Save the Basic Income Pilot Project


[republished from the KitCon Blog]

Back in 2015, 122 Ontario doctors pressed then Ontario Liberal Minister of Health Eric Hoskins to adopt Basic Income because income (or lack thereof) is a serious health issue.   The Wynne Government took its sweet time about it, and I have no doubt at all their Basic Income Pilot was intended to result in re-election.   Still, WRGreens own Stacey Danckert pointed out the last Liberal Budget provided no funding to do anything after the pilot would have ended.

During our recent provincial election campaign, the Liberal, NDP, Green, and Doug Ford’s PC Party all indicated they they would continue the Ontario Basic Income Pilot after the election.

Universal Basic Income

The idea of Universal Basic Income is actually an old one, dating back to the Fourteen Hundreds. Far from being a left wing, socialist or communist idea, the concept spans the political spectrum, no doubt in part because poverty does too. There are left (human dignity) and right (stop theft) arguments for such a system, particularly in capitalist nations like Canada that are already investing vast sums in a piecemeal social safety net that has not managed to make a dent in citizen poverty.   In Canada politicians of every political stripe have agreed we need to eliminate child poverty, and yet poverty is still with us.

Even American Nobel Prize winning economist Milton Friedman advocated for a basic income alleviation of poverty.

"Suppose one accepts, as I do, this line of reasoning as justifying 
governmental action to alleviate poverty; to set, as it were, a floor under the 
standard of life of every person in the community."

—Milton Friedman, Capitalism and Freedom

In his role of economic adviser to Republican President Richard Nixon, Friedman supported a negative income tax as a means of creating that floor and eliminating poverty. Had Nixon’s government not fallen in scandal, such a regime may have even been implemented in the US.

The international resurgence of interest in the idea of a Universal Basic Income gathering steam in the early 21st Century is growing fast for a host of reasons, including the collapse of manufacturing due to so called “free trade” agreements combined with the rapidly approaching decimation of the job market by ever increasing loss of human jobs through automation.

Read more about the Conservative Argument For UBI in “Four Reasons Why Conservatives And Libertarians Should Support Basic Income|Those who support limited government and free markets should support fighting poverty by giving more money to the poor” and “The Libertarian Case for a Basic Income.

All of this is why it was reasonable to take Premier Ford’s promise to continue the OLP’s Basic Income Pilot Project if his party came to power.  Whether for or against the idea, it only makes sense for any government to complete a project that has already cost the taxpayers of Ontario so much to get the data at the end of the rainbow. Any decision to take the matter further or toss it out could then be made based on facts rather than partisan rhetoric.

Sadly it seems Mr Ford prefers rhetoric. Rather than forging sound public policy in order to govern “for the people,” his new Government has opted to cancel Ontario’s Basic Income Pilot.

More than 20,000 people have signed this change.org petition asking the Ford Government to Save the Ontario Basic Income Pilot Project.  But the Ford Government isn’t listening to the people.

But all doesn’t need to be lost.

The Hamilton Roundtable for Poverty Reduction has appealed to the federal Liberal Government:

“We already have the infrastructure. They should adopt the program.”
Tom Cooper, Director, Hamilton Roundtable for Poverty Reduction

The mayors of the municipalities that have been piloting the Ontario Basic Income have likewise asked feds to take over Ontario’s basic income pilot

Federal NDP  Leader Jagmeet Singh calls on Liberals to save Ontario’s axed basic income pilot.

It isn’t exactly such a crazy idea.

The Liberal Party of Canada has a long history with Basic Income, and in fact it was Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau’s Government  that co-authored the 5 year Mincome Pilot in Dauphin Manitoba in the 1970’s. Unfortunately, as often happens with long term projects under short sighted FPTP voting, Mr Trudeau’s Government fell and the data from the just completed pilot project was shelved and buried, only emerging for consideration many decades later.

And lately, the Federal Liberals have been flirting with the idea of Basic Income as well.

We believe there is tremendous national value in finishing this project. Every province is grappling with how to provide a strong social safety net that allows people to lead dignified lives without creating excessive administration. We are in desperate need of preventative approaches that will reduce the burden of poverty on our health care, education, and criminal justice systems.

Elizabeth May and Mike Schreiner, Schreiner and May ask Trudeau to rescue Basic Income pilot

Instead of starting their own Basic Income project from scratch, the Justin Trudeau Liberal Government need only spend $50 million dollars to complete the Ontario Basic Income Pilot project.  That would be an incredible bargain basement price for data that would prove invaluable for making federal economic policy.

What can we do to help?

We can write our own letters to the Prime Minister and our own MP (and remember– physical letters travel postage free to the federal government.)  But we can also sign every petition… like the one just begun by our friends at The Council of Canadians:

Petition: Call on the federal government to take over Ontario’s basic income pilot project.

Every little bit helps.

 

Have a Green Thanksgiving!

Although I have issues with the colonial origins of our “Thanksgiving” tradition, the idea of expressing public thanks for that for which we are truly thankful is a good one.  It is especially easy to forget such things when so many negative things are ongoing, but to be able to continue to work for a sustainable workable future, it is important not to allow despair to prevail.  We can draw strength from reminding ourselves that there is still plenty of good in the world, and by harnessing that good, we can build the future we need for our children, and generations to follow.

In 2018 Canada, I am thankful so many of us have come to understand the necessity of adopting a proportional representation voting system, in spite of Mr. Trudeaus’s attempt to shut the idea of a truly representative democracy back in the closet, as his predecessors have done throughout Canadian history.

So I am very thankful that, instead of allowing this to happen:

  • the Provinces of BC and PEI are holding electoral reform referenda
  • the Yukon Territory has undertaken a study of electoral reform
  • a new government has been elected in Quebec after all opposition parties made a public pact to enact Proportional Representation no matter which formed new government
  • Ontario struggles under an FPTP extremist government which strips its most populous city in the country of almost half its (already) inadequate municipal representation
  • New Brunswick again suffers an electoral outcome like that which triggered its previous electoral reform process
  • Alberta looks down the barrel at the prospect of right wing populism in its already toxic atmosphere of polarization
  • Canadian provinces are pitted against each other by the federal government
  • PEI political polling suggests the PEI Greens may form the first Green led government in Canada

As an Ontarian, I don’t care who’s first but we can’t afford not to change.  Defenders Of The Status Quo fight so hard because once any jurisdiction in Canada adopts Proportional Representation and the sky doesn’t fall, the rest of us will be able to see with our own eyes that the myths they’ve frightened generations of Canadians with have always been pure misinformation.  Once that happens, the rest of the country will fall into  Proportional Representation like dominoes.  We are surely at a Proportional Representation tipping point.

Even in the unlikely event PR is staved off a little longer, at least Canadians are beginning to understand that even with our existing grotesquely inequitable voting system, we need to stop being bullied into voting ‘strategically’ for lesser evils but instead vote for what we want.

I am thankful that all five Waterloo Region Greens ranked in the top 20% of Ontario Green Party candidates in the 2018 provincial election.

I am thankful that, in spite of staggering odds against, and in the face of the Broadcast Consortium’s exclusion from the Ontario Leadership debates, Mike Schreiner made history this year by winning election as our first Ontario Greens Member of Provincial Parliament.

Bravo Mike!

WRGreens are thankful for our estimable federal and provincial representatives:
Mike Schreiner and Elizabeth May.

And so I would like to wish us all a Happy Thanksgiving from everyone at WRgreens!

Regards,
Laurel Russwurm
KitConGreens

Pardon Canadians Convicted for Possessing Marijuana!

Cannabis should never have been made illegal, but since it was, the Green Party supports good public policy to rectify the mistakes of the past.

GPO Leader Mike Schreiner talks about Cannabis in Kitchener

The Green Party is pleased that Canadians will soon be able to access marijuana openly and safely — free from the threat of being criminally charged.

However, many thousands of Canadians who previously smoked or possessed cannabis, but were caught by police, will remain criminals in the eyes of the law. A disproportionate number of racialized Canadians have been charged, and all those convicted face serious obstacles applying for jobs and travelling abroad.

Join us in demanding the Liberal government provide amnesty for all Canadians convicted solely on charges of marijuana possession.

click to send a letter to Prime Minister Trudeau and Minister Wilson-Raybould

[Reprinted from the KitConGreens blog]

Making History

Since becoming personally involved in elections, I’ve found myself watching televised election coverage on Election Night.  This year, that was at Ethel’s Lounge in Waterloo with three of our 5 Waterloo Region Greens Candidates and WRGreens volunteers and supporters.

Each broadcaster concentrates on the ridings their partisan experts consider important,  instead of showing the riding results equally, so it’s hit or miss for all the rest.  We chose to watch TVO’s coverage that night at Ethel’s, as TVO was the only MSM broadcaster to include a Green leaning commentator.

At the end of the day, it’s hard to get the big picture.  So for my own interest, I decided to check out Elections Ontario (unofficial results) to get an idea how our Green Candidates did overall. Although I did this for my own interest, Bob pointed out this might be of interest to others, so here it is.

Mike Schreiner Guelph 29,082 45.04% | Bonnie North Barrie—Innisfil 3,182 7.19% | Robert Kiley Kingston and the Islands 3,504 6.48% | Stephen Leahy Ajax 1,224 2.51% | Justin Tilson Algoma—Manitoulin 989 3.60% | Stephanie Nicole Duncan Aurora—Oak Ridges—Richmond Hill 1,195 2.66% | Keenan Aylwin Barrie—Springwater—Oro-Medonte 5,354 11.72% | Mark Daye Bay of Quinte 1,730 3.43% | Debra Scott Beaches—East York 2,128 4.26% | Laila Zarrabi Yan Brampton Centre 1,053 3.13% | Raquel Fronte Brampton East 500 1.33% | Pauline Thornham Brampton North 1,366 3.45% | Lindsay Falt Brampton South 1,472 3.86% | Julie Guillemet-Ackerman Brampton West 999 2.63% | Ken Burns Brantford—Brant 2,707 4.72% | Don Marshall Bruce—Grey—Owen Sound 2,922 5.95% | Vince Fiorito Burlington 2,828 4.48% | Michele Braniff Cambridge 3,018 6.27% | Gordon Kubanek Carleton 1,985 3.95% | Mark Vercouteren Chatham-Kent—Leamington 1,636 3.53% | Kirsten Snider Davenport 1,624 3.55% | Mark Wong Don Valley East 917 2.53% | Janelle Yanishewski Don Valley North 1,015 2.52% | Morgan Bailey Don Valley West 1,268 2.77% | Eryn Sylvester Mississauga—Malton 674 1.79% | Abhijeet Manay Mississauga—Streetsville 1,349 2.81% | Sarah Hutchinson Mushkegowuk—James Bay 164 1.78% | James O’Grady Nepean 2,679 5.06% | Michelle Bourdeau Newmarket—Aurora 1,788 3.63% | Joe Dias Niagara Centre 1,788 3.63% | Karen Fraser Niagara Falls 2,057 3.46% | Jessica Tillmanns Niagara West 2,578 5.58% | Bill Crumplin Nickel Belt 1,137 3.12% | Kris Rivard Nipissing 997 2.83% | Jeff Wheeldon Northumberland—Peterborough South 2,727 4.52% | Emily DeSousa Oakville 1,976 3.51% | Marianne Workman Oakville North—Burlington 2,045 3.69% | Nicholas Lapierre Orléans 1,603 2.51% | Deborah Ellis Oshawa 1,957 3.61% | Cherie Wong Ottawa Centre 2,266 3.52% | Les Schram Ottawa South 1,618 3.09% | Patrick Freel Ottawa West—Nepean 1,937 3.83% | Sheilagh McLean Ottawa—Vanier 1,951 4.07% | Al De Jong Oxford 2,247 4.30% | Halyna Zalucky Parkdale—High Park 2,544 4.66% | Matt Richter Parry Sound—Muskoka 9,438 20.02% | Lisa Olsen Perth—Wellington 2,746 5.86% | Gianne Broughton Peterborough—Kawartha 2,055 3.36%Laura Campbell Dufferin—Caledon 7,011 12.53% | Michelle Corbett Durham 2,359 3.88% | Reuben DeBoer Eglinton—Lawrence 1,230 2.43% | Bronagh Morgan Elgin—Middlesex—London 2,049 3.88% | Nancy Pancheshan Essex 1,853 3.45% | Shawn Rizvi Etobicoke Centre 1,329 2.32% | Nancy Ghuman Etobicoke North 991 2.73% | Chris Caldwell Etobicoke—Lakeshore 2,101 3.63% | Janet Errygers Flamborough—Glanbrook 2,307 4.47% | Daniel Reid Glengarry—Prescott—Russell 1,429 2.93% | Anne Faulkner Haldimand—Norfolk 2,095 4.14% | Lynn Therien Haliburton—Kawartha Lakes—Brock 2,584 4.50% | Jason Lopez Hamilton Centre 2,102 5.75% | Brian Munroe Hamilton East—Stoney Creek 1,873 4.26% | David Urquhart Hamilton Mountain 2,300 5.14% | Peter Ormond Hamilton West—Ancaster—Dundas 2,302 4.16% | Sari Watson Hastings—Lennox and Addington 1,910 4.24% | Kirsten Bennett Humber River—Black Creek 485 1.57% | Nicholas Wendler Huron—Bruce 1,804 3.42% | Andrew West Kanata—Carleton 2,827 5.33% | Adam Narraway Pickering—Uxbridge 2,105 3.96% | Anna Dolan Renfrew—Nipissing—Pembroke 1,436 2.98% | Walter Bauer Richmond Hill 1,248 2.88% | Kevin Shaw Sarnia—Lambton 1,856 3.65% | Kara Flannigan Sault Ste. Marie 1,044 3.25% | Sanjin Zeco Scarborough Centre 902 2.31% | Nicole Peltier Scarborough North 543 1.62% | David Del Grande Scarborough Southwest 1,144 2.64% | Lydia West Scarborough—Agincourt 635 1.72% | Linda Rice Scarborough—Guildwood 877 2.44% | Priyan De Silva Scarborough—Rouge Park 1,014 2.41% | Valerie Powell Simcoe North 3,615 6.65% | Jesseca Perry Simcoe—Grey 4,192 6.88% | Rita Bilerman Spadina—Fort York 1,817 3.66% | Colin Ryrie St. Catharines 1,923 3.72% | Elaine Kennedy Stormont—Dundas—South Glengarry 1,596 3.67% | David Robinson Sudbury 1,504 4.16% | Rachel Dokhoian Thornhill 1,043 2.21% | John Northey Thunder Bay—Atikokan 880 2.71% | Amanda Moddejonge Thunder Bay—Superior North 838 2.79%Ember McKillop Kenora—Rainy River 721 3.60% | Christine Penner Polle Kiiwetinoong 406 6.28% | Greg Locke King—Vaughan 1,754 3.41% | Stacey Danckert Kitchener Centre 3,23 David Weber Kitchener South—Hespeler 3,198 7.53% | Bob Jonkman Kitchener—Conestoga 2,793 6.51% | Anthony Li Lambton—Kent—Middlesex 1,655 3.29% | Anita Payne Lanark—Frontenac—Kingston 2,410 4.79% | Derek Morley Leeds—Grenville—Thousand Islands and Rideau Lakes 2,347 4.80% | Carol Dyck London North Centre 2,493 4.61% | Pamela Reid London West 2,211 3.75% | Lisa Carriere London—Fanshawe 2,050 4.52% | Jose Etcheverry Markham—Stouffville 2,153 4.00% | Caryn Bergmann Markham—Thornhill 859 2.29% | Deborah Moolman Markham—Unionville 993 2.12% | Eleanor Hayward Milton 2,208 5.04% | Noah Gould Mississauga Centre 1,149 2.63% | Basia Krzyzanowski Mississauga East—Cooksville 1,498 3.45% | Libby Yuill Mississauga—Erin Mills 1,312 2.74% | Lloyd Jones Mississauga—Lakeshore 1,572 2.95% | Casey Lalonde Timiskaming—Cochrane 723 2.63% | Lucas Schinbeckler Timmins 273 1.75% | Adam Sommerfeld Toronto Centre 1,377 3.12% | Andrew Trotter Toronto—Danforth 2,248 4.38% | Teresa Pun Toronto—St. Paul's 1,690 3.23% | Tim Grant University—Rosedale 2,652 5.37% | Michael DiPasquale Vaughan—Woodbridge 972 2.26% | Zdravko Gunjevic Waterloo 2,613 4.83% | Dave Rodgers Wellington—Halton Hills 5,066 8.64% | Stacey Leadbetter Whitby 1,958 3.42% | Randi Ramdeen Willowdale 932 2.30% | Krysta Glovasky-Ridsdale Windsor West 1,393 3.58% | Henry Oulevey Windsor—Tecumseh 1,907 4.42% | Roma Lyon York Centre 843 2.29% | Grad Murray York South—Weston 942 2.53% | Alexandra Zalucky York—Simcoe 2,195 4.82%(note: the above all candidates image is actually in three pieces, part 1 is the first 6 rows, part 2 the next 5 rows, and part 3 the last 5 rows. Click on the section you want to see the segment at full size.)

 

All five of our Waterloo Region Greens candidates did very well overall.

Kitchener South—Hespeler candidate David Weber‘s 7.53 riding vote percentage was the 6th highest in Ontario (up from 7th in 2014).  Kitchener Centre‘s candidate Stacey Danckert ranked 9th with 6.84%, Kitchener—Conestoga candidate Bob Jonkman ranked 11th with 6.51%, Cambridge candidate Michele Braniff ranked 14th with 6.27%, and first time candidate Zdravko Gunjevic ranked 24th with 4.83% in Waterloo.

And while I know from personal experience how lucky Waterloo Region has been to have such an excellent roster of WRGreens candidates, I have met enough other Green Party Candidates to know this isn’t really unusual.  Frankly, I am continually stunned by the calibre of Green Party Candidates in general.  Although the Green Party has far and away the best policy of any of the top four parties, putting your hat in the ring requires a great deal of time, money and effort for any candidate.  It’s a big personal investment no matter which party a candidate is running for, and Greens are faced with additional handicaps:

  • an electoral system that discriminates egregiously against the Greens,
  • unrelenting propaganda that insists majority government is a good thing,
  • the exclusion of the Green Party Leader in televised Leaders Debates
  • the MSM agenda to keep us perpetually cycling between red and blue parties,
  • the never ending push for strategic voting,
  • the catch 22 perception that no seats in the legislature means Greens are unelectable, and
  • the low probability of winning, even when you are the best candidate in your riding.

Green Candidates are well aware of how little chance they have of being elected, but in spite of everything, excellent Green Party Candidates keep stepping up.

Working together is the WRGreens superpower.

Stacey Danckert brought us all together under the unofficial WRGreens umbrella during the 2015 federal election, and our regional cooperation is paying off.  Cooperating, sharing our experience and resources has been incredibly helpful for us here in Waterloo Region.

And not just during elections.  We’ve been actively working to raise the Green profile between elections, by hosting information tables at local summer festivals where we can, hosting our own events and participating in others as appropriate, and building our online presence on the WRGreens blog.   We’re always learning, and we’ll do it even better next time.  Especially now that Mike Schreiner has won that so important first seat.

Strategic Voting is a only a good strategy for the candidate who gets the vote we would rather cast elsewhere.

I know how hard it can be to stay positive, and to keep focus on the campaign.  But after media suppression, I think our worst threat is falling prey to propaganda.

The strategic voting narrative continues to be powerful, and it is always the worst when it strikes from within.

In many ways I think this is especially difficult for Greens, because Greens are the unparty party, the party that applauds other parties when they appropriate our ideas, even when implemented badly, because it’s a start.

The stakes are so high that sometimes a candidate falls victim to strategic voting propaganda, and suggests their supporters vote instead for a competitor who might win against a greater evil. This really isn’t surprising in a party that understands the importance of working together for the common good.  Green Candidates aren’t professional politicians, they’re people from all walks of life who get involved because they understand our future is at stake and change is no longer optional. They’re in this because serious issues that need to be addressed, not for the greater glory of the party.

One of the reasons strategic voting is wrong is that it is always built on the faulty premise that old statistics— whether gleaned from past elections or recent opinion polls— can accurately predict who might win.  If this were true, there would be no need for the trouble and expense of elections.

In this campaign, I was particularly unhappy to see a terrible strategic voting meme initiated by Meanwhile In Canada.  The post in question actually told voters to vote NDP except in 5 cases, where it said voters should vote Green because Green candidates could win in those 5 ridings. Some Green folk helped spread this meme thinking it might help change the perception that Green candidates couldn’t win.

I don’t know what exactly that prediction was based on, but two of the candidates who went on to rank in the top 5 percentages in their ridings were excluded from the 5 supposedly winnable ridings.  We will never know how many more votes those candidates (or all the Green candidates MiC strategically dismissed) might have won if that social media maven hadn’t been telling voters to vote against Greens in the last week of the campaign.

Although there are no scientific studies of which I am aware, I think Strategic Voting is the most powerful vote suppression tool going.  When people are convinced their vote won’t have any effect, or worse, that it will help elect the boogeyman provided by our FPTP system, many feel the only responsible choice is not voting.

We only get one vote.  That’s not a vote for a party.  It’s not a vote for a party leader.  It’s a vote for our local representative. I have to wonder how much better Greens would do in elections if they didn’t have to spend half the election explaining what’s wrong with Strategic Voting.

Since I’m sharing rankings, here are the GPO Top 5:

Green Party of Ontario Leader, and Guelph MPP candidate Mike Schreiner‘s 45.04% riding vote percentage was the highest in Ontario. This resulted in the first seat in the Legislative Assembly of Ontario won by an Ontario Green Party Candidate.  Parry Sound—Muskoka‘s candidate Matt Richter ranks 2nd with 20.02%.  Laura Campbell ‘s 12.53% of the vote won in Dufferin—Caledon placed her in 3rd position; Barrie—Springwater—Oro—Medonte candidate Keenan Aylwin’s 11.72% of the vote ranks him 4th, and Dave Rodgers 8.64% in Wellington—Halton Hills makes him the 5th highest ranking Ontario Green candidate by percentage.

The Green Party of Ontario is making history, and these five candidates are leading the way forward. Onward!

[Republished from the KitCon Blog’s “Statistics”]

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]

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

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 Campaign Launch

Strong Women in Politics: Stacey Danckert (Kitchener Centre), Hannah Bell (PEI MLA) and Michele Braniff (Cambridge)

These three women give me hope.

It is exciting to that 2/5ths of Waterloo Region’s Green Party Candidates are women.  Stacey Danckert will represent Kitchener Centre and Michele Braniff Cambridge in the Election we are about to have here in Ontario.

The inspirational woman in the middle is Hannah Bell, the newest elected Green in Canada.  In a recent PEI By-Election, Hannah won the second Green seat in the PEI Legislative Assembly.  In PEI the Greens are the Third Party, and they are polling awfully well.  Even though they are only a caucus of two, they have already demonstrated that politics can be done differently.

And oddly enough, citizens like that.

Ontario’s Green Party Candidates are looking for their chance to do the same thing here.   It’s time.

REMINDER for TODAY:
Join the Waterloo Region Greens and Green Party of Ontario Leader Mike Schreiner  for our 2018 provincial election Campaign Launch at Fresh Ground, located at 256 King Street East, Kitchener, N2H 2V6

Come celebrate with us as we kick off the biggest campaign we’ve ever run in Green Party history! We’ll have lots of excitement as the writs are drawn up and the election is officially underway. Make sure to wear Green so we can show Ontario that the Green Wave is here.

When: May 9, 2018 3:30 pm
Where: Fresh Ground (at The Working Centre), 256 King St E, Kitchener

The event is free, but spots are limited so RSVP today.https://gpo.ca/event/campaign-launch-kitchener/

Candidates: Zdravko Gunjevic (Waterloo), David Weber (Kitchener South—Hespeler), Pauline Thornham (Brampton North), Bob Jonkman (Kitchener—Conestoga), Ingrid, Michele Braniff (Cambridge), Abhijeet Manay (Mississaga-Streetsville)

 

Campaign Launch: Waterloo Region

On Wednesday, May 9th, Mike Schreiner, Leader of the Green Party of Ontario, will be launching our official campaign for the 2018 provincial election.

Come celebrate with us as we kick off the biggest campaign we’ve ever run in Green Party history! We’ll have lots of excitement as the writs are drawn up and the election is officially underway. Make sure to wear Green so we can show Ontario that the Green Wave is here.

The event is free, but spots are limited so RSVP today. https://gpo.ca/event/campaign-launch-kitchener/

When: May 9, 2018 3:30 pm
Where: Fresh Ground (at The Working Centre), 256 King St E, Kitchener

Earth Day was a Blast!

[republished from the KitCon blog]

David Weber (Kitchener South—Hespeler), Stacey Danckert (Kitchener-Centre) and Bob Jonkman (Kitchener—Conestoga)
David Weber (Kitchener South—Hespeler), Stacey Danckert (Kitchener-Centre) and Bob Jonkman (Kitchener—Conestoga)

This year three of our WRGreens Candidates joined GPO leader Mike Schreiner in Guelph for a spectacular Earth Day Celebration.

Joni NehRita performed on acoustic guitar

Joni NehRita opened the Earth Day Event with some of her sustainable music.


2018 Juno Award Nominated singer/songwriter Alysha Brilla

Kevin Sutton’s spoken word performance.

Mike Schreiner

David Suzuki

Listening to David Suzuki

Elizabeth May

Bob Jonkman, David Weber and Mike Schreiner


As the event drew to a close we had more music, this time from singer-songwriters Sara Harmer

…culminating in a good old fashioned sing-along.

[More photographs available on Flickr]