Did You Know…Week of July 21, 2018

Must Reads from Last Week Spreading the Word If you have friends who are interested in any of the content of this blog, please feel free to share it far and wide. The fact that it comes from the Greens of North Island-Powell River (NIPR) doesn’t mean it is only relevant to people in that riding.  Because all Greens are part of the Global Greens, we need to think outside our riding boundaries and connect with each other.  Encourage your friends to subscribe to NIPR communications. Let’s connect across this vast riding, this vast country, and this vast but ultimately tiny planet. Have Your Say About Did You Know… Reader responses to last week’s blog Well, we got a bit of a dialogue going on the website last week. Check out the comment on the story of Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez and the response to that comment, AND the comment on the New Zealand government’s plans and the Irish government’s divestiture of fossil fuel investments. PLEASE, go to the website and comment on any of the links in the blog. If you’d like to respond to any article, go to NIPR’s website and leave a comment.  If you have ideas for future editions – remember, Did You Know… is weekly – go to NIPR’s website and leave a comment. If you have general feedback, go to NIPR’s website and leave a comment. BC Electoral Reform Referendum Part 1: Policy Note is doing a series on proportional representation. It includes a number of articles, and has links to videos on the 3 possible systems. Honestly, the CBC video seems ambiguous enough that...

Did You Know…Week of July 14, 2018

Must Reads from Last Week BC Electoral Reform Referendum   Thinking fairly about BC’s referendum on PR This article is an intriguing, philosophical take on why proportional representation is a more rational choice than first past the post. What is the connection between astroturf and the PR referendum? “Given the stakes involved, I’m not surprised to see the recent flurry of ill-founded fear-mongering by astroturf groups created by powerful businesspeople, backroom strategists and grumpy ex-politicians to spread confusion about the upcoming referendum on B.C.’s electoral system. Their efforts show just how important and urgent it is to switch to a more fair system.” Read more. In case you’re still unclear about the astroturf connection, read this…and watch this video from 2008 where David Michaels talks about his book, “Doubt is Their Product.” Locally   Merville Water Guardians – Forests and Lands Ministry Meeting DATE/TIME:  Monday, July 16, 6:30-8:30 pm LOCATION:  Merville Hall Gay Pride Part 1:  Drag Queen Story Hour DATE/TIME: July 26, 10:30-11:30 a.m.  LOCATION: Courtenay Library Join us in collaboration with the Vancouver Island Regional Library as they host an exciting new event. Drag Queen Story Hour will feature our favourite Drag Queen, the beautiful, Miss Vikki as she reads from her favourite picture books to our kids. This is the first one of its kind for the Pride Society of the Comox Valley in an effort to support gender diversity and literacy in a fun, inclusive environment. Part 2:  Pride Flag Raising Monday, July 23 Town of Comox – 9:00am Village of Cumberland – 10:00am City of Courtenay – 12:00pm 19 Wing Comox - Base Ceremony Tuesday, July 24, 10:30 a.m....

Did You Know…Week of July 7, 2018

Must Reads from Last Week BC Electoral Reform Referendum   What are the features of the three proposed systems? Part 1: Gisela Ruckert from Fair Vote Kamloops talks about the systems on BC’s referendum. Part 2: Another video explaining the three systems. Part 3: Simone Weil believed political parties should be abolished Andrew Nikiforuk’s essay on Weil reveals just how prescient she was back in the 1940s. Nikiforuk doesn’t address proportional representation and whether this mitigates the tendency of the party system towards the stifling of democracy. But, given that parties are here to stay for the time being, can we hope for a better democracy if the referendum passes? Excerpt: “Weil measured the performance of political parties against three critical things that matter in life: truth, justice and the public interest. She found that they dishonored all three principles because a party’s essential character was anathema to such pursuits…To Weil all political parties possess three dangerous traits: they work as machines to “generate collective passions;” they strive to exert pressure upon the minds of their members with propaganda; and they have but one goal — to promote their own growth “without limits.” Read more. Part 4: Injunction being sought to halt the referendum The Independent Contractors and Business Association (ICBA) and the Canada West Construction Union have filed a request for an injunction to stop the referendum. One of their issues is that the referendum spending rules and time limit are violating their (ICBA’s) freedom of expression under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. They feel that five months and $500,000 for one major opponent and $200,000 for each...

Did You Know…June 30, 2018

Must Reads from Last Week BC Electoral Reform Referendum   Helen Clark, former PM of New Zealand, on proportional representation Have a listen. Why would business/company owners file an injunction to halt the referendum? Read more. Challenging a colonial inheritance: PR and First Nations Read more. Is democracy even possible anymore? “It’s a widespread belief that once democracy takes hold, citizen commitment to the system grows stronger with time.” But is that true? Excerpt: “[Researchers] found “deeply concerning” trends: citizens in several Western European and North American democracies had grown more cynical and distrustful about their political system and more willing to express support for authoritarian alternatives.” Read more. Locally   Courtenay/Comox third bridge could kill Hollyhock March and Kus-Kus-Sum This blog has written numerous times about the Kus-Kus-Sum project. (In fact, this writer was at the Nomadic Tempest show just last night.) This project is tremendously exciting. So the City of Courtenay is working on its Transportation Plan for the next 20 years and is considering a third bridge which, according to Decafnation, “would wipe out the Courtenay Airpark, part of the Airpark walkway, destroy the estuary’s last remaining intact ecosystem at Hollyhock Marsh, undermine the Kus-kus-sum rehabilitation project and create another major signaled intersection on Comox Road at a point that regularly floods during winter storms.”  Read more. There is a survey for the Transportation Master Plan: Take the survey here. FURTHER READING: See the study’s open house display boards; The city’s Master Transportation Plan webpage. Potlatch 67-67 2018 marks the 67th year since the Canadian government’s Potlatch Ban was lifted, after it was imposed for 67 years. Hence the...

Did You Know…Week of June 23, 2018

Must Reads from Last Week Spreading the Word If you have friends who are interested in any of the content of this blog, please feel free to share it far and wide. The fact that it comes from the Greens of North Island-Powell River (NIPR) doesn’t mean it is only relevant to people in that riding.  Because all Greens are part of the Global Greens, we need to think outside our riding boundaries and connect with each other.  Encourage your friends to subscribe to NIPR communications. Let’s connect across this vast riding, this vast country, and this vast but ultimately tiny planet. Have Your Say About Did You Know… If you’d like to respond to an article here, go to NIPR’s website and leave a comment.  If you have ideas for future editions – remember, Did You Know… is weekly – go to NIPR’s website and leave a comment. If you have general feedback, go to NIPR’s website and leave a comment. BC Electoral Reform Referendum “The case for [PR] is fundamentally the same as that for representative democracy. Only if an assembly represents the full diversity of opinion within a nation can its decisions be regarded as the decisions of the nation itself.” — Encyclopedia Britannica Referendum Ballot Questions BALLOT QUESTION #1:  Which system should British Columbia use for provincial elections? (Vote for only one.) The current First Past the Post voting system A proportional representation voting system BALLOT QUESTION #2: If British Columbia adopts a proportional representation voting system, which of the following voting systems do you prefer? (Rank in order of preference. You may choose to support...

2018 Annual General Meeting – How Did It Go?

Sonia Furstenau Sets Tone at North Island-Powell River Green Party AGM by Pat Carl and Megan Ardyche More than 30 people attending the North Island-Powell River (NIPR) Green Party AGM in Campbell River on June 16 heard from the David who defeated the provincial Goliath and saved the Shawnigan Lake watershed. Not so David-like anymore, Sonia Furstenau, Deputy Leader of the provincial Green Party and the MLA representing the Cowichan Valley, held listeners enthralled as she related a conversation she had with her 12-year-old son. When asked by Furstenau how he was feeling about his future, her son responded “not so good.” “Why not?” Furstenau asked. “Because of pollution,” he said, “and climate change, and Trump.” A sobering assessment for one so young. His response, though, prompted Furstenau to think of her own experience in organizing community members. Such organizing in Shawnigan was successful and taught Furstenau the value to hope. While the federal government continues to “look backward by doubling down on the decreasing returns” associated with resource extraction, Furstenau claims new approaches rooted in education must encourage the development of innovative technologies to secure a healthy, sustainable future for our children and the planet. To refuse to embrace such a future is to “download the cost of climate change onto local communities,” stemming from the numerous forest fires and the catastrophic flooding that plagues Canada and the rest of the globe.    Most worrisome for Furstenau is the Trumpian tendency of our elected representatives in provincial legislatures and parliament to “mistrust” each other and to avoid “working together across party lines.” Good ideas die on the vine because...

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