Responsibility & Snow Clearance

It seems that there are a differing opinions when it comes to snow clearance in Waterloo Region, particularly Kitchener. From an article in The Record to an article in the Kitchener Post, citizens have quite varied views as to where responsibility for snow clearance lies. Being a person with a physical disability or difference that influences my ability to navigate built environments as well as natural environments, I have felt a need to take a stand on the issue.

Each time I see posts regarding this topic lately on social media, a question comes to mind that I haven’t noticed anyone else discussing in their comments. I ponder what role a province that has legislation in place that suggests it will reach full accessibility in just 7 or 8 years time has in making it possible for a person with mobility issues to be able to go and get their groceries or to meet a friend for a warm beverage. The individual who has mobility issues may not be physically able to clear the snow properly and therefore should not be expected to do so themselves. They may not have the financial resources to hire someone to clear the snow for them either.

If they are using a service such as Mobility Plus for transportation which offers accessible door to accessible door service, one could argue that the fire department needs to be called if snow is not cleared well enough for a driver to safely assist an individual in reaching the entrance of their building that should be cleared by the owner of the property if not the municipality. The driver cannot lift the individual and their wheelchair out of the vehicle, nor should they be expected to do so. Providing accessibility services does not make one superhuman.

We do not have universal rules across the province for snow clearance. We have corporations that own some properties, home owners that have their own properties, and we have other situations such as co-operatives and businesses which are each unique. If there were universal snow clearance rules that allowed barrier free access to all in a fair and equal manner, all parties of ownership would be able to operate the same in each jurisdiction.

snow

#GPC SGM 2016

Glimpse of the Rockies from Calgary

As most readers will be aware, the Green Party of Canada just conducted a Special General Meeting in Calgary to deal with some urgent business, namely human rights, pipelines and electoral reform.

Canada is signatory to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (and indeed was instrumental in bringing this important document into existence).  As well, Canada is a high contracting member of the Geneva Conventions.

Green Party Core Values

Green Parties around the world share common values as expressed in the Charter of the Global Greens. The policies of the Green Party of Canada are based on six fundamental principles

Non-Violence

Richard Walsh, Waterloo
Richard Walsh, Waterloo

We declare our commitment to non-violence and strive for a culture of peace and cooper
ation between states.

Sustainability

We recognize the scope for the material expansion of society within the biosphere, and the need to maintain biodiversity through the use of renewable resources.

Social Justice

We assert that the key to social justice is the equitable distribution of resources to ensure that all have full opportunities for personal and social development.

Ecological Wisdom

We acknowledge that human beings are part of the natural world and we respect the specific value of all forms of life, including non-human species.

Participatory Democracy

We strive for a democracy in which all citizens have the right to express their views, and are able to directly participate in decisions which affect their lives.

Respect for Diversity

We honour and value equally the Earth’s biological and ecological diversity together with the context of individual responsibility toward all beings.

In Calgary this past week the Green Party of Canada took a principled stand for human rights, demonstrating our respect for people in Canada and around the world.

S16-P013  Measures to pressure the government of Israel to preserve the two-state solution: addendum to current Middle East policy

Canada’s friendship with Israel does not mean we should avert our eyes from the human rights abuses Israel continues to visit upon its captive indigenous population. The Occupied Palestinian Territory (OPT) has been under martial law for decades.  The Government of Israel’s continuing policy of appropriating land for settlements from what little land is left in Palestinian hands has been deplored around the world, not only because it is an egregious violation of International Law, but, as the United States has pointed out, this active colonialism undermines any hope for peace.

If the Green Party of Canada is to live up to the promise of our core values of non-violence, diversity and social justice, we must hold every country — including and perhaps especially our friends — accountable to International Law.  The sad truth is that Canada has failed to do what our government’s own policy says it will.

Thankfully the Green Party has stepped up to the plate, with the adoption of enhanced foreign policy that will give the growing number of Canadians who want peace in the Middle East a voice in Parliament.  At the SGM, we revisited the Israel-Palestine policy adopted in August to address perceived problems in the original resolution.  At the Calgary SGM, the new Consensus Resolution put forward by the GPC Shadow Cabinet was adopted by 84.35% of the plenary.  GPC members who weren’t able to attend can watch the livestream on the Party Website.

You can also listen to Dimiti Lascaris (the original resolution’s mover) being interviewed on Vancouver’s Co-Op Radio.  Dimitri explains this past weekend’s adoption of a suite of policies defending the rights of indigenous peoples in Canada and Palestine establishes the Green Party of Canada as the champion of human rights in Canada’s Parliament. (His interview begins at 19:52 of the podcast.)

Canada is not the only member of the International Community to be reconsidering Middle East policy.  I found the following quotation from Australian MP Adam Bandt to be particularly apt.

“There is no point in being friends with governments if you do not use that supposed friendship to stand up to them when they do the wrong thing—to say, ‘You need to act on what is clearly an egregious abuse of human rights.’ Otherwise, if you do not stand up to governments when they do that, you become complicit in it. The standard that you walk past is the standard that you accept. That means that the Australian government has now been put on notice. It has taken action in the past, and it is time that it renewed that action so that we address what is clearly an unlawful but also immoral abuse of children.”
— The Honourable Adam Bandt, Australian MP, (Green) Nov. 21, 2016

Truth and Reconciliation

Lorraine Rekmans at the SGM
Lorraine Rekmans, GPC Indigenous Affairs Critic

As Canada embarks upon our own road to Truth and Reconciliation, we need to do what we can to promote active solutions.  For the GPC that process began with the adoption of this suite of Canadian Indigenous Peoples’ rights policy, including rejection of the odious “Doctrine of Discovery.”

S16-P001  Implement Recommendations from the Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples Report, 1996

Policy Resolution Submitted by Lorraine Rekmans

BE IT RESOLVED That the Green Party of Canada urge the Government of Canada implement the recommendations made by the Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples.

S16-P002  Rebuilding and Recognition of Original Indigenous Nations

Policy Resolution Submitted by Lorraine Rekmans

BE IT RESOLVED that the Green Party of Canada urge the Government of Canada to implement, support and resource measures to advance Indigenous nation building where Indigenous peoples develop and implement their own strategies for rebuilding Indigenous nations and measures to reclaim Indigenous nationhood, including;
(a) cultural revitalization and healing processes; and,
(b) political processes for building consensus on the basic composition of the Aboriginal nation and their political structures; and,
(c) processes undertaken by individual communities and by groups of communities that may share Indigenous nationhood.

S16-P003 Support Indigenous Women

Policy Resolution Submitted by Lorraine Rekmans

BE IT RESOLVED that the Green Party of Canada urges the Government of Canada to work in partnership with Indigenous women and fund such programs and services that ensure poverty amongst Indigenous women is eliminated.

S16-P004 Repudiation of the Doctrine of Discovery

Policy Resolution Submitted by Lorraine Rekmans

BE IT RESOLVED that the Green Party of Canada renounces and repudiates the Doctrine of Discovery and calls on the Government of Canada to repudiate and renounce the Doctrine of Discovery.

S16-P005 Indigenous Peoples’ Health Care in Canada

Policy Resolution Submitted by Lorraine Rekmans

BE IT RESOLVED that The Green Party calls upon the Government of Canada to engage Indigenous Peoples of Canada in the negotiation and implementation of the next federal/provincial /territorial Health Accord;

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that The Green Party calls upon the Government of Canada to establish measurable goals and identify and close gaps in health outcomes for Indigenous people by implementing the recommendations made by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission;

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that The Green Party calls upon the Government of Canada to ensure that Health Care services for Aboriginal people in Canada meet or exceed the standards set for all Canadians;

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Green Party calls on the Government of Canada to provide federal funding to Indigenous healing centres.

Pipelines

Former Green Party Deputy Leader and current Councillor of the City of Vancouver, Adriane Carr submitted an emergency resolution to Green Party SGM regarding the recent ill advised Kinder Morgan decision.

“The motion basically calls on the Green Party of Canada to embark on a robust nationwide campaign to educate the public about accelerating climate change, and the impacts of decision that the Prime Minister and the cabinet just made around Kinder Morgan and the fact that kind of decision really does have a huge impact on our climate.”
— CKNW: Adriane Carr submits emergency resolution to Green Party, seeks reversal of Kinder Morgan decision

Former GPC Deputy Leader and current Vancouver Councillor, Adriane Carr spoke about Kinder Morgan at the SGM plenary
Adriane Carr addresses the SGM plenary

The Green Party has been clear about pipelines: the only hope of effective climate change policy starts with keeping it in the ground.  In spite of our new Liberal Government’s COP 21 commitment in Paris, Canadians have been seeing a disconnect between words and actions.  Instead of the promised NEB reformation, the current government has left the flawed process in place, and insupportable pipelines are being approved same as always.

S16-P020 is the Husky Oil Spill resolution, intended to raise public awareness of the effects of the July 20 2016 oil spill in Saskatchewan, calling on Saskatchewan to review its environmental assessment rules and ensure there are adequate pipeline inspections

Electoral Reform

Peter Bevan-Baker, PEI
Peter Bevan-Baker, PEI

Elizabeth gave a report on the Electoral Reform process to the plenary on Saturday (I’m hoping to post video on the WRGreens YouTube channel).

In order to fulfil their mandate, the MPs representing four of the five parties in Parliament and on the ERRE Committee came together to form consensus.  This required both Green and NDP Committee members to soften the stance of their respective parties and accept the notion of a referendum.  (Incredibly, the Liberals who promised to make every vote count dissented, as the party is now frantically back pedalling on their own promise while the other four parties fight for it.)  You can read/download the PDF the full final ERRE Committe report for yourself here.

On Sunday morning there was an Electoral Reform workshop, featuring PEI Green Party Leader Peter Bevan-Baker, who has recently having his own adventures with Electoral Reform.  The workshops resulted in three new resolutions that were adopted at the SGM (but still in need of ratification — don’t forget to vote!)

Members of the SGM Electoral Reform workshop decided to amend party policy as follows, with three new resolutions that frame the GPC policy to allow Elizabeth more leeway in Electoral Reform negotiations on our behalf.

S16-D017 Referendum

Be it resolved that the Green Party of Canada’s position regarding referenda on electoral reform is:

That the Green Party of Canada supports conducting a referendum on electoral reform with options of proportional systems with a Gallagher index of 5 or less, as presented by the Special Parliamentary committee on Electoral Reform, but only

1) if the referendum presents only proportional voting options;

or

2) after at least two consecutive elections using a proportional voting system.

To more effectively lobby for meaningful electoral reform at this critical juncture, it was decided the Green Party should explicitly back a single specific form of Proportional Representation.  Among other things it will make it easier to explain this important issue the majority of Canadians who are just now learning about PR when we only have one system to explain.   Although the GPC has expressed a preference in this resolution, the language of the resolution was careful not to close the door to support of any other suitable Proportional System with a Gallagher Index of 5 or less.

S16-D018 Preferred Voting Model

BE IT RESOLVED that the Green Party of Canada supports mixed member proportional representation as its preferred method for achieving equal and effective votes.

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Green Party of Canada will remain open to other proportional representation options with a Gallagher index of 5 or less, as presented by the Special Parliamentary committee on Electoral Reform

The third electoral reform resolution empowers the party to keep working hard for electoral reform at this critical juncture.

S16-D019 GPC Task Force

BE IT RESOLVED that the Green Party of Canada create a task force that will liaise and work with the Party Leader and the Shadow Cabinet to focus on promoting electoral reform within Canada.

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Green Party of Canada will direct resources and funding toward educating the public on the GPC’s electoral reform priorities

Whose Democracy Is It?

The Liberal Government has sent postcards to every Canadian household (at great expense), completely ignoring the work of its own ERRE Process in which Canadians are asked to complete a deeply problematic survey which requires participants to sacrifice an unreasonable amount of personal privacy in order to have our input included.  The Government’s own website gives a little background, and then redirects us to the corporate website of the marketing firm we are expected to share such personal information as our household income.  This is supposed to be okay, because we are not required to tell them our name.  Except the personally identifiable information we are required to share is sufficient for Vox Pop Labs to ensure the answers made by multiple people completing the survey at the same address are distinct individuals (indicating the personal data we are required to surrender is far more invasive than simply giving our names would be.

Postcards

At the GPC SGM there was talk of Operation Postcard parties throughout the festive season, and to make the process easier, Bonnie North was instrumental in helping develop the tools to make participation easier.

Fair Vote Canada had also set up a website intended to help Canadians navigate the convoluted survey at mycanadiandemocracy.ca/

The negatives attached to the mydemocracy.ca online survey make it difficult to recommend that Canadians engage in the Government’s dubious exercise, particularly in light of concern the aim of the survey is to provide justification to back away from meaningful reform.

Which is why I was ecstatic to discover there are other ingenious ways to send an emphatic message.  I was particularly taken with this clever idea of what we can do with our government postcards:

There are many variations on this theme, some of which can be found under the Twitter #OperationPostcard hashtag.  But since only a single postcard is being sent to each Canadian household, those of in homes with more than one citizen are limited to a single opportunity to express a preference with the postcard.  But fear not!  If there are more people in your household who would like to offer an opinion, or even if you haven’t received your postcard yet in the mail, the Green Party provides an opportunity to print your own copy of the postcard at home here.

The Real Questions

Because the government survey fails on so many levels, the Green Party has put together its own straight forward survey to allow Canadians to answer The Real Questions.  It’s packaged in an online tool so we can send to our own responses ~ along with am optional personalized message ~ direct to Maryam Monsef, The Minister of Democratic Institutions and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. I sincerely hope every Canadian takes this opportunity to make our preferences known to the government.  You don’t even have to be a GPC member or even a supporter to fill this survey out… it’s being offered as a public service.

The most fun to come out of the electoral reform workshop was this parody song, “All I Want For Chrisrtmas Is PR,” performed here by the GPC SGM Plenary.

Ratification

In the past, all Green Party Policy resolutions passed at Convention were ratified by the entire membership in an online vote.  SGM 2016 has restored this practice, and so all GPC members should be in receipt of email instructions on how to vote to ratify the resolutions.  All GPC members across Canada should have received an email on December 7th, 2017 which contains information and our voting credentials.

If you haven’t received your, please contact the GPC immediately.  Don’t forget to vote!  

The above links only work if you sign into the GPC website (they’re in the secure members area).  I’ve included them as I found it helpful to be able to refer to the texts to know what I was voting on.  There didn’t seem to be a way to do that from within the voting app.

“I am very happy that all the motions being sent out for ratification were the products of a consensus-seeking process. Many were unanimous. Those that moved to a vote were passed overwhelmingly. I support all of them.”
Elizabeth May, “What happened in our Calgary meeting”

All GPC members can (and should) participate in the ratification vote.  You can vote until February 6th, 2017.  Don’t leave it until the last minute!  Remember your membership must be in good standing at least 30 days prior to the end of voting, so if you’ve allowed yours to lapse, get it caught up before January 6th, 2017.

(And while you’re at it, this would be a good time to make a donation to the GPC ~ and don’t forget the GPO 🙂

Do you know a $400 GPC donation will give you a $300 tax refund?  Money spent on membership and at least some of the cost associated with AGM and SGM attendance is eligible.  Remember to stay within annual donation limits for political donations.   Hmm…sounds like we should have a dedicated article about these rules for federal and provincial parties here.

Happy Human Rights Day!

The Green Party of Canada has a lot to be proud of on this International Human Rights Day, having just adopted groundbreaking Indigenous Rights policies ~ including Repudiation of the Doctrine of Discovery ~ as well as a robust addendum to existing GPC policy on Israel and Palestine to stand up for human rights for Palestinians in the Occupied Palestinian Territories ~ in its Special General Meeting in Calgary last weekend.

Elizabeth May ~ SGM 2016 CC-by laurelrusswurm
Elizabeth May at the Calgary SGM

International Day for Human Rights is a time to stop and reflect on the rights our predecessors have fought so hard for us to enjoy today.  Good governance is key to promoting human rights. Unfortunately, few of us consider our right to have representatives in government who truly reflect the values that each of us cherish. Our current voting system denies a majority of Canadians representation because of our antiquated winner-take-call voting system,” said Elizabeth May, Leader of the Green Party of Canada (MP, Saanich-Gulf Islands).

“After country-wide consultations, the all-party Special Committee on Electoral Reform recommended that we get rid of First Past the Post and move to a system of proportional representation. In a country as diverse as Canada, our growth as a democracy depends on all communities being integrated into our national fabric. Ignoring the cries of our indigenous peoples has blotched our international reputation and led to wounds that will take generations to heal. The hyper-partisan attacks and lack of dialogue, created by a Parliament which vetoes rather than encourages collaboration among Parties, has resulted in growing political apathy,” Ms. May said.

Joe Foster, GPC Human Rights Critic, said: “If our democracy is to flourish in the 21st Century, Canada’s electoral system must be more accountable to the citizens it represents. Politics is the tool we use to design a social and economic framework that allows us to have the freedoms expressed in the Canadian Human Rights Charter and its sister, the Quebec Charter of Human Rights and Freedoms. Electoral reform is an issue of human rights.”

Canada’s Water Protectors: Chippewas of the Thames

Chippewas of the Thames marched at last years People’s Climate March in Waterloo ~ November 29th, 2016

If you can donate to only one thing this year, I hope you’ll make that a donation to the Chippewas of the Thames.

Supreme Court Grants Chippewas of the Thames First Nation Challenge to Line 9: Community Hopeful of Meaningful Consultation with the Crown

MUNCEY, March 10, 2016 – the Supreme Court of Canada has granted the Chippewas of the Thames leave to appeal a decision of the Federal Court of Appeal relating to an Application before the National Energy Board to repurpose the Line 9 Pipeline.

At issue is whether the Crown exercised its duty to meaningfully consult and accommodate the Chippewas on a project that may potentially impact their Aboriginal and Treaty rights. The Chippewas are challenging the Crown’s paternalistic policies based on denial and extinguishment of rights. Relying on s. 35 of the Constitution and previous Supreme Court rulings, the First Nation continues to urge negotiation and reconciliation.

Chief of the Chippewas of the Thames, Leslee White-Eye welcomed the decision, saying, “Our community is pleased by this forward step but the path before us is still long as we continue to seek protection of our Aboriginal and Treaty rights. We need to bring home that we are not acting alone in the action, nor that it is for our sole benefit but an attempt to seek protection of our water – these energy developments are one of many across the nation impacting our rights”.

According to Chief White-Eye, “Our members were very distressed by the Federal Court of Appeal’s dismissal of the appeal when they failed to acknowledge our Aboriginal and Treaty rights.  The Court did not consider previous decisions, which establish the Crown’s duty to meaningfully consult with and accommodate us on projects that may potentially impact those rights, such as Line 9.”

The Crown’s failure to consult has stalled negotiations, prevented Chippewas of the Thames from benefiting from their collective rights and has impeded economic development for all stakeholders. It has also undermined the Nation’s development as a government. Still, Chief White-Eye remains optimistic by stating that “a positive final decision from the Supreme Court will hopefully pave the way for reconciliation with the Crown.”

Supreme Court Grants Chippewas of the Thames First Nation Challenge to Line 9: Community Hopeful of Meaningful Consultation with the Crown

Myneengun Henry of Chippewas of the Thames
Myneengun Henry of Chippewas of the Thames discusses the issues after the 2016 People’s Climate March

The Chippewas of the Thames First Nation is headed to the Supreme Court of Canada this month for an appeal hearing on the change to the pipeline which travels through Chippewas land, a change which members — along with critics and environmentalists — warn could lead to an environmental catastrophe.

The reversal has been greenlighted by the National Energy Board, but, the Chippewas aruge, without the Crown first fulfilling its constitutional duty to consult the First Nation.

While the appeal takes place at the Supreme Court, supporters are organizing a “fill-the-Hill” demonstration in Ottawa that aims to get attention on Parliament Hill down the street.

“The immediate plan now is to bring attention to the Supreme Court,” said Chippewas of the Thames Chief Leslee White-Eye.

“If there is an opportunity to unify physically in support of water, future generations and a long-term plan, we can convey those messages and show that solidarity on the outside,” said White-Eye.

“We want to work together. We want to be working with all Canadians on . . . in terms of water protection and the fossil fuel industry and nation-to-nation relationships with First Nations in Canada.

“The decision is going to have considerable impacts either way. I’m calling on Canadians — all of us, as folks that are living in Canada, to reflect at their dinner tables about their make-up. This really does matter. . . How we raise our children to value water.”

—  Chippewas of the Thames is headed to Canada’s highest court to fight the Line 9 oil-flow reversal

People's Climate March
People’s Climate March

Chippewas of the Thames  are appealing the National Energy Board’s approval of Enbridge’s Line 9 pipeline to the Supreme Court.

This project will carry tar sands diluted bitumen through southern Ontario and east for export.

Donate to the Chippewas Line 9 opposition GoFundMe campaign here.

Attend the Supreme Court Rally in Ottawa!

There’s a Kitchener GoFundMe Campaign to help people get to Ottawa

On November 30th, on unceded Algonquin territory in Ottawa, Clyde River Inuit and the Chippewas of the Thames First Nation are heading to the Supreme Court to uphold the legal right of Indigenous People to be consulted on energy projects that will impact their communities. A win at the court could be a watershed for the future of Indigenous rights and environmental justice.

Bus Tickets: Supreme Court Rally – Clyde River and Chippewas of the Thames

For those wishing to attend (and/or help others attend) the Supreme Court Rally: https://www.eventbrite.ca/e/bus-tickets-supreme-court-rally-clyde-river-and-chippewas-of-the-thames-tickets-2855632975

If you are unable to attend the court support rally, you can show support by signing this petition:

Demand the NEB respect Indigenous Rights! Sign to support Chippewas of the Thames First Nation!

The Chippewas of the Thames need to raise additional funds.  Please donate if you can: https://chippewassolidarity.org/en

Further reading:
The Star: The Chippewas of the Thames protest pipeline
Supreme Court of Canada Docket Page  
Chippewas of the Thames Factum for the Line 9 case before the Supreme Court of Canada:

 


Image Credits

Photos by Laurel L. Russwurm released under a Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0) license.  You’ll find more photos in my Flickr album.

Canada’s Score: Climate Change Performance Index 2016

ice storm

Whenever anyone tells you Canada doesn’t need to do anything about our carbon footprint direct them to the Climate Change Performance Index 2016

For starters, even though Canada has only 0.49% of the world population, we make the 10 Largest CO2 Emitters list.

Canada ranks 56th with only 5 countries (Korea, Japan, Australia, Kazakhstan and Saudi Arabia) ranking worse.

None of the countries have yet achieved any of the top 3 spots, because so far nobody is doing enough to prevent dangerous climate change.

1* – –
2* – –
3* – –
4 Denmark 71.19
5 United Kingdom 70.13
6 Sweden 69.91
7 Belgium 68.73
8 France 65.97
9 Cyprus 65.12
10 Morocco 63.76
11 Italy 62.98
12 Ireland 62.65
13 Luxembourg 62.47
14 Switzerland 62.09
15 Malta 61.82
16 Latvia 61.38
17 Hungary 60.76
18 Romania 60.39
19 Portugal 59.52
20 Lithuania 58.65
21 Croatia 58.43
22 Germany 58.39
23 Finland 58.27
24 Indonesia 58.21
25 India 58.19
26 Slovak Republic 57.83
27 Iceland 57.25
28 Mexico 57.04
29 Czech Republic 57.03
30 Egypt 56.96
31 Slovenia 56.87
32 Poland 56.09
33 Greece 55.06
34 United States 54.91
35 Netherlands 54.84
36 Norway 54.65
37 Bulgaria 53.85
38 South Africa 53.76
39 Malaysia 53.49
40 Algeria 53.30
41 Spain 52.63
42 New Zealand 52.41
43 Brazil 51.90
44 Belarus 51.18
45 Austria 50.69
46 Ukraine 49.81
47 China 48.60
48 Argentina 48.34
49 Thailand 48.16
50 Turkey 47.25
51 Estonia 47.24
52 Chinese Taipei 45.45
53 Russian Federation 44.34
54 Islamic Rep. of Iran 43.33
55 Singapore 42.81

56 Canada 38.74

57 Korea 37.64
58 Japan 37.23
59 Australia 36.56
60 Kazakhstan 32.97
61 Saudi Arabia 21.08

Canada needs to make some serious changes before we can be considered part of the solution.

pipeline-4

Party Politics

Wellington—Halton Hills MP Michael Chong speaks at the 2016 International Plowing Match.
Green Party of Ontario leader Mike Schreiner and other dignitaries listen to
Wellington—Halton Hills MP Michael Chong speak at the 2016 International Plowing Match.

by Teresa Cornwell


Canadians, we need to double down on our work for inclusive progressive society.  We need to make sure we get electoral reform so the right wing can not split the progressive vote again.   We need to make sure our social safety nets are strong.  Please do not think our politicians are better. We need to continue to hold them accountable.

Conservative Leadership Candidate Kellie Leitch has received lots of media attention for her racist platform ideas.

I have been pondering and discussing what we can do to make sure Canada continues to be an inclusive society, and this is an idea. One thing alone won’t be enough, but many small things can have a very big impact.

The first thing I have come up with to do is let the Conservative Party leadership candidates know that we don’t want Trump style politics here. We want Canada to be an inviting country, we don’t need a Canada values test (whose values, since diversity is our strength), we don’t want people to have to hide from who they are or who they love, we want religious freedoms – that is for all religions.

There are currently 12 people running for leader of the Conservative Party, how many can you name?

We need to let these people know that we don’t want Leitch’s values. Can you call or email them to let them know you want a diverse, inclusive Canada. Tell them you won’t vote for an MP if their leader has racist ideals. If your current MP is Conservative call or email them as well.

I have looked up their phone and email addresses, some of these people already have racist things in their platform (banning the niqab during citizenship). Michael Chong called Leitch out on her Trump style politics. Let him know you want him to continue to push progressive ideals.

Lisa Raitt and Brad Trost shouldn’t be using MP resources for this but I couldn’t find any other contact info.

michael-chong_4998
CPC Leadership Candidate Michael Chong called Leitch out on her Trump style politics.

Chris Alexander 905-626-7517 chris@chrisalexander.ca
Maxime Bernier 819-205-3102 info@maximebernier.com
Steven Blaney 581-991-4983 info@blaney2017.ca
Michael Chong 1-800-837-7075 info@chong.ca or chisholm@chong.ca
Kellie Leitch 1-855-216-8095 team@kellieworks.ca
Daniel Lindsay – no contact info found
Deepak Obhrai 403-991-6757 info@electdeepakobhrai.com
Erin O’Toole info@erinotoole.ca
Lisa Raitt 613-996-7046 lisa.raitt@parl.gc.ca
Andrew Saxton info@andrewsaxton.ca
Andrew Scheer media@andrewscheer.com
Brad Trost 306-975-6133 brad.trost@parl.gc.ca

 

An Enemy of the People ~ Tonight!

cast of "Enemy of the People"

Last night Bob Jonkman and I were pleased to attend Waterloo Green Richard Walsh’s production of “Enemy of the People.”

Richard adapted Henrik Ibsen’s classic 1882 play, setting it in contemporary Canada. This tale of environmental whistleblowing is especially poignant in a province that lived through the Walkerton Crisis, and even more so for those of us in the town of Elmira (Kitchener-Conestoga), where our aquifer was so badly compromised by industrial pollution, our municipal water supply must be piped in from Waterloo. Bob was struck by the similarity to our municipal environmental politics.

Tonight is your last chance to see this excellent production:

8pm November 12th, 2016
Christ Lutheran Church, 445 Anndale Road, Waterloo (Davenport & Lexington)
call for tickets 519-885-4050
General Admission | adults $15 | students $10

David Clayworth, Richard Walsh and Ken Noakes

[Note: more photos available in my Flickr Album ~ Laurel]

Proposed GPC Policy on Israel and Palestine

The Green Party of Canada statement to its members:

“Dear Members,

“As so many of you are aware, there was a disagreement on Green Party policy on Israel and Palestine after the Convention in August.

“Since that time, many of you have reached out with questions and concerns. There appeared to be growing division on this issue and as such, it was felt, for the good of the party, that we should work together to reach consensus on a slightly modified position.

“We are pleased to say that a resolution will be introduced in Calgary that has the full support of Dimitri Lascaris, who was the sponsor of the BDS motion in Ottawa in August, and our party leader, Elizabeth May. It also has the full support of Shadow Cabinet which was involved in creating this resolution.

“My overall objective is to ensure that pressure is brought to bear on the Israeli government to recognize the civil and political rights of Palestinians and put an end to the suffering of Palestinians in the illegally occupied territories and in refugee camps outside of those territories. I feel this resolution allows for this to happen in both practical and political ways” says Dimitri Lascaris.

“GPC Leader, Elizabeth May, says “This resolution is very specific about what we feel is illegal and unjust and calls for remedies and actions that are appropriate for a political party and a government. It also shows the Green Party’s ability to work with those with differing views and find common ground, a workable consensus.”

“Both May and Lascaris stress the importance of the Green Party to reach a position independent of outside organizations with strong positions on matters relating to the Middle East. Lascaris says, “This resolution will be too strong for some and not strong enough for others, but it has not given in to any one interest group. It is informed and balanced.”

“This is not the only resolution which will be on the floor at the Special General Meeting in Calgary on Dec. 3-4. However, due to the amount of conventional media attention and discussion on social media, we felt it was important to let you know ahead of time about the progress being made.

“We trust you will give this your thoughtful consideration.”

Elizabeth May and Dimitri Lascaris
Elizabeth May and Dimitri Lascaris

[PLEASE NOTE: When originally posted I inadvertently cut and pasted the incomplete text below.  This has now been rectified. ~ LLR]

The full text of the resolution follows:

S16-P013
Resolution Type

Policy
Submitter Name

Shadow Cabinet
Preamble

WHEREAS Article 49 of the Fourth Geneva Convention prohibits an occupying power from transferring parts of its own civilian population to territory it occupies, and

WHEREAS Israel has continued to construct new settlements and to expand existing settlements in the OPT, to demolish Palestinian homes and other civilian infrastructure in the OPT and condones actions which deprive Palestinians’ rights to security and self determination, and

WHEREAS U.N. General Assembly resolution 273(111), which Canada co-sponsored, admitted Israel as a state to the United Nations and was based on the condition that Israel honour both the Partition Plan of November 28, 1947 and U.N. General Assembly Resolution
194 of December 11, 1948, which provided for the right of return of Palestinian refugees, and

WHEREAS Israel has failed to respect these commitments and has not complied with other relevant U.N. resolutions, and

WHEREAS the Global Greens Charter acknowledges the “[u]nderstanding that many of the world’s peoples and nations have been impoverished by the long centuries of colonization and exploitation,” AND

WHEREAS the Global Greens Charter recognizes “the rights of indigenous people and their contribution to the common heritage, as well as the right of all minorities and oppressed peoples to their culture, religion, economic and cultural life,” AND

WHEREAS the Palestinian people are among the indigenous people of the geographic region now designated as Israel and the OPT, and

WHEREAS Canada is a high contracting party to the Fourth Geneva Convention, and the Fourth Geneva Convention obliges all parties thereto, including Canada, to ensure respect for the Convention by other parties thereto, including Israel, “in all circumstances”, and

WHEREAS the Green Party of Canada opposes all forms of racism and discrimination, does not allow any Islamophobic or anti-Semitic elements in the party, and is concerned that Islamophobia and anti-Semitism are on the rise;

Operative

BE IT RESOLVED that the Green Party of Canada (GPC) calls on the legitimate representatives of the Palestinian people and the State of Israel to accord mutually recognized statehood.

BE IT RESOLVED that Green Party of Canada denounces violence in all of its forms, recognizes that it can only lead to failure in conflict resolution, and supports only non-violent responses to violence and oppression, including economic measures such as government sanctions, consumer boycotts, institutional divestment, economic sanctions and arms embargoes; and

BE IT RESOLVED the GPC calls on the Government of Israel to: respect the intent of UN Resolution 194, the implementation of which is to be negotiated in good faith with the legitimate representatives of the Palestinians, accord to the Arab-Palestinian population of Israel equal political and civil rights, and end Israel’s illegal occupation of the Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPT) and the Golan Heights, and Israel’s siege of Gaza;

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Green Party of Canada reconfirms its policy of condemning illegal settlement construction in the OPT, and calls for an immediate end to further settlement construction and expansion, and the dismantling of current settlements in the OPT, and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that Canada take strong diplomatic action, including economic pressure, in order to ensure the attainment of the three objectives identified in the preceding paragraph and to encourage Israel to enter into good faith negotiations with legitimate representatives of the Palestinian people for the purpose of establishing a viable, contiguous and truly sovereign Palestinian state. Such economic pressure should include, but not be limited to:

  • A ban on the importation into Canada of products produced wholly or partly within or by illegal Israeli settlements, or by Israeli businesses directly benefiting from the illegal occupation;
  • Renegotiation of the Canada-Israel Free Trade Agreement (CIFTA) such that it explicitly excludes products produced wholly or partly within or by illegal Israeli settlements, or by Israeli businesses operating within the OPT;
  • The strengthening of CIFTA compliance/audit provisions in such ways and clauses as to ensure that imported products labeled “Made in Israel” are actually produced, entirely and exclusively, within Israel’s internationally recognized borders;
  • The termination and indefinite suspension of all military and surveillance trade and cooperation between, on the one hand, the Government of Canada and Canadian corporations or residents of Canada and, on the other hand, the State of Israel, Israeli corporations or residents of Israel’s illegal settlements;
  • The repeal the House of Commons resolution condemning the BDS movement (Vote #14, 42nd Parliament, 1st Session; 22 February 2016.)

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Green Party of Canada calls on the Government of Canada to assess the investments it has under its control and to divest from any companies which are directly benefiting from activity within Israel’s illegal settlements or its occupation of the OPT; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the GPC calls on the Government of Canada to warn of the legal consequences of trade and investment in the illegal settlements;

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Green Party of Canada, and if elected, a Green government, as part of a policy on ethical purchases, will not purchase or use products produced by companies which are profiting from activity within Israel’s illegal settlements or
its occupation of the OPT; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Green Party of Canada calls on the Canadian Government to recognize the State of Palestine, and, should Canada gain a seat on the UN Security Council, the Green Party of Canada calls on the Canadian Government to pursue aggressively all possible diplomatic pressure on Israel, as well as on the United States to use its massive military aid to Israel as a lever to push for peace; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Green Party of Canada calls on the Government of Canada to ask the International Criminal Court to prioritize its investigation into charges of potential war crimes by members of the Israeli forces, and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that; Policy G16-P006-A Palestinian Self-Determination and the Movement for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions as voted on at the August 2016 BGM be repealed and replaced by this policy.

Sponsors

Jo-Ann Roberts, Lorraine Rekmans, Lora Teuschler, Lynne Quarmby Bob Warwick, Wes Regan, Erich Jacoby Hawkins, Jim Manly, Elizabeth May, Debra Eindiguer, Richard Walsh, Jonathan Dickie, Jeff Wheeldon, Glenn Sollitt, Joe Foster, Kate Storey, Ilan Goldenblatt, Brian Smallshaw, Jean-Luc Cooke, Richard Zurawski, Laurie Macmillan


Background

The Green Party of Canada is firmly committed to human rights, peaceful resolutions of conflict and international law. Of all the political parties in Canada, the GPC has the most thoughtful, detailed and balanced policy on the Israeli-Palestinian position of any party.

This resolution and review of our Middle East policies is an effort to update Green Party policies through consensus-decision-making. The following is proposed for adoption at the Calgary meeting December 3-4, 2016:

The Green Party of Canada reconfirms the following policies, passed between 1988 and 2014, which have been decided on through the consensus-decision-making process:

Resolved:

G08-p030: Palestinian Right to Statehood

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the Green Party of Canada endorse the recognition of a Palestinian right to statehood within the internationally recognized borders as described in United Nations Security Council Resolution 242.

G08-p042: Israel/Palestine Conflict

BE IT RESOLVED that the Green Party of Canada:
1. Support a two-state solution to the Israel- Palestine conflict that adheres to pre-1967 borders and also seeks to incorporate an international plan for stimulating economic prosperity in both nations.
2. Call on both sides to immediately stop the killing of civilians and adhere to international law.
3. Encourage the Canadian government to press for a mutually agreed upon honest broker to engage in bi-literal and multi-lateral peace talks involving Palestinians and Israelis.
4. Call on Arab countries to use their influence to broker an agreement between Hamas and the Palestinian National Authority to facilitate the promotion of peace amongst the competing Palestinian interests.
5. Call for an end to the collective siege of Gaza so that medical and humanitarian aid can be provided.
6. Actively support the efforts of civil society groups working for peace, human rights, and justice in the region.

G10-p09 Recognizing Palestinian Products as Palestinian

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED THAT the Green Party of Canada would seek to introduce legislation that would amend the Canada Israel free trade agreement. This change would require Israel to label as Palestinian, products and services from lands recognized under international law as Palestinian territory.

G14-P22 Condemning Illegal Israeli Settlement Expansions

BE IT RESOLVED THAT the Green Party of Canada fully condemn all illegal Israeli settlement expansions in the Occupied Palestinian Territories as undeniable obstacles to the Israel-Palestine peace-process.

G14-P58 Israel – Palestine Conflict

BE IT RESOLVED that the GPC urges the immediate cessation of hostilities between Israel and Palestine. The GPC will adopt a posture of engaged neutrality, opening all available diplomatic avenues in both Palestine and Israel to press for a peaceful resolution to the conflict consistent with the GPC’s commitment to justice and custom of speaking truth to power.

BGM 2016 Policies

There are two policies directly related to Israel and Palestine, which passed at the August 2016 BGM. The first policy was split out from the original resolution and passed by consensus. The second policy was passed by majority but not by consensus and will be repealed and replaced by this resolution if passed by consensus.

G16-P006-1 Opposing Prohibition of BDS (passed by consensus)
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the GPC opposes all efforts to prohibit, punish or otherwise deter expressions of support for BDS.

G16-P006-2 Palestinian Self-Determination and the Movement for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions
(passed by majority but not by consensus – this policy will be replaced by the new policy being proposed)

BE IT RESOLVED that the GPC supports the use of divestment, boycott and sanctions (“BDS”) that are targeted to those sectors of Israel’s economy and society which profit from the ongoing occupation of the OPT;

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the GPC will support such a form of BDS until such time as Israel implements a permanent ban on further settlement construction in the OPT, and enters into good faith negotiations with representatives of the Palestinian people for the purpose of establishing a viable, contiguous and truly sovereign Palestinian state.

Background on the Policy Update

In the years since the GPC adopted this policy, to which we are still committed, the situation has worsened. The possibility of a two-state solution is diminishing directly due to the Netanyahu government’s support for illegal expansion and increasingly brutal military occupation. Even over 200 former members of Israeli Defense Forces (“Security First”) have decried the worsening security situation for Israelis and Palestinians – and laid the blame directly on Prime Minister Netanyahu’s policies. The former Israeli military officers have raised the alarm of a “humanitarian crisis in Gaza” and the diminishing chances for a two-state solution.

Clearly, Canada needs to do more to register with the Israeli government that flouting international law and threatening the security of its own people while violating the human rights of Palestinians is not acceptable. In doing so, Canada must continue to condemn violence from the militant elements of Palestinian society.

https://www.greenparty.ca/en/sgm-2016/voting/resolutions/s16-p013


Post script:

For Thomas Teuwen’s comparison of the two resolutions and explanation why Elizabeth May felt unable to support the resolution passed in August, but felt confident in sponsoring this new resolution check out  http://www.sgigreenparty.ca/consensus_resolution

PEI is a Proportional Representation Beacon #CDNpoli

[reblogged from Whoa!Canada Proportional Representation SeriesPEI picks Proportional Representation]

Electoral System with Majority Support
Mixed Member Proportional Representation
# of Votes 19,418
% of Votes 52.42
Total Valid Votes 37,040
Total number of votes required to achieve threshold 18,521

Eligible Electors 102,464

Voter Turnout 36.46%

Elections Prince Edward Island Plebiscite Results

PEI picks PR (Brigitte Werner's photo dedicated to the Public Domain with CC0)

I have no doubt that good media coverage helped the process along. The PEI Guardian endorsed Dual Member Proportional, the made in Canada system proposed by Sean Graham. I was able to include Sean’s system in my Electoral System Roundup.  I was able to include Sean’s system in my Electoral System Roundup, and  I know Sean made a presentation to the federal ERRE Committee.  His system may be a real solution for the wide open spaces problem faced when looking at Federal Electoral Reform.

Unlike previous electoral reform referenda in Canada, the PEI process did a pretty good job of informing voters. If you watch the video below and those that follow, you’ll see the array of very nice explainer videos put out by Elections PEI

The tiny province of Prince Edward Island has taken the first step in leading Canada toward better democracy.  Bravo!

Ontario’s Basic Income Pilot: public survey

One of the most important Green Party of Canada campaign issues was the Guaranteed Livable Income.  The idea was piloted in Canada under the name “Mincome” under the first Prime Minister Trudeau.   What happened then is what happens all to often… the government fell and its successors had no interest in implementing policy based on their predecessor’s pilot project.   Here in Waterloo Region, we have our own Basic Income Waterloo Region advocacy group that’s part of a Canada-wide grassroots movement to make a basic income guarantee the next great innovation in social policy.

Basic Income Waterloo meets with Richard Walsh and Bob Jonkman at the Waterloo Greens Office during the 2015 election
Basic Income Waterloo meets with Richard Walsh and Bob Jonkman at the WRGreens 2015 campaign office.

The Ontario Liberal Government is considering running its own pilot program, and it would be enormously helpful to fill out their

Basic Income Pilot: public survey

While on the surface it may seem that such a program would be prohibitively expensive, ironically research shows the effect of a properly managed basic income guarantee is actually a savings to government, as well as a boost to small business and innovation.  Check out Basic Income Waterloo Region’s Frequently Asked Questions page.

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