A statement from PEI Greens Peter Bevan-Baker

On The Loss of a Friend

CHARLOTTETOWN – It is with the deepest sadness that Green Party leader, Peter Bevan-Baker issued the following statement:

“As Leader of the Green Party of Prince Edward Island, I was bereft to learn about the death of Josh Underhay and his son in a tragic accident today.

“Josh has been a dear friend and colleague of mine for many years, as a volunteer, musician, passionate cycling advocate and Green Party supporter. He has touched the lives of everyone who knew him, including the students he taught, fellow musicians, and members of the party. Whether advocating for proportional representation, dazzling us with his mastery of languages, or being there to support fellow candidates, Josh brought humour, enthusiasm and boundless energy to every situation.

“I simply cannot imagine how much he will be missed.

Peter Bevan-Baker and Josh Underhay

“Our thoughts and prayers are with his family and friends, and I know we will all join together to provide each other with support and comfort during this terrible time.”

All Green election activities will be suspended for the remainder of the campaign.

We ask all media to respect the privacy of the family at this time. Please direct all media inquiries to Green Party of PEI Director of Communications Shannon Carmont.

You can help Josh Underhay’s family by donating to the GoFundMe:

Mike Makes History (Again!)

Today was special.

I tabled the first ever Green legislation in Ontario history, a bill to protect the drinking water supply of nearly 200,000 people in the Guelph region.

And I did it with dozens of water defenders at my side.

It’s time we started taking seriously our sacred responsibility to leave a liveable planet for our children and grandchildren. The Paris Galt Moraine Conservation Act would protect our water from contamination, urban sprawl and reckless resource extraction.

And while the Premier has been threatening to poke holes in the Greenbelt, this legislation would grow the Greenbelt, conserving more farmland and wildlife habitat.

We face an uphill battle. Majority governments don’t pass many opposition bills. So I need your help to write to your MPP and sign my petition urging the government to #ProtectOurWater.

Go to ProtectOurWater.ca today and help us make history again!


Tell your MPP you support the Paris Galt Moraine Conservation Act!
Use the GPO’s handy letter writing tool at ProtectOurWater.ca to find your MPP and send them an email.

TONIGHT: Woolwich Township #Bill66 #WaterlooRegion

Township of Woolwich

Tonight Bob Jonkman will be making a second Delegation to Woolwich Township about Bill 66.   His presentation last week at the Committee of the Whole seemed well received, and Township Staff has prepared a report, and the following Council Resolution will be proposing and passing the resolution that follows.

Whereas a Bill 66 planning by-law proposes to encourage economic development by streamlining the approval process for a major employment use,

And whereas Bill 66 proposes to give an area municipality the ability to decide under what circumstances they wish to pass a Bill 66 By-law and impose any requirement that is reasonable for and related to the appropriate use of land and that the municipality considers necessary for the protection of public health and safety,

And whereas a Bill 66 By-law cannot be appealed,

Now therefore be it resolved that the Council of the Township of Woolwich indicate its concerns with Bill 66 and indicate that the Township would only consider passing a Bill 66 By-law if it provided for the following:

  • protection of drinking water quality and quantity and other water resources;
  • protection of agricultural resources;
  • protection of natural heritage features and hazard lands;
  • conservation of cultural heritage resources;
  • orderly development of safe and healthy communities;
  • provision of land use compatibility;
  • provision of appropriate water and wastewater servicing;
  • adequate provision of employment opportunities;
  • adequate provision of housing, including affordable housing;
  • appropriate location of growth and development;
  • promotion of development that is designed to be sustainable, that supports public transit and that supports active transportation; and
  • provision of adequate public and agency consultation;

And that Bill 66 needs to be revised to provide

  1.  Clarification, acceptable to the Township of Woolwich, around the issues of how the number of employees would be ensured over time, whether there would be a distinction between full and part time employees, what mechanisms would be in place to ensure jobs continue to meet thresholds over time and what would happen if an employer is bought out, forced to lay off employees or goes bankrupt; and
  2. That a major employment use would not be defined as including any residential or commercial (including retail use);

And that this resolution be forwarded to the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing as the Township of Woolwich’s comments with regards to Bill 66 and that this resolution also be sent to the Association of Municipalities of Ontario, the Premier, and the Waterloo Region Members of Provincial Parliament.Wo

On the face of it, it sounds reasonable, but is it?

None of the provisions Woolwich indicates would need to be in effect before the Township would only consider passing a Bill 66 By-law  are part of Bill 66.  The absence of these public protections is why Bill 66 exists.  Even in the unlikely event the Province of Ontario were to adopt some of these provisions, we will still be stripped of at least some public protections.

Those of us who saw what happened in Walkerton, especially those with family and friends there, understand why legal protection of public health and safety must be enshrined in law.  Is it acceptable to place considerations of health and safety negotiable on a project by project basis?

Those of us who saw what severely limited public consultation imposed by the Province looked like when the Bio-En Biogas plant was imposed on our community over strenuous public objection, when the economic interests of a single business owner were allowed to override citizen concerns.  In that case the anti-democratic nature of the “Green Energy Act” eliminated any possible means for the community to stop it.   Today the citizens of Woolwich bear the cost of a dramatic increase of heavy truck traffic through downtown Elmira along with significant road repairs due to wear and tear on our roadways, and although talked about, the cost of an Elmira truck bypass is too great for the Township coffers to bear.

Those of us who live or work in Elmira are living with the effects of a toxic water supply destroyed by the local Chemical companies before adequate provincial water protection laws were in place.  Decades later we still depend on water piped in from Waterloo.

Much of Ontario– including Waterloo Region– relies on the drinking water drawn from the aquifers underground.  What happens when Bill 66 exemptions result in damage to the water supply?  If Waterloo’s water safety is threatened, Elmira could lose our drinking water in the blink of an eye.

I know this is terribly late notice, but if you can come out to tonight’s Woolwich Council Meeting please do.

Tuesday, January 15, 2019 6:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.

Woolwich Council

6:00 – 6:30 p.m. Public Meeting re: Cannabis
7:00 – 8:00 p.m. Woolwich Council Meeting

Download PDF of Revised Agenda

Location: Council Chambers, 2nd Floor 24 Church Street West, Elmira

Mobilize resistance to Bill 66

This is not a WR Greens event, but may be of interest to environmentally conscientious members.

Laura Hamilton from Divest WaterlooDivest Waterloo writes:

I’m writing with some urgency today as we have very little time to mobilize resistance to Bill 66, known as Restoring Ontario’s Competitiveness Act. I have included more information about this Bill below.

Grand River Environmental Network | Grand River Environmental Network | www.gren.caGREN is planning a preliminary meeting

Tuesday December 18th
67 Erb Street West, Waterloo, Ontario in room A-142

to discuss the environmental implications of this legislation and to plan next steps for January.

Please extend this invitation to others whom you feel would be interested and able to support our efforts.

I apologize for the short notice and appreciate the difficulty of this request coming so close to the holidays. Our next meeting in January will be on Thursday the 3rd. Consultation closes on January 28th, so we really cannot delay.

Background on Bill 66

Last week, the Doug Ford government introduced Bill 66, known as “Restoring Ontario’s Competitiveness Act.” Among its targets is the Greenbelt Act. Bill 66 would allow municipalities to circumvent Greenbelt protections by enacting “Open for Business” bylaws under which they could approve factories and business parks within the Greenbelt. Smaller municipalities (under 250,000) would simply need to show the Ford government that their Greenbelt development would create 50 jobs. For larger cities the requirement would be 100 jobs.

Related measures in Bill 66 would empower municipalities to exempt developers rules designed to protect wildlife and municipal water supplies, including the Clean Water Act, which was enacted following the Walkerton water tragedy in 2000 when seven people died after drinking the town’s contaminated water.

Geoffrey Stevens, The Record Dec 10/18:
Doug Ford’s hypocrisy on the Greenbelt

[editorial Cartoon]

Other Acts targeted by the Ford government in the astonishing broad scope of Bill 66 include

and * numerous other protections that help to ensure the safety and quality of life for millions of Ontarians.

If approved, Bill 66 could destroy our environmental regulations, contaminate our drinking water and circumvent good planning by haphazardly opening up farmland and natural areas for development with no requirement for public meetings or communications and no opportunity for appeal to any decisions.

It is a reckless bill to enhance the profits of only a few large businesses and corporations who would bypass important rules and safely regulations at a huge cost to every Ontarian.

We have just 42 days to stop this major threat to public safety, our environment, and natural resources we all depend on before the Ford government will attempt to approve this Bill. It is been called the biggest and most significant environmental rollback in a generation and we need to act now to mobilize as a community and kill Bill 66.

Further reading:

* Laws impacted by Bill 66


Should Fracking and Tarsands Expansion be *EXEMPT* from environmental review?

We don’t.

If the Trudeau Government goes ahead and does *this* it will make it even harder to stop such projects even when it’s clear they aren’t in the public interest thanks because of all the ISDS clauses in all the so called “free trade” agreements our governments keep signing.   I don’t think this is what voters envisioned when candidate Justin Trudeau’s campaign promises about fixing the regulatory framework.

Here’s what Environmental Defence has to say:

Canada’s government is proposing to exempt two of the highest-carbon types of projects in the country—fracking and in situ tar sands projects – from the federal environmental review process.

As part of the federal government’s reform of the environmental laws that guide the review process for energy and industrial projects, it has proposed a new approach to the list of projects that are legally required to undergo a federal impact assessment.

The list currently includes everything from coal mines to pipelines to refineries to airports to offshore wind farms. Fracking and in situ tar sands developments are notably absent from the list.

In addition to questions about chemicals, earthquakes and groundwater contamination, the carbon pollution from fracked gas can be as high as coal. Meanwhile, the oil industry is planning to massively expand in situ tar sands projects, which by 2030 are projected to emit as much carbon as all of the personal vehicles in the country. Yet the federal government wants to give fracking and in situ a free pass on environmental impact assessments.

In addition to questions about chemicals, earthquakes and groundwater contamination, the carbon pollution from fracked gas can be as high as coal. Meanwhile, the oil industry is planning to massively expand in situ tar sands projects, which by 2030 are projected to emit as much carbon as all of the personal vehicles in the country. Yet the federal government wants to give fracking and in situ a free pass on environmental impact assessments.

Tell the federal government to frack off. ALL high-carbon projects must get a federal impact assessment.

If you agree with us that this is a very bad idea indeed, use the handy Environmental Defence tool to send a letter to Catherine McKenna (Environment and Climate Change Minister), Amarjeet Sohi, (Natural Resources Minister, and your local MP.

Tell the Government what you think

Thanksgiving 2018

Although I have issues with the colonial origins of our “Thanksgiving” tradition, the idea of expressing public thanks for that for which we are truly thankful is a good one. It is especially easy to forget such things when so many negative things are ongoing, but to be able to continue to work for a sustainable workable future, it is important not to allow despair to prevail. We can draw strength from reminding ourselves that there is still plenty of good in the world, and by harnessing that good, we can build the future we need for our children, and generations to follow.

In 2018 Canada, I am thankful so many of us have come to understand the necessity of adopting a proportional representation voting system, in spite of Mr. Trudeaus’s attempt to shut the idea of a truly representative democracy back in the closet, as his predecessors have done throughout Canadian history.

So I am very thankful that, instead of allowing this to happen:

  • the Provinces of BC and PEI are holding electoral reform referenda
  • the Yukon Territory has undertaken a study of electoral reform
  • a new government has been elected in Quebec after all opposition parties made a public pact to enact Proportional Representation no matter which formed new government
  • Ontario struggles under an FPTP extremist government which strips its most populous city in the country of almost half its (already) inadequate municipal representation
  • New Brunswick again suffers an electoral outcome like that which triggered its previous electoral reform process
  • Alberta looks down the barrel at the prospect of right wing populism in its already toxic atmosphere of polarization
  • Canadian provinces are pitted against each other by the federal government
  • PEI political polling suggests the PEI Greens may form the first Green led government in Canada

As an Ontarian, I don’t care who’s first but we can’t afford not to change. Defenders Of The Status Quo fight so hard because once any jurisdiction in Canada adopts Proportional Representation and the sky doesn’t fall, the rest of us will be able to see with our own eyes that the myths they’ve frightened generations of Canadians with have always been pure misinformation. Once that happens, the rest of the country will fall into Proportional Representation like dominoes. We are surely at a Proportional Representation tipping point.

Even in the unlikely event PR is staved off a little longer, at least Canadians are beginning to understand that even with our existing grotesquely inequitable voting system, we need to stop being bullied into voting ‘strategically’ for lesser evils but instead vote for what we want.

I am thankful that all five Waterloo Region Greens ranked in the top 20% of Ontario Green Party candidates in the 2018 provincial election.

I am thankful that, in spite of staggering odds against, and in the face of the Broadcast Consortium’s exclusion from the Ontario Leadership debates, Mike Schreiner made history this year by winning election as our first Ontario Greens Member of Provincial Parliament.

Bravo Mike!

WRGreens are thankful for our estimable federal and provincial representatives:
Mike Schreiner and Elizabeth May.

And so I would like to wish us all a Happy Thanksgiving from everyone at WRgreens!

Laurel Russwurm

GPC Convention 2018

Among an incredible lineup of Green headliners from across Canada and around the word we have the brilliant Caroline Lucas, the UK MP for Brighton Pavilion who holds the distinction of being the first Green Party candidate in the world to be elected under the odious First-Past-The-Post, proving it was possible to break the glass ceiling.

For those of us unable to attend the 2018 Green Party of Canada Convention in BC, we can watch the the high points being streamed online via the GPC Facebook Page.  You can also follow the Convention on Twitter at #greenconv18

If you’ve missed them, catch the recordings here:

Friday September 28th, 2018

Friday Night’s brilliant Lineup of speakers can be seen here:

Saturday September 29th, 2018

Saturday Morning’s Program headlining the brilliant Caroline Lucas
(and many more goodies) can be seen here:

Note: you don’t need to be logged into Facebook to watch these.
I will add links to additional videos as they become available.

Photo Credit: Caroline Lucas, leader of the Green Party
© by http://underclassrising.net/ and released under a Creative Commons Attribution Sharealike 2.0 Generic License

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!