The largest barrier to electing Greens has traditionally been our unfair winner-take-all electoral system that makes people feel they need to vote strategically for other parties because they are afraid Greens can’t get elected. It’s been an ongoing Catch-22 scenario: the reason Green candidates “can’t” get elected is because too many supporters don’t vote Green because they’re afraid Green candidates can’t get elected. Fortunately that is all changing as Canadians are finally starting to realize that not only can Canadian Greens get elected, even a single Green MP can make a huge difference.
One way to do that is by getting together to discuss the things we want to do and work out strategies to make that happen. Sometimes we have planning events, sometimes social events, and sometimes organizational events. Very often they are all of the above, like last week’s excellent monthly Regional Meeting at the Queen Street Commons Cafe where four of our five Waterloo Region ridings had representation.
Everyone from long time organizers to anyone curious about what Green means in Waterloo Region is welcome to attend WRGreens Regional meetings. Come out to find out what’s coming up, to volunteer or even just to share green thoughts. We had a report from the 2017 Green Party of Ontario AGM (Annual General Meeting) and discussed plans for upcoming events– like the one coming up this Sunday!
WRGreens will again be at Uptown Waterloo’s Open Streets. The @OSWaterloo organizers have been fantastically inventive in meeting the massive challenge of LRT roadworks and keeping the awesome summer festival vibrant. This year they’ve chosen to incorporate the Uptown Waterloo trails as the “street” venues, which will be seriously awesome.
They’ve also given each of the four festival dates a theme, and the first theme for Sunday June 18th (Father’s Day) the theme is “Word.”
9:00am—12 noon Cambridge Community Clean Up: City Green Booths Open
Pick up your supplies from the City Green Booth nearest you and do your clean up when it’s convenient for you.
Cambridge City Green booth locations : 1. Holiday Inn Drive Tim Hortons parking lot
2. Galt Arena Gardens
3. St. Benedicts/Clemens Mill Library Branch
4. Victoria Park (Salisbury Ave corner of the park just before Highland Public School)
5. Monsignor Doyle Secondary School https://www.meetup.com/Cambridge-City-Green/events/237639111/
* The event is free, purchase of beer is not neccessary, and the space is wheelchair accessible. No food available for purchase but feel free to bring your own. If you have any questions, please email the organizer, Julia Gogoleva, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thursday May 11th, 2017
The Case for Divesting from Fossil Fuels in Canada
67 Erb St W
Waterloo, ON N2L 6C2
Divest Waterloo/CIGI to host an evening with Jeff Rubin, a world-leading energy expert and former chief economist at CIBC World Markets. As a senior fellow CIGI, Jeff has written extensively on the future of the Canadian oil sands and the financial imperative to shift our economy away from fossil fuel dependence. Jeff will be speaking at CIGI to address pension fund managers, members of the finance and insurance industries, and the general public about the financial case for divesting from fuels.
The Green Party doesn’t have a massive “war chest.” We don’t have corporate or union donors and the big advertising budgets they bring.
Our strength is in our grass roots… ordinary Canadians who think green thoughts. People who want a greener future. Not just for us, but for our kids. And posterity.
What we do have is ideas. Ideas worked out by members. Ideas expressed in policy, blogs, and multimedia. Because the Green Party doesn’t have big advertising budgets, it is very hard to get green ideas reported in Main Stream Media (MSM).
But we can get our ideas out there— if we work together.
You can help these ideas take root and grow by sharing them with your social media network.
Some people hesitate about sharing links to articles & videos. We worry that talking about politics online will alienate our family and friends. Let’s face it: we all have family and friends with different ideas. Some support other parties, and certainly many — probably even most — don’t support any party or even consider themselves political.
The Internet is still new enough that it’s easy to forget the reason it exists is to make it easy to exchange information.
Social Media is for sharing our interests with our family and friends. Maybe you’re a Green Party member, supporter, or even voter. But maybe you’re not, maybe you don’t like the Green Party candidate in your riding, maybe you don’t agree with everything in Green Party policy. But chances are good that anyone reading this is interested in at least some green ideas.
If we each share one green idea, article, or video on social media each day, we aren’t likely to alienate anyone. Especially as Facebook and Twitter have taken to limiting which of our posts our friends and family actually see. The beauty of social media sharing is that there is no need to argue or try to convert anyone. By sharing articles that resonate with us, we’re giving our friends and family an opportunity to learn what’s important to us — very often information they won’t see in the MSM. If they aren’t interested, they won’t read that article or watch that video. But maybe they will.
Even if they just skip over that Tweet or Facebook post, the fact you’ve shared it increases how far Twitter or Facebook will share. Even if our family and friends don’t read our blog articles, or look at our videos, or look at our graphics, you’ll help WRGreens increase our “Google juice” just by sharing.
Especially in a world where the first official act of the new American president was to take down the American Government Climate Change page, it becomes more and more evident we can no longer afford a way of life that puts corporate interests ahead of the public interest. We can’t put profits ahead of clean air and fresh water. So please, help us make social media work for us.
[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 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.
The event followed the usual Library of Parliament script for Community Dialogue suggested by ERRE.
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.
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!
In spite of the Main Stream Media obstructionism, the process marches quietly on.
“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 Waterloo 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.
Julia 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.
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.
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.
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
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.
Kitchener City Hall Rotunda
200 King St. W., Kitchener
Kitchener, N2G 4G7, Canada
All five MPs in Waterloo Region are teaming up for this multi-constituency consultation. We need you to commit now to attend this most important of consultations!
We’ll show our support for the People’s Climate Plan. Organizers with the People’s Climate Plan are calling for the national climate strategy that respects climate science and Canada’s commitments in the Paris Agreement, ensures a plan to transition to 100% renewable energy by 2050, and enshrines justice for all workers and Indigenous communities.
To celebrate Canada Day, join Michele this afternoon between 1 – 3 for Drop in urban sketching at the old Waterloo Train Station 10 Father David Bauer Dr, Waterloo, ON N2L 6M3 [directions here]
Michele promises a fun experience using pens on blank paper to produce your own highly personal & creative record of summer street scenes in Uptown Waterloo. There will be tips & coaching on selecting drawing sites, framing the sketch and using lines and shapes to suggest people, buildings and perspective. Bring your own tools and chair.
Then at 4:00pm Michele will be hosting a Story Telling Concert
In the tradition of campfires and listening together, Michele invites you to a storytelling event at the train station where she will use voice, expression and imagination to re-create the ancient tradition of storytelling. In celebration of Canada Day, Michele has created and collected stories to celebrate Waterloo County and Canada.