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.”
Merville Water Guardians – Forests and Lands Ministry Meeting
DATE/TIME: Monday, July 16, 6:30-8:30 pm
LOCATION: Merville Hall
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.
North Island College
Part 2: Burger & Beer
DATE/TIME: July 26, 5-9 p.m.
LOCATION: Prime Chophouse & Wine Bar
Come in and enjoy your choice of a glass of wine or pint of beer with a Prime burger or house meatball pasta for only $20. With every burger/pasta meal $5 will be in support of the Pride Society of the Comox Valley.
Part 3: Pride in the Park
DATE/TIME: July 28, 12-5 p.m.
LOCATION: Simms Millenium Park
This is the final event of Pride Week in the Comox Valley. We are hosting a family friendly, all-inclusive BBQ fundraiser. Come out and enjoy the entertainment and live music, community partner information booths, children’s bounce and activity tent and have a burger or hotdog.
Part 1: Oilpatch fires ‘warning shot’ at Trudeau Liberals in Ontario with ‘unprecedented’ ground campaign
Excerpt: “With this campaign they’re targeting both the federal Liberals and provincial Liberals,” said Duff Conacher, co-founder of the Ottawa-based Democracy Watch. “They would want Ford in there because they know he would be pushing pipeline instead of windmill. Kevin Taft, the former leader of the Alberta Liberal Party from 2003 to 2008 and author of Oil’s Deep State, said the outcome of the provincial elections was going to have an impact on provincial climate change policies; had this election resulted in an NDP government like British Columbia’s, “that would cause more obstacles for the oil industry, [Taft] said.” “As we’re gearing up for 2019, one of the things that would concern us the most…how do we combat such strong advertising and how do we make sure people are educated enough to understand it? Because people take ads as truth.” Read more.
BC’s Agricultural Land Reserve & fish farms
On the ALR: “Earlier this year, a national Senate report found that the country’s food supply could be at risk because farmland is being bought up by speculators, such as pension funds and foreign investors. This phenomenon is driving up prices, making farms unattainable for young farmers and threatening the viability of the family farm, across the country.”
On fish farms: “Fish farming is a contentious issue on the B.C. coast, but Popham says her ministry was involved in an ‘historic’ agreement just last week. A letter of understanding was signed by three B.C. ministries and three First Nations about fish farming in the Broughton Archipelago. The reason she calls it historic is because it commits the three ministries to work together with the First Nations to reach a consensus in the next 90 days, both about fish farms and about protecting wild salmon.” Read more.
The deceit that was the BC Liberals’ case for power
Excerpt: “Suffice to say that it will be a long time before the Liberals can, with a straight face, attempt to use “fiscal stewardship” as the reason to vote for them” Read more.
Big Oil – Kevin Taft
Kevin Taft, author of Oil’s Deep State, on important stories that are getting marginalized in the pipeline debate. Read more and see here for more of Taft’s pieces.
You can see Kevin speak in person at one of a series of venues we are lining up for him in September including Vancouver, North Vancouver, Salt Spring, Victoria and North Island from September 9th through the 13th. Stay tuned for details. It’s all part of the lead-up to our National Convention at the end of that month.
Green Party of Canada Biennial Convention
September 28-30, 2018. Read more. Convention 2018 is Sept 28-30 in Vancouver! Join us and help us build for success in 2019. Info and registration here.
Challenge, mastery and making a contribution
That’s what motivates people. Having a “transcendent purpose” is the way to get better talent. “When the profit motive becomes unmoored from the purpose motive, bad things happen.” Starting with the first agricultural revolution, the profit motive has developed into the paramount economic paradigm to the extent that now we are in danger of destroying the very things that sustain human life on earth. At the same time, many humans feel they have no higher purpose to their lives. The ideas in this video apply equally to engaging volunteers as they do to engaging employees. As the Green Party of Canada, we are looking at an election next year. How can we provide a “transcendent purpose” to our volunteers, to engage them in the type of political engagement we saw in the Bernie Sanders campaign in 2016, and as we saw in Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s campaign.
Truth or Lies?
If you’ve heard of the concept of deep canvassing, you’ll find this interesting. Excerpt: “Facts are not the opposite of lies. Indeed, to defeat lies, we may have to—temporarily, in a targeted way—give up on facts… What we need, first, is a way to unseat the lies—and whatever that winds up looking like, it’s going to mean swallowing your pride, asking the right questions, and listening to the answers. Look the zombie in the face, and then offer it your heart.” Read more.
A Canadian innovator on recycling plastics
“For every tonne of crude oil left in the ground in that process, he added, about two tonnes of climate-warming greenhouse gas emissions are spared…Our goal is to close the loop of plastic so we really can make it a reversible product and infinitely useable,” he explained. “I want to see a world where we’re more resource efficient; that’s my end goal, my global vision. Pyrowave is certainly part of the solution to this.” Read more. But what about the dangers of burning plastics?
Canada’s housing crisis reinforces violence against poor women
Amazon vs humanity
In December, this blog had a link to a story about cities desperately trying to attract Amazon to open facilities there. An amazing part of that story was the conditions Amazon was putting forth to actually have input and perhaps veto power to determine municipal policies. This week’s story is looking at the correlation between Amazon and homelessness in Seattle. The fact that cities are willing to prostitute themselves for Amazon and throw their most vulnerable under the bus is absolutely ludicrous. It is capitalism run amok – a perfect example of the concept noted above about profit becoming unmoored from purpose. After protesters and activities packed Seattle city hall for a hearing on corporate taxation – an effort to have its corporate citizens carry some of the burden of the consequences of their presence, “city council voted unanimously for a $48 million tax on large businesses. But within days of the tax passing, Amazon, Starbucks and other corporations in Seattle were fighting to repeal it.” Seattle City Council acquiesced. In Vancouver, Amazon said it would provide 5000 jobs while the Vancouver Economic Commission touted that Vancouver had the “lowest wages of all North American tech hubs.” So where are all those 5000 low-wage employees in Vancouver supposed to live? It’s David and Goliath. Goliath, obviously, is Amazon and the other corporate giants for whom profit motive is everything, and David is everyone else.
In this SumOfUs video, protesters are gathering outside Amazon’s shareholders meeting, with #BezosNeedsABoss. Apparently Amazon advertises on Breitbart and shows NRA TV. Amazon really does seem to want to become a monstrous behemoth without taking any social responsibility.
Protecting women in Pakistan who make the world’s soccer balls
“Over 80% of the world’s high-quality hand-stitched footballs begin with the home-based work of female villagers in Pakistan’s Sialkot region. These women belong to one of the most vulnerable groups in the global economy. Working from home and poorly paid, they experience conditions familiar to those in precarious jobs in developing and developed countries alike.” Read more.
Women in politics
This article in The Tyee connects Ocasio-Cortez’s democratic socialism to Canadian political discourse. Perhaps this is a lesson for the Green Party in 2019 – we need to acknowledge that we’re running from the bottom. “Among her other tweets, one stated: “I’m not running from the ‘left.’ I’m running from the bottom. I’m running in fierce advocacy of working class Americans.” When Paul Krugman published a mostly laudatory blog post, calling her a “radical Democrat,” she replied: “The fact that my platform is called ‘radical’ is more a reflection of our current political moment & how far we’ve strayed from our bold, visionary past. Luckily, we can correct course. Besides, smart compassionate radicals have made this nation better.”
Also, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez on the future of the Democratic Party, on The View. “We’re dealing with the dynamics of power.” People felt their jobs would be at risk if they supported her, or were photographed with her. She’s a democratic socialist: No person should be too poor to live in the U.S. today. The future of the Democratic Party is the working class.
Ireland becomes world’s first country to divest from fossil fuels
“Supporters of divestment say existing fossil fuel resources are already far greater than can be burned without causing catastrophic climate change and that exploring and producing more fossil fuels is therefore morally wrong and economically risky.” Read more.
Also remember New Zealand is banning all new offshore oil exploration immediately, though there are still numerous licenses whose leases will be allowed to run out over the next decades. Read more.
The New Zealand Government’s plans are very impressive: I hope they can do it with minimal social and economic disruption. CHopefully they have a good, affordable transition plan.
The Irish Government’s divestiture is less impressive, but maybe it is a positive. While not a sound financial decision for the Retirement Fund itself, it is instead a ‘moral’ decision that sends a message about fossil fuels. That is probably worth a great deal.
Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez was on “Firing Line” (Centre-Right Wing News/interview series in the US with long pedigree) the other day. She seemed very ‘in touch’ with her Congressional District, though not with external “Issues” (ie Israel, Jerusalem, Middle East). BUT…she is young and says she is willing to learn about foreign affairs and the ‘bigger picture’. Give her time!!
The nature of her District has much to do with her success, and she was only running against another Democrat for the nomination. It is easy to lose sight of the basic fact that we need to have our fingers on the ‘pulse’ of what is happening in each of our ridings. THAT is what her success is about, not the ‘extreme’ socialist message.
Good luck to her in the Autumn!
Blair, I share your enthusiasm (if that’s what it was) for Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s recent victory in the congressional primaries. But I think you may have missed the main reasons for her victory. It’s not due to “the nature of her district” as you suggest, although having her finger on it’s pulse certainly made it possible.
It was your final paragraph that raised my attention, for I doubt you understand what an ‘extreme socialist’ is.
Alexanria is a self-proclaimed democratic socialist… like Bernie Sanders. Neither of them are extreme, in fact, it’s the clarity and resonance of their working class message that is America’s only hope.
Standing for public healthcare, free university tuition and a decent minimum wage doesn’t make you an extreme socialist. It makes you elected. And THAT is the message that Alexandria sends to our Green candidates.
Yes indeed, I do have some enthusiasm for Alexandria. She will almost certainly get elected to Congress later this year!
We concur on her social policy message: much of what she is proposing has already been done in dozens of countries and in that context, she is not at all ‘extreme’.
However, on the national stage of one of the most socially backwards countries in the Western world, her message is still considered extremist. She is generally considered “well to the left of the Democratic mainstream” (Time), never mind the Republicans.
Notwithstanding the fact that I should not have been content to use quotation marks around the word ‘extreme’…and should have explained myself better, I am really wondering whether or not Alexandra’s success might be related more to her ability to ‘connect’ to voters than it was to her policies.
Analysis of her victory (http://www.gothamgazette.com/state/7774-a-closer-look-at-voter-turnout-in-2018-new-york-congressional-primaries) shows that it probably wasn’t Hispanic voters that gave her the edge, and that voter turnout (13%) was probably not atypical. She didn’t seem to overwhelmingly “bring out the vote”.
I wonder if voters are increasingly giving their allegiance to politicians who seem to give them the “Respect” they yearn for. This has worked for Trump, and I think it also worked for Alexandra…and I think it might be a key factor for us in NIPR.
Gaining that respect means listening to what the local people think is important to them in their daily lives here in BC…then repeating it back to them so they know they’ve been heard.
Our success might come more from empathising with voters and their needs than from a national party policy platform. The personality, integrity and empathy of candidates might therefore be the most important factors in local electability.
I am wondering if the overall electorate is becoming more sensitive to a ‘personal’ message than they are to a ‘bigger’, national one. Might this not be a consequence of social media and the “too complex” World out there? Are financially and socially insecure voters increasingly withdrawing into their shell?
I am not saying Policy isn’t important, but that perhaps we need to change the emphasis towards identifying local concerns and needs, especially in rural ridings.
What do you think?