@FairvoteWRC hosts CETA Panel Discussion — Thursday, 1 May 2014 at 7pm

CETA Poster
CETA Poster
Just a reminder of Fair Vote Canada Waterloo Region Chapter‘s panel discussion on CETA, the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement. On the panel are Stephen Woodworth, Member of Parliament for Kitchener Centre, and Angelo DiCaro, trade researcher for Unifor. The discussion will be moderated by Cathy MacLellan.



What: CETA Panel Discussion
When: Thursday, 1 May 2014 from 7:00pm to 8:30pm [iCal]
Where: Lyle S. Hallman Faculty of Social Work, 120 Duke St., Kitchener, Ontario [map]
Who: Hosted by Fair Vote Canada Waterloo Region Chapter (@FairvoteWRC)
Research: Canada-EU Trade Agreement | Canada’s Economic Action Plan

Easy Actions on Health Care, Fair Elections, Fair Taxes, and new Costco in Waterloo

Eleanor Grant writes:

A lot going on these days!

Please sign these action alerts and tell others.

Peace,

Eleanor Grant

HEALTH CARE

VOTE Sat April 5 to Save our Local Hospitals!

Please go to Ontario Health Coalition for location of “polls” in KW where you can express your preference for maintaining our public hospitals.

If you miss the poll you can vote on-line.

Background:
Ontario’s Wynne Government Plans to Bring In Private Clinics: Threatens
Non-Profit Community Hospital Care

The Ontario government plans to introduce private specialty clinics to take the place of local community hospitals’ services. The government’s proposal would bring in legal regulations under the Independent Health Facilities Act and the Local Health System Integration Act to usher in private clinics and shut down services in community hospitals. Ontario’s Auditor General reported in 2012 that more than 97% of the private clinics under the Independent Health Facilities Act are private for-profit corporations. The Ontario Health Coalition warned about the costs and consequences of private clinics for patient care in a press conference at Queen’s Park today. In addition to the danger of for-profit privatization, coalition director Natalie Mehra raised concerns about poorer access to care and destabilization of local community hospitals.

The coalition challenged the government to:

  • Amend the IHF Act to specify that no future Independent Health Facilities
    can be for-profit.
  • Amend the LHINs Act to specify that LHINs cannot transfer services to
    for-profit corporations.
  • Ensure that all clinics or satellites are brought in under the Public
    Hospitals Act and therefore covered by its legislative and regulatory
    protections for quality of care, non-profit governance, and the public
    interest.

ALSO, as the Canada Health Accord for federal transfers to the provinces for health care expires TAKE THE MEDICARE PLEDGE.

STOP THE UNFAIR ELECTIONS ACT !

Leadnow.ca: Stop US-style voter suppression from becoming Canadian law

and

Council of Canadians: PETITION: Investigate and prevent electoral fraud with a truly fair Elections Act

Background Articles from the Cambridge Times

DONE YOUR TAXES YET?

How much revenue does Canada lose every year to tax havens? Please visit Canadians for Tax Fairness to send a message to your MP to look into this.

AND IF YOU LIVE IN WATERLOO

At 6:30 Monday night, April 7, Waterloo city council will consider a zoning change that would allow a COSTCO store to be built on Erb St W, right across from the dump.

Here’s a backgrounder from Kevin Thomason of Grand River Environmental Network (GREN).

Please send a message to your city and regional councillors – links at end of Kevin’s message. I will be one of many delegations at the council meeting Monday. Come out if you can!

Hello GREN folks,

This coming Monday, April 7th, Waterloo City Council will vote to approve a proposal to build a Costco Membership Warehouse on Erb St. across from the Waterloo Landfill. The facility is expected to total over 200,000 square feet with a 975 car parking lot, a 16 pump gas bar, and additional big-box stores. It is estimated the development will attract more than 5,500 cars per day with weekend peak hours surpassing 1,400 cars per hour. The projected opening date is December, 2014.

While many people in Waterloo are excited about a Costco coming to town, few are aware of the significant issues we face. There are a numerous unanswered questions and issues that need to be addressed before a final decision is made:

  1. Widespread Traffic Congestion – Almost all other Costco’s are located near multiple arterial roads and freeways designed to handle high traffic volumes. This Erb St. location is a two-lane road already facing traffic issues. As a result planners are predicting:
    • Severe delays and widespread congestion on area roads with overflow traffic impacting residential streets and even rural roads in Wilmot Township
    • Travel times to increase dramatically, as speeds on some roads during peak times drop to below that of walking speeds. For example, parts of Erb Street with current travel times of less than 1 minute, are expected to increase to 7 to 9 minutes to travel less than 750 meters. This is even after a widening to four lanes in 2018.
  2. Infrastructure Issues – Commercial development is part of the City Official Plan but development was not expected until 2018 after area roads such as Erb Street, Ira Needles and Columbia Street are widened. And such large scale development surpassing 200,000 sq ft was never anticipated. Other necessary infrastructure such as sidewalks, trails, bus routes, etc. isn’t expected to reach the development until several years after opening.
  3. Communications and Public Engagement – Neither the City of Waterloo, The Rice Commercial Group (the developer), or Costco are planning any public information sessions, open houses or consultation events about this proposed development prior to the final vote this coming Monday, April 7th. Staff reports and most studies were just released to the public days ago and most citizens have learned about this plan in recent newspaper articles from the Waterloo Chronicle:
  4. Other Area Impacts – Both Costco and the Regional Landfill share the same peak hours. The landfill is already experiencing queuing issues, causing cars to back up out onto Erb Street right where new roundabouts are to be located for Costco. This would bring traffic to a standstill as cars would be unable to get through the congested roundabouts.
    • Severe congestion could restrict the ability for Fire, Police and Ambulance services to reach the Costco area, the communities beyond, or even return to the city from the EMS training center in case of an emergency.
    • Environmental and ground water recharge areas to the north could be overwhelmed by traffic seeking to avoid the predicted severe traffic congestion on Erb St, Ira Needles Blvd, Columbia Street, etc. This could reverse years of efforts to protect these vital parts of our community.

Few can fathom that a high volume store such as Costco could be built with only one two lane road for access on the onset and ultimately only two roads reaching the store by 2018. The resulting long-term congestion could so negatively impact so many Westside area roads and neighbourhoods. However, this is the plan being recommended by City Staff (report link below) for final approval this Monday night.

What You Can Do

It is really important that we raise the awareness about the importance of Monday’s City Council vote as our community could be impacted by a hasty decision here for decades. Here are some easy things that you, your family, friends, and neighbours can do:

  • Contact City and Regional Councillors: Tell them that an approval would be premature and ask them to support a motion to defer decision until after public consultations and integrated traffic plans have been completed. You can reach all City Councillors at one simple e-mail address – council@waterloo.ca and Regional Councillors at regionalcouncillors@regionofwaterloo.ca
  • Get your social networks involved: Start conversations and ask questions on Twitter and Facebook about the issues that concern you the most. Use the hashtag #WCostco so the community can easily follow the conversation;
  • Write a letter to the editor and get local media engaged in the vital community discussions surrounding this proposal and what sort of community we seek to become;
  • Attend Monday’s City of Waterloo Council meeting for the vote on the Costco development proposal. Register to speak if you like or simply be present to support other presenters. A strong attendance and showing of concern from the community will be important as an empty room sure wouldn’t send a strong message to Council;
  • Learn more by reading the City and Developer Reports.

Hopefully we can collaborate as a community with the City, the Region, the developers, and Costco to find the best path forward for our community and not rush into a situation with so many unanswered traffic, EMS, environmental, and financial questions with no way out after the zoning approval being sought on Monday.

Please let us know any questions, thoughts, or ideas.

Kevin.


Kevin Thomason

1115 Cedar Grove Road
Waterloo, Ontario Canada N2J 3Z4

Twitter: @kthomason
E-mail: kevinthomason@mac.com

Eleanor Grant writes a semi-regular e-mail newsletter on social justice issues. You can contact Eleanor at eleanor7000@gmail.com

Is Fair Elections Act Fair? — Panel Discussion Wednesday, 23 April 2014, 7:00 pm

From the Social Planning Council of Kitchener-Waterloo web site.

Despite widespread opposition, the process moves onwards with the Bill C-23 called the “Fair Elections Act”. End of March, it passed second reading in the House of Commons by a vote of 149 to 131 – with all opposition parties and independent MPs voting against it. If passed into the Fair Elections Act, it would: eliminate vouching, disallowing voter ID cards as valid identification of residence, change regulations surrounding campaign financing, limit the ability of Canada’s chief electoral officer to speak publicly, and more.

April 23rd at 7 p.m. at W-K United Mennonite Church in Waterloo, we are hosting “Is Fair Elections Act Fair?” Awareness Panel to talk about the impact of the proposed changes for low-income people, seniors and youth, Aboriginal population, people with disabilities, homeless.

W-K United Mennonite Church
15 George Street, Waterloo ON N2J 1K6 [map]

7 – 8 pm Welcome & Panel presentations [iCal]

Peggy Nash, MP Parkdale-High Park
Prof. Mathieu Doucet, University of Waterloo
Sharon Sommerville, Fair Vote Canada WR chapter

8 – 9 pm Questions to the panel and discussion

For more information and to RSVP, contact maria@waterlooregion.org.

Organized by the Social Planning Council KW, Poverty Free KW, FairVote WR, WR Labour Council, TransitionKW, Homelessness Awareness Week, Canadian Federation of University Women KW.

"Is Fair Elections Act Fair?" poster
Is Fair Elections Act Fair?

“Is Fair Elections Act Fair?” poster advertising the Social Planning Council of Kitchener-Waterloo panel discussion on 23 April 2014.

Original .PDF file: Panel_April23_2014.pdf, 555.28 kBytes.

@FairVoteWRC hosts a CETA Panel Discussion — Thursday, 1 May 2014

Fair Vote Canada logo
Fair Vote Canada Waterloo Region Chapter

The Fair Vote Canada Waterloo Region Chapter is hosting a panel discussion on CETA, the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement proposed between Canada and the European Union.

What: CETA Panel Discussion
When: Thursday, 1 May 2014 from 7:00pm to 8:30pm [iCal]
Where: Lyle S. Hallman Faculty of Social Work, 120 Duke St., Kitchener [map]

Invited Panelists:

  • Stuart Trew, Council of Canadians trade campaigner (confirmed)
  • Stephen Woodworth, CPC Member of Parliament for Kitchener Centre
  • Jacqueline Romanow, the GPC‘s trade critic
  • Don Davies, NDP trade critic
  • Chrystia Freelander, the LPC trade critic

Tell Council “I support Light Rail”

Eleanor Grant writes:

Friends and Neighbours in Waterloo Region –

The winning bid to build the LRT in Kitchener-Waterloo was announced Friday, and it comes in under budget.

It will be voted on by Regional Councillors on March 4 in committee, and ratified on March 19. There should be shovels in the ground this spring.

The official announcement: Staff recommend GrandLinq as the preferred team for ION Stage 1 LRT

The winning consortium is GrandLinq. It is not the one with ties to SNC Lavalin, we can be relieved to hear! I’ve put links to all the media coverage on it at the end of this message.

Must see video

The TriTAG group (stands for Tri-cities Transport Action Group) has produced an excellent little video explaining the ION project in 90 seconds:

Please view it and pass it on to your friends 🙂

As you know, our Councillors have been bombarded with negative messages, most of them based on pretty inaccurate information, from those who want to stop the project or tie it up in endless delays.

But I suspect that the silent majority of us see the benefits of LRT (that doesn’t mean it’s perfect), and we want to see it get started.

Councillors need to hear from us at this time.

On TriTAG‘s site please click on the link to “E-mail your Councillors”. Tell them briefly in your own words, why you think the light rail project should go ahead.

You can also register as a delegation at the meetings on 4 March 2014 at 3:00pm and 19 March 2014 at 6:00pm.

I have registered for 4 March. One thing I’ll be talking about is the confidence-building we need to do with our neighbours in Cambridge, so they can feel more reassured during the gap years between Stage 1 in KW and Stage 2 being built to Cambridge in the future.

I’ve learned some exciting facts about the project recently, that aren’t all on the web sites:

  • The next new iXpress (203) route is being introduced the end of April. It will travel from Sportsworld along Maple Grove (Loblaws warehouse and Toyota plant), into the core of Hespeler, then down Franklin Blvd and over to Cambridge Centre mall. A new terminal area for a dozen bus links is being built on Hespeler Rd near the front of the mall.
  • Starting in Sept this new iXpress will also go from Sportsworld to Conestoga College at peak hours.
  • Also starting in Sept, the original iXpress, the 200, will be stopping at Sportsworld (I wish they’d do this sooner).
  • The adapted bus rapid transit for Cambridge – aBRT – is now expected to start in early 2015. Tenders for this work should go out soon. It will assume the 200 route from Fairview on. Stops will be: Fairview; Sportsworld; Eagle/Pinebush; Cambridge Centre mall new terminal; Can-Amera (YMCA); the Delta (Babcock & Wilcox); and Ainslie St terminal. Ainslie terminal is also going to be spruced up.
  • Serious talks are underway to improve GO train service to Kitchener, and maybe even reopen the Milton rail corridor to Cambridge. It all takes time – no promises yet! But for the Province to invest in these improvements, they need to see a higher order rapid transit built here, such as LRT.

Three things must dovetail together: a good bus grid, a rapid transit “spine”, and inter-city links. That’s why it’s time for LRT now. Waterloo Region is getting out in front of the population growth mandated for our area. Failure to get ahead of the curve only leads to the wasteful gridlock we now see in the GTA.

Please go to TriTAG now and click on the link to “E-mail your Councillors”. Right now is when our Councillors need to know we’re with them, and that we appreciate their efforts to bring us this far.

Thanks All,

Eleanor

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Media coverage on LRT bid:

Kitchener Post: LRT: $593 million to build, $900 million to run

CTV (2 segments):
http://kitchener.ctvnews.ca/video?clipId=299012
http://kitchener.ctvnews.ca/video?clipId=299314

CBC News: LRT construction bid pegged at $532M

The Record: Top LRT bid comes in under budget

570 News: GrandLinq recommended group for LRT project

The Region has also released a nice brochure (26 pages long) explaining the Why and How of Rapid Transit: The story of rapid transit in Waterloo Region (6.0 MBytes, .PDF file)

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Eleanor Grant writes a semi-regular e-mail newsletter on social justice issues. You can contact Eleanor at eleanor7000@gmail.com

@FairVoteWRC, @TransitionKW and @LeadnowCA present Connect — 8 March 2014, 1:30pm

Fair Vote Canada logo
Fair Vote Canada Waterloo Region Chapter

Leadnow logo
Leadnow.ca

TransitionKW logo
TransitionKW

The Fair Vote Canada Waterloo Region Chapter, TransitionKW and Leadnow.ca are teaming up to present Connect:


What: FairVoteWRC, TransitionKW and Leadnow.caConnect
When: Saturday, 8 March 2014 2014 1:30pm to 3:30pm [iCal]
Where: Queen Street Commons Cafe, 43 Queen St. S., Kitchener [map]
Register: Leadnow Connect registration page or on the Connect — Leadnow event on Facebook

Here is the message from Leadnow:

It may not feel like it yet, but the 2015 federal election is just around the corner. If we start working together now, we can help hold this government accountable at the ballot box, and elect people with a strong mandate for action on democracy, climate, and inequality. More than that — we can help build a movement strong enough to push for real changes after the election.

Between February 27th and March 9th, people are going to gather in communities across the country to talk about a plan to organize for and beyond the 2015 election. Join TransitionKW on Facebook and Fair Vote Waterloo for Connect!

You can register and learn more at the Leadnow Connect registration page or on the Connect — Leadnow event on Facebook

Please join us there, we need to work together to ensure positive change for Canada in 2015!

Hosted By:
Sylvie Spraakman
Refreshments:
This event is a potluck. You are invited to bring food to share with other guests.
Note:
Food and drinks will be available for purchase from the Commons Cafe. Food is very reasonably priced, and you’re not required to make a purchase.

Fair Vote Waterloo Region Chapter: Walk, Rally, Talk and Pub Night – Monday, 16 September 2013

Fair Vote Canada logo
Fair Vote Canada
Sunday is International Day of Democracy, but on Monday, 16 September 2013 the Waterloo Region Chapter of Fair Vote Canada is celebrating by holding a Walk, Rally, Talk and Pub Night.

Meet at Kitchener City Hall at 6:00pm to walk to Waterloo Square. Banners, placards, whistles, pots & pans are all welcome to make a lot of noise for electoral reform!

At 6:45 Craig Scott, MP for Toronto Danforth and NDP electoral reform critic and Anita Nickerson, FVC’s Executive Director will address a short rally at Waterloo Square. At 7:00pm Craig will speak at First United Church, 16 William North about the the NDP’s policy on electoral reform and listen to our concerns about electoral reform.

This is a great opportunity to share with the NDP the need to make electoral reform a major election issue in 2015 & highlight the need for electoral reform to our community.

Following the Walk, Rally, and Talk the Waterloo Region Fair Voters, Friends, and Relations will retire to The Duke of Wellington Pub to continue the conversation.

Petitions for a Better Canada

In her latest newsletter, Eleanor Grant writes of several local events, followed by a number of petitions on federal issues as Canada Day approaches ….

ACTION: Are you sick of scandals and secret deals in Ottawa? Democracy Watch has launched 2 campaigns for better ethics rules:

Government Ethics Campaign | Democracy Watch

and Stop Fraud Politician Spending | Democracy Watch

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ACTION: Tell Harper to support the G8 plan on closing Tax Havens: Canada Must Support the G8 Tax Haven Action Plan | Canadians for Tax Fairness

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ACTION: “Fix the Bill” on banning Cluster Bombs. Canada has ratified a Convention to ban cluster bombs, but the bill to implement it, Bill S-10, is full of loopholes: Petition at Mines Action Canada. There is also a write to your MP tool on Mines Action Canada’s website tailored to the Bill S-10 issues. From the group that brought the ban on Landmines.

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ACTION: NO to Genetically Modified Alfalfa: GM Alfalfa has now been Registered for use in Canada. CBAN says, “Our government is siding with multinational companies against the best interests of farmers and our food system. I do not accept this. Do you?” Email your MP instantly from Stop GM Contamination: Stop GM Alfalfa / Take Action – Canadian Biotechnology Action Network – CBAN

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And don’t forget the MultiCultural festival next weekend June 22-23, and the Nonviolence festival Sat July 13 – both in Victoria Park.

Eleanor Grant writes a semi-regular e-mail newsletter on social justice issues. You can contact Eleanor at eleanor7000@gmail.com

FairVoteWRC Film Screening: Whipped – Monday, 24 June 2013

@FairvoteWRC presents Whipped: The secret world of party discipline, Mon 24 June 2013, 7pm at WLU

Whipped: The secret world of party discipline
A film by Sean Holman
Sharon Sommerville, Co-chair for the Fair Vote Canada Waterloo Region Chapter writes:

Hello Everyone,

WHIPPED“, Sean Holman’s new documentary on the topical and controversial issue of party discipline is coming to Waterloo Region along with the filmmaker! To whom do MP’s owe their greatest allegiance: their party, their constituents or their conscience?

On Monday, June 24 at 7pm at Laurier’s Bricker Academic Building, Room 210, FVC-WR and co-sponsors KWNDP, KWGP, KWFLA and YCYC/VCVC are pleased to screen, “WHIPPED” and host a post screening panel with the filmmaker Sean Holman, Larry Aberle, President of the KWNDP and Karen Redman, former Liberal MP and party whip.

This is going to be a great evening of political education for all. We will be taking donations at the door to help cover expenses for this event. Suggested donation is $10 or what you can spare!

Hope to see you on June 24 for an exciting evening of political discussion.

Kind regards,

Sharon Sommerville, Co-Chair
FVC-WR

Who: Fair Vote Canada Waterloo Region Chapter
What: Film Screening of “WHIPPED: The secret world of party discipline
When: Monday, 24 June 2013, 7:00pm
Where: Room 210, Bricker Academic Building, Wilfrid Laurier University, Bricker St., Waterloo, Ontario map
Donation: Suggested $10 donation at the door
More information: Sharon Sommerville at shareonsommerville@gmail or Anita Nickerson at anita.nickerson@fairvote.ca