May Newsletter

North Okanagan Shuswap Greens

News Letter May 20, 2018

Hello Greens,

The 2018 AGM was held on Thursday April 26 at the Vernon Library.  The Minutes are below.

An account of the years activities and the financials were reported and accepted.  The Association currently has $3,771.52 in cash and $5,202.00 in term deposits that will become available prior to the next election.

Three members of the executive departed due to time constraints.  Kevin Babcock relinquished his position as CEO.  Vanessa Colleran will be leaving her position as Secretary and Tyler Lawtey has also resigned.

Their input and effort will be missed although all three expect to be able to assist later on as the election approaches.  This is good news as all three are enormous assets to the Green Party.

Three executives remain by unanimous acclamation.  Jim Boyd is our new secretary and Gareth Ainslie will remain as our Financial Agent.  Korry Zepik has taken on the responsibilities as CEO.

The next election is barely a year and a half away and the meeting was the first call for Candidates.

There will be a Candidate selection meeting this fall and it is important that as many Green Members as possible attend.  The nomination papers require 120 signatures and it is difficult to properly campaign while still seeking nominations from the public at large.

If you know of someone who could make a great candidate or if you would like to throw your hat in the ring, please contact Korry at: korryzepik@gmail.com or phone/text 250-938-4232.

After business was adjourned, Heather Clay made a presentation on Proportional Representation and why, as Federal Greens, it is important to support the BC referendum on PR.  If BC adopts PR, it will open the door for other provinces to follow suit and prompt the Federal Government to shift our electoral system from First Past the Post to the more equitable, Proportional Representation.

Fair Vote Vernon, the local PR advocacy group is looking for volunteers to help when available.  Contact Sue Young at: premshya@telus.net to ask to be put on their email list.  Other info on Proportional Representation can be found at: https://fairvotingbc.com/  https://www.fairvote.ca/pr4bc/  There is also an article about why PR is better on our very own website

The meeting was then turned over to Korry who led a lively discussion on the Kinder Morgan – Trans Mountain pipeline expansion.  A linkage between the Site “C” dam and the unacceptable Tar/Oil Sands growth was also made.  As was expected, the consensus from the floor to the pipeline’s construction was a strong, enthusiastic and resounding “NO”.

Due to the Proportional Representation and pipeline discussions, the meeting ran till our allotted time for the meeting room was used up.

Thanks to all who attended and we look forward to seeing you all at the Candidate selection meeting.

Sincerely yours,

Korry Zepik

GPC North Okanagan Shuswap EDA

Annual General Meeting

North Okanagan-Shuswap Green Party

Thursday, April 26th , 2018

Location: Vernon Public Library, 2800 30th Ave. Vernon BC

MEETING MINUTES

 

Attended:       Vanessa Colleran – Secretary

Jim Boyd

Kevin Babcock

Korry Zepik

Gareth Ainslie

 

Regrets:         Tyler Lawtey

 

Call to Order at 18:09

 

Reviewed agenda:

-Motion to accept meeting’s agenda

-Moved, second and carried

 

Reviewed previous AGM meeting minutes:

-Previous meeting was May 15, 2017

-Moved, second and carried

 

Financial Report:

 -Attached

-Moved, second and carried

-Motion to appoint existing Auditor – Chris Miles of Culver and Associates

-Moved, second and carried

  

CEO and Membership Report

-Kevin Babcock – reviewed boards past year

-board needed supplies to gather starter packages to bring to events

-board now prepared to attend events for the upcoming year

-board got some social media accounts up and running: FB page and newsletters. Any members can help contribute to keeping the Green Party’s presence on social media

-with just over one year to go, need to start thinking about candidates for the upcoming election

-newsletters will be used to share content and information to start generating discussions prior to the upcoming election

-board needs to actively try to start bringing in new people/members

-board needs to attend local events and get presence out there in the community

-idea proposed of putting on a dinner at a local restaurant

-idea to post on social media that region is looking for a candidate

-idea to request Elizabeth May to come to an event and charge for a fundraising option

-idea to host a film night to potentially draw people in

-idea to set up a table at the I.P.E. as well as the Roots and Blues Festival and Funtastic

 

 

Board of Directors Election

Outgoing members: Kevin Babcock, Vanessa Colleran, Tyler Lawtey

Incumbent Members for Nomination: Gareth Ainslie, Jim Boyd, Korry Zepik

-board will create a supportive base for future regional candidate

-recognized the need to fundraise, attract more people for members and volunteer positions to help spread awareness of the good national platform

-motion to accept nomination for 3 remaining members:

-CEO – Korry Zepik

-Financial Agent – Gareth Ainslie

-Jim Boyd

-Moved, second and carried

-idea to approach Claire Martin as potential possible candidate

-question to the floor if any meeting attendees interested in running – none at this time

-idea to create a volunteer list and attract additional board members

 

The Year Ahead

-PR presentation by Heather Clay

-Pipeline presentation by Korry Zepik

-Candidate nominations – plan on an October meeting to discuss possible candidate names

-Comments from the floor

 

Adjournment 18:51

Okanagan Shuswap Green AGM

Everyone is welcome to come join us at the Vernon Public Library for the local Federal Green Party Annual General meeting.

You don’t have to be a member to attend, and if you would like, you can pick up a membership while you are there.

It will be held at 6 o’clock on April 26th.  Business will be done early so that anyone who wants to go to the SENS AGM will have time to do both.

This is the meeting where we start to gear up for the next federal election so if you know of someone who would be a great candidate, or know someone who might like to help, please bring them along!  The next election is only 18 months away and we want to be ready!

We will also be looking to fill a couple of executive spots with some enthusiastic people who are ready to help us make the next election our best showing ever.

Do you know any young or first time voters?  This might be a great opportunity to get them interested in constructive social engagement.  Bring them for the muffins and coffee.  Maybe they will want to add their energy.

Please mark this on your calendar:

Local Federal Green Party AGM

April 26 at 6pm

Vernon Public Library

We will have snacks and refreshments.  Hope to see you there!

April 26 AGM Moved Up to 6 pm from 6:30

*PLEASE NOTE*

The AGM business will start at *6 pm* to allow people with conflicting schedules to also go to the Sustainable Environment Network Society AGM held later. The doors will open at *5:45 pm* rather than the previously planned 6 o’clock. There will be light snacks and beverages. We apologise for this inconvenience.

Green Party of Canada
Okanagan-Shuswap EDA
Annual General Meeting

The AGM business portion will be held from 6:00 – 7:00 PM followed by presentations and discussions. (doors open at 5:45 PM), Thursday April 26th, in the main meeting room at the Vernon Public Library.

We are planning for 2019 federal election. Come join us for a short business meeting followed by a social gathering with refreshments.

Everyone is welcome. You don’t have to be a member to attend but if you want, you can join when you get there.
Bring your enthusiasm and progressive green ideas.

Kinder Morgan and Burnaby Mountain

Last Friday Elizabeth May blockaded the entrance of the Kinder Morgan Burnaby tank farm in defiance of a court injunction ordering all people to remain 5 meters outside of the Kinder Morgan boundary.  This “Member of the Order of Canada” had never been arrested before.  I can’t help but express my gratitude to her for her bold stand on behalf of the Coast Salish people and the rights of future generations everywhere.

Although Ms. May was arrested, it is quite plain to anyone observing on the ground that it is Kinder Morgan that is working outside their boundaries and the spirit of legality.  They have substantially cut down forest that is part of a bird sanctuary on unceded Tsleil-Waututh land; land that is also owned by the City of Burnaby.  It is the overruling of Burnaby’s bylaws by the flawed NEB, that casts any veil of legitimacy.

There is a lawsuit involving Kinder Morgan vs. Burnaby, Vancouver, Victoria innumerable First Nations groups and the Province of BC as to whether pipeline construction may proceed.  The court ordered Kinder Morgan to do no construction on public lands until they made a final ruling.  Kinder Morgan could begin tunneling into Burnaby Mountain within their tank farm, but to do that, they needed to log some of the adjacent bird sanctuary.  Somehow they received permission for a “Work Zone” that arguably is beyond their property line. We will never know what goes on in the minds of the NEB, so it cannot be said for sure, but it appears that the only available excuse to defy the court ruling is, that logging technically does not necessarily constitute construction or direct work on the pipeline per se.

On the Friday of her arrest Elisabeth May said,  “I await the court ruling on the legitimacy of the permit issued to Kinder Morgan. Unfortunately, the federal government and the Texas corporation are not awaiting the ruling of the Federal Court. Kinder Morgan is committed to acts constituting irreparable harm ‒ to the environment and to indigenous rights.

“I will continue to stand in solidarity with the First Nations on whose land these acts of vandalism are now being committed. Non-violent civil disobedience is the moral obligation of the climate-aware, responsible citizen.”

Kinder Morgan has violated NEB regulations by purchasing unapproved, uncertified pipe before the NEB gave them the quality specifications.  They also installed Salmon spawning deterrents in river beds they must cross, which even the NEB had to agree, were violating the construction approval.  Although, they did not ask Kinder Morgan to remove them.

Given their previous track record and the manipulation of the regulatory process on Burnaby Mountain, it is easy to understand the enormous frustration of those people who are camped on the front lines 24-7.

Here’s what I experienced.

On the Friday night I returned to Burnaby Mountain, the festive mood of the enormous rally on the first Saturday had subsided.  There was work to do. I was generously welcomed at Camp Cloud, given a cot and a sleeping bag in a damp tent.  The temperatures up the mountain often hovered around freezing once the sun went down.  Shivers eventually got to me and I spent my first night huddled by the  Sacred Fire occasionally rising from my cold plastic lawn chair to thaw my bottom till the sun returned.  As I stood with damp feet, roasting my eyeballs over the Sacred Fire and waiting for dawn to return for the first official blockade day, I marveled at the endurance and resolve of the other Water Protectors who had spent the winter, one hundred days of occupation and watch, across the street from the main gate.

This first Saturday of the blockade, like many to follow, started with training on peaceful blockading, de-escalation scenarios and legal information.  Once seated at the blockade volunteers brought granola bars, fruit and water; my first food since afternoon of the day before.

Upon arrest, my paper work was processed twenty yards from the gate.  Although they have been placed in the dubious position of being on the wrong side of history, the Burnaby RCMP were courteous and tried to be kind.  I signed a Promise to Appear and an agreement to respect the Five meter injunction zone; had my picture taken and in half an hour, was released.  Because my charge was Civil Contempt, finger prints were not necessary.  I remained at the site to support those who were still on the blockade… from outside the injunction zone.

Before nightfall, I went back to the tent and built a fire in the small air tight within.  Sitting by the Sacred Fire, I listened to stories of struggles now and past, of failure and triumph, of the land, the water and of ancestors; the ties that bind.  I slept peacefully and with a light heart, warm and dry.  Only my boots were wet.

Sunday morning the rain pounded relentlessly and by noon it had eased enough to scout the perimeter which was really just an excuse to go bush whacking.  There’s hiking and then there’s bush whacking.  The latter employs a lot of ducking and climbing.  Upon returning I stopped briefly at Camp Cloud, I then wandered over to the Coast Salish watch house about five hundred meters down the park service road.  After a brief visit, I walked down to the soccer field where the enormous rally happened the weekend before.  There are a couple gazebos set up and a trailer where Will George, the grandson of Chief Dan George was keeping watch.

At a respectful distance, I passed by a small group of First Nations people when the Chief of the Tsleil-Waututh invited me over to join their circle for smudge. There were songs and drumming and after passing the pipe, I listened as the Chief told of the end of one way and the beginning of another.  His words resonated within me as the end of fossil fuel dominance and the beginning of a less monopolistic, sustainable energy system; the end of inequality and racial dominance, where people regardless of race are treated equally – just like on the medicine wheel. The gathering ended,  I went back to Camp Cloud and rested in comfort.  Only my boots were wet.

My second day on the blockade was much like the first.  There was some concern amongst the NGO’s about what would happen to me the second time out.  This was new ground for the police and the NGO’s.  Because I felt it was my duty to do the most I could to help in my short time left, and sooner or later someone had to test the waters, I strapped myself to the gate.  The arrest and processing went the same as before.  It was still Civil Contempt but this time the no go zone I was asked to sign (or spend the night in a holding cell and see a judge next day) was a distance roughly 350 meters away from the tank farm and on the map, included access roads.  I had to leave.

I was allowed to gather my camping gear and say good bye to my new found friends and was personably escorted on foot out to my new boundary. The Police and I spoke with gusto about how even today, there are electric cars that have a 500 mile range and can leave the current cop car in the dust both in acceleration and handling.

Back in Vancouver, at the very end of Main Street, there is a park with a beach on Burrard Inlet.  Taking water there for the Kelowna “Defend The Water” rally, I gave thanks for the beauty of this place the same way we had honoured the pipe, and headed back for my bus ride home.

This pipeline Kinder Morgan wants to build is a profound wrongness on so many levels.  It is evil from tip to tail and I hope with all my heart that the Prime Minister understands this… soon.  I worry for our children’s sake, for the protectors up on the mountain and those who live below the soon to be overcrowded tank farm; in the shadow of unimaginable catastrophe.

So far Kinder Morgan isn’t stopping, but neither are those who oppose this pipeline.  And although I’m now home with all the apparent comforts, the battle still continues.

I think my gratitude and respect for all those who helped and supported me up Burnaby Mountain will follow me all of my days, and I am deeply grateful for the chance to try to be the person I would like to be, and for a few days, to let my heart run free.

Proportional Representation

Advocating for “Proportional Representation” (PR) is one of the cornerstone policies of all Green Parties; both nationally as well as provincially.  It is with this in mind that the North Okanagan Shuswap Green Executive support and commend the efforts of the Green Party of BC in their endeavour to bring the BC democratic system into  the modern era.

The importance of this undertaking cannot be overstated, as failure to move forward with Proportional Representation (PR) will likely make good, honest, fact based governance on behalf of us citizens, very difficult if not impossible in the coming years.

In fact, our system was once famously lampooned for how much worse our system was to the American system – a system which produced a Trump presidency.  In our system there is no functional difference between our executive and our legislature.  The Prime Minister lords over both.  Therefore not only are we just as vulnerable as the States is to having someone in power who does not share the views of the majority, but we have no safe guards, no checks and balances or, as was joked, “unpaid checks and political imbalances”.

Having a multi party political system combined with the recent trend in North America towards greater and greater ideological polarity, means that the current “First Past The Post” (FPTP) system is becoming an increasing liability.

By far the greatest weakness of the current “First Past The Post” (FPTP) system is that it typically grants absolute power to minority groups with a minority of the total vote.  This can leave the majority of voters captured by an ideological minority with regional or self serving ambitions.

In the 2008 federal election the Bloc Quebecois received 1,380,991 votes and the Green Party of Canada received 72% of that or 987,613 votes.  The Block got 51 seats but the Greens did not get 72% of that seat count or 37 seats.  No, they got zero seats; not a single one.

Because the Block voter base was regionally concentrated, a little over one million separatist voters held 51 seats and the balance of power.  And almost one million people who voted for a national party were ignored.

But it gets worse.

In that same 2008 election, the NDP with 2,515,288 votes from across the country, earned almost twice as many votes as the Block.  But instead of winning what should be almost twice as many seats, the NDP got a mere 37, not even 3/4’s of the Block’s seat count.

And that is how a regional group stole the balance of power from a national party.  But the disruption caused by regionalism and ideology did not end there, and again the First Past The Post caused the aberration.

In 2008 the Conservative Party received 822,147 votes in the Alberta region while again the Green Party  received 987,613 votes across the country – 25% more votes than the Alberta region Conservatives.  The Conservatives were given 27 seats in Alberta alone but as we already know, almost 1 million Greens got zero seats; zero representation.

Had the 822 thousand Conservative voters been ignored like the 987 thousand Green voters, the Conservatives would not have been able to hold power with just a 38% minority of the total vote – only 22% of the actual electorate.

The very nature of PR is to create governments that rule by true majority often built through consultation and co-operation between parties.  This protects the voter from being subject to minority rule. And Proportional Representation also increases voter turnout because most of our votes actually count for something. 

When one ruling minority takes control of the government from a previous ruling minority, there is often a radical seesawing of policy.  For instance: Here in BC, the recent banning of political donations from corporations and unions reversed years of unencumbered donations which tended to buy elections.  Unless we get PR before the next election, the next ruling minority may just as easily reverse that ban, and again allow foreign or special interests unfair access to our decision makers through their targeted funding.

Because PR protects the majority from being ruled by a minority that could hold regional or ideological interests, the chance of wild policy shifts is greatly alleviated and the more extreme ideological elements remain under control.

The high sensitivity of FPTP to small shifts in voter preferences that often flips governments and policy in opposite directions, creates an air of regulatory and fiscal (tax/funding) uncertainty in the industrial and financial communities which often leads to reduced investment and a stagnating economy. Countries with PR have a 1% higher economic growth than countries with FPTP.  When you consider that Canada’s growth in 2016 was 1.5%, an extra 1% is sizable.  It would bring Canada’s growth up to the world’s average growth of 2.5%.  This 66% increase in economic performance is attributed to a tendency for PR governments to provide more credible long term economic policy.

The statistical evidence that  the First Past the Post system has become a liability and that any form of Proportional Representation is a better way to function and compete on the world stage is voluminous and compelling.  If you can help or would like to learn more, please go to Fair Voting BC.  There is more information and links below.

If our votes aren’t equal, how can our rights be?

How you can help

https://fairvotingbc.com/

Why we need electoral reform

https://fairvotingbc.com/join-the-campaign-for-fair-voting/why-voting-reform/

https://www.nationalobserver.com/2018/01/09/opinion/new-system-or-next-catastrophe-your-vote

http://behindthenumbers.ca/2016/10/11/proportional-representation-likely-produce-better-public-policy/

Statistical evidence

https://fairvotingbc.com/join-the-campaign-for-fair-voting/why-voting-reform/what-the-evidence-says/

Federal Election Results 2008 – National

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Canadian_federal_election,_2008

Federal Election Results 2008 – Alberta

https://www.sfu.ca/~aheard/elections/2008-ALTA.html

Canada’s growth in 2016

https://data.worldbank.org/indicator/NY.GDP.MKTP.KD.ZG

Explanation of various electoral systems

https://sites.hks.harvard.edu/fs/pnorris/Acrobat/Choosing%20Electoral%20Systems.pdf

Harper speech to the U.S. Council for National Policy (unpaid checks and political imbalances)

https://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/national/text-of-harpers-speech/article1131985/

Happy Birthday Canada!

Best Flag

Yesterday we celebrated 150 years of this exercise in co-operation called Canada.  For sure the land and the original settlers have been here longer than that… a lot longer.  In fact there is mounting evidence that the first people on this land we now call Canada were here even before the land/ice bridge occurred at the end of the last ice age.  These people agreed to share this land with the newcomers from Europe and for that, I’m grateful to them and their descendants.
There is a certain amount of group pride in being Canadian and a whole lot of personal gratitude, but we need to acknowledge that this Canada that we love is still not treating the original people here very well – actually they’ve been treated terribly – and this is something we all need to work on before we can feel accomplishment as a nation.
We can be proud of our history of helping other countries in their hours of need, in our acceptance of others and in our desires and actions to be a beneficial force in our world.
I personally feel just plain lucky to have been allowed to grow up Canadian, but recently the direction we Canadians have taken has filled me with immense gratitude, pride and much realistic hope for the future of our country, our world and our children.
In the last federal election, we Canadians made extra efforts to shun bigotry and embrace inclusiveness,  to move past the status quo and work to re-define a country and a world that respects the rights of all, including future generations and their right to a livable world.  That is an immense reversal of a world view that is not only essential to survival, but also is a return to a more heroic way of being – one that my parents and theirs lived by.
We didn’t get what we asked for or were promised, but that is the fault of those who would break their promises on fair elections, honest environmental reviews, protecting the right of privacy and substantial action on equity between Indigenous peoples and modern settlers.
Yes, the Trudeau Liberals are better than the previous administration but that was a pretty low bar.  We need to move the bar up and hold this new government accountable.  That’s where we need you to do what you can to keep upward pressure on this Liberal government that has been back sliding into the “Old Boys Club” again.
Right here, right now, as this country celebrates it’s 150th birthday, is the time to set our course for the next 150.  It is up to you, and me, everyone, to make sure we’re headed in the right direction.  So that future generations will have a fighting chance to help this world. So that in another 150 years those that bear the torch we once so valiantly carried, will not only celebrate the birthday of this nation, but the renewal of a world that we almost lost.
So please stay informed and help out where you can.  Together we will build a better country and world.
Happy Birthday Canada!
The Okanagan Shuswap Greens
Kz
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