Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Wrappin' it up

NOTE: This will be the last post in this section of the Blog. It will be reserved as a campaign Blog while the Newfoundland and Labrador Green Party main Blog will be located at http://NLGreenParty.blogspot.com

Well, it's all over and personally, I'm physically exhausted, emotionally frustrated and mentally worn down. 2 months of campaigning came down to one night of watchin' CBC unfold it all... almost all anyway. I'm still a little miffed over the fact that they didn't show any Green results the whole night. I can understand their reasoning behind keeping the results to the top candidates but, they could have had the top 4 candidates and not just 3. Plus, I remember the election last time around posting results for all the candidates. What happened this time?

Anyway, here's the results for Greens in Newfoundland and Labrador:

Shannon Hillier / 296 votes / 0.8%

Bonavista--Gander--Grand Falls--Windsor
Judy Davis / 275 votes / 0.7%

Humber--St. Barbe--Baie Verte
Martin Hanzalek / 339 votes / 1.0%

Gail Zwicker / 82 votes / 0.7%

Random--Burin--St. George's
Mark Brennan / 426 votes / 1.4%

St. John's East
Stephen Eli Harris / 437 votes / 1.1%

St. John's South--Mount Pearl
Barry Crozier / 235 votes / 0.6%

That's a total of 2090 votes in Newfoundland and Labrador which, unfortunately, is a drop of over a 1000 votes from last election. It's not really surprising but, it certainly is a little disappointing. I guess there was no way to stop the conservative momentum this time around, especially not in Newfoundland and Labrador who has seen great things come out of Danny Williams. Plus, with so many people strategically voting Liberal to stop the conservative momentum, there was really no chance. Of course, we can't forget the seal hunt issue. This almost single handedly brought us down in the province.

All in all, this was an incredibly wonderful experience for me. I've found something within myself that I probably always knew I had but wasn't willing to flesh it out. Now that I have found it though, I will never give up. It wont be long before we have another election and this time, I'll be ready.

I can't help to think however, that because the Greens didn't elect any seats this time around, the next time will be much the same. We'll have no media. We'll not be permitted to debate with the other leaders on television and we'll not be respected as a party. But, who knows? I certainly don't. I would never have thought we'd have a Conservative government in place either so, things defiantly surprise you.

I'd like to take this time to thank all those who indeed voted for real change. All those who volunteered their time throughout the province, I thank you as well. Without the support of you few, there would be no Green movement in Newfoundland and Labrador and to me, that's a scary thought.

So. We push ahead. We ready ourselves for the next election and be sure that the Green voice isn't muted. We have a place in Government and we'll achieve this spot in time with true dedication and hard work. Don't give up. Never give up.

First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you and then you win.

Remember that. Thanks again for your support.

Now, go to NLGreenParty.blogspot.com and follow the progress from here.

EDIT: I added Mark Brennans final remarks to this post.

Random Burin St Georges Green Candidate, Mark Brennan - Election Reaction

At home in Whitehill Nova Scotia, Green Candidate Mark Brennan laments over the recent election results. Brennan, who stepped forward to run for the Green Party in this Newfoundland riding said, "I did not expect to come anywhere close to winning in this election, the results are an indication that the public is not getting the message when it comes to true sustainability and the environment. What I do see though, is that despite the generally poor showing, there is still a core group of voters who truly put the well being of the earth first."

After the early Green Party public stand on ending the Seal hunt, the initial candidate decided not to run. Brennan feels this was a major factor in Greens doing poorly across the Province. "Overall it has been a good experience and I certainly wish the elected member well in the coming years and hope that some of the issues I was questioned about during the election are dealt with for the people of this riding. On the seal issue, we are seeing marine mammals wiped out the world over for human consumption. Newfoundland has experienced a devastating loss of it's main fishery, we need to make rebuilding these marine eco-systems a priority and that would also mean putting an end to the seal hunt as well banning the use of industrial draggers. Without these and other measures the five hundred year old Newfoundland fishery will never come back."

The 37 year old Landscape Artist and healthcare worker, vows to run again, saying that, "All of us need to wake up to the fact that there are limits to growth on a finite planet, we need to stop consuming the world, stop forcing other species into extinction, we also need to redefine our relationship to the earth. There really is no other choice, but I really don't think people are ready to hear this message yet, we are still in denial."

Mark A. Brennan
Canadian Landscape Painter/Photographer
Whitehill, Nova Sotia, Canada

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Monday, January 23, 2006

No Results for Greens?

Well, I have no idea how we've done. There aren't any numbers for the Greens on CBC as of yet. I'm disapointed in the programing...

Updates Later.

What are you doing reading this? Go VOTE!

... Unless you've already voted (or the polls aren't open yet), then go ahead and read on. Well actually, don't bother because it doesn't really apply to you anyway. Plus, you should be out making sure your friends and family vote too. Go on.

The rest of you, please, go out and vote. It only takes a few minutes and is an extremely gratifying experience to choose who you want to lead you. It's an important decision to make but, please, make sure you know all your options before you mark your X. Don't be pressured by a peer or family member and don't listen to polls. Just vote with your heart.

If you want to check out all the platforms (of the 4 parties nearly everyone in the country has the opportunity to vote for), here they are (in alphabetical order to show no favoritism... though, the green background may throw you off).

Conservative Party of Canada
Green Party of Canada
Liberal Party of Canada
New Democratic Party of Canada

And if you live in Quebec, there's the option of:

The Bloc Quebecois

Also, in various parts of the country there are other options as well. Check out Elections Canada List.

So, know ALL you options and choose with your heart. Pick the Party that best represents the Canada you want to build. Then, go mark an X by the candidate who will help you build that Canada.

Go on. Do it. Do the Evolution.

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Sunday, January 22, 2006

Green Party urges non-voters to feel good about voting again

Media Releases
Green Party urges non-voters to feel good about voting again

"To those disenfranchised Canadians, I say your vote does count", says Jim Harris.

(Victoria, Saturday, 21 January 2006) - Canadians are two days away from an election that, if recent history is any indication, only 60 per cent of voters will actually cast a ballot, said Green Party of Canada leader Jim Harris today in Victoria.

"In fact, you could fill BC Place nearly 150 times over with the number of Canadians who didn't vote in the last election. Close to 8.9 million Canadians didn't vote or three times the total number of electors in British Columbia," said Harris. "The reason is simple enough: they have become completely ambivalent towards the style of electoral politics practiced by the old-line parties."

"It speaks volumes about a system when, outside of Ontario, there were more non-voters in Canada than voters in all the other provinces and territories combined," added Mr. Harris. "And while filling BC Place 150 times over would make for one football game, it's sad to think that all these people are effectively voiceless when it comes to the future of their country."

"To those disenfranchised Canadians, I say your vote does count," said Mr. Harris. "A vote for the Green Party is a vote that will be heard. It sends a message to the old-line parties that change isn't just necessary, it's inevitable."

Harris noted that the Green Party is the only political party in this election that has invited all Canadians to read the platforms of each party and choose the plan that best reflects their hopes and dreams for Canada and their children. "We are so confident in our plan for Canada that we have also posted links from our site at www.greenparty.ca to the platforms of other parties and NGOs."

The Green Party proposes something entirely new and different. It is a party that is socially progressive, pro-environment and economically prudent. The party believes that Canadians don't have to fit into the mold of the either/or, for/against divisions presented by the other national parties.

And here's another endorsment that I thought you might like. I do. It's not for me personally but, it's still darn good.

Be a leader and vote Green: Vote with your values; [Final Edition]
Craig Rourke. Sun Times. Owen Sound, Ont.: Jan 18, 2006. pg. A.5

Editor: I am very proud to say that I am supporting the Green Party in this federal election and more importantly in the Grey- Bruce-Owen Sound riding. I know that there are a great number of people thinking of voting for Shane Jolley and I have heard many people in our community endorse Shane as being the top local candidate. Many of us are struck by his insight, and can identify with his green values.

The unfortunate thing is that these sentiments are usually followed by something that sounds like this: "I'd like to vote for Shane but." To these people I would like to say that this is your chance to make your opinion count. Don't worry what other people are going to vote, worry about who you would like to represent you in Ottawa.

Be a leader and vote Green. If everyone who wanted to vote for Shane actually followed through with it, I think we would be in a real position to make some noise. Go with your gut on this one and advise your friends, family and co-workers to do the same.

There's a reason you want to vote for Shane Jolley and the Green Party, and that is simple: because you'd like them to win. Please try and get over your fear and skepticism and vote with your values when election day comes.

Craig Rourke
Owen Sound

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Saturday, January 21, 2006

Top 10 Reasons to Vote Green on Monday

Still undecided? Have no idea which party to support? Well, here are some reasons why you should Vote Green on January 23rd, if that helps any.

1. I want to feel good about my vote.I want to vote for someone, not against someone.

2. The Green Party has the best platform. The Green Party platform has earned positive reviews in the media, has done well under analysis by non-partisan organizations.

3. My great grandchildren will be proud of me. I want them to have a sustainable future, a green economy, and better democracy.

4. I want my vote to have an impact on the legislative agenda of the next parliament. MPs will spend the next session trying to look good for the next election, so they will be looking at who they lost votes to. Vote Green and Green priorities will set the agenda.

5. People are saying good things about the Green Party.

6. I am nobody's fool. I refuse to let Martin, Harper, Layton or Duceppe think he can scare me into "strategically" voting for him just for not being the worst among them.

7. Green Parties around the world get elected, govern countries, and make the world a better place.

8. Whoever I vote for will get $1.75 in public funding, per vote, per year. I feel good about the Green Party putting it to good use defending my values.

9. I am socially progressive, fiscally responsible, and committed to environmental sustainability - just like the Green Party.

10. One hundred and thirty nine years of Liberal and Conservative governments. Albert Einstein said it best: "The significant problems of our time are not going to be solved by the same level of thinking that got us into them."

A heck. Why stop there? Here are even more reasons to vote Green:

11. I am neither left nor right; I just know the difference between good and bad ideas.

12. I don't want to waste my vote: I know that the other parties will change when, and only when, they see how politically viable the Green Party is.

13. Prime Minister Paul Martin himself gave me plenty of reasons: "the gap between the rich and the poor is not narrowing, it's getting worse. The environmental problems we face in the world are getting worse. The conflicts that are taking place in the poorest parts of the world are getting worse. And children are being born into abject poverty in a world of huge wealth." Voting Green is a vote for real solutions.

14. The Green Party has a National Cancer-fighting Strategy, a real Kyoto plan, and a forward-looking Energy Plan, in addition to their comprehensive election platform.

15. I want the Parliament of Canada to be accountable to Canadians, protect our air, soil and water, develop a sustainable economy, meet and exceed our Kyoto commitments, and work for all communities. Green Party MPs will do that.

16. I just cannot bring myself to vote for people who do not have clean air, pure water and safe food as their priorities. There are only 2 choices on the ballot: the Green Party and everybody else.

17. The Green Party actually encouraged me to read all the party platforms and judge for myself, without the media spin. By respecting me, they have earned my vote.

18. I didn't get a chance to hear the Green Party in the leaders' debates, but now I have the chance to vote for them. I want to remind the Broadcast Consortium just how important the Green Party is.

19. The other parties embraced negative campaigning and attack ads. They really did. We are not making this up. The Greens didn't do any mudslinging. By respecting me, the Greens have earned my vote.

20. I believe in my local Green Party candidate.

21. The Green Party of Canada offers a vision of hope for Canadians. I know where they want to go with this county. I am voting for something good.

22. I am voting in a Canadian parliamentary election, not a U.S.-style two-party system as Martin and Harper would have you believe.

23. I used to vote for another party, but as Dr. Phil says: "How's that working for ya?" This time I'm voting Green.

24. I support the six fundamental principles of the global Greens: ecological wisdom, social justice, participatory democracy, non-violence, sustainability, respect for diversity.

25. It's just the right thing to do.

26. The Green Party understands that we are bound by the natural limits to growth and that current economic models don't reflect this. The Green Party's strategy to reduce consumption will lead to a higher quality of life for everyone.

27. Only the Green Party is working to rewire our economy and rebuild our communities so that our children are not left with the burden of environmental pollution and economic hardship related to higher oil prices.

28. I want to Make Poverty History; so do all 308 Green Party candidates.

Click here for information on how, where, and when to vote in the federal election on Monday, January 23.

There is no excuse for not doing it.

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Friday, January 20, 2006

Paying Props to the Green Party

Okay, seeing we don't' get a whole lot of media attention (not from lack of trying), I wanted to let you know what some writers are saying about the Green Party.

First up James McRae in Ottawa:

Dance with Greens; [Final Edition]
James McRae. The Ottawa Citizen. Ottawa, Ont.: Jan 16, 2006. pg. A.11

The Green Party has a fresh approach to politics, befitting a new age
we could live in, putting self-responsibility and creativity firmly in the hands of individuals interested in the common welfare.

Canadians wanted the Greens represented in the national leaders' debates. The party has candidates in every riding across the country.

With the release of its solid platform -- so solid you could dance on
it -- I sensed a lot of excitement about the prospect of Greens actually winning seats. The Green Party website received six million hits in the week following the release of its full policy.

The older Canadian parties, mired in the left/right view of the world, seem incapable of expressing new ideas. We are told the Liberals will lead us to more corruption while the Conservatives will lead us to war.

The NDP tries to be socialist and green at the same time; the trouble is, logically, or ecologically, you cannot be both. The Bloc Quebecois stares fixedly at its goal, getting more for Quebec in a Canada where

we already have everything.

Fortune favours the brave. I say we dance with the Greens.

James McRae,

Then there's Rob Gilgan in Alberta:

Ponoka Times
By ROB GILGAN /Publisher
Jan 17 2006

Far be it from me to tell anyone how to vote, or rather for whom to vote. I always encourage everyone to exercise the franchise; it's what keeps democracy alive and it's apparently an easy habit to break. I'm always surprised when people tell me they forgot, or couldn't be bothered, or chose not to vote, deliberately. "Don't vote, it only encourages them," they say. "My vote won't count, I'm from Alberta."

And once again, while I'm not telling you who to vote for, I am going to tell you where I'm placing my 'x' on Monday. I will, for the first time federally, be voting for the Green Party. I think it may well be the most significant ballot I will have cast in a long while and I'd like to explain why I think that.

Historically, I've voted for the candidate I thought earned my vote, either by the way they presented themselves and their platform, or the effort they put into ensuring the success of democracy. I've never been one to blindly place my hard-earned 'x' beside a party name -- I think pure partisan politics is a threat to democracy.

Like many Canadians, I recognize that we're living in the best of times. In theory, we should be re-electing the party that's presided over our robust economy. Notwithstanding that sentiment, the governing Liberals have not earned my vote with their campaign.

I am a social liberal and have been most of my adult life. I am a reflection of my parents' values in that regard. They also emphasized fiscal conservatism and I've benefited from that influence as well.

This election, from the perspective of the three traditional parties, the Liberals, Conservatives and New Democrats, is all about the past. The Conservatives have been focused on the corruption of past Liberal administrations. The Liberals are obsessed with what they believe is their influence on our robust economy over the past decade. The New Democrats selectively remember their influence on the Martin minority, but not their role in defeating the government against the wishes of a majority of Canadians.

The Green Party doesn't have a long past to obsess about, but they do have a track record - a better record than their current treatment would suggest. They have run 308 candidates in this election and the 2004 effort. In fact, due to both the Liberals and Conservatives having dropped candidates they found embarrassing, the Greens are actually running in more ridings than either.

Nationally, the Green Party attracted 4.3% of the popular vote, more than 6% in Alberta (a little less than a third of the votes garnered by the Liberals, ). And they did so without spending millions, renting airliners, hosting crowds of scribes and infringing on your favourite episode of 'Survivor'.

Part of the energy in my vote is a protest. The Green Party, even though it's running candidates in every riding in Canada, even though we anted up a million dollars for the votes they garnered last election, was banished from the national leaders debate. Gilles Duceppe, on the other hand, leading a party with a scant 12.4% nationally, participated in all four. Canadians deserved better.

Further, the Green Party was actually censored not by Elections Canada, but by a consortium of national media. That is shameful conduct and beyond explanation.

But mostly my vote is energized by looking to the future, not so much for myself as my children and their children, should they choose to have them. I don't see a lot of future in the platforms of the Liberals, Conservatives and New Democrats. I see housekeeping, window dressing, semantics and unwavering support for avoiding change.

Only the Green Party seems to recognize the relationship between a clean environment and reduced health spending. The others dare not raise this issue, since their power brokers measure success without consideration for environmental damage.

The Green Party's platform is grounded in sustainability. Resources are managed, rather than exploited. The platform acknowledges that a green economy runs on a sustainable work force. Agriculture is viewed as our food supply, whereas agribusiness seems to be all about shareholders.

The Greens are also keen on developing good government and renewing our democracy, concepts that should resonate with voters in this election. I don't expect my vote to produce a government, but I know it will support a progress that isn't available in the same old, same old traditional parties.

Some day, and hopefully soon, enough people will speak up, enough votes will be cast, that the traditional parties will have to expand their platforms to incorporate the reforms proposed by the Green Party today.

I hope my vote encourages that.

Then we go to Vancouver with Barbara Yaffe

Barbara Yaffe, Vancouver Sun
Published: Friday, January 20, 2006

I know several people who have solved the dilemma of whom to vote for among a field of mainstream party candidates who fail to satisfy.

These people are opting to cast a ballot for the Green party.

Some of them would tell you there is no way they can vote Liberal because of the ethics issue. No way they can vote Conservative because of reservations about Stephen Harper's social conservatism. And that they are simply not socialist inclined.

Green is a vote that's easy to feel good about. Without a healthy environment, there's no life to enjoy.

The cancer rate is increasing, more and more children suffer from asthma, the planet is running out of conventional energy supplies, weird weather is causing mayhem across the globe, and just last week we learned Canadian polar bears are full of the toxic chemicals we've been deploying as a fire retardant in a variety of products.

No one expects the Greens to form government. But imagine the utility of having a couple of diligent Green MPs darting about the corridors of the Commons, asking questions that wouldn't otherwise be posed.

Green MPs would act as bees in the bonnets of traditional parties that regularly put political considerations above fundamental environmental principles, parties more attuned to economic growth and the provision of services to taxpayers, particularly needy ones.

We often forget the degree to which the planet and all its life forms are needy, too, although lately Mother Nature has been giving us a good few nudges.

Jim Harris, leader of the Greens, says his isn't a party of the left or right. Rather, it's a "solution-oriented party, with solutions based on ecological integrity."

"We are fiscally responsible, socially progressive and in favour of what is environmentally sustainable," he told a recent Vancouver Sun editorial board meeting.

Harris, a 43-year-old Torontonian, is a former journalist and author, married to business consultant Lee-Anne McAlear. They have no children. The party website describes the leader as a "committed environmentalist and avid rollerblader."

Harris is running in Beaches-East York in Toronto, currently held by Liberal MP Maria Minna.

While a party member for 17 years, Harris became the Greens' leader in 2003. He notes the party won 600,000 votes in the 2004 election, up from 100,000 in 2000. New election financing laws gives the Greens $1.75 for each vote. Harris began taking a salary last summer -- $50,000 annually.

The Greens definitely will not form government next week, so the party's specific policies are less important than its general orientation.

But for those who care, the Greens are against the Atlantic coast seal hunt, oppose offshore oil drilling off B.C., would phase out fish farms because they believe them to be a threat to natural fish stocks, want the tax system used to discourage high energy consuming pursuits and reward those practicing energy efficiency.

The Greens insist their policies would reduce health costs. which are such a drain on federal and provincial budgets.

"You cannot have healthy people on a sick planet," Harris asserts, pointing to smog problems increasingly being experienced in Canada's larger cities.

"We are putting our short-term interests ahead of the long-term interests of our grandchildren," says Harris, who drives a hybrid car. "We are caught in a deep pathology. We need a deep reorientation . . . . When are we going to say, enough is enough?"

Greens argue that practising environmental awareness wouldn't mean a loss of jobs. Rather, destroying existing ecosystems costs jobs -- think Newfoundland's cod stock. Encouraging new, unconventional resource use -- like wind power -- might well boost employment.

There's a pressing need for Green thinking for many reasons, the party website notes. At present, the world consumes about two barrels of oil for every new barrel discovered. Clearly, that's unsustainable.

Most parties, operating on short-term political exigencies, aren't prepared to tell voters they need to make radical changes in their lifestyle. Greens believe they have no choice.

Certainly, in the current campaign, no party other than the Greens have vigorously highlighted environmental issues.

Greens are running candidates in every riding, arguably making them far more relevant to the national political scene than the Bloc Quebecois.


And then there's all these people saying great stuff about us.

"Rather than spoil my ballot, I'm looking for a true alternative. I may have found it in the Green Party. I know what you're thinking. The Green Party is for granola-eating peaceniks who drive hybrid cars. That's what I assumed until I discovered that the party offers a broad platform that covers much more than just environmental concerns."

- Lydia Lovric, Winnipeg Sun

"I know several people who have solved the dilemma of whom to vote for among a field of mainstream party candidates who fail to satisfy. These people are opting to cast a ballot for the Green party. [...] No one expects the Greens to form government. But imagine the utility of having a couple of diligent Green MPs darting about the corridors of the Commons, asking questions that wouldn't otherwise be posed."

- Barbara Yaffe, Vancouver Sun

"The Green Party of Canada has expanded a great deal on its social policy agenda since the last election. Women's equality issues are definitely covered in this platform. Unlike the other platforms, one does not need to read between the lines to seek out mention of equality issues. The Green Party's platform is most likely the most progressive of all party platforms."

- The Coalition for Women's Equality (CWE)

"By providing thoughtful responses to the questionnaire, the Liberal Party, the New Democratic Party and the Green Party showed they care about women's sexual and reproductive health and rights."

- Action Canada for Population and Development

"Frankly, a Green voice or two in parliament wouldn't hurt a bit."

- The Hamilton Spectator

"One thing you have to say about Jim Harris, he's got balls. When Paul Martin gave his speech on Kyoto he made sure to do it in Halifax and Montreal where he would be safe from industrialists. Jim Harris walked directly into the heart of the enemy territory and stuck it to them...by empowering them."

- progressivebloggers.ca

"Frankly, with our fiscal house largely in order, Canada should be poised to take to the world stage with innovative and bold stances on global issues like environmental sustainability, weapons in space, and Third World debt – all topics addressed in the Green platform."

- The Progress

Then there's all these Non-Profit groups Evaluating our platform and policies.

Have a look. Decide for yourself.

Council of Canadians
Canadian Medical Association
Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society
for Women's Equality

PLUS, there's all these articles too!

Did you get through it all? Yeah, I know, it's a lot of good word to get through.

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Here's where we stand on Health Care; Martin Hanzalek

Martin Hanzelek, Green Candidate for Humber - St. Barbe - Baie Verte shares our parties policies on Health and Health care with the people of his riding and now I'm sharing it with you.

(By the way, he is not in this picture)

Here's where they stand on health care
Western Star. Corner Brook, Nfld.: Jan 16, 2006. pg. 3

Health care continues to be a significant concern for residents in this riding. What is your and your party's stand on health care issues affecting western Newfoundland?

Martin Hanzelek, Green Party of Canada,

Health care is a major concern for the Green Party of Canada. Canada's declining health care system,combined with an aging population, increased cancer rates and a severe lack of health care funding, has placed Canada's public health care system in a state of peril. The Green Party does not support a two-tiered health care system, with high-end private health care available only to the richest of Canadians, while low-income families face substandard care and long wait lists. We believe every Canadian deserves the best care possible, as soon as possible. Hand in hand
with health care is the environment.

We are the food we eat, the water we drink, and the air we breathe. It is no coincidence Newfoundland has both the highest cancer rate in Canada and the highest dioxin emissions of any province. We burn household garbage in open incinerators, burn used motor oil as a fuel source at the Corner Brook paper mill, freely dump our raw sewage into the ocean and, at one point, we were even considering burning used tires as a source of energy. With an environmental track record like this one, it is no wonder why one out of two Newfoundlanders develop cancer in their lifetime.

The Green Party is focused on developing solutions to current problems, such as wait lists and access to diagnostic imaging equipment and specialists, but they are also focused on long-term solutions which include addressing the root cause of problems - not just providing a band-aid solution.

EDIT: Here's a news release on Hearth Care as well.

Media Releases
Restoring health to our health care system

Green Party MPs would push to set and meet national educational, fitness and mental health goals

(Saskatoon, Friday, 20 January 2006) – In a speech at the University of Saskatoon today, Green Party leader Jim Harris outlined his party's vision for Canada's future, one in which Canadians have quality health care, a cleaner environment and the tools to stay healthy throughout their lives – and are better off because of it.

In the speech, Mr. Harris faults the country's old-line parties "whose vision is blinded by a four-year horizon", and therefore cannot deal with the far-reaching problems affecting Canada's health care system. As Mr.

Harris points out, diseases like cancer, heart disease and diabetes and conditions such as obesity are spiraling out of control – which is even sadder when you consider that, through proper lifestyle choices, these problems could be mitigated or wiped out altogether. It has put a huge strain on our health care system.

"Presently, our health care system can be better described as a 'sick care system'. Canada's health care professionals are some of the best in the world treating us once we get sick," Mr. Harris said. "But now our priority must be preventing illness."

The Green Party has education and funding plans that stretch beyond the four-year election cycle. Green Party MPs would push to set and meet national educational, fitness and mental health goals in order to ensure our children lead healthier lives.

It would include, for example, a national strategy that will set specific goals for mental health care, promote good mental health, reduce stigma and examine ways Canada can address issues such as stress and over-work.

The party would also tackle the wait time conundrum affecting this country's health care system. Jim Harris and the Greens believe that wait times need to incorporate not only the time it takes for Canadians to receive treatment, but also the time it takes between noticing a problem and getting preliminary care through a family physician. "By not including the time between your first symptoms and finally receiving treatment, we do not have the full picture of what a patient endures," Mr. Harris said.

To address this problem, the Greens are committed to increasing the number of physicians from 1.8 per 1,000 Canadians to 2.5 over the next ten years.

The Green plan would include streamlining the process it takes to accredit medical graduates from abroad so that those who choose to come to Canada can practice medicine here more easily.

- 30 -

For More Information:
Derek Pinto
Media Relations Officer, Leader's Tour

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3 Shockers Knocked me Off my Feet

I heard and/or read three very shocking things yesterday. Maybe not so to everyone but, to me, I was taken so far aback that it was the holidays again.

First, I was on the bus traveling to the Rogers Television debate/forum (by the way, It was pouring out this morning... just in case I looked a little wet on TV) that they had set up and I while riding I read The Telegram. In there, I leart that our Government is NOT supporting the wind farm in Labrador, as of now. They say they have their own energy plan and is not sure how this development will fit in.

This blew me away. How is there any hesitation on this project? 2000 construction jobs. 200 sustaining jobs in an industry that is ever lasting. That is, of course, if global warming doesn't progress to the point where there is no wind on earth (which, by the way, I'm only stressing a point. I have NO idea if the global warming crises will stop wind from happening). Is this province going backwards?

THEN, while taping the Rogers cable thing-a-ma-bob, our NDP candidate here in St. John's East, Mike Kehoe (an incredibly nice man. I can't say enough about him) said "We should exploit our resources for all they're worth".

I was shocked. I really was. I thought the NDP were somewhat in tune with Green Party values but, this is clearly not the way I would ever think, let alone say on TV to a public that is about to vote for you... that is unless the public also wishes to "exploit our resources".

That still shocks me to type/read/see/hear/dream about tonight.

Later that night, Mike and I had a very intimate discussion with a group of Political Science students. This was my favorite gathering to date, by the way. It was a discussion, not a debate. Mike and I got along very well (even after hearing the E word... about our resources) and the students were quite interested.

Anyway, to progress to the next shocker, after the discussion was over, I was approached by a couple of students who were quite interested in our values. One of whom, was Tracy.

Tracy is a very Green young lady who has a deep concern for our environment. She's a member of MUN Project Green and a coalition called Trout Pond Action Group. The reason why their coalition was formed was what blew me away...

... I can't talk about it anymore. It makes me upset. Read this article.


New Mine Poses Contamination Risk of the Exploits River

January 16, 2006

St . John's - A proposed mining project at Trout Pond near the Exploits River poses severe risks for residents and industries located in that area, warns a local coalition of citizens and environmental groups. The chief concern is the proposed mining operations would unnecessarily set a national precedent by dumping toxic mine tailings into Trout Pond, a water body frequented by salmon, trout, and waterfowl.

The proposed Duck Pond mining project is slated to be opened by AUR Resources early this year. According to the Environmental Impact Statement approved by the provincial government, Trout Pond will be used as a tailings dump for the mine's waste. The proposal requires federal approval - an amendment to regulations under the Fisheries Act, prohibiting the use of live ponds as tailings impoundments.

Trout Pond Mine to set National Precedent for Toxic Dumping

"DFO plans to amend regulations under the Fisheries Act to allow destruction of fish habitat," said Chad Griffiths, spokesperson for the Trout Pond Action Group. "This will set a national precedent, turning lakes across Canada into dumps." He added, "Mining companies across Canada are lining up to destroy our waters and natural heritage, but Newfoundlanders have the chance to stop them."

Contamination could be severe in this large ecosystem - an aquatic habitat, about the size of Quidi Vidi Lake. "Risking the contamination of the Exploits River watershed is unacceptable," said Griffiths, pointing out that it is one of the most important recreational fishery destinations in the province. The environmental impact of this project will be severe, even if accidental contamination is prevented.

No environmental compensation plan exists. The Environmental Impact Statement claims the impact of this project will be minimal, but relies on an environmental compensation agreement, yet to be seen by the public, leaving no manner of public accountability to assess the overall environmental impact.

There has not been adequate public consultation. The public consultations regarding this project occurred several years ago and reached few people. They were conducted before mining regulations and standards were amended in 2002. Many affected parties (residents, recreational fishermen, tourism industry workers, aboriginal groups etc.) have yet to be informed about the potential environmental impact of this project.

"There are better options," said Griffiths. "Artificial impoundments are the norm now. Not ruining a live body of water". Seven mining projects across await this upcoming proposed amendment that, industry experts predict, will likely give them and future mines the legal right to pollute live ponds and lakes with tailings.

"It is vital to Newfoundland and Canada that actions be taken to ensure AUR Resource develops a more environmentally sustainable alternative which does not involve dumping mine wastes in Trout Pond," said Griffiths. "We can't afford to ignore the impact of this project until the damage has been done."


Released by the Trout Pond Action Group, a network of concerned individuals and environmental groups from all over the province including Sierra Club of Canada (Northeast Avalon Group), Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society (Newfoundland and Labrador Chapter), MUN Project Green, Protected Areas Association, Humber Natural History Society, Natural History Society of Newfoundland and Labrador, Society for Corporate Environmental and Social Responsibility and Responsible Consumers NL.

For more information please contact:

Chad Griffiths, Spokesperson, chadgriffiths@mail.com, 709-691-1985
Stephen Mayor, Trout Pond Action Group, smayor@mun.ca, 709-579-4378
Jason Noble, Trout Pond Action Group, jdknoble@yahoo.com, 709-738-3879

For background on the Metal Mining Effluent Regulations under the
Fisheries Act, or the Duck Pond Project:

CESR -Society for Corporate Environmental and Social Responsibility Memorial University of Newfoundland Chapter
Website: http://www.ucs.mun.ca/~cesr/index.asp
Email: cesr@mun.ca

So, that confirms it, we are moving backwards in this province if people are actually talking about going ahead with this. Not only that, they're trying to change regulations that was put in place to prevent this from happening. What is wrong with this picture?

A LOT! I gotta go lay down.

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Thursday, January 19, 2006

Martin Calling on Green Vote?

Is someone now even worried about the Green movement?

And so he should be! Mr. Martin is beggin' to the Greens for their vote, eh? Usin' the same move as last time, eh? Well, Well Mr. Martin, I guess you can't teach an old dog new tricks.

Well, Mr. Martin (if that is your real name) I got something to tell you; things are gonna be different this time. The people will not fall into your trap this time Mr. Martin. Oh no. We, the people, will not be fear mongered into voting AGAINST a party. We will go with our hearts and vote FOR a party. Thanks for the offer Mr. Martin, but I'm comfortable bein' Green. After all, Green means go and we all know what Red means, besides an irritated rash... which, when you think about it, is sorta like what the Liberals are.

I kid, I kid.

So, who doesn't have a clue what I'm talking about? Let's start at the begininng with this article...

Martin: 'We are the only people who can stop Stephen Harper.

PM says Tory leader not to be trusted to maintain programs in region

By Carl Davies

Paul Martin says voting Liberal is the only way to save New Brunswick from Stephen Harper, who has made so many promises during this campaign he would have to cut programs that directly benefit the province.

In an interview with the Telegraph-Journal Wednesday, Mr. Martin, who is trailing in the polls and in real danger of losing his job as prime minister, played the strategic voting card, urging anyone who opposes the Conservatives to vote Liberal this coming Monday, Jan. 23.

Speaking via phone from his campaign bus somewhere between Milton, Ont. and Toronto early Wednesday evening, Mr. Martin said that two-thirds of Canadians don't want Mr. Harper to lead the country and that there was only one way to avoid that.

"Most Canadians oppose his views," Mr. Martin said.

"The problem is that that two-thirds is of course divided, mostly with us, but there are also NDP supporters, there are Progressive Conservatives, there are the Green Party.

"My message very clearly is this is the time now when all progressive voters have got to come behind us.

"We are the only people who can stop Stephen Harper."

It's the same message that the Liberals used to great effect in 2004, when they were able to turn enough voters against Mr. Harper in the waning days of the campaign to win sufficient seats to form a minority government.

"Now is the time when all of the progressive voters in the country have really got to come together and say 'look, we're going to vote for someone whose values we share.' " Mr. Martin continued.

"The fact is, if he ever became prime minister, and he then cut ACOA, Jack Layton's not going to be able to stop him.

"If he decides he's going to cut the child-care program or he's going to cut infrastructure spending in Atlantic Canada, Jack Layton's not going to be able to stop him."

On the campaign trail, Mr. Harper pledged to maintain current funding levels for the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency, the federal economic development agency for the region.

Mr. Martin said that given the number of Conservative promises made during this campaign, coupled with their cost, New Brunswickers should fear what might happen to ACOA under Mr. Harper.

"Mr. Harper, when he came out with the costing for his financial projections suddenly had to admit that he'd made 196 promises and he's $22 billion short in having the money to fund them and that he was going to have to find that money," Mr. Martin said.

"That means cuts, but he won't tell us what he's going to cut."

Mr. Martin, who had to make some painful cuts of his own when he was trying to bring the country's deficit under control as finance minister in Jean Chrétien's government, said such cuts would be painful.

"You can imagine what he's going to have to do to find that $22 billion," Mr. Martin added.

"I mean that's huge. I've got to tell you I've been there. I understand how difficult that can be."

The Liberal leader said he finds Mr. Harper's comments about ACOA on the campaign trail curious given past comments from the Conservative leader.

"He has spoken viciously against ACOA. He has spoken viciously against regional development.

Click to zoom (Tom Hanson/Canadian Press)
Conservative Party Leader Stephen Harper greets enthusiastic supporters at a campaign rally in Montreal Wednesday.
"If in the middle of an election campaign all of a sudden he's had a change of heart,(that) may well be, but I go back, he's got to find $22 billion."

Mr. Martin said there's not much in the Conservative platform for the region.

"Most of the promises for which that money is going to be used is not going to be spent in Atlantic Canada," Mr. Martin predicted.

"He's got a very different vision of the role of government. He basically thinks government should stand back. Well that's not how we built Atlantic Canada or how we built the country."

Mr. Martin also said that Liberal programs such as the national child-care plan he announced in Saint John at the beginning of the campaign, would be history under Mr. Harper.

"He's essentially said that he's going to cut all of the new social programs which we've brought in."

The Conservative alternative to the Liberal child-care plan would see the government pay parents $100 a month for each child under the age of six.

Early in the campaign Premier Bernard Lord, who has campaigned with Mr. Harper, outlined a $1.875-billion federal-provincial development plan for the province, the majority of which would be financed by the federal government.

Fredericton MP Andy Scott said at the time that beyond existing child-care and gas tax deals, the Liberals were committed to $200 million for various projects in New Brunswick.

Mr. Martin said he'll consider the province's proposal after the election.

"We're prepared to sit down and talk to the province," he said.

"We can't make big announcements in the middle of an election campaign."

The Liberal leader is scheduled to make one final stop in New Brunswick Friday night, but says there will be no last minute promises to woo voters.

The speculation has already begun about who might succeed Mr. Martin if he loses Monday.

Former New Brunswick premier and current Ambassador to the U.S. for Canada Frank McKenna's name is prominent in those discussions.

Mr. Martin thinks Mr. McKenna is worthy of such talk, but he says all the speculation is premature.

"I certainly do not believe that Frank McKenna's role in public life is over. I think that he's got a great opportunity," Mr. Martin said before quickly adding, "I'm going to be around for quite a while."

He said he's not even thinking about losing.

"The only thing I've thought about is, we're going to have a cabinet meeting because we're going to win."

So, I was only told about the actual interview and I'm not exactly sure how much he talked about our Party but, just the mention is enough to push people into our hands. And Jim responded to it perfectly I believe.

Green Party reacts to Martin’s last play
Media Releases

"Mr. Martin likes to trot out the 'values' card during elections and then quickly return it to the barn once the polls have closed."

(Brantford, Thursday, 19 January 2006) – Liberal leader Paul Martin overlooked one important fact when he offered up his ‘Hail Mary’ appeal to Green Party voters yesterday, said Green Party leader Jim Harris, ''Mr.Martin forgot the ‘fundamental differences’ that exist between our two parties.''

''Green Party voters support Kyoto not just in word, but in deed. Green Party voters believe in universal public health care for all Canadians, including Jack Layton and Paul Martin. And Green Party voters believe that the environment is a commitment, not a campaign ad,'' said Harris.

Harris noted that only a few months ago, Mr. Martin observed that ''the gap between the rich and the poor is not narrowing, it’s getting worse. The environmental problems we face in the world are getting worse. The conflicts that are taking place in the poorest parts of the world are getting worse. And children are being born into abject poverty in a world of huge wealth.''

''And Green Party voters believe Mr. Martin’s observations were right. It’s why they have chosen to vote for the Green Party in this election,'' said Harris. "Mr. Martin likes to trot out the ‘values’ card during elections and then quickly return it to the barn once the polls have closed.''

''But the Green Party believes that values are something you practice, not something you leverage for campaign ads.''

- 30 -

For more information:

Derek Pinto, David Kay
Media Relations Officers, Leader's Tour

*A La Mr. Burns*; "Excellent".

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Report Card on the 2006 Government Accountability Election Platforms

Media Release

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

OTTAWA - Today, Democracy Watch released its Report Card on the 2006 Government Accountability Election Platforms of the five main federal political parties (See Report Card set out below).

The Report Card grades the five main parties' platform pledges based upon 16 sets of changes Democracy Watch believes are the changes that will most effectively require everyone in the federal government to act honestly, ethically, openly, efficiently, representatively and, if they don't act in these democratic ways, easily and thoroughly held accountable. In total, the 16 sets of changes add up to about 70 changes to the federal government's accountability system.

The measures are a compilation of the proposals of the four nation-wide coalitions Democracy Watch coordinates (Government Ethics Coalition, Money in Politics Coalition, Corporate Responsibility Coalition, Canadian Community Reinvestment Coalition). A combined total of more than 140 citizen groups with a total membership of more than 3 million Canadians belong to the coalitions, groups that work on anti-poverty, bank accountability, community economic development, consumer, corporate responsibility, environment, labour, social justice, women and youth issues.

Many national surveys over the past several years have shown that a large majority of Canadians support the government accountability reforms set out in the Report Card, as do many commentators on democratic reform.

The 16 sets of changes, divided into five areas, all reflect the following five key elements for ensuring that large, powerful government institutions act responsibly and follow rules: 1. strong laws with no loopholes; 2. requirement to disclose details of operations and violations; 3. fully independent, fully empowered watchdog agencies to enforce laws; 4. penalties that are high enough to encourage compliance; and 5. empowerment of citizens to hold governments and watchdog agencies accountable.

The parties were given a grade ranging from A (Platform makes clear promise to implement proposal) to I (Platform does not mention proposal), with grades B for a vague or partial promise to implement the proposal, C and D for clear to vague promises to explore the proposal, E for mentioning proposal and F for mentioning the theme of the proposal. Grades were averaged for each of the five sections, and the average of section grades was used for the overall grades.

The highlights of the Report Card are as follows:

* The overall grades for every party, except the Liberals, are better than in all past election platform Report Cards Democracy Watch has produced, a clear sign that most of the parties are finally making comprehensive, effective pledges to strengthen the federal government's accountability system;
* The Conservatives had the best overall grade of B (mainly because of they made many specific pledges), and the best grade in two of the five areas (the Open Government area, and the Representative, Citizen-Driven Government area);
* The NDP also had the best grade in two of the five areas (the Honest, Ethical Government area, and the General Government Accountability Measures area), and tied with the Bloc and the Green Party with an overall grade of C+;
* The Liberals had the worst results, with an overall F grade, and the worst grades in all five areas;
* The strongest overall area grades for all the parties were in the "Open Government" area, with the Conservatives the best with a B+ grade;
* The worst overall area grades for all the parties were in the General Government Accountability Measures area, in which none of the parties had better than a B- grade (although in this area all the parties except the Liberals promise strong action on whistleblower protection);
* The main area in which all of the parties are weak is in empowering citizens and citizen groups to hold the federal government directly accountable;
* All of the parties except the Liberals promise action to strengthen ethics enforcement, lobbying disclosure and enforcement, auditing resources and enforcement, and election reforms, and;
* All of the parties except the Liberals promise to increase Parliament's role in reviewing appointments currently made solely by the Prime Minister, and ensuring merit-based nomination and appointment processes.

"Given the lack of a federal honesty in politics law, and the lack of a clear pledge by any of the parties to pass such a law, voters should be wary of trusting any political promises," said Duff Conacher, Coordinator of Democracy Watch. "However, a positive sign is that unlike in the past four elections most parties are addressing many of the key flaws in the federal government's accountability system."

The 2006 Report Card is an updated version of the Report Card issued by Democracy Watch during the 2004 and 2000 federal elections, reflecting changes that have occurred in federal laws since 2004. In the 2004 Report Card, the NDP received the highest overall grade of C mainly because of its promises to strengthen enforcement and standards in almost all of areas the Report Card covered (the NDP had the best grades in five of the 2004 Report Card's six areas).

Democracy Watch graded the parties' election platforms by reviewing the platforms. Statements by party leaders or representatives were not taken into account as they are not fully accessible to all voters, nor are they binding in any way on the party (as admitted by many party leaders) and as a result are even less reliable than promises made in the parties' platforms. (Please see Backgrounder set out below for details and relevant excerpts from the parties' platforms)

- 30 -

Duff Conacher, Coordinator
Tel: (613) 241-5179

Debate on Rogers Tonight

Well folks, I just got back from Rogers studio where they taped a debate/forum for the St. John's East candidates (they doing one for 3 ridings here in the province, btw). The format was quick and they even had a neat feature where they presented questions from the public that were taped beforehand. It happened very fast and all in all, I think things went very well. Of course my view of things going well is anything that gives me an opportunity to talk about the Green Party.

Anyway it'll be aired tonight on Channel 9 in St. John's and also tomorrow night. Support your local television and check it out! Again, a special thanks goes to Rogers Television for giving us this opportunity.

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Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Greens aim to Prune the Political Rhetoric

This is an article posted in Queens University publication of The Journal. Jim Harris, leader of the Green Party, is a graduate of Queens.


Jim Harris, Arts 82 and former rector, talks about what it’s like to be at the head of a growing party
S T O R Y - By Tamsyn Burgmann, News Editor

Journal: It was only a year and a half ago that you went through the last election campaign. The outcome of the election was that the Green party earned enough votes to receive federal funding. How have these funds changed your party’s ability to run this campaign?

Jim Harris: Six months before the last election, the party had one part-time employee. He was very busy, one poor guy all by himself. Six months before this election we had 20 people [working] full time.

We had so many firsts in this election. I was the first leader to visit every province in Canada and the North. I visited every province before Mr. Martin, or Mr. Harper or Mr. Layton. So [the funding] means that we have the money to fund the leaders tour that’s more aggressive than every old-line party.

We were the first party to release our full, entire election platform—it’s available on our website, http://greenparty.ca

There are only two federal parties now that have a candidate in every riding, the Green party and NDP, because the Liberals and the Conservatives just dropped one candidate each. So it means we have more candidates than the Conservatives and the Liberals. Our website is taking six million hits a week, as Canadians are hungry to learn about our platform because the television networks have shut us out. … We have an online petition that you can go and sign requesting the Green party be included in the debates, and so far 48,000 people have signed. When you actually consider [that] when the broadcasters invited Canadians to e-mail them questions, to the leaders of the old-line parties, only 10,000 bothered to submit questions. So five times as many Canadians want to see us on the debates as were interested in asking questions of the leaders of the old-line parties.

Journal: What would you have imparted to an audience if you had been included in the debate?

Jim Harris: We would have said things that aren’t being said by any other party.

For instance, today, one in every five children has childhood asthma. When you look at the rates from 30 years ago, it was less than one in 50. Why are we using our children as the canaries in the coal mine to tell us we have to change? Are we going wait until one in every four children has problems until the old-line parties decide to do something about it?

Journal: There are not yet any Green seats in the House of Commons. If you are able to get elected, how would you ensure that your party is heard?

Jim Harris: We saw the incredible amount of power that just three independent MPs had in this last parliament, because they determined the fate of the government, the fate of the budget, and were able to change the course of the government by exerting pressure. So by electing our first handful or two handfuls of Green MPs in this election, we can force the same fundamental changes to occur in Canadian politics. The Globe and Mail, front page, a couple days ago, had us at six per cent. And if you consider that the NDP in 1993 was 6.9 per cent of the vote, with nine seats, we are in the range to elect our first Green MPs in the history of Canada, in this election.

Journal: What would you consider a successful outcome of this election?

Jim Harris: We’re going to win seats in this election. When you do the math on the polling numbers from the Globe, six per cent is over 800,000 Canadians [that] have already made the decision to vote for a secure future for their children and their grandchildren. But that is just the tip of the iceberg. Underneath that, we’ve never had such high discontent with all the traditional old-line parties. Research from Decima this summer shows that in addition to the number that have already decided to vote Green, 34 per cent of Canadians are now considering it. … At a time when we’re seeing a huge numbers of undecided voters, and huge numbers of [voters] not comfortable with any old-line party, this is the perfect storm for the Green party to break through.

Journal: It seems there is a broad-ranging spectrum of people who are supporting the Green party. You present a platform of ecological activism that at the same time is fiscally conservative. How do you reconcile seemingly contrasting political ideologies in one party?

Jim Harris: We talk about being fiscally prudent or fiscally responsible. I’ll give you an example. This past year the Liberals gave $1.4 billion in subsidies to oil and gas companies, and this is during a time when they’re making the highest profit in their existence. So we say we don’t think this is a fiscally responsible use of our precious tax dollars. Why are we subsidizing the most profitable companies in Canada?

Because we believe in balanced budgets, every dollar we spend in one area is a dollar that can’t be spent in another area. So that $1.4 billion is stealing precious resources that we can’t invest in education, because our students are graduating with the highest debt loads in the history of Canada.

To address childhood poverty, over 1.2 million children live in poverty today, some four million Canadians can’t guarantee that they will be able to buy food by the end of the month. They are poor, they need our help.

The oil and gas companies are rich beyond their wildest dreams. Why are we giving our precious resources to them? We can’t invest as much money in health care or social housing, because we’re subsidizing the rich companies in Canada. So we don’t consider it socially responsible.

Finally, we’re literally subsidizing global climate change: for every dollar the Liberals proposed to spend on Kyoto, they’ve spent subsidizing oil and gas companies. When you look at over last 30 years, it’s $40 billion that’s given to oil and gas companies. When you look at our total national debt, it’s only $500 billion. Almost 10 per cent of our national debt has come from subsidising oil and gas companies.

I just want to point out how we are fundamentally different from other parties: the Conservative party would keep up the subsidies because they’re an Albertan-based party, beholden to oil and gas interests. The NDP supported giving Ford $100 million and GM $200 million in the past 18 months, why? Because it was unionized jobs, CAW jobs. So we wouldn’t be supporting the two car companies that have the highest CO2 emissions on average, that produce gas guzzling vehicles and have bet their entire future on gas guzzlers. … I think that union workers would be just as happy building hybrids, in fact happier. Why don’t we produce any hybrids right here, right now in Canada?

Journal: Your party seems to strike a special chord with young voters, such as university students. Why do you think your party has this appeal? Is the youth vote crucial to your campaign?

Jim Harris: Absolutely. The student vote is absolutely crucial, and yes, the Green party has a higher percentage of [youth] support amongst our support overall than any other party in Canada. The Green party is the party of the future and for the future. And so, Sheila Copps, the former deputy prime minister of Canada, admitted to me that her daughter ran for high school election in her mock election, and won her seat, as a Green. And Hugh Segal, who is one of the backroom strategists for the Conservatives, admitted to me that his daughter voted Green. And Diane Francis, who is the editor at large of the Financial Post interviewed me, because her daughter voted Green. And Doris Anderson, who’s a former Liberal candidate, former editor of Chatelaine magazine, a prominent feminist and journalist, over dinner told me that her son not only voted Green, not only campaigns for the Green party, but belongs to the Green party.

And so while the who’s who of Canada may have belonged at one time, or worked for, or been elected by the only two parties that have traditionally governed Canada, their sons, their daughters are firmly focused on the Green party. Because we’re the party of the future and for the future.

Journal: What does the Green party have to offer university students, in particular?

Jim Harris: We have to invest in our education system. It’s alarming to me that if you’re coming out in meds or engineering, you can have a six-figure debt. If you’re going in arts—just even arts—it’s over $25,000, the average debt. We have to work to help our students, instead of giving handouts to the richest companies in Canada. So we would invest in supporting education. There are three legs to the education stool: there’s core funding, which affects tuition levels. There’s bursaries and grants, to students who need help, and then there’s debt remediation. We’ve focused on investing in all three.

Journal: Many students studying at university face the unusual predicament of having the option to vote in either of two ridings. If voting Green, how would you suggest a student act in order to maximize the impact of his or her vote?

Jim Harris: I would suggest that you all vote where your university is, because that would concentrate the vote and it will send a very clear-cut message to all the old- line parties: that if they want to remain relevant, they have to focus on the issues that we are talking about. So concentrate your vote to force the old-line parties to address these issues.

It’s not good enough for us to just talk about these issues, as Marshall McLuhan said, the medium is the message. So don’t just talk about it, show me. So we decided, to make the point—if you look at the average MP, he’s 55, white and male, not that there’s anything wrong with that, as Jerry Seinfeld would say. But it’s just not representative of our society. So we’ve said that 25 per cent of our candidates should be under 30 years old, and we’ve achieved that. So we’re not just talking about different issues, we’re representing different kinds of candidates. We can’t just talk about being the party of and for the future, we have to be the party of and for the future.

It’s completely understandable why young people don’t vote, because when they look or listen to the televised leaders’ debate, the issues aren’t being discussed. Why? Well, our voice was excluded. We are the party that has the highest percentage of the youth vote. And yet our voice was excluded. Ever wonder why the environment doesn’t come up? Every wonder why education doesn’t come up? Ever wonder why childhood asthma isn’t mentioned? Ever wonder why there is not a profound discussion about opposition to Iraq, opposition to ballistic missile defence system? All these issues are our issues.

Journal: There have been allegations raised that you didn’t declare the expenses you incurred for the 2004 party leadership. How have these allegations affected the morale of the party during the campaign?

Jim Harris: Not at all. The allegations were made by a former employee who was fired with cause, they’re completely factless and baseless, with one tiny exception of less than $200 of phone calls that due to omission weren’t declared and we’re filing an amended return. But we’ve provided 56 pages of documentation to Elections Canada refuting over 90 per cent of his allegations.

Journal: Anything else you’d like to add?

Jim Harris: We’re going to have another election in 18 months. There’s going to be another minority government. For this reason, you have to vote with your heart in this election. Because it’s going to be a minority, you don’t have to vote against the party you loathe, or against the party you fear, you can vote with your heart to force every old-line party to address these issues.

When you vote strategically, you first identify the party you most loathe, or most fear, and then you try to figure out who has the best chance of beating them. But if you identify the party you loathe, you might have to vote for the party you fear to avoid the one you loathe. Or if you identify first the one you fear, you might have to vote for the one you loathe to avoid the one you fear. And if you vote for bad government to avoid worse government, the bad news is you’re left with bad government. It’s only when you vote for something that we’ll get the government that we want.

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Students Get Chance to Question Candidates

I wanted to let everyone know about this forum that is taking place tomorrow night. As far as I know, only myself and Mike Kehoe (NDP) are attending which, certainly shows something about the other two parties. I'm sure they're busy and all but...
Anyway, should be an interesting forum considering our parties are so similar in policies. Plus, I think Mike is a great man (only met him once, mind you) and an excellent choice for a candidate. It's too bad some NDP candidates in the past went against their own environmental polices and subsidies operations like clear cutting in BC or supported giving gas guzzling car manufactures like GM and Ford instead of calling for these factories to build hybrid cars. The NDP are great if they stick to what they believe in.

But, I digress. Here's the article about the forum tomorrow night which was written for the MUN Gazette. A special thanks goes out to Alex Marland for setting this up!

Town hall meeting on federal election
By Leslie Vryenhoek
The Gazette, Jan 12 2006, page 1

Memorial students will have a chance to ask the questions that matter most to them in this federal election when the Political Science Department hosts a town hall next week.

Candidates running in St. John's East have been invited to attend the forum, part of the third-year course Parties and Elections in Canada.

Alex Marland, the course instructor who conceived the town hall, said the timing of the election offered a chance to give his students first-hand experience with electoral campaigning.

"For many, this is their first exposure to a federal campaign. They feel very removed from the process," Mr. Marland noted, adding that the language politicians use and the things they talk about are not always relevant to youth. "When students listen to election campaigning, they tend to feel that people are talking over them, not talking to them. There are not a lot of young politicians, or even politicians who really talk to students."

Students typically have a particular interest in certain issues ­ for example, the cost of post-secondary education, the job market and employment issues ­ but Mr. Marland said it's the mechanics of voting that seem to raise the biggest questions.

"In my experience they have a complete lack of awareness. They're saying 'I don't know where to go to vote.' They have no idea how to go about it, no idea about the registration list."

While Elections Canada declined to send a representative to the town hall, they will have a community relations officer on campus to help answer those nuts and bolts questions.

In addition to students enrolled in his course, Mr. Marland is inviting all interested students to attend the event on Thursday, Jan. 19 from 5:30 to 6:55 p.m. in the Science Building, room SN-2036. He also hopes media will cover the event, so students can see first-hand how journalists and politicians interact.

Should be interesting. Check it out!

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Encouraging Letter

I wanted to pass along this encouraging letter that was sent by a Green Supporter from Ontario, now living in the US.

K á n o w a k e': r o n - M o h a w k - T u r t l e C l a n

S i x N a t i o n s o f t h e G r a n d R i v e r


Hi Stephen!

I'm Kanowakeron of The Native Canadian website and I ran across your website from my site statistics; one of your GP graphics links to my website. That's fine with me... always willing to help out a fellow Green if I'm able.

Some background: 51-year old dual-citizen (CDN/US) Status Mohawk of the Six Nations of the Grand River reserve near Hamilton Ontario, living in the Rochester New York area and a voter in both Canada and the States (registered Green here in the Upstate NY bastion of conservative Republicanism). I’m active in the United Empire Loyalists’ Association of Canada and have crossed the border on the average of once every ten days since 1983. My riding of Haldimand-Norfolk in Ontario should, in fact, be the Brant riding, but Elections Canada says otherwise.

No stranger to the GP scene in Ontario, I’ve had a number of email exchanges with Mike Nickerson (http://www.flora.org/sustain/) in the past as both he and I share a strong belief that the time has come for Proportional Representation in Parliament… as well as many other views, including Sustainability and Well-Being Measurement.

As an Ontarian, I’m aware of some perceptions that we tend to be a self-absorbed and self-centred lot, but may I say there are many of us who are keenly concerned with other parts of Canada. On a personal level, that concern extends to the Far North and Atlantic Canada. I supported Kevin McCann’s Fair Deal for Newfoundland and Labrador both personally and on my website, as it was patently clear who was being taken advantage of by the Federal government.

As a member of the First Nations, I’m also aware of the Native position that voting in a non-Native government’s election is viewed as consorting with the enemy, as it were. To that I respond, if one’s ‘enemy’ gives ammunition in the form of a vote, one would be foolish not to use it. If, as an Aboriginal, my life is to be controlled by a non-Native government, I at least want a say in who will be running that entity.

To that end, I enthusiastically support the Green Party positions and candidates in both Canada and the States as it has the most enlightened and respectful relationship with the First Nations of the major political parties. It’s my small way of fighting back against the forces which have historically run roughshod over the Aboriginal People of North America.

Due to health and economic issues, I’m unable to move to Canada… which is unfortunate given the present deplorable political, social and diplomatic climate of the States. As a proud Canadian, making the best of the situation is difficult considering the extremely dangerous path the Americans are following. Frankly, I’m less worried about the direction of the States than I am that of Canada. Any attempt by Canada to follow the Americans’ lead must be vigorously opposed which is reason enough to be extremely worried about the outcome of the election.

I just wanted to send you and Mark Brennan my best wishes and support for success in the upcoming election. Please feel free to share this with Mark and others as you see fit.

Together, as Canadians, we can make a difference.

Regards –

Dave Kanowakeron Hill Morrison U.E.
Turtle Clan Mohawk, Six Nations of the Grand River

It's refreshing to hear such uplifting comments. It keeps the legs movin', ya know?

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Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Sierra Club of Canada Ranks Greens #1

Sierra Club of Canada/Sierra Club du Canada
Press Release/Communiqué
January 16, 2006/le 16 janvier 2006

Sierra Club of Canada releases its analysis of Electoral Platforms

(Ottawa: January 16, 2006) - Sierra Club of Canada today released its analysis of the environment and sustainability commitments of the five major political parties.

"It must be said that it is unacceptable that party platforms are unavailable until less than two weeks before voting day," said Elizabeth May, Executive Director of the Sierra Club of Canada. "The Liberal and New Democratic platforms were released on January 11th, and the Conservative platform was unveiled on the 13th -- only ten days before the election." According to the Sierra Club of Canada, only the Bloc and the Green Parties released their platforms in a timely way to allow voters a chance to read and compare the party positions.

All the platforms were graded against a possible total of 75 points, augmented by a questionnaire, posted HERE, for a possible additional 28 points.

The commitment to the Kyoto Protocol is paramount, but was only one of many possible points to be allocated within a full breadth of environmental commitments.

Party scores were as follows: Green Party 97, NDP 91, Liberal 53, Bloc 46, and Conservative 31.

"The Green Party really improved its platform since the 2004 election, with a greater sophistication in its policy recommendations. For the first time, it has the strongest set of recommendations for environment and sustainability. The New Democratic Party is only slightly behind the Greens," noted Ms. May. "The Liberal Party platform is strong on Kyoto, eco-system restoration and national parks, but loses points for its continued booster-ism for tar sands expansion and the Mackenzie gas pipeline. The Bloc scores poorly as it is disinterested in policies for all of Canada, nor does it support a strong federal government -- an essential element in environmental protection in Canada."

The poorest set of environmental promises was those of the Conservative Party.

"We are very concerned that the Conservative Party, alone among all the major parties, is unprepared to commit to current Kyoto targets, to which Canada is bound under international law, nor to adopt longer term targets post 2012 within Kyoto," said John Bennett, Senior Policy Advisor on energy to the Sierra Club of Canada. "In the coming week, we hope Mr. Harper will be called upon to explain how much emphasis he will place on reducing greenhouse gases and what approach he will take to the upcoming global negotiations for deeper reduction targets, should his party form government."

Canada's role in the next round of negotiations is critical as Canada will, as a result of our role in hosting the Conference of the Parties in Montreal (November 28-December 9, 2005) continue as the head of the United Nations negotiation process until November 2006. The next negotiation session will be this spring in Bonn.


For more information contact:
Elizabeth May, 613-241-4611
John Bennett, 613-241-4611, 613-291-6888 (cell)

As a side note...

...I'd like to share this article posted here.

Environment in Crisis: 'We Are Past the Point of No Return'
Published on Monday, January 16, 2006 by the Independent / UK

Thirty years ago, the scientist James Lovelock worked out that the Earth possessed a planetary-scale control system which kept the environment fit for life. He called it Gaia, and the theory has become widely accepted. Now, he believes mankind's abuse of the environment is making that mechanism work against us. His astonishing conclusion - that climate change is already insoluble, and life on Earth will never be the same again.
by Michael McCarthy

The world has already passed the point of no return for climate change, and civilisation as we know it is now unlikely to survive, according to James Lovelock, the scientist and green guru who conceived the idea of Gaia - the Earth which keeps itself fit for life.

In a profoundly pessimistic new assessment, published in today's Independent, Professor Lovelock suggests that efforts to counter global warming cannot succeed, and that, in effect, it is already too late.

The world and human society face disaster to a worse extent, and on a faster timescale, than almost anybody realises, he believes. He writes: " Before this century is over, billions of us will die, and the few breeding pairs of people that survive will be in the Arctic where the climate remains tolerable."

In making such a statement, far gloomier than any yet made by a scientist of comparable international standing, Professor Lovelock accepts he is going out on a limb. But as the man who conceived the first wholly new way of looking at life on Earth since Charles Darwin, he feels his own analysis of what is happening leaves him no choice. He believes that it is the self-regulating mechanism of Gaia itself - increasingly accepted by other scientists worldwide, although they prefer to term it the Earth System - which, perversely, will ensure that the warming cannot be mastered.

This is because the system contains myriad feedback mechanisms which in the past have acted in concert to keep the Earth much cooler than it otherwise would be. Now, however, they will come together to amplify the warming being caused by human activities such as transport and industry through huge emissions of greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide (CO2 ).

It means that the harmful consequences of human beings damaging the living planet's ancient regulatory system will be non-linear - in other words, likely to accelerate uncontrollably.

He terms this phenomenon "The Revenge of Gaia" and examines it in detail in a new book with that title, to be published next month.

The uniqueness of the Lovelock viewpoint is that it is holistic, rather than reductionist. Although he is a committed supporter of current research into climate change, especially at Britain's Hadley Centre, he is not looking at individual facets of how the climate behaves, as other scientists inevitably are. Rather, he is looking at how the whole control system of the Earth behaves when put under stress.

Professor Lovelock, who conceived the idea of Gaia in the 1970s while examining the possibility of life on Mars for Nasa in the US, has been warning of the dangers of climate change since major concerns about it first began nearly 20 years ago.

He was one of a select group of scientists who gave an initial briefing on global warming to Margaret Thatcher's Cabinet at 10 Downing Street in April 1989.

His concerns have increased steadily since then, as evidence of a warming climate has mounted. For example, he shared the alarm of many scientists at the news last September that the ice covering the Arctic Ocean is now melting so fast that in 2005 it reached a historic low point.

Two years ago he sparked a major controversy with an article in The Independent calling on environmentalists to drop their long-standing opposition to nuclear power, which does not produce the greenhouses gases of conventional power stations.

Global warming was proceeding so fast that only a major expansion of nuclear power could bring it under control, he said. Most of the Green movement roundly rejected his call, and does so still.

Now his concerns have reached a peak - and have a new emphasis. Rather than calling for further ways of countering climate change, he is calling on governments in Britain and elsewhere to begin large-scale preparations for surviving what he now sees as inevitable - in his own phrase today, "a hell of a climate", likely to be in Europe up to 8C hotter than it is today.

In his book's concluding chapter, he writes: "What should a sensible European government be doing now? I think we have little option but to prepare for the worst, and assume that we have passed the threshold."

And in today's Independent he writes: "We will do our best to survive, but sadly I cannot see the United States or the emerging economies of China and India cutting back in time, and they are the main source of [CO2] emissions. The worst will happen ..."

He goes on: "We have to keep in mind the awesome pace of change and realise how little time is left to act, and then each community and nation must find the best use of the resources they have to sustain civilisation for as long as they can." He believes that the world's governments should plan to secure energy and food supplies in the global hothouse, and defences against the expected rise in sea levels. The scientist's vision of what human society may ultimately be reduced to through climate change is " a broken rabble led by brutal warlords."

Professor Lovelock draws attention to one aspect of the warming threat in particular, which is that the expected temperature rise is currently being held back artificially by a global aerosol - a layer of dust in the atmosphere right around the planet's northern hemisphere - which is the product of the world's industry.

This shields us from some of the sun's radiation in a phenomenon which is known as "global dimming" and is thought to be holding the global temperature down by several degrees. But with a severe industrial downturn, the aerosol could fall out of the atmosphere in a very short time, and the global temperature could take a sudden enormous leap upwards.

One of the most striking ideas in his book is that of "a guidebook for global warming survivors" aimed at the humans who would still be struggling to exist after a total societal collapse.

Written, not in electronic form, but "on durable paper with long-lasting print", it would contain the basic accumulated scientific knowledge of humanity, much of it utterly taken for granted by us now, but originally won only after a hard struggle - such as our place in the solar system, or the fact that bacteria and viruses cause infectious diseases.

Rough guide to a planet in jeopardy

Global warming, caused principally by the large-scale emissions of industrial gases such as carbon dioxide (CO2), is almost certainly the greatest threat that mankind has ever faced, because it puts a question mark over the very habitability of the Earth.

Over the coming decades soaring temperatures will mean agriculture may become unviable over huge areas of the world where people are already poor and hungry; water supplies for millions or even billions may fail. Rising sea levels will destroy substantial coastal areas in low-lying countries such as Bangladesh, at the very moment when their populations are mushrooming. Numberless environmental refugees will overwhelm the capacity of any agency, or indeed any country, to cope, while modern urban infrastructure will face devastation from powerful extreme weather events, such as Hurricane Katrina which hit New Orleans last summer.

The international community accepts the reality of global warming, supported by the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. In its last report, in 2001, the IPCC said global average temperatures were likely to rise by up to 5.8C by 2100. In high latitudes, such as Britain, the rise is likely to be much higher, perhaps 8C. The warming seems to be proceeding faster than anticipated and in the IPCC's next report, 2007, the timescale may be shortened. Yet there still remains an assumption that climate change is controllable, if CO2 emissions can be curbed. Lovelock is warning: think again.

© 2006 Independent News and Media Limited

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