Fair Vote Guelph: Turning Parliament Inside Out

Fair Vote Guelph presents

Turning Parliament Inside Out

based on the book edited by Michael Chong, Scott Simms, and Kennedy Stewart

Practical Ideas for Reforming Canada’s Democracy

featuring

Michael Chong
Michael Chong
on Parliamentary Reform
Elizabeth May
Elizabeth May
on Electoral Reform



Tuesday, October 10, 2017 7:00pm to 9:00pm
Harcourt United Church, 87 Dean Avenue, Guelph Map

Liberal and NDP representatives from the local riding associations have been invited to reflect on the main presentations

This event is free and accessible (through the back door to the church around the corner from the parking lot). All welcome. Audience participation encouraged. Donations accepted.

Don’t Let The Sun Set on Canada’s PEARL

Sunset at the Canadian Polar Environment Atmospheric Research Laboratory (PEARL)
© by Dan Weaver, used with permission

Five years ago the 39% “majority” Harper Government wanted to close Canada’s Polar Environment Atmospheric Research Laboratory (PEARL) of the Arctic.

But it didn’t.

Waterloo Region “Stand Up For Science” Rally at Carl Zehr Square (2012)

Even so, the Canadian science community breathed a collective sigh of relief when the 2015 election replaced the Harper Government’s 39% “majority” with a Justin Trudeau 39% “majority” that promised “evidence based policy.”

But it seems that Justin Trudeau’s Liberal Government— like Stephen Harper’s before it, intends to close Pearl.  There was no press release or discussion, PEARL was simply ignored in the budget.  No funds are forthcoming. The important program is finished without funding, if it shuts down science will no longer be done there.

Why would this ostensibly pro-science government chosen to shut down the Polar Environment Atmospheric Research Laboratory (PEARL)?  This is a serious problem.

The Green Party of Canada released the following statement regarding the planned closure to Canada’s high Arctic research station:

The last time this vital research station on Ellesmere Island was threatened with closure was in 2012, during the infamous anti-science Harper years, which also featured the muzzling of scientists on the government payroll,” said Richard Zurawski, GPC Climate Change Critic.

“I am not surprised PEARL is on the chopping block again. The Liberals say a lot of nice things – mouthing all the proper words at the right time, projecting a pro-science and research campaign – while simultaneously choking off funding and giving vested fossil fuel interests a free hand,” Mr. Zurawksi said.

GPC Leader Elizabeth May (MP, Saanich-Gulf Islands)

Elizabeth May, Leader of the Green Party of Canada (MP, Saanich-Gulf Islands), said: “The Arctic recorded its eighth lowest summer ice extent, along with the lowest winter extent this year, and ocean levels are rising at their fastest levels on record, which threatens low-lying coastal cities.

“Why would a government, supposedly so committed to science, climate change and international collaboration, allow this research station to be closed? I wish I had an answer. Without research, we will not discover answers. And without answers, we cannot take educated, informed action on climate change,” Ms. May said.

But it’s not too late to save PEARL … and Canadian atmospheric climate science!

Sign the Evidence for Democracy Petition in asking the government to:

  • Invest $1.5 million per year to make PEARL a national laboratory

  • Provide a well supported and stable funding environment for climate research in Canada by reinstating a funding model for climate science similar to the Canadian Foundation for Climate and Atmospheric Sciences (CFCAS) that was cut by the Harper government.

Canadian Polar Environment Atmospheric Research Laboratory (PEARL) © by Dan Weaver, used with permission

Find out more at Evidence For Democracy

Read the CREATE Arctic Science blog

Image Credits
Sunset at the Canadian Polar Environment Atmospheric Research Laboratory (PEARL) and the photograph used in the Sign The Petition Save Pearl graphic are both © by Dan Weaver, and used with permission

Stand Up for Science and GPC Leader Elizabeth May (MP, Saanich-Gulf Islands) photos © by Laurel L. Russwurm are released under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported (CC BY 3.0) License

 

Mike Schreiner: “The #Green Party does not support the Monopolization of #Marijuana”

The 1936 Propaganda film “Reefer Madness” helped usher in new Prohibition against Cannabis

American Prohibition did not work.

Wikipedia points out:

Prohibition focused on the manufacture, transportation, and sale of alcoholic beverages; however, exceptions were made for medicinal and religious uses. Alcohol consumption was never illegal under federal law. Nationwide Prohibition did not begin in the United States until January 1920, when the Eighteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution went into effect. The 18th amendment was ratified in 1919, and was repealed in December, 1933, with the ratification of the Twenty-first Amendment.[28]

Not only did it not stop otherwise law abiding people from consuming alcohol, the costs — to the economy, the justice system and society — were staggering.

Although alcohol prohibition was repealed in 1933, one might wonder what gave rise to the new Prohibition against cannabis. Although films like “Reefer Madness” helped justify the early war on drugs, Wikipedia tells us Cannabis became illegal in Canada much earlier with “the Opium Act of 1908,[13] which was introduced based on a report by then-Deputy Minister of Labour, Mackenzie King.

Although the American Prohibition against alcohol never made drinking it illegal, the same was not true of cannabis prohibition in Canada, where users could be fined and imprisoned. As the 20th century wore on, the punishments became more severe, especially as Canada (again) followed the American lead.

A few decades ago this classic ad was part of “The War on Drugs”

Recently the same actress, Rachael Leigh Cook, reprised her role in this 2017 “Your Brain on Drug Policy” video.

The war on drugs is rooted in racist policies, and it’s failure has been as obvious as Prohibition.

During the 2015 election, the NDP talked about decriminalizing cannabis, but the Liberals said that wasn’t good enough; they would take a step further and legalize it.

Sadly voters again gave too much First Past The Post power to one of the same old parties promising “real change”. For real change, you have to vote smart– and different.

Although the Justin Trudeau Government says it will legalize cannabis, its about half way through its term and they keep arresting people.

The Green Party has better policy:

4.9 Ending the war on drugs

Elizabeth May, Green Party of Canada Leader
Elizabeth May

Between 2008 and 2011, according to the Department of Justice, Canada spent $311 million targeting illicit drugs, with a majority of that money going to law enforcement. Most of that was for the ‘war’ against cannabis (marijuana). Marijuana prohibition is also prohibitively costly in other ways, including criminalizing youth and fostering organized crime. Cannabis prohibition, which has gone on for decades, has utterly failed and has not led to reduced drug use in Canada.After analyzing the recommendation of the Canadian Senate’s 2002 Special Committee on Drugs and the examples of strategies used by some European countries, the Green Party of Canada has come to the conclusion that it is time to legalize the adult use of marijuana. Furthermore, the Greens believe that drug addictions should be treated as a health problem, not as criminal offences.

Green Party MPs will:

Legalize marijuana by removing marijuana from the drug schedule;

Create a regulatory framework for the safe production of marijuana by small, independent growers;

Develop a taxation rate for marijuana similar to that of tobacco;

Establish the sale of marijuana to adults for medicinal or personal use through licensed distribution outlets;

Educate the public about the health threats of marijuana, tobacco, and other drug use;

Launch a public consultation on the decriminalization of illicit drugs, considering the current high costs of the law enforcement effort;

Provide increased funding to safe injection sites, treatment facilities, and addict rehabilitation.

Unfortunately the way the Liberal majority government is doing this is not the way a Green government would have.

On September 8 of this year, Mike Schreiner, leader of the Green Party of Ontario, made the following comment regarding the proposed regulations for marijuana sales:

“This looks like another Liberal plan to say a lot and do very little, supporting big corporations and political insiders over local small businesses.

Mike Schreiner, Green party of Ontario Leader
Mike Schreiner

Having limited retail outlets across Ontario for legal marijuana will do virtually nothing to combat the huge illegal market.

The Green Party does not support the monopolization of marijuana. The marijuana industry should be like the craft brewery industry – helping build local businesses, creating local jobs and contributing tax dollars to local communities across the province.

The GPO supports strict regulations and controls for marijuana sales. The government can license retails outlets with strict rules focused on safety and health for small businesses.

This announcement at this time is a cynical ploy by the Liberals to divert attention from their ongoing legal scandals.”

[reblogged & expanded from Kitchener Conestoga Greens]

Tragedy in Sainte-Foy, Québec

The MONTREAL GAZETTE reports:
6 dead, 8 injured in terrorist attack at Quebec City mosque
On January 29th, 2017
pq-flag-stainte-foy-flag

Our hearts go with Alex Tyrrell, leader of the Quebec Green Party who will attend the citizen’s initiative Vigile de solidarité avec les musulman-es de Québec #SalamQc.

Here in Waterloo Region we’re having our own Prayer and Solidarity Vigil organised by @KitchenerMasjid tonight from 6:00 – 7:00 pm at Kitchener City Hall


Elizabeth May tweeted:

Devastated to hear of murderous attack on Quebec City mosque. As Greens, we join Prime Minister in condemning attack. It is heartbreaking.
WRGreens are in full agreement with the sentiments expressed by Ms. May and Prime Minister Trudeau.

To those fleeing persecution, terror & war, Canadians will welcome you, regardless of your faith. Diversity is our strength #WelcomeToCanada

WRGreens stand with all Canadians who believe we must extend a safe haven to those newly denied by President Trump’s latest Executive Order.

We sincerely hope the Prime Minister follows up… and because things often get lost in the shiffle, it never hurts to remind our elected officials (especially in a winner-take-all democracy) that we really do expect them to see it through.   Just in case, supporting the Leadnow Petition to Tell Trudeau: Welcome Those Fleeing Violence and Deportation Under Trump may very well help.

Attacking innocents is not the Canadian Way.  Our strength is in our diversity.
wrgreens-blogo-bordered

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

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!

 

The Green Party on Education

WRGreens Richard Walsh (Waterloo), Bob Jonkman (Kitchener-Conestoga) and Michele Braniff (Cambridge) were among the many Green Party Candidates who joined Elizabeth May as she announced the Education portion of the Green Party of Canada's platform at the University of Guelph.
Richard Walsh (Waterloo), Bob Jonkman (Kitchener-Conestoga) and Michele Braniff (Cambridge) were among the many Green Party Candidates who joined Elizabeth May as she announced the Education portion of the Green Party of Canada’s platform at the University of Guelph on September 17th, 2015.

As the 2015 election fades into memory, I am continually astounded to see how much Green Party Policy is being discussed… Apparently people were trying to convince Tom Mulcair to embrace the Green Party education policy as a means of retaining leadership of the NDP Party — although not as Green Party Policy. I tried sharing the link to the Green Party of Canada press release but there’s something wrong with the link, so in the interest of reminding people about this awesome GPC policy, I’ve chosen to reproduce it here.

September 16, 2015

(OTTAWA) – Green Leader Elizabeth May (Saanich – Gulf Islands), unveiled the Green Party’s Youth and Education Strategy that includes a plan to abolish tuition fees for students and their families. The strategy would also implement a debt-forgiveness program for student debt above $10,000.

“We must invest in Canadian youth and the skills, training, and education that is necessary to create jobs,” said May. “Young people are faced with the challenge of finding a job after they finish school, in a tough economy, while battling student debt. The Green Party is committed to investing in youth and removing barriers, like student debt, so young Canadians can find stable, sustainable jobs.”

The Green Party’s National Student and Education Strategy will:

● Immediately cut tuition fees for students and their families without adequate financial means, and remove the inadequate 2% cap on tuition for all First Nations and Inuit students.

● Abolish tuition fees for post-secondary education and skills training for Canadians by 2020 through constructing a system of federal grants collaboratively with the universities and colleges.

●  Eliminate any existing or future student federal debt above $10,000.

● Abolish interest on new student loans and increase available funding for bursaries.

● Create a national Community and Environment Service Corps, which will provide $1 billion/year to municipalities to hire Canadian youth.

●  Help students and their families through the Guaranteed Liveable Income (GLI), to ensure no person’s income falls below what is necessary for health, life, and dignity.

“In these times of high youth unemployment, heavy student debt is a burden that keeps young Canadians from being able to start their post-academic lives on an even footing,” said Gord Miller, former Environmental Commissioner of Ontario and Green Party candidate (Guelph). “The debt forgiveness program and our plan to eliminate tuition fees by 2020 represents positive change for students and their families.”

“I am pleased to be here with Elizabeth today in Guelph to make this announcement,” continued Miller. “Our plan will make education more accessible for students. These critical investments in trades, apprenticeships, and education will ensure that all young Canadians have the skills to build a successful future.”

“It is a bold idea, but we can and must afford it. We can implement this investment in our youth through common sense measures like eliminating subsidies to fossil fuels and restoring the corporate tax rate to what it was in 2009,” concluded May. “We don’t need to continue with the status quo; we can do better.”

The Green Party was the first party to release a fully costed platform, available here.

-30-

For additional information or to arrange an interview, contact:

Julian Morelli
Director of Communications
Green Party of Canada
cell: (613) 614 4916
office: (613) 562 4916 (224)
julian.morelli@greenparty.ca

Or

Debra Eindiguer
Green Party of Canada
cell: (613) 240 8921

debra.eindiguer@greenparty.ca

Or

Kirsten Strom
Executive Assistant to Director of Communications
t: 613.562.4916 (200)
Toll Free 1.866.868.3447
kirsten.strom@greenparty.ca


Photo Credit
I stitched three photos together to create this awesome panorama photo (so the original is absolutely huge), but you can download it in a variety of sizes from Flickr here. And if you’re interested in more photos from the education announcement you’ll find them in my Flickr album

GPC Education Announcement Panorama by Laurel L. Russwurm is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0) License

Kitchener-Conestoga + Kitchener South-Hespeler Greens AGM

Kitchener-ConestogaGreenParty

You’re invited to join us for the Kitchener—Conestoga & Kitchener South Hespeler Annual General Meeting

Bob Jonkman works at the WRGreens Office #elxn42
Bob Jonkman at the WRGreens Office #elxn42

Date: May 1, 2016
Time: 7 pm
Place: Huether Hotel
Barley Works, upper “Operations Room”
59 King Street North, Waterloo, ON, N2J 2X2
RSVP: david.weber@greenparty.ca
Please join other area supporters for our Annual General Meeting at 7 pm on Sunday May 1st, where we will elect our local Green Party executive for the upcoming year and discuss direction and plans for the future.

Elizabeth May joined Bob Jonkman and Richard Walsh for street side sign waving last fall
Elizabeth May joined Bob Jonkman and Richard Walsh for street side sign waving last fall

It is important that we strengthen our membership, engage our fellow citizens, and promote electing Green candidates. For these reasons, we encourage you to consider running for one of the positions on the Executive Board. The positions are not overly demanding of your time. The goal is to meet occasionally, organize info tables at local events staffed by volunteers, and ensure a Green presence in our community all year round.

The following positions on the Executive Board are open, with the first three being the most essential:

  • Chief Executive Officer (GPC) or President (GPO)KitSHAvatarKitConAvatar
  • Chief Financial Officer
  • Secretary
  • Membership Chair
  • Fundraising Chair
  • Organizing Chair
  • Communications Chair
  • Member-at-Large
    Elizabeth May & David Weber
    Elizabeth May joins Kitchener South—Hespeler candidate David Weber in elxn42

    You must be a member of the Green Party of Canada or the Green Party of Ontario in order to vote or stand for a position on the corresponding executive at the AGM.
    Don’t miss out on the fun!
    Any person whose membership has lapsed within the last year may renew their membership at the meeting to acquire voting privileges.  It’s preferable to do this online at the Green Party of Ontario website at gpo.ca or at the Green Party of Canada website greenparty.ca.

Contact David Weber (AGM organizer) for more information at 519-591-5773 or david.weber@greenparty.ca. Hope to see you there!KitchenerSouth-HespelerGreenParty