Potluck Picnic In The Park with the @WR_Greens

Tonight’s Potluck Picnic In The Park is a GO!

It won’t rain: Environment Canada is predicting a 70% chance of dryness. It will be cool on Wednesday evening, though, so bring a sweater or light jacket.

If it does rain, we have a Rain Date: Thursday, 31 August 2017, same time, same place (7:00pm, Picnic Shelter at Victoria Park). Keep an eye on this web page for up-to-date updates!

Picnic table with foodThe Waterloo Region Greens are having a Summertime Get Together! Join us for a Potluck Picnic In The Park under the picnic shelter in Kitchener’s Victoria Park.

Bring a dish to share, and bring your own beverage (non-alcoholic; this is a public venue). To accommodate dietary preferences, please label your food if it has nuts, wheat, dairy, eggs, or meat.

Although the listed time is from 7:00pm to 9:00pm, you’re very welcome to start earlier and stay later!

What: Waterloo Region Greens Summer Get Together: Potluck Picnic in the Park
When: Wednesday, 23 August 2017 from 7:00pm to 9:00pm
Where: Picnic shelter, Victoria Park, Kitchener, Ontario Map

And since the rain is no stranger to Kitchener, we’ll have an alternate rain date on Thursday, 31 August 2017. Keep an eye on the WRGreens blog and @WR_Greens for rain postponement announcements.

Join the WR Greens Discussion mailing list to keep up-to-date on Waterloo Region Green Party events.

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.

Cowspiracy at the KPL

Don’t forget to register at EventBrite for the Thursday evening special free screening of the “Cowspiracy” documentary tomorrow (Thursday, April 20th, 2017) at the KPL main branch.

an investigation of food industry sustainability

Doors open at 6:30!

There will be a fabulous selection of pre-film snackage before the movie (6:30 – 6:45pm) as well as wonderful door prizes from Cafe PyrusBlack Arrow CyclesLucia’s Vegan Catering and The Avocado Co-op.

Film screening will begin promptly at 6:45.

See you tomorrow ~ they still have some room, so bring a friend!

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

Kitchener Public Library, Central Branch
85 Queen Street North, Kitchener
brought to us by 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

Greens Joined Waterloo Region’s Rally For Proportional Representation

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A decent sized crowd especially for short notice outdoor February event!
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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
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Louisette Lanteigne holds her sign behind e-616 Petition author Jonathan Cassels
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Electoral reform is serious business.
1986
Richard Walsh
1992
Teresa Cornwell
2077
Shannon Purves-Smith
2117
Julia Gogoleva
2126
Mo Markham
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Bob Jonkman (and son Will, who looked after the event’s sound).
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Dogs for Democracy
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Former Green Party Candidate Cathy Maclellan
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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.

 

 

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.

Responsibility & Snow Clearance

It seems that there are a differing opinions when it comes to snow clearance in Waterloo Region, particularly Kitchener. From an article in The Record to an article in the Kitchener Post, citizens have quite varied views as to where responsibility for snow clearance lies. Being a person with a physical disability or difference that influences my ability to navigate built environments as well as natural environments, I have felt a need to take a stand on the issue.

Each time I see posts regarding this topic lately on social media, a question comes to mind that I haven’t noticed anyone else discussing in their comments. I ponder what role a province that has legislation in place that suggests it will reach full accessibility in just 7 or 8 years time has in making it possible for a person with mobility issues to be able to go and get their groceries or to meet a friend for a warm beverage. The individual who has mobility issues may not be physically able to clear the snow properly and therefore should not be expected to do so themselves. They may not have the financial resources to hire someone to clear the snow for them either.

If they are using a service such as Mobility Plus for transportation which offers accessible door to accessible door service, one could argue that the fire department needs to be called if snow is not cleared well enough for a driver to safely assist an individual in reaching the entrance of their building that should be cleared by the owner of the property if not the municipality. The driver cannot lift the individual and their wheelchair out of the vehicle, nor should they be expected to do so. Providing accessibility services does not make one superhuman.

We do not have universal rules across the province for snow clearance. We have corporations that own some properties, home owners that have their own properties, and we have other situations such as co-operatives and businesses which are each unique. If there were universal snow clearance rules that allowed barrier free access to all in a fair and equal manner, all parties of ownership would be able to operate the same in each jurisdiction.

snow

Canada’s Voting System Is Changing

Stanley Park Community Centre - Maryam Monsef's National Electoral Reform Community Dialogue Tour

Maryam Monsef, Minister of Democratic Institutions“For the past month I’ve been traveling across Canada hearing from Canadians directly on the values and expectations they feel should be reflected in Canada’s electoral system.

At every stop, it is clear; Canadians expect greater inclusion, transparency, engagement and modernization from their public institutions.”

— The Hon. Maryam Monsef,
Minister of Democratic Institutions ~ Ottawa, ON, Sept. 15, 2016

Hundreds of Waterloo Region residents crowded into the Stanley Park Community Centre on Wednesday night for a chance to participate in the Federal Electoral Reform Consultation with the the Honourable Maryam Monsef, the Minister of Democratic Institutions.  Ms. Monsef shared the stage with local LPC Mps, the Honourable Bardish Chagger, Bryan May, Marwan Tabbara and Kitchener Centre host, Raj Saini,  But the evening’s main course was the small group dialogues where participants considered issues and shared their views.  Each group came up with a series of conclusions, all of which were duly passed along for consideration in Ottawa.  The Record‘s Luisa D’amato reports:

As I felt the unmistakable sense of optimism that comes when a powerful person asks your opinion, it occurred to me that we might have got it wrong all this time.

We’ve asked young people to vote, and shook our heads when they didn’t. “Don’t complain if you don’t vote,” we said.

Yet the rules by which we held the elections seemed designed to silence their choices.

D’Amato: It’s heartwarming to see a packed room for electoral reform discussion

Julia and SamJulia and Sam (Kitchener Centre Greens) are passionate about meaningful electoral reform.  The shape of their future depends on it.  They’re the driving force behind our Canada’s Voting System Is Changing event at Kitchener City Hall tomorrow.

Canada's Voting System Is Changing poster
Canada’s Voting System Is Changing poster ~ click to download larger size

The main goal of tomorrow’s event is to provide public information about our options.

Every MP in Canada has been asked to consult with their constituents about what they would like to see in terms of electoral reform.  Although our evening with Ms. Monsef was excellent, it would have been nice to see 4 Liberal Town Halls.  Knowing how long it took me to get my head around electoral reform, more events might make it easier for many citizens.

Sadly Kitchener-Conestoga residents don’t get any Town Hall at all.  Our Conservative MP Harold Albrecht has declined to conduct a consultation.  Fair Vote Waterloo will be putting on 3 more Library Information nights at Elmira Library, New Hamburg and the Ayr Public Libraries.

Earlier in the year the Waterloo NDP put on an information event with Fair Vote Waterloo, but now it’s our turn.

Proportional Representation is not a partisan issue; it is simply a way to better represent citizens in Parliament.  This isn’t about parties, but about what is best for all of us, the voters.  That’s why each of these events have worked hard to put partisanship aside in order to both inform and converse with the public.

the Hon. Maryam Monsef, Minister of Democratic Institutions speaks to a packed house in Waterloo Region, Wednesday Night.
The Hon. Maryam Monsef, Minister of Democratic Institutions speaks to a packed house in Waterloo Region. September  14th, 2016

So many other countries have adopted meaningful electoral reform that there’s a lot of information out there. And yet, Canadians have heard almost nothing about the alternatives before us.

That’s why Fair Vote Waterloo co-chair Sharon Sommerville will give an introductory talk about Proportional Representation. Then we’ll break into small group discussions, much like Maryam Monsef’s National Electoral Reform Community Dialogue Tour the other night.   We have decided to have two kinds of groups; one to help those of us just beginning to learn about Proportional Representation, and another for those who have an idea of what kind of reform they would like to see.  The latter will be able to discuss the issue as a group in order to make a group submission we can forward on to the ERRE Committee.

Even if you have a pretty good handle on Electoral Reform, we look forward to seeing you in Carl Zehr Square.  It is always a lot more fun to work on a submission together, and it is amazing how much discussion can help clarify the things we’re fuzzy on.  The more Canadians participate in this electoral reform process, the better the outcome will be.

This is a perfect opportunity to help your friends and neighbors get the facts about electoral reform.  We hope to see you there!

Canada’s Voting System Is Changing: Community Dialogue
Saturday September 17th, 2016
3:00pm – 4:30pm

Carl Zehr Square, in front of Kitchener City Hall
200 King St W, Kitchener, Ontario, Canada map

RSVP on the Facebook Event:
Community Dialogue: Proportional Representation

Bob Jonkman & Maryam Monsef
After the consultation, Ms. Monsef was available & approachable

Waterloo Region Climate Consultation

Climate Consultation Waterloo Region - Thursday, August 18, 7:00 PM~ Kitchener City Hall Rotunda

Waterloo Region Climate Consultation

Thursday, August 18, 7:00 PM

Kitchener City Hall Rotunda
200 King St. W., Kitchener
Kitchener, N2G 4G7, Canada

All five MPs in Waterloo Region are teaming up for this multi-constituency consultation.  We need you to commit now to attend this most important of consultations!

We’ll show our support for the People’s Climate Plan. Organizers with the People’s Climate Plan are calling for the national climate strategy that respects climate science and Canada’s commitments in the Paris Agreement, ensures a plan to transition to 100% renewable energy by 2050, and enshrines justice for all workers and Indigenous communities.

Get directions to this event ~ due to LRT construction, out of towners should try to come early in case of detours

EVERYONE needs to come to this important event.

This is a multipartisan event that is the result of collaboration of many different groups. Both Liberal and Conservative MPs will be in attendance, with GPC and likely NDP folk helping to facilitate.

49th K~W Multicultural Festival Weekend

join WRGreens @ K~W Multicultural Fest 2016
Visit the WRGreens info booth at the K~W Multicultural Festival  in Victoria Park
Saturday June 25th, 2016
Noon – 8pm
Sunday June 26th, 2016
Noon – 6pm

Sign Elizabeth May’s Electoral Reform Petition!

Pick up your own WRGreens sticker!

Cambridge Greens AvatarKitCenAvatarKitConAvatarKitSHAvatarWaterloo Green Party WRGREENS FINALavatar

Candidates Nick Wendler (#KitCen) and Bob Jonkman (#KitCon) at the 2015 WRGreens Booth
Candidates Nick Wendler (#KitCen) and Bob Jonkman (#KitCon) the K~W Multicultural Festival WRGreens Info Booth (2015)
Candidate Richard Walsh (#Waterloo)
Candidate Richard Walsh (#Waterloo) dispenses Green Party buttons at the 2015 K~W Multicultural Festival
Laurel & Laura "We Can Do It"
Laurel & Laura “We Can Do It”
Bob Jonkman (Kitchener-Conestoga)
Bob Jonkman (Kitchener-Conestoga)
WRGreens were selling Heritage Tomato seedlings last year.
WRGreens were selling Heritage Tomato seedlings last year.
WRGreens were selling Heritage Tomato seedlings last year.
WRGreens are always happy to talk about Green issues.
2015 #GPC Candidates Bob Jonkman and Richard Walsh
2015 #GPC Candidates Bob Jonkman and Richard Walsh