2017 (Green) Party in The Park!

Join Us!

Whether you’re an official Green Party of Ontario member, a GPO supporter, or even if you’re just a thinker green thoughts, you’re invited to Riverside Park in Guelph for a (Green) Party In The Park.

Anyone is welcome, even if you’re just curious about the Party that convinced the Government of Ontario to bump up the rates (from $3.71 per million litres to $53.71 per million litres) commercial watertakers like Nestlé pay for our municipal water.  That’s still too little — it’s still only about a third of what we pay, but it’s a pretty impressive achievement for a party without a seat in the Legislative Assembly of Ontario.  If Ontario wants better, we’ll need to start actually voting Green.

The official reason for the party is a Guelph Green Party of Ontario nomination meeting which will launch Mike Schreiner‘s bid to become the first Green Party member in Queen’s Park!

Come on out and meet Mike!  Join the free fun with an RSVP:

RSVP  ~  (Green) Party In The Park  ~  2017

Fun

connect with the green community

Food

from Schmuck Truck and Bluewater Creamery

Keynote

from newly elected BCGreens MLA Adam Olsen

Kidzone

with bubbles and facepaint!

Live Music

from the awesome Joni Nehrita

and the Andrew Craig Trio

Green Tales & Changing Weather

Michele Braniff telling Tales of Green at Open Streets UpTown Waterloo ~ June 2017
Michele Braniff telling Tales of Green at Open Streets UpTown Waterloo ~ June 2017
We quickly learned the importance of keeping a low profile so the wind wouldn’t blow everything away.

The day started out windy and overshadowed by glowering clouds and a smattering of raindrops that ended around noon, but the forecast thunderstorm never materialized at UpTown Waterloo’s Open Streets.

Sadly the Artists Alley had to be cancelled (the alley is pretty much a wind tunnel) but Open Streets UpTown Waterloo carried on.
https://youtu.be/EOC54YYlaQI
And you know what?  It was a great day that was well enjoyed by all those who came out in spite of the scary looking clouds!  Throughout the day the wind kept the weather shifting, so although it was hot, it wasn’t unbearably so, and sun and cloud alternated throughout the day.

Our side event, Michele Braniff’s storytelling segment “Tales of Green” was a lot of fun.  The setting ~ beside Laurel Creek ~ was perfect for Michele’s feature story, “How Much Water Does The River Need?”

Tales of Green: Michele Braniff’s storytelling at Laurel Creek (more photos on Flickr)

It started to rain a bit through the first story, but everyone stayed to find out how it came out.

Between tales some of the audience chose to retreat in the face of rain.  Those who stayed felt the odd summer sprinkle but enjoyed Michele’s other two tales immensely.

After the storytelling was over, the rain started coming down more steadily and the OpenStreets organizers decided to end the festivities an hour early.  While vendors were packing up, kids on bikes got some great fun riding through the emptying Square in the warm summer rain.

The weather sure kept everyone guessing, but what I can tell you is that a good time was had by all.  And of course the rain actually stopped for the day at 4pm.  😉

[And if we’re really lucky, perhaps Ontario’s Monsoon Season will be over in time for the Multicultural Festival next weekend!]
.

The Shape of Green Things To Come

WRGreens Meetup
WRGreens monthly Regional Meetup at the Queen Street Commons Cafe

If you’re new here, the WRGreens is an umbrella group formed by all the Green Party associations ~ federal EDAs and Provincial CAs ~ for the five ridings in Waterloo Region.

Mike Schreiner
Green Party of Ontario Leader Mike Schreiner

In my experience, Greens are truly grass roots people who tend to be more interested in getting green things accomplished than seeking careers in politics.  And because we’re the smallest of the major parties, (and the inequity of our electoral system makes it extraordinarily difficult to get Greens elected) we have to work much harder than the big parties to be heard.

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.

Even without an elected Green MP in Ontario, provincial leader Mike Schreiner has worked hard and had an amazing influence on the provincial legislature in lobbying for campaign finance reform, emancipating local craft beer and working tirelessly to protect local water from multinational bottlers.  Our work depends on people power, and by working together we can do a much better job of spreading green thoughts.

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!

Bob Jonkman discusses green issues at the WRGreens Open Streets Booth in 2016
Michele Braniff
Storyteller, artist, graphic recorder Michele Braniff

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.”

Naturally, there can only be one word for us: Green!   So in addition to our  usual  information booth in the Waterloo Public Square Marketplace, our own Cambridge Green storyteller Michele Braniff will be telling Tales of Green on the Main Stage beside Laurel Creek!

We hope to see you there!

WRGreens Open Streets UpTownWaterloo Map based on OpenStreetMap ~ click for full map

Friday: Don’t miss Mike at TWB

Meet Mike!
7:00pm – 9:00 pm Friday Night

at TWB Co-op Brewpub300 Mill St., Kitchener

Did you know TWB is short for “Together We’re Bitter” ?

Join Green Party of Ontario leader Mike Schreiner for an evening out with your fellow Greens.  A great chance to share your thoughts and discuss the local issues that matter to you.
The evening will end with a no-holds-barred live interview about beer regulation hosted by local comedian Michael Masurkevitch (We Are Millennials).

Invite your friends!

 An added treat for those interested in looking behind the scenes at the TWB Brewery ~ for $5 you can get a ticket for a special tour of the Brewery from 7-7:30pm.

Earth Month Plus

Here’s a sampling of things for Waterloo Region Greens to do in Earth Month and beyond.  (I’ll update the calendar later tonight)

Tuesday, April 18th, 2017

2:00pm4:00pm
Kitchener-Conestoga
Michael Harris MPP Town Hall

Breslau Community Centre,
100 Andover Drive, Breslau
michael.harris@pc.ola.org
226.750.1731

Kitchener Public Library7:00pm–9:00 pm
U of W Sustainability lecture at Kitchener Public Library

KPL Central Branch,
85 Queen St N, Kitchener, Ontario
Canada N2H 2H1
http://kwpeace.ca/event/public-lecture-powershiftwr-transforming-energy-in-waterloo-region/?instance_id=3171


Thursday, April 20th, 2017

8:30am—1:00pm
Energize: Sustainable City Challenge

Sustainability Challenge at UofW
200 University Avenue West
Waterloo, Ontario
Canada N2L 3G1
http://kwpeace.ca/event/energize-sustainable-city-challenge/?instance_id=3170

6:45pm—8:45pm
Special screening of the documentary COWSPIRACY & Talk

Kitchener Public Library, Central Branch
85 Queen Street North, Kitchener
Divest Waterloo/Citizens’ Climate Lobby Waterloo Region/Food Not Bombs/Climate Vegan
View map of library location
Bus Routes # 8 University – Fairview Park (View Route Map)
Please Register at EventBrite. This a FREE event but seating is limited
http://kwpeace.ca/event/cowspiracy-screening-and-talk/?instance_id=3224


Friday April 21, 2017

7pm—9pm
WRGreens Meet & Greet with Provincial Leader Mike Schreiner

TWB Cooperative Brewing, 300 Mill St., Kitchener
Green Party of Ontario leader Mike Schreiner is visiting Waterloo Region as part of his spring leader’s tour.
Come meet Mike, hang out with your fellow Greens, share your thoughts, and discuss the local issues that matter to you.
The meet-and-greet will end with a no-holds-barred live interview about beer regulation hosted by local comedian Michael Masurkevitch of We Are Millennials.
Invite your friends!

Saturday April 22nd, 2017 ~ EARTH DAY #EarthDay

8:30am—12 noon
Woolwich Community Clean Up

Please contact Ann for a location near you.  aroberts@woolwich.ca or 519 669-6027
http://calendar.woolwich.ca/Default/Detail/2017-04-22-Woolwich-Community-Clean-up-Day

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/

12:30pm
March For Science

Waterloo Town Square
75 King Street South, Waterloo ON


Saturday April 29th, 2017

12:00 Noon
People’s Climate March Ottawa

Confederation Park• Laurier Ave W & Elgin St, Ottawa, Canada K1P 5J2
https://actionnetwork.org/events/ottawa-peoples-climate-march


Tuesday May 2nd, 2017

6:30pm
Waterloo Green Party of Canada EDA AGM

Right before the Pub Night
TWB Cooperative Brewing,
300 Mill St., Kitchener
https://www.facebook.com/events/205769696588910

7:00pm—9:00pm
Waterloo Greens Pub Night: Discuss International Trade Deals

TWB Cooperative Brewing,
300 Mill St., Kitchener
Would “developing” countries be better or worse off without free trade?
What benefits has NAFTA brought to Canadian workers?
Learn and discuss questions like these with our international trade learning community. Join us for some beer and casual conversation about this thorny topic.
* 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 julia.gogoleva@gmail.com.

Thursday May 11th, 2017

7:00pm—9:00pm
The Case for Divesting from Fossil Fuels in Canada

CIGI
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.

http://kwpeace.ca/event/the-case-for-divesting-from-fossil-fuels-in-canada/?instance_id=3216


Saturday June 3rd, 2017

1:30pm—4:30pm
Alliance Against Poverty Free Transit for Low Income Individuals – Community Forum

in the fully-accessible downstairs hall of Historic St. Paul’s Lutheran Church
137 Queen Street South, Kitchener, Ontario N2G 1W2
Facebook Page:
https://www.facebook.com/events/1889874274570672/?notif_t=plan_user_invited&notif_id=1492300444693992

Tickets available at Eventbrite
https://www.eventbrite.ca/e/free-transit-for-low-income-individuals-community-forum-tickets-33236845299?aff=efbevent

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.

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.

 

Open Streets ~ July 24, 2016

OpenStreets June 2016-1

OpenStreets June 2016-2
Open Streets Table June 2016
Even with the LRT construction, OPEN STREETS Waterloo is going ahead! And we’re glad, too, because we had a great time at our first Open Streets in June!

AND we’re expecting an even better time tomorrow in July (July 24th, 2016).

Drop by and say “hi,” sign the petition, and talk to us about Green issues, including electoral reform!

It’s going to be a hot day so dress appropriately, wear sunscreen and bring a refillable water bottle!

Open Streets_2nd

A Day in the Park

Nonviolence Festival Booth at the Multicultural Festival

This year our own Bob Jonkman (Kitchener—Conestoga) has been involved in organizing the annual Nonviolence Festival Day In the Park.  This family friendly free festival is held in the cool shade of the Victoria Park island.

Building New Relations

The world is built through our relationships – each of us affecting the other, and being affected by our surroundings.

Building New Understanding

The way we understand the world (our personal values, beliefs, philosophies, etc.) guide what we do in the world.

A change in consciousness equals a change in the world.

Building New Strengths

As we continue to act in the spirit of nonviolence, we grow internally, developing new skills and comprehensions.

By working together in new ways we open the future to new personal and social possibilities.

History

The first Nonviolence Fair and Concert was held in 2005, in Waterloo Park. It was organized by volunteers to highlight the many positive activities in Waterloo region.

— Nonviolence Festival

Drop by and say “hi” to the folk at the Green Party information booth!
And don’t forget to sign Elizabeth’s electoral reform petition!

Nonviolence Festival Day in the Park

Why Isn’t Ontario Protecting Our Water?

On April 24, 2007, Environmental Commissioner Gord Miller released a report in which he warned that “funding cuts spanning 15 years have left Ontario vulnerable to a catastrophe similar to the Walkerton tainted water tragedy.” (Guelph Mercury, April 25, 2007). The Mercury reported that Miller also told a press conference in Sudbury that, “Our present course puts our ecosystems, our biodiversity, our health and parts of our economy at serious risk of deterioration and catastrophic events.”

Missive on Nestle’s Water Taking in Aberfoyle

In 2007, residents were challenging Nestlé’s Water Taking in Aberfoyle, citing the disconnect between MPP Liz Sandalls claim the “The Clean Water Act focuses on source water protection” while effectively allowing Nestlé to take whatever water it likes absent independent data on the impact to local aquifers.

Bottling and selling our water is hugely profitable for Nestlé, and yet the multinational isn’t even paying its way as the result costs Ontario money.

Mike Schreiner, Leader of the Green Party of OntarioMike Schreiner writes:

“Several industries get a total free ride when it comes to taking our water, an explosive new report from Ontario’s Environment Commissioner revealed. Those who do pay for taking water — “phase one” industrial and commercial users that include bottled water producers; vegetable and fruit canning facilities; and certain types of chemical manufacturers — are charged a paltry $3.71 per million litres used.

This is not a typo.

This nominal fee works out to less than $10 for enough water to fill an Olympic-sized swimming pool. That works out to $0.00000371 per litre. After the ECO report I walked down to the basement in Queen’s Park to double check that a 500ml bottle of water was still selling for $2. That’s right, you can buy a litre of bottled water at Queen’s Park for more than it costs a company to take 1 million litres of our water.

This absurd system enables the provincial government to recover only 1.2 per cent of the money it spends on water quantity management programs. Since the Ministry of Environment and Climate Change (MOECC) receives less money today than it did in 1992, the budget it has for water management is not enough to make it an effective steward of our water resources. Yet, the province is essentially giving away our water.

HuffPo: “Companies Are Ripping Off Ontario’s Water Resources” by Mike Schreiner, Leader of the Green Party of Ontario

And yet it goes on. Nestlé continues to pump water out of Ontario Aquifers and sell it back to us, reaping enormous profits. Or worse, shipping it elsewhere, which has permanently lowers the supply of water available to us in our aquifers.

The water Nestle is taking comes from municipal water supply– the drinking water our municipal governments filter and treat to make sure is safe for us to drink.  To offset the costs of cleaning, storing and delivering water to our taps, Ontario citizens pay our local public utilities about $1.50 for 1,000 litres of water for our personal use. The reason we pay so little for the water we consume is because the taxes we pay subsidizes the cost. This is how public utilities work, and the reason they exist: by sharing the infrastructure investment, the costs can be kept down to ensure the public has equal and reasonably affordable access to a necessity.

But the Provincial Government gives Nestlé a sweetheart deal.

We pay $3.00 per 1,000 litres
Nestlé pays $3.70 per 1,000,000 litres

The multinational company pays pays a miniscule fraction of what we pay, which allows it to realize enormous profits when bottling our water and selling it back to us.  Do they employ some Canadians?  Sure thing. Does the company pay its fair share of taxes?  Truthfully, I don’t know.  What I do know is that this company is paying too little for the refined natural resource it sells at a profit.   Ontario taxpayers are subsidizing this rich and powerful multinational, so we know Nestlé is perfectly happy to not pay its fair share.  And companies are shameless: they exist to make as much profit as possible, so of course they take what they get.

But there is no reason the citizens of Ontario should let this go on.  The Green Party of Ontario has been opposing this for a long time.

Laura Lee Roberts shared a great Environmental Defense article: WHAT A DEPOSIT RETURN MIGHT LOOK LIKE IN ONTARIO.  From my perspective, since Ontario practically gives Nestle our drinking water for free, the least they could do is use glass bottles.

Nestlé Waters

Sign the petition:
Ontario: Deny Nestle Water-Taking Permit in Aberfoyle