Reminding Liberals

Kitchener—Conestoga Green Bob Jonkman wore his Fair Vote hat to join the Fair Vote Waterloo delegation that met with the Hon. Karina Gould, the current Liberal Minister of Democratic Institutions, at the Hon. Bardish Chagger’s Waterloo Constituency office last week.

Bob Jonkman chats with Electoral Reformers
Electoral Reformers chat with the Hon. Katrina Gould about Electoral Reform
Greens are ready for Electoral Reform to Proportional Representation
Proportional Representation is not going away!

Join us at the Kultrún World Music Festival this weekend!

Visit the WRGreens booth to say hi and chat about green issues, where we’ll have a button making table for kids of all ages!

But of course the real point of it all is the music!  We’re looking forward to hearing indie Juno nominee Alysha Brilla (pictured below with Bob after her performance at the GPO Earth Day Rally.
For a taste of the program check out the promo:

Hope to see you there!

Good Neighbors

A long ago sunset over the Shuurrmans’ farm

When I was living hours away, though my parents got older, I never had to worry they’d need help with the yard, or that they’d be snowed in, because they were blessed with wonderful neighbors.  My parents befriended young Henk, the immigrant farm hand who lived in the tiny house next door.  Perhaps because my father’s mother had once been an immigrant farm worker, or maybe because my stepmom had spent much of her own life away, and the friendship grew when Henk married Bettina.

The young couple raised their kids and took over the operation of the modern dairy operation across the road.  Although my Dad never regretted his own decision not to go into the family farm business, I know he was glad of the chance to see how a modern Canadian dairy farm was run.  Henk gave him at least one guided tour, and Dad (whose childhood on the farm didn’t include indoor plumbing) was tickled by the idea that modern Canadian cows were give showers!

When my own family moved back to the Elmira area, although my son played soccer against their sons (the “Shuurrmanators”) one year, I didn’t really know Henk and Bettina Schuurmans myself.  But every year I’d see their Christmas card on my parent’s fridge.  And later, when my mom went to live in the nursing home, I know Bettina would visit her.

Henk and Bettina Schuurmans on their "Ask This Dairy Family about Canadian Milk" John Deere 6430 Tractor.
@DairyOntario tweeted: “SaskMilk and DFO have set up a GoFundMe to assist the family with costs. If you wish to contribute, you may do so here: gofundme

With their kids grown, no doubt serious concerns about political unrest threatening the food security of the Canadian supply management system and so called “free trade” agreements that always seem to leave Canadians worse off, Henk and Bettina Schuurmans decided to set off on a cross-Canada tractor trek to promote Canadian Milk and family farming.

So it was a huge shock to learn their Tractor trip ended in tragedy.  In the light of day, somehow the semi truck driver didn’t notice their very large distinctive vehicle, and the tragic accident claimed Bettina’s life.

I understand Henk is recovering after surgery, and I hope on the way to a full recovery, but I’m saddened that he and his family have had to suffer such a terrible loss.

—Laurel Russwurm

[reprinted from Laurel L. Russwurm’s Free Culture Blog]

Image Credits

My photo of “Sunset across the Floradale Road” released with a Creative Commons Attribution License

“Henk and Bettina Schuurmans’ #CDNmilkTOUR” from Dairy Farmers of ON @OntarioDairy

Contribute to the Henk & Bettina Schuurmans & Family gofundme page


Stranded Assets

[Guest Post by Michael Nabert]

With fossil fuel assets already becoming stranded, Canada’s current level of dependence on fossil fuels could cost us 20% of national GDP and 8% of employment by 2030. Spending public money on a pipeline is not a smart investment, it’s a bet on a dying horse.

Don’t take my word for it. Here’s the complete peer reviewed scientific study of the macroeconomic effects in the prestigious scientific journal Nature. Up to $4 trillion in global oil investments will evaporate as the world transitions to a low carbon future. The idea that there’s a market for this poor quality product is pure fiction. Bitumen is particularly vulnerable to major shifts in the oil and gas market because production is expensive when compared to extraction techniques used in the Middle East. That means bitumen markets will be the first to collapse when demand slows significantly, making Canada particularly vulnerable. Throwing more good money away on the bitumen market at this time is climate denial as economic policy and flies in the face of what is already happening in global markets where we can all see it.

If a drop in the value of major coal companies by well over 95% in only five years isn’t an indicator of a change in fossil fuel’s fortunes, I don’t know what is.

“By 2020, the IMO has mandated that the commercial fleets it represents can only buy and burn ship engine oil with a sulphur content of 0.5%. That is a 700% reduction from the current average. It has been estimated that the 15 largest ocean vessels currently emit as much sulphur annually as all of the world’s cars.

Alberta bitumen will likely be a big loser, because it contains on average some 11 times more sulphur than conventional crude, and results in a high ratio of low-grade Bunker C when refined. As of 2020, according to industry reports, U.S. refinery purchases of diluted bitumen for ship fuel will begin slowing to an eventual trickle, Europe will buy none because it has the wrong refinery profile, and Asian refiners will dedicate new refineries to produce low-sulphur diesel for ship fuel.”

France, India, Britain, and Norway have already announced their intentions to eliminate fossil fuelled cars altogether, and other nations are moving to follow suit.

Here’s China doing the same. It’s like it’s a growing trend or something.

Electric vehicles alone could displace oil demand of 2 million barrels a day as early as 2023, creating a global a glut of oil equivalent to what triggered the 2014 oil crisis, and that’s just one example.

The claim that additional pipeline capacity to tidewater will unlock significantly higher prices for bitumen is not corroborated by either past or current market conditions. Recent international commitments to reduce global carbon emissions over the next three decades will significantly reduce the size of future oil markets. Only the lowest-cost producers will remain commercially viable while high-cost producers will be forced to exit the market.

All of this just to give a Texas corporation a 637% profit margin at Canadian taxpayer expense.

Meanwhile, clean energy is currently the best job creation engine in the whole planetary economy.

Canadians get exactly one opportunity to play a leadership role in the growing economy of the future. If we decide not to step up, we will be left in its dust. Fossil industries cannot sustain us in a world that is moving away from the use of fossil energies. They’re yesterday, not our tomorrow.

In fact, the health care savings alone from shifting away from fossil fuels more than makes the transition to renewable energy pay for itself, not to mention that it also means saving lives. Again, you don’t have to take my word for it, so here’s another full scientific study published in a peer reviewed journal for you to read in full if you’re curious.

Download PDF

Or if you don’t want to read the whole thing and would like a summary,

The Canadian Medical Association report that links air pollution from fossil fuels to a staggering 92,000 emergency room visits a year is just one of the troubling facts about how air quality is affecting our health, and our health care costs.

Canadians will see a long list of benefits by transitioning to renewable energy. Research indicates it will create 200,000 new jobs in the energy sector and the conversion of 500,000 fossil fuel-related jobs into clean energy jobs. Air pollution from burning fossil fuels would be eliminated, energy prices would stabilize, and the country would save more than $100 billion every year.

On the other hand, no amount of wishful thinking is going to help a new pipeline turn stranded assets into economic opportunity for the future. The argument that a new pipeline is a smart investment is total bunk.

As the fossil fuel bubble bursts, lower quality assets will become stranded first. The 4 biggest coal companies, for example, have already lost 95% of their value in only 5 years. Bitumen, the most expensive form of oil to extract, requiring the most extensive refining process to produce the dirtiest final product, is up next.

Friday the 13th: #greenDrinks with @BrantGreens

WRGreens have been invited to join our friends at Brant Greens for their monthly Green Drinks social event.

Friday, July 13th at the Sociable Kitchen + Tavern

Join the conversation this Friday, July 13th,between 7:00 and 9:00 p.m. at the Sociable Kitchen + Tavern
(http://www.sociabletavern.ca45 King George Road, Brantford.

Enjoy the wide array of scrumptious foods and craft brews

Brant Greens gather
photo © Brant Greens, used with permission

Enjoy a refreshing beverage and share the latest news on green events in Brantford-Brant.

Meet new friends who care about the environment, neighbours engaged in their communities, and other like minded, hard working folks like yourself, who share a common desire for a sustainable future.

Brant Greens socialize in a local tavern
photo © Brant Greens, used with permission

Brant Green Drinks is a great way to meet new people and enjoy the company of good friends. So bring a friend and look forward to meeting new friends. It’s an engaging evening of green thinking, sharing, and networking at its best!

For more information:

Please feel free to extend the invitation to other green minded folks you know!

2018 brant greendrinks Calendar

Monday, August 13th
Tin Cup Sports Grill
61 Lynden Road, Brantford

Thursday, September 13th
Legends Tap House & Grill,
1084 Rest Acres Rd, Paris

Saturday, October 13th
Mash Paddle Brewing Company
111 Sherwood Dr #3A, Brantford

Tuesday, November 13th
Duke on Park,
505 Park Road North, Brantford

Thursday, December 13th
Bell City Brewing51 Woodyatt Drive, Brantford


Pipeline Town Hall Wednesday Night!


Community members are invited to discuss the Canadian government’s buyout of Kinder Morgan’s pipeline and tanker project with local members of Parliament.

Excerpts of the film Directly Affected: Pipeline Under Pressure will be screened.

Following the film, Rev. Rosalyn Kantaht’nta Elm (Oneida Nation, and a priest serving the Anglican parish of Six Nations) will join Chief Myeengun Henry (Chippewas of the Thames) and Dr. Angela Carter (BSIA Fellow and Assistant Professor in the Department of Political Science at UW) to reflect on the film and lead a discussion.

Doors open at 5:30, plan to arrive by 5:45 to enjoy some snacks and find a seat. This event is free, with donations accepted to help cover the costs of the venue.

For more about the event:, Council of Canadians, and @DivestWR present: KW Kinder Morgan Town-Hall – Film Showing @DirectlyAffectd
[Republished from the WRGreens Blog]

Join Us at the 2018 KULTRÚN World Music Festival

This year we’re looking forward to having our very first Waterloo Region Greens information booth at KULTRÚN.

The local World Music festival created by Neruda Arts began in Waterloo Square but quickly outgrew the space so they moved to Victoria Park.  Kultrún always has a stunning mix of great music from around the world.  (That’s where I became a fan of the Jerry Cans last year).  Victoria Park has room for two full size stages, one by the Clocktower and the other down by the water. This lets them squeeze in even more music, with stage crews setting up one stage while the music flows on the other. It also keeps the audience moving back and forth, handy for an event dubbed “KW’s largest outdoor dance party.”

The Festival actually begins with a special Friday Afternoon event at 2:00pm
The Conversation: The Condor and The Eagle Prophecy at Open Sesame
Although this event is free, space is limited, so you must register.

The 8pm, Friday July 13th, 2018
GALA: Morena Son from Cuba, Aurora & Mateo and Dj Fosforita
at The MUSEUM on Friday Night.
[The only Kultrún event with an admission fee.  Advance tickets: $45.00; Table of 10 $400.00]

Saturday July 14th

  • 12:00pm DJ Fosforita (Toronto/Ecuador)
  •   2:00pm Grupo Yautepec (Mexico)
  •   3:00pm Subhira Quartet (Chile)
  •   4:00pm Briga (Montreal/Poland)
  •   5:00pm Maracatu Mar Abeto (Toronto/Brazil)
  •   6:00pm Jeong ga ak hoe (Korea)
  •   7:00pm Eliana Cuevas (Venezuela)
  •   8:00pm Morena Son (Cuba)
  •   9:00pm Four Corners of the World
  •   9:45pm Afrikana Soul Sister (Montreal/Mali)

Sunday July 15th, 2018

  • 1:00pm Cara Loft (First Nations)
  • 2:00pm White Pine Dancers (First Nations)
  • 3:00pm Beatriz Pichi Malen (Indigenous Mapuche)
  • 4:00pm Cascabel (Toronto/Cuba/Mexico/Venezuela)
  • 5:00pm OKAN (Toronto/Cuba)
  • 6:00pm Aurora (Spain)
  • 7:00pm Alysha Brilla (Canada/Tanzania)
  • 8:00pm Colectro  (Colombia)

Victoria Park, Kitchener (MAP)

Pictured on my mini poster are Eliana Cuevas from the 2014 Jazz Festival and Alysha Brilla performing at this year’s Multicultural Festival.  If you haven’t yet been, here’s a taste of what’s in store for you this year:

Hope to see you at Kultrún!

For more information visit the Kultrún website