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Preview: Cameron Wigmore, Green Party Member

Cameron Wigmore, Green Party Member



The purpose of this blog is to share my ideas and efforts, and to invite you to share your opinions, thoughts and concerns with me. The Green Party is a viable option for voters, with a platform that covers all issues.



Updated: 2015-09-16T11:06:30.415-06:00

 



BC Liberals cut funding to arts - tell them it was a mistake

2009-10-22T23:38:45.713-06:00

Please consider emailing a short letter to your MLA and the BC arts minister explaining why you support the arts and communicating that the BC Liberals will not receive your vote/support specifically because of their recent cuts. If you don't live in BC you can still speak up on behalf of the arts. Below are a few good statements about why the arts are important and worth supporting.Cheers,Cameron- - - - -BC Liberal PartyTelephone: 604-606-6000Toll-free: 1-800-567-2257BC Arts Minister: KEVIN KRUEGERTCA.Minister@gov.bc.ca kevin.krueger.mla@leg.bc.caKamloops-South Thompson OfficeTel: (250) 314-6031 or Toll Free: 1-888-299-0805Victoria OfficeTel: (250) 953-4246Deputy Minister's OfficeLORI WANAMAKERTelephone: 250 356-6981The MLA in Nanaimo is Leonard Krog of the NDP: leonard.krog.mla@leg.bc.caNanaimo North Cowichan (NDP) douglas.routley.mla@leg.bc.caParksville-Qualicum is Ron Cantelon of the Liberals: ron.cantelon.mla@leg.bc.caPhoning the constituency office and emailing MLAs sends a message. Attending forums during elections and asking questions that put pressure on them is a good way to make them understand that we won't roll over when they try to destroy our livelihood.From http://www.stopbcartscuts.ca/"...Even prior to these cuts, the BC arts and culture sector received almost the least arts funding of any Canadian province, a miniscule 1/20 of 1% of the provincial budget. That amount, while crucially important to the arts sector, is generally considered a negligible portion of the budget. The actual numbers? $47 million will be reduced to $3 million in two years. This is a 91% cut, compared to cuts in other sectors which range from 9%-29%. (For more specifics on how the cuts are being carried out - and it's complicated - see the "Why are the cuts so confusing?" section below.)No other province has cut arts funding during this recession. Many provinces have actually increased funding, because it is proven that this is a form of stimulus that works for the whole economy, recession or not. Furthermore, the culture industry is a lucrative and growing industry, one that is quickly overtaking many failing traditional sectors. It needs seed investment; we cannot afford not to stimulate culture. Why in a recession are the BC Liberals saying they can't afford this negligibly small subsidy, when they are contradicted by all the available research, including their own?..."From: http://thetyee.ca/ArtsAndCulture/2009/09/04/FlexYourMuscles/"...Could it be that the government needs to aggressively target spending in one sector to show that it's tough, that it won't blink as it protects the humble taxpayer from the ravages of this terrible economic downturn (so terrible that even this all-knowing government didn't see it coming)? Could it be that Gordon Campbell's cabinet has decided that arts groups must take this fall for the greater good of its claimed reputation for prudent fiscal management?..."One person's comments: "...People in BC still don't seem to get it, for the most part. Arts and Culture drive tourism. Without arts and culture (and boy, do we need to grow this sector, since it's one of the only healthy ones we have) the vacation planning conversation goes something like this: "Oh,Vancouver... you mean that place with the nice mountains - and oh, yes, really big social problems - way out there at the edge of the known world? No, not really. They have nothing going on of interest..."The arts and culture sector is worth 5 BILLION (yes, that's right) to this province's economy each year. People seem to have this idea that arts spending isn't an investment. Well wake up, it is - from the most bare bones economics to the incalculable value of living in a civilized society and educating our children beyond being video-game playing boors. Economically, spending on arts and culture generates a return - A RETURN - of $1.38 for each dollar spent. Artists are not looking for handouts. They are some of the hardest working and most underpaid workers we have. They give far more to communities than many of the things that people like to[...]



ID scanning at bars banned but bars continue to violate privacy

2009-10-28T01:06:51.281-06:00

Here's an article I submitted to the Nav.Imagine living in a country where private corporations forced citizens to allow the scanning of their ID as a condition for entry into their businesses. Grocery stores, malls, concerts and festivals might be the sort of places where this ID scanning would occur, and the data collected could be stored by the company for a year or more. It would be simple - and in the company's best interests - to get the ID information they collect synchronized with our medical records, allowing them to prevent anyone with serious health problems from gaining entry. For liability reasons, those businesses could then refuse services to any individuals they wished, based on the criteria they decide, with information gained from our government issued IDs and maybe even medical records.Now imagine a private company starting along this road of ID scanning, even though the provincial government's privacy commissioner has ordered it to stop. This is happening right now in B.C. at some of our local bars, and this subject is larger than just security at bars.On July 21st '09 the Information and Privacy Commissioner David Loukidelis released Order P09-01, in response to a complaint about the scanning of a bar customer’s driver’s license. The complained was made under B.C.’s Personal Information Protection Act (“PIPA”), which regulates the collection, use and disclosure of personal information by businesses.Here is an excerpt of the press release (see link below) that accompanied this decision.Section 7(2) says a business “must not, as a condition of supplying a product or service, require an individual to consent to the collection, use or disclosure of personal information beyond what is necessary to provide the product or service.” The Commissioner accepted that it is “necessary” to collect personal information of certain customers for the purpose of operating a nightlife establishment, but not “to develop and maintain a personal profile containing the personal information of all customers in order to effectively track the few who may be removed from, and subsequently barred from re-entering, an establishment. Certainly, the full scope of information which is collected by Wild Coyote and the length for which it is retained is not necessary to achieve that purpose” (para. 98). The Commissioner therefore found that “a requirement for consent to the collection of personal information through the TreoScope system is a requirement for consent to the collection and use of information ‘beyond what is necessary’ for providing the service of operating a nightlife establishment in the terms I have described” (para. 98).It seems clear from the excerpt above that storing a person's ID for extended periods of time is not allowed; that doing so is beyond what could be considered reasonable. Still, after this decision was made, the local bars with this data collection system did continue to scan and store ID information. More from the press release:Section 11 of PIPA says a business “may collect personal information only for purposes that a reasonable person would consider appropriate in the circumstances”. The Commissioner found that, under s. 11 of PIPA, the collection of personal information was not appropriate in the particular circumstances, including given the nature and amount of personal information being collected. He found that “it is reasonable... for it to be able, in order to preserve a safe environment for customers, to identify those individuals who have been determined to be violent, or otherwise undesirable for re-entry from a safety perspective, and thus improve customer safety” (para. 127). He went on to say, however, that “much of the information collected by the TreoScope system”, including driver’s license numbers, “does not further this safety purpose”, adding, “Moreover, I have not been provided with any reason related to improved customer safety for an establishment’s retention of any information at all relating to cus[...]



Is Canadian Culture Important? Harper Says NO

2008-08-16T12:33:41.828-06:00

Apparently our PM Stephen Harper, who likely enjoys paint by numbers and took lessons as a child to learn how to play the radio, doesn't recognize the economic and other benefits of investing in the arts.I'll tell you what's wrong with cutting funding for Arts and Culture.According to a 2001-02 Statistics Canada report, with an investment of $6.8 billion from three levels of government, the arts and culture sector directly employed 740,000 people and generated $26 billion for the economy.The arts and culture sector employs as many people as the combined sectors of agriculture, forestry, fishing, mining, oil, gas and utilities.Green Party: Harper's disrespectful attitude towards cultural expression will damage Canada's reputation "Slashing funds for cultural activities, both domestic and abroad, is damaging to the fabric of our country and further jeopardizes Canada's international reputation," said Ms. May. "This move appears to be more about extending the government's long tentacles of control into the area of cultural expression, but this move will backfire on Canada. Mr. Harper is slashing the arts in cynical attempt to win votes from a base he mis-reads. Most Canadians want to support a vibrant arts community."CBC: Cultural groups blast additional federal arts cuts After mostly silence (save for brief statements from department spokesmen) this week, Heritage Minister Josée Verner defended the Trade Routes and PromArt decisions in an interview with the French arm of Canadian Press on Thursday."What's being considered … is to examine how we can create a new program or new avenues that will be more efficient and with a stronger impact for our culture abroad," Verner said.This quote above is interesting. The Cons Heritage Minister says they are seeking better efficiency, but dismantling a working program to possible recreate it at some point in the future seems fairly inefficient to me.TheStar.com: Tories cut five more arts programs"The opposition seems to be accusing us of having an agenda to see that the arts is funded to a lesser extent on an ideological basis, and I can say that's not the case (because) we are spending more on the arts than the Liberal government," said Kory Teneycke, Prime Minister Stephen Harper's director of communications.The above quote is typical of the Harper Tories. Defend their actions by saying the Liberals are worse. This redirect won't work this time, because cutting tens of millions of dollars in funding can't be defended by implying that Liberals might cut even more. They aren't the ones in power cutting funding. The Harper Tories are, and no amount of blame-shifting or weak excuses will change this.National Post: Frustration builds over federal cultural cuts"These cuts are shocking and short-sighted, and they certainly aren't business friendly," wrote Waddell in a statement. "Support for arts and culture are among the most efficient investments a government can make. "Investing in the arts stimulates the economy. Let's say an artist receives a grant to tour. They then need to rent vehicles, buy plane tickets, pay for meals eat at restaurants, stay at hotels and so on. Their shows are at venues which employ people. The public gets dressed up, maybe in nice new clothes, and drive their vehicle (or even better use public transit ;) and pay for parking to go out for dinner and a show to see the artist. I could go, and I know I'm missing some steps, but I think you probably get the picture.globeandmail.com: Ottawa to axe five more arts and culture programsCanadian Heritage Minister Josée Verner defended the cuts saying the government only wanted to help arts and culture organizations in a more efficient manner and those being axed failed to demonstrate that they were providing sufficient returns for the dollars invested."Culture is an essential element of the identity of a nation and in that sense, will always have its unfailing support," she said.So it's like that. "I'm hurting you because I love you." If this is what the Harper To[...]



Letter - Living Room plans worry south end residents

2008-07-08T16:38:04.075-06:00

The following is a letter I've written to the local papers about VIHAs plan to couple transitional housing with a failed addictions program. I have some experience working in this area.

- - -

VIHA's Living Room attempts appear disorganized and remind some south end residents of a salesperson trying to remarket the same old failed product. Unfortunately, we are the ones who have been paying for VIHA’s learning curve.

The past incarnations of the Living Room, as hard as they were to manage, were in commercial areas. Now they want to put it in the middle of a residential neighborhood, adjacent to transition housing for those trying to get away from the street. Is there some study showing this might actually work, or was this decision simply motivated by dollars and cents?

At the south end community meeting, a VIHA spokesperson said, “we see it as a good thing to have the Living Room coupled with the residence.” No study was offered to back that up. Does the VIHA operate on gut feeling and intuition alone? I thought these services were supposed to be spread throughout the city. In fact there are studies showing that over concentration of these services can have a negative effect.

Because we’re not getting any answers about how our safety will be ensured or protected, I’m uneasy about this planned project. The list of rules we were given by VIHA were both naive and directly solely to the inside of the building.

If I were asked to place money on this venture as a positive thing for our community and those on the street, I think I’d keep my wallet in my pocket. On the other hand, if I was asked to invest in this as a real estate venture, this might be profitable. Maybe that’s where VIHA's heart is at.

Cameron Wigmore
Nanaimo, BC



Stop Cable Bay boundary extension before Aug 5th

2008-07-07T13:29:07.744-06:00

I recently phoned city hall about this controversial development and “negative option” approval process being used to bypass voter involvement. To be clear, the actual development isn’t what’s being voted on; the expansion of the city boundary to include this resort and golf course is the subject. It’s the developer who wants the city boundary expanded and our council has basically made sure that the developer will get their way. This is a big deal because it allows further sprawling of the city, and shows that Nanaimo isn’t serious about sustainable development and urban renewal through increasing population density.

It will take a decade to get proper transit service (as the RDN suggests) if the city doesn’t invest in building up the residential, commercial and industrial areas that already exist WITHIN the city limits. By expanding city limits and allowing developments to GROW our city, they prevent our central Nanaimo population from being concentrated enough to support ½ hr bus wait times instead of the current hour long wait between most busses.

If you wish to get more information you can call Bruce Anderson, Manager of Community Planning at 755-4483. Contact your city council to let them know what you think of this: http://www.nanaimo.ca/cityhall/index_inside.asp?id=213&collection=57

Click on the link below to get the elector response form that you can print and submit, or phone city hall at 250-755-4405 to have them mail it to you.
http://www.nanaimo.ca/uploadedfiles/Site_Structure/Corporate_Services/Corporate_Administration/StatutoryAAPPublicNotice.pdf


In the news:
City Deserves Better Effort
http://www.bclocalnews.com/vancouver_island_central/nanaimonewsbulletin/opinion/23202169.html

Residents hope to stop project
http://www.canada.com/harbourcitystar/news/story.html?id=98be0e77-5e58-4bba-a800-b30c147967b6



Nanaimo Transit Better Service Now

2008-06-20T12:42:29.049-06:00

I recently overheard a young man on the bus speaking with his friend about gas prices. "Well," he said, "I'm taking the bus because it's gotten to the point that I have to choose between feeding my kids or my truck."
When we consider this reality, we must ask why our city isn't hurrying to invest in our public transit services.

From the citizens point of view, there needs to be a viable alternative to driving our own cars. Currently the bus service is too sparse to properly serve the people of Nanaimo. If our city invests more in this green form of transportation, we will see increased ridership, less congestion on the roads and less pollution. By avoiding the costs of running our own vehicle we can choose how to spend the money saved instead of feeling like a slave to our gas tanks.

Upon reviewing the 2008 Nanaimo transit plan I noticed that while the plan seems appropriate, the timeline for implementing service improvements is far too drawn out. On the RDN transit web page it states that "The projected addition of more than 90,000 annual service hours would result in nearly doubling the conventional transit service level in the Nanaimo region over the next decade." Ten years is a long time for us to have to wait for reasonable service so that we can realistically consider commuting to and from work on the bus instead of by car.

It is shown that the net cost for the RDN to implement all short term options (2009-'10) would be $692,000. These improvements include ten new busses offering an additional 24,500 hrs of service. While this is a good start, I think it can be implemented faster.

Where I really want to see faster implementation of the decade long plan is in the medium range service options. Proposed to be implemented by 2018, these increases include 24 vehicles running for an additional 65,900 hrs, at a net cost for the RDN of $1,609,000. When I consider how much our city council went over budget on the PNC, I have to wonder why our city isn't investing in our transit system right away, rather than over the next decade.

I ride the bus. I have asked a lot of people what they'd like from our transit system, and they always remark that more frequent service on existing routes is needed immediately. This transit plan will offer that, but over the next ten years. That's too long to wait. As a member of your city council, I would be a strong advocate for better service now from our public transit. Our transit system isn't up to par with the rest of BC. I will help get it there, and I'll work to make it an excellent example of how a city can really make it's transit system work for its citizens.



Decision to Run for Nanaimo City Council

2008-08-16T11:07:02.316-06:00

(this is a copy of a letter to the editor I recently sent to my local papers)It was inspiring to learn that NALT (Nanaimo and Area Land Trust) has made a call for council candidates to address sustainability and environmental issues. After speaking with a number of community members, and with their encouragement and support, I have decided to run for city council. A green development option would be to invest in creating a complete picture for Nanaimo communities, reducing the need for us to go across the city for work or shopping. Devoting lanes to busses and cyclists instead of expanding roads is an effective way to reduce congestion and encourage greener forms of transportation. It’s also less expensive and more sustainable than adding evermore lanes to our roads. I understand that our transit system is considering doubling service within the next decade, but I don’t think we should have to wait that long. The cost savings are considerable for individuals using transit instead of driving, and that money can be spent in our communities rather than pouring it into our gas tanks. This is a case of “build it and they will come”, and I know many people who would commute by bus if routes would run more frequently. Efficiency and conservation are two of the most powerful tools in our efforts to run a city sustainably. We can strengthen our economy by conserving our ecology. Over the long term these efforts can reduce water, energy and transportation development costs significantly. Experience has shown me that to achieve ecological sustainability and well-being in our community we need to work with local businesses. As a member of city council I would be consulting the residents, community groups and business owners of Nanaimo frequently, rather than paying costly consulting firms to make decisions. I define a fiscally responsible city council as one that keeps a close eye on its budget so it doesn’t have to resort to raising property taxes as a result of overspending. Other local concerns I'm aware of include drug and homelessness problems and development strategies. Having run for a federal political party, and having served on the national council for that federal party, I know that I have the experience and insight to get things done in our city. I recently attended a Nanaimo city council meeting and realized a strong desire to get directly involved at a local level. Knowing that groups like NALT are encouraging participation in our local political scene gives me hope that we can keep Nanaimo on a sustainable path. Sincerely, Cameron Wigmore- - -UPDATE! (August '08)I'm sad to announce that I will not be running for municipal council in the fall.In late June I suffered a herniated disc in my lower back and had to be taken by ambulance to Victoria for emergency surgery. It'll be a few more months before I'm back up to full speed, but it does seem like I'm on the path of full recovery.What this means to my campaign is that I've lost a lot of momentum that I would have been building over the summer. Something I learned when I ran in the last federal election for the Green Party of Canada is that for a campaign to be successful it needs good planning including volunteers and fundraising. I have not been able to devote the necessary time and effort to win, and I know that while I'm in rehabilitation I'll be moving too slow to chase down Nanaimo voters on the street.Thank you for all of your support!Cameron Wigmore[...]



Seeing Through Spin and Making Messages Stick

2008-04-03T16:11:20.538-06:00

Framing, messaging, communicating, debating and spinning. Like a trip to the dentist, this is stuff that most of us average everyday cats would rather avoid, but once it's dealt with we become better able to chew up those who would try to use these tools against us.This blog post has been created in an effort to help you to see through the spin; to understand how to communicate purposefully through frames that will help your messages stick.When I first became involved in electoral politics I discovered that one of the things I loathed most about politics and politicians is their use of frames to message. They can do it so effectively that it's difficult to argue against their message, even when you disagree completely. As I learned how they do this, I became better able to spot the spin in daily news. I became more at ease in discussions about subjects and issues with people who disagreed with me. I may not be able to win every debate or convince every person to agree with me, but I now know how to counter spin and avoid frame traps.Framing is the practice of influencing how people think and feel about issues by encouraging them to think about them in a particular way. This is done with language that conjures up and appeals to images and values that people know and understand deeply. By that definition it is different from 'spin', which can be defined as a heavily biased portrayal in one's own favor, of an event or situation, made through selectively presenting supporting facts or quotes. To be clear, this definition of framing has nothing to do with the murder mystery novel character who is always accusing the other guy of 'framing' him. "I was framed!"The website HarperIndex.ca has a great summary of the idea of frames and how the political Right-wing uses them at this link here.Good ol' Wikipedia also has an entry about political framing, of course.Rather than bore you with my own rambling about frames, I would like to offer up an interview with George Lakoff exploring the ways that conservatives use language to dominate politics.In this excerpt he gives us an example of framing:GL: The phrase "Tax relief" began coming out of the White House starting on the very day of Bush's inauguration. It got picked up by the newspapers as if it were a neutral term, which it is not. First, you have the frame for "relief." For there to be relief, there has to be an affliction, an afflicted party, somebody who administers the relief, and an act in which you are relieved of the affliction. The reliever is the hero, and anybody who tries to stop them is the bad guy intent on keeping the affliction going. So, add "tax" to "relief" and you get a metaphor that taxation is an affliction, and anybody against relieving this affliction is a villain."Tax relief" has even been picked up by the Democrats. I was asked by the Democratic Caucus in their tax meetings to talk to them, and I told them about the problems of using tax relief. The candidates were on the road. Soon after, Joe Lieberman still used the phrase tax relief in a press conference. You see the Democrats shooting themselves in the foot.BP: So what should they be calling it?GL: It's not just about what you call it, if it's the same "it." There's actually a whole other way to think about it. Taxes are what you pay to be an American, to live in a civilized society that is democratic and offers opportunity, and where there's an infrastructure that has been paid for by previous taxpayers. This is a huge infrastructure. The highway system, the Internet, the TV system, the public education system, the power grid, the system for training scientists — vast amounts of infrastructure that we all use, which has to be maintained and paid for. Taxes are your dues — you pay your dues to be an American. In addition, the wealthiest Americans use that infrastructure more than anyone else, and they use par[...]



2007 Year In Review Environment And More

2007-12-27T16:19:29.798-07:00

This will be my last post of the year.

I'm going to share a few news pieces covering environmental stories of 2007, but before I do I'd like to reflect on my own personal experiences this year.

The year started with talk of a spring election (much like we're seeing again) and I was hard at work organizing and facilitating Green Party training sessions back in southern Alberta. In the end there was no federal election, but my wife did decide to run for the Green Party of Alberta in a provincial byelection in the late spring. I had started full time work at the Tyrrell museum again, and she resigned so she could stay at home with our son. As soon as the byelection was over Jen wanted to work again, so she got a part time job and we saved up a bit of cash. In September a job opportunity opened up for Jen here on Vancouver Island, and obviously she got the job. We made the move from Drumheller AB to Nanaimo BC in about a month. Her job here is great, our son loves the mild weather and the trees, and I'm starting to get some gigs playing around Nanaimo. I also have a part time job to make ends meet. I'm very excited about the direction our lives are moving in! Next move: selling our house back in Drumheller, and possibly buying some land and building some kind of green home. We've been looking at yurts and manufactured homes as well as small condos or townhouses, and we still don't know exactly what move to make.

I've taken up a supportive peripheral role in the local GPC electoral district assoc. We have a great candidate here and I look forward to the next federal election when I'll be door and phone canvassing during the campaign. I left a big hole back in Alberta, but I'm confident that the Crowfoot EDA, working with the provincial organizer, will be able to find a solid candidate for the next election. As of the fall council elections, Alberta has a strong and capable representative on the GPC Federal Council in Mark Taylor.

Throughout the year my blogging efforts had me exploring and learning about energy, economics and how both subjects are so very intertwined with the environment. Thanks to many visitors here on my blog who forced discussion and debate, I'm now much better informed on these subjects.

For more on specific subjects, or to see my posts over the year, please view the right hand columns listing my blog posts by subject and by month.

Here are a few news summaries of 2007 environmental news.

See you in the new year!


2007: The year in environment
22 December 2007 NewScientist.com
Catherine Brahic


The Magnificent '07
The top green stories of 2007
By David Roberts and Lisa Hymas
20 Dec 2007


Twelve Environmental Victories in 2007
Environmental Defense
03-Dec-2007


ABC Australia - Year in Review - Environment
By Elaine Ford - Dec 19, 2007


News review 2007: Reality of climate change hits home
22 December 2007 - New Scientist



Elizabeth May Interview Videos

2007-12-27T14:08:37.198-07:00

Here are some links to videos of Elizabeth May, including some national television interviews.


CTV did some year end interviews with federal party leaders. This one's with Elizabeth May.

On December 12th, Elizabeth May, Leader of the Green Party of Canada, addressed the Canadian Club of Ottawa. The title of May's speech was "The Climate Crisis: Running out of Time".
CPAC video of the event

CTV interviews Elizabeth May on the Chalk River reactor, medical isotopes and Harpers decision to override the nuclear safety regulator.

Interviews with the Leaders- December 20, 2007
CPAC's Peter Van Dusen conducts a series of interviews with the leaders of Canada's federal political parties. Prime Minister Stephen Harper, Liberal Party leader Stephane Dion, Bloc Quebecois leader Gilles Duceppe, NDP leader Jack Layton and Green Party leader Elizabeth May speak candidly about their visions for the country.
Click here for interview video, and fastforward to the last quarter of the video clip (right after Layton) to see Elizabeth May.

Interview with Don Newman of CBC from Dec 21, '07.

An oldie but a goodie: Leslie MacKinnon of CBC provides an in-depth portrait of Elizabeth May, leader of the Green Party of Canada.

Seasons Greetings from Elizabeth May



Economic policies and overconsumption are chief causes of climate change

2007-12-27T13:00:16.502-07:00

Economic policies and overconsumption are chief causes of climate change, say Canadian Nobel scientists

This isn't really new news for most of us, but this statement is worth a closer look, as the recommendations are intended to improve the sustainability of our society, among other things. They state that "Individuals, corporations, and all levels of government around the world have a duty to act as global citizens in the face of the danger posed to life on Earth and to the well-being of the human race as whole."

Obviously one must already accept that climate change is happening, that it's human caused, that the effects are negative and will continue to get worse. There are mountains of data available to back this up. Governments around the world understand the problem and are taking action. Unfortunately there are still a few people out there who are falling for the disinformation promoted by the climate change deniers. Before they can understand and accept the recommendations for action on the climate crisis, they must first understand and accept the realities of the climate crisis.

Climate change is a huge issue, and when faced with the enormity of this problem it's tempting to try to deny it's existence. For those readers who are already past this point, please read on, but for anyone reading this who still aren't on board with the international scientific community, please first read How To Beat Denial - A 12-Step Plan, and then read How to Talk to a Climate Skeptic, and then go on to the rest of this blog post.

From the news release:

The statement's twenty-seven endorsers include two Canadian members of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), which was awarded the 2007 Nobel Peace Price jointly with former U.S. vice-president Al Gore.

"In the long run, we need to focus on sustainable levels of consumption, which means finding ways to rein in our currently insatiable demand for more and more," said Professor Danny Harvey of the Department of Geography at the University of Toronto, who also served as lead author of the latest IPCC assessment report.

The scientists also cast doubt on the reliance upon nuclear power and large-scale biofuels to prevent climate change. "It is no secret that humankind is already struggling to eliminate hunger and the loss of biodiversity," said Ryerson University Professor Emeritus of Physics Helmut Burkhardt. "To take land away from food production and from rainforests is, in a global perspective, not an option."

The Wasan Action Framework urges governments and international bodies to curb overconsumption, promote lower global birth rates through women's education and empowerment, focus on low-impact renewable energy sources, reduce carbon emissions and preserve forests.

Full declaration & recommendations:
Wasan Action Framework (PDF)



Outdated Nuclear Energy Technology Rest In Peace

2008-07-25T16:32:03.437-06:00

Before the year ends I'd like to post a few links to some information and news on nuclear energy, the outdated technology that won't solve our energy needs, won't lead to sustainability, won't ever be safe, won't solve the climate crisis, and won't ever be fiscally responsible. May it continue its slow disappearing act and rest in peace for the duration of this century and beyond.Oh, we can't just walk away from nuclear energy and be done with it? We still have spend a LOT of money to 'safely' store huge amounts of highly toxic nuclear waste for thousands of years? Hmm... maybe we should ignore that and just keep building more nuclear power plants to meet our rising energy demands.Energy efficiency and consumption reduction measures be damned; forget about renewable energies and green technologies and reinvest heavily in nuclear energy because our energy consumption is going up, up, up, and we're going to need more nuclear energy! Hold on, I see a pattern emerging...Seriously though, here are those items I mentioned.Dec 10th, '07Child Cancer Risk Higher Near Nuclear Plants - Study"Chernobyl taught us that technical deficiencies, human failure, and at present also terrorist attacks, may lead to acatastrophe of unforeseeable dimensions. But did we learn from the catastrophe? That’s one of the questions we try to explore in this brochure."Women Active Against Nuclear Energy (PDF)ATOMIC BALM: NUCLEAR REVIVAL IGNORES CASUALTIESBy Joseph J. Mangano"It should be a sobering thought for Canadians to face the grim facts that Canadian uranium particularly from Saskatchewan, is being marketed to countries that use the "waste" from nuclear power reactors to be sold or given away to manufacturers of depleted uranium."Full letter to editor by Oscar found here at this forum.Nuclear Weapons and the Link to Nuclear PowerNov '07 Opposition demands debate on joining nuclear club"...Elizabeth May, the federal Green Party leader, said she was furious that the decision to join a pro-nuclear group occurred in silence without any public consultation..."Dec '07 Ireland Greens: Ryan refuses uranium mining licencesVideo - Helen Caldicott at Uof Regina speaking on the dangers of the nuclear industry, including nuclear power, mining, waste and weapons.Canada’s role in depleted uranium weapons worldwideDU weapons & war crimesAfter 3 years of investigation by 60 expert witnesses and jurists at a cost of $1 million raised by Japanese citizens, the International Criminal Tribunal For Afghanistan at Tokyo on March 10, 2004 found President George W. Bush guilty of the war crimes of genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes for the use of depleted uranium (DU) weapons by US forces in the 2001 war against Afghanistan.Experts agree that a substantial portion of the depleted uranium in the DU weapons used by the US in Afghanistan came from Canadian uranium. Had the Tokyo Tribunal been diligent, it could have found Canadian Prime Minister Jean Chrétien, who resigned as Prime Minister on December 12, 2003, guilty as an accessory to genocide, crimes against humanity, and war crimes, for failing to enforce Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission regulations, and the Canada-US Nuclear Cooperation Agreement, both of which prohibit Canadian uranium from being used in DU weapons.Dr. Gordon Edwards, president of the Montreal-based Canadian Coalition for Nuclear Responsibility (CCNR) says, “Canada may have the policy, but it’s not enforced. The Canadian government is taking directions and orders from the nuclear industry… “The uranium industry has a vested interest in ensuring its depleted uranium waste makes a profit and is not just left in storage. That’s why some of Canada’s depleted uranium is ending up in weapons, Edwards says. “The Canadian gov[...]



Green Party at 13% - ahead of NDP in polls

2008-04-04T10:19:00.905-06:00

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From the new Strategic Council poll, the GPC is at third place with 13%. This is is the first time ever that the Green Party has polled ahead of the NDP.

The GPC is trending upwards, with many recent polls putting the Greens in the double digits. See this new Canadian Press Harris-Decima survey that has the Green Party at 12%.

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UPDATE: (Feb 16th, 2008) For 1st time Greens within 3% of NDP according to Feb 16 Ipsos Reid Poll
"...A long list of polling companies over the last few months have put the Green Party ahead of, tied with or on a 'virtual tie' with the NDP -- Ipsos Reid, Strategic Counsel and Harris Decima among others -- so the Green Party's rise compared to the NDP can no longer be said to be a once-off occurance it's now a clearly emerging trend..."


More here: In Quebec, Green party at 11 per cent and the NDP with 10

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UPDATE: (Apr 4th, 2008) Grits Tories Remain Deadlocked

The latest Canadian Press Harris-Decima survey suggests the Tories have 32 per cent support, with the Liberals at 30 per cent, which is within the survey’s margin of error.

The NDP have 13 per cent, the Greens 12 per cent and the Bloc is at nine per cent...

...In Quebec, the latest poll suggested 37 per cent support for the Bloc, 21 per cent each for the Conservatives and Liberals, 10 per cent for the Greens and nine per cent for the NDP.

In Ontario, the survey suggested the Liberals are at 38 per cent with the Tories at 33 per cent. The Green party has 15 per cent, leading the NDP at 10 per cent...



Continued attention on homelessness, addiction and crime

2007-12-27T16:22:16.893-07:00

...will help us solve the problems.

(this is a letter to the editor I sent to many local papers recently)

In nearly every issue of every paper I read something about our efforts to improve upon the issues of homelessness, addiction or crime. Obviously most of us take these issues very seriously. Helping those who’ve lost their way, or who’ve fallen on hard times, to become productive members of society seems to be the goal. This is a year round challenge for everyone.

Thank you for your continued demonstration of compassion and willingness to tackle and resolve these issues. I have faith that with our attention and collective efforts we will become a part of the solution, and we will find lasting solutions to these problems.



Happiness Is...

2007-12-17T14:30:31.747-07:00

An excellent article by Bill McKibben exploring how the environment that sustains us has become very relevant to economics, and how a new shift in focus on well-being can help people understand the relationship between economic activity, our quality of life and the environment.

The Green Party already has extensive policy (also found here, and in other places throughout the federal party's website) on the interconnectedness of the environment, the economy and societal well being. And if this article isn't enough reading on the subject for you, I've blogged on it before as well.

From the article:
...we were so deeply enmeshed in the rhythms of consumer culture that challenging it in any real way seemed anathema. You could really see this attitude at work in the negotiations around the World Trade Organization. Relentless expansion of the international economy was the central business at hand – labour and environmental concerns could be discussed, but as ‘side agreements’. We were, literally, in the margins; the economic worldview loomed so large that all else was in its shadow.

But that’s begun to change – or soon will. Or could, anyway, if environmentalism begins to transform itself from a fixation on filters and light bulbs to a new fixation – on human satisfaction. For a very long time, ‘happiness’ has been considered a soft topic, something that hippies and sandal-wearers bothered themselves with and the actual world ignored as it went about the important business of More. In the past decade, however, economists, aided by psychologists and sociologists, have begun to question some of their assumptions...

...British economist Richard Layard, who has written a great deal about this work, says: ‘We now know that what people say about how they feel corresponds closely to the actual levels of activity in different parts of the brain, which can be measured in standard scientific ways.’ People who call themselves happy also seem happier to their friends, live healthier lives, and so forth.

Which allows you to start doing something interesting. It allows you to start reversing two centuries of reductionism. Instead of asking: ‘What did you buy?’, you can ask someone: ‘Is your life good?’ And once you’ve asked that, you’re in position to ask the most subversive question there could be: ‘Is “more” better?’

Because if more really is better, then environmentalism is a lost cause. There aren’t enough Powerpoint slides of calving icebergs to turn things around.

But if more isn’t necessarily better, then there are possibilities.

And so here’s the bottom line. We’ve become significantly richer, but not significantly happier...


read more | digg story



Leadership Meltdown

2007-12-14T16:14:57.632-07:00

See Chris Tindal's blog through the 'read more' link below on the decision by Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper and the rest of parliament to:
- allow operation of a nuclear reactor with a lack of safety mechanisms
- override the independent federal government agency that regulates the use of nuclear energy and material
- ensure solid profits and stock value of Life Sciences firm MDS

read more | digg story



Building the Green Economy

2007-12-14T13:23:48.501-07:00

I will be posting a series here over the next few months covering different parts of the Green Party of Canada's Vision Green document. The first section I'd like to explore is called Building the Green Economy.Economics is a subject that is tied directly into the environment. For many decades the field of economics has failed to recognize that our economy is a subset of global ecological systems. Instead, economists have traditionally looked at the environment as something to be values and consumed in the pursuit of economic prosperity; the environment, along with everything else, has been viewed as a subset of the economy.The logical errors in that outdated model are now becoming readily apparent: as we degrade and consume ecosystems, we pay dearly for the loss of that 'natural capital'. Take the example of how New York City chose to implement a comprehensive watershed protection program to preserve and restore natural filtration services as a more cost effective means of maintaining water quality than water treatment. Here's another link to info on this example. This outside the box thinking is slowly being adopted by economists and some governments, but not many, and certainly not fast enough.Now past the point of global sustainability, our resource consumption under an economic growth model is becoming a dangerous and obviously outdated model. It was Walter Bagehot who said, "The whole history of civilization is strewn with creeds and institutions which were invaluable at first, and deadly afterwards."The following selected text excerpts are from the Vision Green introduction on a green economy.The Green Party approach is to think holistically. How can we achieve the best possible economic result? What are the fiscal and regulatory impediments to economic sustainability?With the U.S. our largest trading partner, how can we maintain a healthy economy without surrendering our sovereignty and becoming subsumed into the U.S. orbit, as contemplated by the so-called Security and Prosperity Partnership?We strive for stronger local economies with a small business focus, increased national and regional self-sufficiency, economic diversification, more “fair” trade, more value-added manufacturing of resources, more green-certified production and a rapid shift to more renewable energy to create local economic opportunities.This generation has the potential to capitalize on the single biggest business opportunity in human history – the shift to a low-carbon economy. Whether this is driven by high energy prices, dwindling oil supplies, strategic geo-political threats to foreign oil, the climate crisis, or all of them combined, the country that mobilizes resources to develop and commercialize low carbon technologies (e.g. alternate fuels, renewable energy and energy efficiency) will survive the price shocks of fossil fuel’s last gasps and emerge with a thriving economy. Canada should be that country.It makes no sense to subsidize the wealthiest companies on earth to make the world’s most profitable product -- a barrel of oil. These perverse subsidies must be removed. It makes sense to reduce taxes on things we want – income and employment – while increasing taxes on things we do not want, like greenhouse gases and pollution that causes smog.Canadian businesses want two things from their government: predictability and policy coherence. The Green Party government will ensure that the rules are clear, the playing field is level and decision-making is transparent.Our fiscal plan is straightforward: Use the tax system to help meet societal and ecological goals. Get the prices right. Al[...]



A Carbon Tax, the Arts and the Canadian Taxpayers Federation

2008-02-21T12:15:59.999-07:00

There is a point where ideology can exceed common sense, and one might wonder if that is happening with the Canadian Taxpayers Federation.One month ago Maureen Bader, BC director of the CTF, came out against arts funding stating that government subsidies to the arts should be abolished. Bader sees the arts as business activity, but it is more appropriate to compare investment in the arts with investment in things like parks and recreation. Perhaps Bader isn't aware of the difference between investments and subsidies.According to a 2001-02 Statistics Canada report, with an investment of $6.8 billion from three levels of government, the arts and culture sector directly employed 740,000 people and generated $26 billion for the economy. I'm sure Bader doesn't want to hurt our economy, so it might be that she just doesn't understand the concept of EROI (economic return on investment).Then Maureen Bader misrepresented carbon taxes while making fun of global warming 'theorists' [...]



Harper not fiscally responsible, yet tax cuts only for show

2007-12-14T12:34:13.007-07:00

In response to the recent announcement on budget surplus and tax cuts by the federal government, I've written the following as a letter to the editor. I grabbed a few points from comments and articles on the internet over the last week. This was printed in at least one local paper, and you may use it or modify it as you see fit.

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Letter to the Editor: Harper not fiscally responsible, yet tax cuts only for show

For years the Conservatives condemned Liberal surpluses as phony surprises. The irony of Harper bringing in a surprise surplus is not lost on me.

I don't disagree with the cuts to income tax and corporate taxes. I actually support a tax shift – reducing income and business taxes while phasing in a carbon tax to replace lost revenue. Most economist agree with this approach.

Unfortunately this ‘surprise surplus’ means that social and environmental priorities, like fighting poverty and homelessness, or meeting the challenge of climate change, have been left off the table by deliberate understatement of available surpluses. That money could fund capital projects such as social housing or transportation infrastructure.

One reason Harper cut taxes is to cut social services, to which his party is ideologically opposed. Harper also doesn’t seem to mind the infrastructure deficit worsening in Canada. The country-wide municipal infrastructure deficit has now grown to about $100 billion.

I keep hearing that the Harper government is offering handouts and tax giveaways (hardly a fiscally responsible practice) but all I’ve noticed is my child tax benefit, much of which will be taxed back by the government. The income trust flip flop was a major campaign promise that Harper didn’t make good on. No tax break there. This federal income tax cut offers savings per taxpayer at about $35. This is only for show.

Lastly, announcing a GST cut before shopping season is going to create purchasing doubt in shoppers minds. Couple that with the strong Canadian dollar and Mr Flaherty’s call for retailers to lower prices, and you have shoppers holding out for better deals.

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Tip: When sending letters to the editor, always include you full name, phone number and address so the papers can verify that you're a real person.



Green Party of Canada releases 'Vision Green'

2007-10-15T14:18:37.071-06:00

PDF versionAbout the Green Party of Canada and Vision GreenFrom the GPC website:Vision Green presents leading-edge thinking and rational, realistic solutions for all the issues facing Canadians. It was developed by a 31-member Green Shadow Cabinet and was informed by experts, activists and citizens who participated in policy workshops held across Canada. All the proposals are based on policies approved by the membership of the Green Party. Green Party solutions are rational because the Green Party, unlike other parties, understands the scientifically verified limits to growth set by the carrying capacity of our planet. We must work within these limits. Otherwise, we will exhaust resources, degrade our environment and put our economy, health and children’s future at risk. Our solutions are realistic because they follow “best practices” already in place in parts of Canada or other countries. These practices are cost-effective, deliver results and benefit people, the economy and the environment. The Green Party’s down-to-earth solutions will work in Canada because they have worked around the world. Many have been successfully applied in Europe, where Greens are elected at all political levels, including the European Union and national parliaments. Countries where Greens have served in government are the countries creating new high-paying jobs while simultaneously meeting targets to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. They are the countries where the gap between rich and poor is small and the standard of living is high. These countries don’t trade off the environment for the economy. Their economies and environmental laws are both strong. Many people find it hard to position the Green Party on the old political spectrum. We believe in sound fiscal management and strengthening our economy while ensuring that it is sustainable. Does that mean we are “right wing”? We believe that government must provide needed social services while protecting our environment and the rights of women, minorities and disadvantaged people. Does that make us “left wing”? We don’t think so. More and more people are simply thinking of the Green Party as the party of the future. The Green Party is different from other parties in another important way. We will never place the pursuit of power above principle. We will not allow partisan politics to get in the way of good ideas and needed action. We agree with Canadians who say it’s time for parties in parliament to stop bickering and get on with the job of combating climate change and taking better care of our environment, our health and our economy. The Green Party of Canada, founded in 1983, is now a major force in Canadians politics. Over 660,000 Canadians voted Green in the 2006 federal election. More than one in ten Canadians are now saying they plan to vote Green. There is only one true Green Party. We are not like the old line parties who talk green when seeking your vote but sideline green action once elected. You can trust us to stay true to our promises and champion the issues you care about. If you share our vision and agree with our solutions, VOTE GREEN. Change the climate in Parliament. The Green Economy Averting Climate Catastrophe Preserving And Restoring The Environment People The Planet Needs Canada (and Vice Versa) Good Government [...]



Harper’s “war on drugs” regressive and irresponsible: Green Party

2007-11-02T23:24:38.460-06:00

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Harper’s “war on drugs” regressive and irresponsible: Green Party

OTTAWA – The Green Party today denounced Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s proposed drug strategy as an ideologically-driven step in the wrong direction and ignorant of evidence-based research. Last week, Mr. Harper announced his intent to spend $64 million in a war on drugs, focusing on punishment and enforcement – not prevention.

“Mr. Harper is far too eager to sign Canada on to a Bush-style war on drugs that has spent billions and achieved nothing,” said Green Party leader Elizabeth May. “An overwhelming body of evidence supports the notion that an effective drug strategy would focus on prevention, treatment facilities and harm reduction programs.

“Mr. Harper preaches prevention, yet spends many times the funds allocated to prevention on enforcing antiquated drug laws and punishing drug users. This approach is akin to simply burning tax dollars and is severely damaging to society. Instead of listening to the facts, Mr. Harper is trying to appear tough on crime in a desperate attempt to grab votes.”

Jared Giesbrecht, Justice Critic for the Green Party, added that the 2002 Senate Special Committee on Drugs and examples from European countries have led the Green Party to the conclusion that it is time to legalize the adult use of marijuana, developing a taxation rate for the substance similar to that of tobacco.

“Mr. Harper’s plan to impose tougher penalties on users of marijuana and other drugs is a misguided approach. Substance abuse is a medical issue, not a criminal issue. Simply spending more tax dollars on drug law enforcement is not the answer. Canadians want to see a comprehensive anti-drug strategy that gets to the root of the problem, not Harper’s patch-work agenda that seeks the quick fix.”

Mr. Giesbrecht added that the Green Party would fund and expand safe injection sites, like the Insite clinic in Vancouver, that are proven to save lives.




Green Party demands federal action on cell phones and wireless networks

2007-11-03T11:36:37.702-06:00

I wish it wasn't so, but the latest research is pointing to a very likely reality that radiation poisoning from cell phones and wireless networks is a serious problem. It is very likely that Canada's government will do little that would be considered significant in the face of mounting evidence that many people are getting sick when exposed to electromagnetic radiation. Some 'official' studies done in the recent past on a link to leukemia or cancer say there's no proof of causation, or even correlation, but newer 'official' studies show that there is a link between electromagnetic radiation and other illnesses. Like most things, it depends on which 'official studies' one wants to believe.I said that I wish it wasn't so. That's because a lot of people are unknowingly exposing themselves to possibly dangerous levels of this type of radiation. It's also because I like my wireless gadgets. Cordless phones & cell phones are obviously very handy, and my recent purchase of a wireless optical mouse has made it fun to use a mouse. Still, I've already made a few changes in my lifestyle in order to ensure that exposure to electromagnetic radiation is limited. My wife and I got rid of our microwave oven two years ago and we don't miss it. Actually it blew up and we never bothered to replace it.I've seen enough to know that keeping my alarm clock beside my head on the night stand could disrupt my sleep. I know that I don't want to live near a high voltage transmission line. I try to limit my cell and cordless phone use, and when I am on a cordless phone for any length of time I use a headset. In exercising the precautionary principle when it comes to this stuff, I actually don't notice any 'sacrifice' to my lifestyle.I can play it safe by adjusting a few things in my life - it's no biggie - and I know that even though some 'experts' are telling us not to worry, my decision to listen to the advice of other experts is one more way that I can take care of the health of my whole family.- - - - -Green Party demands federal action on cell phones and wireless networksOTTAWA - Green Party leader Elizabeth May today called on Health Minister Tony Clement to issue an immediate warning on the potential danger posed by radiation from cell phones and wireless networks in Canada.Germany recently warned its citizens to avoid wireless technology whenever possible and the EU’s European Environment Agency (EEA) followed suit with a call for immediate reduction in exposure to radiation from phones and wireless networks. The EEA suggested that a delay could precipitate a health crisis similar to those caused by asbestos exposure and smoking."There is growing scientific evidence that exposure to electromagnetic radiation (EMR) from cell phones and wireless networks can cause significant harm to people, especially children,” said Ms. May. “Until all the facts are in, it is foolish to turn a blind eye to the potential health effects of EMR. The Green Party urges the federal government to apply the precautionary principle and warn citizens of these risks now.”Citing several studies that link cell phone use to cancer, the Green Party’s Health Promotion critic, Jake Cole, demanded rapid action from Mr. Clement.“More and more Canadians are being exposed to EMR through wireless networks at work and at home,” said Mr. Cole. “The long-term effects of exposure aren’t known with certainty, but evidence suggests that health impacts can occur at extremely low levels of radiation, fa[...]



Green Economics - Stephen Leahy

2007-10-18T11:46:46.700-06:00

I'd like to share with you a few articles on the economics of going green by Stephen Leahy.

Enjoy!

Like Enron, Earth Inc. Sliding Into Bankruptcy

All economies depend on the natural capital lying within nature’s lands, waters, forests, and reefs, but humans have often treated them as if they had little value or were inexhaustible.



Global Warming Is Real But I Didn’t Do It

The vast majority of North Americans now declare that they want action on climate change. But whether people are truly willing to embrace “carbon-neutral” lifestyles — including giving up their gas-guzzling sports utility vehicles — remains an open question, say experts.


How to Kick-Start the 21st Century Eco-Economy

Farming and forestry in nearly all countries is only about maximising food or lumber production, but that has to start including maximising the ecological goods and service those ecosystems also offer. And since they are extremely important services, the stewards of these lands to ought to [be] compensated so these services will be preserved and enhanced.


57 Tips On Going Green and Saving Money

The reason I spotted Stephen Leahy is that I read Adbusters magazine, and there is a great article in the latest issue called 'Earth Inc. - Staying in the black now means going green'. For more on this subject, as explained by Adbusters, click here.



No seats, but Greens up in support

2007-10-11T11:26:02.659-06:00

Last night the Ontario provincial election came to an end, and the Green Party of Ontario made huge gains in support. Shane Jolley finished a very close second, with the highest support for a Green candidate ever in Canada. Here are a few news stories covering the rise in Green Party support.


'Part of the landscape,' but not the Legislature
The Greens did come closer than ever: Their best hope, bike shop owner Shane Jolley in Bruce-Grey-Owen Sound, finished a strong second behind Conservative Bill Murdoch, a 17-year MPP.

Win or lose, "it's a huge victory," Jolley said last night. "This is the strongest Green campaign ever run in Canada."


Green's great hope
The Mark Messier look-a-like – complete with drop-the-gloves stare – and former high school star athlete in football and track is now a star on another field, regardless of outcome. In the last federal election, he had the best vote percentage (12.9 per cent) of any Green candidate in the county. In this election, he came within a few polls of winning.


Second best still a victory, Jolley says; Candidate calls run most successful Green campaign in Canadian history
"It's a success because we've brought a lot of issues to the table that otherwise wouldn't have made it," Jolley said in an interview. The Green candidate's surprising run also moved the Greens from marginal support here four years ago to what looked late Wednesday night to be a clear second-place finish behind veteran Progressive Conservative campaigner Bill Murdoch.

It was also by far the best result yet posted in Canada by a Green candidate, Ontario deputy party leader Victoria Serda said.

"For Shane to come in a relatively close second is amazing," Serda said at Meaford Hall. "It shows we're electable. This is going to change politics across Canada."


Ont. Green party scores 8 per cent of vote
No Green party candidates made it to the Ontario legislature in Wednesday's election, but that defeat was sweetened by a swell in their share of the popular vote, which more than doubled.



Harpers Drug Policy For Getting Votes

2007-10-09T00:38:13.621-06:00

Harpers Drug Policy For Getting Votes - Not Saving Lives Or Making Canada SaferA friend pointed out this article in Le Devoir by Gil Courtemanche commenting on Harpers doomed War on Drugs. The original publication is in French, and this link will take you to the English translation of the article. Here are a few paragraphs....We also learned Thursday that Stephen Harper will keep his old Beatles records even if his children wonder about certain lyrics that sing the praises of forbidden substances. Here's a wonderful example of the Prime Minister's openness of mind, a tolerance that extends only as far as the words to songs. For the poor teens who might be tempted to follow the smoking trails of the Fab Four, it will be zero tolerance. We're far from the time when the Chrétien and Martin governments pondered decriminalizing the simple possession of marijuana. The times have changed and the police have clearly felt it. In 2006, in Canada's principal cities, including Montréal, arrests for simple possession of cannabis have increased 20 to 50%, depending on the city. At the same time, a UNICEF study discovered that Québec is the champion of cannabis consumption among industrialized countries. According to that study, 40% of youth aged 11 to 15 consume some cannabis from time to time. These are not addicts, but occasional consumers. Nonetheless, under Mr. Harper's ferule, they will be considered veritable criminals. That's almost half our adolescents who run the risk of finding themselves with a criminal record. Mr. Harper also announced that we will establish minimum sentences for dealers. The teen who buys five joints and sells three to his pals will become a dealer just like some Hell's Angel.In its fight against drugs, in its fight against juvenile crime, in its approach to border security, the Conservative government has resolutely adopted the American approach of repression and ever-longer prison sentences. In the United States, this policy has not changed the crime rate and has had the effect of growing the prison population at a vertiginous rate. The United States is the country with the highest rate of incarceration among all industrialized countries. And, of course, the majority of that population is constituted of minority citizens and poor people who can't pay for competent lawyers. That's the road down which the Conservative minority government wants to take Canada. And meanwhile, in Ottawa, the opposition is desperately looking for a gimmick so that elections can be avoided and Stephen Harper allowed to pursue his Americanization of Canada.Here is a first draft of a letter to the editor I'll be sending off to the Nanaimo News Bulletin:Letter to Editor Re: War On Drugs Doomed Again (Nanaimo News Bulletin Oct 6th)I’d like to give thanks to the Harper government for a new ‘war’.Like in the USA where the ‘war on drugs’ has been ongoing for decades, this Canadian effort will likely create many jobs in the areas of law enforcement. We will, over the long term, likely need to build more jails (as they have needed to do in the USA) in order to house non-violent offenders, and our recently announced federal tax surplus will surely help to pay for this ongoing cost. Never mind that incarceration will cost more than rehabilitation; Mr. Harper clearly believes that the jobs created are more important than the negative costs to our society. These fellow Canadians – [...]