Potluck Picnic In The Park with the @WR_Greens

Picnic table with foodThe Waterloo Region Greens are having a Summertime Get Together! Join us for a Potluck Picnic In The Park under the picnic shelter in Kitchener’s Victoria Park.

Bring a dish to share, and bring your own beverage (non-alcoholic; this is a public venue). To accommodate dietary preferences, please label your food if it has nuts, wheat, dairy, eggs, or meat.

Although the listed time is from 7:00pm to 9:00pm, you’re very welcome to start earlier and stay later!

What: Waterloo Region Greens Summer Get Together: Potluck Picnic in the Park
When: Wednesday, 23 August 2017 from 7:00pm to 9:00pm
Where: Picnic shelter, Victoria Park, Kitchener, Ontario Map

And since the rain is no stranger to Kitchener, we’ll have an alternate rain date on Thursday, 31 August 2017. Keep an eye on the WRGreens blog and @WR_Greens for rain postponement announcements.

Join the WR Greens Discussion mailing list to keep up-to-date on Waterloo Region Green Party events.

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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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

Greens Joined Waterloo Region’s Rally For Proportional Representation

1918
A decent sized crowd especially for short notice outdoor February event!
1887
Mildish weather for February
Kitchener-Conestoga's Bob Jonkman was the Master of Ceremonies
Kitchener-Conestoga’s Bob Jonkman was the Master of Ceremonies
Kitchener Centre's Sam Nabi
Kitchener Centre’s Sam Nabi spoke on behalf of Waterloo Region Greens
Sam Nabi
Sam Nabi
CTV coverage
CTV coverage
crowd
Who’s not listening to Canadians?
Alim Natthoo
Alim Natthoo
Kitchener South-Hespeler's David Weber
David Weber
Sam Nabi chats with Waterloo Greens Stacey Danckert
Sam Nabi chats with Waterloo Greens Stacey Danckert
1870
Louisette Lanteigne holds her sign behind e-616 Petition author Jonathan Cassels
1905
Electoral reform is serious business.
1986
Richard Walsh
1992
Teresa Cornwell
2077
Shannon Purves-Smith
2117
Julia Gogoleva
2126
Mo Markham
2241
Bob Jonkman (and son Will, who looked after the event’s sound).
140032
Dogs for Democracy
142602
Former Green Party Candidate Cathy Maclellan
2506
Bob Jonkman speaks with Laura Hamilton of “Divest Waterloo” and “Food Not Bombs” (the event’s unofficial caterer.)

Just a little reminder:  Parliamentary Petition e-616 is the single most important thing any of us can do for Electoral Reform right now…
https://petitions.parl.gc.ca/en/Petition/Details?Petition=e-616

You do not have to be a Canadian citizen to sign.
If you are not a Canadian citizen but are resident in Canada you can sign.
You do not have to be resident in Canada to sign.
My Australian electoral reform friends can’t sign, but Canadian citizens resident in Australia can.
You do not have to be old enough to vote to sign.
Young people who sign this now may be lucky enough to have their votes count when they are old enough.
But signing is not enough: you need is to confirm your valid email address before your signature will be added.

Our hope is to get the petition signature number as high as possible.  300,000 (about what the mydemocracy survey got) would be amazing.
I understand 240,000 would be fabulous, as that is 1% of Canadian voters.
The 122,981 signatures we have already are amazing.
This is the very first Parliamentary e-petition to top 100,000 signatures.  That is the magic number that is supposed to trigger a Parliamentary debate.
The e-411 (Islam) petition only managed 69,742 signatures, and it resulted in Mr. Mulcair’s unanimously accepted Parliamentary Motion on October 6, 2016 as well as Ms. Khalid’s Motion 103 which resulted in HoC debate.

The higher we can get this number, the better. Read more about the petition here:

https://wrgreens.wordpress.com/2017/02/21/sign-petition-e-616/

If you can share with your social network, that would be awesome.

And Green voters should sign, because we need Proportional Representation to have any hope of properly addressing Climate Change.  The reason this issue is so important is that this is the foundation that must be laid for pretty much every issue Canadians face.  Without fair representation we might as well not have democracy at all.

If every Canadian who voted Green in 2015 signed this petition, Greens alone could generate upwards of 600,000 signatures.

 

 

Go Green on Social Media

social-media-iconsThe Green Party doesn’t have a massive “war chest.”  We don’t have corporate or union donors and the big advertising budgets they bring.

Our strength is in our grass roots… ordinary Canadians who think green thoughts. People who want a greener future. Not just for us, but for our kids. And posterity.
wrgreens-logo-banner
What we do have is ideas.  Ideas worked out by members. Ideas expressed in policy, blogs, and multimedia.  Because the Green Party doesn’t have big advertising budgets, it is very hard to get green ideas reported in Main Stream Media (MSM).

But we can get our ideas out there— if we work together.

You can help these ideas take root and grow by sharing them with your social media network.

Some people hesitate about sharing links to articles & videos. We worry that talking about politics online will alienate our family and friends.  Let’s face it: we all have family and friends with different ideas.  Some support other parties, and certainly many — probably even most — don’t support any party or even consider themselves political.

The Internet is still new enough that it’s easy to forget the reason it exists is to make it easy to exchange information.

Social Media is for sharing our interests with our family and friends.   Maybe you’re a Green Party member, supporter, or even voter.  But maybe you’re not, maybe you don’t like the Green Party candidate in your riding, maybe you don’t agree with everything in Green Party policy.   But chances are good that anyone reading this is interested in at least some green ideas.

If we each share one green idea, article, or video on social media each day, we aren’t likely to alienate anyone.  Especially as Facebook and Twitter have taken to limiting which of our posts our friends and family actually see.   The beauty of social media sharing is that there is no need to argue or try to convert anyone.  By sharing articles that resonate with us, we’re giving our friends and family an opportunity to learn what’s important to us — very often information they won’t see in the MSM.  If they aren’t interested, they won’t read that article or watch that video.  But maybe they will.

Even if they just skip over that Tweet or Facebook post, the fact you’ve shared it increases how far Twitter or Facebook will share.  Even if our family and friends don’t read our blog articles, or look at our videos, or look at our graphics, you’ll help WRGreens increase our “Google juice” just by sharing.

Especially in a world where the first official act of the new American president was to take down the American Government Climate Change page, it becomes more and more evident we can no longer afford a way of life that puts corporate interests ahead of the public interest. We can’t put profits ahead of clean air and fresh water.  So please, help us make social media work for us.

Let’s work together to change the world.

#GPC SGM 2016

Glimpse of the Rockies from Calgary

As most readers will be aware, the Green Party of Canada just conducted a Special General Meeting in Calgary to deal with some urgent business, namely human rights, pipelines and electoral reform.

Canada is signatory to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (and indeed was instrumental in bringing this important document into existence).  As well, Canada is a high contracting member of the Geneva Conventions.

Green Party Core Values

Green Parties around the world share common values as expressed in the Charter of the Global Greens. The policies of the Green Party of Canada are based on six fundamental principles

Non-Violence

Richard Walsh, Waterloo
Richard Walsh, Waterloo

We declare our commitment to non-violence and strive for a culture of peace and cooper
ation between states.

Sustainability

We recognize the scope for the material expansion of society within the biosphere, and the need to maintain biodiversity through the use of renewable resources.

Social Justice

We assert that the key to social justice is the equitable distribution of resources to ensure that all have full opportunities for personal and social development.

Ecological Wisdom

We acknowledge that human beings are part of the natural world and we respect the specific value of all forms of life, including non-human species.

Participatory Democracy

We strive for a democracy in which all citizens have the right to express their views, and are able to directly participate in decisions which affect their lives.

Respect for Diversity

We honour and value equally the Earth’s biological and ecological diversity together with the context of individual responsibility toward all beings.

In Calgary this past week the Green Party of Canada took a principled stand for human rights, demonstrating our respect for people in Canada and around the world.

S16-P013  Measures to pressure the government of Israel to preserve the two-state solution: addendum to current Middle East policy

Canada’s friendship with Israel does not mean we should avert our eyes from the human rights abuses Israel continues to visit upon its captive indigenous population. The Occupied Palestinian Territory (OPT) has been under martial law for decades.  The Government of Israel’s continuing policy of appropriating land for settlements from what little land is left in Palestinian hands has been deplored around the world, not only because it is an egregious violation of International Law, but, as the United States has pointed out, this active colonialism undermines any hope for peace.

If the Green Party of Canada is to live up to the promise of our core values of non-violence, diversity and social justice, we must hold every country — including and perhaps especially our friends — accountable to International Law.  The sad truth is that Canada has failed to do what our government’s own policy says it will.

Thankfully the Green Party has stepped up to the plate, with the adoption of enhanced foreign policy that will give the growing number of Canadians who want peace in the Middle East a voice in Parliament.  At the SGM, we revisited the Israel-Palestine policy adopted in August to address perceived problems in the original resolution.  At the Calgary SGM, the new Consensus Resolution put forward by the GPC Shadow Cabinet was adopted by 84.35% of the plenary.  GPC members who weren’t able to attend can watch the livestream on the Party Website.

You can also listen to Dimiti Lascaris (the original resolution’s mover) being interviewed on Vancouver’s Co-Op Radio.  Dimitri explains this past weekend’s adoption of a suite of policies defending the rights of indigenous peoples in Canada and Palestine establishes the Green Party of Canada as the champion of human rights in Canada’s Parliament. (His interview begins at 19:52 of the podcast.)

Canada is not the only member of the International Community to be reconsidering Middle East policy.  I found the following quotation from Australian MP Adam Bandt to be particularly apt.

“There is no point in being friends with governments if you do not use that supposed friendship to stand up to them when they do the wrong thing—to say, ‘You need to act on what is clearly an egregious abuse of human rights.’ Otherwise, if you do not stand up to governments when they do that, you become complicit in it. The standard that you walk past is the standard that you accept. That means that the Australian government has now been put on notice. It has taken action in the past, and it is time that it renewed that action so that we address what is clearly an unlawful but also immoral abuse of children.”
— The Honourable Adam Bandt, Australian MP, (Green) Nov. 21, 2016

Truth and Reconciliation

Lorraine Rekmans at the SGM
Lorraine Rekmans, GPC Indigenous Affairs Critic

As Canada embarks upon our own road to Truth and Reconciliation, we need to do what we can to promote active solutions.  For the GPC that process began with the adoption of this suite of Canadian Indigenous Peoples’ rights policy, including rejection of the odious “Doctrine of Discovery.”

S16-P001  Implement Recommendations from the Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples Report, 1996

Policy Resolution Submitted by Lorraine Rekmans

BE IT RESOLVED That the Green Party of Canada urge the Government of Canada implement the recommendations made by the Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples.

S16-P002  Rebuilding and Recognition of Original Indigenous Nations

Policy Resolution Submitted by Lorraine Rekmans

BE IT RESOLVED that the Green Party of Canada urge the Government of Canada to implement, support and resource measures to advance Indigenous nation building where Indigenous peoples develop and implement their own strategies for rebuilding Indigenous nations and measures to reclaim Indigenous nationhood, including;
(a) cultural revitalization and healing processes; and,
(b) political processes for building consensus on the basic composition of the Aboriginal nation and their political structures; and,
(c) processes undertaken by individual communities and by groups of communities that may share Indigenous nationhood.

S16-P003 Support Indigenous Women

Policy Resolution Submitted by Lorraine Rekmans

BE IT RESOLVED that the Green Party of Canada urges the Government of Canada to work in partnership with Indigenous women and fund such programs and services that ensure poverty amongst Indigenous women is eliminated.

S16-P004 Repudiation of the Doctrine of Discovery

Policy Resolution Submitted by Lorraine Rekmans

BE IT RESOLVED that the Green Party of Canada renounces and repudiates the Doctrine of Discovery and calls on the Government of Canada to repudiate and renounce the Doctrine of Discovery.

S16-P005 Indigenous Peoples’ Health Care in Canada

Policy Resolution Submitted by Lorraine Rekmans

BE IT RESOLVED that The Green Party calls upon the Government of Canada to engage Indigenous Peoples of Canada in the negotiation and implementation of the next federal/provincial /territorial Health Accord;

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that The Green Party calls upon the Government of Canada to establish measurable goals and identify and close gaps in health outcomes for Indigenous people by implementing the recommendations made by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission;

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that The Green Party calls upon the Government of Canada to ensure that Health Care services for Aboriginal people in Canada meet or exceed the standards set for all Canadians;

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Green Party calls on the Government of Canada to provide federal funding to Indigenous healing centres.

Pipelines

Former Green Party Deputy Leader and current Councillor of the City of Vancouver, Adriane Carr submitted an emergency resolution to Green Party SGM regarding the recent ill advised Kinder Morgan decision.

“The motion basically calls on the Green Party of Canada to embark on a robust nationwide campaign to educate the public about accelerating climate change, and the impacts of decision that the Prime Minister and the cabinet just made around Kinder Morgan and the fact that kind of decision really does have a huge impact on our climate.”
— CKNW: Adriane Carr submits emergency resolution to Green Party, seeks reversal of Kinder Morgan decision

Former GPC Deputy Leader and current Vancouver Councillor, Adriane Carr spoke about Kinder Morgan at the SGM plenary
Adriane Carr addresses the SGM plenary

The Green Party has been clear about pipelines: the only hope of effective climate change policy starts with keeping it in the ground.  In spite of our new Liberal Government’s COP 21 commitment in Paris, Canadians have been seeing a disconnect between words and actions.  Instead of the promised NEB reformation, the current government has left the flawed process in place, and insupportable pipelines are being approved same as always.

S16-P020 is the Husky Oil Spill resolution, intended to raise public awareness of the effects of the July 20 2016 oil spill in Saskatchewan, calling on Saskatchewan to review its environmental assessment rules and ensure there are adequate pipeline inspections

Electoral Reform

Peter Bevan-Baker, PEI
Peter Bevan-Baker, PEI

Elizabeth gave a report on the Electoral Reform process to the plenary on Saturday (I’m hoping to post video on the WRGreens YouTube channel).

In order to fulfil their mandate, the MPs representing four of the five parties in Parliament and on the ERRE Committee came together to form consensus.  This required both Green and NDP Committee members to soften the stance of their respective parties and accept the notion of a referendum.  (Incredibly, the Liberals who promised to make every vote count dissented, as the party is now frantically back pedalling on their own promise while the other four parties fight for it.)  You can read/download the PDF the full final ERRE Committe report for yourself here.

On Sunday morning there was an Electoral Reform workshop, featuring PEI Green Party Leader Peter Bevan-Baker, who has recently having his own adventures with Electoral Reform.  The workshops resulted in three new resolutions that were adopted at the SGM (but still in need of ratification — don’t forget to vote!)

Members of the SGM Electoral Reform workshop decided to amend party policy as follows, with three new resolutions that frame the GPC policy to allow Elizabeth more leeway in Electoral Reform negotiations on our behalf.

S16-D017 Referendum

Be it resolved that the Green Party of Canada’s position regarding referenda on electoral reform is:

That the Green Party of Canada supports conducting a referendum on electoral reform with options of proportional systems with a Gallagher index of 5 or less, as presented by the Special Parliamentary committee on Electoral Reform, but only

1) if the referendum presents only proportional voting options;

or

2) after at least two consecutive elections using a proportional voting system.

To more effectively lobby for meaningful electoral reform at this critical juncture, it was decided the Green Party should explicitly back a single specific form of Proportional Representation.  Among other things it will make it easier to explain this important issue the majority of Canadians who are just now learning about PR when we only have one system to explain.   Although the GPC has expressed a preference in this resolution, the language of the resolution was careful not to close the door to support of any other suitable Proportional System with a Gallagher Index of 5 or less.

S16-D018 Preferred Voting Model

BE IT RESOLVED that the Green Party of Canada supports mixed member proportional representation as its preferred method for achieving equal and effective votes.

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Green Party of Canada will remain open to other proportional representation options with a Gallagher index of 5 or less, as presented by the Special Parliamentary committee on Electoral Reform

The third electoral reform resolution empowers the party to keep working hard for electoral reform at this critical juncture.

S16-D019 GPC Task Force

BE IT RESOLVED that the Green Party of Canada create a task force that will liaise and work with the Party Leader and the Shadow Cabinet to focus on promoting electoral reform within Canada.

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Green Party of Canada will direct resources and funding toward educating the public on the GPC’s electoral reform priorities

Whose Democracy Is It?

The Liberal Government has sent postcards to every Canadian household (at great expense), completely ignoring the work of its own ERRE Process in which Canadians are asked to complete a deeply problematic survey which requires participants to sacrifice an unreasonable amount of personal privacy in order to have our input included.  The Government’s own website gives a little background, and then redirects us to the corporate website of the marketing firm we are expected to share such personal information as our household income.  This is supposed to be okay, because we are not required to tell them our name.  Except the personally identifiable information we are required to share is sufficient for Vox Pop Labs to ensure the answers made by multiple people completing the survey at the same address are distinct individuals (indicating the personal data we are required to surrender is far more invasive than simply giving our names would be.

Postcards

At the GPC SGM there was talk of Operation Postcard parties throughout the festive season, and to make the process easier, Bonnie North was instrumental in helping develop the tools to make participation easier.

Fair Vote Canada had also set up a website intended to help Canadians navigate the convoluted survey at mycanadiandemocracy.ca/

The negatives attached to the mydemocracy.ca online survey make it difficult to recommend that Canadians engage in the Government’s dubious exercise, particularly in light of concern the aim of the survey is to provide justification to back away from meaningful reform.

Which is why I was ecstatic to discover there are other ingenious ways to send an emphatic message.  I was particularly taken with this clever idea of what we can do with our government postcards:

There are many variations on this theme, some of which can be found under the Twitter #OperationPostcard hashtag.  But since only a single postcard is being sent to each Canadian household, those of in homes with more than one citizen are limited to a single opportunity to express a preference with the postcard.  But fear not!  If there are more people in your household who would like to offer an opinion, or even if you haven’t received your postcard yet in the mail, the Green Party provides an opportunity to print your own copy of the postcard at home here.

The Real Questions

Because the government survey fails on so many levels, the Green Party has put together its own straight forward survey to allow Canadians to answer The Real Questions.  It’s packaged in an online tool so we can send to our own responses ~ along with am optional personalized message ~ direct to Maryam Monsef, The Minister of Democratic Institutions and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. I sincerely hope every Canadian takes this opportunity to make our preferences known to the government.  You don’t even have to be a GPC member or even a supporter to fill this survey out… it’s being offered as a public service.

The most fun to come out of the electoral reform workshop was this parody song, “All I Want For Chrisrtmas Is PR,” performed here by the GPC SGM Plenary.

Ratification

In the past, all Green Party Policy resolutions passed at Convention were ratified by the entire membership in an online vote.  SGM 2016 has restored this practice, and so all GPC members should be in receipt of email instructions on how to vote to ratify the resolutions.  All GPC members across Canada should have received an email on December 7th, 2017 which contains information and our voting credentials.

If you haven’t received your, please contact the GPC immediately.  Don’t forget to vote!  

The above links only work if you sign into the GPC website (they’re in the secure members area).  I’ve included them as I found it helpful to be able to refer to the texts to know what I was voting on.  There didn’t seem to be a way to do that from within the voting app.

“I am very happy that all the motions being sent out for ratification were the products of a consensus-seeking process. Many were unanimous. Those that moved to a vote were passed overwhelmingly. I support all of them.”
Elizabeth May, “What happened in our Calgary meeting”

All GPC members can (and should) participate in the ratification vote.  You can vote until February 6th, 2017.  Don’t leave it until the last minute!  Remember your membership must be in good standing at least 30 days prior to the end of voting, so if you’ve allowed yours to lapse, get it caught up before January 6th, 2017.

(And while you’re at it, this would be a good time to make a donation to the GPC ~ and don’t forget the GPO 🙂

Do you know a $400 GPC donation will give you a $300 tax refund?  Money spent on membership and at least some of the cost associated with AGM and SGM attendance is eligible.  Remember to stay within annual donation limits for political donations.   Hmm…sounds like we should have a dedicated article about these rules for federal and provincial parties here.

Canada’s Voting System Is Changing

Stanley Park Community Centre - Maryam Monsef's National Electoral Reform Community Dialogue Tour

Maryam Monsef, Minister of Democratic Institutions“For the past month I’ve been traveling across Canada hearing from Canadians directly on the values and expectations they feel should be reflected in Canada’s electoral system.

At every stop, it is clear; Canadians expect greater inclusion, transparency, engagement and modernization from their public institutions.”

— The Hon. Maryam Monsef,
Minister of Democratic Institutions ~ Ottawa, ON, Sept. 15, 2016

Hundreds of Waterloo Region residents crowded into the Stanley Park Community Centre on Wednesday night for a chance to participate in the Federal Electoral Reform Consultation with the the Honourable Maryam Monsef, the Minister of Democratic Institutions.  Ms. Monsef shared the stage with local LPC Mps, the Honourable Bardish Chagger, Bryan May, Marwan Tabbara and Kitchener Centre host, Raj Saini,  But the evening’s main course was the small group dialogues where participants considered issues and shared their views.  Each group came up with a series of conclusions, all of which were duly passed along for consideration in Ottawa.  The Record‘s Luisa D’amato reports:

As I felt the unmistakable sense of optimism that comes when a powerful person asks your opinion, it occurred to me that we might have got it wrong all this time.

We’ve asked young people to vote, and shook our heads when they didn’t. “Don’t complain if you don’t vote,” we said.

Yet the rules by which we held the elections seemed designed to silence their choices.

D’Amato: It’s heartwarming to see a packed room for electoral reform discussion

Julia and SamJulia and Sam (Kitchener Centre Greens) are passionate about meaningful electoral reform.  The shape of their future depends on it.  They’re the driving force behind our Canada’s Voting System Is Changing event at Kitchener City Hall tomorrow.

Canada's Voting System Is Changing poster
Canada’s Voting System Is Changing poster ~ click to download larger size

The main goal of tomorrow’s event is to provide public information about our options.

Every MP in Canada has been asked to consult with their constituents about what they would like to see in terms of electoral reform.  Although our evening with Ms. Monsef was excellent, it would have been nice to see 4 Liberal Town Halls.  Knowing how long it took me to get my head around electoral reform, more events might make it easier for many citizens.

Sadly Kitchener-Conestoga residents don’t get any Town Hall at all.  Our Conservative MP Harold Albrecht has declined to conduct a consultation.  Fair Vote Waterloo will be putting on 3 more Library Information nights at Elmira Library, New Hamburg and the Ayr Public Libraries.

Earlier in the year the Waterloo NDP put on an information event with Fair Vote Waterloo, but now it’s our turn.

Proportional Representation is not a partisan issue; it is simply a way to better represent citizens in Parliament.  This isn’t about parties, but about what is best for all of us, the voters.  That’s why each of these events have worked hard to put partisanship aside in order to both inform and converse with the public.

the Hon. Maryam Monsef, Minister of Democratic Institutions speaks to a packed house in Waterloo Region, Wednesday Night.
The Hon. Maryam Monsef, Minister of Democratic Institutions speaks to a packed house in Waterloo Region. September  14th, 2016

So many other countries have adopted meaningful electoral reform that there’s a lot of information out there. And yet, Canadians have heard almost nothing about the alternatives before us.

That’s why Fair Vote Waterloo co-chair Sharon Sommerville will give an introductory talk about Proportional Representation. Then we’ll break into small group discussions, much like Maryam Monsef’s National Electoral Reform Community Dialogue Tour the other night.   We have decided to have two kinds of groups; one to help those of us just beginning to learn about Proportional Representation, and another for those who have an idea of what kind of reform they would like to see.  The latter will be able to discuss the issue as a group in order to make a group submission we can forward on to the ERRE Committee.

Even if you have a pretty good handle on Electoral Reform, we look forward to seeing you in Carl Zehr Square.  It is always a lot more fun to work on a submission together, and it is amazing how much discussion can help clarify the things we’re fuzzy on.  The more Canadians participate in this electoral reform process, the better the outcome will be.

This is a perfect opportunity to help your friends and neighbors get the facts about electoral reform.  We hope to see you there!

Canada’s Voting System Is Changing: Community Dialogue
Saturday September 17th, 2016
3:00pm – 4:30pm

Carl Zehr Square, in front of Kitchener City Hall
200 King St W, Kitchener, Ontario, Canada map

RSVP on the Facebook Event:
Community Dialogue: Proportional Representation

Bob Jonkman & Maryam Monsef
After the consultation, Ms. Monsef was available & approachable

Waterloo Region Climate Consultation

Climate Consultation Waterloo Region - Thursday, August 18, 7:00 PM~ Kitchener City Hall Rotunda

Waterloo Region Climate Consultation

Thursday, August 18, 7:00 PM

Kitchener City Hall Rotunda
200 King St. W., Kitchener
Kitchener, N2G 4G7, Canada

All five MPs in Waterloo Region are teaming up for this multi-constituency consultation.  We need you to commit now to attend this most important of consultations!

We’ll show our support for the People’s Climate Plan. Organizers with the People’s Climate Plan are calling for the national climate strategy that respects climate science and Canada’s commitments in the Paris Agreement, ensures a plan to transition to 100% renewable energy by 2050, and enshrines justice for all workers and Indigenous communities.

Get directions to this event ~ due to LRT construction, out of towners should try to come early in case of detours

EVERYONE needs to come to this important event.

This is a multipartisan event that is the result of collaboration of many different groups. Both Liberal and Conservative MPs will be in attendance, with GPC and likely NDP folk helping to facilitate.

Open Streets ~ July 24, 2016

OpenStreets June 2016-1

OpenStreets June 2016-2
Open Streets Table June 2016
Even with the LRT construction, OPEN STREETS Waterloo is going ahead! And we’re glad, too, because we had a great time at our first Open Streets in June!

AND we’re expecting an even better time tomorrow in July (July 24th, 2016).

Drop by and say “hi,” sign the petition, and talk to us about Green issues, including electoral reform!

It’s going to be a hot day so dress appropriately, wear sunscreen and bring a refillable water bottle!

Open Streets_2nd

Have a Green Canada Day!

Happy Canada Day There’s lots to do to celebrate Canada Day locally today.

Did you know Cambridge Green Candidate Michele Braniff is CreateWaterloo’s Artist in Residence?  You can spot some of her work inside Grand River Transit buses.

Michele Braniff
Michele Braniff

To celebrate Canada Day, join Michele this afternoon between 1 – 3 for Drop in urban sketching at the old  Waterloo Train Station 10 Father David Bauer Dr, Waterloo, ON N2L 6M3 [directions here]

Michele promises a fun experience using pens on blank paper to produce your own highly personal & creative record of summer street scenes in Uptown Waterloo. There will be tips & coaching on selecting drawing sites, framing the sketch and using lines and shapes to suggest people, buildings and perspective. Bring your own tools and chair.

Then at 4:00pm Michele will be hosting a Story Telling Concert

In the tradition of campfires and listening together, Michele invites you to a storytelling event at the train station where she will use voice, expression and imagination to re-create the ancient tradition of storytelling. In celebration of Canada Day, Michele has created and collected stories to celebrate Waterloo County and Canada.

Michele Braniff sketches Bob Jonkman at the KW Multicultural Festival
Artist At Work: Michele Braniff sketches Bob Jonkman at the KW Multicultural Festival