Making History

Since becoming personally involved in elections, I’ve found myself watching televised election coverage on Election Night.  This year, that was at Ethel’s Lounge in Waterloo with three of our 5 Waterloo Region Greens Candidates and WRGreens volunteers and supporters.

Each broadcaster concentrates on the ridings their partisan experts consider important,  instead of showing the riding results equally, so it’s hit or miss for all the rest.  We chose to watch TVO’s coverage that night at Ethel’s, as TVO was the only MSM broadcaster to include a Green leaning commentator.

At the end of the day, it’s hard to get the big picture.  So for my own interest, I decided to check out Elections Ontario (unofficial results) to get an idea how our Green Candidates did overall. Although I did this for my own interest, Bob pointed out this might be of interest to others, so here it is.

Mike Schreiner Guelph 29,082 45.04% | Bonnie North Barrie—Innisfil 3,182 7.19% | Robert Kiley Kingston and the Islands 3,504 6.48% | Stephen Leahy Ajax 1,224 2.51% | Justin Tilson Algoma—Manitoulin 989 3.60% | Stephanie Nicole Duncan Aurora—Oak Ridges—Richmond Hill 1,195 2.66% | Keenan Aylwin Barrie—Springwater—Oro-Medonte 5,354 11.72% | Mark Daye Bay of Quinte 1,730 3.43% | Debra Scott Beaches—East York 2,128 4.26% | Laila Zarrabi Yan Brampton Centre 1,053 3.13% | Raquel Fronte Brampton East 500 1.33% | Pauline Thornham Brampton North 1,366 3.45% | Lindsay Falt Brampton South 1,472 3.86% | Julie Guillemet-Ackerman Brampton West 999 2.63% | Ken Burns Brantford—Brant 2,707 4.72% | Don Marshall Bruce—Grey—Owen Sound 2,922 5.95% | Vince Fiorito Burlington 2,828 4.48% | Michele Braniff Cambridge 3,018 6.27% | Gordon Kubanek Carleton 1,985 3.95% | Mark Vercouteren Chatham-Kent—Leamington 1,636 3.53% | Kirsten Snider Davenport 1,624 3.55% | Mark Wong Don Valley East 917 2.53% | Janelle Yanishewski Don Valley North 1,015 2.52% | Morgan Bailey Don Valley West 1,268 2.77% | Eryn Sylvester Mississauga—Malton 674 1.79% | Abhijeet Manay Mississauga—Streetsville 1,349 2.81% | Sarah Hutchinson Mushkegowuk—James Bay 164 1.78% | James O’Grady Nepean 2,679 5.06% | Michelle Bourdeau Newmarket—Aurora 1,788 3.63% | Joe Dias Niagara Centre 1,788 3.63% | Karen Fraser Niagara Falls 2,057 3.46% | Jessica Tillmanns Niagara West 2,578 5.58% | Bill Crumplin Nickel Belt 1,137 3.12% | Kris Rivard Nipissing 997 2.83% | Jeff Wheeldon Northumberland—Peterborough South 2,727 4.52% | Emily DeSousa Oakville 1,976 3.51% | Marianne Workman Oakville North—Burlington 2,045 3.69% | Nicholas Lapierre Orléans 1,603 2.51% | Deborah Ellis Oshawa 1,957 3.61% | Cherie Wong Ottawa Centre 2,266 3.52% | Les Schram Ottawa South 1,618 3.09% | Patrick Freel Ottawa West—Nepean 1,937 3.83% | Sheilagh McLean Ottawa—Vanier 1,951 4.07% | Al De Jong Oxford 2,247 4.30% | Halyna Zalucky Parkdale—High Park 2,544 4.66% | Matt Richter Parry Sound—Muskoka 9,438 20.02% | Lisa Olsen Perth—Wellington 2,746 5.86% | Gianne Broughton Peterborough—Kawartha 2,055 3.36%Laura Campbell Dufferin—Caledon 7,011 12.53% | Michelle Corbett Durham 2,359 3.88% | Reuben DeBoer Eglinton—Lawrence 1,230 2.43% | Bronagh Morgan Elgin—Middlesex—London 2,049 3.88% | Nancy Pancheshan Essex 1,853 3.45% | Shawn Rizvi Etobicoke Centre 1,329 2.32% | Nancy Ghuman Etobicoke North 991 2.73% | Chris Caldwell Etobicoke—Lakeshore 2,101 3.63% | Janet Errygers Flamborough—Glanbrook 2,307 4.47% | Daniel Reid Glengarry—Prescott—Russell 1,429 2.93% | Anne Faulkner Haldimand—Norfolk 2,095 4.14% | Lynn Therien Haliburton—Kawartha Lakes—Brock 2,584 4.50% | Jason Lopez Hamilton Centre 2,102 5.75% | Brian Munroe Hamilton East—Stoney Creek 1,873 4.26% | David Urquhart Hamilton Mountain 2,300 5.14% | Peter Ormond Hamilton West—Ancaster—Dundas 2,302 4.16% | Sari Watson Hastings—Lennox and Addington 1,910 4.24% | Kirsten Bennett Humber River—Black Creek 485 1.57% | Nicholas Wendler Huron—Bruce 1,804 3.42% | Andrew West Kanata—Carleton 2,827 5.33% | Adam Narraway Pickering—Uxbridge 2,105 3.96% | Anna Dolan Renfrew—Nipissing—Pembroke 1,436 2.98% | Walter Bauer Richmond Hill 1,248 2.88% | Kevin Shaw Sarnia—Lambton 1,856 3.65% | Kara Flannigan Sault Ste. Marie 1,044 3.25% | Sanjin Zeco Scarborough Centre 902 2.31% | Nicole Peltier Scarborough North 543 1.62% | David Del Grande Scarborough Southwest 1,144 2.64% | Lydia West Scarborough—Agincourt 635 1.72% | Linda Rice Scarborough—Guildwood 877 2.44% | Priyan De Silva Scarborough—Rouge Park 1,014 2.41% | Valerie Powell Simcoe North 3,615 6.65% | Jesseca Perry Simcoe—Grey 4,192 6.88% | Rita Bilerman Spadina—Fort York 1,817 3.66% | Colin Ryrie St. Catharines 1,923 3.72% | Elaine Kennedy Stormont—Dundas—South Glengarry 1,596 3.67% | David Robinson Sudbury 1,504 4.16% | Rachel Dokhoian Thornhill 1,043 2.21% | John Northey Thunder Bay—Atikokan 880 2.71% | Amanda Moddejonge Thunder Bay—Superior North 838 2.79%Ember McKillop Kenora—Rainy River 721 3.60% | Christine Penner Polle Kiiwetinoong 406 6.28% | Greg Locke King—Vaughan 1,754 3.41% | Stacey Danckert Kitchener Centre 3,23 David Weber Kitchener South—Hespeler 3,198 7.53% | Bob Jonkman Kitchener—Conestoga 2,793 6.51% | Anthony Li Lambton—Kent—Middlesex 1,655 3.29% | Anita Payne Lanark—Frontenac—Kingston 2,410 4.79% | Derek Morley Leeds—Grenville—Thousand Islands and Rideau Lakes 2,347 4.80% | Carol Dyck London North Centre 2,493 4.61% | Pamela Reid London West 2,211 3.75% | Lisa Carriere London—Fanshawe 2,050 4.52% | Jose Etcheverry Markham—Stouffville 2,153 4.00% | Caryn Bergmann Markham—Thornhill 859 2.29% | Deborah Moolman Markham—Unionville 993 2.12% | Eleanor Hayward Milton 2,208 5.04% | Noah Gould Mississauga Centre 1,149 2.63% | Basia Krzyzanowski Mississauga East—Cooksville 1,498 3.45% | Libby Yuill Mississauga—Erin Mills 1,312 2.74% | Lloyd Jones Mississauga—Lakeshore 1,572 2.95% | Casey Lalonde Timiskaming—Cochrane 723 2.63% | Lucas Schinbeckler Timmins 273 1.75% | Adam Sommerfeld Toronto Centre 1,377 3.12% | Andrew Trotter Toronto—Danforth 2,248 4.38% | Teresa Pun Toronto—St. Paul's 1,690 3.23% | Tim Grant University—Rosedale 2,652 5.37% | Michael DiPasquale Vaughan—Woodbridge 972 2.26% | Zdravko Gunjevic Waterloo 2,613 4.83% | Dave Rodgers Wellington—Halton Hills 5,066 8.64% | Stacey Leadbetter Whitby 1,958 3.42% | Randi Ramdeen Willowdale 932 2.30% | Krysta Glovasky-Ridsdale Windsor West 1,393 3.58% | Henry Oulevey Windsor—Tecumseh 1,907 4.42% | Roma Lyon York Centre 843 2.29% | Grad Murray York South—Weston 942 2.53% | Alexandra Zalucky York—Simcoe 2,195 4.82%(note: the above all candidates image is actually in three pieces, part 1 is the first 6 rows, part 2 the next 5 rows, and part 3 the last 5 rows. Click on the section you want to see the segment at full size.)

 

All five of our Waterloo Region Greens candidates did very well overall.

Kitchener South—Hespeler candidate David Weber‘s 7.53 riding vote percentage was the 6th highest in Ontario (up from 7th in 2014).  Kitchener Centre‘s candidate Stacey Danckert ranked 9th with 6.84%, Kitchener—Conestoga candidate Bob Jonkman ranked 11th with 6.51%, Cambridge candidate Michele Braniff ranked 14th with 6.27%, and first time candidate Zdravko Gunjevic ranked 24th with 4.83% in Waterloo.

And while I know from personal experience how lucky Waterloo Region has been to have such an excellent roster of WRGreens candidates, I have met enough other Green Party Candidates to know this isn’t really unusual.  Frankly, I am continually stunned by the calibre of Green Party Candidates in general.  Although the Green Party has far and away the best policy of any of the top four parties, putting your hat in the ring requires a great deal of time, money and effort for any candidate.  It’s a big personal investment no matter which party a candidate is running for, and Greens are faced with additional handicaps:

  • an electoral system that discriminates egregiously against the Greens,
  • unrelenting propaganda that insists majority government is a good thing,
  • the exclusion of the Green Party Leader in televised Leaders Debates
  • the MSM agenda to keep us perpetually cycling between red and blue parties,
  • the never ending push for strategic voting,
  • the catch 22 perception that no seats in the legislature means Greens are unelectable, and
  • the low probability of winning, even when you are the best candidate in your riding.

Green Candidates are well aware of how little chance they have of being elected, but in spite of everything, excellent Green Party Candidates keep stepping up.

Working together is the WRGreens superpower.

Stacey Danckert brought us all together under the unofficial WRGreens umbrella during the 2015 federal election, and our regional cooperation is paying off.  Cooperating, sharing our experience and resources has been incredibly helpful for us here in Waterloo Region.

And not just during elections.  We’ve been actively working to raise the Green profile between elections, by hosting information tables at local summer festivals where we can, hosting our own events and participating in others as appropriate, and building our online presence on the WRGreens blog.   We’re always learning, and we’ll do it even better next time.  Especially now that Mike Schreiner has won that so important first seat.

Strategic Voting is a only a good strategy for the candidate who gets the vote we would rather cast elsewhere.

I know how hard it can be to stay positive, and to keep focus on the campaign.  But after media suppression, I think our worst threat is falling prey to propaganda.

The strategic voting narrative continues to be powerful, and it is always the worst when it strikes from within.

In many ways I think this is especially difficult for Greens, because Greens are the unparty party, the party that applauds other parties when they appropriate our ideas, even when implemented badly, because it’s a start.

The stakes are so high that sometimes a candidate falls victim to strategic voting propaganda, and suggests their supporters vote instead for a competitor who might win against a greater evil. This really isn’t surprising in a party that understands the importance of working together for the common good.  Green Candidates aren’t professional politicians, they’re people from all walks of life who get involved because they understand our future is at stake and change is no longer optional. They’re in this because serious issues that need to be addressed, not for the greater glory of the party.

One of the reasons strategic voting is wrong is that it is always built on the faulty premise that old statistics— whether gleaned from past elections or recent opinion polls— can accurately predict who might win.  If this were true, there would be no need for the trouble and expense of elections.

In this campaign, I was particularly unhappy to see a terrible strategic voting meme initiated by Meanwhile In Canada.  The post in question actually told voters to vote NDP except in 5 cases, where it said voters should vote Green because Green candidates could win in those 5 ridings. Some Green folk helped spread this meme thinking it might help change the perception that Green candidates couldn’t win.

I don’t know what exactly that prediction was based on, but two of the candidates who went on to rank in the top 5 percentages in their ridings were excluded from the 5 supposedly winnable ridings.  We will never know how many more votes those candidates (or all the Green candidates MiC strategically dismissed) might have won if that social media maven hadn’t been telling voters to vote against Greens in the last week of the campaign.

Although there are no scientific studies of which I am aware, I think Strategic Voting is the most powerful vote suppression tool going.  When people are convinced their vote won’t have any effect, or worse, that it will help elect the boogeyman provided by our FPTP system, many feel the only responsible choice is not voting.

We only get one vote.  That’s not a vote for a party.  It’s not a vote for a party leader.  It’s a vote for our local representative. I have to wonder how much better Greens would do in elections if they didn’t have to spend half the election explaining what’s wrong with Strategic Voting.

Since I’m sharing rankings, here are the GPO Top 5:

Green Party of Ontario Leader, and Guelph MPP candidate Mike Schreiner‘s 45.04% riding vote percentage was the highest in Ontario. This resulted in the first seat in the Legislative Assembly of Ontario won by an Ontario Green Party Candidate.  Parry Sound—Muskoka‘s candidate Matt Richter ranks 2nd with 20.02%.  Laura Campbell ‘s 12.53% of the vote won in Dufferin—Caledon placed her in 3rd position; Barrie—Springwater—Oro—Medonte candidate Keenan Aylwin’s 11.72% of the vote ranks him 4th, and Dave Rodgers 8.64% in Wellington—Halton Hills makes him the 5th highest ranking Ontario Green candidate by percentage.

The Green Party of Ontario is making history, and these five candidates are leading the way forward. Onward!

[Republished from the KitCon Blog’s “Statistics”]

Congratulations WRGreens ~ We Made History!

Green Party Leader Mike Schreiner made history last night in Guelph, winning the first Green Party seat in Ontario

We’re all very excited that Mike Schreiner won last night.  Finally a Green has broken through in Ontario.

The Green Party
Growing a party
2015 Waterloo candidate Richard Walsh joined the party.
Candidates Bob Jonkman (Kitchener—Conestoga) and Zdravko Gunjevic (Waterloo)

What I have to say here is how proud I am of the hard work and dedication put in by all the WRGreens Candidates and volunteers.  Our work certainly paid off in the votes our candidates earned.

First time candidate Zdravko Gunjevic earned a whopping 4.83% of the vote in Waterloo.

Bob Jonkman won 6.51% of the vote in Kitchener—Conestoga.

Candidate David Weber (Kitchener South—Hespeler) and his team

David Weber won 7.35% of the vote in Kitchener South—Hespeler.

Cambridge Candidate Michele Braniff (at the TIE debate) and Kitchener Centre Candidate Stacey Danckert (at the African-Canadian Debate) were in Guelph to support Mike Schreiner representing the WRGreens.

Michele Braniff won 6.27% of the vote in Cambridge.

Stacey Danckert won 6.84% of the vote in her new riding, Kitchener Centre.

At its peak, I couldn’t get all the Green Partiers in a single photograph!

Well done WRGreens!

But this is just the beginning of our story.  Onward!

[reprinted from the KitCon Blog]

Hydro Rates are a good reason to Vote Green

The Green Party of Ontario is the only one of our 4 major parties looking to shutter our aging nuclear plants instead of investing billions more to refurbish them.

Some people have been misled into thinking the recent big spike in our hydro rates was due to the Liberal Green Energy Act, but in fact it has much more to do with the debt Ontario still carries from building these plants in the first place.  There are things wrong with the Green Energy Act, but this is not one of them.

WRGreens Waterloo candidate Zdravko Gunjevic put this little info sheet together:

And for those who think Ontario needs nuclear power to provide baseload, that hasn’t been the case at least since 2011 when I shot this video at a nuclear debate:

YouTube: Ontario Nuclear Power Debate

Now is time to transition to green energy.  Your Green vote will help.

Follow @zdravko_g  on Twiiter

#ONelxn: There is another Choice

Our ad in Saturday’s Local Section of The Record (June 2, 2018)

In spite of a groundswell of public opinion, spurred by the non-partisan fairdebates.ca petition, the TV broadcasting Consortium refused to allow Green Party of Ontario Leader Mike Schreiner into the televised Ontario Leader Debates.

Both Liberal Leader Premier Kathleen Wynne and NDP Leader Andrea Horwath expressed public support for Mike’s inclusion.  The double barrelled argument was that not only does the Green Party of Ontario field candidates in every riding across the province, the GPO exceeded the 2% Elections Ontario threshold (earning nearly 5% of the vote).

Alas, the unaccountable Broadcast Consortium refused to bow to public opinion and excluded him anyway.

Locally CBCKW rigorously supported the Consortium’s GPO censorship by refusing to allow local Green candidates to be included in its riding specific local broadcast, unless one of the “big 3” candidates declined to attend. Stacey was invited to the Kitchener Centre broadcast, but was explicitly informed she had only been included because they only had 3 microphones, and PC candidate Mary Henein Thorn declined.  Zdravko was excluded on Tuesday, Bob on Wednesday.  Mr Norris neglected to inform his listeners he was excluding our candidates, so at the CNIB’s ReVision All Candidate’s Meeting, someone asked why Bob decided not to appear on CBC.  It’s bad enough excluding us, but making it look as though some of our candidates chose not to show up is much worse.

But we have received some coverage.  The Toronto Star Editorial Board endorsed Mike Schreiner for Guelph MPP. and hosted a video Q&A with the Green Party Leader.

YouTube: Green Party Leader Mike Schreiner talks to the Star and answers your questions

The Agenda has given the GPO some excellent coverage as well, inviting our shadow cabinet members to participate, as well as analyzing the GPO Platform.

May 23, 2018
Finding a Home in Ontario

YouTube: Finding a Home in Ontario

May 25
Analyzing The Green Party Platform

YouTube: Analysing the Green Party Platform

May 25
The Green Party Leader

YouTube: Ontario Election 2018: The Green Party Leader

The biggest problem faced by Greens isn’t coming up with great policy, it’s getting it out there so people know about it.  That is why this is such an important issue.

In spite of everything, I am convinced Ontario is going to join the Green Wave and send Mike Schreiner along with a healthy complement of Green MPPs to Queen’s Park.  Like an opinion poll, that’s just a guess, but what I’m seeing and hearing suggests this will come to pass.  Even in our Kitchener-Conestoga riding, a traditional Conservative stronghold, the turmoil within the PC Party could very well provide an opportunity in what should have been a safe seat.  With the added bonus of the Liberal leader’s concession, our chances are even better.

What we do know for sure is that the addition of even a single Green voice in the legislature will be a game changer.  And that can only be a good thing; not just for Greens, but for Ontarians.  More and more people are starting to realize there is another choice.  It really is time to start doing politics differently.  If you haven’t yet voted, tomorrow ~ June 7th, 2018 ~ is the day.

As GPO candidate Andrew West says,

“If everyone…who ever thought about voting Green DID vote Green. we would win!”
~ @greenAndrewWest

If you need help getting to the polls, give us a call at 226-476-4529 and we’ll do our best to accommodate you.

Advance Polls in Waterloo Region

Voting Day is Thursday, 7 June 2018, but if you’re busy or out-of-town you can vote now at one of the advance polls. Here are the locations as listed on the Elections Ontario website

Returning Office Voting

Dates: 10 May to 6 Jun 2018
Times:
Monday to Saturday: 10 AM – 8 PM
Sunday May 13, May 20, June 3: 12 PM – 5 PM
Sunday May 27: 10 AM – 8 PM

In-person voting at returning offices ends on June 6 at 6 P.M.

Advance Polls

Dates: Saturday, 26 May to Wednesday 30 May 2018
Time: 10:00am to 8:00pm

Cambridge Elections Ontario

Cambridge Returning Office

Location is accessible
30 Pinebush Road unit 101 Map
Cambridge, N1R 8K5

Phone number is (866) 850-0473

Allan Reuter Centre

Location is accessible
507 King Street EastMap
Cambridge, N3H 3N4

Cambridge Centre

Location is accessible
355 Hespeler RoadMap
Cambridge, N1R 6B3

Cambridge Place

Location is accessible
73 Water Street North Map
Cambridge, N1R 7L6

Kitchener Centre Elections Ontario

Kitchener Returning Office

Location is accessible
137 Glasgow Street unit 210 Map
Kitchener, N2G 4X8

Phone number is (866) 850-4574

Downtown Community Centre

Location is accessible
35B Weber Street West Map
Kitchener, N2H 3Z1

Stanley Park Zehrs Store

Location is accessible
1005 Ottawa Street North Map
Kitchener, N2A 1H1

Victoria Hills Community Centre

Location is accessible
10 Chopin Drive Map
Kitchener, N2M 2G2

Kitchener — Conestoga Elections Ontario

Kitchener — Conestoga Returning Office

Location is accessible
1187 Fischer Hallman Road Map
Kitchener, N2E 4H9

Phone number is (866) 850-8977

Breslau Community Centre

Location is accessible
100 Andover Drive Map
Breslau, N0B 1M0

Elmira Lion’s Club

Location may have an accessibility barrier
40 South Street West Map
Elmira, N3B 1K8

Forest Heights Community Centre

Location is accessible
1700 Queen’s Boulevard Map
Kitchener, N2N 3L6

Wilmot Recreation Complex

Location is accessible
1291 Nafziger Road Map
Baden, N3A 0C4

Kitchener South — Hespeler Elections Ontario

Kitchener South – Hespeler Returning Office

Location is accessible
148 Manitou Drive unit 202 Map
Kitchener, N2C 1L3

Phone number is (866) 714-2812

Country Hills Community Centre

Location is accessible
100 Rittenhouse Road Map
Kitchener, N2G 4G7

Heritage College Community Centre

Location is accessible
175 Holiday Inn Drive Map
Cambridge, N3C 3T2

Kingsdale Community Centre

Location is accessible
72 Wilson Avenue Map
Kitchener, N2C 1G5

Waterloo Elections Ontario

Waterloo Returning Office

Location is accessible
630 Weber Street North unit 100 Map
Waterloo, N2V 2N2

Phone number is (866) 259-7278

Albert Mccormick Community Centre

Location is accessible
500 Parkside Drive Map
Waterloo, N2L 5J4

Kitchener-Waterloo Bilingual School

Location is accessible
600 Erb Street West Map
Waterloo, N2J 3Z4

Rim Park

Location is accessible
2001 University Avenue East Map
Waterloo, N2K 4K4

High Speed Rail in South-Western Ontario

[by Bob Jonkman. reprinted from Bob Jonkman, Green Party Candidate]

One of the first events I attended as the Green Party of Ontario candidate for Kitchener–Conestoga was the InterCityRail Town Hall meeting on High Speed Rail, held Wednesday, 18 April 2018.

Map showing High Speed Rail corridor from Windsor, through Chatham, London, Kitchener, Guelph, Malton, and Union Station in Toronto
Proposed Future Southwestern Ontario Passenger Rail Network

Kitchener–Conestoga rural residents are worried about the High Speed right-of-way cutting their farms in two, and since HSR cannot have at-grade crossings (because HSR is 200+ km/h speeds), farmers are concerned that they’ll have to detour tens of kilometres out of their way to access their farmlands — InterCityRail says only four grade-separated crossings are planned between Kitchener and London.

There would be only seven stops: Starting in Windsor, through Chatham, London, Kitchener, Guelph, Malton, and ending at Union Station in Toronto. None of the smaller communities such as St. Mary’s or Stratford would have service. Not even the large community of Brampton is slated for a High Speed Rail station. If the experience of expanding GO Train service around 2012 is anything to go by, VIA Rail will cut its service to those communities once High Speed Rail is established.

An alternative, High Performance Rail (HPR) has been proposed that would allow slightly slower trains (150-180 km/h) to run on the existing right-of-way and still have grade-level crossings, but the Minister of Transporation, Kathryn McGarry (Lib), has flat-out said the government will not consider anything in their EPA study except a new High Speed Rail corridor. And the Ontario Federation of Agriculture that represents the farmers directly affected by this have not been consulted, and do not have a voice in the decision making.

Other jurisdictions are jumping on the High Speed Rail bandwagon too. 570AM news reports that Waterloo is pushing for High Speed Rail with the intention of turning South-Western Ontario into one continuous city of 6 million people…

I was a fan of High Speed Rail until attending the Town Hall meeting, which was educational in informing me about High Performance Rail and the issues farmers face with HSR. The Green Party’s Vision Planet document says: “Prioritize low-cost high-performance rail in the short-term as the province plans long-term for higher-cost, high-speed rail projects.” But as the representative for Kitchener–Conestoga I will advocate that High Performance Rail should be the ultimate goal, the better to keep farms together, preserve farmland, protect wildlife, and provide better rail service to smaller communities.

Actually, it’s more than Kitchener–Conestoga residents who are concerned, also Oxford and Perth–Wellington residents are affected, and more. Hopefully we’ll have Green Party Members in those ridings soon!

The image is from the Ontario government report: High Speed Rail in Ontario: Special Advisor’s Final Report

Election Finance Laws

The Liberals in previous years had a bad habit of having expensive dinners that cabinet ministers could attend.  This is a problem as it means rich people have more access to the government then people with little or no disposable income. This can be a problem in a democracy.

In democracy, money shouldn’t outweigh citizens.

Mike Schreiner led the charge to reform political fundraising laws in order to stop this ‘pay for access’. During the process he also got corporation and union donations to political entities banned, brought down the donation limits (although the new limits are still higher than most people can afford).

Candidates, MPPs, cabinet ministers can no longer attend fundraising dinners.  People do not have to pay to access Ontario politicians.

Elections Ontario has handy guidebooks for Political Parties, Candidates and their CFOs on their website. They are in easy to understand language, spell out clearly what are fundraising events and restrictions on who can attend these events.  Donation limits are easily found out as well.  The limit is $1222 for 2018. This amount can be donated to:

  • a Party, and
  • to a constituency association
  • and to a campaign.

You can donate $1222 in total to election campaigns.  This can be donated to one campaign or spread out over several campaigns.  The maximum you can donate in total is $3,666 in total.

Earth Day with David Suzuki

Election Finance laws are mildly frustrating for someone in the position of CFO or as a fundraising director.  Having to say, “Sorry, you can’t donate that much, as much as I would like to accept it” or “no we can’t charge admission to this event” is hard to do.  That is why the recent Earth Day rally in Guelph with David Suzuki, Sarah Harmer, Elizabeth May and Mike Schreiner was free.   Anyone could attend the event.  We did ask for donations at the event, which is allowed, but a donation was not required for attendance.

However, the frustration is worth it to make democracy stronger.  Everyone should have access to the people running for office and in office without having to pay for the privilege.  The representatives elected to the Legislative Assembly of Ontario are there to represent us, the people in the province.  Right now, we are having an election, essentially one big job interview for candidates.  We all should have access to them, no matter how much money we have, because the candidates who are elected are supposed to represent us at Queen’s Park.

When people running for office break Election Finance laws, I wonder what they do they really think about democracy?  What other laws will they break to get or retain power?

The laws governing election spending limits and ‘pay for access’ are there to help make our elections fair and democratic.

Large election events don’t just happen.  They are never planned in isolation.  Candidates (and especially leaders of parties) never just show up.  Ignorance of the law is no excuse and is never an excuse.

Election laws are there to protect you, the people of Ontario.

WRGreens @ THE MUSEUM

The event was a series of round tables connecting people with candidates, interspersed with 3-5 minute talks by candidates and representatives from the local culture scene. The speaking order was determined by drawing names out of a bowl, and as it happened, our Green Candidates dominated the beginning of the evening.

Waterloo Candidate Zdravko Gunjevic started the evening off with a look at the importance of Public Libraries in our shared culture (if you listen closely you’ll hear an Ontario Cabinet Minister heckle him)

Next up, Kitchener-Conestoga Candidate Bob Jonkman considers the impact of culture on our most vulnerable citizens

And finally, Kitchener Centre Candidate Stacey Danckert spoke about the importance of public support for the creators who make our culture

WRGreens were honoured to be included in this valuable event.

The Museum: A Cultural Exchange 6.0 Tonight! #ONelxn #ONpoli

Tonight, Ontario MPP Candidates from all parties across the Region have been invited to speak at The Museum: A Cultural Exchange 6.0

The Museum
7:00 – 10:00 pm
10 King Street West
Kitchener, ON, N2G 1A3

Join the Waterloo Region Greens tonight at The Museum. Here’s a clip of Kitchener—Conestoga candidate Bob Jonkman speaking at the 2015 Museum event.