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]

#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.

Waterloo Region Greens Release Local Platform

The Green Party is gaining momentum across the province. Leader Mike Schreiner has crossed the province meeting with enthusiastic people who want integrity, intelligence and honesty in their choice and Schreiner delivers. In fact, Mainstreet polls predicted Schreiner would win his seat in Guelph.

Across the region our candidates and their teams are out everyday talking with potential voters. Looking at lawn signs reveals that people are tired of the status quo and find the Green platform refreshing and clear in objectives.

Today, the Green Party candidates for Waterloo Region Green Party have released a made-in-Waterloo Region platform to let the people in this region know that their Green candidates will be strong advocates for the needs of this community. Because they understand the value of collaboration and cooperation, the candidates created the document as a team.

Read the Waterloo Region Green Party Platform (.PDF, 1.1 MBytes)

For more information contact:

Stacey Danckert, Zdravko Gunjevic, David Weber, Bob Jonkman, and Michele Braniff at 226-476-4529, 6 Duke St E., Kitchener, Ontario Map.

Original: Waterloo Region Green Party Candidates Release a Made-in-Waterloo Region Platform – Stacey Danckert

Infiltrate The Debate: 6pm Sun 27 May 2018 at the @WR_Greens Campaign Office

Mike Schreiner on stage
Hi everyone! Want to see Mike Schreiner participate in the Leaders Debate tomorrow night? Join the Waterloo Region Greens at the Campaign Office for a watching party!

Despite our best efforts, the unelected and unaccountable media consortium has continued with their decision to exclude the Greens from the televised Leaders Debates.

Even though we are silenced, we must stay strong. We will keep pushing to get our Green voices heard, in all the ways we can.

On Sunday, Mike Schreiner will ‘infiltrate the debate’ by hosting a viewing party and doing a live commentary of the televised Leaders Debate in his home riding of Guelph. The event will be livestreamed, so we hope you can all tune in to hear the real solutions Greens want to provide to the province.

Join us at the WR Greens campaign office, perhaps bring a snack to share, and we’ll watch the Facebook live stream.

When: Sunday, May 27, 6:00pm – 8:00pm
Where: WR Greens Campaign Office, 6 Duke Street East, Kitchener Map
Facebook Live: Mike Schreiner: I’ll be doing a live commentary of the (unfair) Leaders Debate.

Infiltrate the Debate | Green Party of Ontario

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.

Michele Braniff: Ontario Chamber of Commerce Interview #ONelxn #ONpoli

Check out Greg Durocher’s Ontario Chamber of Commerce interview with Michele Braniff, the Green Party Candidate for Cambridge. This is part of the Chamber’s 2018 Ontario Election coverage of Cambridge and Kitchener South—Hespeler.