Iceland’s Capital Votes To Boycott All Israeli Products

by Whitney Webb

Reykjavik’s city council voted last week to ban Israeli goods in a symbolic gesture to protest Israel’s treatment of Palestinians.

Reykjavik

The city council of Reykjavik, Iceland’s capital, has voted to ban all Israeli-made goods in protest of the continuing “occupation of Palestinian territories” and Israel’s “policy of apartheid” against Palestinians. Concerns regarding Israel’s policies towards the Palestinians were renewed following Israel’s announcement in July that it would build Israeli homes in the contested West Bank, inciting violent protests.

Most countries consider these new settlements, as well as previous ones, illegal, and even the US State Department has expressed its concerns over Israeli settlement expansion. In the past, Reykjavik’s city council has been critical of Israel and has previously adopted resolutions that acknowledge Palestinian rights to independence and a sovereign nation. According to Iceland’s foreign ministry, the small island nation purchased $6 million of Israeli imports, most of which in the form of fruits and vegetables, equipment, and machinery.

Iceland’s national government said that the boycott would only be limited to the country’s capital and has tried to distance itself from the action of Reykjavik’s city council. Yet, as Iceland’s largest city and home to half its population, Reykjavik’s decision to boycott Israel will likely cause some economic impact though it is hard to say whether or not it will be significant. Israeli exports totaled $53.7 billion in 2014, meaning its exports to Iceland represent a meager 1.1% of its total annual exports.

palestinian-loss-of-land-1946-2010

Overall, it appears that Israel is much more concerned with the symbolic impact of the boycott as opposed to its economic effects as they have been actively fighting against several recent international boycotts in response to Israel’s treatment of the Palestinian people, most notably the BDS movement (Boycott, Divest, Sanctions).

Concerns about the growth of boycott movements have led Israel to pass legislation allowing for the deportation of foreign activists, to threaten the lives of BDS supporters, and to lobby for legislation in other countries to prevent future boycotts. They have even teamed up with Facebook to try and prevent criticism of Israel on social media.

Israel’s government responded to news of Reykjavik’s boycott with harsh criticism. Emmanuel Nahshon, Israel’s foreign minister, responded by saying:

A volcano of hatred is erupting out of the city council building in Reykjavik. Without any reason or justification, other than pure hatred, we hear calls to boycott Israel. We hope someone in Iceland comes to their senses and stops the blindness and the one-sidedness that is directed at Israel, the only democracy in the Middle East.

Some Icelanders were also critical of the boycott, including a local attorney who said the ban on Israeli goods violates the Icelandic constitution. It remains to be seen if Israel will take action against Iceland as a result of the new boycott.



There has been an uproar in Canada since our government passed a motion condemning the BDS movement, claiming that bringing such economic and political pressure to bear is anti-semitic.

Israel’s foreign minister, Emmanuel Nahshon’s claim that calls to boycott Israel are “Without any reason or justification, other than pure hatred” is patently absurd.    BDS political and economic pressure aims to convince Israel to conform to International Law.  

If Nations can blithely choose which parts of International Law they will deign to follow without any repercussion (as Israel does in flouting of International Law by encroaching on the what little Palestinian territory remains with new settlements), International Law is meaningless.

In light of the other attacks our Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms has been hit with of late, this blatant suppression of the Canadian right to dissent has upset a great many Canadians, myself included.

This summer the Green Party of Canada recently passed a motion to support the BDS and the right of Canadians to dissent, earning the distinction of being the first national Canadian political party to do so. 

When Israel ceases breaking international law, calls for BDS would dissipate, but it seems its current government won’t even consider accepting this simple solution.

Human rights matter.

—Laurel Russwurm



Credits

Iceland’s Capital Votes To Boycott All Israeli Products
by Whitney Webb originally published in TrueActivist.com has been released under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0) License.

The only sunny day in Reykjavík. This year.” by Marcus Hansson published on Flickr has been released under a Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0) License

Palestinian Loss of Land (1946-2010)” by Noorrovers published in Wikimedia Commons is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International license.

Understanding Electoral Reform in Elmira

Waterloo Region Greens own Bob Jonkman will be presenting “Make every Vote Count” at the Elmira Branch of the Region of Waterloo Library, starting at 6:30pm, tomorrow night, Wednesday, September 21st, 2016.   In his capacity as co-Chair, Bob helped develop the Fair Vote Waterloo presentation, which starts with our existing electoral system as well as Canada’s electoral reform options.  There will be a question and answer session after the presentation.

Hope to see you there!

Next week there will be two more Information Sessions at the Region of Waterloo Libraries in New Hamburg and Ayr.

Wednesday,  September 28th, 2016 ~ 6:30 pm – 8:00 pm

img_9267New Hamburg Branch
145 Huron St
New Hamburg, ON N3A 1S3

Thursday, September 29th, 2016
6:30 pm – 8:00 pm

Ayr Branch
137 Stanley St
Ayr, ON N0B 1E0

Canada’s Voting System Is Changing

Stanley Park Community Centre - Maryam Monsef's National Electoral Reform Community Dialogue Tour

Maryam Monsef, Minister of Democratic Institutions“For the past month I’ve been traveling across Canada hearing from Canadians directly on the values and expectations they feel should be reflected in Canada’s electoral system.

At every stop, it is clear; Canadians expect greater inclusion, transparency, engagement and modernization from their public institutions.”

— The Hon. Maryam Monsef,
Minister of Democratic Institutions ~ Ottawa, ON, Sept. 15, 2016

Hundreds of Watetloo Region residents crowded into the Stanley Park Community Centre on Wednesday night for a chance to participate in the Federal Electoral Reform Consultation with the the Honourable Maryam Monsef, the Minister of Democratic Institutions.  Ms. Monsef shared the stage with local LPC Mps, the Honourable Bardish Chagger, Bryan May, Marwan Tabbara and Kitchener Centre host, Raj Saini,  But the evening’s main course was the small group dialogues where participants considered issues and shared their views.  Each group came up with a series of conclusions, all of which were duly passed along for consideration in Ottawa.  The Record‘s Luisa D’amato reports:

As I felt the unmistakable sense of optimism that comes when a powerful person asks your opinion, it occurred to me that we might have got it wrong all this time.

We’ve asked young people to vote, and shook our heads when they didn’t. “Don’t complain if you don’t vote,” we said.

Yet the rules by which we held the elections seemed designed to silence their choices.

D’Amato: It’s heartwarming to see a packed room for electoral reform discussion

Julia and SamJulia and Sam (Kitchener Centre Greens) are passionate about meaningful electoral reform.  The shape of their future depends on it.  They’re the driving force behind our Canada’s Voting System Is Changing event at Kitchener City Hall tomorrow.

Canada's Voting System Is Changing poster
Canada’s Voting System Is Changing poster ~ click to download larger size

The main goal of tomorrow’s event is to provide public information about our options.

Every MP in Canada has been asked to consult with their constituents about what they would like to see in terms of electoral reform.  Although our evening with Ms. Monsef was excellent, it would have been nice to see 4 Liberal Town Halls.  Knowing how long it took me to get my head around electoral reform, more events might make it easier for many citizens.

Sadly Kitchener-Conestoga residents don’t get any Town Hall at all.  Our Conservative MP Harold Albrecht has declined to conduct a consultation.  Fair Vote Waterloo will be putting on 3 more Library Information nights at Elmira Library, New Hamburg and the Ayr Public Libraries.

Earlier in the year the Waterloo NDP put on an information event with Fair Vote Waterloo, but now it’s our turn.

Proportional Representation is not a partisan issue; it is simply a way to better represent citizens in Parliament.  This isn’t about parties, but about what is best for all of us, the voters.  That’s why each of these events have worked hard to put partisanship aside in order to both inform and converse with the public.

the Hon. Maryam Monsef, Minister of Democratic Institutions speaks to a packed house in Waterloo Region, Wednesday Night.
The Hon. Maryam Monsef, Minister of Democratic Institutions speaks to a packed house in Waterloo Region

So many other countries have adopted meaningful electoral reform that there’s a lot of information out there. And yet, Canadians have heard almost nothing about the alternatives before us.

That’s why Fair Vote Waterloo co-chair Sharon Sommerville will give an introductory talk about Proportional Representation. Then we’ll break into small group discussions, much like Maryam Monsef’s National Electoral Reform Community Dialogue Tour the other night.   We have decided to have two kinds of groups; one to help those of us just beginning to learn about Proportional Representation, and another for those who have an idea of what kind of reform they would like to see.  The latter will be able to discuss the issue as a group in order to make a group submission we can forward on to the ERRE Committee.

Even if you have a pretty good handle on Electoral Reform, we look forward to seeing you in Carl Zehr Square.  It is always a lot more fun to work on a submission together, and it is amazing how much discussion can help clarify the things we’re fuzzy on.  The more Canadians participate in this electoral reform process, the better the outcome will be.

This is a perfect opportunity to help your friends and neighbors get the facts about electoral reform.  We hope to see you there!

Canada’s Voting System Is Changing: Community Dialogue
Saturday September 17th, 2016
3:00pm – 4:30pm

Carl Zehr Square, in front of Kitchener City Hall
200 King St W, Kitchener, Ontario, Canada map

RSVP on the Facebook Event:
Community Dialogue: Proportional Representation

Bob Jonkman & Maryam Monsef
After the consultation, Ms. Monsef was available & approachable

Celebrate Democracy Week in Waterloo Region

Monsef Federal Electoral Reform Community Dialogue Tour ~ print version
Waterloo Region Monsef Federal Electoral Reform Community Dialogue Tour poster ~ print ~ Click for more sizes ~

If Waterloo Region had a GPC Member of Parliament, we could look forward to having our own Green Electoral Reform Town Hall.  Instead, Waterloo Region has 4 Liberal MPs and 1 Conservative MP.  All 5 Waterloo Region MPs managed to attend the Climate Change Town Hall.  Unfortunately we won’t see the same for Electoral Reform.

All 5 Waterloo Region MPs attended the Climate Change Town Hall
All 5 Waterloo Region MPs attended the Climate Change Town Hall

ERRE Committee in TorontoAlthough the ERRE Special Committee on Electoral Reform is conducting a Canada wide tour, apparently it will only effect a single stop in the most populous province in the land.  And that won’t be in Northern Ontario, but rather in the most populous city, Toronto, leaving the rest of the province out of the loop.   The Minister of Democratic Institutions is trying to augment the Committee’s limited itinerary with a complimentary tour of her own, which will visit many more spots.

Every MP in Parliament has been is tasked with hosting a Town Hall to consult with their constituents about electoral reform.  Unfortunately, Kitchener-Conestoga MP has chosen to mail out a form letter questionaire (read: advertisement) encouraging citizens who have no idea of the alternatives to rally around a referendum (the CPC strategy intended to derail our long overdue electoral reform).

As I understand it, instead of 4 Liberal Town Hall consultations in Waterloo Region, the 4 LPC MPs will join the Honourable Maryam Monsef in one big Town Hall event on Wednesday Night.

This will be our only Even though the event is being put on by Liberal MPs for a Liberal Government, everyone who can attend should attend to support Proportional Representation in the only opportunity we’ll have for face to face Government engagement on this most important reform.

Federal Electoral Reform Community Dialogue Tour
Wednesday, 14 September 14th, 2016
7:00pm — 9:00pm
at the Stanley Park Community Centre
505 Franklin Street North, Kitchener  (~ MAP~)
Please RSVP online or call +1-519-741-2001

This is a must attend event for electoral reform supporters.

There are plenty of reasons for the Green Party to support Proportional Representation, the chief being that the disproportional power the winner-take-all party gets comes at the expense of smaller parties like the GPC. There are things we can do to help Canada along the path to truly representative government:

You might find the electoral reform series I’m writing to help demystify Proportional Representation useful.  If you don’t have time for the whole thing, probably the most useful articles are:

Share the graphics to help spread the word!

Do you know anyone who needs their own poster in other parts of Canada?

Share the DIY posters below: all they have to do is fill in the event details!

Federal Electoral Reform Community Dialogue Tour ~ Waterloo Region online
WRegion Monsef Tour ~ online version ~ Click for more sizes ~
DIY Federal Electoral Reform Community Dialogue Tour ~ online version
DIY Monsef Tour ~ online version ~ Click for more sizes ~
Do It Yourself Federal Electoral Reform Community Dialogue Tour ~ print version
DIY Monsef Tour ~ print version ~ Click for more sizes ~

ontario-border

Print & Share our WRGreens

Canada’s Voting System Is Changing

Community Dialogue Poster too!

Can you imagine a better way to celebrate Democracy Week?

Canada's Voting System Is Changing poster
Canada’s Voting System Is Changing
~ click for larger size ~ Print & post WRGreens Community Dialogue
FVC Electoral Reform Info Sessions poster
You can also print and post posters for the Waterloo Region Library Fair Vote Events ~ click for large size ~

#SayNoToNestle

The Wellington Water Watchers say the permit for Nestlé Waters in Aberfoyle, Ontario expired on July 31, but an automatic extension was granted without consulting local residents, and so continues to extract water from a local well even in the midst of a severe drought.

In a press release, Nestlé Waters Canada wrote:

“Although our permit expired on July 31, 2016, we have received confirmation from the MOECC that during this application phase, under the Ontario Waters Resources Act, Section 34.1 (6), the existing Permit to Take Water remains intact until the MOECC moves forward on a decision. We will continue to operate as usual….

“Our factory in Aberfoyle has operated for the last 15 years sustainably and Nestlé Waters is not asking to increase the permitted water taking limit – Nestlé Waters is applying to maintain the current permit level over a 10 year period. “

Nestlé’s permits allow the company to take millions of litres each day.

Nestle 99 centsHow much does water cost?

There was a sale on Nestlé water at my local grocery store a few weeks back.   6 litres of water packaged in 12 plastic bottles for  99 cents.  Twelve 500 ml bottles, that’s 6 litres of water.  It works out to 16.5 cents per litre. That’s a pretty good deal, right?

Until you consider what your water bill would look like if you had to pay 16.5 cents per litre.  In Guelph the rate is $1.59 for a cubic metre of water.Footnote  That’s works out to $0.00159 per litre for tap water at home.   If it cost 16.5 cents a litre, a cubic metre of water would cost us $165.00.  So, okay, it stands to reason, we’re paying a lot more for a bottle of water because companies are in business to make money.  We’re paying extra for the convenience of getting that water in a bottle.  Everything is relative.

If Nestlé paid $1.59 for 1000 litres of tap water (like we do), then charged us 99 cents for it, the company would make a handsome profit.  But it doesn’t.

The reality is that citizens bear the cost of building and operating the infrastructure that supplies and treats water that Nestlé so profitably puts in bottles.

“For every million litres of water, Ontario charges companies $3.71 after paying a permit fee of $750 for low or medium-risk water takings, or $3,000 for those considered high risk.

“The amount these companies pay for taking out water represents 1.2 per cent of the government’s total water-quantity management costs. A number of people, including former environmental commissioner Ellen Schwartzel, have criticized the ministry for not raising the amount to take such large quantities of water.”

— Ontario urged to deny Nestlé permit amid severe drought

To put it into perspective, while Nestlé pays $3.71 for every million litres of water, at $1.59 per cubic metre, the same amount of water would cost a Guelph citizen $1,590.00.

Meanwhile in Guelph, “The average residential annual bill (based on 180 cubic metres consumption, the estimated annual volume consumed by a family of three) will go up by $31 or 4.0%.”

If customers are using less water, shouldn’t utility costs be decreasing and water rates going down?

“If residents and businesses weren’t using water wisely, rate increases would be higher than they are today. For example, from 2006 to 2014 the City’s $8.6 million investment in water conservation and efficiency programs has reclaimed over 7.1 million litres of water and wastewater servicing capacity per day. The cost to build and operate infrastructure to supply and treat this much water would be approximately $35.6 million in capital costs, and $460,000 in annual operating costs.”

Maybe there is a time to subsidize a rich corporation’s pursuit of profit.  If money were all that was at stake, maybe such an arrangement could be considered a good deal.

It gets worse

Wellington Water Watchers also has serious concerns about Nestlés proposed expansion of its Ontario Water Taking operations.

“Nestlé has issued a letter of intent to purchase a third well in Wellington County – the Middlebrook well, for an additional 1.6 million litres per day (300 gallons per minute). If Nestlé’s permit is approved for 1.6 million litres of water per day, the corporation will pay $3.71 per million litres (or $5.93 per day).

“100% of the water captured under this permit would be removed at the source and also be trucked 24/7 to Aberfoyle. A 100% consumptive permit is a permit where every drop of water that is pumped, or in this case captured as this is upwelling artesian water, is removed from the local watershed and never returned. The Middlebrook well will be similar to Nestle’s Hillsburgh well, where the water is transported by bulk tanker truck to the Aberfoyle packaging facility.”

Wellington Water Watchers: Nestlé and the Middlebrook Well

Yet Nestlé confidently expects “that a new permit to take water will be issued to Nestlé Waters Canada by Ontario Ministry of Environment” for the Middlebrook site.

We can get an idea of the scope of the problem by looking at the province’s interactive Map: Permits to take water.  Seeing the water-taking locations linked to active permits across Ontario is an eye-opener.  Ontario may be water-rich just now, but water is a finite resource.  Every bottle of water shipped out of Ontario is another bottle of water that won’t make it back to our aquifers.

“We will be requesting no more than a two year permit in Aberfoyle in order to assist a phase out of this permit and will also will be requesting no new well at Middlebrook.

“Our technical advisor, Dr. Hugh Whiteley has observed that the most recent Annual Report showed that the average water level in the Middle Gasport aquifer that supplies the Nestlé production well has declined about 1.5 m from 2011 to 2015 while Nestlé’s water taking increased 33 % over the same period. This decline in water level is suggestive of a disturbance of the equilibrium between aquifer recharge and water discharge from the aquifer.”

Wellington Water Watchers: Water for Life, Not Profit

Guelph City Councillor James Gordon
Guelph City Councillor James Gordon

The WWW petition asking Ontario: Deny Nestlé Water-Taking Permit in Aberfoyle is nearing 100,000 signatures.

Guelph City Councillor James Gordon will be bringing a motion to get city to advise the province not to renew Nestlé’s expired water taking permit in Aberfoyle.  If you support Councillor James Gordon’s proposed motion regarding Nestlé’s permit to take water, you can come out to the Council meeting at 6:30 at Guelph City Hall (map) on September 26th, 2016.

“The motion comes before a meeting of City Council’s planning meeting but won’t be debated until council’s regular meeting on Sept. 26.

“Gordon’s motion reads:

“That Council, with support from Intergovernmental Relations, Policy and Open Government staff, submit comments through the Ontario Environmental Registry process in relation to the recent Nestlé Water permit to take water and express Council’s concern that the permit to take water is not in the best interest of the City of Guelph and the watershed shared by the City of Guelph.”

“It asks that council send a letter by the Sept. 30 deadline.”

Guelph Today: Councillor wants council to weigh in on Nestlé water issue (Correction)

To add punctuation to the proceeding, a community gathering is being organized for Monday, Sept 26, around 5 – 6 pm, outside City Hall in support of to support James Gordon’s motion to honour and protect our watershed.

Mike Schreiner
Green Party of Ontario Leader
Mike Schreiner

Green Party of Ontario

Better stewardship of Ontario’s resources, including Water Taking has long been of concern for the Green Party of Ontario.  That’s why the GPO has set up it’s own email writing tool to help Ontario residents make our feelings known to the Hon. Glen Murray, Ontario’s Environment Minister.  You can use the letter provided edit it to better reflect your thoughts on the issue.  Either way, it has been a long, hot summer filled with drought and water restrictions.  Even if we can’t get to Guelph, we can speak up about our water supply.

GPO Leader Mike Schreiner writes:

“In the small community of Aberfoyle just outside of Guelph, Nestlé is taking millions of litres of water to bottle, ship to other places and then sell back to us.

“Worse yet, we are subsidizing Nestlé’s water taking. The Liberals set the water taking fee so low that it does not even cover the cost of administering the program.

“Nestlé pays only $9.27 for the amount of water it would take to fill an Olympic-size swimming pool. You read that right. Nine dollars and twenty-seven cents. That’s just $3.71 per million litres.

“Let’s tell the Minister of Environment to stop giving away our water.

“Please take one minute to

send this message

It’s time to #SayNoToNestle


Footnote: I pay a $1.71 per cubic metre of water in Woolwich.  The ground water is unsafe to drink here since pollution from a local chemical company rendered the water in our local aquifer undrinkable, so we pay a premium to pipe in water from Waterloo.Ref



Image Credit

Images © copyright Laurel L. Russwurm are licensed to share under a Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0) license

 

March With Mike!

Mike Schreiner at the Jobs Justice Climate March in Toronto, 20152016 International Plowing Match Opening Parade

March with Mike Schreiner & fellow Greens at the 2016 International Plowing Match Opening Parade in Wellington County!

The parade will take place on Tuesday, September 20 in the town of Minto (Harriston), Ontario.

The parade will begin at 10:00 am sharp and Green supporters will be gathering at 9:00 am in the parade assembly area.

We would love to have you come out to show your support for the GPO, and join us in celebrating Ontario’s farmland and rural communities. Everyone is welcome!

If you plan on attending, please RSVP using our webform

or email samanthabird@gpo.ca for more information.

We look forward to seeing you there!

P.S. Please remember to wear your Green Party t-shirts!

The #ERRE #Q Committee will Consult in Toronto

Excerpt from HOUSE OF COMMONS SPECIAL COMMITTEE ON ELECTORAL REFORM TO HOLD HEARINGS IN REGINA, ST-PIERRE-JOLYS, WINNIPEG, TORONTO, QUÉBEC AND JOLIETTE

erre-to-posterWednesday
September 21st, 2016



Chelsea Hotel
Churchill Ballroom
33 Gerrard St W,
Toronto, ON
→ map ← 



1:30—4:15 pm
Witness Panel(s)

13 h 30—16 h 15
Panel(s) de témoins



4:15—5:00 pm
Open mic

16 h 15—17 h 00*
séance micro ouvert



6:30—9:30 pm
Open mic

18 h 30—21 h 30*
séance micro ouvert



*Please note that the end time for the open mic sessions are approximate



This month is just flying by!  Before this event, don’t forget The Honourable Maryam Monself will be consulting with Waterloo Region at the Liberal Town Hall on Wednesday Sept. 14th, and and our own Community Dialogue will be the following Saturday.  It would be tremendous if you could print a poster or two to hang on local bulletin boards or hydro poles.

And remember, you can keep up with Waterloo Greens events in our Calendar, or by subscribing to this blog!

Electoral Reform Events!

Kitchener Public Library

September 8th ~ Kitchener Public Library Special Event on Electoral Reform #ERRE

Understanding Electoral Reform

TONIGHT 7:00 pm – 9:00 pm ~ September 8th, 2016

Kitchener Public Library
Meeting Room C ~ Central Branch ~ 85 Queen St N, Kitchener, ON N2H 2H1 map
REGISTER here




September 14th, 2016

monsef-wr

“You’re invited to join the Honourable Maryam Monsef, Minister of Democratic Institutions, at a series of federal electoral reform community dialogue events across Canada. These events, which complement the work of the Special Committee on Electoral Reform, are intended to raise awareness of electoral reform and provide an opportunity for you to engage in discussion with others about the future of Canada’s democracy.

These events will be hosted in English and French in physically accessible venues. No pre-registration is required, but note that seats will be provided on a first-come, first-served basis.

Can’t make it to one of these events? Find out about other electoral reform events happening across Canada on our calendar of events. You may also wish to learn more about federal electoral reform or check out resources to help you host your own community dialogue.”

Federal electoral reform community dialogue tour




September 17th @WR_Greens hosts a Community Dialogue on Electoral Reform
Join us for a community dialogue about proportional representation and electoral reform!

Canada’s Voting System is ChangingCarl Zehr Square ~ Kitchener City Hall

3:00pm – 4:30pm ~ Saturday September 17th, 2016

Carl Zehr Square, in front of Kitchener City Hall
200 King St W, Kitchener, Ontario, Canada map

RSVP on the Facebook Event:
Community Dialogue: Proportional Representation




September 21, 2016
Waterloo Region Library
& Fair Vote Waterloo presentElmira Library

Understanding Electoral Reform
6:30 – 8:00 pm ~ WEDNESDAY September 21st, 2016

Elmira Library
65 Arthur St S, Elmira, ON N3B 2M6, Canada  map




September 28th, 2016
Waterloo Region Library
& Fair Vote Waterloo presentlibrary card catalogue

Understanding Electoral Reform
6:30 – 8:00 pm ~ Wednesday September 28th, 2016

New Hamburg Library
145 Huron St, New Hamburg, ON N3A 1S3, Canada map




September 29th, 2016
Waterloo Region Library
& Fair Vote Waterloo presentlibrary shelves

Understanding Electoral Reform
6:30pm – 8:00 pm ~ Thursday, September 29th, 2016

Ayr Library
137 Stanley St, Ayr, ON N0B 1E0, Canada map

 


Image Credits

All images © copyright Laurel L. Russwurm are released under a Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0) license

@WR_Greens hosts a Community Dialogue on Electoral Reform

Canada’s Voting System is Changing

Join us for a community dialogue about proportional representation and electoral reform

Saturday September 17th 3:00pm – 4:30pm
In front of Kitchener City Hall

RSVP on the Facebook Event:
Community Dialogue: Proportional RepresentationScreen Shot 2016-09-07 at 09.42.13.png

More details: wrgreens.ca/PR4PR

Dialogue results will be sent directly to the Special Committee on Electoral Reform

Hosted by the Waterloo Region Greens

Contact Julia Gogoleva, the WR Greens organizer at julia.gogoleva@gmail.com.

Canada’s Voting System is Changing -- Join us for a community dialogue about proportional representation and electoral reform -- Saturdary September 17th 3:00pm – 4:30pm -- In front of Kitchener City Hall -- wrgreens.ca/PR4PR -- Dialogue results will be sent directly to the Special Committee on Electoral Reform -- Hosted by the Waterloo Region Greens
Poster

Download the poster: PDF format (867 kBytes) or Image File (.png, 221 kBytes, 1275 × 1651)

Why I #StandWithAnita at the #PigTrial

Anita Krajnc and lawyer James Silver face a press scrum outside the court house
Anita Krajnc ‘s Lawyer James Silver explains what this case is really all about.

The “Pig Trial” began on August 24th and 25th. Toronto Pig Save co-founder, Anita Krajnc, is facing charges for giving water to pigs en route to slaughter who were, as an expert testified last Thursday, “in all likelihood, in severe distress.” Although Anita is facing charges, it is the factory farming industry that is on trial.

We praise those who intervene on behalf of a dog in a hot car. Yet pigs, whose intelligence is likened to that of a toddler, are commodified, degraded to mere property or “things”, and robbed of their individuality. This concept of sentient beings as property is part of what Save activists seek to address in the Pig Trial.

In Canada, pigs are allowed to be transported for up to 36 hours without food or water. These are some of the weakest standards in the world.

The farmer behind the charges, Eric Van Boekel, and his truck driver both took the stand. Krajnc’s lawyers, James Silver and Gary Grill, ran through a lengthy line of questioning of the farm and its operations in order to demonstrate that what Anita was doing was truly in the public good.

Krajnc’s lawyer’s cross-examination of the driver made it clear that there was no real “mischief” involved: no profits were lost, the “property” – such that it is – was not damaged, nor was the driver impeded from doing his job.

Van Boekel was asked details of his operation including the treatment of the pigs, confinement practices, antibiotics, nutrition, and environmental impacts.

When describing “piglet processing”, Van Boekel explained how piglets’ teeth are cut and their tails docked by crushing the bone. He noted, “It hurts like hell, but [the piglets] won’t remember it.”

Disturbingly, Van Boekel made many comparisons to human mothers while on the stand. When describing the containment facilities for pregnant pigs, he stated, “Like most mothers can attest to, their hormones flare up. They kind of don’t know what they’re doing.” He explained that hormones combined with their territorial nature was the rationale behind confining pregnant pigs in “gestation stalls” for days on end.

Van Boekel explained how female pigs are artificially inseminated with a pregnancy lasting for 114 days. After little more than a month, her piglets are weaned, and she has only 4-9 days before she is impregnated again. I should hope sympathetic women everywhere would be outraged.

Most ironic was the questioning that explored environmental impacts, such as when Van Boekel plead guilty after his farming operation contaminated a local river.

Van Boekel suggests he was concerned about “contaminants” Krajnc may have had in the “unknown liquid”. But, when samples were offered, the driver refused without even once checking the animals to see if they were in distress.

Despite proclamations of concerns about “contaminants”, no precautions have been taken since, despite the hundreds of individuals joining Krajnc every week.

It is clear these are not the motivations for laying these charges but, in the driver’s own words in his statement to the police, “[the activists] are messing with our livelihood.”

Krajnc and Toronto Pig Save have sparked a worldwide movement of “Save” groups. She and hundreds of others bear witness to animals on their way to slaughter. These animals are scared. They can hear the screams and smell the blood.

Pig Save also uses social media as a tool to ensure their stories do not remain invisible. It is clear their activism is having an effect. More than ever, people are talking about where their food comes from.

Bearing witness is not easy. But, as Krajnc states, when one sees suffering it is our duty to move closer and try to help, not to look away.

It is past time for our laws to be updated to give all non-human animals the respect and dignity they deserve.

The Pig Trial resumes on October 3rd in Burlington.

#PigTrial #CompassionIsNotACrime #StandWithAnita

-Temara Brown
Cambridge, ON

Note: An edited version of this letter was published in the Cambridge Times.