Must Reads from Last Week
BC Electoral Reform Referendum
The BC government consultation site for the 2018 referendum is up. They are looking for feedback between now and February 28, 2018, at 4 p.m. Everyone please check out the questionnaire and make a written submission if you think some of the questions are too confusing or obscure. There are links to read about different systems, the questionnaire, and for written submissions to email@example.com.
But BEFORE YOU GO TO THE SURVEY, check out Fair Vote BC’s guide to the questionnaire. Fair Vote has gone through the survey and provides thoughts on the questions.
BC Electoral Reform Referendum: Get involved locally
Fair Vote Comox Valley is also now accepting donations. If you can’t give your time, here is your opportunity to support this campaign over the next year. E-transfers can be made to: firstname.lastname@example.org. 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.
In order to get to a 50+1 Yes vote on the referendum, we need your help to counter the opposition’s hyperbole. This is our moment to change BC’s electoral system. Get in on the action! Contact Megan at email@example.com if you’d like information on participating in any way.
Angus Reid poll on electoral reform
Don’t get confused by the headline on this article. The bulk of the article is on electoral reform in BC. The subhead reads, “Number of residents saying a majority govt. is better for the province jumps in last six months.” The upshot is that support for electoral reform has dropped from 65% in September 2017 to now 57%. Angus Reid says the drop in support is related to how vehemently the BC Liberals are coming out in opposition, with all of the BC Liberal leadership candidates practically hysterical on the issue. (My words, not Angus Reid’s words.)
Don’t forget this performance at Mark Isfeld School on January 24th. I understand tickets are sold out. If you have a ticket, you can also attend Theatre For Living šxʷʔam̓ət (Home) Performance Follow-Up Gathering, Saturday, January 27, 2018 from 12-4pm at Comox United Church, 250 Beach Drive, Comox
If you attend the performance and are wondering about next steps, please join us! This will be an opportunity to come together to debrief and discuss our experience as an audience in this interactive play. We will also have a chance to learn from one another and explore ways to move forward on the path of Reconciliation, both individually and collectively. All who attend the play are welcome. There is no charge, and coffee and tea are provided. As this is also a POTLUCK LUNCH, please bring something to share.
According to this Angus Reid poll, 52% of British Columbians say that the BC NDP made the right call on Site C.
More on Site C
…and still more
Andrew Weaver is threatening to bring down the BC NDP over LNG if Horgan persists in courting those companies. This will have huge implications for the fight for electoral reform, of course. What a conundrum for the BC Greens! See also https://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/politics/politics-briefing-lng-dispute-threatens-bc-power-sharing-agreement/article37665191/.
Elizabeth May Petition on Nuclear Waste Disposal
By James Mihaychuk
Please help by signing the following House of Commons e-petition on nuclear waste facilities sponsored by Elizabeth May. The author Ole Hendrickson is a researcher for the Concerned Citizens of Renfrew County and a retired government scientist who worked on biodiversity issues.
While this is an issue of national importance, we have a lot of e-petitioners from Ontario, but only a few from the rest of the country. Here is how our federal regulator’s lax approach to nuclear waste is impacting people and places in rural Eastern Ontario.
People in rural areas near Chalk River, Ontario, now are faced with the prospect of a new radioactive waste mega-dump that would be built on the cheap. This facility is less than two hours from Ottawa by car, further up the Ottawa River valley. Any leaching from the dump could also affect people downstream in cities like Ottawa and Montreal, but residents of rural communities are the ones being put at the most risk.
On January 23 to 25, there will be hearings in Pembroke, Ontario regarding the proposed Near Surface Disposal Facility (NSDF). There will be someone there to speak to a submission by the Green Party of Ontario.
This proposal under review comes from a Harper-era private consortium called Canadian Nuclear Laboratories (CNL). It would place waste from Chalk River and other Atomic Energy of Canada Limited facilities in a massive and under-designed lined dump.
This mega-dump could leak into ponds and streams nearby. From there any contamination can enter the Ottawa River at a point upstream from the cities of Ottawa and Montreal. The design of the proposed mega-dump does not meet design standards set out by the International Atomic Energy Agency.
We shouldn’t let nuclear waste from Chalk River and other nuclear facilities go into an under-designed dump built on the cheap!
In the days before the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission hearings in Pembroke, there will be a Red Canoe Parade in Ottawa. The parade will take place on Thursday, January 18th complete with many canoes and our local Raging Grannies. The parade will call on Mayor Watson at Ottawa City Hall and the constituency office of Environment Minister Catherine McKenna, the MP for Ottawa Centre. The Concerned Citizens of Renfrew County are calling on their neighbours from around the region to attend the hearings with canoes on the roofs of their vehicles bearing messages protesting the project and the process.
Greens all across Canada can help! Please sign the e-petition!
Elizabeth May takes the Federal Liberals to task for their Failure of Leadership on climate change
Elizabeth May is an inspiring, seemingly tireless advocate for the holistic global viewpoint that is the Global Greens vision. Climate crises are global in scope, and it’s impossible for individual governments to adequately address issues only within their borders. But when our government, knowing full well the risks (since Trudeau claims his government is evidence-based), consciously chooses to put corporate interests first in Canada, it illuminates who is really in charge. Clearly, global corporations are absolutely willing to destroy the planet to squeeze out the very last penny in profit before it all goes up in smoke.
Excerpt: “We have a very, very rapidly closing window on making it through the climate crisis with an intact human civilization, which is to say functioning nation-states … [ and] avoiding the deaths of millions.” (Elizabeth May)
…and even with Donald Trump in charge in the US, the Americans are surpassing Canada on this issue.
Millennials and voting
Excerpt: “Millennials will be the biggest cohort of voters in the next federal election, and the party that has the most success in tapping their support will vastly improve its chances of winning in 2019.” Sounds like a challenge for the Green Party!
Communities of the Future
So, a tech company is going to be developing a neighbourhood in Toronto. It turns out somebody owns Google…that would be Alphabet, and Alphabet also owns Sidewalk Labs. Sidewalk Labs wants to develop this community in Toronto that would be a “smart community.” This smart community would gather data on…well, everything.
Excerpt: “It’s being imagined as the sort of place where garbage cans and recycling bins can keep track of when and how often they’re used, environmental probes can measure noise and pollution over time and cameras can collect data to model and improve the flow of cars, people, buses and bikes throughout the day.”
The Star, reports “On…who owns the digital mountains of data that would be collected by sensors, and how Sidewalk Labs…would profit from innovation experiments on public land, [Dan] Doctoroff [CEO, Sidewalk Labs] said even he doesn’t know those answers yet.” He assured the reporter, though, that “There is nothing more important to the success of this project than developing a privacy and data policy that people can trust.”
I wonder if this means we will have to read the Terms of Service before we can throw our garbage in the trash can?
The Guardian reports on this issue as well and has a link to the Globe and Mail, which reports [Alphabet Executive Chairman] Eric Schmidt said at the announcement: “The genesis of the thinking for Sidewalk Labs came from Google’s founders getting excited thinking of ‘all the things you could do if someone would just give us a city and put us in charge’.”
What could possibly go wrong!