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.
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.
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.
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.
Life is Sweet at the Elmira Maple Syrup Festival… what a glorious day! We hope to see you there next year!
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!
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
[The map isn’t particularly accurate, but there are number signs along the road…Bob]
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.