Painting By-Elections #Green!

Elections Canada is holding 5 By-Elections across Canada on April 3rd, 2017.

An excellent way for small parties to break through the disproportional elections barrier is by making a splash in a by-election.  During a general federal election, everyone has their own riding to think about.  But when there are By-elections, a grass root party like the Greens can build itself a major advantage by strengthening our network by beefing up our numbers with cross border cooperation.

Here’s the thing: if you can help get a neighbouring Green candidate elected during a by-election, it will be that much easier to get more Greens elected in 2019 ~ perhaps even the candidate in your own riding!.

There’s less than a week left!!!


QUÉBEC


Daniel Green

Daniel Green's GPC web page

@DanielGreen_PVC on Twitter

 Daniel Green - Parti vert du Canada

 

Saint-Laurent

 

email: daniel.green@partivert.ca


ONTARIO


Caryn Bergmann

Caryn Bergmann's Green Party web page

@carynbergmann

Markham—Thornhill

email: caryn.bergmann@greenparty.ca

“We need change, we need action, and we need strong leaders to help make it happen. There is only so much one person can do, but one person can do so much.”
— Caryn Bergmann


Nira Dookeran

Nira Dookeran's GPC web page

@OttVanierGreens (Nira Dookeran)

Nira Dookeran on Facebook page

 

Ottawa—Vanier

 

email: ottvan@greenparty.ca


ALBERTA


Ryan Zedic

Ryan Zedic GPC web pageRyan Zedic on Facebook

Calgary Midnapore

 

 

email: ryan.zedic@greenparty.ca


Taryn Knorren

Taryn KnorrenTaryn Knorren GPC Webpage@TarynKnorren on Twittertknorren on Instagram

Calgary Heritage

Elections Canada Riding Map

 

email: taryn.knorren@greenparty.ca


How To Help

For those living close by, volunteering your time, whether to:

  • organize,
  • help out at events,
  • hand out flyers,
  • knock on doors (canvass),
  • stuff envelopes,
  • put up signs,
  • to answer phones
  • or whatever …

…even just a few hours here and there could make all the difference.

Attend events & debates to cheer them on!

No matter where you live, donations will help any of these candidates.

The one thing Greens are not using to the fullest is one of the most powerful tools we have at our disposal: social media.

Many of us are frugal about sharing things to our social media feeds because we are concerned about annoying our friends.  What people don’t realize is that Facebook, Twitter etc. don’t show everything we post to all of our friends and followers.

Even if you live on the other side of the country and don’t know a soul in the candidate’s riding, liking, retweeting and sharing will help them … because the more people engage, the more the candidate’s Social Media platform will spread their posts to more of their own followers!

Do you want to see Green videos go viral?  Share them!

Do you want to build a meme?  Share it!

Twitter tip: a ❤ isn't as good as a Retweet.

Remember:  
EVERY time you share anything on Twitter or Facebook etc. you will be helping help increase the candidate’s social media reach ~ and increasing her odds of being elected!  .

Do you want to elect Green candidates?  Help make NOISE!

Help make HISTORY!

Greens Joined Waterloo Region’s Rally For Proportional Representation

1918
A decent sized crowd especially for short notice outdoor February event!
1887
Mildish weather for February
Kitchener-Conestoga's Bob Jonkman was the Master of Ceremonies
Kitchener-Conestoga’s Bob Jonkman was the Master of Ceremonies
Kitchener Centre's Sam Nabi
Kitchener Centre’s Sam Nabi spoke on behalf of Waterloo Region Greens
Sam Nabi
Sam Nabi
CTV coverage
CTV coverage
crowd
Who’s not listening to Canadians?
Alim Natthoo
Alim Natthoo
Kitchener South-Hespeler's David Weber
David Weber
Sam Nabi chats with Waterloo Greens Stacey Danckert
Sam Nabi chats with Waterloo Greens Stacey Danckert
1870
Louisette Lanteigne holds her sign behind e-616 Petition author Jonathan Cassels
1905
Electoral reform is serious business.
1986
Richard Walsh
1992
Teresa Cornwell
2077
Shannon Purves-Smith
2117
Julia Gogoleva
2126
Mo Markham
2241
Bob Jonkman (and son Will, who looked after the event’s sound).
140032
Dogs for Democracy
142602
Former Green Party Candidate Cathy Maclellan
2506
Bob Jonkman speaks with Laura Hamilton of “Divest Waterloo” and “Food Not Bombs” (the event’s unofficial caterer.)

Just a little reminder:  Parliamentary Petition e-616 is the single most important thing any of us can do for Electoral Reform right now…
https://petitions.parl.gc.ca/en/Petition/Details?Petition=e-616

You do not have to be a Canadian citizen to sign.
If you are not a Canadian citizen but are resident in Canada you can sign.
You do not have to be resident in Canada to sign.
My Australian electoral reform friends can’t sign, but Canadian citizens resident in Australia can.
You do not have to be old enough to vote to sign.
Young people who sign this now may be lucky enough to have their votes count when they are old enough.
But signing is not enough: you need is to confirm your valid email address before your signature will be added.

Our hope is to get the petition signature number as high as possible.  300,000 (about what the mydemocracy survey got) would be amazing.
I understand 240,000 would be fabulous, as that is 1% of Canadian voters.
The 122,981 signatures we have already are amazing.
This is the very first Parliamentary e-petition to top 100,000 signatures.  That is the magic number that is supposed to trigger a Parliamentary debate.
The e-411 (Islam) petition only managed 69,742 signatures, and it resulted in Mr. Mulcair’s unanimously accepted Parliamentary Motion on October 6, 2016 as well as Ms. Khalid’s Motion 103 which resulted in HoC debate.

The higher we can get this number, the better. Read more about the petition here:

https://wrgreens.wordpress.com/2017/02/21/sign-petition-e-616/

If you can share with your social network, that would be awesome.

And Green voters should sign, because we need Proportional Representation to have any hope of properly addressing Climate Change.  The reason this issue is so important is that this is the foundation that must be laid for pretty much every issue Canadians face.  Without fair representation we might as well not have democracy at all.

If every Canadian who voted Green in 2015 signed this petition, Greens alone could generate upwards of 600,000 signatures.

 

 

2017 SGM Policy Ratification Results Are In!

green-voteI am pleased to see these nearly unanimous results on the GPC website.  All policy adopted at the 2016 Special General Meeting in Calgary has been ratified.

The lowest percentages were 85.1% and 86.9% … the remaining policy was approved by more than 90% of the voters.  Thank you so much for participating in the democratic process.  It is gratifying to see the Green Party of Canada leading the way on human rights issues for both Canadian and Palestinian indigenous peoples.

You can download your own certified copy of the Simply Voting results here.

2017 SGM Ratification Vote Results

Go Green on Social Media

social-media-iconsThe 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.
wrgreens-logo-banner
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.

Let’s work together to change the world.

#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.

The #WRGreens want some #ERRE

WRGreens Community Dialogue poster

In Waterloo Region, as in most of Canada, although there is support for the Green Party, there are no elected Green MPs.  This does not mean there is no support for the Greens, it just means there isn’t enough support to elect many Greens when votes cast for Green Party Candidates aren’t as powerful as votes cast for bigger parties.  That’s what’s wrong with Canada’s electoral system in a nutshell:

Some votes count more than others,
but most votes don’t count at all.

In spite of the grievous unfairness of Canada’s winner-take-all electoral system, there are Green supporters all across Canada.  And while the dropping vote share for Green candidates seems to suggest the party is losing support, the reverse is true.  Unfortunately all too often, too many would be Green voters chose to vote strategically for a candidate they don’t actually want to elect, to prevent one they really hate from winning the seat.  This isn’t just bad for the Green Party, it’s bad for all Canadians, because the parliament that results fails to reflect the intentions of most voters.

Even though we have no Green MP in Waterloo Region (or even Ontario), we held our own Community Dialogue.  Ours was not a partisan event, and we did attract non-Greens, but it shouldn’t be surprising to anyone that an overwhelming majority of those in attendance supported adopting some form of Proportional Representation.

One young woman in my small group dialogue told us that her 2015 vote had actually elected someone for the very first time.  But instead of making her feel good, it left her feeling hollow because now she has an MP she didn’t want that she helped elect.  When our votes don’t count, how can anyone count on getting the government policy we want?

Temara Brown explains electoral systems

A group of Liberals in the Conservative Brantford-Brant held their own multipartisan Community Dialogue Event, inviting our own Temara Brown to participate.  And the sitting Conservative MP attended as well.

One good thing is that a majority of Canadian voters (that is to say, those sixty-something % of eligible voters who voted) voted for candidates and parties that supported electoral reform.  Since the Liberals promised an end to First Past The Post elections, and Mr. Trudeau promised to make every vote count, we’ve had a whirl wind Parliamentary electoral reform Consultation.  Thousands of Canadians have participated across Canada, and everything we hear suggests predominent support for Proportional Representation.

And now the all party ERRÉ (Electoral Reform Reforme Électorale) Special Committee on Electoral Reform has begun deliberating over everything they’ve heard, from the experts as well as public input.  The problem is that comments made by Prime Minister Trudeau and Minister Monsef sound as though the Government is beginning get cold feet.  It is, after all, hard to get a government that won majority power with a minority of votes under a First Past The Post system to adopt a system of Proportional Representation that will limit their power to what they earn in votes.

Justin Trudeau's Liberal 2015 Campaign Promise: We will make every vote count

We need to encourage the ERRÉ Committee to work toward a truly fair system ~ and that can only mean some form of Proportional Representation.  We can let the ERRÉ Committee what we want by writing to them ourselves.  The folks at Fair Vote Canada have made this easier for us with their automated tool that will send a letter urging the committee to recommend PR.

http://fairvotecanada.good.do/thankyou/keepthepromise

NOTES:  Although it may look like it, you do *not* have to make a donation to Fair Vote unless you wish to.  After your message is sent just close the browser tab.  If you choose to use the FVC tool, bear in mind doing so will give Fair Vote Canada your contact info.  [Every time you give anyone your contact info online there is always a chance they will keep it so they can contact you in future.  If you are concerned about these things, you can still borrow useful bits from their letter and make your own that you send directly to:

Postal Mail:
Special Committee on Electoral Reform
Sixth Floor, 131 Queen Street
House of Commons
Ottawa ON K1A 0A6
Canada

E-mail: ERRE@parl.gc.ca
Fax: 613-947-3089
Website: parl.gc.ca/ERRE-e

The best part is we don’t have to send Fair Vote’s letter.  You can start with it, or edit it to say whatever you like, or start completely from scratch.  No matter how you choose to get it done, it certainly can’t hurt to remind the Committee and the Government that we are still watching, and, more importantly waiting to see what Canadian Proportional Representation will look like.

Dimitri Lascaris Town Hall @UofW

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

200 University Avenue West,  Waterloo, ON 
(~MAP~)

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

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

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

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

Tonight!

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

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

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

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

Cross Cultures Town Hall Poster

WRGreens visit Brantford-Brant Greens #ERRE

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

And a good thing, too.

 

Iceland’s Capital Votes To Boycott All Israeli Products

by Whitney Webb

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

Reykjavik

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

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

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

palestinian-loss-of-land-1946-2010

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

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

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

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

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



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

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

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

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

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

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

Human rights matter.

—Laurel Russwurm



Credits

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

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

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

GPC Convention 2016

Shadow Cabinet Justice Critic, Dimitri Lascaris at the GPC Candidate's Lunch in Guelph, 2015
Green Party of Canada’s Shadow Cabinet Justice Critic, Dimitri Lascaris

August 5th to 7th, 2016 is the Green Party of Canada’s Convention in Ottawa.

It looks to be a fabulous jam packed weekend of events.  If you haven’t registered, I believe it is still possible to attend the Convention although the Regular registration rate has ended.  If you go, remember to save your receipts as a portion of convention fees are eligible for federal political contribution tax-receipts.

Although I’d love to be there for the keynote speeches and the Proportional Representation workshop, perhaps the thing I will regret missing most will be the debate and the opportunity to vote on the two policy resolutions put forward by our new Shadow Cabinet Justice Critic, Dimitri Lascaris, who wrote the:

Palestinian Self-Determination and the Movement for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions resolution

as well as cosponsoring the Revoking the Charitable Status of the Jewish National Fund Canada (JNF) resolution.

This may well be the first time this contentious issue will be publicly debated in Canada, particularly after the Canadian Parliament’s shameful motion to suppress free speech about BDS has cast even more of a chill over this contentious subject.

“In July 2011, that parliament of Israel voted on a question of whether to condemn calls for boycotts against Israel as a civil wrong. The vote carried, but it was not overwhelming. There were 47 members of the Knesset who voted for it, and 38 members voted against it. The 38 members who voted against it were certainly not hate filled against the State of Israel.” —Elizabeth May

Fortunately those of us unable to attend this year will be able to watch the Convention livestream on The Real News Network.

Since that unfortunately includes me, if you are going, please give my regards to everybody there!

Regards,
Laurel

CbridgeAvatarKitCenAvatarKitConAvatarKitSHAvatarWaterlooAvatarWRGREENS FINALavatar