Saturday, September 30, 2006

Garth Turner on the Environment

Garth Turner on the environment via:

Left abandoned, sadly, are millions of middle-class families living in leaky suburban houses and driving minivans who really want to do something positive, and seek direction.

But who speaks for them?

Not the Greens or the Dippers, because public transit, high-density housing. walking and bicycles are not a lifestyle option in my riding of Halton, or in the actual places where most Canadians live. These folks drive cars. They live cars. ItÂ’s a car and commuting culture. ItÂ’s also a swimming pool-in-the-backyard culture, a single-family-house culture and a consumer goods culture. Who will help these people do the right thing, because they are motivated for it, instead of lecturing, berating and beating on them?

Not the activists. Not the socialists. And, we have just heard, not the Liberals.

Garth lumps the GPC and NDP together when it comes to ideas about how to solve the environmental crisis facing Canadians and the world. Garth has obviously not read the Green Party Green Plan.

Garth the Green Party has put forward a plan that does not require your constituents to abandon their cars, to abandon their pools. It calls on government to reduce income taxes and put money back in the pockets of your constituents. It also calls on shifting those taxes onto activities and products that harm the environment. By giving your constituents more money they can choose to continue to spend it on, now more expensive, polluting products, or choose to buy use products or alter their lifestyles to keep this new money.

Garth I salute you bringing this discussion on-line.

Friday, September 29, 2006

Jim Harris joins the blogging community

Jim Harris, former Green Party of Canada leader, has joined the blogging community.

His new blog can be found here:

I'm looking forward to all the insight he will be providing about party strategy and policy.

Welcome to the on-line world Jim.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

GP^2 Released

Green Party shows the way with GP^2 fiscal reform package.

See the press release at:

The plan can be found here:

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

The WEEE Man

"The WEEE Man" is a sculpture made in the shape of a man, from bits of scrap electronics and electrical devices. It weighs 3.3 tonnes, which is about the weight of electronics discarded by the average Briton in a lifetime. It has been moved from city to city in the UK, but presently is standing in Bristol Waterfront Square.

It's called "The WEEE Man" because "WEEE" is the acronym for the "Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment" Directive, which was passed by the European Union Parliament in 2003 and began operating last year in many EU countries. This Directive now prohibits such equipment from going into landfill, and makes anyone marketing most kinds of electronics in the EU responsible, including financially, for taking back the equipment when it eventually becomes waste and ensuring it is re-used or recycled.

In Canada the federal government has done nothing I'm aware of to prevent WEEE going to municipal waste, where toxic metals and chemicals are available to the environment. One or two provincial governments, for example British Columbia, now have take-back laws for a few types of equipment, but nothing like as comprehensive as the European initiative. In the USA, a few states such as Washington have introduced take-back laws, but the schemes are not yet operating. China is believed to be presently drafting take-back laws and is building three new recycling plants in Shanghai. China and India have been dumping grounds for waste electronics from western countries, leading to dangerous back-alley recycling operations trying to reclaim precious metals such as gold.

The WEEE Man website is quite interesting:

Monday, September 25, 2006

Al Gore on Solving The Climate Crisis

A few days ago, scientists announced alarming new evidence of the rapid
melting of the perennial ice of the north polar cap, continuing a trend
of the past several years that now confronts us with the prospect that
human activities, if unchecked in the next decade, could destroy one of
the earth’s principle mechanisms for cooling itself.


Federal Political Party Platform Overlaps

As one would expect, there is always a little overlap between political parties on some planks of their platforms. I would like to see some feedback from the field, Greens in general, but from former paying members of other political parties who are now paying members of GPC in particular, discussing the areas that Green platform issues overlap those of the other parties.

Discussions should include:
- where do Green beliefs and platform goals
exceed those of another party. Where do we
need improvement?
- where do Green beliefs and platform goals
fall short (in the humble opinion of the posting
person) of those of another party. Where do
we need improvement?

Perhaps we should have separate discussions for each individual party (i.e. Green vs. Conservative, Green vs. Liberal, Green vs. NDP)

So this first blog topic is to get feedback on how to proceed.

Democracy Study Centre Chair calls for Green Debates

Tom Axworthy, chair of the Centre for the Study of Democracy at Queen's University, writing in The Toronto Star, has called for Elizabeth May, leader of the Green Party of Canada, to be invited to join the next round of leaders' debates.

Click here for the article.

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Green Party advancing in Ontario

Although voters in the Ontario provincial by-election in Parkdale-High Park on Sept. 14 handed NDP Cheri di Novo a solid victory with 41% of the count, Green Party of Ontario candidate Frank de Jong sliced off a respectable 6.2%. It is noteworthy that even in a heavy left-oriented riding such as this one, the NDP, regarded by pollsters as most at risk from a Green Party surge, is already giving up substantial numbers.

In the 2005 by-election in Dufferin-Peel-Wellington-Grey, left-of-centre voters were less constrained by a need to elect an NDP candidate and were free to demonstrate green sympathies by giving the indefatigable GPO candidate Frank de Jong 10% of the vote. PC party leader John Tory (and chair of the disastrous 1993 campaign which returned the federal PCs with 2 seats) won with 56%.

In the 2003 Ontario General Election, the GPO polled 2.8% of the popular vote. With proportional representation, the GPO would now have 3 seats at Queen's Park. In October 2007, the question of proportional representation will likely be put to the electorate in a referendum. Fair Vote Ontario is currently lobbying the McGuinty government to allow this referendum to pass by a simply majority.

To find out how to support this initiative and help make Ontario the first Canadian jurisdiction to elect Green Party MPPs, visit:

Saturday, September 23, 2006

Throwing Your Vote Away?

Just got back from the CMM Greens booth at the Carp Fair. I spoke to someone there who said he would like to vote for the Green Party but won't because he would be "throwing his vote away." This wasn't the first time I've heard this comment.

Although I disagree with this point of view for a number of reasons, in this post I would like to focus on one area that I think most Canadians are unaware of:


This is a fairly new funding program (probably the reason most Canadians are unaware of it) that was implemented in 2004. Here are the details (taken from the Elections Canada web site):

"Registered political parties that receive at least two percent of the number of valid votes cast nationally, or five percent of the number of valid votes cast in the electoral districts in which the registered party endorsed a candidate, will be eligible for a quarterly allowance which, on the basis of a full year, will amount to $1.75 per valid vote received by the party in the previous general election."

Although $1.75 may not sound like much, actually, it's huge! In the 2006 election 665 940 Canadians voted for the Green Party. This works out to $1 165 395.00 in federal funding.

Thanks to this funding the Green Party is better staffed, better equipped and better positioned than ever to promote our message and finally get members elected.

Furthermore, why would you give your hard earned dollars to a party that you don't believe in? By voting for a party that you don't support, to avoid "throwing your vote away," you are financially funding them!

In the next election don't throw your funding away. Send your money to the party that you support. You can only do this by voting for the party that you believe in.

If you support the Green Party, please send us your funding by voting Green in the next election!

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Steve & Rona turning their backs on good progress?

Canada's GHG emissions, according to a recent Reuters piece, went from 565 million tons in 1990 to 758 million tons in 2004, for an increase of 193 million tons.

The Canadian Standards Association maintains registries of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions reductions. Presently there are 46 projects under way, with a total annual reduction of 34 million tons.

This is actually quite encouraging. With only a handful of projects across the nation, an appreciable fraction of Canada's Kyoto target is already being addressed. Under Kyoto, Canada would reduce emissions to 531 million tons annually by 2012.

Responsible Canadian cities and corporations have already made a good start on Kyoto. Why is the Harper government giving up now?

Monday, September 18, 2006

Democratic Reform: Question

Has anyone heard of a proposed electoral system where electoral districts are completely disconnected from geography? In a modern internet world one's interests have little to do with where one lives. In other words, people living all across the country could associate to form a "riding", register it, and be allocated a number of MPs proportional to the size of the group. Candidates would register as campaigning to represent that electoral group. Of course, one person could only be a member of one such group at a time, and there would have to be a registration system which prevents duplication.

It would mitigate "gerrymandering" since people would not be subject to grouping by forces outside their control. In a way, this would be like turning lobby groups into electoral ridings, since people would tend to join the group which best furthered their interests. It could allow people to direct attention to specific issues by joining that electoral group, rather than being stuck with the mixed bag that party-line voting allows. It might revivify the labour union movement.

Friday, September 15, 2006

Don't eat fresh spinach imported from U.S.

For those aware of the numerous benefits of spinach - a word of warning.

- some US spinach contaminated with e.coli
- in US, 1 person dead, 50 in hospital from apparently spinach-caused e.coli outbreak
- washing it doesn't help, so just don't buy it

This isn't all that cmmgreens-related, but I thought people might want to know this. What would be more relevant is something addressing the question WHY this happened. The article does not shed any light on that. Can anybody offer any insight?

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Say Yes to the CDM

Is Canada's commitment to the CDM worth 7 cents to you?

Go here and have your voice heard!,html.html

Read the Green Party of Canada's media release on the topic here:

Drought on the Great Plains

The weather conditions over the past few years have created severe drought in the Great Plains of the United States and Canada, which is being compared to the Dust Bowl of the 1930s. Many of the areas are categorized as "exceptional drought."

This link has a map of the vegetation anomaly in the affected regions.

Gender Equity

[Recently I posted this on the GPC-members listing and felt I would add it here...I know I'm going to get slagged for it and yet I felt you guys needed to know what I had to say about us and this. We can discuss.]
I find that these gender equity discussions often are couched in the assumption that men can in no way adequately represent or speak for women. For myself it matters little if there were ten men at the mikes or ten men on council and only two women in both instances. As long as the underlying theme and the message is my message I don't care who delivers it. I disagree with gender equity (and I know I will get blasted for saying that) in this form. Actually I disagree with it in any form. I disagree with anything that forces people to do something, which regulates and dictates that we must have 50/50 balance or exact representation from the population stats. Who says? If a guy stands up and talks and says what I want said and represents me in a way that I feel is appropriate....good. I don't care about whether the person is male or female, homosexual or heterosexual, white or black. And If I don't like what they have to say, I'll make a change.

This entire discussion assumes the more recent idea that we can only 'speak of what we know'. And therefore a white male can in no way 'speak' to a white female and vice versa. Then it becomes race, and sexual orientation, and then life experiences. Then a middle-aged woman won't be able to speak to a young woman's issues and seniors? forget about it. We'll have more caucuses than people. It will never end. I disagree with women caucuses as I disagree with youth caucuses as I disagree with gender equity. I'm sure someone will think I believe in utopia and they may be right. But I believe that all of these extra groups and special rules assume that we as humans have a complete inability to understand each other. And I don't believe that. If we continue this argument down its slipperly slope we'll have it that no person can speak for another. And each caucus will hold but one person.

I believe in representation. If a white male stands up and is willing to represent my interests, the interests of any immigrant community, and the interests of the homeless and I feel that at the very least he represents my own, I'll elect him. It's not about gender to me. It should never be about gender or race or sexual orientation. It's about getting said what I want said. I don't believe that I always have to do the talking just because I am a woman. And I certainly don't believe that a woman can better represent me. I can't chose like that.

And so I will continue to fight against gender equity and instead continue to fight for adequate representation. Certainly in my EDA, which has a fair more men than women on the exec, I trust the 'guys' to adequately represent my interests and my concerns. I don't need to be there all the time to 'watch over them' and I don't feel the need to find more women and get them on to the exec to rectify any imbalance. I like the executive the way it is. And I like it when we vote in a new one. Whoever shows up, shows up. If they have our interests be they male or female...woo hoo. If we scare away some it's not because of them being female or a racial divide it may simply be that they don't share our vision. I would sincerely regret ever making that a basis for gender bias.

Certainly in Carleton Mississippi Mills we are doing what needs to be done: forwarding the green vision. At times, yes, I bring a different perspective as a woman. But so do they as men. And over all I believe that we have the same goal. Why? Because I trust them.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Environment Canada is lying.

Update: Environment Canada has pulled the bogus information off-line.

Earl McRae

Earl McRae wrote a column a couple weeks ago that started:

"Dear Elizabeth May. Can I call you Liz? Betty? Bett?" Further along, I went for Betty May, saying: "Nice cool, catchy ring to it, Betty May, kind of like a southern rockabilly song of the '50s."

Elizabeth replied and Earl wrote a follow-up column that you can find here:

It ends up with:
11. Pit bulls. Would you ban them nationally or not?

"Earl, is this a trick question? Lastly, as a parting gift, you -- and only you -- can call me 'Betty' if it means a lot to you."

It means a lot to me, Betty. Thank you. But, geez, I still think you should go nationally with that cool, rockin', funky, voter-appealing Betty May.

Read the whole article for a summary of where Elizabeth and the Green Party stand on the questions raised by Earl.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Gwynne Dyer on Afghanistan'd Sad History

Interesting article from July 2006 on Afghanistan's sad history of foreign invasions, and the response of Afghani's, including the Taleban. About 800 words:

California caps emissions; other states following

Two weeks ago Californian legislators and Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger passed bill AB32, a measure to control greenhouse gas emissions in the state, authored by Assembly Speaker Fabian Núñez and Assemblymember Fran Pavley. Colorado, Arizona, New Mexica and Montana have individual state measures passing through their legislatures. Seven New England states have combined under RGGI (Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative) to achieve emissions reductions from power generation, and Maryland will join next year.

California is the 12th largest GHG emitter in the world. Significant aspects of AB 32 include:
* Implementing a cap on greenhouse gas emissions at 1990 levels by 2020, approximately a 25% reduction;
* Requiring the California Air Resources Board (CARB) to adopt regulations to require reporting of emissions from significant sources of greenhouse gas emissions by Jan. 1, 2008;
* Allowing CARB to adopt regulations on the use of market mechanisms to achieve greenhouse gas emission reductions, including criteria for these regulations (this includes consideration of adverse environmental impacts and to maximize environmental and economic benefit);
* Requiring CARB to adopt regulations governing voluntary emissions reductions and giving credit for early actors;
* Authorizing CARB to use a broad range of existing authorities for enforcement of greenhouse gas emission reduction regulations; and,
* Creating an emergency provision – in the event of catastrophic circumstances or threat of significant economic harm -- the Governor can halt implementation of regulations for up to one year.

David Suzuki explains economic sense of Kyoto during high oil prices

David Suzuki on Australian TV debunks economic arguments against Kyoto:

"There are two things I have to say about that. One is, it is a totally bogus argument that implementing Kyoto is going to destroy the economy, which I've heard Mr Howard actually asy. This is absolutely bogus. The reason it's bogus is that the bulk of the action needed to meet Kyoto will be by becoming more efficient, that is, getting more work out of less energy. This is going to save vast amounts of money and allow your products to be that much more competitive, because the energy that's being used at a time of escalating energy prices is going to make you more compwetitive. This kind of kneejerk response is a neanderthal response, simply justifying the outlaw position of this government," says Suzuki. "I think Australia is completely out to lunch in what should be your leading area of science and technology. It's a tragedy."

"The second point I would make is if we continue to use the economy as our bottom line excuse, it would appear to me we're in deep trouble, because the economy doesn't internalise a lot of the costs that we download to future generations. The corruption of the economic system we deal with, is that in Vancouver it's cheaper for restaurants to serve lamb that comes from Australia than it does to serve lamb that comes... 40 miles away. Now you tell me how this makes any ecological sense; the only thing is the economic system has externalised all the greenhouse gases and all of the ecological cost of that kind of shipping, and makes it economically feasible. This is just nuts. We have to really re-look at the economic paradigm that we bought into. But at the same time we have to stop listening to the bogus arguments..."

Monday, September 11, 2006

The Economist surveys climate change

This week's issue of the The Economist has devoted the Surveys section to climate change. It's one of the biggest Survey's I've seen them do, and should probably be required reading.

For those with on-line subscriptions:

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Is your food better traveled than you are?

It's a great question isn't it? It makes you think.

This question is part of a project that the EDA wants to pursue. They are a hook, a way of making you stop and think about your values, about what values we as a society hold and wish to hold. They will show us where our values and day to day lives meet and where they have a divide.

Join in and send us your questions, send us your answers, join our community!

Saturday, September 09, 2006

Elizabeth May:
What Canadian politics needs is not more partisanship; it is more cooperation.

Joe Trippi - Green Party of Canada convention - building community online

Thanks to Ben West for taking and posting this video.

Here is Ben's description:

Joe Trippi was a keynote speaker at this years Green Party of Canada convention. The greens are working on integrating the same kind of grassroots community facilitating tools into their structure. They have already gone farther than any other political party. In retrospect this convention and the ability of Trippi and others to articulate and lay out the ground work for this sort of activity may be a turning point with the green revolution.

For more Joe Trippi footage shot at the 2 day pre conference lecture (as well as more info on what the greens are up to) visit either or

Friday, September 08, 2006

Green books and Publications

The subject of a "green" reading list came up at last night's meeting. Here are a few ideas:

1) The Union of Concerned Scientists at have a long list of books and reports on many subjects such as global warming, invasive species, energy, clean vehicles and food. At the top right of their website is a small link to "publications" where you can see a complete list and order stuff online. I highly recommend this organization. Everything I have read from them has been very useful and informative. I like the fact that they always focus on solutions and outline clearly what individuals need to do in order to resolve environmental problems. I personally recommend the book "The Consumer's Guide to Effective Environmental Choices." It examines a comprehensive list of consumer activities and identifies the amount of environmental damage each one causes. For example, which is worse for the environment, cloth diapers or disposable?

2) The Earth Policy Institute at has five books all written or co-written by the institute's founder and president Lester R. Brown. The books can be ordered directly from the website. I personally recommend "Outgrowing the Earth" which I bought at Chapters. It provides a great overview of the issues facing us and our planet. The book clearly explains the relationships between climate change, agricultural policy, population growth, globalization, desertification and water scarcity. Again, I like the fact that the focus is on providing solutions, not just describing the problems. On that subject, it looks like he has a new book called "Plan B 2.0." I'll have to get a copy. By the way, the web site is great too. Check it out!

3) "The Meat You Eat" by Ken Midkiff (former Sierra Club Clean Water Campaign director) is an informative read if you want to know what you are really eating and how it was produced. This book clearly makes the case for buying meat from local, truly organic farmers. Be forewarned that it gets rather graphic at times. You may never buy meat from a grocery store or fast food restaurant again. I got the book at Chapters.

I'd be very interested to hear suggestions and recommendations from others. Please let me know what your favourites are....

Chainsaw Rona no threat to Princess Fergie as weight-loss advocate

An article in the Calgary Herald yesterday reminded me that on May 11 this year, Environment Minister Rona Ambrose rose in the House of Commons to explain why she thought Kyoto was unachievable in Canada. According to the Environment Canada Speeches website, she said, in part:

"The numbers say it: we have inherited a situation that makes the Kyoto target unachievable. Why is it unachievable? Let me spell it out.
"In 2004, our emissions were 195 Mt above our Kyoto target. How much is 195 Mt? It’s the equivalent of more than all our transportation emissions – i.e., all the emissions from every car, truck, plane and train in Canada. We would have to pull every truck and car off the street, shut down every train and ground every plane to reach the Kyoto target negotiated by the Liberals.
"Or we could shut all the lights off in Canada tomorrow – but that still wouldn’t be enough – to reach our Kyoto target we’d have to shut off all the lights AND shut down the entire agriculture industry.
"Or instead we could shut down every individual Canadian household, not once, not twice, not three times, but FOUR times over to meet the Kyoto target the Liberals negotiated for Canada."

Gee. Sounds grim.

Now let me make a little analogy here. As we just learned from the 2006 International Conference on Obesity, Canadians, Brits, and Americans also have a little weight problem -- 25% of Americans are obese, as are 23% of Canadians and 20% of Brits.

Fortunately, Steve didn't appoint Rona Minister of Health -- if her approach to Kyoto is any indication, she would solve the obesity problem by amputating arms and legs.

We can solve our Kyoto problem the same way we would diet --
* seek good advice from well-educated doctors and nutritionists, not quacks and fads,
* make a sensible plan to steadily lose weight over time by avoiding junk foods and returning to healthy foods,
* find others doing the same thing and have fun doing it together.

Canada is 35% over its Kyoto targets. This is not scary: this is like the man who weighed 245 lbs deciding to get back down to a healthy weight of 180 lbs and doing it in a year or two. It happens all the time. It's not that difficult.

Canada can attain our Kyoto goals in a decade by first getting good advice, not from Chainsaw Rona, but from people who understand our complex issues, and by making sensible plans to avoid energy guzzlers and to reintroduce healthier technologies and lifestyles. It's not that difficult - and the best part is, we will enjoy the process immensely by working together.

And as those who have lost a lot of weight can tell you, you will look great and feel great (and you get a whole new environment - sorry, wardrobe). Just ask them -- you'll find them in the Green Party of Canada.

Nomination Contest

The nomination contest for the CMM - Greens is on!

The nomination meeting will be held on Sunday February 18th, 2007.

See for more details.

CMM Greens Blog

A quick update to mention that CMM Greens are planning to be at the Carp Fairgrounds, and (even better!) we're working on an event with our members in Almonte around a visit by our leader, Elizabeth May, late in October! Stay tuned!

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

With Friends Like These....

There is a group out there called the "Friends of Science" (FOS). They were formed for the sole purpose of denying the science behind climate change and the Kyoto protocol. On their website they state:

Friends of Science is a non-profit organization made up of active and retired engineers, earth scientists and other professionals, as well as many concerned Canadians, who believe the science behind the Kyoto Protocol is questionable. Friends of Science has assembled a scientific advisory board of esteemed climate scientists from around the world to offer a critical mass of current science on global climate and climate change to policy makers, and any interested parties.

For the real story behind these guys, DE SMOG BLOG has a running list of articles about FOS that is required reading for anyone running into climate change deniers. You can find it here:

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

So, I've finally made it onto the blog. Let it never be said that I'm a geek (maybe not very smart, either!).
Thanks to Ron for posting our pictures at the Eternal Flame. Hopefully it will become famous in the future as the Green Party becomes increasingly successful.
Now, a discussion challenge: The Green Party has a position of non-violence, and many members (including me) have stated support the troops - not the Afghanistan war. This is fine, but what do we stand for as a solution? Elizabeth May said at her meda scrum following her election as leader that Canada should step back into our traditional role of peacekeeping, and a U.N. force of peacekeepers from predominantly Muslim nations move into Afghanistan to replace the current participants so that any incidents cannot be mis-interpreted (or spun) as religious conflicts. I like the proposal, but is it realistic? Will Muslim nations step up into this sort of role? Would they still not need western financial and logistical support? Would that matter?

Jasper Video

There are some great videos of the Jasper leg of the whistle-stop tour.

You can see them here:

Friday, September 01, 2006

Youth Caucus

Learn about the new Youth Caucus of the Green Party of Canada here:

Eternal Victory


After the festivities ended at the GPC Convention on the night that Elizabeth May was elected leader, Colin, Murray, and I headed to parliment hill with some Elizabeth signs. Here we are in front of the eternal flame. Posted by Picasa