A made-in-Ontario Climate Change Plan

Liberal MPs Marwan Tabbara, Bardish Chagger, Raj Saini, Bryan May and Conservative MP Harold Albrecht
Liberal MPs Marwan Tabbara, Bardish Chagger, Raj Saini, Bryan May and Conservative MP Harold Albrecht  Waterloo Region Climate Change Consultation, Kitchener, 2016

When I attended the Kitchener Climate Change Consultation in 2016 it was incredible to see all 5 Waterloo Region MPs in attendance, not just the 4 new Liberal MPs, but my own Conservative MP Harold Albrecht was there too.

Facilitator David Weber

Unsurprisingly 3 of our WRGreen candidates were there helping facilitate the discussions.

I believe our Kitchener Climate Consultation was the biggest one held across Canada.  It had more than a full slate of MPs, there were hundreds of engaged citizens there to participate.

There was a lot of great discussion and valuable input as citizens brainstormed ways we could come together and bring Climate Change to heel.

Facilitator Stacey Danckert

It was a heady time.  Critical thinking and creativity came together as citizens from across the political spectrum contributed different pieces of the solution to Climate Change, the existential global crisis of our time.

But Waterloo Region was up for it. We were ready.

Each round table discussion yielded up a blueprint of action.  And at the end of the day, each table’s facilitators presented a verbal report of the high points to the entire assembly.

Although all 5 Waterloo Region MPs were there, its pretty clear none of them actually listened.

Former Progressive Conservative Party Leader Patrick Brown had had a fully costed moderate election platform complete with carbon tax.  But it seems the PC Party backroom boys weren’t ready for a carbon tax, so Mr Brown and his platform were replaced with Mr Ford and a series of off-the-cuff promises masquerading as a platform.

One of the huge costs associated with winner-take-all politics is the policy lurch that happens when a centrist party is replaced by a right wing party.  Which is exactly what we’re seeing here in Ontario.

But even before winning the leadership or the election, one thing Doug Ford was *always* clear about was his intention to get rid of the Liberal’s Cap & Trade carbon mitigation system.

CARBON PRICING

With Climate Change breathing down our necks, carbon pricing is intended to disincentivise Green House Gas emissions.  It does this by forcing polluters to take financial responsibility for the pollution they generate.

Cap and Trade revenue flowing into Government coffers is supposed to help government finance our necessary transition to a sustainable economy.

While it is clear that carbon pricing is imperative, personally, I am not at all unhappy to see the dismantling of the McGuinty-Wynne Cap and Trade system, although a more orderly change would have been nice.

One big problem with Ontario’s Cap and Trade was that its carbon targets simply weren’t anywhere close to being high enough.

Another was that as many as 100 of the worst corporate polluters were exempted.

From my perspective, the worst thing about Cap and Trade is that it creates a government revenue stream.   Governments get very attached to revenue streams.   And the Ontario Liberals had made good use of the Cap and Trade funds that flowed into government coffers.

What do schools have to do with Carbon Pricing?

Ontario schools have been struggling since the 1990’s when the Mike Harris Sr government diverted education tax funds from community school boards into the general government coffers.  Now, instead of dispensing all the funds collected for Ontario elementary and high school education through property tax directly to the schools, in the name of “efficiency” education funding was suddenly dependent on a “funding formula” that was more about redistributing education tax than educating our kids.

Government works in mysterious ways… instead of fixing this elementary school, they built a new one.

Suddenly there wasn’t enough money in the Education budget for elementary school music class and librarians.  In the rich province of Ontario, school budgets were reduced the bare minimum to function.  Chronic underfunding begun by the Mike Harris Sr PC government and carried on by the McGuinty-Wynne Liberals  over decades naturally meant there was never enough funding to properly maintain the infrastructure.

But when school buildings began to crumble across the province, the Liberals had to do something: and so some of the Cap and Trade revenue was earmarked to fix our schools.   (Although spun in the media as needed repairs, in truth these funds were supposed to be used to retrofit schools to make them more energy efficient.)     Sadly even that is gone now, and the folks at http://fixourschools.ca/ will tell you that Ontario schools still need a whole lot of fixing.

Federal Backstop Carbon Pricing

Canadians for Carbon Dividends Ontario Chart

But Ontario’s carbon pricing void will presently be filled with a different kind of carbon pricing, as the Federal Government implements a Carbon Fee and Dividend regime.

This is the carbon pricing policy advocated by both federal and Provincial Green Parties in Canada because it is a much more equitable system.

The fees collected from industry polluters don’t go to line government coffers, but are instead payed out directly to citizens to help us weather the transition.

The dividends counter the price increases industry will pass on to consumers.  The way it works out is that consumers with the smallest carbon footprint actually come out ahead.

Even so, it still is not enough.

The IPCC Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has made it clear that we aren’t doing nearly enough to address Climate Change.  They’ve given us a timeline of 12 years, and time is running out.

While we need to get the new federal Carbon Pricing system up and running, it is only the start.

So it is a very good thing Ontario’s Doug Ford PC Government has stepped up and is conducting its own

Consultation: A made-in-Ontario climate change plan

We never know if our winner-take-all governments will listen, but when they ask us for input on important issues, it is well worth responding.  Even if they ignore what we have to say, at least we will be on the record.  And the record will be there for the next government.

It is very important for us to respond, to make sure our new PC Government understands Ontario expects serious climate change policy.

This consultation tells us they want our opinions, but they don’t want our names. The only way to participate is to do so anonymously on a web form.

Tips

Your submission does not need to be a scholarly work; you can write as much or as little as you’re comfortable with.  When filling in any kind of web form, it’s easiest to prepare your answer offline.  That way you won’t accidentally send it before you’re finished, and you can keep a copy of the submission you wrote.  It is always an excellent idea to make as much noise as we can publicly online.  If you have a blog, share it there and/or sharing on twitter or Facebook or whatever other social media you use.   Sharing online can inspire others to participate, and the greater the response the consultation gets, the better.  If you don’t have a place to share online, feel free to share your submission with us, and we’ll publish it here on the blog.

You might find inspiration in the  Rise For Climate Waterloo Region submission or suggestions made at the Federal Climate Change Consultation.  

About this consultation

Our quality of life depends on clean air to breathe, safe water to drink, and well-protected lands and parks.

Later this fall, Ontario will release a plan that will identify specific areas of focus to help us tackle and be more resilient to climate change.

This will be the first part of a broader approach that will protect clean air and water, encourage conservation and do more to address urban litter and waste.

This made-in-Ontario solution will strike the right balance between protecting our environment and responsibly supporting a prosperous economy.

Areas of focus

The plan will include several areas of focus, such as:

  • Creating an understanding of the effects that climate change is having on our households, businesses, communities and public infrastructure to better prepare and strengthen our resiliency.
  • Ensuring polluters are held accountable and creating dedicated measures that will efficiently reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
  • Improving Ontario’s business climate by unlocking the power of the private sector to finance and drive innovative climate solutions. This will include an emissions-reduction fund to invest in technology-based and other solutions to reduce emissions in Ontario.
  • Finding a balanced solution that puts people first, makes life more affordable for families, and takes Ontario’s role in fighting climate change seriously.

These areas will help ensure our investments in climate action effectively balance greenhouse gas reductions while supporting economic prosperity and Ontario families.

https://www.ontario.ca/form/tell-us-your-ideas-climate-change?

⇒ Ontario Climate Consultation webform

Cross Cultures Town Hall with Dimitri Lascaris

Cross Cultures Interactive Town Hall with Dimitri Lascaris poster

Join Cross Cultures for a lively interactive town hall with Dimitri Lascaris who will address

* OUR FREEDOMS
* DISSENT
* B D S

Cross Cultures encourages everyone— especially those who disagree — to come and give their perspective…

… that is how we dialogue and that is how we promote mutual respect and understanding 

… not by suppressing, censoring or avoiding sensitive issues …

All attempts to invite a speaker whose views are anti BDS to provide the counter point of view have been declined.

Dimitri Lascaris
dimitrylascarisis a lawyer called to practice in Ontario and New York State. After working in the New York and Paris offices of a major Wall Street law firm, Dimitri became a class action lawyer in Canada. His class actions practice focused on shareholder rights, environmental wrongs and human rights violations.

In 2012, Canadian Lawyer Magazine named him one of the 25 most influential lawyers in Canada, and in 2013, Canadian Business Magazine named him one of the 50 most influential persons in Canadian business.

Until recently, Dimitri was the Justice Critic in the Green Party of Canada shadow cabinet. He is the author and submitter of the Green Party of Canada’s BDS resolution

“I am very happy to announce that, for our BDS town hall at the University of Waterloo on October 17, I will be joined by two extraordinary women, Rehab Nazzal and Wendy Goldsmith.

“Rehab is a Palestinian-born multidisciplinary artist and educator based in Toronto and Bethlehem. Her video, photography and sound works deal with the violence of war and settler colonialism, and have been shown in Canada and internationally. Recently, Rehab was shot in the leg by an Israeli sniper while documenting the noxious activities of Israeli skunk trucks in occupied Bethlehem. 

“Wendy is social worker and mother of three from London Ontario. As a social worker she has worked with many marginalized and traumatized individuals, families and communities and began her work in Palestine after Operation ‘Cast Lead’ and saw through photos and direct accounts of the horror and devastation inflicted by Israel on Gaza. Wendy is a member of the steering committee of Canada Boat to Gaza, a representative at Freedom Flotilla Coalition and on the Media team for the Women’s Boat to Gaza. Wendy recently returned from Barcelona, Spain, Ajaccio, Corsica and Messina, Sicily where she participated in the sailing of the Zaytouna.

“It is an honour for me
to speak about the
GPC’s BDS resolution
with Rehab and Wendy.”

— Dimitry Lascaris

This event is open to the public.

WHEN: 6:00pm
Monday, October 17th, 2016

uniWHERE:
Psychology Anthropology Sociology Building
PAS room 2083
200 University Ave West,
Waterloo, ON N2L 3G1
(~MAP~)

The #ERRE #Q Committee will Consult in Toronto

Excerpt from HOUSE OF COMMONS SPECIAL COMMITTEE ON ELECTORAL REFORM TO HOLD HEARINGS IN REGINA, ST-PIERRE-JOLYS, WINNIPEG, TORONTO, QUÉBEC AND JOLIETTE


September 21st, 2016

ERRE Committee in Toronto



Chelsea Hotel
Churchill Ballroom
33 Gerrard St W,
Toronto, ON
→ map ← 



1:30—4:15 pm
Witness Panel(s)

13 h 30—16 h 15
Panel(s) de témoins



4:15—5:00 pm
Open mic

16 h 15—17 h 00*
séance micro ouvert



6:30—9:30 pm
Open mic

18 h 30—21 h 30*
séance micro ouvert



*Please note that the end time for the open mic sessions are approximate



This month is just flying by!  Before this event, don’t forget The Honourable Maryam Monself will be consulting with Waterloo Region at the Liberal Town Hall on Wednesday Sept. 14th, and and our own Community Dialogue will be the following Saturday.  It would be tremendous if you could print a poster or two to hang on local bulletin boards or hydro poles.

And remember, you can keep up with Waterloo Greens events in our Calendar, or by subscribing to this blog!

Electoral Reform Events!

Kitchener Public Library

September 8th ~ Kitchener Public Library Special Event on Electoral Reform #ERRE

Understanding Electoral Reform

TONIGHT 7:00 pm – 9:00 pm ~ September 8th, 2016

Kitchener Public Library
Meeting Room C ~ Central Branch ~ 85 Queen St N, Kitchener, ON N2H 2H1 map
REGISTER here




September 14th, 2016

monsef-wr

“You’re invited to join the Honourable Maryam Monsef, Minister of Democratic Institutions, at a series of federal electoral reform community dialogue events across Canada. These events, which complement the work of the Special Committee on Electoral Reform, are intended to raise awareness of electoral reform and provide an opportunity for you to engage in discussion with others about the future of Canada’s democracy.

These events will be hosted in English and French in physically accessible venues. No pre-registration is required, but note that seats will be provided on a first-come, first-served basis.

Can’t make it to one of these events? Find out about other electoral reform events happening across Canada on our calendar of events. You may also wish to learn more about federal electoral reform or check out resources to help you host your own community dialogue.”

Federal electoral reform community dialogue tour




September 17th @WR_Greens hosts a Community Dialogue on Electoral Reform
Join us for a community dialogue about proportional representation and electoral reform!

Canada’s Voting System is ChangingCarl Zehr Square ~ Kitchener City Hall

3:00pm – 4:30pm ~ Saturday September 17th, 2016

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




September 21, 2016
Waterloo Region Library
& Fair Vote Waterloo presentElmira Library

Understanding Electoral Reform
6:30 – 8:00 pm ~ WEDNESDAY September 21st, 2016

Elmira Library
65 Arthur St S, Elmira, ON N3B 2M6, Canada  map




September 28th, 2016
Waterloo Region Library
& Fair Vote Waterloo presentlibrary card catalogue

Understanding Electoral Reform
6:30 – 8:00 pm ~ Wednesday September 28th, 2016

New Hamburg Library
145 Huron St, New Hamburg, ON N3A 1S3, Canada map




September 29th, 2016
Waterloo Region Library
& Fair Vote Waterloo presentlibrary shelves

Understanding Electoral Reform
6:30pm – 8:00 pm ~ Thursday, September 29th, 2016

Ayr Library
137 Stanley St, Ayr, ON N0B 1E0, Canada map

 


Image Credits

All images © copyright Laurel L. Russwurm are released under a Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0) license

GPC Convention 2016

Shadow Cabinet Justice Critic, Dimitri Lascaris at the GPC Candidate's Lunch in Guelph, 2015
Green Party of Canada’s Shadow Cabinet Justice Critic, Dimitri Lascaris

August 5th to 7th, 2016 is the Green Party of Canada’s Convention in Ottawa.

It looks to be a fabulous jam packed weekend of events.  If you haven’t registered, I believe it is still possible to attend the Convention although the Regular registration rate has ended.  If you go, remember to save your receipts as a portion of convention fees are eligible for federal political contribution tax-receipts.

Although I’d love to be there for the keynote speeches and the Proportional Representation workshop, perhaps the thing I will regret missing most will be the debate and the opportunity to vote on the two policy resolutions put forward by our new Shadow Cabinet Justice Critic, Dimitri Lascaris, who wrote the:

Palestinian Self-Determination and the Movement for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions resolution

as well as cosponsoring the Revoking the Charitable Status of the Jewish National Fund Canada (JNF) resolution.

This may well be the first time this contentious issue will be publicly debated in Canada, particularly after the Canadian Parliament’s shameful motion to suppress free speech about BDS has cast even more of a chill over this contentious subject.

“In July 2011, that parliament of Israel voted on a question of whether to condemn calls for boycotts against Israel as a civil wrong. The vote carried, but it was not overwhelming. There were 47 members of the Knesset who voted for it, and 38 members voted against it. The 38 members who voted against it were certainly not hate filled against the State of Israel.” —Elizabeth May

Fortunately those of us unable to attend this year will be able to watch the Convention livestream on The Real News Network.

Since that unfortunately includes me, if you are going, please give my regards to everybody there!

Regards,
Laurel

CbridgeAvatarKitCenAvatarKitConAvatarKitSHAvatarWaterlooAvatarWRGREENS FINALavatar

WRGreens at OpenStreets 2016

Join us in Uptown Waterloo Sunday Afternoon for the 2016 Open Streets launch!
WRGreens at Open Streets Uptown Waterloo 2016

The Waterloo Region Greens invite you to drop by and say “hi!” at our first ever Open Streets information booth! Grab a WRGreens sticker and sign Elizabeth’s electoral reform petition!’

Walkwalk

bikebike
scootscoot
skateboardskateboard
or fly down to check it out!fly

There’s always lots to doThings to do
seeU of W solar race car
and listen to!Badlt Sketched Poets (2013) at Open Streets
If you’ve never been to an Open Streets before you’re in for a treat!

GPC Leadership Review: The Results Are In!

Congratulations Elizabeth May-93.6%WRGREENS FINALavatarGreen Party policy requires  a leadership review following  every election.

In spite of disappointing  results in the most strategically voted election in Canadian history,  the federal Green Party membership rallied in support of Ms. May, who has infused the party with her inspiring leadership.  The month long review returned a stunning 93.6% approval!

“I’m humbled to receive a strong mandate from our engaged membership to continue in my role as leader,” May said in a statement to reporters Monday.

“I will continue to pursue critical issues that are so important to our members, from climate action to restoring legitimacy in the environmental review process, from ending subsidies for fossil fuels to becoming a world leader in the 21st century renewable energy economy.”

— Elizabeth May,
Green Party Leader Elizabeth May receives 93.6% support in party review

The Waterloo Region Greens are pleased to extend our warmest congratulations!

 

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