Waterloo Region Greens support #DoneWaiting campaign

The Green Party is committed to being honest about the problems we face and always acting with integrity. We work across party lines and with advocacy groups to achieve common goals.

Screen Shot 2018-03-13 at 09.03.23
Screenshot of the #DoneWaiting campaign’s website, donewaiting.ca

In this spirit, Waterloo Region Greens fully supports the goals of the #DoneWaiting campaign. We commend the Canadian Labour Congress for pushing for an end to wage discrimination, sexual harassment and violence, and the chronic underfunding of child care.

Ontario Green Party leader Mike Schreiner has called for a reform of our justice system to better serve survivors of sexual violence.

“Our party is committed to amplifying the voices of women and pressing for progress on these critical issues in the upcoming provincial election,” said Schreiner.

The Ontario Green Party has committed to running a full and gender-balanced slate of candidates in the 2018 election.

Greens are also calling for additional funding for reproductive health and women’s shelters.

Our plan for a provincial child care strategy in Ontario builds on the 2015 federal Green platform for high-quality affordable child care for all Canadians.

Greens understand that we need strong legislation to shrink the inexcusable wage gap, and to deliver a living wage for all workers. At the same time, we will help small businesses shoulder these costs by doubling the Employer Health Tax exemption limit.

Greens support a basic income guarantee that will provide stability for workers who are moving between jobs or starting a family.

These policies are not only a response to current events; they have been part of our platform in election after election.

Greens have always been committed to doing politics differently, and we’re happy to re-affirm that we’re done waiting, too.

Waterloo Region Greens represents the provincial and federal Green Party riding associations for Waterloo, Kitchener Centre, Kitchener South-Hespeler, Kitchener-Conestoga, and Cambridge.

Mike Schreiner comes to Kitchener on Thursday, 22 March 2018

Mike Schreiner at the Jobs Justice Climate March in Toronto, 2015 The Waterloo Region Greens are pleased to welcome Green Party of Ontario leader Mike Schreiner to Kitchener for two events:

Social Innovation for Green stakeholders

When: 4:00pm to 6:00pm on Thursday, 22 March 2018
Where: Kitchener Public Library
Location: 85 Queen Street North, Kitchener, Ontario Map

Mike has come to deliver the party’s platform to Waterloo Region.

To get feedback from the community, Mike will host a round-table discussion on the topic: What changes do you need to do what you do?

Community leaders and influencers are invited to participate in discussion groups on different issues that should be addressed by the provincial government.

Mike and his policy team will take all notes and feedback from this session to learn about specific local solutions, whereas the platform will focus on provincial solutions.

This meeting is open to everyone! Light snacks and refreshments will be served.

Social Night with Mike Schreiner

When: 7:00pm to 9:00pm, Thursday 22 March 2018
Where: Abe Erb Waterloo
Location: 15 King Street South, Waterloo Map

Join Mike and the WR Greens for a locally brewed beverage, a locally prepared meal or snack, and meet your local Green Party candidates and candidate-nominees from the five Waterloo Region ridings.

The location has not yet been determined, but is sure to be one of the many craft breweries in the area. Mike has long been a champion to free the beer!

Location is confirmed! Come meet Mike Schreiner and the Waterloo Region candidates and nominees at Abe Erb Restaurant and Brewery in Waterloo!

(Mike Schreiner and Michael Masurkevitc at TWB brewery)

Donations towards the Green Party of Ontario election campaigns will be gratefully accepted at both events.

Kitchener–Conestoga Green Party AGM, 15 March 2018

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

Kitchener–Conestoga Green Party of Ontario
Constituents Association


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



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


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]