Waste Reduction in Waterloo Region

Waste Reduction Week in Canada is a national environmental campaign that builds awareness around issues of sustainable and responsible consumption, encourages choice for more environmentally responsible products/services, and promotes actions that divert more waste from disposal and conserve natural resources.

The program’s educational resources and “take action” messaging empower all Canadians to adopt more environmentally conscious choices. Waste Reduction Week in Canada further provides information and ideas to reduce waste in all facets of daily living, creating the solutions to the many environmental challenges we face including climate change, water pollution and preservation of natural resources.

Waste Reduction Week in Canada: Oct. 17 – 23, 2016

The University of Waterloo has a full schedule of activities to celebrate Waste Reduction Week.  To find out what’s happening across Canada, check out their Event List and/or follow @WRWCanada on Twitter or Facebook

Although we have don’t have an event scheduled, WRGreens area always keen on ways to preserve the environment.

The 5 Rs

There used to be only 3 Rs, but as we’ve become more attuned to the environment, now there are 5 — at least that I know of!Composting Green Bins


  • Unnecessary packaging, which is almost always disposable plastics.
  • cloth and clothing made in third world sweatshops
  • disposable (usually) plastic products
  • cheaply made products that will break and fill up our landfills
  • ask suppliers to take back packaging materials for reuse

ReduceCommunity Car Share cars

  • Before we buy, ask ourselves… do we really need all that stuff?
  • Reduce what we buy through community sharing … join a community toy library
  • Do you really need to buy a car or even a bike when there are Community Car Share and Community Access Bikeshare?



  • Choose reusable glass or metal water bottles
  • hand-me-downs are the new black!  Used clothing can be
  • establish a place to collect used packaging, cord binding, envelopes and other materials that can be reused

Little Library

  • Start a Little Library
  • Reuse packaging materials for arts & crafts, or gift wrapping
    • newspaper comics
    • some photocopier paper is packed in decorated wrapping paper sleeves
    • cloth gift bags
    • pretty tea towels can serve as kitchen giftwrap
  • Reuse equipment parts and fixtures and repair furniture to reduce waste
  • Compost kitchen waste into rich composted using a worm composter if you are in an apartment or bear country, if you have a back yard get a composter, but if you don’t wish to compost your own, get a green bin do your food scrap waste will be composted and reused instead of landfilled.


Recycling is a last option because unlike aluminum and glass, which can be recycled indefinitely, plastics will not be converted into new, similar objects. They will be turned into other products such as doormats, textiles, plastic lumber, etc. This is not recycling, but down-cycling. These products will still end in the landfill or as debris in waterways.

We Recycle

  • scrap paper, toner cartridges, plastic bottles, aluminium cans, etc
  • Donate old computers to Computer Recycling
  • appliances, electronics, appliances and furniture to charities or second hand shops


Ceramic Cups

  • paper or plastic cups and plates with glass, ceramic or metal reusable dishware
  • paper towels with cloth towels,
  • plastics with biodegradables and/or durable well made products of glass, wood or stainless steel instead
  • plastic seedling trays & planters with biodegradable peat or pressed paper (like egg cartons)
  • salt to melt snow & ice with sand for traction or mild fertilizer to melt ice instead
  • replace plastic bags with biodegradable bags
  • solvent-based paints with water based paints
  • Replace hazardous chemical products with environmentally friendly alternatives

Dimitri Lascaris Town Hall @UofW

uniTonight at 6:00 pm!
Monday, October 17th, 2016
University of Waterloo
PAS room 2083

200 University Avenue West,  Waterloo, ON 

img_6172Dimitri Lascaris graduated from the University of Toronto Faculty of Law in 1991, and is a practicing lawyer called to the bars of Ontario, the State of New York, and the Federal District Court for the Southern District of New York.  In 2012, Canadian Lawyer Magazine identified Mr. Lascaris as one of the 25 most influential lawyers in Canada, and in 2013, Canadian Business Magazine identified him as one of the 50 most influential people in Canadian business.

Lascaris is Vice-Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Unity Project for the Relief of Homelessness, and is also a member of the Board of Directors of the Real News Network, an independent, not-for-profit media organization based in Baltimore, Maryland. He previously served as a Board member of Toronto 350.org.  In the 2015 federal election, Dimitri ran as the Green Party candidate in the riding of London West.

In March 2016, Dimitri was named Justice Critic in the Green Party of Canada Shadow Cabinet.  He was also the author and submitter of the Green Party resolution on “Palestinian Self-Determination and the Movement for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions” that the GPC adopted as Party Policy at this year’s Policy Convention in Ottawa.  This was the first (and only) party with representation in the House of Commons to publicly support elements of the Palestinian-led call for boycott, divestment, and sanctions (BDS) as a means to pressure Israel to respect international law, and oppose efforts to “prohibit, punish or otherwise deter expressions of support for BDS.”

The Green Party quickly came under intense pressure from pro-Israeli organizations for its democratic adoption of the resolution. Green Party Leader Elizabeth May reacted by expressing her disagreement with the resolution, firing three members of her shadow cabinet who publicly supported the resolution, and calling a “special general meeting” on December 3-4 in Calgary to revisit, and potentially reverse, the resolution.


Join Dimitri Lascaris for a Town Hall discussion about freedom, dissent and BDS ~ with special guests Rehab Nazzal and Wendy Goldsmith.

Rehab Nazzal is a Palestinian-born multidisciplinary artist and educator whose video, photography and sound works deal with the violence of war and settler colonialism. Recently, Rehab was shot in the leg by an Israeli sniper while documenting the noxious activities of Israeli skunk trucks in occupied Bethlehem. 

Social worker and mother Wendy Goldsmith is a member of the steering committee of Canada Boat to Gaza, a representative at Freedom Flotilla Coalition and on the Media team for the Women’s Boat to Gaza. Wendy recently returned from Barcelona, Spain, Ajaccio, Corsica and Messina, Sicily where she participated in the sailing of the Zaytouna.

For more information tweet @laurelrusswurm or @bobjonkman or email bjonkman@sobac.com

Cross Cultures Town Hall Poster

Fee and Dividend vs. Cap and Trade

Caterina Lindman represented the Citizen’s Climate Lobby at the Waterloo Region Climate Consulation at Kitchener City Hall in August.  CCL is a strong advocate for the Fee and Dividend carbon tax; which is why one of the things she spoke about was the CCL recommendation to begin with a $30 per tonne carbon tax in 2018, with annual increases of $10 per year.

Caterina Lindman (Citizens Climate Lobby) speaks to discussion facilitators at the Waterloo Region Climate Consultation, August 18th, 2016
Caterina Lindman (Citizens Climate Lobby) speaks to discussion facilitators at the Waterloo Region Climate Consultation, August 18th, 2016

Earlier this month the Canadian Government announced its plan to implement a Carbon tax.

“It will start at $10 per tonne and increase by $10 each year, up to $50 a tonne by 2022. Trudeau added that the tax will be revenue neutral for the federal government. Proceeds from the tax will be returned to the provinces where they were collected.

“Trudeau said that details regarding implementation will largely be left up to the provinces. Each jurisdiction should decide on whether they want a cap-and-trade system (the sort of scheme favoured by the Obama administration) or a direct price on greenhouse-gas emissions (like with B.C.’s system for taxing air pollution).”

— Justin Trudeau announces national carbon tax will begin at $10 per tonne in 2018 and rise from there to $50

Although we are pleased Canada finally understands the need for a carbon tax, we would be much happier if the initial figure were higher.

The other issue is the federal Government’s failure to insist on the use of a Carbon Fee and Dividend plan instead of leaving it up to the provinces.

Let’s let this wonderful graphic created by CCL to explain why Fee and Dividend is the best option:

CCL Fee and Dividend infographic
Citizen’s Climate Lobby Canada explains How Carbon Fee and Dividend works.

Although it also puts a price on carbon, Cap and Trade works differently, more like a game of monopoly that allows wheeling and dealing with carbon emissions. Evidence from elsewhere demonstrates that it doesn’t really work, let alone foster a transition from carbon to sustainable energy.  There is also growing evidence Cap-and-trade? Not so Great if you are Black or Brown.

Although it sounds lovely that the plan is revenue neutral to the Federal Government, but not if it becomes a cash cow to the provinces.  But perhaps worse, instead of being revenue neutral, the carbon tax funds collected are not distributed among the people, it becomes a source of government income.

Can you remember the last time a government willingly gave up a source of revenue?

Me either.

Our Californian friends can tell us: Why fee and dividend is better than cap and trade at fighting climate change.  Although it is not enough, even a weak carbon tax is a baby step in the right direction.

Energy East Pipeline

You can’t, however, say the same about fossil fuel pipelines.

Explainer video and Fee & Dividend Infographic by Citizen’s Climate Lobby
nergy East Pipeline and Caterina Lindman photos by Laurel Russwurm, released under a Creative Commons Attribution License


Cross Cultures Town Hall with Dimitri Lascaris

Cross Cultures Interactive Town Hall with Dimitri Lascaris poster

Join Cross Cultures for a lively interactive town hall with Dimitri Lascaris who will address

* B D S

Cross Cultures encourages everyone— especially those who disagree — to come and give their perspective…

… that is how we dialogue and that is how we promote mutual respect and understanding 

… not by suppressing, censoring or avoiding sensitive issues …

All attempts to invite a speaker whose views are anti BDS to provide the counter point of view have been declined.

Dimitri Lascaris
dimitrylascarisis a lawyer called to practice in Ontario and New York State. After working in the New York and Paris offices of a major Wall Street law firm, Dimitri became a class action lawyer in Canada. His class actions practice focused on shareholder rights, environmental wrongs and human rights violations.

In 2012, Canadian Lawyer Magazine named him one of the 25 most influential lawyers in Canada, and in 2013, Canadian Business Magazine named him one of the 50 most influential persons in Canadian business.

Until recently, Dimitri was the Justice Critic in the Green Party of Canada shadow cabinet. He is the author and submitter of the Green Party of Canada’s BDS resolution

“I am very happy to announce that, for our BDS town hall at the University of Waterloo on October 17, I will be joined by two extraordinary women, Rehab Nazzal and Wendy Goldsmith.

“Rehab is a Palestinian-born multidisciplinary artist and educator based in Toronto and Bethlehem. Her video, photography and sound works deal with the violence of war and settler colonialism, and have been shown in Canada and internationally. Recently, Rehab was shot in the leg by an Israeli sniper while documenting the noxious activities of Israeli skunk trucks in occupied Bethlehem. 

“Wendy is social worker and mother of three from London Ontario. As a social worker she has worked with many marginalized and traumatized individuals, families and communities and began her work in Palestine after Operation ‘Cast Lead’ and saw through photos and direct accounts of the horror and devastation inflicted by Israel on Gaza. Wendy is a member of the steering committee of Canada Boat to Gaza, a representative at Freedom Flotilla Coalition and on the Media team for the Women’s Boat to Gaza. Wendy recently returned from Barcelona, Spain, Ajaccio, Corsica and Messina, Sicily where she participated in the sailing of the Zaytouna.

It is an honour for me to speak about the GPC’s BDS resolution with Rehab and Wendy.

— Dimitry Lascaris

This event is open to the public.

WHEN: 6:00pm
Monday, October 17th, 2016

Psychology Anthropology Sociology Building
PAS room 2083
200 University Ave West,
Waterloo, ON N2L 3G1

Why Online Voting is a Bad Idea for #ERRE

ballot-boxComputer security people will be able to tell you:

You can have a secret ballot OR a secure system, but not both. Internet banking and commerce can be secure, but only because the bank knows who the customer is.

Fair Vote Waterloo says:
On Referenda, Consultations, and Postcards

Australian Computer Expert Vanessa Teague:
Election explainer: why can’t Australians vote online

Daily Dot takes a much more technical look:
Online voting is a cybersecurity nightmare

“The” computer security expert, Bruce Schneier agrees:
More Voting Machine News

Barbara Simons asks: Why can’t we vote online?

Online voting is one of the things Canada’s ERRE Special Committee on Electoral Reform has been tasked with studying, so WRGreens own Bob Jonkman framed this important issue in the Canadian context in his Submission to the ERRE Consultation:

“I am opposed to electronic voting and online voting. I am a computer consultant by profession, and nothing I see in my work shows that people’s home computers or even the computers in most businesses have the security capable of upholding the Integrity requirement, ensuring reliable and verifiable results.

“The main issue with online voting is not computer security, but a fundamental incompatibility between voter identity and the secret ballot.

“When voting takes place outside of a polling station it is important that voter identity is established to prevent fraud. It must be provable that the ballot filled in online was actually filled in by a registered voter, and not by someone impersonating that voter. To achieve this, voters need to be issued a ballot with a serial number or barcode to ensure that only that one ballot is filled in for that registered voter. But if every ballot cast has a serial number, then the completed ballot with the voter’s choices is identifiable with the voter’s name and registration information. The secret ballot is impossible, and the Integrity criterion cannot be met.

“When voting does not take place in a polling station then it is possible that a voter will be coerced into voting according to the demands of the “head” of the household, or voting at the workplace according to the employer’s demands. Without the scrutiny of Elections Canada, voting integrity cannot be ensured.

“But computer security is an issue too. People’s personal computers are constantly being attacked by computer viruses, malicious web sites, and denial of service attacks from compromised Webcams. And spam. The difficulty of ensuring online voting integrity is at least as great as is the difficulty of eliminating spam (unsolicited, unwanted e‑mail, sometimes commercial in nature, sent in bulk). If you haven’t experienced problems with spam then it is likely your E‑mail Service Provider is filtering your e‑mail for you – but how many good messages are being filtered accidentally? You’ll never know, because you’ll never see them.

“There are actually very few large-scale spammers on the Internet, maybe a couple of dozen at most. But they’re responsible for almost all the unwanted e‑mail that clogs up billions of e‑mail accounts in the world. It shows how a few bad actors on the Internet can completely overwhelm an e‑mail system. Similarly, a few bad actors on the Internet can completely compromise an online voting system. If we can’t secure our mail systems to solve the spam problem, it is unlikely that we’ll be able to secure everyone’s computer to guarantee online voting integrity.

“It is unfortunate that there were so few computer security experts providing witness testimony to the Committee. Almost every computer security expert who has commented on electronic voting since the U.S. “hanging chad” elections in 2000 has decried the use of voting machines, and, more recently, online voting. Voting machines are regularly compromised, are not auditable by design (they have proprietary source code), and are prone to failure when needed most. Computer security lecturers delight their audiences with tales of voting machine touch screens that dodge the target when the “wrong” vote is selected, or that play marching band music after they’ve been compromised by a prankish hacker.

“Voting is very much different from buying a product from an online store. If the wrong product is delivered, the store will ship the right product the next day to ensure customer satisfaction. But if the wrong candidate is elected, there is no recourse the next day. It is unlikely that fraud will be detected until the voting machines are audited many weeks after the election, and even when fraud is detected the outcome will be hotly contested by the affected candidates. In fact, if voting machines don’t use publicly published open source code then it is likely election outcomes will be hotly contested because proving that no fraud was committed is impossible.
Bob Jonkman working in the WRGreens office
“However, vote tabulation by machine is perfectly acceptable, although there must be a requirement that vote tabulators are also audited and their source code is made public. Ballots designed for vote tabulators (optical mark cards) can always be counted manually if the electronic tabulation is in dispute.”

— Bob Jonkman:  Electoral Reform — My Submission to the #ERRE Committee

Here’s hoping the #ERRE Committee puts Online Voting aside until it might be accomplished securely.

Community Access BikeShare

Bikes at City Hall

The first time I heard about the Working Centre’s CAB (Community Access Bike “bike share” was back in 2015 when I spotted the rank of bicycles in front of Kitchener City Hall.

Although we tend to view bikes as a recreational toy, the reality is that bikes make a lot of sense as a vehicle in urban settings.  Riding a bike isn’t just environmentally friendly, it is great excercise, too.  Owning and maintaining your own a bike is certainly more economical than owning a car, but joining a bike share program may suit  your needs even better as you’re relieved of the hassle of maintenance, and you don’t need a place to store your bike, either.

The idea is simple; bikeshare bicycles are there for the taking; all you need is a membership. Membership is $40 + HST per year for a season that runs from April through November… but apparently the fee is reduced to $25 +HST since we’re well into the season.

For more information you can always find out more from The Working Centre.

Community Access Bike Share at Waterloo Open Streets


Community Dialogue Voting Results #ERRE

Julia and Sam were the driving force behind the WRGreens Community Dialogue at Kitchener City Hall on September 17th, 2016
Julia and Sam were the driving force behind the #WRGreens “Canada’s Voting System Is Changing” #ERRE Community Dialogue at Kitchener City Hall on September 17th, 2016

Fair Vote Waterloo Co-Chair Sharon Sommerville explained gave an explanation of the kinds of electoral systems on offer.
Fair Vote Waterloo Co-Chair Sharon Sommerville explained gave an explanation of the kinds of electoral systems on offer.


Waterloo and Kitchener Centre Greens were on hand to lead small discussion groups.
Waterloo (Stacey Danckert) and Kitchener Centre Greens were on hand to lead small discussion groups to discuss electoral reform issues and make group submissions to the ERRE Committee.


Bob Jonkman (Kitchener Conestoga) and David Weber (Kitchener-South Hespeler) are also long time Fair Vote members, were on handf as facilitators and expert advice.
As well as participating th discussion, group members had the opportunity to cast ballots in mock elections for the different electoral systems. Long time Fair Vote members Bob Jonkman (Kitchener Conestoga) and David Weber (Kitchener-South Hespeler) Greens were on hand with expert advice.


The Kitchener CTV affiliate gave the event some nice coverage.
The Kitchener CTV affiliate gave our event some nice coverage.


The conversations continued for quite some time after the event.
The conversations continued for quite some time after the event.

WRGreens visit Brantford-Brant Greens #ERRE

Greens in Brantford ~ Ken Burns, Temara Brown, Jason Shaw, Bob Jonkman ~ ERRE Community Dialogue

On Sunday, October 2nd the The Brantford-Brant Women’s, Youth and Seniors’ Liberal Clubs hosted the multi-partisan Brantford-Brant Electoral Reform Community Forum in the Odeon Building at the Laurier Brantford campus.

[Note: the CPC MP attended and spoke at the LPC event, and of course Greens were there by invitation as well.  Where was the NDP I wonder?]
Temara Brown explains electoral systems

Temara Brown described the six different electoral systems, a fairly difficult task, particularly when being challenged by unruly audience members at every turn.  But she carried it off. Temara Brown, Cambridge GPO
The event followed the usual Library of Parliament script for Community Dialogue suggested by ERRE.
Small Group Discussions
The Brantford Expositor covered the event in Forum puts spotlight on electoral reform

Bob Jonkman chats with LPC Ray Wong
Unfortunately there are some errors in the Expositor article. For instance, Michele Braniff was the 2015 GPC candidate.  As well as being a GPO Candidate, Temara Brown is the GPO’s Shadow Cabinet member for the Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change.

The article gives a capsule rundown of the 6 electoral Systems discussed, where the worst error in the article mischaracterizes the Single Transferable Vote (STV) system as “A variation of the preferential vote”.   Electoral systems are complex,  which is one of the many reasons why a referendum would be a bad idea at the best of times.

Historically, STV predates AV by a few decades, so it would be more correct to say AV is a variation of STV.  But that’s just semantics. The real problem is that STV is perhaps the best system of Proportional Representation, while AV is a winner-take-all system much like our First Past The Post.
Post Community Dialogue dialogue, with Jason Shaw (FVC) and Temara Brown (WRGreens Cambridge)
Even so, it was nice to see some balanced coverage of the ERRE event.  For the most part, Canada’s Main Stream Media is making no bones about it’s desire to retain the status quo.  That is perhaps the biggest reason Canadians are so woefully uninformed about electoral reform options.  Instead of informing Canadians of our options, or even actually reporting on the ERRE consultation process, the media tables at ERRE consultation events are standing empty.  So kudos to the Expositor for reporting the news!


Ken Burns (Brantford-Brant candidate), Temara Brown (WRGreens Cambridge GPO Candidate), Jason Shaw (Fair Vote Canada) and Bob Jonkman (WRGreens Kirchener-Copnestoga and Fair Vote Waterloo)
Ken Burns (Brantford-Brant), Temara Brown (WRGreens Cambridge GPO Candidate), ________, ________, Jason Shaw (Fair Vote Canada) and Bob Jonkman (WRGreens Kitchener-Conestoga and Fair Vote Waterloo Co-Chair)

In spite of the Main Stream Media obstructionism, the process marches quietly on.

And a good thing, too.


Voting Reform in #Brantford-Brant Today! #ERRE #Q

Haven’t had your fill of electoral reform yet?   Come on out to the Brantford this afternoon for a multi-partisan look at Electoral Reform.

Brantford-Brant Electoral Reform Community Forum

womenSunday at Laurier

Get the facts and have your say at this Electoral Reform Forum!

This is a non-partisan event officially recognized by the government intended to discuss the issues surrounding electoral reform.

temaraThe federal Liberal government has set up a wide ranging consultation process to inform the all-party committee in Parliament which will be making recommendations to the government in December. A report will be submitted to the committee based on input received at this event.

WRGreens own Temara Brown (Cambridge GPO) will be giving the Green Party perspective on electoral reform at this event.

Sunday, October 2nd, 2016
Brantford-Brant Electoral Reform Event
1pm – 3pm
Laurier Brampton Campus
The Odeon Building
50 Market St. ~ Rm 110
Brantford, ON
(parking behind building)

[You can Register if you like, but it is not required]

The Electoral Reform consultation process wraps up Friday (October 7, 2016) so this may very well be your last chance to attend an event.  Get the facts on electoral reform!

Submissions to the consultation can be made until midnight, October 7th, 2016. Then the process takes the next step up the ladder.
Submissions to the consultation can be made until midnight, October 7th, 2016. Then the process will take the next step up the ladder as the ERRE Special Committee on Electoral Reform studies the question.

Every Canadian who wants to should have a say to help shape what our system looks like for 2019! This is your chance!

Busy October Weekend! @KWPeace #ERRE

WRGreens will be represented at two important events this weekend.

OCTOBER 1st, 2016

Perspectives on Peace:
Local Approaches for Positive Change
Perspectives on Peace logo

Saturday October 2016
4:00 pm – 8:30 pm

Queen Street Commons Cafe
43 Queen Street South
Kitchener, Ontario

The Peace and Social Justice organizations in Kitchener-Waterloo came together for a symposium and workshop on creating a positive change in our local community.   The event began with Keynote Speaker Dr. Simon Dalby, CIGI chair, whose work focuses climate change, political ecology, geopolitics, global security, environmental change, militarization, and the spatial dimensions of governance. Then after the speaker we will have sharing by local groups about their goals and projects, and collaborative visioning for the future of our community.stacey

As you know, peace and social justice issues are values important to the Green Party.  Stacey Danckert (Waterloo GPO) spoke for the WRGreens.

A hearty vegan local seasonal meal was provided.

This event is put on by KW Peace, a collective of peace and social justice groups passionate about working together and finding ways to encourage collaboration in our community.  Please visit our website at http://kwpeace.ca/, where we also have an event calendar that advertises events related to peace and social justice.  This event is part of IDOPAN – International Days of Peace and Nonviolence.

OCTOBER 2nd, 2016

Brantford-Brant Electoral Reform Community Forum

womenSunday at Laurier
temaraBrantford Campus

The Odeon Building
50 Market St. ~ Rm 110
Brantford, ON
(parking behind building)


Temara Brown (Cambridge GPO) will be speaking on behalf of WRGreens at Wilfred Laurier University’s Brantford Campus.
Have Your Say at the Electoral Reform Forum this Sunday!