Must Reads from Last Week

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BC Electoral Reform Referendum

Get involved locally

Fair Vote Comox Valley (FVCV) canvassers are going to start canvassing in early March.  We’ve been holding a series of “Talking to People About PR” exercises which have been a huge amount of fun and very good preparation for knocking on doors or talking to people on the phone.  There will probably be more of these exercises held over the course of the rest of this campaign.

Check out Fair Vote Comox Valley Facebook page and Fair Vote BC’s page.

Fair Vote Comox Valley is also now accepting donations.  If you can’t give your time, here’s how you can support this campaign over the next year.  E-transfers can be made to:  If you do an e-transfer, please put your name in the Note field and some sort of contact information so we can thank you.  If you’d like to write a cheque, send an email to and we’ll give you the address.

We need your help to get to 50 + 1 in this referendum.  We’ve got a great group, but we need more people. Get in on the action!  Contact Megan at to get involved.

Let’s Make Every Vote Count, March 14, 2018

Don’t miss this event:  FVCV is hosting an information night on March 14, 2018, at the Stan Hagen Theatre at North Island College.  Doors open at 6:30; the event starts at 7 p.m.  Speakers will include Elizabeth May as a previous member of the Federal Committee on Electoral Reform and MP for Saanich-Gulf Islands, Rachel Blaney, MP for North Island-Powell River, Barb Berger of FV Comox Valley, and Sheldon Falk of the NIC Students Union and BC Federation of Students.  Tickets are available at Eventbrite.  Tickets are free, but I highly recommend you get a ticket because people with tickets will be allowed in first.


Advance Notice:  Greens of North Island-Powell River Annual General Meeting

The Greens of North Island-Powell River (NIPR) will be holding an AGM before the end of June 2018. This will be an important AGM, given the federal election in 2019. We would like all Green Party of Canada/NIPR members and non-members to attend if at all possible.

What Every Ratepayer Should Know About Site C

Andrew Nikiforuk is speaking at the Campbell River Museum on March 10, 2018, at 1 p.m.  Cost $7 per person.  Read more.

World Water Day, “Take the Pledge:  Tap Into Water,” March 22, 2018

Our Water - Our Future
On World Water Day, learn how we can protect our waters locally and worldwide. Hear how to make Campbell River a Blue Community. Speakers include Andrew Nikiforuk and Damien Gillis. Q & A to follow. Doors open at 6:30pm. Cosponsored by Council of Canadians, Campbell River Chapter and Timberline Earth Club.
Date:  Thursday, March 22, 2018 - 7:00pm
Pricing:   Admission by donation.
Phone Number:  250-286-3019

Reconciliation Workshop at Campbell River Museum:

A Community Circle hosted by the Museum at Campbell River and the CR Arts Council, March 24, 2018

While the past cannot be changed, together we can create a new understanding of our shared history - this knowledge can lead to respectful relations for the future. This is one of the greatest hopes for the TRC, a growing reconciliation between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal Canadians. (From the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada)

The public is invited to a day exploring the theme of reconciliation. The day will start with a shortened version of Kathi Camilleri’s experiential workshop – “Building Bridges Through Understanding the Village.” This transformative workshop is done from a non-blame and non-shame perspective and invites all participants to become a part of the healing that IS already happening. Participants in her workshop may find themselves affected at a deep emotional level.  Counselling will be available.

From the workshop we will move towards a Community Circle inclusive of elders, aboriginal and non-aboriginal people, and the arts community.  The goal of this Community Circle will be finding ways of moving forward together, of reconcilli-ACTION.  We will also ask the question “What is the role of the arts in fostering greater cross-cultural collaboration in our community?”

Our hope is that each person leaves feeling empowered to take the tools they have gained – their paddles – and help in moving forward toward reconciliation in their community, their professional lives, and on a personal level.

This event will take place at the Museum at Campbell River, 470 Island Highway, On Saturday, March 24 from 9:30am – 3:30pm.  Lunch will be provided.  There is no cost, however registration is required.  There are only a limited number of spaces available, and registration is on a first come first serve basis.  Please contact the Museum to register 250-287-3103or .

Paddle design by Mulidzas Curtis Wilson.


Correction:  Last week I said that Project Watershed had received a five-year grant from Department of Fisheries and Oceans for $689,000 for their “unpave a parking lot and put in paradise” project in Comox/Courtenay.  That was an error.  They have indeed received that grant, but It is for general habitat restoration work for 120 miles of coastline


BC Green Party Annual General Meeting/Convention

June 1-3, Kamloops:  Early bird tickets available now.

Kwekwecnewtxw:  Protect the Inlet

March 10 action on Kinder Morgan. Sign up here.  For more details on transportation options, or if you’re looking for a rideshare, visit here.

Fish Farms

Washington State has apparently passed a bill to phase out fish farms.  Proof it can be done!  Read more.


Call to Action for the 2019 Federal Election:  Engagement Organizing

Given that we have an election campaign coming up in 2019, I thought I would let you know about Organize BC, a group that does training in engagement organizing.  The book, Engagement Organizing by Matt Price, is making the rounds through the Saanich Gulf Islands EDA folks, and a few of us in NIPR/Courtenay/Alberni have read it or are reading it.  Matt Price uses Organize BC as a case study in engagement organizing, which focuses on getting more people involved and empowered to work relatively independently in a campaign, rather than a small, core group doing most of the work.  In our far-flung ridings (NIPR and Courtenay-Alberni) that might be an organizational strategy that would work well for us.

Of course, many of you may already know about Organize BC and engagement organizing.  I attended a webinar on this topic with Matt Price late last fall (put on by The Tyee) in the context of the referendum for electoral reform in BC, and he actually used our Fair Vote Comox Valley as that webinar’s case study.  That was my introduction to the concept of engagement organizing and now, having read the book, I am eager to learn more about how to put the concepts into action.

NAFTA and Digby Neck, Nova Scotia

In this terrific article, Paul Manly, International Trade and Investment critic for the Green Party of Canada, gives a background on this story between the people of Digby Neck and American company Bilcon.  Manly was at Prime Minister Trudeau’s Town Hall in Nanaimo in February, and got to ask a question about why Canada is fighting to keep the Investor State Dispute Settlement provisions in NAFTA. Trudeau’s answer was that Canada would not “be bullied.” One could ask, as Manly does,” how exactly is giving up a secret, legal process that costs Canadian taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars seen as bullying in the mind of our Prime Minister.  Read more.  This story even made The New York Times last October.

Elizabeth May’s Week in Review

Lots of information, as always.  Read more.

Women in Politics

 Given that we have a Federal election next year and parties are starting to look for candidates, this is very timely.

Check out the Young Women’s Leadership Network. From their mission statement: “We encourage and strengthen young women’s leadership capacity in community engagement and politics. We enable young women to take on active roles within their community through local initiatives and civic engagement. We take an anti-oppressive, trans-inclusive feminist approach toward identifying the issues and bridging the gaps in young women’s leadership at all levels.”

In previous instalments of this blog, I’ve referenced women in politics.  The Young Women’s Leadership Network (YWLN) is addressing the sexual harassment and abuse that is directed at women in politics in all parties. YWLN has created a Sexual Violence Support Toolkit because they “believe that sexual violence shouldn’t be the price of being a woman in politics, and we’re taking concrete steps to encourage consent culture & adequate support systems in our political institutions.” Good for them!


Efficient technology is destroying the planet?

Have you heard of the Jevons Paradox?

Excerpt:  “It is wholly a confusion of ideas to suppose that the economical use of fuel is equivalent to a diminished consumption. The very contrary is the truth.”

Andrew Nikiforuk’s analysis of the developed world’s current obsession with ‘green’ energy sources and the consequences of that obsession is eye-popping and worth reading right to the end.  Read more.

Excerpt:  “What the evidence has to say about energy efficiency is stark. Jevons was right about the paradox. If you make something more efficient and that efficiency translates into a cheaper service, the technology will colonize the economy the way zebra mussels invaded the Great Lakes. Improving efficiency will not reduce consumption and therefore won’t reduce CO2 emissions. The only way to reduce total energy consumption levels, say in the aviation industry or any other sector, is to limit the number of planes, travellers and airports. Higher energy prices and higher taxes will do that. But that means a shrinking economy and a radical rethink about the dominant role of technology in our decision-making.

As long as we define environmental, political and economic problems as essentially technical in nature, then we will proscribe energy efficiency as the solution. But if we were to admit that our problems were spiritual and political in nature and bedeviled by population and affluence, then we would endorse reductions in energy consumption and the inequalities that feed such appetites.” (emphasis mine)…. This refusal to acknowledge the truth leaves the world but two options for change: collapse or revolution.”

Leading to…A good life for all within planetary boundaries

Dan O’Neill was the keynote speaker at the BC Green Party AGM in 2017. I was lucky enough to both hear his address and be in a workshop with him. That day was important for me because Mr. O’Neill was able to talk about economics and how we measure economic success in a way that I could totally understand.  He and his group have published a paper in the Nature Sustainability journal that examines the challenges facing attempts to move to sustainability.

Excerpt:  “This Article addresses a key question in sustainability science: what level of biophysical resource use is associated with meeting people’s basic needs, and can this level of resource use be extended to all people without exceeding critical planetary boundaries?”

If you want to read a less scientific version of the research, check out the Tyee.

Green Citizen Engagement is a Facebook page I just learned of. The stories seem to be from literally all over the world! Check it out.

International Women’s Day

The UN theme is “Time is Now:  Rural and urban activists transforming women’s lives.” Read more.  Especially, watch the video on that page. It’s pretty powerful.

Women all over the world are becoming activist.  In the car recently I listened to a BBC broadcast that talked about women in Pakistan doing multiple things to decrease the stigma around menstruation. It was fascinating. And there was a whole piece about womanifesto as a global movement which I couldn’t find specifically, but I did find a site soliciting applications for a grant to advance feminist participatory democracy.

Thought of the day:

“A political struggle that does not have women at the heart of it, above it, below it, and within it is no struggle at all.” (Arundhati Roy, Indian author)

Achieving gender equality and empowering women and girls is the unfinished business of our time, and the greatest human rights challenge in our world.” (UN Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres)

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