WR Greens at the Nonviolence Day In The Park

WRN | Waterloo Region NonviolenceGreen Parties the world over share the same core values. The Green Party of Canada lists them as:

  • Non-Violence
  • Sustainability
  • Social Justice
  • Ecological Wisdom
  • Participatory Democracy
  • Respect for Diversity

Join the Waterloo Region Greens as we celebrate the first of these, Nonviolence, at the WR Nonviolence Day In The Park, this Sunday, 9 July from noon to 5:00pm at Roos Island in Victoria Park, Kitchener, Ontario Map.

Green Party at Nonviolence Festival Day In The Park 2012
Nonviolence Day In The Park 2012

Pharmacare Town Hall Wednesday!

Of all the countries that provides citizens with Universal Health Care, did you know Canada is the only country that doesn’t also have Universal Pharmacare?

In 2014, Dr. Eric Hoskins ~ Ontario’s Liberal Minister of Health and Long-Term Care ~ wrote an OpEd for the Globe and Mail explaining Why Canada needs a national pharmacare program

It has been estimated that Universal public drug coverage would:

  • reduce total spending on prescription drugs in Canada by $7.3 billion
  • save the Private Sector $8.2 billion
  • increase costs to government $1.0 billion

A Mowat Centre study published by  in in 2015 goes even further:

“Overall, it estimates a universal pharmacare plan would save up to $11.4 billion a year, with $1 billion of that saved just by no longer duplicating administrative costs in the current “patchwork” system.”

However, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s federal Liberal Government have more important things to worry about than the health of its citizens, so the Ontario Liberals Government has stepped up to the plate with an intention to add publicly funded pharmacare coverage for children and youth ~ adding to the patchwork system.

“Because Ontario is adding universal, comprehensive pharmacare coverage to the age group that uses medicines least often. Many working-age Ontarians, who are far more likely to require medicines than children, will still be uninsured.”

Why a universal pharmacare plan makes sense — now

Town Hall Meeting

This Wednesday, June 28th, the new KW Chapter of the Council of Canadians is hosting a Pharmacare Town Hall Meeting from 7 – 9pm at First United Church in Waterloo (map).  Kitchener Centre MP Raj Saini (a pharmacist before going into politics) will be representing the Liberal Party,  Kitchener-Waterloo MPP Catherine Fife will be representing the NDP, and our own Stacey Danckert will be there speaking for the Greens.

With a provincial election in the offing, this should be a lively event.  We hope to see you there!

Sign The Petition

Until July 13th you can sign Steve Morgan’s ePetition E-959 (HEALTH CARE SERVICES)

which calls upon the Government of Canada to:

1. Implement through a Federal law, a Pan-Canadian Universal Pharmacare Plan, in this 42nd Parliament; and
2. Implement a National Formulary for medically necessary drugs including a drug monitoring agency providing regulations and oversight to protect Canadians.
Even though the Trudeau government has demonstrated its unwillingness to do what Canadians ask in such petitions, it doesn’t hurt to try.

For more information download the PDFs of the Pharmacare studies:

CMAJ:  Estimated cost of universal public coverage of prescription drugs in Canada

Mowat Centre: Unfilled Prescriptions: the Drug Coverage Gap in Canada’s Health Care Systems



Postscript

I’ve just learned Kitchener—Centre Liberal MP Raj Saini has backed out.

Dr. Sherilyn Houle (UW School of Pharmacy) will also be joining the panel.

50th Annual K-W Multicultural Festival

This weekend join WRGreens at the amazing K-W Multicultural Festival!

SATURDAY June 24th, 2017
11:30am — 8pm

SUNDAY June 25th, 2017
11:30am — 8pm

As always, you’ll find the festival at the lovely Victoria Park.

You never know who you’ll meet at the K-W Multicultural Festival!

Hope to see you there!

Green Tales & Changing Weather

Michele Braniff telling Tales of Green at Open Streets UpTown Waterloo ~ June 2017
Michele Braniff telling Tales of Green at Open Streets UpTown Waterloo ~ June 2017
We quickly learned the importance of keeping a low profile so the wind wouldn’t blow everything away.

The day started out windy and overshadowed by glowering clouds and a smattering of raindrops that ended around noon, but the forecast thunderstorm never materialized at UpTown Waterloo’s Open Streets.

Sadly the Artists Alley had to be cancelled (the alley is pretty much a wind tunnel) but Open Streets UpTown Waterloo carried on.
https://youtu.be/EOC54YYlaQI
And you know what?  It was a great day that was well enjoyed by all those who came out in spite of the scary looking clouds!  Throughout the day the wind kept the weather shifting, so although it was hot, it wasn’t unbearably so, and sun and cloud alternated throughout the day.

Our side event, Michele Braniff’s storytelling segment “Tales of Green” was a lot of fun.  The setting ~ beside Laurel Creek ~ was perfect for Michele’s feature story, “How Much Water Does The River Need?”

Tales of Green: Michele Braniff’s storytelling at Laurel Creek (more photos on Flickr)

It started to rain a bit through the first story, but everyone stayed to find out how it came out.

Between tales some of the audience chose to retreat in the face of rain.  Those who stayed felt the odd summer sprinkle but enjoyed Michele’s other two tales immensely.

After the storytelling was over, the rain started coming down more steadily and the OpenStreets organizers decided to end the festivities an hour early.  While vendors were packing up, kids on bikes got some great fun riding through the emptying Square in the warm summer rain.

The weather sure kept everyone guessing, but what I can tell you is that a good time was had by all.  And of course the rain actually stopped for the day at 4pm.  😉

[And if we’re really lucky, perhaps Ontario’s Monsoon Season will be over in time for the Multicultural Festival next weekend!]
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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

B.C. NDP & B.C. Greens Ratify Historic Agreement

[reblogged from Kitchener—Conestoga Greens]

May 30, 2017: British Columbia Provincial Legislature, Victoria B.C.  

All 44 elected MLAs from the B.C. New Democrat and B.C. Green caucuses have ratified an agreement pledging to work together to support a stable New Democrat government that works for people.

“The people of B.C. spoke loud and clear on election day – they want a government that works for them, not just those at the top. With the signing of this historic agreement, we are showing that we are ready to roll up our sleeves and work together to make lives better for British Columbians,” said BC NDP Leader John Horgan.

“The results of the election clearly demonstrated that voters wanted to put an end to the bitter, divisive and cynical politics of the past, and get on with productive governance. Today, I am very proud to stand with John Horgan and our respective caucuses to demonstrate how two distinct parties can work together for the good of all,” said BC Greens Leader, Andrew Weaver.

The BC New Democrat Government has agreed to advance several legislative and policy initiatives identified as a condition of support by the BC Green Caucus, including:

  • Reforming our electoral system, getting the influence of big money out of politics, and reforming lobbying rules
  • Recognizing that education is about lifelong learning and fast-tracking enhancement to K-12 education funding
  • Protecting and promoting public health care, creating a proposal for an essential drugs program, and giving families the security of quality, affordable child care
  • Getting people moving with better transit
  • Giving the opioid crisis the attention it deserves
  • Establishing an Emerging Economy Task Force and an Innovation Commission
  • Eliminating Medical Services Premiums
  • Implementing a basic income pilot project
  • Fighting climate change while creating good jobs and introducing rebate cheques that will mean most people pay less while increasing the carbon tax beginning in 2018
  • Sending the Site C project immediately to an independent review
  • Opposing the Kinder Morgan pipeline expansion project

“British Columbians have been waiting 16 long years for solutions to so many problems, and we want to help. A New Democrat government, with the support of Green MLAs, will make life more affordable, fix the services people count on, and build a sustainable economy that works for people. This agreement means we have the opportunity to make those changes that are so important. I’m optimistic and excited for the future,” said Horgan.

“This agreement establishes a relationship of ‘good faith and no surprises’ between the B.C. Green caucus and a B.C. New Democrat government. It is our hope that it becomes a model for future B.C. governments, where working across party lines is quite ordinary. I have always believed we are better off when diverse views can be represented at the table. This is a new era for politics in BC – one where British Columbians are truly the winners,” said Weaver.

You can read the full agreement here.


Image Credit

British Columbia Parliament Buildings” © by Ryan Bushby (HighInBC) released under a Creative Commons Attribution 2.5 Generic License via Wikimedia Commons

Republished from Greens of British Columbia

Congratulations #BCgreens ~ largest Green Caucus in Canadian History!

photo © by Laura Colpitts https://twitter.com/SprntgStilettos

Congratulations to the BC Greens!  Not only has party leader Oak Bay-Gordon Head MLA Andrew Weaver been re-elected, he will now be joined by new MLAs, Sonia Furstenau in Cowichan Valley and and Adam Olsen in Saanich North and the Islands.  Although Green candidates have broken through in legislatures here and there, this historic election is the first to have elected a Provincial Green Caucus.  Just as in the USA and UK, Canada’s unfair First Past The Post electoral system makes it exceptionally difficult for small party and independent candidates to get elected.   And even when they are, Canadian legislatures have added another artificial barrier: a political party can be duly registered, and run candidates and even manage to win seats in the legislature, but the legislature has imposed a threshold before an elected party is entitled to receive additional perks.  In BC the threshold is 4 seats, so our new Green caucus is one seat shy of official party status.

Although the dust hasn’t quite settled yet, neither the BC Liberals or BC NDP won a majority in the election.  If this is still the case after recounts and absentee ballots have been incorporated into the tally, the BC Greens will hold the balance of power.  Leader Andrew Weaver has expressed a willingness to work with whoever necessary to make government work, but his two non-negotiable points are legislation to get big money out of politics, and Proportional Representation.  Lets keep our fingers crossed for that excellent BC outcome!

Since much of the rest of the world’s democracies use Proportional Representation, this is not the case elsewhere.  Just now Australia has 9 Green Senators in their STV Proportional Representation Senate, but only recently elected their very first MP to their winner-take-all  House of Representatives.  New Zealand has fourteen MPs ~ and they only adopted MMP after a 1993 Referendum.  There are currently 50 sitting Green Members of the European Parliament.   Although the discriminatory barriers against small parties and independent candidates in winner-take-all systems like ours stack the deck against Greens in Canada and the UK (and the USA), we are way behind the wave of Green Candidates being elected at all levels of government in the 90+ countries that already use Proportional Representation.

It took some doing, but our current Party Leader Elizabeth May broke through to become Canada’s first elected Green MP.   She was followed at the provincial level by Andrew Weaver in BC, Peter Bevan-Baker in PEI, and David Coon in New Brunswick. Now it’s time to meet the BC Greens:

Adam Olsen, Saanich North and the Islands

Sonia Furstenau, Cowichan Valley

Andrew Weaver, Oak Bay-Gordon Head

Check out our Green World to find out more about Greens elected in Canada and abroad.


Image Credit:
the excellent photo of BC’s new Green Caucus is  © by Laura Colpitts is used with permission

 

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