2007 Jan 26: Stop Climate Change talk

Stop Climate Change has organized a special meeting with guest speakers on climate change.  They will talk about how to organize locally and globally to achieve meaningful action.

Climate Change: Canada Fails the Grade
Friday, 2007 January 26, 7 pm

Bahen Centre Building, room 1160
40 St George St (just north of College)

4 responses to “Stop Climate Change talk”

  1. Friends of Elizabeth May writes:

    Similar to the PortLands Project Going on in the GTA You might Like to See


    There’s so much Going on that Frank DeJong friends can hardly Keep Up

    Please Share with others as we had to give Stephen Dion End of Suburbia CDROM while he was Enviro Min as Fed’s Aren’t Doing anything either

  2. Green Party Founders Friends writes:

    Speech at Jan. 8 Consultation Meeting of the Ontario Citizens’ Assembly on Electoral Reform, on York University Campus

    Assembly members and staff, concerned citizens and voters.

    I am the president of the Green Party of Ontario’s riding association in the provincial riding of York Centre. York Centre is just a few blocks east of here.

    It’s an honour to be speaking to you tonight. I and the other members of the Green Party of Ontario are very thankful that this initiative is under way. It’s an important exercise in democracy.

    I think our first-past-the-post electoral system is unfair and must go. I favour either the Single Transferable Vote or the Mixed Member Proportional systems.

    Why do I think our current electoral system is unfair? Because it often leads to situations in which the distribution of people elected from the various political parties differs greatly from the distribution of votes for those parties. The system is simply anachronistic. It doesn’t reflect today’s situation where we have more than two political parties vying for power. Canada and the United States represent a part of a minority of countries being left behind by other nations that have progressed beyond the first-past-the-post electoral system.

    But even many highly educated and well-read people aren’t aware of this problem. I even asked a retired university professor, very well-read, and a bit of a political junkie — and he wasn’t aware of the magnitude of the problem. I didn’t know this until I joined the Green Party of Canada and Fair Vote Canada in August, and the Green Party of Ontario in September.

    I think the main reason for this lack of awareness is the media do not take a strong interest in the issue. This leaves most people with the attitude that the status quo is fine —’it ain’t broke, and we don’t need to fix it.’ But the fact is that our system is broke and we do need to fix it.

    The eight principles of electoral systems laid out by the Citizens Assembly are all important. If I had to pick the three that I feel are most important, I’d say one is fairness of representation — particularly proportionality. The other two are effective parliament, and stronger voter participation.

    Proportionality is important to me as an individual citizen, as a woman, and as an active member of the Green Party. My vote and my voice usually don’t count in the current, first-past-the-post system. But they will when we switch to another voting system. Also, as a woman, moving to a more representational electoral system is important to me because it means more women will gain seats in legislative bodies.

    And, as a member of the Green Party, I want to see the hard work of all of us who are active in this province’s political system be rewarded justly and proportionately. Changing electoral systems will allow voices that are currently stifled to be heard.

    And an effective parliament is also important to me. Clearly, if the legislature is functioning well, then the interests of all Ontarians are served.

    And stronger voter participation is also very important. We’re witnessing a drastic slide in voter participation. This is of course bad for democracy. It’s bad for the tens of thousands of people whose voices aren’t being heard. And I’m sure that part of the reason for poor turnout at elections is because people understand that often their votes don’t count. Fortunately, that should and will change when our electoral system is revamped.

    Now, I’ll turn to which electoral system I think is best.

    I was born and raised in Canada, so I’ve never directly experienced any other system. But my mother is from Holland. And the Dutch have always prided themselves on being extremely democratic. So I called a relative in Holland last weekend and talked to him about Holland’s electoral system. I also spoke to a good friend who moved to Israel a year ago. I asked him his impression of Israel’s electoral system.

    Both Holland and Israel use pure list PR — and so, incidentally, does my father’s birth country of the Czech Republic. I’m impressed by how democratic and proportional the list system is. But it also seems really prone to their being many parties and really complex and fragile coalition governments. That means that often the virtue of proportionality and democratic results is trumped by horse-trading. Another problem with list PR that voters don’t get their own local representative that is accountable to them with this system.

    So, what’s a better alternative?

    I’m impressed by the single transferable vote or STV system — and that’s not just because of the really nice animated video that the B.C. government has on its electoral-reform website that shows how STV works. STV just seems to be extremely fair. As I understand it, STV also leads to a smaller number of members of the legislature and hence to less room for horse-trading.

    And the MMP or mixed member proportional system also seems very good. It’s a mixture of the plurality and proportional systems. A friend of mine who’s an active member of the Raging Grannies in Toronto sent me a fax this weekend outlining information on the many positive aspects of New Zealand’s MMP system. The system is very similar to that used in Germany. In both New Zealand and Germany, the electoral results are an accurate reflection of how people voted. This system also gives people their own local representatives.

    So whichever system our province opts for, it will be a great improvement over our current system. I congratulate you, the members of the Citizens’ Assembly, for your key role in moving forward to a historic shift in democracy in Ontario. Thanks for your time.

  3. Jenn writes:

    Just wondering if you have to register for this event or if you can just show up for the speakers? Thanks

  4. Charlie Halpern-Hamu writes:

    There’s no need to register; you can just show up.

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