Cameron Wigmore, Green Party Member: October 2007

October 15, 2007

Green Party of Canada releases 'Vision Green'

PDF version

About the Green Party of Canada and Vision Green

From the GPC website:
Vision Green presents leading-edge thinking and rational, realistic solutions for all the issues facing Canadians. It was developed by a 31-member Green Shadow Cabinet and was informed by experts, activists and citizens who participated in policy workshops held across Canada. All the proposals are based on policies approved by the membership of the Green Party.

Green Party solutions are rational because the Green Party, unlike other parties, understands the scientifically verified limits to growth set by the carrying capacity of our planet. We must work within these limits. Otherwise, we will exhaust resources, degrade our environment and put our economy, health and children’s future at risk.

Our solutions are realistic because they follow “best practices” already in place in parts of Canada or other countries. These practices are cost-effective, deliver results and benefit people, the economy and the environment.

The Green Party’s down-to-earth solutions will work in Canada because they have worked around the world. Many have been successfully applied in Europe, where Greens are elected at all political levels, including the European Union and national parliaments. Countries where Greens have served in government are the countries creating new high-paying jobs while simultaneously meeting targets to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. They are the countries where the gap between rich and poor is small and the standard of living is high. These countries don’t trade off the environment for the economy. Their economies and environmental laws are both strong.

Many people find it hard to position the Green Party on the old political spectrum. We believe in sound fiscal management and strengthening our economy while ensuring that it is sustainable. Does that mean we are “right wing”? We believe that government must provide needed social services while protecting our environment and the rights of women, minorities and disadvantaged people. Does that make us “left wing”? We don’t think so. More and more people are simply thinking of the Green Party as the party of the future.

The Green Party is different from other parties in another important way. We will never place the pursuit of power above principle. We will not allow partisan politics to get in the way of good ideas and needed action. We agree with Canadians who say it’s time for parties in parliament to stop bickering and get on with the job of combating climate change and taking better care of our environment, our health and our economy.

The Green Party of Canada, founded in 1983, is now a major force in Canadians politics. Over 660,000 Canadians voted Green in the 2006 federal election. More than one in ten Canadians are now saying they plan to vote Green.

There is only one true Green Party. We are not like the old line parties who talk green when seeking your vote but sideline green action once elected. You can trust us to stay true to our promises and champion the issues you care about. If you share our vision and agree with our solutions, VOTE GREEN.

Change the climate in Parliament.

October 13, 2007

Harper’s “war on drugs” regressive and irresponsible: Green Party

Harper’s “war on drugs” regressive and irresponsible: Green Party

OTTAWA – The Green Party today denounced Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s proposed drug strategy as an ideologically-driven step in the wrong direction and ignorant of evidence-based research. Last week, Mr. Harper announced his intent to spend $64 million in a war on drugs, focusing on punishment and enforcement – not prevention.

“Mr. Harper is far too eager to sign Canada on to a Bush-style war on drugs that has spent billions and achieved nothing,” said Green Party leader Elizabeth May. “An overwhelming body of evidence supports the notion that an effective drug strategy would focus on prevention, treatment facilities and harm reduction programs.

“Mr. Harper preaches prevention, yet spends many times the funds allocated to prevention on enforcing antiquated drug laws and punishing drug users. This approach is akin to simply burning tax dollars and is severely damaging to society. Instead of listening to the facts, Mr. Harper is trying to appear tough on crime in a desperate attempt to grab votes.”

Jared Giesbrecht, Justice Critic for the Green Party, added that the 2002 Senate Special Committee on Drugs and examples from European countries have led the Green Party to the conclusion that it is time to legalize the adult use of marijuana, developing a taxation rate for the substance similar to that of tobacco.

“Mr. Harper’s plan to impose tougher penalties on users of marijuana and other drugs is a misguided approach. Substance abuse is a medical issue, not a criminal issue. Simply spending more tax dollars on drug law enforcement is not the answer. Canadians want to see a comprehensive anti-drug strategy that gets to the root of the problem, not Harper’s patch-work agenda that seeks the quick fix.”

Mr. Giesbrecht added that the Green Party would fund and expand safe injection sites, like the Insite clinic in Vancouver, that are proven to save lives.

October 12, 2007

Green Party demands federal action on cell phones and wireless networks

I wish it wasn't so, but the latest research is pointing to a very likely reality that radiation poisoning from cell phones and wireless networks is a serious problem. It is very likely that Canada's government will do little that would be considered significant in the face of mounting evidence that many people are getting sick when exposed to electromagnetic radiation. Some 'official' studies done in the recent past on a link to leukemia or cancer say there's no proof of causation, or even correlation, but newer 'official' studies show that there is a link between electromagnetic radiation and other illnesses. Like most things, it depends on which 'official studies' one wants to believe.

I said that I wish it wasn't so. That's because a lot of people are unknowingly exposing themselves to possibly dangerous levels of this type of radiation. It's also because I like my wireless gadgets. Cordless phones & cell phones are obviously very handy, and my recent purchase of a wireless optical mouse has made it fun to use a mouse. Still, I've already made a few changes in my lifestyle in order to ensure that exposure to electromagnetic radiation is limited. My wife and I got rid of our microwave oven two years ago and we don't miss it. Actually it blew up and we never bothered to replace it.

I've seen enough to know that keeping my alarm clock beside my head on the night stand could disrupt my sleep. I know that I don't want to live near a high voltage transmission line. I try to limit my cell and cordless phone use, and when I am on a cordless phone for any length of time I use a headset. In exercising the precautionary principle when it comes to this stuff, I actually don't notice any 'sacrifice' to my lifestyle.

I can play it safe by adjusting a few things in my life - it's no biggie - and I know that even though some 'experts' are telling us not to worry, my decision to listen to the advice of other experts is one more way that I can take care of the health of my whole family.

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Green Party demands federal action on cell phones and wireless networks

OTTAWA - Green Party leader Elizabeth May today called on Health Minister Tony Clement to issue an immediate warning on the potential danger posed by radiation from cell phones and wireless networks in Canada.

Germany recently warned its citizens to avoid wireless technology whenever possible and the EU’s European Environment Agency (EEA) followed suit with a call for immediate reduction in exposure to radiation from phones and wireless networks. The EEA suggested that a delay could precipitate a health crisis similar to those caused by asbestos exposure and smoking.

"There is growing scientific evidence that exposure to electromagnetic radiation (EMR) from cell phones and wireless networks can cause significant harm to people, especially children,” said Ms. May. “Until all the facts are in, it is foolish to turn a blind eye to the potential health effects of EMR. The Green Party urges the federal government to apply the precautionary principle and warn citizens of these risks now.”

Citing several studies that link cell phone use to cancer, the Green Party’s Health Promotion critic, Jake Cole, demanded rapid action from Mr. Clement.

“More and more Canadians are being exposed to EMR through wireless networks at work and at home,” said Mr. Cole. “The long-term effects of exposure aren’t known with certainty, but evidence suggests that health impacts can occur at extremely low levels of radiation, far below public safety limits.

"Canada must quickly issue some sensible public warnings on this matter, following the lead of other jurisdictions like Germany and the EU, and develop principles and regulations to ensure the health and safety of Canadians.”

In accordance with the precautionary principle, the Green Party recommends:

• Children under the age of 12 should not use cell phones, except in emergencies.
• Cell phones should not be used in schools, except in emergencies.
• A moratorium on the installation of all wireless equipment and cell phone masts within 300 metres of a home or school
• Turning off all electronic equipment when not in use

To read A Rationale for a Biologically-based Public Exposure Standard for Electromagnetic Fields (ELF and RF), the international scientific review on wireless radiation and health cited by the European Environment Agency, please see

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More links:
The Radiation Poisoning Of America

Death by Blackberry?

Electromagnetic Pollution

Wi-fi: should we be worried?

Electromagnetic smog fears grow

Green Economics - Stephen Leahy

I'd like to share with you a few articles on the economics of going green by Stephen Leahy.


Like Enron, Earth Inc. Sliding Into Bankruptcy

All economies depend on the natural capital lying within nature’s lands, waters, forests, and reefs, but humans have often treated them as if they had little value or were inexhaustible.

Global Warming Is Real But I Didn’t Do It

The vast majority of North Americans now declare that they want action on climate change. But whether people are truly willing to embrace “carbon-neutral” lifestyles — including giving up their gas-guzzling sports utility vehicles — remains an open question, say experts.

How to Kick-Start the 21st Century Eco-Economy

Farming and forestry in nearly all countries is only about maximising food or lumber production, but that has to start including maximising the ecological goods and service those ecosystems also offer. And since they are extremely important services, the stewards of these lands to ought to [be] compensated so these services will be preserved and enhanced.

57 Tips On Going Green and Saving Money

The reason I spotted Stephen Leahy is that I read Adbusters magazine, and there is a great article in the latest issue called 'Earth Inc. - Staying in the black now means going green'. For more on this subject, as explained by Adbusters, click here.

October 11, 2007

No seats, but Greens up in support

Last night the Ontario provincial election came to an end, and the Green Party of Ontario made huge gains in support. Shane Jolley finished a very close second, with the highest support for a Green candidate ever in Canada. Here are a few news stories covering the rise in Green Party support.

'Part of the landscape,' but not the Legislature

The Greens did come closer than ever: Their best hope, bike shop owner Shane Jolley in Bruce-Grey-Owen Sound, finished a strong second behind Conservative Bill Murdoch, a 17-year MPP.

Win or lose, "it's a huge victory," Jolley said last night. "This is the strongest Green campaign ever run in Canada."

Green's great hope
The Mark Messier look-a-like – complete with drop-the-gloves stare – and former high school star athlete in football and track is now a star on another field, regardless of outcome. In the last federal election, he had the best vote percentage (12.9 per cent) of any Green candidate in the county. In this election, he came within a few polls of winning.

Second best still a victory, Jolley says; Candidate calls run most successful Green campaign in Canadian history
"It's a success because we've brought a lot of issues to the table that otherwise wouldn't have made it," Jolley said in an interview. The Green candidate's surprising run also moved the Greens from marginal support here four years ago to what looked late Wednesday night to be a clear second-place finish behind veteran Progressive Conservative campaigner Bill Murdoch.

It was also by far the best result yet posted in Canada by a Green candidate, Ontario deputy party leader Victoria Serda said.

"For Shane to come in a relatively close second is amazing," Serda said at Meaford Hall. "It shows we're electable. This is going to change politics across Canada."

Ont. Green party scores 8 per cent of vote
No Green party candidates made it to the Ontario legislature in Wednesday's election, but that defeat was sweetened by a swell in their share of the popular vote, which more than doubled.

October 8, 2007

Harpers Drug Policy For Getting Votes

Harpers Drug Policy For Getting Votes - Not Saving Lives Or Making Canada Safer

A friend pointed out this article in Le Devoir by Gil Courtemanche commenting on Harpers doomed War on Drugs. The original publication is in French, and this link will take you to the English translation of the article. Here are a few paragraphs.

...We also learned Thursday that Stephen Harper will keep his old Beatles records even if his children wonder about certain lyrics that sing the praises of forbidden substances. Here's a wonderful example of the Prime Minister's openness of mind, a tolerance that extends only as far as the words to songs. For the poor teens who might be tempted to follow the smoking trails of the Fab Four, it will be zero tolerance. We're far from the time when the Chrétien and Martin governments pondered decriminalizing the simple possession of marijuana. The times have changed and the police have clearly felt it. In 2006, in Canada's principal cities, including Montréal, arrests for simple possession of cannabis have increased 20 to 50%, depending on the city. At the same time, a UNICEF study discovered that Québec is the champion of cannabis consumption among industrialized countries. According to that study, 40% of youth aged 11 to 15 consume some cannabis from time to time. These are not addicts, but occasional consumers. Nonetheless, under Mr. Harper's ferule, they will be considered veritable criminals. That's almost half our adolescents who run the risk of finding themselves with a criminal record. Mr. Harper also announced that we will establish minimum sentences for dealers. The teen who buys five joints and sells three to his pals will become a dealer just like some Hell's Angel.

In its fight against drugs, in its fight against juvenile crime, in its approach to border security, the Conservative government has resolutely adopted the American approach of repression and ever-longer prison sentences. In the United States, this policy has not changed the crime rate and has had the effect of growing the prison population at a vertiginous rate. The United States is the country with the highest rate of incarceration among all industrialized countries. And, of course, the majority of that population is constituted of minority citizens and poor people who can't pay for competent lawyers. That's the road down which the Conservative minority government wants to take Canada. And meanwhile, in Ottawa, the opposition is desperately looking for a gimmick so that elections can be avoided and Stephen Harper allowed to pursue his Americanization of Canada.

Here is a first draft of a letter to the editor I'll be sending off to the Nanaimo News Bulletin:

Letter to Editor Re: War On Drugs Doomed Again (Nanaimo News Bulletin Oct 6th)

I’d like to give thanks to the Harper government for a new ‘war’.

Like in the USA where the ‘war on drugs’ has been ongoing for decades, this Canadian effort will likely create many jobs in the areas of law enforcement. We will, over the long term, likely need to build more jails (as they have needed to do in the USA) in order to house non-violent offenders, and our recently announced federal tax surplus will surely help to pay for this ongoing cost. Never mind that incarceration will cost more than rehabilitation; Mr. Harper clearly believes that the jobs created are more important than the negative costs to our society. These fellow Canadians – these neighbours, coworkers, family and friends of ours – they’re only addicts after all, right? Mr. Harper says lock ‘em up!

Treatment and rehabilitation sounds too ‘nice’ for Harper government’s ‘every man for himself’ ideology. Although treatment and rehabilitation are proven to be effective, long term incarceration sounds braver & more prideful. Thank you Mr Harper for choosing to create a job for our country which the USA has already proven we will never be able to complete.

I am a recovered addict with seven years clean & sober. I’ve just brought my family to Nanaimo, and soon we’ll be purchasing a house. After using drugs for nearly a decade, I managed to make it out of active addiction disease free and with no criminal record, and this is largely due to the community support and addiction recovery services that were available to me prior to getting clean. I’m not shy about this fact; I’m proud of the man I am, and I’m grateful to be living in this country with a history of giving and sharing that shows we take care of ours.

Thank you Mr Harper for trying to take these opportunities away from other Canadians.

Cameron Wigmore
Nanaimo, B.C.

From the 2006 Green Party of Canada Platform:
Green MPs will work to:
- Support a public health framework to reduce the use of psychoactive drugs through rehabilitation and prevention especially for children.
- Assist provinces to increase the number of detox and treatment beds for drug and alcohol rehabilitation, create safe injection clinics, needle exchange programs and access for certified addicts to prescriptions for safe doses.

More background on me and the GPC policy on addiction & drugs here.

A few more links on this...

U.S.-style war on drugs will fail

What's Harper Smoking? (<---this is a great article!)

PM's Anti-drug Drive 'Uninformed'

Minimum sentences for pushers called repugnant READ THIS STORY!

Harper drug strategy `depressing,' Insite head says