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]

Developmental Services Sector: Election 2018 Panel Discussion

This discussion is centred around the issues facing people with developmental disabilities and their families in Waterloo Region.  It will provide an opportunity for members and organizations involved in the developmental services sector to hear learn about the policies offered by local politicians and their parties over the next four years.

Care has been taken to ensure this is not a debate.  The panel of participants represent the four major parties in the 5 Waterloo Region constituencies with no candidate running against each other in the upcoming election.

CATHERINE FIFE, MPP Candidate 
Ontario New Democratic Party ~ Waterloo
KATHRYN MCGARRY, MPP Candidate 
Ontario Liberal Party ~ Cambridge
DAIENE VERNILE, MPP Candidate 
Ontario Liberal Party ~ Kitchener Centre
BOB JONKMAN, Candidate 
Green Party of Ontario ~ Kitchener—Conestoga
AMY FEE, Candidate 
Progressive Conservative Party of Ontario ~ Kitchener South—Hespeler

The audience will be individuals with an interest in the Developmental Sector, primarily family, self-advocates and persons supported by the Sector and people volunteering or working in the Sector or related Sectors. The purpose of the evening is for candidates to outline their Parties Platform related to the Developmental Sector and to speak to the issues related to the Sector.

This event is being jointly hosted by:

If possible, the organizers would appreciate an RSVP indicating the number of people who will attend:
by email info@wrfn.info, or
by phone 519-886-9150;ext=1

Thu, 26 April 2018, 6:30pm – 9:00pm
Holiday Inn Kitchener Waterloo
30 Fairway Rd S, Kitchener
ON N2A 2N2, Canada (map)

Come out to support Bob Jonkman, Kitchener–Conestoga’s 2018 GPO candidate in this pre-election Panel Discussion.

A Sweet Saturday!

[reprinted from KitConGreens: KitConGreens: A Good Time Was Had By All with more/different photos]

The Glorious Greens team of candidates was the very first WRGreens entry in the Elmira Maple Syrup Festival‘s Pancake Flipping Contest!

Candice Lepage and the Glorious Greens Team: Mike Schreiner (GPO Leader), Bob Jonkman (Kitchener-Conestoga GPO Candidate), Stacey Danckert (Kitchener Centre GPO Candidate), David Weber (Kitchener South Hespeler GPO Candidate) and Zdravko Gunjevic (Waterloo Candidate)

Since our Cambridge candidate Michele Braniff was unable to attend, Green Party of Ontario Leader Mike Schreiner pitched in.  (Just one of the many things that makes him a great leader!)


After watching the other teams compete on the obstacle course, Mike scientifically determined which team member should play which position.

Mike Schreiner, Bob Jonkman and Stacey Danckert
But things didn’t actually work out as planned.

The Glorious Greens made it through two rounds before being disqualified; not bad for our first time out (and valuable experience for next time!)


In between times we got to meet interesting people.


#Wloo candidate Zdravko Gunjevic ran into his MP, the Hon. Bardish Chagger.


The Glorious Greens team got to pose with FlapJack, the festival mascot

#KitCon Greens’ Bob Jonkman introduced Mike to the Hon. Bardish Chagger.

The current Kitchener—Conestoga Green candidate (Bob Jonkman) and the previous Kitchener—Conestoga Green Candidate (David Weber) introduced Mike to the Kitchener—Conestoga Conservative MP, Harold Albrecht.

We had an information booth set up inside the Woolwich Memorial Centre.


Alongside our button making event…


…where kids of all ages…


…could make their own button…


while being serenaded with live music!


Our first outing at the Elmira Maple Syrup Festival was a great success.

David Weber, Mike Schreiner, Bob Jonkman, Zdravko Gunjevic and Stacey Danckert

Life is Sweet at the Elmira Maple Syrup Festival… what a glorious day!  We hope to see you there next year!

You’ll find more photos in the WRGreens Flickr Album, the KitConGreens Flickr Album and Laurel Russwurm’s EMSF Flickr Album]

Meet Mike at the Elmira Maple Syrup Festival #WRAwesome

On Saturday April 7th, the Waterloo Region Greens will be hosting our first info booth at the 2018 Elmira Maple Syrup Festival!

We’ll be able to provide information about the Green Party for the approaching election, but we will also be hosting a (free) button making event where kids of all ages will be able to create their own button, like we did at Open Streets Waterloo last year.

Our booth will be located inside the Woolwich Memorial Centre. You’ll find us in the main concourse, outside the swimming pool area, across from the washrooms.

But if that isn’t enough, there’s more!

You’ll get to meet the newly chosen Kitchener-Conestoga GPO Candidate for the upcoming 2018 Ontario Election.

And he’ll be joined by 3 of the other WRGreens Candidates *and* Green Party of Ontario Leader Mike Schreiner to participate in the Pancake Flipping Contest between 10:am – Noon in the arena.  And this isn’t just an ordinary Pancake Flipping Contest!

You’ll find more information on the Elmira Maple Syrup Festival on their website: www.elmiramaplesyrup.com/

Here are my Open Street Map maps to help you find your way!

Kitchener—Conestoga Nomination Meeting tonight!

What: 2018 Kitchener—Conestoga Green Party of Ontario Nomination Contest
When: Thursday, 5 April 2018 from 7:00pm to 9:00pm
Where: 3876 Sandhills Rd, Baden, Ontario
Map: https://osm.org/go/ZXnSvn4p-?way=401006267
[The map isn’t particularly accurate, but there are number signs along the road…Bob]

Find out more about the candidates in the KitCon Blog: Meet our 2018 #KitCon Candidate Nominees!

GPO Finance Critic Stacey Danckert on the Ontario Budget

Stacey DanckertCandidate, Kitchener Centre, GPO Finance Critic

As the Finance Critic for the Green Party of Ontario, last night I appeared with the other opposition critics to discuss the 2018 Liberal budget on TVO’s The Agenda.

Before the budget was officially released, we had spent 4 hours in “Budget Lockup,” where we were allowed to read and evaluate the budget before everyone else, while being disconnected from the rest of the world.  We were then given a brief opportunity to share our thoughts about the budget with Steve Paikin.

There just wasn’t enough time for a more thorough discussion, so I wanted to share more of my thoughts with you here.

Deficit

Deficits are not in and of themselves a bad thing (most of us borrow for the things we need), but it is completely unnecessary right now, in our strong economic climate. We can support the people in our communities and strengthen our social programs and we can afford to do it now. For example, we could increase royalty fees for our natural resources, which we are currently practically giving away (like the water that we sell to Nestle for $1/million L!).

We could create road tolls and move away from nuclear, among so many other revenue tools that could be discussed.

Environment

I didn’t want to spend time talking about what people already know we know. But this budget doesn’t cut it.

We need more aggressive emissions targets (net zero by 2050), we need to stop allowing the biggest emitters exemptions from the cap and trade (right now 150 of the largest emitters pay nothing!).

We need to put more money into transitioning into a Green economy – it creates more jobs and moves us to where we need to be, rather than further away from it.

And the great lakes and biodiversity saw such a pittance in this budget, I think it really shows the Liberals’ hand on protecting our natural environment.

We need to stop throwing good money after bad on nuclear power. It helped us move away from coal when we needed to, but it has also proven itself to be far too costly. As a matter of fact, it largely accounts for about one quarter of the deficit we face over the next year! Now that renewables have become affordable, we should be moving towards 100% renewables, including inexpensive hydro from Quebec and Manitoba. We could also be working harder to do the upgrades that will cut the amount of energy that we need.

Social Programs

There are lots of things that get a piece of the pie here, but notably missing is any mention of a future for basic income. Will they even look at the data, let alone roll it out province – wide?

And until then, I appreciate that they are streamlining OW and ODSP programs a bit, but the people in our communities that are accessing these programs need more money now – there is no way to live healthfully off of the tiny amount we provide to support those most in need. For example $50 on dental care for children won’t even cover an exam!

All in all, when you look at it more carefully, the budget doesn’t seem like a plan at all but rather, pieces of a plan. If you plan well, social program spending actually saves you money (i.e., less hospital spending, less on police, less on poverty stop-gaps), whereas if you implement solutions haphazardly, they are likely to cost even more and achieve nothing. While the Liberals will speak to helping the many social programs that get a mention in the budget – programs that the GPO has been advocating for increased spending for years – they haven’t developed a consistent plan to actually do it. The lack of sincerity on rolling this out right before an election after 14 years of not doing it, just doesn’t sit well with me.

But how can we blame them? This is how politics has been done for more years than I know. This time, let’s demand more. Let’s demand that they show us how they will pay for it. Let’s demand that they are consistent in their policies. Let’s demand transparency and honesty. Let’s demand a healthy and happy future for our children and grandchildren.

Stacey Danckert, GPO Finance Critic
Candidate, Kitchener-Centre

John Vanthof (NDP), Steve Paikin (host, The Agenda), Stacey Danckert (GPO) and Vic Fedeli (PC)-

More video from the 2018 Ontario Budget episode of The Agenda can be found here:

Minister Sousa discussing the budget

Expert economic analysis

 

Waterloo Region Greens support #DoneWaiting campaign

The Green Party is committed to being honest about the problems we face and always acting with integrity. We work across party lines and with advocacy groups to achieve common goals.

Screen Shot 2018-03-13 at 09.03.23
Screenshot of the #DoneWaiting campaign’s website, donewaiting.ca

In this spirit, Waterloo Region Greens fully supports the goals of the #DoneWaiting campaign. We commend the Canadian Labour Congress for pushing for an end to wage discrimination, sexual harassment and violence, and the chronic underfunding of child care.

Ontario Green Party leader Mike Schreiner has called for a reform of our justice system to better serve survivors of sexual violence.

“Our party is committed to amplifying the voices of women and pressing for progress on these critical issues in the upcoming provincial election,” said Schreiner.

The Ontario Green Party has committed to running a full and gender-balanced slate of candidates in the 2018 election.

Greens are also calling for additional funding for reproductive health and women’s shelters.

Our plan for a provincial child care strategy in Ontario builds on the 2015 federal Green platform for high-quality affordable child care for all Canadians.

Greens understand that we need strong legislation to shrink the inexcusable wage gap, and to deliver a living wage for all workers. At the same time, we will help small businesses shoulder these costs by doubling the Employer Health Tax exemption limit.

Greens support a basic income guarantee that will provide stability for workers who are moving between jobs or starting a family.

These policies are not only a response to current events; they have been part of our platform in election after election.

Greens have always been committed to doing politics differently, and we’re happy to re-affirm that we’re done waiting, too.

Waterloo Region Greens represents the provincial and federal Green Party riding associations for Waterloo, Kitchener Centre, Kitchener South-Hespeler, Kitchener-Conestoga, and Cambridge.

Mike Schreiner comes to Kitchener on Thursday, 22 March 2018

Mike Schreiner at the Jobs Justice Climate March in Toronto, 2015 The Waterloo Region Greens are pleased to welcome Green Party of Ontario leader Mike Schreiner to Kitchener for two events:

Social Innovation for Green stakeholders

When: 4:00pm to 6:00pm on Thursday, 22 March 2018
Where: Kitchener Public Library
Location: 85 Queen Street North, Kitchener, Ontario Map

Mike has come to deliver the party’s platform to Waterloo Region.

To get feedback from the community, Mike will host a round-table discussion on the topic: What changes do you need to do what you do?

Community leaders and influencers are invited to participate in discussion groups on different issues that should be addressed by the provincial government.

Mike and his policy team will take all notes and feedback from this session to learn about specific local solutions, whereas the platform will focus on provincial solutions.

This meeting is open to everyone! Light snacks and refreshments will be served.

Social Night with Mike Schreiner

When: 7:00pm to 9:00pm, Thursday 22 March 2018
Where: Abe Erb Waterloo
Location: 15 King Street South, Waterloo Map

Join Mike and the WR Greens for a locally brewed beverage, a locally prepared meal or snack, and meet your local Green Party candidates and candidate-nominees from the five Waterloo Region ridings.

The location has not yet been determined, but is sure to be one of the many craft breweries in the area. Mike has long been a champion to free the beer!

Location is confirmed! Come meet Mike Schreiner and the Waterloo Region candidates and nominees at Abe Erb Restaurant and Brewery in Waterloo!

(Mike Schreiner and Michael Masurkevitc at TWB brewery)

Donations towards the Green Party of Ontario election campaigns will be gratefully accepted at both events.

Farewell to Michael Purves-Smith

[reblogged from Kitchener—Conestoga Greens blog]

It’s clear that Elmira resident Michael Purves-Smith was celebrated in the realm of academia as a professor, and in the realm of music as a conductor, composer, and performer.

But the Michael Purves-Smith I knew was an engaged citizen concerned with democracy and local politics.

When the provincial Liberal Green Energy Act made a mockery of local planning in Elmira, Michael led the opposition to the Biogas plant against insurmountable odds. In my wildest imaginings I never expected to see the citizens of Elmira picketing Woolwich Township.

Michael’s passionate concern for the future of this planet led him to don Leadnow colours in hope of bringing real change to Canada.

And his was a familiar face at environment events throughout the region like the “Beyond Crisis” screening at the Waterloo Princess Theatre last fall.

Michael sought to lead Canadians beyond lip service to effective climate action, going so far as to write his own novel to wake us up to the urgency of climate change.

Michael Purves-Smith at his “Rocky Mountain Locust” book launch

The environment event Michael was working on before his passing has been put in limbo; it would be a suitable memorial for his event partners to carry on with: Partnering with Nature To Heal The Biosphere

Michael and Shannon Purves-Smith at the 2016 Green Party Convention, Calgary

There simply aren’t enough people like Michael Purves-Smith in the world.  If we follow his example of dedication and hard work, together we can prevail, both for ourselves and our children’s future.

Michael will surely be missed.

— Laurel Russwurm

Celebration of Life

Join Michael’s friends and family for a Celebration of Life memorial on Sunday, February 11th, 2018, at 7:00 p.m., at Knox Presbyterian Church,
50 Erb St. West, Waterloo.


Further reading:

Purves-Smith: ‘Gentle, beautiful’ (The Record)

Biography (Music centre)

Tribute (The Elora Festival)

A Tribute to Michael Purves-Smith (Wellington Wind Symphony)

Michael Purves-Smith speaks to CTV following the protest and Woolwich Council Meeting (2014)

 

SOLD OUT 2018 GPO Convention This Weekend

This weekend’s GPO Convention in Guelph has sold out!

And no wonder!  Not only is there an Ontario election looming, but there’s an excellent lineup of speakers including elected Greens from across Canada:

Peter Bevan Baker
MLA for Kellys Cross-Cumberland –  PEI Greens Leader
Keynote Speaker Saturday Evening

Hannah Bell
MLA Charlottetown-Parkdale – PEI Greens
Keynote Speaker Saturday Evening
Women in Politics Panel

Sonia Furstenau
MLA for Cowichan Valley – BC Greens Deputy Leader
Guest Speaker Sunday Afternoon

For a complete lineup, visit

https://gpo.ca/2018-convention-in-guelph/