Saturday, January 07, 2006

Thinking Green, Being Green, Talking Green


It's been a busy week for this Green Candidate, overwhelmingly so in fact. Running a campaign is pretty tough, as I'm sure everyone can understand but it's doubly tough when you're doing most of the work yourself. But that's okay; I'm fine with being one man on a mission to spread a message that everyone at least needs to hear. It's important to Newfoundland and Labrador, to our society, to our human race that others hear what we have to say. I recognize that importance and it's becoming more and more evident that if people like me don't run one person campaigns there is no hope for multi people campaigns in the future

So, I forge ahead. I push on. I reach out to all those people who have that Green side hidden deep below the surface and in time, that inner sanctuary of Green will be released making the world a better place.

If you're ready to release that inner Green now. If you're ready to start thinking Green, Being Green and Talking Green then the first thing you can do post a comment. Say hello. Reply to any post in the Blog or use the tag-board to the right.

Then, forward this blog address to everyone in your contact list. Let everyone know that we exist and to at least Know Green.

Third (well, you can do any of these things in any order you choose, of course) email me (sharris@greenparty.ca) or call me (709) 727-2697. Let's discuss what's on your mind and me on mine. This'll hopefully inspire you to Talk Green yourself. Perhaps, you'll even be inspired to help further and volunteer because seriously, when you Understand Green you'll Be Green.

St. John's East Candidates Forum


The City of St. John's is holding a forum for all Candidates in the St. John's East riding on Tuesday, Jan 10th starting at 7:30 pm. This will be held in the St. John's Convention Center located across from Mile One, downtown St. John's

Attending the forum will be Paul Antle (Liberal Party of Canada), Norman Doyle (Conservative Party of Canada), Mike Kehoe (New Democratic Party) and myself, Stephen Eli Harris (Green Party of Canada).

The forum is open to the public and I encourage everyone to take part. This is one major opportunity to see where the Candidates stand on many issues. I for one am extremely excited (and doubly nervous with this being my first forum) to have the opportunity to spread the Green message to a wide audience and to show that the Green Party is not a joke as I heard one Newfoundland man refer to us as in a News segment a couple nights ago.

Please, make available this day and join us for this forum.

Friday, January 06, 2006

Another NTV News Spot

NTV aired a segment last night that dealt with the Avalon riding (Shannon Hillier is the Greens Candidate), profiling each candidate and some of their main issues. The segment was quite lovely because Shannon Hillier was able to talk about something other than the Seal hunt, for the first time in our local news.

Michael Conners created the piece and has also written up an article for their website: http://www.ntv.ca

All eyes on federal race in Avalon
by Michael Connors
January 5, 2006
It will be the race to watch on election night. With John Efford in retirement, the riding of Avalon will be electing a new MP on Jan. 23, and it's a seat that all of the parties would dearly love to win. Bill Morrow now carries the Liberal flag. He says he won't try to fill Efford's shoes, rather he'll bring his own experiences as a lawyer in Bay Roberts to the table if he wins the election. Avalon is the most interesting of the new ridings created in the province after the last census. North of the Trans-Canada Highway used to belong to the Liberal stronghold of Bonavista-Trinity-Conception; south of the highway used to belong to the Tory stronghold of St. JohnĂ‚’s West. So the winner may come down to which side does a better job of getting its vote out to the polls. Former MHA Fabian Manning is running for the Conservatives. He was kicked out of the provincial Tory caucus earlier this year for speaking out against the governmentĂ‚’s controversial plan for raw material sharing in the crab industry. It was a move that made Manning very popular with fishermen and vaulted him into federal politics. He promises to do more of the same if elected to represent Avalon. Trying to break the Liberal and Tory dominance are the New Democrats and the Green Party. Eugene Conway of Harbour Main is running for the NDP. If elected, he says he will use his vote in the Commons as a bargaining chip for provincial interests with whatever minority government emerges. Shannon Hillier is one of three locally based candidates running for the Greens in the province. For her, the top issue in Avalon is waste management and encouraging more people to recycle. The Liberals and Conservatives remain tied in national polls and the gap between them is closing in Ontario. That means on election night, all parties will be looking at the early returns from Avalon and wondering if they'’re a sign of things to come.

Thursday, January 05, 2006

My Own Positon on the Seal Hunt, by Mark Brennan

My own position on the seal hunt.
Well I may as well wade into this endless issue to clear the air. My own position on the seal hunt it this. Firstly, I appreciate that Newfoundlanders have traditionally hunted seals for well over a hundred years. I realise it is a huge part of the culture. Lets get one thing out of the way. I hunt, yes kill, for food. And I fish for food also. So you could say that I am not opposed to the killing of wild animals for food purposes. My wife’s family have been farmers for more than six generations here in Nova Scotia, and I worked on a Scottish sheep farm as a young lad of 14. I have raised pigs and chickens and butchered them myself also. So do I oppose the killing of seals? There are two answers to this question. On the grounds of killing seals for food, I am absolutely not against this. Some killing is needed for any of us to live. Animal rights groups would perhaps have a different argument here.

Now I am not going to pretend I don’t get emotional when I watch an animal die. Of course I do. But I try to maintain a close relationship to nature so that I always feel a sadness when I kill for food. Feeling this closeness helps me to understand that I am also a part of this incredible planet and I should indeed also help protect it.

On the issue of industrial sealing. Yes I am opposed to the killing of thousands of Seals to be sold in foreign markets. Seals are marine mammals and are a vital part of the marine eco-system world wide. The fishery off Newfoundland and Nova Scotia is in serious decline through the introduction of huge draggers and over fishing. It is time to begin to at least attempt to re-establish these healthy eco-systems to ensure future integrity. This would mean an end to the commercial seal hunt as well as other steps like establishing large marine protected areas.
I have spent some time with Newfoundlanders who have family that have been in the annual seal hunt for years. I respect them and have been a ‘patron’ of their kindness on more than one occasion. So for me it’s not so much an emotional issue. Snowshoe Hares are ripped apart daily by Great Horned Owls, Elk are killed by Wolves, and that is my argument. I am interested in preserving this natural balance. In ensuring that all these predator/prey relationships continue for thousands more years. Instead in these times we are slowly seeing the demise of the oceans species. From the Great Whales to the Turtles and countless other species, all are declining because of humans. What I oppose is humans seeing ‘wild nature’ as a commodity to profit from. If this type of thinking continues we WILL fish the oceans to extinction. There will be no fish for any of us to catch, only a tiny remnant of a once thriving ocean.

We see declines in African mammals through the ‘bush meat’ trade, the Japanese fishermen kill thousands of Dolphins each year and Norway and Japan are hell bent on a continuation of whaling. Thousands of sea birds and Sharks are killed by drift nets, the Nova Scotian mainland Moose is now endangered, in 100 years the Polar Bear will be gone, the list goes on and on. What kind of planet are we leaving behind? It’s time for all of us to change our relationship to the earth, to understand that there really are no jobs on a dead planet.

Mark Brennan the Candidate running in Random Burin St Georges.

Hello all, I'll start by posting my bio to introduce myself:

Mark Brennan is 37 years old and was raised on the rugged West Coast of Scotland. He moved to the Maritimes almost 20 years ago. Mark served five years in the Royal Navy at sea, with much of his time spent in peace keeping duties in the Gulf, Atlantic Ocean and the Arctic. He has been busy in his local Maritime community of White Hill, Nova Scotia as a past volunteer fire fighter, soccer coach and as an important voice for the environment.

Mark is a landscape painter and healthcare worker in the town of New Glasgow. He has been married to Lucy for 17 years and they have one daughter, Season - age 8. They live in a very rural area of Nova Scotia on an old homestead farm that has been in the family for six generations and farmed for almost as long.

Mark's strong belief that the protection and well-being of the planet should be a focal point for humans has led him to run in Random-Burin-St. George's during this election. At home, he has been involved in many forestry campaigns and has also worked for new protected areas in Nova Scotia. His main focus has been to oppose clear-cutting and the industrial spraying of chemicals on the forests. His community recently fought a battle to stop an industrial pulp mill from spraying the forests in their area.

Mark has traveled to Newfoundland to paint it's rugged beauty and feels a close connection to the Island, especially after two visits to Beaumont Hamel memorial battlefield, in the Somme area of France. This is the area where so many young Newfoundlanders gave their lives for our freedom in the First World War. "I am a veteran myself and so are many members of my family. Remembrance is so very important to us, they gave us the freedom we have today and that is why I am running in this election. It is important to me that those who have a green conscience in the riding of Random - Burin - St. George's, can have a place to mark their vote on election day."

"I also realize that Random-Burin-St. George's has its problems and that some communities don't even have clean drinking water, this is unacceptable. Taking care of the planet also means taking care of its people. Certainly I am not expected to win, but by voting Green this election you can send a strong voice to the newly elected official that the well-being of the environment must become a priority instead of an afterthought."

CBC Segment



I know I've moved on but, I just discovered an article on the CBC website that was written in addition to the segment that aired two nights ago. It's just as well that I share it with you all... and then we'll move on again, shall we?

Source: http://www.cbc.ca/nl/story/nf_green_party_20060104.html

In N.L., it's not easy being Green
Last updated Jan 4 2006 04:20 PM NST
CBC News

The Green party has managed to field a full slate of candidates in Newfoundland and Labrador, but has had draw on out-of-province members to do it.

Five of the seven Green candidates in Newfoundland and Labrador live outside the province.

The Greens angered some supporters in Newfoundland and prompted the resignations of a key organizer and their candidate in Labrador riding by calling for abolition of the seal hunt.

Shannon Hillier, who is carrying the Green banner in Avalon riding, admits the party's stand against the seal hunt is an obstacle - at least in Newfoundland and Labrador.

"Basically, it's an Ottawa decision," she said.

"No matter what government you're dealing with, I don't think they really understand, or their decisions reflect what's going on in Newfoundland," she said.

Lori-Ann Martino, who ran for the Greens in 2004, said she could not endorse the party's stand on sealing.

"I think any Newfoundlander would look straight at [that] and be able to see that this party does not represent them," Martino said.

"That's when I realized that this was strategic, and I was just a tool in a bigger political machine that was mostly aimed at Upper Canadians."

Jane McGillivray, a medical doctor who won the party's nomination in Labrador riding, quit her candidacy over the sealing issue.

The Green party says the sealing policy, which holds that the industry is not sustainable, was adopted by 93 per cent of delegates who attended a recent meeting.

Stephen Harris, the Green candidate in St. John's East, is sticking with the party, and supports the platform.

He admits the policy has kept potential supporters away.

"It's already hurt," he said.

"I'm going to fight to make sure everybody knows there's more than just the seal hunt on their platform."

Only Hillier and Harris will actually be campaigning for the Greens in the province.

They said a full slate helps give the party more credibility, and every vote for the party brings $1.79 in federal funding that can be used to promote the Greens' environmental agenda.

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Green Party 2006 Platform

I haven't really had the chance to fully promote the ever expanding platform that the Green Party has this time around, so I'll do so now. Hopefully, this'll help move the minds away from the seal hunt and into big issues that concern our province, country and planet.

When it was released this past Monday, many were surprised to know that we've expanded beyond the traditional environmental issues and into other equally as important issues, of course all of it striving for a better way of life for all Canadians. The Green Party has been founded on 6 principles (Ecological Wisdom, Social Justice, Non-Violence, Participatory Democracy, Sustainability and Respect for diversity) and the new platform clearly promotes each.

Much of the media as of late has been focusing on our stance of how we believe the election process should be handled, which of course is a more proportional representation of government. In fact, the Globe and Mail website right now has a poll on their front page asking it's viewers their opinion on this very topic (http://www.theglobeandmail.com is the address if you want to voice your opinion. It's on the right hand side).

To clarify, a Proportional represented government would be a move away from traditional way of electing individuals whereby the majority wins in each riding to a equal way of representing parties. This is achieved by electing seats based on the total number of votes. For example, last election the Green Party had 4.4% of the popular vote. If we had a Proportionally represented system that would mean they would get 4.4% of the seats, which makes absolute sense. At least the nearly 600 000 people that voted for the Green Party last time around would now have representation at the highest level. It's a fair way to do things and it makes sense to me to use it.

That's only one issue however and we have a vision for much more than that. Below is the key topics found in the Green Party Platform

The Green Party vision
Phew. That took more time than I thought it would but, at least it's done and you all now have a easy way to view the platform... which I encourage you to do.

Go on, do it!

Let's move on shall we?

The internet is a wonderful thing to happen to politics, it really is. Sites like these are very valuable to a candidate as it gives them a chance to respond to any media that has been released. As we all know, the media tends to bend things to suit their own needs. All for the sake of the story right?

Where am I going with this? Remember that interview with CBC yesterday? Well, it aired last night and of course, it was nothing like how I thought it was going to turn out. I know how these things work but, it's still frustrating to know that you can talk about everything under the sun for 15 minutes to only have a 3 second clip used. In this case, the clip used (in fact the entire piece) made us (yes, us. I had no idea others were interviewed, including an ex Green supporter who supposidly left because of Jim's stand on the seal hunt... when, from what I know, actually left to have her second baby) sound like we're against the leader or the party, when in fact we are not. Just because a candidate does not agree with one of the parties polices doesn't mean they aren't loyal Greens. This is what a democracy is; it's about finding common ground between two (or more) opposing ideals... even within a political party.

The main focus of the piece was about the Seal hunt, of course. I'm not really surprised though. I mean, it's the only thing most of the people in this province know (or care) about the Green Party. This is why I was so excited after the interview was completed; we actually talked about much more than that issue. I was hoping that we'd finally get some other topics out there and a maybe a showing of how passionate we are about our party and it's place in our wonderful Province. But we didn't, not this time.

It's okay though. It really is. This'll only push me harder to reach as many people as possible and let them know that we extend far beyond the seal hunt. The people of Newfoundland and Labrador deserve to know the full extent of the Green Party platform so that they can make the most educated decision on the 23rd... so that they can make the right decision on election day.

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Lucky 7

Well, I don't know how lucky the number 7 is but it certainly is a significant number when it comes to Newfoundland and Labrador during election time. For those that don't know, we have 7 ridings in the province and luckily, the Green Party has one in each... Albeit, some are not from this province. In fact, there are only 2 from the province and while some may look down on that, I still look at the positive; at least people have the opportunity to vote green if they so wish. Without the candidate in place, that wouldn't be possible.

This is the list of candidacy, with as much contact info as I have right now. This will be updated as more info is available or you can keep checking the Green Party website

Newfoundland and Labrador - Terre-Neuve et Labrador

AvalonShannon S Hillier E-mail 709-726-4569
Bonavista - Gander - Grand Falls - WindsorJudy Davis
902-657-3371
Humber - St. Barbe - Baie VerteMartin Hanzalek
709-686-2222
LabradorGail Zwicker

Random - Burin - St. George'sMark Brennan E-mail 902-396 4397
St. John's East - St. John's-EstStephen Eli Harris E-mail 709-727-2697
St. John's South - Mount PearlBarry Crozier


Also, I'm working on getting each and every one of these Green guys and gals on this blog so that they are able to leave their marks online and further spread their own beliefs. Keep an eye out for that.

Other News



I've just completed an interview with the lovely Deanne Fleet from CBC which should air tonight at 6:00pm in Newfoundland. I personally thought that it went well though, one never knows how it turns out until it's aired. Some of the topics discussed were the sealing issue (of course), candidates from outside the province and the importance of getting votes (money wise), among other things.

Check it out; 6pm Newfoundland (half hour earlier in Labrador) on CBC.

Monday, January 02, 2006

Volunteers are Valuable

Every good thing needs help in making it better. The Green Party's, my, campaign is no exception to this rule. In order for me to open minds and spread the word that things need to change now in order to preserve our future, other like minded folks need to assemble and make this awakening happen.

Here' in St. John's East there are 66, 354 electors (adjusted to 70, 027 for the national average) eligible to vote. At this time, I'm basically reaching out to those people by myself. Sure, I have a couple of wonderful friends who support me, one of whom (Dave Brinston) is kind enough to drive me around the city putting up signs (By the way, I really love that I have our wonderful little green signs placed next to huge wooden billboards type signs that the other parties have here. That alone makes a point) and he's not even a Green supporter at heart... though I'm doing my damndest (can I say that word?) to open him up further to the world and hopefully sway him to vote Green.

So, here's my call to you. Do you believe in a future that has clean air, water and soil for your children and their children? Do you believe in heath, not just health care? Do you want a government that accountable for it's actions? Do you have a drive to make the future you want happen actually happen? If so, please contact me at anytime either by calling (709-727-2697), by email (stepheneliharris@gmail.com) or by using this handy form found on the Green Party website.

Someday is now. Vote Green, Talk Green, Be Green!

Stephen Harris
GPC Candidate - St. John's East

P.S. Leader Jim Harris announced the Green's Platform today and it is now available for download at the Green Party Website or by clicking HERE. (It's in PDF format)

Sunday, January 01, 2006

Happy New Year

Well, it's January 1st and a new year has rolled on in. With 2005 come and gone, we now have 2006 to set new goals, make new wishes and fulfill resolutions and I want to take this time to wish you all the best in these endeavors as the new year rolls on.

Isn't it strange to be entering the latter half of the decade? It only seems like yesterday the clocks rolled over to a new millennium. Time moves so quickly, days passing like minutes and years like days. It makes you wonder what exactly we're celebrating yearly as the clock approaches January 1st.

For me, during this time each year, it's impossible not to realize how fast the future is approaching and that deep sickening feeling sets in; That feeling that the future we're heading for is not one I'll be celebrating every year as I do now. With the path we're living now being so destructive, it's hard to imagine a future whereby there's anything left to celebrate.... unless of course we change direction.

In 23 days, all Canadians have a chance to vote on how they want their future to be. A choice will be made on whether we continue down our current path of destruction or change direction and take a new path into the future. With the Green Party being the only Party talking about the future beyond 5 years, the choice seems easy to me; take a new path, find a better future, vote Green.

January 23th, 2006, the choice yours. Let you voice be heard!