Join #GPO leader Mike Schreiner at the 2017 Plowing Match!

Did you know all the Members of Ontario’s Provincial Parliament get the day off work to visit the International Plowing Match?   The event is traditionally attended by leaders of all 4 of the top Ontario parties.  It can also be an excellent opportunity to ask questions of Mike (or any of the other party leaders).

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!  Bob and I went out last year and had a great time, and we hope to again this year, and you’re invited too!

This year it’s being held near Walton, Ontario.  It’s  the 100th anniversary of the IPM, so whether you’ve ever attended before, you are in for a treat.
You can download the PDF of the IPM schedule of events for Tuesday here.

You’re invited to come out and march with Mike Schreiner and fellow Greens at the 2017 International Plowing Match Opening Parade in Huron County!

The parade will take place on Tuesday, September 19 in Walton, Ontario.

The parade will begin at 10:00 am sharp and Green supporters will be gathering at 9:00 am in the parade assembly area.

We would love to have you come out to show your support for the GPO, and join us in celebrating Ontario’s farmland and rural communities. Everyone is welcome!

If you plan on attending, please RSVP using our webform or email samanthabird@gpo.ca for more information.

We look forward to seeing you there!

Samantha Bird
Green Party of Ontario

P.S. Please remember to wear your Green Party t-shirts!

We hope to see you there!

Regards,

Laurel


[Reblogged from Kitchener—Conestoga Greens]

Great Fun in Paris

159th Annual Paris Fair159th Annual Paris FairDon’t miss the 159th Annual Paris Fair is on all weekend:
August 31st – September 4th, 2017 at the Paris Fairgrounds.

Bob Jonkman (#KitCon) joined Ken Burns (#BrantGreens) to help out on Friday (and had a great time!).

While you’re there, be sure to stop by the Brant Greens booth in the Curling building. They have an awesome photo booth where you can have your picture taken with your favourite cartoon or movie character. And they’ve got a water cooler so you can refill your water bottles at no charge.

And my personal favourite: kids of all ages are encouraged to drop by and make their own (free) button.

Ingrid and Bob thought Mike needed his own button too!

Mike gave a couple of interviews to the local print media

And we got to meet former Brant Greens candidate Nora Clemons Fueten, pictured here with current candidate Ken Burns and GPO Leader Mike Schreiner

This is a real country fair with all the trimmings.

There are rides for all, big and small.

And its a good place to meet old friends or make new ones.

You’ll find more photos from the Paris Fair in our new WRGreens Flickr Album!

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

Earth Month Plus

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

Tuesday, April 18th, 2017

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

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

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

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


Thursday, April 20th, 2017

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

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

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

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


Friday April 21, 2017

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

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

Saturday April 22nd, 2017 ~ EARTH DAY #EarthDay

8:30am—12 noon
Woolwich Community Clean Up

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

9:00am—12 noon
Cambridge Community Clean Up: City Green Booths Open

Pick up your supplies from the City Green Booth nearest you and do your clean up when it’s convenient for you.

Cambridge City Green booth locations :
1. Holiday Inn Drive Tim Hortons parking lot
2. Galt Arena Gardens
3. St. Benedicts/Clemens Mill Library Branch
4. Victoria Park (Salisbury Ave corner of the park just before Highland Public School)
5. Monsignor Doyle Secondary School
https://www.meetup.com/Cambridge-City-Green/events/237639111/

12:30pm
March For Science

Waterloo Town Square
75 King Street South, Waterloo ON


Saturday April 29th, 2017

12:00 Noon
People’s Climate March Ottawa

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


Tuesday May 2nd, 2017

6:30pm
Waterloo Green Party of Canada EDA AGM

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

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

TWB Cooperative Brewing,
300 Mill St., Kitchener
Would “developing” countries be better or worse off without free trade?
What benefits has NAFTA brought to Canadian workers?
Learn and discuss questions like these with our international trade learning community. Join us for some beer and casual conversation about this thorny topic.
* The event is free, purchase of beer is not neccessary, and the space is wheelchair accessible. No food available for purchase but feel free to bring your own. If you have any questions, please email the organizer, Julia Gogoleva, at julia.gogoleva@gmail.com.

Thursday May 11th, 2017

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

CIGI
67 Erb St W
Waterloo, ON N2L 6C2

Divest Waterloo/CIGI to host an evening with Jeff Rubin, a world-leading energy expert and former chief economist at CIBC World Markets. As a senior fellow CIGI, Jeff has written extensively on the future of the Canadian oil sands and the financial imperative to shift our economy away from fossil fuel dependence. Jeff will be speaking at CIGI to address pension fund managers, members of the finance and insurance industries, and the general public about the financial case for divesting from fuels.

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


Saturday June 3rd, 2017

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

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

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

Reminding Liberals Rally!

First a few words about voter equality from GPO leader Mike Schreiner:

March 2nd will be a busy day.

Everyone who hasn’t should sign the e-616 Petition… it closes for signature at at 11:20 a.m. (EDT) Thursday March 2nd, 2017.

And then, later in the day, anyone in Waterloo Region who can make it out ought to come out to welcome the Hon. Mélanie Joly, Minister of Canadian Heritage to Waterloo Region.  The “welcoming committee” is being organized by our Fair Vote Waterloo friend, Sharon Sommerville, to remind the Liberal minister that Canadians still expect Proportional Representation by 2019.  Here’s the invite:

Reblogged from Fair Vote Waterloo

The Hon. Mélanie Joly, Minister of Canadian Heritage will be joining Waterloo Region Liberal MPs for a meet & greet at St. John the Evangelist Church, 23 Water Street in Kitchener.

With five Liberal MPs, including two cabinet ministers in one place at one time, we thought we should take this opportunity to remind Liberal politicians that reneging on the promise to end First Past The Post and make every vote count will have consequences.

The meet and greet starts at 6:00 pm, so we will gather at St. John the Evangelist Church (basement entrance on Duke Street) at 5:45 pm. If all the MPs arrive on time, we will rally until 6:15 pm. Bring horns, tooters, drums, signs or funny hats, whatever you like to make a point; we are here, we are disappointed and we aren’t going to forget that you broke your promise to make every vote count.

What: Reminding Liberals Rally
When: Thursday, 2 March 2017 from 5:45pm to 6:15pm
Where: St. John the Evangelist Church, Duke Street entrance
Location: 23 Water St N, Kitchener, Ontario, Canada Map

See you there?

And, the Meet & Greet with the Hon. Mélanie Joly is a public event. If you would like to attend and speak with local Liberal MPs or the Hon. Mélanie Joly about their broken electoral reform promise, please RSVP at Liberal Party of Canada » Meet and Greet with the Hon. Mélanie Joly

Facebook Event Page

I have been doing some “reminding” of my own.  I’ve just put together 2 short videos to remind Waterloo’s MP, the Hon Bardish Chagger, currently Leader of the Government in the House of Commons and Minister of Small Business and Tourism and the Member of Parliament for the riding of Waterloo of the assurances she gave voters about her commitment to Electoral Reform when she was only a candidate in the 3rd place party:

Bardish Chagger: an Electoral System based on the Principle of Fairness

and

Bardish Chagger: Four Questions

I myself can’t make it out to this, so I’m hoping you can go and maybe even give my regards to the Minister.  And maybe get a few pictures 🙂

Why Isn’t Ontario Protecting Our Water?

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

Missive on Nestle’s Water Taking in Aberfoyle

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

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

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

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

This is not a typo.

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

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

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

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

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

But the Provincial Government gives Nestlé a sweetheart deal.

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

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

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

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

Nestlé Waters

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