weekend’s GPO Convention in Guelph has sold out!

And no wonder!  Not only is there an Ontario election looming, but there’s an excellent lineup of speakers including elected Greens from across Canada:

Peter Bevan Baker
MLA for Kellys Cross-Cumberland –  PEI Greens Leader
Keynote Speaker Saturday Evening

Hannah Bell
MLA Charlottetown-Parkdale – PEI Greens
Keynote Speaker Saturday Evening
Women in Politics Panel

Sonia Furstenau
MLA for Cowichan Valley – BC Greens Deputy Leader
Guest Speaker Sunday Afternoon

For a complete lineup, visit

https://gpo.ca/2018-convention-in-guelph/

 

Harm reduction, Indigenous rights, gendered violence, childcare: what we learned from our listening tour

The 2018 election is coming up, and you can be part of the momentum. Contact volunteer@wrgreens.ca to see how you can get involved in the campaign.

We’re committed to making decisions that put people first. So as we prepare for a provincial election in June, it only makes sense to start with the people here in Waterloo Region.

Over the last few months, newly-nominated candidates Zdravko Gunjevic (Waterloo) and Stacey Danckert (Kitchener Centre) sat down with local community groups to hear about what issues are top-of-mind for folks who live here.

This is what we heard:

Meeting on safe injection sites hosted by Downtown Kitchener BIA

We have amazing organizations in Waterloo Region who work on-the-ground on harm reduction strategies. The Fentanyl crisis is hitting our community hard and safe injection sites will help save lives.

Organizations like OneRoof, AACKWA, and the various emergency shelters in Kitchener-Waterloo are closest to the people, but their resources are stretched thin. They need permanent, stable funding in order to consider opening up a safe injection site.

The Region of Waterloo is currently determining the need for a safe injection site, gathering information from users and harm reduction groups.

Stable provincial funding, either to the Region’s public health department or to one of the harm reduction groups, would provide the financial certainty we need to open up a safe injection site, and start saving lives.

Soup & bannock lunch hosted by UW Aboriginal Education Centre

The weekly soup and bannock lunch on the University of Waterloo campus helps to build bridges between the Aboriginal Education Centre and other campus departments; to provide a sense of community and homestyle cooking for Indigenous and non-Indigenous students on campus.

When we visited, there were awareness-raising activities related to the inquiry on Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls, activities which are also intertwined with UW’s 16 days of action for gendered violence.

Violence disproportionately affects Indigenous women, trans and non-binary folks, and people of colour, and we need to amplify these issues locally. The annual Take Back the Night march is organized on an ad-hoc basis every year, as no one organization has the capacity to take it on in a permanent way. Dedicated funding is needed to support initiatives like these.

We also spoke with Chief Troy Thompson, of the Mohawk Council of Akwesasne. His community is at the end of a 30-year legal battle for their land rights in Eastern Ontario. A current buy-out is being offered by the Federal government, for far less than the land was worth. Troy’s community has a difficult decision to make about whether to accept the legal settlement, or keep fighting in the courts. This adversarial approach to land claims is completely unacceptable behaviour by governments that claim to be ushering in an era of reconciliation.

Locally, the UW Aboriginal Education Centre has started a Mohawk language program. The resurgence of Indigenous languages is a vital part of undoing the effects of colonialism. The language program has proven extremely popular and it’s enjoying substantial growth. This is the kind of model that could be replicated elsewhere.

Meeting with ShamRose for Syrian Culture

ShamRose is a community group active in Waterloo Region since 2012. The group played an important role in welcoming nearly 1,500 Syrian refugees in 2015-2016. The group helps settle and integrate newcomers, provides translation services, supports people job hunting and runs an Arabic school on Saturdays.

Some of the barriers and challenges the group, and by extension, Syrian/ Arabic newcomers face in Waterloo Region include:

  • Housing. Funding provided to government sponsored refugees is not enough when compared to actual market cost.
  • Health. There is a shortage of family doctors, which is a province-wide issue.
  • Language learning. ESL classes have been consolidated into larger class sizes, where Arabic-speaking students may not interact as much with native English speakers. We need a return to smaller class sizes and a more integrated approach.
  • Employment. Most Syrian newcomers have a trade which isn’t immediately recognised in Canada.
  • Support for Women and Childcare. Women tend to stay home with children while men get language lessons and/ or a job. This trend puts a damper on Women’s economic opportunities, and is exacerbated by unaffordable childcare options.
  • Transportation. Transit passes are expensive and there are a limited amount of free passes.

Get involved

The Green Party of Ontario is dedicated to doing politics differently. We’re here to listen to our community, and work on real solutions, for real people.

The 2018 election is coming up, and you can be part of the momentum. Contact volunteer@wrgreens.ca to see how you can get involved in the campaign.

Farewell Trudy

Trudy Beaulne
April 19th, 1954 — January 5th, 2018

Community activist Trudy Beaulne, passed away unexpectedly on Friday, January 5th, 2018.

Trudy was an inspiration to me, and many others.  She was so passionate about making the world a better place as the Executive Director of the Social Development Centre Waterloo Region.

I have no doubt our community will feel her loss for decades to come.  We will miss her dedication, wisdom and humanity; and her skill at building bridges so we can hear each other.  You can help Trudy’s important work carry on, attend their events, find out what they need, or volunteer at the Social Development Centre if you can.   My heart goes out to her family & friends.

Bob wrote about Trudy for KWPeace.

Fairvote’s Sharon Sommerville remembered Trudy as well.

Trudy’s strength and passion glows through her words and her eyes in a small video I recorded the first time I heard Trudy speak.  “Values for Change” is my own remembrance of Trudy.

Today we say goodbye.

— Laurel

Funeral

Visitation: 10:00am to 2:00pm, Friday 12 January 2018
Sharing Memories: 2:00pm, Friday 12 January 2018
Where: Henry Walser Funeral Home
Location: 507 Frederick Street, Kitchener Map
Phone: +1-519-749-8467

 

We need your help!

The 42nd Ontario general election will be held on or before June 7th, 2018.

Canadian and Ontario politics are badly in need of some new voices; it has become painfully clear that if we really want real change, we need to stop voting for the candidate we think might win and start voting for the candidate who will best represent us.  After all, if we don’t start voting for what we want, we’ll never get it!

WRGreens need your help!  Volunteers can make all the difference, and of course your vote will always be appreciated.  You’ll find contact information for your WRGreens Riding in the menu link above, and if you’re not sure which is your riding, you can find out how from the “find your riding” link in the sidebar.

Although we don’t normally solicit donations here, with an election coming, this is a great time to donate if you’re going to, especially if you want the most bang for your buck.  If you get your donation in by December 31st, your donation limit resets to zero so your limit resets to 0 for 2018.

In spite of the mainstream claims the 2008 recession is over, we are aware that although it may be true for the one percent, it isn’t for most people.  If you aren’t in a position to donate; please don’t.  Come out to our events or volunteer instead!

If you can afford to donate now (or in the future), something I did not realize before joining the party is that political donations come with tax breaks. I was shocked to learn three quarters of anything you donate up to $400 will be refunded when you do your taxes!  After that the rebates reduce in size, check the chart below for details.

WRGreens aren’t set up to take online donations (yet) but you can donate directly to the Green Party of Ontario, your year-end donation of $5, $10, $25 or whatever you can afford will be most appreciated. Any donation you can make will help fund the preparations for our upcoming crucial election, mere months away!

Your Gift Tax Credit* Actual Cost
$5 $3.75 $1.25
$10 $7.50 $2.50
$25 $18.75 $6.25
$50 $37.50 $12.50
$100 $75 $25
$300 $225 $75
$400 $300 $100
$500 $350 $150
$750 $475 $275
$900 $550 $350
$1,200 $700 $500
*Based on your total tax credit for 2017

If your pre-New Year’s resolution is to make an end of year donation to the Green Party don’t delay!

And if there’s any cash in the kitty after making your GPO donation, you might want to consider a donation to the Green Party of Canada.

We need Green voices at the table, not just for today, but into the future. The Green Party is a grassroots party operating on a minimal budget; with your help we can run more robust campaigns, and elect more Greens!

[revised & reblogged from the Kitchener—Conestoga Greens blog]

The Politics of Cannabis Legalization

Part III of WRGreens Cannabis Legalization Series

After 92 years of prohibition, the legality of Cannabis finally became a mainstream Canadian federal election issue in 2015.

The Conservative position was to toughen the laws.

The NDP Platform [Download PDF format: 5.1MB 81 colour pages] promised decriminalization immediately on forming government.  Recreational users could still be fined, but would no longer get a criminal record.

The federal Green Party platform promised legalization instead of decriminalization.

Ending the war on drugs

“Between 2008 and 2011, according to the Department of Justice, Canada spent $311 million targeting illicit drugs, with a majority of that money going to law enforcement. Most of that was for the ‘war’ against cannabis (marijuana). Marijuana prohibition is also prohibitively costly in other ways, including criminalizing youth and fostering organized crime. Cannabis prohibition, which has gone on for decades, has utterly failed and has not led to reduced drug use in Canada.

“After analyzing the recommendation of the Canadian Senate’s 2002 Special Committee on Drugs and the examples of strategies used by some European countries, the Green Party of Canada has come to the conclusion that it is time to legalize the adult use of marijuana. Furthermore, the Greens believe that drug addictions should be treated as a health problem, not as criminal offences.

“Green Party MPs will:

  • Legalize marijuana by removing marijuana from the drug schedule;
  • Create a regulatory framework for the safe production of marijuana by small, independent growers;
  • Develop a taxation rate for marijuana similar to that of tobacco;
  • Establish the sale of marijuana to adults for medicinal or personal use through licensed distribution outlets;
  • Educate the public about the health threats of marijuana, tobacco, and other drug use;
  • Launch a public consultation on the decriminalization of illicit drugs, considering the current high costs of the law enforcement effort;
  • Provide increased funding to safe injection sites, treatment facilities, and addict rehabilitation.

Like the Green party, Justin Trudeau’s Liberal Party.promised Legalization, although not in quite the same way :

“We will legalize, regulate, and restrict access to marijuana.

“Canada’s current system of marijuana prohibition does not work. It does not prevent young people from using marijuana and too many Canadians end up with criminal records for possessing small amounts of the drug.

“Arresting and prosecuting these offenses is expensive for our criminal justice system. It traps too many Canadians in the criminal justice system for minor, non-violent offenses. At the same time, the proceeds from the illegal drug trade support organized crime and greater threats to public safety, like human trafficking and hard drugs.

“To ensure that we keep marijuana out of the hands of children, and the profits out of the hands of criminals, we will legalize, regulate, and restrict access to marijuana.

“We will remove marijuana consumption and incidental possession from the Criminal Code, and create new, stronger laws to punish more severely those who provide it to minors, those who operate a motor vehicle while under its influence, and those who sell it outside of the new regulatory framework.

“We will create a federal/provincial/territorial task force, and with input from experts in public health, substance abuse, and law enforcement, will design a new system of strict marijuana sales and distribution, with appropriate federal and provincial excise taxes applied.”

2015 Liberal Platform Online: Real Change: Marijuana (download the PDF: 8.0 MB 88 colour pages of the entire 2015 Liberal Platform)

“strategic” voting

The 2015 winner in our winner-take-all system was the Liberal Party, whose plan was to “legalize, regulate, and restrict access to marijuana.”

Making Law

It is possible for anyone to follow the process of creating the law online.

Anyone can read the draft legislation:

Third Reading version of Bill C-45, the Cannabis Act, An Act respecting cannabis and to amend the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act, the Criminal Code and other Acts

Download the 3rd Reading version PDF 1.4MB 148 pages

Follow what’s being said in Parliament about Bill C-45 on Open Parliament

Bill C-45 was introduced to the House of Commons by the Liberal Government, you can follow the process from introduction to Royal Assent at LegisInfo

Amendments to the legislation will go through the Standing Committee on Health HESA

Read all the briefs & testimony (if you use non-free software) watch the committee meeting video on ParlVu 

HESA COMMITTEE REPORT

Consultation

On November 21st, 2017 the Health Canada branch of the Justin Trudeau Government began a public consultation that will be open until January 19th, 2018. One might think the Government would undertake its public consultation before actually drafting legislation.  A cynical citizen might suspect such a backward agenda might indicate the consultation was purely for show.  An optimistic Canadian might think better late than never.

Canadians can participate in the Consultation on the Proposed Approach to the Regulation of Cannabis.

Rather than forming Cannabis policy based on what Canadians want, the consultation seeks feedback on its PROPOSED APPROACH TO THE REGULATION OF CANNABIS (which can also be downloaded in PDF format, 389 KB, 75 pages.)

Infographic: Supply chain for the commercial production and sale of cannabisThe Eyolfson Liberal Party website summarizes the proposed approach:

On packaging, we are proposing:

  • to make all products tamper-evident and child-resistant;
  • to limit the use of colours and graphics that would appeal to youth; and
  • to include mandatory health warnings similar to those on tobacco products

On licences, permits and authorizations, we are proposing to put in place a system that would:

  • enable a diverse, competitive legal industry that would include both large and small players;
  • reduce the risk that organized crime would infiltrate the legal industry; and
  • make sure that cannabis products meet high-quality standards.

and offers more background links including:

Infographic: Supply chain for the commercial production and sale of cannabis

Download the PDF format, 1.2 MB, 1 page

Proposed requirements for cultivation, processing, and federal sale licences

Download the PDF format, 182 KB, 1 page

Infographic: Proposed requirements for cultivation, processing, and federal sale licences


The different provinces are taking different approaches as to how they will implement cannabis legalization. Emery: Reefer monopoly madness – government doesn’t want to legalize pot, but DOES want to profit from it

“The Liberal’s big government ‘lets benefit political insiders’ approach to things just doesn’t make sense.”
— Mike Schreiner, Leader, Green Party of Ontario

The Provincial Green Party of Ontario opposes Monopolized Marijuana

To legalize marijuana sales in Ontario, the GPO supports:
✅ Regulating and licensing small businesses and dispensaries to sell marijuana in a safe and controlled way
✅ Ensuring tax revenues from marijuana sales are used to fund education, mental health and addiction programs
✅ Creating more local jobs and boosting prosperity by supporting small businesses

But the Green Party is not in charge.

Canadian Cannabis Crackdown

Because cannabis was illegal before any sort of scientific testing was done, there has been precious little modern scientific study of the substance.  What little study there has been suggests negative effects of cannabis are less harmful than many other substances that can be purchased openly and legally by anyone.  Like aspirin. People can kill themselves with aspirin.  But it is physically impossible for anyone to kill themselves with cannabis.

The worst health risks with cannabis centre around the fact that it is most often smoked in combination with tobacco, and we now know tobacco is hazardous to our health.  And yet the Canadian Government only allowed patients access to edibles after another Supreme Court challenge.

We believe, however, that the continued prohibition of cannabis jeopardizes the health and well-being of Canadians much more than does the substance itself or the regulated marketing of the substance. In addition, we believe that the continued criminalization of cannabis undermines the fundamental values set out in the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms and confirmed in the history of a country based on diversity and tolerance.
— Senate Special Committee on Illegal Drugs (2002) 
REPORT OF THE SENATE SPECIAL COMMITTEE ON ILLEGAL DRUGS

And yet the Canadian Government promising cannabis legalization has increased it’s war on cannabis even more.  They are cracking down on cannabis at a frantic pace in the lead up to legalization.

This is not right.

Who profits?

 “I see legalizing [marijuana] or putting it in shops as trying to normalize narcotics, when the truth is there is nothing normal about it. It’s a mind-altering drug that causes impairments and like cigarettes is not healthy.”

Fantino says he understands the enticement of marijuana. It’s a new cash frontier where many people, including many former police officers and politicians, could get in on the ground floor. This helps explain why the marijuana lobby is so opposed to Prime Minister Stephen Harper.

Trudeau might be their best chance to move this fight forward. With Harper, it’s dead.

“There’s a lot of money in it,” Fantino said. “Big money.”

He said he was offered “to fall in with a company” that wanted to pay him very well to simply lend his name to it.

Not a chance. “I would never do it.”

—Toronto Sun: Legal pot would be boon for organized crime: Fantino (October 16, 2015)

Julian Fantino, who once compared weed to murder, defends opening medical marijuana business

@JodieEmery Following Following @JodieEmery More Unfairness. Thousands of peaceful people continue to suffer arrest, jail, criminal records, exclusion for pot — while cops & politicians who opposed legalization & ruined lives with the law are cashing in on legal weed, with no apology. Here’s a list of their names & companies.

LAW ENFORCEMENT

QUOTATION Jodie Emery red CCby editor Jeremiah Vandermeer-ctv


Personal note:

I urge every Canadian to participate in the government’s consultation, even those— especially those— like me, who have no personal connection with cannabis.

Regards,
Laurel Russwurm

p.s. Jodie and Marc Emery are facing a massive fine as a direct result of their cannabis activism. If you wish to support their work, you can do so at the Marc and Jodie Emery Support gofundme Page


Cannabis Canada flag
WRGreens Cannabis Legalization Series

Go back to Part II: “The Road to Legalization”

Go back To Part I: “Why is Cannabis Illegal”


CREDITS

Canadian Canabis graphic created from Cannabis Chemistry art by Kyrnos with a CC0 dedication to the Public Domain on Pixabay

Quotation from “Cannabis Culture dispensaries: What I did, and why” by Jodie Emery ~ Photograph by Cannabis Culture editor Jeremiah Vandermeer, released under a Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 License.

The List of Law Enforcement, Politicians and Public Servants compiled by Jodie Emery

Special thanks to @vansopinion8ted for the excellent tip.