Sunday July 30th is the (Green) Party in the Park!

[reblogged from WRGreens]

Whether you’re an official Green Party of Ontario member, a GPO supporter, or even if you’re just a thinker green thoughts, you’re invited to Riverside Park in Guelph for a (Green) Party In The Park.

Anyone is welcome, even if you’re just curious to learn more about the upstart Party that convinced the Government of Ontario to bump up the rates (from $3.71 per million litres to $53.71 per million litres) commercial watertakers like Nestlé pay for our municipal water.  That’s still too little — it’s still only about a third of what we pay, but it’s a pretty impressive achievement for a party without a seat in the Legislative Assembly of Ontario.  If Ontario wants better, we’ll need to start actually voting Green.

If you want to print out a couple of posters to put up in your neighborhood, you can download them from Flickr here

The official reason for the party is a Guelph Green Party of Ontario nomination meeting which will launch Mike Schreiner‘s bid to become the first Green Party member in Queen’s Park!

Come on out and meet Mike!  Join the free fun with an RSVP:

RSVP  ~  (Green) Party In The Park  ~  2017


connect with the green community


from Schmuck Truck and Bluewater Creamery


from newly elected BCGreens MLA Adam Olsen


with bubbles and facepaint!

Live Music

from the awesome Joni Nehrita

and the Andrew Craig Trio

Spread the word in your own neighbourhood!  
Print a poster or two and post them on Grocery Store & other Community Bulletin Boards
[If you’ve never used Flickr, here are some handy instructions for downloading]

Discover the Fun at Open Streets Sunday!

There’s always lots to see and do at Open Streets Uptown Waterloo.  Unfortunately what limited bus service there is for those of us in the underserviced rural parts of Kitchener—Conestoga, since it’s Sunday there are no buses running.

Look For the Waterloo Greens booth at the Open Streets Marketplace in Waterloo Public Square!

Drop by the WRGreens Booth chat about green issues, find out more about the local green goings on, or just to say “hi.”

Draw!!!  We’ll be drawing for free Parks Canada Discovery Passes throughout the afternoon.  The Discovery Pass is good for free admission to these Parks Canada Sites throughout this year.

Waterloo Region sites include WoodsideWoodside National Historic Site and Waterloo Pioneers Memorial Tower.  Some of the other Ontario sites include  HMCS Haida National Historic Site, Point Clark Lighthouse National Historic Site,  Queenston Heights National Historic Site, and my own favourite, Bruce Peninsula National Park.  And there are other National Parks spread across Canada. 

Because of the ongoing LRT construction disruption, Open Streets has taken to the trails for this year.  Here’s the map:

Hope to see you there!

WR Non-Violence Day In The Park is SUNDAY!

Green Parties the world over share the same core values:

  • Non-Violence
  • Sustainability
  • Social Justice
  • Ecological Wisdom 
  • Participatory Democracy
  • Respect for Diversity

Green Party of Canada § Green Party of Ontario

We hope you’ll drop by our WRGreens Info Booth at this years celebration of Non-Violence at the 12th Annual WR Nonviolence Day In The Park,

Sunday, July 9th, 2017
noon to 5:00pm
Roos Island in Victoria Park,
Kitchener, Ontario Map.

This will also be the final day of the weekend long Kultrún World Music Festival on the Victoria Park mainland on Sunday until 9pm.  Next year we hope to have a table there, too.

BC NDP to form government with BC Green support

I’m very excited about the happenings in B.C. Politics. If you haven’t been following, you should know that going into the 2017 provincial election BC Greens had only a single sitting Member of the Legislative Assembly.  An MLA is the equivalent to an Ontario MPP.  Climate scientist Andrew Weaver was the very first Canadian Green elected provincially, and now, after this year’s election, he’s been joined by 2 more BC MLAs.  Although Christy Clark’s Liberals won a plurality of seats, they did not have enough seats to form a majority government.

After the BC Greens worked out a historic agreement with the NDP, Ms. Clark spent weeks trying to figure out a way to retain the power the BC Liberals have enjoyed for 16 years.  In spite of the stalling tactics, finally there was a Confidence Motion this week, and yesterday (Thursday June 29th) BC’s Lieutenant Governor Judith Guichon asked BC NDP Leader John Horgan to form government.

“After seven long weeks, I am delighted that British Columbians will finally have a new government,” Weaver said. “When we launched our election campaign, we promised to do politics differently. Our Confidence and Supply Agreement lays the groundwork for a new kind of collaborative, productive parliament.

“The B.C. Green caucus will provide stability for this new minority government by supporting confidence and supply measures. We have also agreed to collaborate on a wide range of policies that are supported by a majority of British Columbians. As an opposition caucus, we will collaborate with our colleagues on both sides of the house to advance good public policy that will put the interests of British Columbians first, as well as hold the government to account for their decisions and actions.

“On May 9, British Columbians sent us a strong signal that they want us to work together – no party was given a majority of seats and 100% of the power. I am encouraged that the leaders of both other parties have acknowledged this.”

Andrew Weaver, leader of the B.C. Green caucus, June 29, 2017

Although some people have characterized it as such, BC’s new NDP minority government will not actually be a coalition. The BC NDP will form a government supported by the BC Greens according to the terms of the 2017 Confidence and Supply Agreement between the BC Green Caucus and the BC New Democrat Caucus. Some of the highlights follow.

Both the BC New Democrats and the BC Greens campaigned for a government that put people
at the centre of their decision-making.Our policy proposals included many points of
agreement, including:

  • Making democracy work for people
  • Creating jobs, acting on climate change, and building a sustainable economy that works
    for everyone
  • Fixing the services people count on
  • Making life more affordable for people

This agreement sets out a new relationship between the two parties, founded on the principle
of “good faith and no surprises”.

Both parties agree that the legislature works best when all MLAs are able to put forward good
ideas – and come together – to support those that advance the public good.

The agreement is comprehensive, as it is designed to ensure stable government for the entire four year term. One crucial element is extending party status to the BC Greens, so they can “fulfill the responsibilities that will be required of them, the BC Green MLAs require access to legislative tools that are only available to recognized political parties and sufficient support staff.


A foundational piece of this relationship is that both caucuses support the adoption of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission calls to-action and the Tsilhqot’in Supreme Court decision. We will ensure the new government reviews policies, programs and legislation to determine how to bring the principles of the Declaration into action in BC.

Proportional Representation

  • Both the BC New Democrat Government and the BC Green Caucus are committed to proportional representation. Legislation will be introduced in the 1st sitting of the next session of the BC Legislative Assembly with a BC New Democrat Government establishing that:
  • A referendum on proportional representation will take place in the fall of 2018, concurrent with the next municipal election; and
  • The form of proportional representation approved in the referendum will be enacted for the next provincial election.
  • The parties agree that they will work together in good faith to consult British Columbians to determine the form of proportional representation that will be put to
    a referendum.
  • The parties agree to both campaign actively in support of the agreed-upon form of
    proportional representation.

Additionally the NDP and Greens are agreed on increasing the effectiveness of the carbon tax by increasing the amount and delivering carbon rebates to BC residents to ensure they are better off under the new regime.

The Site C Dam project will be subjected to the economic viability and consequences study that ought to have been done in the first place. Here in Ontario the same should be done before our Provincial Liberals go ahead with the nuclear

They’ll also “Immediately employ every tool available to the new government to stop the expansion of the Kinder Morgan pipeline, the seven-fold increase in tanker traffic on our coast, and the transportation of raw bitumen through our province.

Here in Ontario our Liberal Premier is making much of her plan to raise the minimum wage incrementally to fifteen dollars an hour. But the problem is this is a change so long overdue that for many (if not most) Ontarians $15 is not a living wage today, and by the time we actually get there, it will be even more inadequate. Which is why I thoroughly support this:

Immediately establish an at-arm’s-length Fair Wages Commission that will be tasked with establishing a pathway to a minimum wage of at least $15 per hour and overseeing regular rate reviews. The commission will bring forward recommendations regarding strategies to address the discrepancy between minimum wages and livable wages. The commission will make its first report on a new minimum wage within 90 days of its first meeting.

The new government seeks to work in concert with the other levels of government to improve transit and transportation financing and infrastructure.

There are also ambitious plans for promoting and protecting healthcare and education, with a much needed emphasis on front line delivery of necessary services.

All I can say is WOW.

Although we extend our congratulations to the BC NDP and Greens, if this lot of politicians can effect even half of this agenda, the biggest winners in are unquestionably the citizens of British Columbia. What a lovely gift to mark Canada’s 150th Anniversary.


Laurel Russwurm
#KitCon Greens

You can download the entire 2017 Confidence and Supply Agreement between the BC Green Caucus and the BC New Democrat Caucus here.

Join us at Open Streets UpTown Waterloo!

Open Streets UpTownWaterloo is an awesome street festival held monthly 4 months each summer.

This SUNDAY (Father’s Day) will be this year’s first Open Streets day.

June 18th, 2017

One might imagine the massive disruption of King Street through UpTown Waterloo in the multi-year roadworks construction for the Waterloo Region LRT could have brought a quick end to a street festival dedicated to giving the streets back to the people.   Not in Waterloo!

Open Streets UpTownWaterloo map ~ click for the full Open Street Map

The Open Streets organizers have exercised a great deal of creativity in shifting the venue each year, but this year they’ve outdone themselves by incorporating the Uptown Waterloo trails as the “street” venues.

Storyteller Michele Braniff

You’ll find the Waterloo Greens Info Table in the Waterloo Public Square Marketplace (Node #5 on the map).

This will be WRGreens second year participating in the OpenStreets UpTownWaterloo festival.  Until now our participation has been limited to a WRGreens Info Booth in the market place, but this year we’re taking it to a new level.

The festival has named a theme for each of the four OPEN STREETS this year, and the theme for Sunday is “Word.”   Naturally, the most suitable word for WRGreens would be “GREEN.”   Since WRGreens has a multi-talented Cambridge Green colleague, Michele Braniff is an Artist, Storyteller and Graphic Recorder, midway through the afternoon Michele Braniff will be telling green stories at the Main Stage beside Laurel Creek (Node #3 on the map).

There are so many things to see and do, this festival is always exciting….which is why it’s a great place to bring your Dad for Father’s Day (and a great place for dads to bring their kids!)

For more information visit OPEN STREETS UpTownWaterloo
follow @OSWaterloo on Twitter
or check out the Facebook page

Volunteers staffing the booth answer questions and discuss Green issues like electoral reform, social justice, basic income and climate change.

WRGreens participate in these events is for the opportunity to discuss green issues and give people a chance to find out a little more about the Green Party in Waterloo Region.

But I have to tell you, it’s also a lot of fun!

B.C. NDP & B.C. Greens Ratify Historic Agreement

May 30, 2017: British Columbia Provincial Legislature, Victoria B.C.  

All 44 elected MLAs from the B.C. New Democrat and B.C. Green caucuses have ratified an agreement pledging to work together to support a stable New Democrat government that works for people.

“The people of B.C. spoke loud and clear on election day – they want a government that works for them, not just those at the top. With the signing of this historic agreement, we are showing that we are ready to roll up our sleeves and work together to make lives better for British Columbians,” said BC NDP Leader John Horgan.

“The results of the election clearly demonstrated that voters wanted to put an end to the bitter, divisive and cynical politics of the past, and get on with productive governance. Today, I am very proud to stand with John Horgan and our respective caucuses to demonstrate how two distinct parties can work together for the good of all,” said BC Greens Leader, Andrew Weaver.

The BC New Democrat Government has agreed to advance several legislative and policy initiatives identified as a condition of support by the BC Green Caucus, including:

  • Reforming our electoral system, getting the influence of big money out of politics, and reforming lobbying rules
  • Recognizing that education is about lifelong learning and fast-tracking enhancement to K-12 education funding
  • Protecting and promoting public health care, creating a proposal for an essential drugs program, and giving families the security of quality, affordable child care
  • Getting people moving with better transit
  • Giving the opioid crisis the attention it deserves
  • Establishing an Emerging Economy Task Force and an Innovation Commission
  • Eliminating Medical Services Premiums
  • Implementing a basic income pilot project
  • Fighting climate change while creating good jobs and introducing rebate cheques that will mean most people pay less while increasing the carbon tax beginning in 2018
  • Sending the Site C project immediately to an independent review
  • Opposing the Kinder Morgan pipeline expansion project

“British Columbians have been waiting 16 long years for solutions to so many problems, and we want to help. A New Democrat government, with the support of Green MLAs, will make life more affordable, fix the services people count on, and build a sustainable economy that works for people. This agreement means we have the opportunity to make those changes that are so important. I’m optimistic and excited for the future,” said Horgan.

“This agreement establishes a relationship of ‘good faith and no surprises’ between the B.C. Green caucus and a B.C. New Democrat government. It is our hope that it becomes a model for future B.C. governments, where working across party lines is quite ordinary. I have always believed we are better off when diverse views can be represented at the table. This is a new era for politics in BC – one where British Columbians are truly the winners,” said Weaver.

You can read the full agreement here.

Image Credit

British Columbia Parliament Buildings” © by Ryan Bushby (HighInBC) released under a Creative Commons Attribution 2.5 Generic License via Wikimedia Commons

Republished from Greens of British Columbia

Hello Kitchener—Conestoga!

When the federal riding boundaries were redrawn before the 2015 election, Kitchener—Conestoga Green Party candidate David Weber and what had been the #KitCon riding association moved to the new riding of Kitchener South—Hespeler. When the election was called earlier than expected, Elmira resident Bob Jonkman was asked to stand for election.  And so he did.

Bob had began getting politically active since volunteering to help with the 2007 Ontario Electoral Reform Referendum, and becoming increasingly involved with Fair Vote Canada’s Waterloo Region Chapter over the years.  He moderated Fair Vote events like the 2011 Nuclear Debate, becoming a regular fixture at Fair Vote information tables throughout the summer festival season.

But even so, running for election was an entirely new experience.  The learning curve was a lot less painful than it might have been because the Waterloo Greens invited the other four Green Party Associations to share an office and pool our resources.  The arrangement worked out so well, the five riding associations decided to make it permanent with the establishment of our umbrella group, Waterloo Region Greens.  We’ve been working on establishing a Green presence in Waterloo Region between times.  The thing is, you don’t stop being Green between elections.  Green isn’t just the colour of sustainable politics, its a lifestyle, too.

I think Bob was a natural, so it’s very likely he will run again.  And in the meantime we’re keeping the conversation about Green issues going, both online and off..

Right now is a pretty exciting time in the Green Universe with the BC Greens having elected the first Provincial Caucus in Canada, and it’s been made more exciting by the fact the BCGreens may well end up holding the balance of power in the minority government.  It would be awesome to see some serious democratic reform in BC, finally.

Laurel & Bob at Gord Miller’s Candidate’s Lunch in Guelph during the 2015 Election

We’ll do our best to keep you informed of our events, and we’ll look forward to seeing you at some of them.

Because the time for Green is now.  
Glad to have you aboard!

Laurel Russwurm
Communications & Media, #KitCon Greens