Cameron Wigmore, Green Party Member: March 2007

March 29, 2007

GPC Training Sessions taking place

Green Party training sessions are taking place across Canada. This post is about the one I've organized for Calgary on March 31st.

March 31st 2007 Green Party Training Session
Westwinds Superstore community room, Calgary, AB
3633 Westwinds Drive NE, near 64th Ave & 36th Street NE

On March 31st from 10am to 3pm a training session for candidates, EDA positions & volunteers is being held at the Westwinds Superstore community room in Calgary, Alberta. This is a free event, and all are welcome. Federal & Provincial members, volunteers and green curious are invited to join us!

The main purpose of this event will be to allow newcomers and those who have worked in previous campaigns to share their experience. By discussing the tools that we've found most useful we can empower new and prospective future candidates and EDA executives to run successful campaigns.

The other purpose of this event is to strengthen the Green community in Alberta. It is my hope that we'll be able to bring together many newer GPC members for this day of sharing and networking.

As the facilitator for this event I've prepared a format for each component for the day. By doing this I hope to guide the discussion and keep the day on track and productive. I am not a professional facilitator, but it's only through practice that I'll get better. I learned a great deal from the last training session in February and have built on that experience. Also, after printing materials for the last training session (yes, double sided and on 100% recycled paper;-) I've decided to limit paper use this time and instead I will also be handing out a CD full of information for candidates and EDAs.

RSVP not necessary. Contact me if you'd like more information.


Cameron Wigmore
Alberta Representative, Federal Council
Crowfoot Candidate, '06 & current
CEO, Crowfoot EDA

I'll post a more personal entry on how the event went when it's all done. The previous training session that I organized in February was a great hit and I expect this one to have a lot more people in attendance!

Greens make big gains in provincial election

Vive le Québec vert! Greens make big gains in provincial election

Yet another sign that voters are hungry for real change...

Ottawa (27 March 2007) – Green Party of Canada leader Elizabeth May said today that the provincial election in Quebec, in which the ADQ made a major breakthrough and the Greens had their best-ever result, is yet another sign that voters are hungry for real change.

“The result in Quebec provides further evidence that Canadians from all regions and backgrounds are tired of the same old parties offering the same old choices,” said Ms. May. “Voters are now prepared to listen to new voices with new ideas, and they are liking what they hear.”

She congratulated the leader of the Green Party of Quebec, Scott MacKay, and his team for delivering the party’s best-ever result in a Quebec election campaign and adding to the party’s growing momentum nationwide.

The Green Party of Quebec took 3.9% of the popular vote, a near nine-fold increase on its 0.44% in the 2003 election. Thirty-one of the party’s record slate of 108 candidates finished with more than 5% of the vote.

The party’s best showing was in the riding of Notre-Dame-de-Grâce where Peter McQueen won almost 16% of the vote. Three other candidates topped the 10% mark: Patrick Daoust in Westmount-Saint-Louis (12.64%); Ryan Young in Jacques-Cartier (11.11%); and Luc Côté in Outremont (10.8%). McQueen and Daoust finished in second place in their ridings.

March 23, 2007

Spring Federal Budget Gets Thumbs Down

Green Party gives thumbs down to “bits and pieces” budget

Harper budget heavy on PR but lacking in substance.

Ottawa – The Green Party has rejected the federal budget brought down today by Finance Minister Jim Flaherty. “This is a budget that is heavy on public relations but lacking any real substance when it comes to the key issues,” said Green Party leader Elizabeth May.

“The government has included lots of small goodies for just about everyone but all those bits and pieces don’t add up to much,” she said. “It’s a most unimpressive budget and the Green Party would certainly join with the Liberal Party and the NDP in voting against it.”

Ms. May singled out the budget’s climate change initiatives for particular criticism, calling them piecemeal and, in the final analysis, insignificant.

“There is no way this government will ever be able to deliver credible climate policy while it insists on adhering to the regressive greenhouse gas reduction targets of 45-60% below 2003 levels by 2050,” she said. “That translates to about 30% below 1990 levels and we need to reach that by 2020. These targets are a formula for disaster.”

Ms. May did welcome Mr. Flaherty’s decision to borrow a plank from the Green Party platform by introducing a “feebate” tax incentive to shift drivers out of gas guzzlers and into fuel-efficient vehicles but said that one eye-catching initiative did not constitute effective climate policy.

“If this was part of an overall strategy that included a suite of similar initiatives, we could actually look forward to significant progress on climate change,” she said. “By itself, it will hardly make a dent in Canada’s emissions.”

She also criticized the budget’s weak response in the areas of child care, support for aboriginal communities and tax relief for poor and middle class families. “They included some personal finance breaks but exclude broad-based income splitting,” she said. “In almost every area, Mr. Flaherty has chosen to tinker around the edges rather than take substantive action.”

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Canadian Conference of the Arts

Thursday, March 22 2007

Deconstructing the Federal Budget 2007 from a cultural point of view

...What then do this year’s current Main Estimates tell us at first look?

First, they confirm the first impression that if the government has a strategy for the cultural sector in Canada, it has not started to implement it. While there are laudable items in the budget concerning culture in the broadest sense of the word, and while there is a concern for grassroot financing and for involving the private sector, there is no obvious plan or policy the announced expenditures can be linked to, nor any long term commitment to anything, all allocations having a maximum lifespan of two years...

A friend of mine had this to say on the Harper budget:

I'm glad to see they are finally enacting the long-time Green Party policy of a feebate on new cars, although it is too little too late and not enough by itself to reduce our wasteful fuel use - we need a more comprehensive program, and something that influences everyone's habits, not just the lucky new car buyers. A new carbon tax balanced by a labour/income tax cut would be more effective, as would stricter emissions standards for all cars.

They are cutting some tarsands subsidies, but waiting 8 years to do so! Not sure why they feel they have to wait so long to stop subsidizing Canada's most profitable billion-dollar industry.

(RRSP extension to 71) Their approach to seniors [is to say] “hey, you can work a few more years before you retire.”

There is no plan to end poverty, no real plan to address child poverty (instead, the same old overstatement of benefits - the $2000 tax credit is only $301 in your pocket, even worse than last year's $1200 universal child care that meant as little as $360 take-home cash)

There is no sign of a shift away from taxing what we want (goods) to what we don't want (bads)

There is no focus on preventive health care - instead of money to wait in a shorter line when I'm sick, I'd rather just not get sick! Knowing how to prevent 50% of what makes us sick, why are we still spending pennies on the dollar on prevention?

In general, they are tinkering around the edges of business as usual. Canadians have given Harper the gift of a huge surplus, but rather than use it on a vision to transform Canada to a more sustainable economy, Harper is squandering it on pre-election goodies.

- - -

I noticed that a lot of the environmental programs to be funded by the Harper government are just the 'regifting' of previous programs that were in existence before but cut last year by Harper.

The amount of spending has been criticized by a great many political analysts as being far more Liberal and spend thrifty that previous governments. It seems clear to me that the Green Party of Canada would be a more fiscally responsible party.

Perhaps the Harper government feels confident in the thought that voters who are somewhat on the right ('red tories', 'Green conservatives' & 'blue conservationists') have nowhere else to go, but they should think again. The Greens did very well in Alberta in the last federal election, and this is because we draw votes from across the political spectrum. Many ex-PCers are not happy with this new Harper government and they are taking a serious look at the Green Party.

Does anyone else get the sense that this government is not actually governing our country, but rather they are positioning themselves for the next election? Buying votes in Quebec and Ottawa with massive amounts of spending, providing band-aid solutions for issues in Alberta and the rest of Canada where long term plans are deserved, and ingnoring our Native communities is not what I call good government.

March 17, 2007

Water, Water, Everywhere

New Trail Magazine
University of Alberta
Spring 2007
by Kim Green

Alberta development, drought, and ongoing climate change could transform an oasis of prosperity into a future mirage.

Full Article here

There is no such thing as new water. The Earth is a closed system and the water that quenched the thirst of dinosaurs is the same recycled water we’re drinking today. In fact, it’s been estimated that eight people before you have consumed every glass of water you drink so the same molecules of H2O that passed over the lips of Napoleon, Columbus, Joan of Arc or Shakespeare could be snaking their way through an underground labyrinth of pipes to a faucet in your home or office...
...Alberta, like much of B.C. and Saskatchewan, lies in the rain shadow of the Rocky Mountains and the southern portions of these provinces comprise the driest large area of southern Canada. And although in recent years precipitation in Alberta has been sufficient to sustain growth, there’s no reason to believe that this circumstance will continue. Research conducted at the U of A by David Schindler and William Donahue, ’87 BSc, ’90 BSc (SpecCert), ’00 PhD, found that the region’s climate has been unusually stable and moist in the 20th century and that the drought that occurred in what is commonly known as the Dirty ’30s was mild in comparison to earlier centuries where several droughts per century were common, often lasting as long as several decades.

David Schindler - Thinking Globally

“It amazes me,” says Schindler, “that there are people who still think that the glaciers that are at the headwaters of all the major rivers in this province don’t provide any discernable flow quotient to the rivers. It’s clear that about 15 percent of the water in the rivers is coming from these glaciers, and they’ve all experienced significant decline in recent history, some of them retreating up the mountainsides by almost two kilometres during the last century.

“We also think that the 20th century has been normal in the province in terms of our precipitation patterns. But nothing could be farther from the truth. It’s been unusually moist and stable compared to previous centuries and we could be facing a drought in the future that will make the one we experienced in the so-called Dirty ’30s look pale by comparison. I think sometime, probably in the next quarter century, we are going to find ourselves in a several-year drought and then we’re going to know what water scarcity is all about.”

I've been watching the Drought Watch maps at Ag Canada and I'm a bit concerned. It's been a dry winter, and the 30, 60, & 90 day rolling maps show just how dry. Less glacial meltwater for the rivers, increased water usage by the oilsands operations, possible water table damage by CBM fracing, megamall proposals proposing to draw water from one river and dump their wastewater in another... it all smells of mismanagement and impending water shortage.

If we want the government to step in and ensure that our resources are used in a sustainable fashion, then we have to ask ourselves what sort of government will do this for us. If we want a government that will consider the well being of the people and the stewardship of our land, rather than just the industries competing for our land and water, then we have to ask what the track record of our previous government has been.

The information I wish to convey most of all is that the Green Party has a plan to conserve our ecology while preserving our economy. The Green Party has an economic plan that considers our health, our land & our children. It is head and shoulders above the other parties. Check it out here, here & here.

March 15, 2007

Green Party Leader Visits Airdrie

Party leader brings ‘green’ to city

Scott Mitchell
Echo Reporter
Wednesday March 14, 2007

(for full article click on link above)

On Friday, Green Party leader Elizabeth May – along with Wild Rose Green Party candidate Sean Maw – was in Airdrie at Page and Turner’s Book Store for a book signing and to talk politics...

..."One wonders why we accept income tax when carbon taxes make so much more sense," she said. "Why do we tax the things we do want, like income and jobs? We should tax the thing we don’t want ... pollution and chemicals that cause cancer."
According to May, the way to avoid a carbon tax is simple.
"All you have to do is to figure out how to use less energy," she said. "Overall, the average Canadian will be better off."
Earlier in the day, May was in Cochrane, as the Green Party unveiled a $3 billion per year plan to create six municipal superfunds that will fund the reconstruction of crumbling municipal infrastructure.
The Green Party – popular with younger voters and women – has shown momentum in the polls recently and is now tied with the NDP for the first time in Decima polling, with 13 per cent nationally.

Read more Alberta related Green Party news here, here, here, here & here.

March 14, 2007

Green Party proposes Super Six fix for municipal infrastructure

Green Party proposes Super Six fix for municipal infrastructure

Cochrane, AB (9 March 2007) – The Green Party today unveiled a $3 billion-a-year plan to create six municipal superfunds that will fund the reconstruction of crumbling municipal infrastructure and transform Canada’s cities and towns into green and vibrant communities.

Delivering the first policy announcement from the party’s new platform at the contaminated Domtar brownfields in Cochrane, Alberta, Green Party leader Elizabeth May said that the Super Six superfund initiative is a simple, clear and decisive plan to develop green solutions to urgent and long-standing municipal infrastructure needs.

“It’s time to reinvest in communities,” said Ms. May. “We need to rectify the fiscal and infrastructure deficit facing municipalities by bringing all levels of government together around the key concerns of health, safety and a clean environment.”

The Green Party proposes replacing the obsolete and generic Canada Strategic Infrastructure Fund with separate funds to target six specific areas of municipal concern: brownfield remediation, water and wastewater treatment facilities, sports and recreation facilities, mass transit, cycling and pedestrian promotion, and affordable housing.

“It’s a larger strategy for ensuring that all Canadian communities get the opportunity to have clean water, better transit and affordable housing,” said Sean Maw, candidate for Wild Rose and the Green Party’s Community Development Advocate.

“Every municipality in the country has its own problems, not just those cities that need an extended subway line. In Alberta alone, communities need federal commitments to cleaning up brownfields like the one here in Cochrane, Calgary’s mass transit is overcrowded and Fort McMurray desperately needs housing and other services.”

The Green Party’s Green Municipal Infrastructure plan is based on the belief that local government has the potential to be the driving force for improving the environment and the quality of life of Canadians. Creating opportunities for municipalities to clean up the local environment, promote more physically active lifestyles among residents and focus on energy efficient buildings and other infrastructure translates into reduced health care costs and energy consumption. These savings will then be passed on to Canadians through reduced personal taxes and better services in their communities.

“Both the previous Liberal and current Conservative governments have squandered a wonderful opportunity to partner with municipalities in a broad-based commitment to building strong and healthy communities,” said May. “The Green Party will rebuild that partnership – and our local communities – to the benefit of all Canadians.”

Click here for more Green Party media releases.

Click here for Green Party news.