The Age of Consequences: Screening and Panel Discussion — Tuesday, 28 March 2017

Climate change may no longer be a choice, but we still have a choice of consequences. What will we choose: War or Peace?

 

THE AGE OF CONSEQUENCES investigates the impacts of climate change on increased resource scarcity, migration, and conflict through the lens of US national security and global stability.
 
Join us for a screening of this compelling documentary by the award winning directors of REQUIEM FOR THE AMERICAN DREAM. Participate in an engaging discussion with a panel of distinguished experts, to explore the implications of climate change from a peace and justice perspective.
 

Through unflinching case-study analysis, distinguished admirals, generals and military veterans take us beyond the headlines of the conflict in Syria, the social unrest of the Arab Spring, the rise of radicalized groups like ISIS, and the European refugee crisis — and lay bare how climate change stressors interact with societal tensions, sparking conflict… Whether a long-term vulnerability or sudden shock, the film unpacks how water and food shortages, drought, extreme weather, and sea-level rise function as ‘accelerants of instability’ and ‘catalysts for conflict’ in volatile regions of the world… The film’s unnerving assessment is by no means reason for fatalism — but instead a call to action to rethink how we use and produce energy.

(The Age of Consequences, Synopsis)
 

Panel members:

Photo of Rick Cober Bauman, ED of MCC Ontario 
Rick Cober Bauman, Executive Director – Mennonite Central Committee Ontario. Rick has served with MCC for 26 years, including 3 years in Labrador in the Innu Community of Sheshatshit, and the last 7 1/2 years as Executive Director of MCC Ontario. This experience has brought him into contact with many stories of relief, development and peace around the world. Rick works in the Kitchener office, but is available across Ontario.
 
 
Photo of Simon Dalby, CIGI chair and Balsillie School of International Affairs

Simon Dalby, CIGI Chair in the Political Economy of Climate Change, Balsillie School of International Affairs. Simon is also the Acting Chair of the Master in International Public Policy program, and Professor of Geography and Environmental Studies at Wilfrid Laurier University. His published research deals with climate change, political ecology, geopolitics, global security, environmental change, militarization and the spatial dimensions of governance.
 
 
Photo of Jessica West, Project Officer at Project Ploughshares

Jessica West, Program Officer at Project Ploughshares. Jessica is a Ph.D. Candidate in the Global Governance program at the Balsillie School of International Affairs, Wilfrid Laurier University, who is pursuing a specialization in conflict and security studies. She has a Master’s of Arts degree in International Affairs from the Norman Paterson School of International Affairs. Prior to beginning her doctoral studies, Jessica managed an international research project on space security and served as the editor of its annual publication as part of her role at Project Ploughshares.
 
 

When: Tuesday, 28 March 2017 6:30pm-9:30pm
Where: Conrad Grebel University College, 140 Westmount Road North, Waterloo Map

Please register at Age of Consequences – Film Screening and Panel Discussion Tickets | Eventbrite

 

This is a free event. Refreshments will be served.

Events – Divest Waterloo

Eleanor Grant comments on Ontario’s Long-Term Energy Plan

Conservation — Good But We Can Do Better

I greatly appreciate Ontario’s efforts to help homeowners with the cost of conservation measures such as more efficient furnaces and better windows. I also appreciate efforts to build more transit and reduce car use. Much more needs to be done to reach northern communities. Please restore Ontario Northland rail service and expand it. And please do everything possible to expedite rail service on the Kitchener line.

Electricity Supply Mix — Greatly Increase Renewable

The decision to back out of contracts for renewable energy was short-sighted. Please revisit these contracts and ask whether the subsidies could be reduced or eliminated, now that costs are rapidly falling. What Ontario REALLY needs to do is invest in large-scale renewable energy as a public corporation, as we did a hundred years ago with Niagara. Costs are now becoming manageable to buy in and operate such facilities in the public interest. Dalton McGuinty should not have backed down on off-shore wind. Please recommit to off-shore wind, with the lessons learned about obtaining buy-in and participation from affected communities. Please make it easier for small producers to provide their own on-site generation and/or be paid for feeding into the grid. This is the appropriate role for the private sector, NOT the ownership of megaprojects. Encourage local co-ops, First Nations, and municipalities to generate renewable power for local use, including micro hydro. I was pleased to hear that Ontario is entering into agreements with Quebec and Manitoba to purchase hydro power from them. Given all of these real and potential opportunities to increase the renewable supply share, Ontario should set a target for 100% Renewable.

Electricity Supply Mix — Phase Out Nuclear

The Ministry discussion guide states that Ontario plans to rely on nuclear power for the foreseeable future for baseload capacity. Sinking billions more into Darlington and Bruce, and squeezing more years out of Pickering, seems like a huge waste of money. Not to speak of the proximity to population centres and the still unknown cost of future disposal of radioactive waste. We must stop refurbishing Darlington, and set a target for getting out of nuclear power. A combination of local renewable generation, rapidly improving storage technology, and an overall shifting toward conservation and publicly owned large-scale renewable would make possible an increasing share of baseload capacity being reliably borne by renewable sources. Phasing out nuclear is doable.

Public Ownership Is Key — Start By Buying Back Hydro One

Note that leasing out Bruce Power – so that a foreign company could reap profits from operating it while leaving the cost of decommissioning the plant and disposing of the waste to the public – was a bad deal for hydro consumers and the public purse. As for Hydro One, taxpayers are losing hundreds of millions in revenue in perpetuity by selling it. We also lose influence and control, since there’s nothing to stop the shares from being sold and resold and eventually amalgamated by a many-steps-removed foreign investor. Seriously what could Ontario do to stop that from happening? Ontario is going to need a set of policies to facilitate: transmission of power from Quebec and Manitoba, transmission to First Nations and remote communities, transmission to the Ring of Fire, “net metering” with small producers, and possibly the cession of more control over local generation. ALL of these policies are likely to be resisted by private owners. Note as well, that many Local Distributing Companies are in danger of being bought up by Hydro One, resulting in massive loss of municipal control as Hydro One passes to private owners. It’s hard to imagine anything much more short-sighted than losing the ownership of our electricity grid. It’s costly to the treasury, and forecloses on the policy options we will need to prepare for the future. Ontario must reverse course right now, stop any more IPOs of shares in Hydro One, and diligently buy back what has been sold.

Those Rising Costs — Green Energy Is Not The Cause

Ontarians would be willing to pay if we were building public assets for the future, in which we could all take pride and hope. We are not willing to pay for subsidies to large players in a market that’s already shifting toward renewables in terms of costs and profitability. We are not willing to pay for keeping Pickering alive while selling surplus power at a loss. We are not willing to pay for refurbishing Darlington when cheaper alternatives exist. We are not willing to pay for the loss of public revenue that was ours from Hydro One, and for the exorbitant salaries of consultants and managers to handle the privatization. We are not willing to risk also losing our LDCs and municipal control over them.

Conclusion — Reducing Costs And Raising The Funds

Transitioning to 21st century energy will take investment, in renewable projects, transit, EV charging networks, and more. The cost of doing this can be reduced by committing to phase out nuclear, by recommitting to public power and getting rid of corporate subsidies, and by buying INTO renewables now that the cost is falling. But the public will still have to raise funds, perhaps through a mix of a modest increase in rates (not like the ones we’ve seen — many of these need to be investigated and rolled back), combined with a modest increase in income taxes (people might have more trust if the levy were earmarked), the promotion of Green Bonds, and the facilitation of hundreds of local co-ops. There are solutions, lots of them, if public trust is regained. I hope to have shown here some ways that the general public and government can happily work together to build a 21st century long-term energy plan for Ontario.

Toxic Tour 2016 Invite — 21 August 2016, Sarnia

From Esther Kern, CPT Canada Coordinator:

Here is an opportunity to learn more about the Indigenous community, within our own geographical area. I plan to attend on the Friday and Saturday, and for anyone coming from a distance, you are welcome to stay at our home in London, either before travelling to Sarnia, or after the event. I can also provide transportation to Sarnia for at least four people and we can discuss more details later if you decide to participate. I hope to see you there!

Best regards,

Esther Kern

CPT Canada Coordinator

Phone: +1-416-423-5525

Email: estherk@cpt.org

From: Aamjiwnaang/Sarnia Against Pipelines <asap1491@gmail.com>
Sent: 22 July 2016 19:25
Subject: Toxic Tour 2016 Invite

TOXIC TOUR 2016

Toxic Tour Teaser Trailer:

Toxic Tour 2016 is happening August 21st, 2016 and starting at 8:00am. This year will start off at:

1972 Virgil Ave Map
Sarnia, ON
N7T 7Y9

Come to experience Canada’s Petro-chemical Industry first hand. On this tour you will be able to learn history, what refineries are in the chemical valley, what they produce, and so much more. Witness the pollution with your own eyes, ears, noses, and feel what it has done to our land and our people. This year will be a two hour bus tour around the entire site of Chemical Valley and Aamjiwnaang.

This is an open event to anyone and any group and doesn’t cost a thing. We can provided free camping over night for the 20th of August. Meals are included for the day with vegan, vegetarian, and traditional meat options and are free. We ask you to bring Camping gear if you are camping. Your own plate, utensils, and cup or water holder. Tobacco to offer thanks to the Water, Bundles or sacred items are welcome, gifts for elders.

This is a free event and everyone is welcome

You can register at: Toxic Tour Registration

Sign up for the event on Facebook: Toxic Tour 2016 | Facebook

Our web site is Toxic Tour 2016 – AAMJIWNAANG SOLIDARITY AGAINST CHEMICAL VALLEY

The Agenda

  • 8:00-9:30 — Breakfast
  • 9:30-10:30 — Opening
  • 10:30-12:30 — Toxic Tour (classes)
  • 12:30-2:00 — Lunch
  • 2:00-4:00 — Toxic Tour(classes)
  • 4:00-600 — Ending

The classes will be announced soon.

Things that I should be aware of before I go?

No alcohol or drugs are to be brought to this gathering, no photographs are to be taken when ceremony are happening. This is a welcoming gathering to all, so no discrimination, but respect is to be shown to everyone.

Contact

Contact asap1491@gmail.com for further questions and concerns.

Take a Toxic Tour of Canada's Chemical Valley -- August 21, 2016, starts 8:00am

Aamjiwnaang Water Gathering — 19-20 August 2016, Sarnia

From Esther Kern, CPT Canada Coordinator:

Here is an opportunity to learn more about the Indigenous community, within our own geographical area. I plan to attend on the Friday and Saturday, and for anyone coming from a distance, you are welcome to stay at our home in London, either before travelling to Sarnia, or after the event. I can also provide transportation to Sarnia for at least four people and we can discuss more details later if you decide to participate. I hope to see you there!

Best regards,

Esther Kern

CPT Canada Coordinator

Phone: +1-416-423-5525

Email: estherk@cpt.org

From: Aamjiwnaang/Sarnia Against Pipelines <asap1491@gmail.com>
Sent: 22 July 2016 19:25
Subject: Aamjiwnaang Water Gathering

AAMJIWNAANG WATER GATHERING

The Aamjiwnaang Water Gathering is welcoming all ages to come to learn water teachings from Aamjiwnaang and area’s teachers. This event is free of charge, happening August 19-20, 2016 at

1972 Virgil Ave Map
Sarnia, Ontario
N7T 7Y9

This gathering is focusing on teaching why water is sacred.

This gathering is going to hold many opportunities to learn and grow. There will be classes like Language, History, How to Organize, Craft Classes, and many more. This is a great opportunity for everyone to experience and be apart of. It creates an open and welcoming space to learn. To also look at next steps.

The event starts everyday 8:00am and ends everyday 8:00pm. Camping is free! Camping will be offered for two days, the start date is 19 August 2016 and will end at the 21st of August, 2016. The camping area will offer a campsite, no electricity on campsites, common area Port–a Potty, shower rooms (during the community center’s hours) and Water Areas, and the community center beside the camp/ park area will be open from 8:00am – 8:00pm everyday. For camping bring camping gear, your own plate, utensils, and cup or water holder. Free meals including breakfast, lunch, and dinner. With Vegan, Vegetarian, and traditional meats.

You can also bring tobacco to offer thanks to the Water, Bundles or sacred items are welcome, gifts for elders.

The classes look like:

Day 1

  • Language
  • History of Aamjiwnaang
  • History of Chemical Valley
  • History of Indigenous Movements
  • Why is water sacred?
  • 7 Grandfather Teachings
  • Two-spirited people
  • Medicine bag
  • Local plants

Day 2

  • Art
  • Line 9
  • Green Peace Training
  • How to organize an event
  • Water Project
  • Medicine wheel
  • Environmental Racism
  • Next steps

The schedule will look like:

Day 1

  • 8:00-9:30 — Breakfast
  • 9:30-10:30 — Opening
  • 10:30-11:30 — Class
  • 11:30-12:00 — Break
  • 12:00-1:30 — Lunch
  • 1:30-2:30 — Class
  • 2:30-3:00 — Break
  • 3:00-4:00 — Class
  • 4:00-5:00 — Social
  • 5:00-6:30 — Dinner
  • 6:30-8:00 — Movie

Day 2

  • 8:00-9:30 — Breakfast
  • 9:30-10:30 — Class
  • 10:30-11:00 — Break
  • 11:00-12:00 — Class
  • 12:00-1:30 — Lunch
  • 1:30-2:30 — Class
  • 2:30-3:00 — Break
  • 3:00-4:00 — Class
  • 4:00-5:00 — Social
  • 5:00-6:30 — Dinner

Things that I should be aware of before I go?

No alcohol or drugs are to be brought to this gathering, no photographs are to be taken when ceremonies are happening. This is a welcoming gathering to all, so no discrimination, but respect is to be shown to everyone.

Contact

Contact asap1491@gmail.com for further questions and concerns.

Please fill out the registration online form.

Aamjiwnaang Water Gathering – AAMJIWNAANG SOLIDARITY AGAINST CHEMICAL VALLEY

Aamjiwnaang Water Gathering, August 19-20 2016, Maawn Doosh Gumig, 1972 Virgin Ave., Sarnia, ON; Camping sites and food will be available

Letter to the City of Waterloo on Zoning and Affordable Housing

To Waterloo staff and councillors:

Thank you for the opportunity to give input on the review of our zoning bylaw.

My response pertains mainly to Residential zones. At the end I’ll add some brief ideas on Commercial and Employment zones.

These are the underlying assumptions I am bringing regarding what kind of residential areas would be desirable to live in:

  • Remember that we are building neighbourhoods.
  • Every neighbourhood needs to include green spaces and gathering spaces that facilitate casual encounters with one’s neighbours.
  • Neighbourhood green spaces should be small, frequent, and linked together if possible — user-friendly.
  • Every neighbourhood needs to be walkable and cyclable. No overly long blocks should be allowed, especially if they block access to amenities. Where these mistakes have already happened — on Lester St. and Marshall St. — the city must do its utmost to buy back an easement to insert a walkway. Plus easements to continue these walkways right through to the LRT station beyond Phillip St. and from Lodge St. to the plaza. Extremely important that we find a way to do this.
  • Neighbourhoods would also benefit from having a community centre. Please zone in space for them. Make sure that a conversation is open between staff working on zoning and those developing a neighbourhood strategy.
  • Fewer parking spaces should be required for houses, apartments, and condos.
  • Many apartments and condos could be offered without parking. That is, less than one parking spot per unit.
  • In fact a maximum number of cars should be set, because of the nuisance that cars pose to neighbours. In the vicinity of my house several driveways are being used as parking lots for multiple cars, continually coming and going, so that it’s never peaceful to go to my front yard. I think anything above two cars on a residential lot should have to pay some kind of fee or penalty.
  • What this city lacks most is housing for the whole bottom half of the market, everyone from median income on down. No one is building for them. The young, the pensioners, and the people who serve us coffee, take care of the elderly, clean offices, and provide security at events, should be able to live among us in decency. Providing for this huge demographic should be a prime goal of zoning bylaws. We especially lack lower-end rental units.
  • Every neighbourhood should be planned to include a mix of income levels, and a mix of ownership and rentals.
  • As soon as Inclusionary Zoning becomes available in Ontario — expected in fall 2016 — Waterloo should make use of it for all new development.
  • If density bonusing is used (and I’m not sure it ever should be), the green space and/or affordable housing created should have to be in the same neighbourhood.
  • In traditional neighbourhoods we should make it easier to create secondary units, frequently without parking, to bring lots of affordable housing onstream.
  • And why should we care if a family wishes to use a one-bedroom-plus-den unit as two bedrooms to make it affordable for them? The city should not be in the business of harassing and micromanaging people. Making developers change dens to dining rooms will prevent all residents from having a home office/computer room or guest room. We should do a lot less micromanaging!
  • Finally, every neighbourhood should be visually appealing and where possible reflect the uniqueness of Waterloo and its heritage. New development should fit its context.

I hope these assumptions I’m coming from are also shared by Waterloo officials. How might they apply to the specifics of the zoning bylaw?

Discussion Paper on GENERAL REGULATIONS 2.10 Secondary Dwellings

If a house is spacious enough, why couldn’t it have a basement apartment and/or a coach house unit and/or an upstairs apartment or main floor addition, or even all of these?

Why should it matter that an apartment or coach house be with a detached house and not a semi-detached or townhouse?

Why couldn’t municipal services be connected up to a detached garage in the future (at the owner’s expense); why should the connection have to have existed prior to this bylaw?

Why should it matter what percentage of the floor area of the main dwelling the secondary dwelling is?

Why should every added unit have to have parking?

What DOES matter is that there be adequate green space on the property, that the added units meet standards of safety, space, and decency, and that noise bylaws be enforced. The lot frontage doesn’t matter. Whether the entrance faces the street or the side yard doesn’t matter. We need to pick our battles, so to speak.

I think we should encourage house designs that lend themselves to the future creation of accessory apartments. Give people choice. If a family wishes to create a unit for an elderly parent or a grown child, or both — or if a young homeowner or a widow wishes to add a “mortgage helper” apartment — make it easy to do these things. It should be expected that people will do it. Get rid of the rules that don’t matter. Allow there to be some units designated as no parking.

In this way hundreds of affordable accommodations could be added in the city very quickly, blending into their neighbourhoods and with no ghettoization.

Discussion Paper on LOW-DENSITY RESIDENTIAL

As above, we should anticipate greater density being added by homeowners over the years, and don’t let rules about bedrooms per hectare restrict this too much. It’s the gentlest way to increase density and provide much needed affordable housing.

Discussion Paper on HIGH-DENSITY RESIDENTIAL

I’ve only been able to view a map covering from Erb Street to University Avenue so it’s hard for me to pinpoint locations in the rest of the city.

I think our city needs more RMU-20 throughout the city to provide affordable rentals, now that the province allows frame construction up to six storeys. Not having to provide costly underground parking should allow more affordable units to be built. Don’t require a parking spot for every unit, especially Uptown.

Two good locations for RMU-20 are close to me in the core: Bridgeport Road between Peppler Street and Laurel Creek, and the houses just north of 151 King Street North.

Please change the zoning of 151-161 King Street North so that 151 with its tasteful-density additions is preserved, and the homes between there and the 12-storey building on the corner are designated RMU-20. Best use for that location.

The Bridgeport Road site could have RMU-20 closest to the homes on Peppler, and could step up to RMU-40 nearer the creek. I hope the city will facilitate removing the H provision where the gas station used to be (in front of the carpet warehouse). A good site for development, but not 25 storeys.

These suggestions would both decrease an 81 to a 20. But I’m happy to see an upgrade to RMU-20 proposed for Weber Street, Bridgeport/Royal, and Erb Street East and West. Another spot that should be upgraded to RMU-20 is the apartments at 29 Elgin Street — I’m not sure why it’s shown as R4 on the map. I would also be OK with some R-8 townhouses on King Street between Central Street and 151 King Street North, blending in with 151. That could fit nicely. Alternatively this corner might be a good location for a community centre serving both MacGregor-Albert and Uptown North. Something to think about.

I don’t think there should be any RMU-81 on King between Elgin and Noecker, and perhaps Marshall. (What happened at King/Noecker/James is a ghastly mistake, and I believe the city owes SERIOUS restitution to the St. Sofia church congregation for permitting this encroachment.) I suggest we need a category in between RMU-40 and RMU-81. Say RMU-50, which would allow 14 or 15 storeys. Existing neighbourhoods could more easily live with that.

Less than one parking space per unit should be required, in all of the above. Mandate more and better bicycle parking (this shouldn’t be a “bonus” point but basic). And we need to keep pushing the Region for better transit and be willing to contribute more revenue for it.

So I’m saying: more RMU 20, more allowance for accessory units in R 1-4, less parking, more bike parking, and no 25-storey towers: change RMU-81 to RMU-50.

This option is more affordable for everyone, allows neighbourhoods to feel coherent, and preserves the character of the city.

Discussion Paper on OPEN SPACE …

I like the vision of “urban open space system within built-up areas”. But I didn’t see anything about improving general walkability by avoiding overly long blocks.

Walk/cycle links need to be restored where poor planning in the recent past failed to provide for them: Hickory, Lester, Phillip to LRT and Brighton, Marshall, Lodge to plaza. This must be a high priority, so neighbourhoods can breathe again.

As mentioned above, it is urgent that the city buy an easement for a walkway close to the end of Hickory Street, or else all of Northdale will be locked in forever and frustrating to live in. And make sure the walkway continues all the way to the LRT station and University of Waterloo campus, with some green space along the way.

As for Lodge Street, there’s still time to acquire the land and build a walkway from Lodge Street to the plaza, while working to find a way to get an easement through to Marshall. Please make this a priority.

The ditch running behind University Plaza is a good potential place for green space. Would it be possible to extend it out to Weber and to Regina? This would provide more foot and bike access to the plaza, reducing bicycles on University. A footbridge (or several) over the ditch to the plaza, some trees and stone benches, and a walkway out to Lodge Street and eventually Marshall and Brighton … Please act now to make this happen! Put it on the zoning map. It could be a gem.

A parkette would also be the best use of the low land around the art gallery between Regina and Peppler. And it could eventually be linked across Peppler to Brighton Park. Please pencil it in and work toward assembling it over the years.

These are two or three examples of walking links and green space potential in my immediate neighbourhood. And are there any plans to complete Laurel Trail from Weber Street to Moses Springer Park? Just five or six houses …

Much more could be done with Laurel Creek uptown as well, as regards green space.

Parkettes need to be an integral part of all future development. As mentioned above, it should not be allowed to “horse-trade” parkland fees for green space far away; the green space should have to be where the development is. Same goes for affordable housing; it should have to be on the site.

Affordable housing, walkability, and green space. Zoning can do so much to enhance them all. In these ways we can build future neighbourhoods that feel safe and fostering for all the diverse ages, incomes, cultures, household types, and occupations of people who will live here.


Here are two articles on visioning urban growth that I found inspirational:

Density at a Human Scale, by Kaid Benfield:
http://www.sustainablecitiescollective.com/kaidbenfield/988196/smart-growth-not-all-urban-density-created-equal

Zoning for Happiness in Edmonton:
http://edmontonjournal.com/news/insight/in-a-happy-zone-how-planning-rules-can-improve-a-neighbourhood-vibe

And new info: Ontario’s Climate Action Plan will legislate away cities’
ability to require parking minimums:
http://tvo.org/article/current-affairs/the-next-ontario/why-parking-spots-in-the-gta-could-get-scarcer-and-pricier


Let me conclude with a few thoughts on Commercial and Employment zones:

Less parking! Less parking! Less parking! I support the points regarding parking made by TriTAG at:
http://www.tritag.ca/blog/2016/03/20/can-the-city-of-waterloo-move-beyond-parking-minimums/

Employment districts in north Waterloo need much better bike and bus access. They need to be much better integrated with the city and include mixed uses.

I also think we need a rule that nothing can be built that’s only one storey. Industrial “parks” are huge space wasters. If production needs to be on one level, some other use could be built above.

There also need to be strong incentives to include on-site renewable energy and green roofs.


Thank you for your time in considering all these suggestions regarding how Waterloo should grow. Our residential areas, and commercial and employment areas too, should promote neighbourliness and inclusion, and commitment to place, and good stewardship.

Eleanor Grant

Welcome to the new home for KWPeace

KWPeace logo

KWPeace

Thanks to the sponsorship of Educators for Justice and the generosity of web hosting provider CCj/Clearline the KW Peace blog has moved to a new site at http://kwpeace.ca/.

An initiative of the Kitchener Waterloo Peace and Social Justice Community Symposium, the new site gives more flexibility to add things like a comprehensive calendar of all Peace and Social Justice events in the Kitchener–Waterloo area, and mailing lists for the KW Peace groups to coordinate those events.

Thank you for joining us on our new site!

–Bob Jonkman,
KWPeace Blog System Administrator.

Global Climate March — Sunday, 29 November 2015

Join us to send a powerful message of encouragement and hope in support of decisive action in COP21

Poster

This year a massive coalition of environmental, social justice, faith, labour, community, student and indigenous groups, as well as families and concerned citizens are building an unprecedented global mobilization in support of climate justice.

On Sunday, 29 November 2015 people from across Waterloo Region will join with voices from around the world to show our support for ambitious and real action against climate change at COP21, the United Nations Conference on Climate Change in Paris, is our most important climate conference yet.

Come together with neighbours and friends to send a powerful message of encouragement and hope in support of decisive action at COP21. Sound your drums and raise your voices in solidarity with people from around the globe. Be part of an historic event at this most important juncture in the climate movement.

Join us on 21 and 22 November 2015 to make posters and art for the march (location to be determined).

WHAT: Peaceful family-friendly march in advance of the United Nations Conference on Climate Change in Paris, 30 November to 11 December 2015.

WHEN: Sunday, 29 November 2015 2:00pm

WHERE: Start at Waterloo Public Square, 75 King St S, Waterloo Map
End at 22 Willow Street.

Register at Avaaz: Peoples Climate March Waterloo Region to receive updates about the march and the art build, or to volunteer.

This event was forwarded to me from several sources; this text was taken from the Divest Waterloo Events web page.

If you’re on Facebook, you can join the event at Global Climate March – Waterloo Region | Facebook.

–Bob.

March for Jobs Justice and the Climate, Sunday, 5 July 2015 in Toronto

People marching in the street

March for Jobs Justice and the Climate

A large rally is planned in Toronto for jobs, justice and the climate.

If you would like to attend but don’t want to drive, there is a bus going from Kitchener-Waterloo and Guelph.

Read more about the rally and sign up for the bus on the Facebook page March for Jobs, Justice & the Climate. More information is available at March for Jobs, Justice and the Climate web site.

Canada needs a new economy that works for people and the planet

From Alberta to the coasts, Canada is ready for an economy that creates good jobs for all, protects the air, land and water, and tackles climate change.

We don’t have to choose between the economy or the environment. By taking climate action, we can create an economy that is more fair and equal and generates hundreds of thousands of good green jobs. It means supporting the labour that takes care of people and the planet — education, healthcare, childcare and the protection of the land, much of it done by women. It means expanding localized agricultural systems to use less fossil fuels and provide affordable, nutritious food for everyone in Canada.

We want an economy in which workers earn a living wage – starting with a $15 minimum – and which prioritizes people who are unemployed, struggling in precarious, temporary, or non-unionized jobs or in industries being shut down. Which honours Indigenous peoples’ rights and recognizes their role in protecting the land, air and water for everyone. Which guarantees migrant and undocumented people are not excluded and receive full immigration status. Which ensures that black and brown lives matter as much as white ones and are free of racism and police violence. Which respects the limits of the environment made clear by climate science.

Climate action means protecting and expanding public control over our energy systems to ensure cheaper rates and a transition to clean energy sources. It also means building affordable, energy-efficient housing and better public transit.

This July, Toronto will host a Pan American Climate Summit and an Economic Summit, where politicians will face a choice: listen to corporate leaders from across the Americas gathering to advance an economic austerity agenda that is increasing inequality and causing a climate crisis felt disproportionally in the global south – or listen to the people.

On the eve of those summits, let’s make sure they hear our demands: a justice-based transition to a new energy economy, in which corporate polluters pay and ordinary people benefit.

The only way to overcome a small, powerful group who have a lot to lose is to build a massive movement of people with everything to gain.

On Sunday July 5, join the March for Jobs, Justice & the Climate in the streets of Toronto.

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