January 20 at 7:00 pm
At the Harmony Centre, 890 4th Ave East Owen Sound
John English in this event speaks with Michael Valpy, journalist and past columnist for the Globe. John English is the author of the biography of Pierre Trudeau is actually two volumes:
1. Citizen of the World: The Life of Pierre Elliott Trudeau, Volume One: 1919-1968
2. Just Watch Me: The Life of Pierre Elliott Trudeau Vol. 2 1968-2000
They were published in 2006 and 2009 respectively. A biography for Mr English can be found at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_English_(Canadian_politician).
As our previous eBulletin stated, he is in conversation with journalist and author Michael Valpy at the Harmony Centre in Owen Sound, Friday January 20th at 7:00 pm. The topic will be ‘Sleeping with an Elephant’, a discussion of what a Trump America will mean for Canada.
A short biography for Mr Valpy is at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Michael_Valpy.
and Mail. The discussion will concern Canada’s role in a Trump world. This is an initiative of the BGOS Liberals and we applaud them for hosting this opportunity for public discussion of an important political concern.
January 13 at 10:00 am
At Lee Manor (large meeting room), 875 6th Street East Owen Sound
This will be a discussion of a Basic Income Guarantee (BIG) an old idea that is gaining traction as more and more people fall under the poverty line due to our precarious economy. Ontario is asking for comments on BIG by January 31st. This meeting will likely help determine what several agencies in Grey Bruce will say to Ontario.
Our principle concern is that, without first legislating a living wage, employers will use a BIG as a wage subsidy.
More information is available here:
On the 1974 pilot in Dauphin Manitoba: http://www.filmsforaction.org/articles/the-town-where-everyone-got-free-money/
On the proposed pilot project in Ontario: https://www.ontario.ca/page/basic-income-pilot-consultation
The Liberals’ budget allocation of $2.3 billion over 2 years for affordable housing comes at a crucial time – when most municipalities housing budgets are stretched to breaking and still the demand for affordable housing increases.
The “What We Heard” report states “A National Housing Strategy will align the efforts and resources of all players – governments, stakeholders in the private and non-profit sectors and others – toward improving housing outcomes for all Canadians.” “Stakeholders” seems to refer to the government, the private sector and the not for profit sector. Are the people who need housing lumped with “others”? If so, then the Government has muted an important voice in a National Strategy – the people who need affordable housing.
The focus on rental solutions is concerning because renting tends to keep people reliant on subsidies and does not help them build up equity they can then leverage. (Ironically, CMHC got its start by building small single family houses for WW2 vets.) We, in our submission to the Government’s consultation insisted that home ownership be part of the mix of solutions.
There are some encouraging statements implying that the government heard some good ideas …
There were other good ideas too, such as building more environmentally sustainable housing; changing building codes and zoning bylaws to allow increased densification; and allow for mixed use zoning and modifications to existing homes.
Some of what the government heard implies that the public is unaware of the push of some provinces, like Ontario, to build homes that are much more energy efficient. Ontario is committed to increasing the energy efficiency of new homes by 15% every 6 years with the goal of requiring net zero houses by 2030.
Affordable housing is an essential, but not isolated, social good. The need remains for legislation to equate the minimum wage to a living wage. It’s unfortunate the federal Government has decided against doing that for workers (such as bank employees) in sectors that fall under its jurisdiction.
The tendency of governments today to privatize utilities (eg, Hydro One in Ontario) drastically increases shelter expenses for all citizens. The people who pay the most as a result of privatization policies (especially the Hydro One decision) are those in rural communities such as Bruce-Grey-Owen Sound.
New NDP Director Robert Fox a breath of much needed fresh air By Gord Lawson (Provincial and SW Council Rep)
I attended the last Provincial Council for the Ontario NDP. As the second day rolled around I was feeling somewhat frustrated with what seemed to be a lack of what a gentleman at the ON NDP’s Southwest Council meeting referred to as the “Bigger Story.” It was part of a question he put to Andrea Horwath and he added that we had to learn from our defeat in the last federal election (and the last Provincial election too).
At Provincial Council, a speaker was introduced as the new national director of the NDP. His name was Robert Fox. As he began to speak, the usual chatter which often occurs around tables at a convention was going on, but not for long. Within a couple of minutes everyone in the room was silent and fully attentive.
This man, in a calm and direct way then proceeded to communicate with what I will call the healthier part of me and, I believe, most of the people in that hall. His message was compassionate, clear and direct, full of purpose and determination. It gave me hope. It made me realize that I was not alone in feeling the need for courage to face the task of reining in corporate power and reducing the harmful tendencies that have grown to be a subconsciously accepted part of our society.
As he spoke, I felt the enthusiasm and revitalization of many others in the room who I think may have been feeling some of the same discouragement that I had been feeling.
When he finished many got up and expressed their gratitude and one man his regret that Robert was not running for the leadership of the Party. I couldn't agree with him more. If you get the chance, read what he writes and listen to what he says. Perhaps it will give you the encouragement that I got to carry on trying to make this country a better place to live.
Payday loans. The Ontario liberals sought the public’s opinion on new regulations for payday loan companies. So we told them to scrap their minimum wage and legislate a living wage; and to authorize an institution to provide small, low interest loans. Our submission on payday loans is on our website. Just click here.
Under Ontario’s new Putting Consumers First Act the Province will deliver very weak changes to payday loan regulations. It will reduce interest charges on a $100-dollar loan by a whopping 3 points to 18% (from 21%) for a 14-day loan. They will also give you more time to pay it back and oblige you to wait longer before you can get another loan. This amounts to no real change at all and it gives the usury industry the colour of right. Neo-liberal incremental change doesn’t do the job.
It is vitally important to keep up the call for a living wage because, with the hint of a Basic Guaranteed Income (ON will start a pilot project soon), comes the temptation to let the government pay to eliminate poverty. In other words, BIG will become a public subsidy for private profit.
Electoral Reform. My submission had one main purpose: to prevent Mr Miller from claiming that everyone in this riding wanted to keep first past the post. That was the result he obtained from his own ‘consultation’ – a one-hour phone-in ‘town hall.’ No one on that call said they wanted change, but then no one with contrary opinions and who dialled in got a chance to speak. In two subsequent public meetings (one in Paisley and another in Owen Sound) all but one person said they did not want to keep first past the post. Most opted for proportional representation of some sort. You can view the submission to the federal government’s Committee on Electoral Reform on our website, or click here.
Karen Gventer (our Secretary) who was also waiting to be heard during Mr Miller’s ‘town hall’ wrote the media about that consultation which helped prompt a rather weak public response from the MP. Her letter was an important signal to the media that Mr Miller’s view does not always reflect his constituency. Letters to the editor help. The next time something outrages you, write a letter and send a copy to us at email@example.com.
Affordable Housing. We responded to another federal consultation, this one on the future of public housing. There are a lot of good people with a great deal of expertise among BGOS NDP members and we tapped a couple for this exercise. Jacquie Schwan is a former Executive Director of Supportive Housing for Toronto and then Grey-Bruce. Gord Lawson, a contractor and home builder in the Bruce Peninsula, has a passion for inexpensive, but environmentally sound housing. And myself, a former member of the Board of Directors for Main-Gerrard Co-op in Toronto.
We pooled our combined 70 years of housing experience to come up with 7 recommendations. In a nutshell we argued for sustained funding from all levels of government and that governments should build co-op housing in fairly dense areas (eg, Hanover, Owen Sound, Meaford) but small, energy-efficient single units in rural areas. You can access our 14-page submission from the www.gos-ndp.ca website or by clicking here.
Trans-Pacific Partnership. The federal government held a long public consultation on this trade agreement. Our submission to the House Committee on International Trade focussed on Chapters 18 and 26 of the TPP – Intellectual Property (IP) and Investor State Dispute Settlement provisions. We agree with Jim Balsillie, the creator of the Blackberry, that Canada is not prepared to take innovative ideas into an international marketplace. We also discovered that Canada has not fared well in trade disputes and we give some examples of that.
We are not anti-trade; but we do want to maintain Canadian sovereignty from the threat of corporate trade suits. And we do not see any real economic advantage in the TPP. Our conclusion:
Given that our manufacturing sector remains sluggish in spite of our low dollar and the US recovery, this pivot [from trade agreements to building our own innovative economy] becomes even more important if the current government wants to get its own population back into well-paying jobs.
The first step in this process would be to refuse to ratify the Trans-Pacific Partnership. The second step would be for the federal government to create an ecosystem in which Canadian innovation can mature and bear fruit.
Check out our evidence and reasoning by clicking here.
Review by Danuta Valleau
The Illustrated History of the Chippewas of Nawash is essentially a graphic novel, researched, written and drawn by Polly Keeshig-Tobias, a member of the Chippewas of Nawash.
Published in 1996 it is both artful and unique in its telling of a sequence of historical events beginning with the 1836 Treaty to the trial of two band members in 1992 for exceeding their quota of lake trout. This is a story of belonging to the land and losing it piece by piece through coercion, oppression and theft. The book ends with victory in the courts: Howard Jones and Francis Nadjiwon are acquitted and Ontario’s fisheries management regime is overthrown. Now the FNs are managing the commercial fishery – as they have for the past millennium or so.
Polly begins with two teens who come home from school with an assignment to write an essay on a person or event in Canadian history. Their grandmother suggests they do a paper on their Band, the Chippewas of Nawash Unceded First Nation, a history the two know nothing about since it’s not in their history books. The ask their Nokomis to tell it.
The 89-page book is well researched and the appendices provide the background to an engaging and troubling portrayal of the key events that led to the loss of tribal lands and economy (ie, the fishery). As each episode ends we return to Nokomis who starts another story.
We see how a growing population of settlers in the 19th Century wanted more land and how government agents moved to take over land and fisheries that only appeared to be unused. In reality, the land and the water had been managed intelligently for generations by indigenous peoples who knew from experience how to take care of the resources they depended on.
This history relates the stories of treaties written without the input of the chiefs; of Catherine Suttons and her fruitless journey to England to seek justice from Queen Victoria; of the 1992 vigil by band members on sacred burial grounds at 6th Ave in Owen Sound; of the loss of fishing rights to non-natives; and of the imposition of unjustified quotas that favoured the non-Native industry and discriminated against Nawash and Saugeen who had relied on fishing for their food and livelihood.
This publication is a good read. The illustrations are wonderfully executed and the information it contains remains current. As the late Dr. Basil Johnston said: “This book deserves to be in classrooms.”
Michael McLuhan, EDA President
This past month, I have been travelling about in Australia. It is frightening to see so many similarities with the situation in North America. The neoliberal agenda is alive and well here. There is also the Australia First Party, with a blatantly racist agenda. These movements are gaining traction everywhere. Unless we’re vigilant, it won’t be long for Canada to have one. The Liberal Party here is right wing; the Labour Party occupies the centre right. The Green Party has the left to itself. There is no equivalent to the NDP.
With Conservative radicals like Kellie Leitch running for that party’s leadership, it is a short walk down the garden path to a Canada First party – or a more radical Conservative Party. This is not alarmist. Trump’s victory has given the alt-right a new voice unopposed by the more moderate elements of the right. We must not allow intolerance to become normalized, or excused, or allow to go unchallenged. It is more important than ever to spread the NDP message.
So how are the Liberals doing in Canada? Here is a fun, useful nonpartisan website: https://www.trudeaumetre.ca/. It attempts to keep track of how they are living up to their pre-election swagger.
And you can see our collection of Liberal backsliding on twitter at #NBisSOB (New Boss is Same as the Old Boss – apologies to the Who).
On the climate portfolio, Don Martin of CTV news points to their commitment to climate change, especially now that the Liquid Natural Gas line, andthe Trans Mountain pipeline and Enbridge’s Line 3 approved in BC will swamp any gains Canada makes with the phase out of coal and a new carbon tax. Increasingly, it looks as though, contrary to Mr Trudeau’s balancing act between the economy and the environment, he will not be able to have his cake and eat it too.
Even the National Post (well Andrew Coyne at least) is starting to point at the gap between what the Liberals say and what they deliver.
One area of big concern is how they are squandering the opportunity to set things right with First Nations: failed consultations on development on treaty lands, disparity in education funding for kids, to name just two. More than a year after taking office, children are still being denied the educational resources that non-Native Canadians access everywhere. Mr Trudeau, that is not good enough. It is a continuation of the systemic racism fostered by the two ruling parties for over a century. Enough!
Thanks to Charlie Angus, these things are not falling off the table and rolling out of sight. I am pleased to hear that he might run for the NDP’s leadership.
On electoral reform, they say there is no consensus even though most of the submissions they’ve received favour proportional rep. A recent Angus Reid poll shows almost an even split between those who want to keep first past the post and those who want change; the change they want is prop rep. Now Minister Maryam Monsef is saying no reform until enough Canadians want it. Remember, the Liberals promised 2015 would be the last year for First Past the Post – they were elected, in part, on that promise. Is that not referendum enough? Citizens in Bruce-Grey-Owen Sound have held at least 4 public forums on electoral reform in the past year or so. At the two most recent forums, only one person said they wanted FPTP to continue.
And speaking of consultations, we have submitted 4 papers to Liberal governments in response to their calls for public consultation on payday loans, the need for public housing and on the Trans-Pacific Partnership. See below for details.
On Nov. 15th, some 200 people from Saugeen FN and Southampton met at the bridge over the Saugeen River to show solidarity with Standing Rock.
David McLaren and MaryAnn Wilhelm walked with them.
Finally, I just want to say I stand with Standing Rock. We have only a little time left to get off fossil fuels (about 17 years) before we pass a point of no return – when global warming goes into an unstoppable, self-perpetuating loop. The assembly of tribes from the US and First Nations from Canada in North Dakota might be the last wake-up call we’ll get. If you want to know what’s really going on (you won’t find the whole story in the mainstream media) here are some sites. Click on the names to get there:
PLEASE SHARE WIDELY !
Saugeen First Nation's organizing committee would like to invite you to a meeting with the Allies from Saugeen Shores and region to help organize the Unity Walk for Standing Rock.
It will be held at the Elder's Building: directions~from Southampton on Hwy 21, turn left on Kewageshig, go straight through the first stop sign, take the curve right, Health Centre is on your right, next building down is the Elder's Building. Park near the centre doors, and come in through the right set of the centre doors. When you enter, the gathering space is to your right (south) through the doors.
If the Southampton Presbyterian Church is ok with it, this would be the schedule. Allies will be welcome either at the walk from the Youth Centre or on the Southampton side, hopefully at the church hall.
Overview of schedule:
12pm Saugeen First Nation Youth Centre (Hwy 21 across from Amphitheatre): Pipe Ceremony
1pm Start walk to Southampton Bridge
1pm Meet at Southampton Presbyterian Church (on Hwy 21, by Lansdowne), walk to Bridge for 2
2pm Meet at Bridge (sidewalk, not on highway)
Prayer and song
Scubby’s Point: Water Ceremony
Buses to James Mason Memorial Centre: 47 French Bay Rd.
5pm Speeches and Education
Food & refreshments
Please let me know if you're able to attend, and feel free to invite other people you think would want to help organize. The meeting should be about an hour.
Saugeen is organizing a day of action for November 15th, 2016 to show our support to the Water Protectors at Standing Rock. We are in the planning stages and our show of support will be in the afternoon on the 15th (no time set yet). This will be a peaceful event to honour and support the Water Protectors on the front lines, who have remained peaceful throughout the last few months in spite of how they have been treated. It's very important that we follow their example of integrity, grace and commitment to peace.
We are also putting a call out to our young men (youth) to act as our Protectors (security) for the day of the event. We need our young Warriors to be involved in this important event. Please come out on Weds. Nov. 9th, so that we can help prepare you for this responsibility.
We are hoping for a great turn out from Saugeen Members as well as all other supporters in our area. This is definitely an issue that will affect all future generations. Water is Life!
As this is very short notice, please help spread the word!
Victoria Serda MaryAnn Wilhelm David McLaren Rachel Mason
Trick or Treaty?
Submission of the Bruce-Grey-Owen Sound NDP Electoral District Association to the Commons Standing Committee on International Trade regarding the Trans-Pacific Partnership
Authored by David McLaren
The Bruce-Grey-Owen Sound Electoral District Association of the New Democratic Party is responsible for nominating candidates for federal and Ontario elections and generally conducting the business of the Association in the riding. Currently, our principle concern is the poor state of the region’s economy, particularly the precarious work that constituents must accept now that manufacturing jobs have left the area. We have studied the impact of precarious work on constituents and note that it has significant adverse consequences for people’s health and their ability to participate in the economic and social life of their communities. This is a problem common to many rural communities in Canada. We have hopes that ‘retooling’ for an innovative economy will alleviate this situation; but we fear that the ratification of the Trans-Pacific Partnership will put that goal out of reach.
24 October 2016, for immediate release
The Bruce-Grey-Owen Sound (BGOS) NDP has submitted a paper on housing to the federal ‘Let’s Talk Housing’ consultations. In our submission we make a number of recommendations. The top three are:
· Secure, consistent and adequate Provincial and Federal Government funding is essential to build, maintain and spur innovations in affordable housing.
· Development of affordable housing must be mindful of whom the housing will serve and feature inclusive consultations.
· Development of affordable housing must also create communities that can become self-supporting and that include access to the job market.
The authors of the paper, Jacqueline Schwan, Gord Lawson and David McLaren, together, have some 70 years of direct experience in affordable housing. Ms Schwan was the Executive Director and Director of Supportive Housing in Toronto and, more recently, in Grey-Bruce. David McLaren served on the Board of the Main-Gerrard Co-op in Toronto, and Gord Lawson is still building and renovating houses in the Bruce Peninsula.
They pooled their expertise, took a look at best practices today (especially ways to build in energy conservation) and developed some principles from which to work that might help municipal planners.
In the report, David McLaren writes of his experiences at Main-Gerrard Co-op. “I saw people come in without many employable skills, serve time on the Board or on one of our committees and, as a consequence, secure employment. I saw single mothers able to take advantage of our day care services so they could look for work or just have some time to themselves. … I saw a woman develop the skills and courage to leave an abusive relationship and start a new life.”
Gord Lawson concluded that innovative, energy-efficient single family dwellings and townhouses might work best in the rural areas of Bruce-Grey for a number of reasons. However, current zoning bylaws in Grey Bruce take some innovative designs off the table.
Jacqueline Schwan noted that the long absence of the federal government from the funding of affordable housing has led to a housing crisis that neither the private sector nor municipalities have been able to deal with.
The report is an easy 14 pages to read. It can be accessed here: http://bit.ly/2eHRp1V.
For more information:
Gord Lawson (519) 379-7997, firstname.lastname@example.org.
David McLaren (519) 534-4107, email@example.com.
Michael McLuhan, President BGOS NDP (519) 378-4982, firstname.lastname@example.org.
How the Guiding Principles of the Electoral Reform Committee are Fulfilled by PR
The five ERRE principles The five guiding principles of the Electoral Reform Committee are included in the motion that created the Committee and that are included in its mandate.
1. Effectiveness and legitimacy,
2. Voter engagement,
3. Accessibility and inclusiveness,
4. Integrity, and
5. Local representation. Fair Vote Canada has no qualms about any of these principles, but would like to elaborate on them to help the committee and the voting public assess whether different reform proposals live up to Canadian values.
Electoral Reform Town Hall in Owen Sound
When: Wednesday October 26, 7 PM
Where: Harmony Centre, 890 4th Avenue E., Owen Sound
For the past four months, the all-party committee on electoral reform (ERRE) has heard from expert witnesses from Canada and around the world, travelled Canada holding public open mic sessions, and received hundreds of reports from MP town halls and citizen dialogues. ERRE is in the final days of witness testimony and over the next few weeks, they will be meeting to negotiate a recommendation for a new electoral system for Canada. This is the best chance in history to make every vote count.
Please show up to learn about and discuss electoral reform, and voice your support for a made-in-Canada system of proportional representation.
When: Wednesday October 26, 7 PM
Where: Harmony Centre, 890 4th Avenue E., Owen Sound
Although an overwhelming majority of experts at ERRE with an opinion on electoral reform so far (89/99) and the majority of citizen opinion during the consultations has been for proportional representation, the report MP Larry Miller submitted to ERRE from this riding concluded that his constituents want to keep first-past-the-post and they want a referendum.
There is still time to influence the ERRE committee. The feedback from this town hall will be sent to ERRE. Please share this event with friends,
Thanks for supporting the campaign to make every vote count!
Fair Vote Canada Action Coordinator
Fair Vote Canada's Submission to ERRE
1) How the all-party committee's guiding principles relate to PR
2) Systems: PR-STV (see also STV+), MMP and MMP with ranked ballot and Rural-Urban Proportional Representation.(pamphlets for all three are available at https://secure.fairvote.ca/sites/secure.fairvote.ca/modules/civicrm/extern/url.php?u=210382&qid=7860125)
3) Evidence for Proportional Representation - a good summary of the research on PR.
4) Make Every Vote Count - a one page handout for events
5) Myth/Fact Sheet - a two page handout addressing common myths
6) PR and Rural/Small Urban Voters - a handout developed by FVC's Rural Caucus
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Submissions, Issues & Resourses
- Renegotiating NAFTA
- Ontario Workplace Reforms (Bill 148) Submission
- Submission from BGOS to Commons Standing Committee on International Trade regarding the Trans-Pacific Partnership
- Submission to Federal Government Consultation on Affordable Housing Bruce-Grey-Owen Sound NDP 20 October 2016
- Submission to Ontario on Payday Loan Companies
- Electoral Reform
- Final Report from Precarious Work Group
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