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33 posts from December 2008

December 30, 2008

Transition Towns WIKI :: Peterborough-ON-Canada / Peterborough-ON-Canada

Transition Towns WIKI :: Peterborough-ON-Canada / Peterborough-ON-Canada.

This is an important -- and very positive -- local initiative. The local group's efforts have generated both local and national media attention, mainly because Fred Irwin does such a great job of connecting the dots between the economy, the environment, and the change that has to come, starting now.

Just as an aside, I watched a fabulous documentary last week about the various approaches individuals and communities are taking to deal with such issues as peak oil, economic and environmental sustainability, and community-building -- and their successes/setbacks. The film is called Escape from Suburbia.

I rented my copy from the indie video shop Have You Seen? on Aylmer Street in Peterborough (the best video store ever, IMHO), just in case you're interested in tracking down a copy.


Transition Towns WIKI

Transition Town Lindsay: another local initiative

December 29, 2008

Fabulous job in fabulous city at fabulous mag. Get paid to make fun of Stephen Harper

JeffGaulin.com: Jobs.

Here's a cool job for the right person -- a writer/editor position based in Vancouver. Adbusters is seeking someone who is a "passionate political junkie with an activist twist and several years of professional writing experience."

Transportation Planning "Politicized Beyond Recognition"

TheStar.com | Columnist | Metrolinx needs power to redraw transit map.

This article by Toronto Star columnist Christopher Hume should be considered mandatory reading for all residents of Peterborough. Consider this portion in particular:

"At a conference held earlier this year, a trio of transit gurus – former TTC general manager David Gunn, University of Toronto civil engineer Richard Soberman and Trent University economist Harry Kitchen – argued that the greatest obstacle facing Metrolinx was governance, or rather, the lack thereof.

"Their point was that the current mandate isn't clear about who's in charge. Given a culture in which even large public projects, especially large public projects such as transit, are politicized beyond recognition, the need for autonomy is essential.

"....Who could forget Finance Minister Jim Flaherty's out-of-the-blue proposal in his budget last February to establish a train line between Toronto and Peterborough? Coincidentally, it would have gone through Flaherty's riding, Whitby-Oshawa. The scheme has since been dropped."

December 11, 2008

Imagine a Chicken in a Blue Sweater

Then fill out the nomination form.

Fair Vote Canada Chapter Forming in Peterborough: Seeking Board Members, Volunteers, Members

As I noted in my last post, Emily Berrigan is launching a Peterborough Chapter of Fair Vote Canada.

What follows is her letter to the citizens of Peterborough.

I thoroughly support this initiative and will be getting involved.

- Ann

Dear Fellow Citizen:

Whew, what a whirlwind! I was sitting in a café, and I overheard a snippet of a conversation about all the hubbub in Ottawa. "Finally, Canadian politics is interesting!"

This sentence signals so much about the state of Canadian politics and Canadian democracy today. Low voter turnout and strategic voting is just the tip of the iceberg. More and more Canadians feel that their government is disconnected from the issues that matter, and for good reason. The way we vote says a lot about how our government operates, and when we have essentially a horse-race system (First-Past-the-Post), many people's voices are left behind.

For example, in the recent election…

  • The NDP received 1.1 million more votes than the Bloc, but the voting system granted the regional party 50 seats and the NDP 37.
  • A quarter-million Conservative voters in Toronto elected zero Conservative representation. There is no Conservative voice in Montreal either.
  • In the prairies, Conservatives received twice the vote of the Liberals and the NDP, and took seven times as many seats.
  • The Green Party set a record for the most votes cast for a party with no parliamentary representation, with 940,000 supporters. In contrast, 813,000 Conservative voters in Alberta elected 27 MPs.

To quote an Albertan Conservative and recent member of Fair Vote Canada,  "The idea is not to win an election but have a government that is effective." Currently, Canada has a winner-take-all system, meaning that those who do not vote for the winner have little to no representation in government. Often this means little representation for women, aboriginals, youth and visible minorities.

It should be about voices; not about power.

The push for electoral reform is building, and I would like to contribute to this by helping form a local Peterborough riding chapter of Fair Vote Canada (FVC). FVC is a multi-partisan organization that believes that, to provide a fair and equal voice for every citizen in Canada, our voting system must be designed to achieve:

  • Proportional representation
  •  Fair representation for women, minorities, aboriginals and any underrepresented group you can think of (youth!)
  • Accountable government
  • Geographic representation
  • Voter choice

If you are interested in joining in this, either as an executive member or as a volunteer, please get in touch. My contact information is below.

If you are interested in learning more, please visit Fair Vote Canada:


FVC's Statement of Purpose

Women for Fair Voting

Top Ten Low Points in Canadian Federal Elections

To make it perfectly clear, this is to be a multi-partisan organization. It is for electoral reform solely and citizens of ALL political stripes that want to see change are encouraged to join. This will not serve as a soapbox for any political party.

Please forward this on to friends and family in the area.

Yours in democracy,

Emily "Moe" Berrigan

2008 Green Party candidate for Peterborough Citizen of Canada


H (705) 745 – 0496
C (705) 772 – 8378 (VERT)

Emily Berrigan, Political Whirlwind

Peterborough Green Party of Canada Candidate Emily Berrigan must dream political dreams at night. (Does she count political sheep as she tries to fall asleep?)

It's the only way she can possibly have time to come up with all these great ideas -- and do all the things she's already doing.

In a town that has more than its share of political dinosaurs/neanderthals, it's so refreshing to have Emily speaking the language of political change. Go, Emily, Go!

December 09, 2008

What She Said

Thanks for saving me the need to blog on this topic, Jennifer, by expressing your thoughts and feelings so brilliantly.

Check Out this Guest Blogger at Macleans.ca


If you have a good sense of humor, you'll probably enjoy this.

If you're easily offended, you'd better stick with this -- or find yourself some other controversy-free form of entertainment to enjoy.

December 08, 2008

Dion vs. Harper

Partofcanadianflag It's no secret that I've always had a great deal of respect and admiration for Stéphane Dion. A politician with his kind of personal integrity and long-term vision for what this country actually needs (as opposed to what it wants for itself over the short-term) doesn't come along very often.

Unfortunately for Canada, Dion had the bad luck to cross the political stage at the same time as another once-in-a-generation (or once-in-a-lifetime) politician: in this case, a mean-spirited, rabidly partisan politician who is willing to do anything to keep his bulldog grip on power, including creating a political and national unity crisis.

The contrast in personal styles or value systems between the two men couldn't be greater. Dion mapped out a vision that represents where we really need to be headed as a country, if we're to kick start the green economy and address the growing gap between the haves and have nots in this country (a root cause of much of the youth crime that the neo-conservatives bellow about so much). What prevented Canadians from hearing much of what Dion had to say was the bully who misled Canadians about what the man and his policies were all about.

I don't know about you, but I'm not proud to live in a country where the top politician in the land can savage a political opponent and get away with it -- and then go on to "hide behind the Queen" (as some Americans are putting it as they watch what's been happening in our country in amazement) in order to escape his own political day of reckoning. When George Bush was acting so outrageously a few years back -- and the American people went on to re-elect him, we Canadians looked smugly at one another and said, "That could never happen in Canada."

But, of course, it did: the neo-conservative way of thinking is alive and well and living in Canada now. And we're going to be stuck in this political twilight zone until enough Canadians wake up and realize that they are being lied to and misled by the party in power -- on a routine basis.

This is why parliament isn't working: the traditional rules about parliamentary conduct have been tossed out the windows of the House of Commons and replaced by the same U.S.-style political code of conduct that has made George Bush famous -- or rather infamous -- the world over.

Dion bore the brunt of the attacks from the bully-in-chief of the current regime. When history looks back on this time, people are going to be astounded that more Canadians didn't speak up and decry the McCarthy-like attacks that were carried out during this time -- and that the media was complicit in these attacks.

I feel proud that I will be able to tell my grandchildren that I spoke out against the attack ads, the campaign of misinformation about Dion and his policies (to say nothing of the Conservative Party of Canada and its record) and that I had the opportunity to let Mr. Dion know, on more than one occasion, how much I appreciated his efforts to hold the Harper government accountable.

Dion may not have been the most savvy politican our country has produced, but he is certainly one of our most dedicated. He has served his country well.

December 06, 2008

Coalition for Canada - Handmade Sign Spotted at Pro-Coalition Rally in Peterborough - Dec. 6

Check out this fabulous handmade sign. I asked this fellow if I could take a photo of his sign and post it on my blog and he was kind enough to say yes. I love the design. Isn't it cool? He told me his friends helped him to make the sign this morning.