Why is Cannabis Illegal?

Cannabis sativa by Otto Wilhelm Thomé

French pioneer apothecary Louis Hébert was the first European farmer in Canada. Cannabis Sativa, a plant known as “hemp,” was one of his crops.

The sails of sailing ships, canvas, rope, and linen were all manufactured from the rugged fibres of the hemp plant. As was the earliest known paper. Hemp dominated the paper trade until it was replaced by wood fibre in the 1800s.

Hemp stem showing fibers

When the Indian strain of Cannabis that had been used in Eastern medicine for thousands of years became a popular ingredient in 19th Century Western medicine, French biologist Jean-Baptiste Lamarck “came up with the name Cannabis indica to distinguish Indian cannabis from European hemp.”

War On Drugs

There were no illegal drugs in Canada prior to the 20th Century.  Deputy Minister of Labour William Lyon MacKenzie King changed all that in 1908.

“On Sept. 7, 1907, the Asiatic Exclusion League of Vancouver went on a rampage though the city’s Chinatown and Little Tokyo. No one was killed, but there was considerable property damage.

“The Liberal government of Wilfrid Laurier sent William Lyon Mackenzie King, the country’s first deputy minister of labour, to investigate.”Among the many individuals who submitted claims for restitution were several Chinese opium dealers, which prompted King to study the opium trade in Vancouver.

“There were no laws then governing the use of opium or other drugs; and, in fact, during the 19th century, laudanum, a mixture of liquid opium and alcohol and highly addictive, was popular as a pain remedy.

“King was stunned by what he learned about the corrupting influence of opium, connected as it was with widespread notions that Chinese men used opium to exploit and sexually assault white women.”

— Winnipeg Free Press: Canada’s 100 year war on drugs

Asiatic Exclusion League Riot Aftermath
Boarded-up buildings in Chinatown after 1907 race riots, Carrall Street, Vancouver, BC

Rather than formulating policy to address Vancouver’s anti-immigrant racism, the Government based its first drug law, the Opium Act of 1908, on the Report by W. L. Mackenzie King, C.M.G., Deputy Minister of Labour, on “The Need for the Suppression of Opium Traffic in Canada.

A year later the Canadian Government instituted the first legislation to regulate the use of medicine to protect the public in The Proprietary or Patent Medicine Act (1909).  As an ingredient used in many such medicines, cannabis was regulated by this act.

The illicit opium smuggling that sprang up in answer to the Opium Act warranted a Royal Commission.  Its recommendations to:

  • make sale, possession & smoking illegal drugs separate offenses, and
  • increase the power of police search and seizure

were incorporated in the “Act to Prohibit the Improper Use of Opium and other Drugs” in 1911.

The institutional racism of the day was reflected by the segregation within the title of the act, meant to differentiate between illegal drugs used by Chinese (opium) and white users (cocaine and morphine).

The British influence

“While the Chinese were being blamed for bringing opium to Canada’s doorstep, it was the mighty British colonial empire that was harvesting, refining and selling the drug on a massive scale.

“The British controlled vast poppy fields in South Asia — and soon discovered that making opium in India and shipping it to China made for very profitable business.

“As the drug began to flood into China, wreaking havoc on the economy and society, Chinese authorities attempted to shut it down by boarding British ships and destroying opium shipments.

“The British army responded by arresting those responsible and seizing harbours, ports, and cities along China’s coast and up the Pearl River.”

— Drugs: What’s race got to do with it?

When William Lyon Mackenzie King became Prime Minister, the scope of his legal war on drugs continued to expand with the Narcotic Drugs Act Amendment Bill in 1923.   Part of the reason for this law was to combine the growing body of law dealing with illegal drugs into one. Henri Sévérin Béland (Minister of Soldiers' Civil Re-establishment; Minister presiding over the Department of Health) ~ Liberal ~ Mr. BELAND: There is a new drug in the schedule. Bill reported, read the third time and passed. | Topic: NARCOTIC DRUGS ACT AMENDMENT BILL

At the end of the third reading debate in April, Canada’s Health Minister, Henri Sévérin Béland announced, “There is a new drug in the schedule.”

There was no discussion, just that one sentence spoken in Parliament added Cannabis to the Schedule of Controlled Substances without even naming it aloud in Parliament.  (It was passed by the Senate without a word as well.)

There had been no mention of cannabis in the draft legislation (although it had been appended to one of the copies) but more importantly, it wasn’t a social issue when they made it illegal.  Most Canadians hadn’t even heard of the stuff (under any name).

Those who had, knew of it as “marahuana,” thanks to the sensational writings of Judge Emily Murphy (of Famous Five fame). Her series of articles about illegal drug use for Macleans Magazine published under the pseudonym “Janie Canuck” formed the basis of her book “The Black Candle.”  Taken as a whole, the racist dogwhistle Ms Murphy’s book was blowing warned of an international drug conspiracy to bring about the “downfall of the white race.”  Several of the photographs depict addicted white women consorting with men of colour to help drive home Ms Murphy’s race war narrative.

“One becomes especially disquieted — almost terrified — in face of these things, for it sometimes seems as if the white race lacks both the physical and moral stamina to protect itself, and that maybe the black and yellow races may yet obtain the ascendancy.”

—The Black Candle, Chapter XL “Black Smoke”

The incendiary book plied the reader with misinformation about of the dangers of “marahuana.”  Although hemp was grown in Canada, there was no actual evidence supporting Ms Murphy’s imaginings, although she had no shortage of specious “expert” testimony to present.

Charles A. Jones, the Chief of Police for the city, said in a recent letter that hashish, or Indian hemp, grows wild in Mexico but to raise this shrub in California constitutes a violation of the State Narcotic law. He says, “Persons’ using this narcotic, smoke the dried leaves of the plant, which has the effect of driving them completely insane. The addict loses all sense of moral responsibility. Addicts to this drug, while under its influence, are immune to pain, and could be severely injured Without having any realization of their condition. While in this condition they become raving maniacs and are liable to kill or indulge in any form of violence to other persons, using the most savage methods of cruelty without, as said before, any sense of moral responsibility.

“When coming from under the influence of this narcotic, these victims present the most horrible condition imaginable. They are dispossessed of their natural and normal will power, and their mentality is that of idiots. If this drug is indulged in to any great extent, it ends in the untimely death of its addict.

— The Black Candle, Chapter XXIII “Marahuana— A New Menace

Ms Murphy’s best seller is thought by some to have influenced the decision to quietly add Cannabis to the schedule a year later. First Vancouver Police Department patrol wagon

At the time they made it illegal, Cannabis was such a non-issue that:

“The first seizure of marijuana cigarettes occurred only in 1932, nine years after the law had passed (p. 182); the first four possession offences (it is not clear whether these were charges or convictions) occurred in 1937, 14 years after cannabis was criminalized (p. 599)

The Origins of Canada’s Cannabis Laws

No one really knows the “why” of it.   Racism was clearly a factor in Canada’s war on drugs, but the reality was that Marijuana didn’t become a social issue until long after Cannabis had been made illegal.  Although criminalization led to a handful of arrests here and there, marijuana arrests never exceeded 100 annually prior to the 1960s.  Some think the real reason Cannabis was added to the schedule was to eliminate the hemp industry, but something else to consider is that its inclusion in the schedule meant it could no longer be used for medicinal purposes in Canada, so pharmaceutical competition may have been the reason.

The maximum penalty for possession of small quantities was six months in prison and a $1,000 fine for a first offence.[26] Convictions for cannabis skyrocketed, from 25 convictions between 1930 and 1946, to 20 cases in 1962, to 2,300 cases in 1968, to 12,000 in 1972.[27] The Narcotics Control Act of 1961 increased maximum penalties to 14 years to life imprisonment.[28]

Wikipedia: Legal History of Cannabis in Canada

In 1961 Parliament replaced the Opium and Narcotic Drug Act with the Narcotic Control Act to be able to ratify the UN Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs  (PDF)

Even though Cannabis still hadn’t become a big problem, its continued presence on the Schedule was supported by the Minister of National Health’s (now debunked) argument that it was a gateway drug,

The use of marijuana as a drug of addiction in Canada is fortunately not widespread. It, however, may well provide a stepping stone to addiction to heroin and here again cultivation of marijuana is prohibited except under licence.

— Jay Waldo Monteith (Minister of National Health and Welfare), Hansard

But by the mid-1960’s the recreational drug culture had become a social problem among Canadian youth.  Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau’s government tasked Gerald Le Dain to look into it.  LeDain’s Royal Commission of Inquiry Into The Non-Medical Use of Drugs invested four years in an exhaustive study of the issue, even going so far as to interview John Lennon in December 1969.

Lennon’s testimony suggested flagrant government misinformation about the effects of marijuana led users to assume legitimate government warnings about the hazards of hard drugs were also unfounded propaganda. And indeed, the Le Dain Commission concluded that there was no scientific evidence warranting the criminalization of cannabis.

When the Le Dain Commission Final Report of the Commission of Inquiry into the Non-Medical Use of Drugs was turned in, Pierre Trudeau chose to ignore its recommendations to decriminalize possession and cultivation for personal use, reduce penalties for trafficking, and decriminalize non-commercial sharing.

Marie-Andree Bertrand, writing for a minority view, recommended a policy of legal distribution of cannabis, that cannabis be removed from the Narcotic Control Act (since replaced by the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act) and that the provinces implement controls on possession and cultivation, similar to those governing the use of alcohol.[2]”

Wikiwand: Le Dain Commission of Inquiry into the Non-Medical Use of Drugs

Michel Trudeau

Some years later, former Prime Minister Trudeau’s youngest son Michel was charged with possession of marijuana, not long before his 1998 death in an avalanche.

Today’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau told a young man at a Vice Town Hall about his brother’s predicament:

“…he was charged with possession. When he got back home to Montreal my Dad said, ‘Okay, don’t worry about it.’ reached out to his friends in the legal community, got the best possible lawyer, and was very confident that we were going to be able to make those charges go away.

“We were able to do that because we had resources, my Dad had a couple connections, and we were confident that my little brother wasn’t going to be saddled with a criminal record for life.”

— Five Things We Learned Interviewing Justin Trudeau About Weed” ~ Vice


Part I of WRGreens Cannabis Legalization Series

Ahead to Part II: “The Road to Legalization”


Image Credits

Cannabis (Cannabis sativa) illustration by Otto Wilhelm Thomé public domain image circa 1885 via Wikimedia Commons

Hanfstengel (Hemp stalk fibre) Public Domain image by Natrij

William Lyon Mackenzie King public domain image from City of Toronto Archives

Boarded-up buildings in Chinatown after 1907 race riots, Carrall Street, Vancouver, BC Public Domain image shared by Vancouver Public Library

Henri Sévérin Béland Hansard quotation on the April 23, 1923 NARCOTIC DRUGS ACT AMENDMENT BILL Parliamentary debate, image reproduced from the University of Toronto’s LiPaD (Linked Parliamentary Data Project). Follow the entire discussion or any other historic Canadian Hansard Parliamentary Debate with LiPaD

The Black Candle” cover (and the whole book) via Internet Archive are in the Public Domain

First Vancouver Police Department patrol wagon Public Domain Image released by Vancouver Public Library Special Collections on Pinterest

Michel Trudeau photo by Kari Puchala (CP FILE PHOTO) used under the Fair Dealing exemption

Canadian Canabis graphic created from Cannabis Chemistry art by Kyrnos with a CC0 dedication to the Public Domain on Pixabay

GPO EARLYBIRD Special Ends Oct 31st!

GPO 2018 Convention
The 2018 GPO Convention offers some excellent practical advice and workshops to help us get ready for the 2018 Ontario Election!

At the convention, you will have the opportunity to Connect with like-minded, passionate Greens from across the province.

Participate in practical campaign training to bring back to your local teams
Hear from inspiring speakers
Engage in policy and platform discussions

Check out the draft agenda here

Where: Delta Hotel and Conference Centre, 50 Stone Rd W, Guelph
When: Friday, February 2nd, to Sunday, February 4th, 2018

Get your tickets today!

Early Bird Special Ends October 31st, 2017

Mike Schreiner: “The #Green Party does not support the Monopolization of #Marijuana”

The 1936 Propaganda film “Reefer Madness” helped usher in new Prohibition against Cannabis

American Prohibition did not work.

Wikipedia points out:

Prohibition focused on the manufacture, transportation, and sale of alcoholic beverages; however, exceptions were made for medicinal and religious uses. Alcohol consumption was never illegal under federal law. Nationwide Prohibition did not begin in the United States until January 1920, when the Eighteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution went into effect. The 18th amendment was ratified in 1919, and was repealed in December, 1933, with the ratification of the Twenty-first Amendment.[28]

Not only did it not stop otherwise law abiding people from consuming alcohol, the costs — to the economy, the justice system and society — were staggering.

Although alcohol prohibition was repealed in 1933, one might wonder what gave rise to the new Prohibition against cannabis. Although films like “Reefer Madness” helped justify the early war on drugs, Wikipedia tells us Cannabis became illegal in Canada much earlier with “the Opium Act of 1908,[13] which was introduced based on a report by then-Deputy Minister of Labour, Mackenzie King.

Although the American Prohibition against alcohol never made drinking it illegal, the same was not true of cannabis prohibition in Canada, where users could be fined and imprisoned. As the 20th century wore on, the punishments became more severe, especially as Canada (again) followed the American lead.

A few decades ago this classic ad was part of “The War on Drugs”

Recently the same actress, Rachael Leigh Cook, reprised her role in this 2017 “Your Brain on Drug Policy” video.

The war on drugs is rooted in racist policies, and it’s failure has been as obvious as Prohibition.

During the 2015 election, the NDP talked about decriminalizing cannabis, but the Liberals said that wasn’t good enough; they would take a step further and legalize it.

Sadly voters again gave too much First Past The Post power to one of the same old parties promising “real change”. For real change, you have to vote smart– and different.

Although the Justin Trudeau Government says it will legalize cannabis, its about half way through its term and they keep arresting people.

The Green Party has better policy:

4.9 Ending the war on drugs

Elizabeth May, Green Party of Canada Leader
Elizabeth May

Between 2008 and 2011, according to the Department of Justice, Canada spent $311 million targeting illicit drugs, with a majority of that money going to law enforcement. Most of that was for the ‘war’ against cannabis (marijuana). Marijuana prohibition is also prohibitively costly in other ways, including criminalizing youth and fostering organized crime. Cannabis prohibition, which has gone on for decades, has utterly failed and has not led to reduced drug use in Canada.After analyzing the recommendation of the Canadian Senate’s 2002 Special Committee on Drugs and the examples of strategies used by some European countries, the Green Party of Canada has come to the conclusion that it is time to legalize the adult use of marijuana. Furthermore, the Greens believe that drug addictions should be treated as a health problem, not as criminal offences.

Green Party MPs will:

Legalize marijuana by removing marijuana from the drug schedule;

Create a regulatory framework for the safe production of marijuana by small, independent growers;

Develop a taxation rate for marijuana similar to that of tobacco;

Establish the sale of marijuana to adults for medicinal or personal use through licensed distribution outlets;

Educate the public about the health threats of marijuana, tobacco, and other drug use;

Launch a public consultation on the decriminalization of illicit drugs, considering the current high costs of the law enforcement effort;

Provide increased funding to safe injection sites, treatment facilities, and addict rehabilitation.

Unfortunately the way the Liberal majority government is doing this is not the way a Green government would have.

On September 8 of this year, Mike Schreiner, leader of the Green Party of Ontario, made the following comment regarding the proposed regulations for marijuana sales:

“This looks like another Liberal plan to say a lot and do very little, supporting big corporations and political insiders over local small businesses.

Mike Schreiner, Green party of Ontario Leader
Mike Schreiner

Having limited retail outlets across Ontario for legal marijuana will do virtually nothing to combat the huge illegal market.

The Green Party does not support the monopolization of marijuana. The marijuana industry should be like the craft brewery industry – helping build local businesses, creating local jobs and contributing tax dollars to local communities across the province.

The GPO supports strict regulations and controls for marijuana sales. The government can license retails outlets with strict rules focused on safety and health for small businesses.

This announcement at this time is a cynical ploy by the Liberals to divert attention from their ongoing legal scandals.”

[reblogged & expanded from Kitchener Conestoga Greens]

Upcoming @WR_Greens Events in September

Hello WR Green Party members, supporters and friends!

There are a number of events coming up in the (very) near future.


GPC logo
Green Party of Canada
What: GPC Policy Meeting
When: Friday, 15 September 2017 from 7:00pm to 8:00pm
Where: Kitchener Downtown Community Centre, 35 Weber St. W, Kitchener Map

The December SGM in Calgary tasked federal council to strike a committee of members from across the country to devise changes to how we develop policy in the party. Friday, September 15, we’re meeting in Kitchener to discuss the work of this group, and hear from you, the members, on how you feel we should proceed. (My apologies for the extremely short notice on this one! –Bob)


What: Open Streets WaterlooOpen Streets info table
When: Sunday, 17 September 2017 from Noon to 5:00pm
Where: Waterloo Public Square Map

We’ve been inspired by the Brantford-Brant Greens to try out a WRGreens button making set up where kids of all ages can create their own buttons. Come on out and give it a try!


What: IPM posterInternational Plowing Match
When: Tuesday, 19 September 2017 from 9:00am to 4:00pm
Where: Walton, Ontario Map

Every year the IPM is kicked off by a parade through the IPM grounds, and so the Green Party of Ontario attends and proudly shows its colours! The parade starts at 10:00am, we’re meeting at 9:00am in the parade assembly area. The parade takes about an hour, but there’s lots of other stuff to do!


What: “Beyond Crisis” film
When: Thursday, 21 September from 7:00pm to 9:00pm
Where: Princess Twin Cinema, 46 King Street North, Waterloo Map
Tickets: $15, Eventbrite

“Beyond Crisis” is the sharing of a handcrafted story featuring over fifty voices from across the spectrum of climate engagement, with notable speakers including Dr. James Hansen, Naomi Klein, and many other thought leaders from across southern Ontario, Canada and the U.S. Meet the director Kai Reimer-Watts! (This is not a Green Party event)


What: KWPeace Perspectives on Peace: Peace In Our CommunityPerspectives on Peace: Peace In Our Community
When: Saturday, 30 September 2017 from 4:30pm to 9:00pm
Where: St. John the Evangelist Church, 23 Water Street, Kitchener Map
Register: KWPeace.ca

Join us for an evening of discussion and networking on the theme of building peace in Kitchener-Waterloo. Program includes a panel discussion, dinner (suggested donation is $10), and a chance to speak with organizers of the various Peace and Social Justice organizations in Waterloo Region. Richard Walsh is on the discussion panel, and WR Greens will have an information table.


WR Greens all logosThe five Waterloo Region provincial Constituents Associations will be having nomination meetings in the next few weeks to select candidates to run in the June 2018 provincial election. Interested in running, or meeting the nominees? Contact your local CA executives, or send a message to executives@wrgreens.ca to get more information.


WR Greens logoFinally, we’re planning our (not so) regular WR Greens meeting. Help us choose a date and location at Poll: Fall 2017 Meeting

Remember, you can always see the WR Greens events on our calendar. Hope to see you at these events!

–Bob.


Bob Jonkman mailto:bob.jonkman@greenparty.ca
Green Party member in Kitchener–Conestoga +1-226-476-4529
Web: https://bobjonkman.ca Twitter: @BobJonkmanGPC
Vote for the person who will best represent you in your riding!


Subscribe to the WR Greens Mailing List to get event announcements like these, and participate in discussion.

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.

Welcome 2017

Dreaming of A Green New Year

There are several important events coming up in the new year that may be of interest to Waterloo Region Greens.  Our calendar will keep you up to date on any WRGreens events, as well as events put on by other organizations that may be of interest to local Greens.


Provincial Basic Income Consultation

GPOflag avatar smallFriday January 13th, 2016

6:30 – 9:00pm
Kitchener City Hall
200 King Street West
Kitchener, ON
N2G 4G7

Register for the Kitchener Consultation here.

You can make an online submission until January 31, 2017

Basic Income Waterloo meets with Richard Walsh and Bob Jonkman at the Waterloo Greens Office during the 2015 election
Basic Income Waterloo meets with Richard Walsh and Bob Jonkman at the Waterloo Greens Office during the 2015 election

“Basic income is an idea which provides a different approach to income security and reducing poverty,” the statement said. “It’s important we hear as many views as possible to ensure we get this right.”

The ministry says it’s particularly interested in thoughts about how the pilot program is designed, including who should be eligible, which communities to include, and how it will be evaluated.

“What they’re doing is trying to collect information in order to build a position. It’s very difficult (for us) to take a firm position at this point because we don’t actually know what the province is going to end up doing,” Bartholomew-Saunders said. “They’re collecting information to determine what they’re going to be doing.”

— Kitchener Post: Public invited to have say on basic guaranteed income

Guaranteed Livable Income was an important part of the 2015 GPC platform, and remains as party policy, so we are pleased to see the Ontario Liberals proceed with this program.   The danger is that it could actually make Ontario poverty conditions worse if implemented badly. 

Find out more about Basic Income from our own long time local advocacy group, Basic Income Waterloo Region.


GPC Federal Council Meeting

Sunday 22 January 22nd, 2017
6 to 8 pm EST

Any Green Party member (in good standing) is welcome to attend GPC Federal Council Meetings online. The next meeting will be on Sunday, January 22nd from 6 to 8 pm EST.

If you wish to attend, you can register here


Trusted Clothes Swap at KCI

Saturday, January 28th, 2017
10:30am – 1:00pm
Kitchener-Waterloo Collegiate and Vocational School
787 King St W,
Kitchener, ON N2G 1E3

Bring your gently used, clean clothes that you don’t want any more and leave with new (to you) stuff!  We will be accepting donations beginning at 10:30am, event starts at 11. The event is COMPLETELY FREE and aims to raise awareness about textile waste and how our clothes affect the environment.  No under garments or lingerie accepted please!  There is free parking available at the KCI lot, just off King Street. Public transit also available via route 7 from Uptown Waterloo. You can swap men’s wear, women’s wear, kids clothes, jackets, shoes and accessories. Please share this invite with your family and friends. No tears or stains. Just bring items you would bring home. Our past clothing swaps have been featured on CBC, CTV, and various newspapers and magazines within the Waterloo Region.
If you or someone you know is interested in helping out at the event please send an email to events@trustedclothes.com.

There is free parking available at the KCI lot, just off King Street. Public transit is also available via route 7 from Uptown Waterloo.

[Note: the school was formerly Kitchener Collegiate Institute, and is still known locally as KCI]


GPC Online Ratification Vote

gpcflag-avatarFinally, there is the online vote to ratify the policy adopted at the December SGM in Calgary.  All GPC members can (and should) participate in the ratification vote until February 6th, 2017.

Don’t leave it until the last minute!


You’ll find these — and more as we hear about them—  in the WRGreens Calendar you can always find in the menu bar at the top of the page.

Be sure to keep an eye on this calendar  for future Green events and outings (movie nights, learning communities, etc.) in Waterloo Region.

Subscribe to the blog (click the green “follow blog” button at the top of the sidebar) for regular updates.

This is going to be a very good year!

 

Ontario’s Basic Income Pilot: public survey

One of the most important Green Party of Canada campaign issues was the Guaranteed Livable Income.  The idea was piloted in Canada under the name “Mincome” under the first Prime Minister Trudeau.   What happened then is what happens all to often… the government fell and its successors had no interest in implementing policy based on their predecessor’s pilot project.   Here in Waterloo Region, we have our own Basic Income Waterloo Region advocacy group that’s part of a Canada-wide grassroots movement to make a basic income guarantee the next great innovation in social policy.

Basic Income Waterloo meets with Richard Walsh and Bob Jonkman at the Waterloo Greens Office during the 2015 election
Basic Income Waterloo meets with Richard Walsh and Bob Jonkman at the WRGreens 2015 campaign office.

The Ontario Liberal Government is considering running its own pilot program, and it would be enormously helpful to fill out their

Basic Income Pilot: public survey

While on the surface it may seem that such a program would be prohibitively expensive, ironically research shows the effect of a properly managed basic income guarantee is actually a savings to government, as well as a boost to small business and innovation.  Check out Basic Income Waterloo Region’s Frequently Asked Questions page.

.

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

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