Making History

Since becoming personally involved in elections, I’ve found myself watching televised election coverage on Election Night.  This year, that was at Ethel’s Lounge in Waterloo with three of our 5 Waterloo Region Greens Candidates and WRGreens volunteers and supporters.

Each broadcaster concentrates on the ridings their partisan experts consider important,  instead of showing the riding results equally, so it’s hit or miss for all the rest.  We chose to watch TVO’s coverage that night at Ethel’s, as TVO was the only MSM broadcaster to include a Green leaning commentator.

At the end of the day, it’s hard to get the big picture.  So for my own interest, I decided to check out Elections Ontario (unofficial results) to get an idea how our Green Candidates did overall. Although I did this for my own interest, Bob pointed out this might be of interest to others, so here it is.

Mike Schreiner Guelph 29,082 45.04% | Bonnie North Barrie—Innisfil 3,182 7.19% | Robert Kiley Kingston and the Islands 3,504 6.48% | Stephen Leahy Ajax 1,224 2.51% | Justin Tilson Algoma—Manitoulin 989 3.60% | Stephanie Nicole Duncan Aurora—Oak Ridges—Richmond Hill 1,195 2.66% | Keenan Aylwin Barrie—Springwater—Oro-Medonte 5,354 11.72% | Mark Daye Bay of Quinte 1,730 3.43% | Debra Scott Beaches—East York 2,128 4.26% | Laila Zarrabi Yan Brampton Centre 1,053 3.13% | Raquel Fronte Brampton East 500 1.33% | Pauline Thornham Brampton North 1,366 3.45% | Lindsay Falt Brampton South 1,472 3.86% | Julie Guillemet-Ackerman Brampton West 999 2.63% | Ken Burns Brantford—Brant 2,707 4.72% | Don Marshall Bruce—Grey—Owen Sound 2,922 5.95% | Vince Fiorito Burlington 2,828 4.48% | Michele Braniff Cambridge 3,018 6.27% | Gordon Kubanek Carleton 1,985 3.95% | Mark Vercouteren Chatham-Kent—Leamington 1,636 3.53% | Kirsten Snider Davenport 1,624 3.55% | Mark Wong Don Valley East 917 2.53% | Janelle Yanishewski Don Valley North 1,015 2.52% | Morgan Bailey Don Valley West 1,268 2.77% | Eryn Sylvester Mississauga—Malton 674 1.79% | Abhijeet Manay Mississauga—Streetsville 1,349 2.81% | Sarah Hutchinson Mushkegowuk—James Bay 164 1.78% | James O’Grady Nepean 2,679 5.06% | Michelle Bourdeau Newmarket—Aurora 1,788 3.63% | Joe Dias Niagara Centre 1,788 3.63% | Karen Fraser Niagara Falls 2,057 3.46% | Jessica Tillmanns Niagara West 2,578 5.58% | Bill Crumplin Nickel Belt 1,137 3.12% | Kris Rivard Nipissing 997 2.83% | Jeff Wheeldon Northumberland—Peterborough South 2,727 4.52% | Emily DeSousa Oakville 1,976 3.51% | Marianne Workman Oakville North—Burlington 2,045 3.69% | Nicholas Lapierre Orléans 1,603 2.51% | Deborah Ellis Oshawa 1,957 3.61% | Cherie Wong Ottawa Centre 2,266 3.52% | Les Schram Ottawa South 1,618 3.09% | Patrick Freel Ottawa West—Nepean 1,937 3.83% | Sheilagh McLean Ottawa—Vanier 1,951 4.07% | Al De Jong Oxford 2,247 4.30% | Halyna Zalucky Parkdale—High Park 2,544 4.66% | Matt Richter Parry Sound—Muskoka 9,438 20.02% | Lisa Olsen Perth—Wellington 2,746 5.86% | Gianne Broughton Peterborough—Kawartha 2,055 3.36%Laura Campbell Dufferin—Caledon 7,011 12.53% | Michelle Corbett Durham 2,359 3.88% | Reuben DeBoer Eglinton—Lawrence 1,230 2.43% | Bronagh Morgan Elgin—Middlesex—London 2,049 3.88% | Nancy Pancheshan Essex 1,853 3.45% | Shawn Rizvi Etobicoke Centre 1,329 2.32% | Nancy Ghuman Etobicoke North 991 2.73% | Chris Caldwell Etobicoke—Lakeshore 2,101 3.63% | Janet Errygers Flamborough—Glanbrook 2,307 4.47% | Daniel Reid Glengarry—Prescott—Russell 1,429 2.93% | Anne Faulkner Haldimand—Norfolk 2,095 4.14% | Lynn Therien Haliburton—Kawartha Lakes—Brock 2,584 4.50% | Jason Lopez Hamilton Centre 2,102 5.75% | Brian Munroe Hamilton East—Stoney Creek 1,873 4.26% | David Urquhart Hamilton Mountain 2,300 5.14% | Peter Ormond Hamilton West—Ancaster—Dundas 2,302 4.16% | Sari Watson Hastings—Lennox and Addington 1,910 4.24% | Kirsten Bennett Humber River—Black Creek 485 1.57% | Nicholas Wendler Huron—Bruce 1,804 3.42% | Andrew West Kanata—Carleton 2,827 5.33% | Adam Narraway Pickering—Uxbridge 2,105 3.96% | Anna Dolan Renfrew—Nipissing—Pembroke 1,436 2.98% | Walter Bauer Richmond Hill 1,248 2.88% | Kevin Shaw Sarnia—Lambton 1,856 3.65% | Kara Flannigan Sault Ste. Marie 1,044 3.25% | Sanjin Zeco Scarborough Centre 902 2.31% | Nicole Peltier Scarborough North 543 1.62% | David Del Grande Scarborough Southwest 1,144 2.64% | Lydia West Scarborough—Agincourt 635 1.72% | Linda Rice Scarborough—Guildwood 877 2.44% | Priyan De Silva Scarborough—Rouge Park 1,014 2.41% | Valerie Powell Simcoe North 3,615 6.65% | Jesseca Perry Simcoe—Grey 4,192 6.88% | Rita Bilerman Spadina—Fort York 1,817 3.66% | Colin Ryrie St. Catharines 1,923 3.72% | Elaine Kennedy Stormont—Dundas—South Glengarry 1,596 3.67% | David Robinson Sudbury 1,504 4.16% | Rachel Dokhoian Thornhill 1,043 2.21% | John Northey Thunder Bay—Atikokan 880 2.71% | Amanda Moddejonge Thunder Bay—Superior North 838 2.79%Ember McKillop Kenora—Rainy River 721 3.60% | Christine Penner Polle Kiiwetinoong 406 6.28% | Greg Locke King—Vaughan 1,754 3.41% | Stacey Danckert Kitchener Centre 3,23 David Weber Kitchener South—Hespeler 3,198 7.53% | Bob Jonkman Kitchener—Conestoga 2,793 6.51% | Anthony Li Lambton—Kent—Middlesex 1,655 3.29% | Anita Payne Lanark—Frontenac—Kingston 2,410 4.79% | Derek Morley Leeds—Grenville—Thousand Islands and Rideau Lakes 2,347 4.80% | Carol Dyck London North Centre 2,493 4.61% | Pamela Reid London West 2,211 3.75% | Lisa Carriere London—Fanshawe 2,050 4.52% | Jose Etcheverry Markham—Stouffville 2,153 4.00% | Caryn Bergmann Markham—Thornhill 859 2.29% | Deborah Moolman Markham—Unionville 993 2.12% | Eleanor Hayward Milton 2,208 5.04% | Noah Gould Mississauga Centre 1,149 2.63% | Basia Krzyzanowski Mississauga East—Cooksville 1,498 3.45% | Libby Yuill Mississauga—Erin Mills 1,312 2.74% | Lloyd Jones Mississauga—Lakeshore 1,572 2.95% | Casey Lalonde Timiskaming—Cochrane 723 2.63% | Lucas Schinbeckler Timmins 273 1.75% | Adam Sommerfeld Toronto Centre 1,377 3.12% | Andrew Trotter Toronto—Danforth 2,248 4.38% | Teresa Pun Toronto—St. Paul's 1,690 3.23% | Tim Grant University—Rosedale 2,652 5.37% | Michael DiPasquale Vaughan—Woodbridge 972 2.26% | Zdravko Gunjevic Waterloo 2,613 4.83% | Dave Rodgers Wellington—Halton Hills 5,066 8.64% | Stacey Leadbetter Whitby 1,958 3.42% | Randi Ramdeen Willowdale 932 2.30% | Krysta Glovasky-Ridsdale Windsor West 1,393 3.58% | Henry Oulevey Windsor—Tecumseh 1,907 4.42% | Roma Lyon York Centre 843 2.29% | Grad Murray York South—Weston 942 2.53% | Alexandra Zalucky York—Simcoe 2,195 4.82%(note: the above all candidates image is actually in three pieces, part 1 is the first 6 rows, part 2 the next 5 rows, and part 3 the last 5 rows. Click on the section you want to see the segment at full size.)

 

All five of our Waterloo Region Greens candidates did very well overall.

Kitchener South—Hespeler candidate David Weber‘s 7.53 riding vote percentage was the 6th highest in Ontario (up from 7th in 2014).  Kitchener Centre‘s candidate Stacey Danckert ranked 9th with 6.84%, Kitchener—Conestoga candidate Bob Jonkman ranked 11th with 6.51%, Cambridge candidate Michele Braniff ranked 14th with 6.27%, and first time candidate Zdravko Gunjevic ranked 24th with 4.83% in Waterloo.

And while I know from personal experience how lucky Waterloo Region has been to have such an excellent roster of WRGreens candidates, I have met enough other Green Party Candidates to know this isn’t really unusual.  Frankly, I am continually stunned by the calibre of Green Party Candidates in general.  Although the Green Party has far and away the best policy of any of the top four parties, putting your hat in the ring requires a great deal of time, money and effort for any candidate.  It’s a big personal investment no matter which party a candidate is running for, and Greens are faced with additional handicaps:

  • an electoral system that discriminates egregiously against the Greens,
  • unrelenting propaganda that insists majority government is a good thing,
  • the exclusion of the Green Party Leader in televised Leaders Debates
  • the MSM agenda to keep us perpetually cycling between red and blue parties,
  • the never ending push for strategic voting,
  • the catch 22 perception that no seats in the legislature means Greens are unelectable, and
  • the low probability of winning, even when you are the best candidate in your riding.

Green Candidates are well aware of how little chance they have of being elected, but in spite of everything, excellent Green Party Candidates keep stepping up.

Working together is the WRGreens superpower.

Stacey Danckert brought us all together under the unofficial WRGreens umbrella during the 2015 federal election, and our regional cooperation is paying off.  Cooperating, sharing our experience and resources has been incredibly helpful for us here in Waterloo Region.

And not just during elections.  We’ve been actively working to raise the Green profile between elections, by hosting information tables at local summer festivals where we can, hosting our own events and participating in others as appropriate, and building our online presence on the WRGreens blog.   We’re always learning, and we’ll do it even better next time.  Especially now that Mike Schreiner has won that so important first seat.

Strategic Voting is a only a good strategy for the candidate who gets the vote we would rather cast elsewhere.

I know how hard it can be to stay positive, and to keep focus on the campaign.  But after media suppression, I think our worst threat is falling prey to propaganda.

The strategic voting narrative continues to be powerful, and it is always the worst when it strikes from within.

In many ways I think this is especially difficult for Greens, because Greens are the unparty party, the party that applauds other parties when they appropriate our ideas, even when implemented badly, because it’s a start.

The stakes are so high that sometimes a candidate falls victim to strategic voting propaganda, and suggests their supporters vote instead for a competitor who might win against a greater evil. This really isn’t surprising in a party that understands the importance of working together for the common good.  Green Candidates aren’t professional politicians, they’re people from all walks of life who get involved because they understand our future is at stake and change is no longer optional. They’re in this because serious issues that need to be addressed, not for the greater glory of the party.

One of the reasons strategic voting is wrong is that it is always built on the faulty premise that old statistics— whether gleaned from past elections or recent opinion polls— can accurately predict who might win.  If this were true, there would be no need for the trouble and expense of elections.

In this campaign, I was particularly unhappy to see a terrible strategic voting meme initiated by Meanwhile In Canada.  The post in question actually told voters to vote NDP except in 5 cases, where it said voters should vote Green because Green candidates could win in those 5 ridings. Some Green folk helped spread this meme thinking it might help change the perception that Green candidates couldn’t win.

I don’t know what exactly that prediction was based on, but two of the candidates who went on to rank in the top 5 percentages in their ridings were excluded from the 5 supposedly winnable ridings.  We will never know how many more votes those candidates (or all the Green candidates MiC strategically dismissed) might have won if that social media maven hadn’t been telling voters to vote against Greens in the last week of the campaign.

Although there are no scientific studies of which I am aware, I think Strategic Voting is the most powerful vote suppression tool going.  When people are convinced their vote won’t have any effect, or worse, that it will help elect the boogeyman provided by our FPTP system, many feel the only responsible choice is not voting.

We only get one vote.  That’s not a vote for a party.  It’s not a vote for a party leader.  It’s a vote for our local representative. I have to wonder how much better Greens would do in elections if they didn’t have to spend half the election explaining what’s wrong with Strategic Voting.

Since I’m sharing rankings, here are the GPO Top 5:

Green Party of Ontario Leader, and Guelph MPP candidate Mike Schreiner‘s 45.04% riding vote percentage was the highest in Ontario. This resulted in the first seat in the Legislative Assembly of Ontario won by an Ontario Green Party Candidate.  Parry Sound—Muskoka‘s candidate Matt Richter ranks 2nd with 20.02%.  Laura Campbell ‘s 12.53% of the vote won in Dufferin—Caledon placed her in 3rd position; Barrie—Springwater—Oro—Medonte candidate Keenan Aylwin’s 11.72% of the vote ranks him 4th, and Dave Rodgers 8.64% in Wellington—Halton Hills makes him the 5th highest ranking Ontario Green candidate by percentage.

The Green Party of Ontario is making history, and these five candidates are leading the way forward. Onward!

[Republished from the KitCon Blog’s “Statistics”]

Calling all Artists, Art Lovers and Art Supporters!

Michele Braniff

Find out about the Green Party of Ontario’s Vision for the arts community!

Meet and chat with WRGreens Cambridge Candidate Michele Braniff

WHO: Michele Braniff,
GPO Candidate for Cambridge
WHAT: The GPO Vision for the Local Community Art Scene
WHERE: Atlas Yoga Studios 
18-B Ainslie Street South,
Cambridge, Ontario, Canada
                 Map
WHEN: Sunday, May 6th, 2018
              2:00-3:30pm
WHY:   Art is an important part of our lives.


Hope to see you there!

WRGreens visit Brantford-Brant Greens #ERRE

Greens in Brantford ~ Ken Burns, Temara Brown, Jason Shaw, Bob Jonkman ~ ERRE Community Dialogue

On Sunday, October 2nd the The Brantford-Brant Women’s, Youth and Seniors’ Liberal Clubs hosted the multi-partisan Brantford-Brant Electoral Reform Community Forum in the Odeon Building at the Laurier Brantford campus.

[Note: the CPC MP attended and spoke at the LPC event, and of course Greens were there by invitation as well.  Where was the NDP I wonder?]
Temara Brown explains electoral systems

Temara Brown described the six different electoral systems, a fairly difficult task, particularly when being challenged by unruly audience members at every turn.  But she carried it off. Temara Brown, Cambridge GPO
The event followed the usual Library of Parliament script for Community Dialogue suggested by ERRE.
Small Group Discussions
The Brantford Expositor covered the event in Forum puts spotlight on electoral reform

Bob Jonkman chats with LPC Ray Wong
Unfortunately there are some errors in the Expositor article. For instance, Michele Braniff was the 2015 GPC candidate.  As well as being a GPO Candidate, Temara Brown is the GPO’s Shadow Cabinet member for the Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change.

The article gives a capsule rundown of the 6 electoral Systems discussed, where the worst error in the article mischaracterizes the Single Transferable Vote (STV) system as “A variation of the preferential vote”.   Electoral systems are complex,  which is one of the many reasons why a referendum would be a bad idea at the best of times.

Historically, STV predates AV by a few decades, so it would be more correct to say AV is a variation of STV.  But that’s just semantics. The real problem is that STV is perhaps the best system of Proportional Representation, while AV is a winner-take-all system much like our First Past The Post.
Post Community Dialogue dialogue, with Jason Shaw (FVC) and Temara Brown (WRGreens Cambridge)
Even so, it was nice to see some balanced coverage of the ERRE event.  For the most part, Canada’s Main Stream Media is making no bones about it’s desire to retain the status quo.  That is perhaps the biggest reason Canadians are so woefully uninformed about electoral reform options.  Instead of informing Canadians of our options, or even actually reporting on the ERRE consultation process, the media tables at ERRE consultation events are standing empty.  So kudos to the Expositor for reporting the news!

 

Ken Burns (Brantford-Brant candidate), Temara Brown (WRGreens Cambridge GPO Candidate), Jason Shaw (Fair Vote Canada) and Bob Jonkman (WRGreens Kirchener-Copnestoga and Fair Vote Waterloo)
Ken Burns (Brantford-Brant), Temara Brown (WRGreens Cambridge GPO Candidate), ________, ________, Jason Shaw (Fair Vote Canada) and Bob Jonkman (WRGreens Kitchener-Conestoga and Fair Vote Waterloo Co-Chair)

In spite of the Main Stream Media obstructionism, the process marches quietly on.

And a good thing, too.

 

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

National Aboriginal Day in Waterloo

National Aboriginal Day at Waterloo Library
Drummers opened the Film Festival at the Waterloo Library.

The month of June is National Aboriginal History Month.  This year marks the 20th annual National Aboriginal Day in Canada, a celebration of the history, culture and contributions of the First Nations, Inuit and Métis peoples of Canada on the Summer solstice, June 21st.
Waterloo Public Library
There is a lot of interesting stuff in Waterloo Library’s National Aboriginal History Month display.  North America is known as “Turtle Island” among Canada’s Indigenous population.
Turtle Island (by Mark Wagner)
When explorers and then settlers arrived in the already occupied “new world,” instead of learning from and co-existing with the indigenous peoples, they intended to (and did) take the place over.  The settlers made treaties with the inhabitants, who were happy to share their world and trade with the newcomers.   And so treaties were made.
But the North American native population didn’t realize who they were dealing with, and so they took the Europeans at their word.

National Aboriginal Day display
The map below shows the area promised by the Haldimand Treaty October 25th, 1784:

“…Six miles deep from each side of the river beginning at Lake Erie, and extending in the proportion to the head of said river, which Them and Their Posterity are to enjoy forever.”

Treaty Land map

On the the 2015 side of the map you can see that “forever” didn’t mean what we think it means.  For the Indigenous inhabitants, dealing with the Europeans was like dealing with Darth Vader… the deal kept changing and nothing could be done.

Last night I had the privilege of attending indigiNATE Now, the National Aboriginal Day Film Festival put on by Create Waterloo and imagineNATIVE.  The program consisted of a powerful series of award winning short films made by Aboriginal filmmakers from around the world.

I learned about the Film Festival from CreateWaterloo’s Artist In Residence,  Michele Braniff, an incredibly versatile and talented woman who Waterloo Greens remember as the Cambridge Green Party Candidate in the 2015 federal election.

My Story
9:15 minutes, 2013 | Directed by Shania Tabobondung

Using simple, yet clever whiteboard animation, a young woman’s personal journey of struggles and courage through her early life are poignantly and artistically depicted in this impressive film debut.

Shania Tabobondung is a 17-year-old Anishinabekwe from Wasauksing First Nation. Her passion for the written word and visual arts has led her to seek future academic studies in journalism and/or media arts. My Story was the 2013 imagineNATIVE Tour Video Contest winner, which had over 40 films in contention.

Barefoot
16min, 2012 | Directed by Danis Goulet

Like any 16-year-old, Alyssa desperately wants to fit in with the crowd. But will her dreams crumble as her deepest secret is revealed?

Danis Goulet (Cree/Métis) is an award-winning writer and director. Her short film Wakening played before the opening night film at the 2013 Toronto International Film Festival.

Liar
7:48min, 2012 | Directed by Adam Garnet Jones

A young man`s secret fuels a twisted vendetta for revenge in this powerful examination of intolerance.

Adam Garnet Jones (Cree/Métis) is a queer filmmaker originally from Edmonton, Alberta. His short films have been broadcast on television and screened widely at film festivals, including ImagineNATIVE. He is currently in post production on his first feature film, Fire Song.

Woodcarver
5:44, 2011 | Directed by Ehren (Bear) Witness

This innovative tribute in response to the murder of totem carver John Williams by a Seattle police officer in 2010 employs image mixing, documentary footage, and an ingenious soundscape to commemorate a tragedy not to be forgotten.

Bear Witness (Cayuga) is an Ottawa-based media artist who has been producing short experimental videos for over eight years. Bear is a member of the award-winning DJ collective, A Tribe Called Red.

Covered
6:50, 2014 | Directed by Tara Browne

This docudrama short film is an interpretation of an interview and performance of Buffy Sainte-Marie that originally aired on CBC TV’s program TBA with host John O’Leary in 1966.

Actress, filmmaker and singer-songwriter, Tara (Beier) Browne (Cree) won the Best Experimental award for this film at imagineNATIVE in 2014.

Snare
3min, 2013 | Directed by Lisa Jackson

Evocative and haunting, director Lisa Jackson crafts a stunning performance-based piece that captures the brutality of violence against Indigenous women, yet celebrates hope for a future illuminated through advocacy and understanding.

Named one of Playback Magazine’s 10 to Watch in 2012, Lisa Jackson’s (Anishinaabe) genre-bending films span documentary, animation and fiction. Her work has also garnered numerous awards and her film, Savage won the Genie award for Best Short Film in 2010.

A Common Experience
10:30min, 2013 | Directed by Shane Belcourt

Acclaimed playwright Yvette Nolan voices her personal experience in this beautifully poetic and intimate exploration of the multigenerational effects of Canada’s residential school system.

Shane Belcourt (Metis) is an award-winning filmmaker, writer and musician based in Toronto. His debut feature film, Tkaronto closed imagineNATIVE in 2007 and has screened at film festivals worldwide.

Apikiwiyak (Coming Home)
12:46min, 2014 | Directed by Shane Belcourt and Maria Campbell

In this collaborative work, originally presented as a live reading and visual accompaniment, Maria Campbell, an acclaimed Métis author from Saskatchewan sets out to hold a mirror out for Indigenous non-Indigenous people to peer into the never-ending legacy of colonial violence.

Maria Campbell (Cree/French/Scottish) is a community worker, storyteller and filmmaker whose bestselling autobiography Halfbreed – an important document on ethnic relations in Canada – encouraged many First Nations people to become writers. In addition to her many other publications, she has also written or directed stage plays, films and videos.

indigiNATE Now program: http://sawvideo.com/event/indigi-nate-now-province-nations-film

I had my first taste of Bannock, something I had believed to be a native staple, but I learned the real story last night.

Bannock

These two new Heritage Minutes were shown at the beginning of the program.

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