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

World Water Day Celebration – Friday, March 21, 2014 – 10:30 am to 5:00 pm

From the University of Waterloo events calendar:

World Water Day Celebration

Friday, March 21, 2014 – 10:30 am to 5:00 pm

A special event to mark UN World Water Day that includes a poster exhibition, two keynote speakers and a career fair.

Keynote speakers are the CRI’s Water Grandmother Cecelia Brookes and Dr. Monique Dube.

The Water Institute and its graduate student group SWIGS are marking UN World Water Day with a day-long event that includes a poster exhibition, two keynote speakers and a career fair. Join us, our WLU partners from Laurier Institute for Water Science and the Cold Regions Research Centre as well as some of the Water Institute’s External Partners in the EIT building.

Host: The Water Institute
Event website: World Water Day 2014
Location: EIT – Centre for Environmental and Information Technology
Room 1015, 200 University Avenue West, Waterloo, ON N2L 3G1 Canada

WISE Film Screening: Pandora’s Promise – Tuesday, 11 March 2014, 7:30pm

The University of Waterloo’s Waterloo Institute for Sustainable Energy is hosting a film night on Tuesday, 11 March 2014 at 7:30pm to show Pandora’s Promise: Changing the conversation about the myths and science behind nuclear power. From their Web site:

PANDORA’S PROMISE
A Robert Stone film
Official Selection – Sundance Film Festival

Location: RCH 302, University of Waterloo [map]

You are invited to a special screening of Pandora’s Promise.
There will be a short introduction by Dr. Peter Poruks, Ph.D., Manager of Regulatory Affairs, the Canadian Nuclear Association, who will also be available for questions following the screening.

This screening is open to all students and the public.

Impact Partners, in association with Vulcan Productions and CNN Films, presents PANDORA’S PROMISE, the groundbreaking new film by Academy-Award®-nominated director Robert Stone. The atomic bomb and meltdowns like Fukushima have made nuclear power synonymous with global disaster. But what if we’ve got nuclear power wrong? An audience favorite at the Sundance Film Festival, PANDORA’S PROMISE asks whether the one technology we fear most could save our planet from a climate catastrophe, while providing the energy needed to lift billions of people in the developing world out of poverty. In his controversial new film, Stone tells the intensely personal stories of environmentalists and energy experts who have undergone a radical conversion from being fiercely anti to strongly pro-nuclear energy, risking their careers and reputations in the process. Stone exposes this controversy within the environmental movement head-on with stories of defection by heavy weights including Stewart Brand, Richard Rhodes, Gwyneth Cravens, Mark Lynas and Michael Shellenberger. Undaunted and fearlessly independent, PANDORA’S PROMISE is a landmark work that is forever changing the conversation about the myths and science behind this deeply emotional and polarizing issue.

Visit the Eventbrite page for free registration.

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

————————————-

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)

————————————–

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

Stand with the Philippines — vigil near you – Thursday, 21 November 2013 at 5:00pm

Thursday at 5:00pm at Waterloo Square [map]

———- Forwarded message ———-
From: “Jamie Henn – 350.org” <350@350.org>
Date: Nov 20, 2013 1:58 PM
Subject: Stand with the Philippines — vigil near you.
To: “Eleanor Grant” <eleanor7000@gmail.com>

Friends,

All across the world this Thursday and Friday, people will be lighting candles to call for climate action that honors the memory of the lives lost to Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines.

As the UN climate negotiations draw to a close, we’ll show that a united global movement for change can be the real light of hope in our warming world. We’re responding to a call for solidarity from the Philippines, and shining a light for the people who are feeling the impacts of climate change — even though they’ve done little to cause it.

There’s a vigil near you — can you be there to honor and remember the lives lost to this climate disaster?

Here are the details:
——————————

What: We Stand With You Vigil for Climate Justice in the Philippines
Where: In the public space outside of the Value Mart mall near Beer Town
Location: Waterloo
When: Thursday, November 21, 5:00 PM

You can RSVP here: #WeStandWithYou Vigil – 350


If you attend, remember to bring a candle (plus one for a friend!)

Government corruption and indifference has left many people without the assistance they need. 350 organizers have been on the ground in heavily impacted areas pulling together a grassroots-led relief effort to help fill in the gaps — but they’ll need your help to pull it off.

At the vigils we will be raising money for Brigada Kalikasan, the relief effort that our friends are organizing — even as we send a message to the government of the Philippines that the world expects better.

In a sane world, this work would be undertaken by our supposed leaders, the kinds of people meeting in Warsaw for the UN talks right now. But in a world still ruled by fossil fuel interests, it’s up to us to be the leaders.

These are tough times, but as always hope can be found in our work together.

Jamie


350.org is building a global movement to solve the climate crisis. Connect with us on Facebook and Twitter, and sign up for email alerts.

You can help power our work by getting involved locally, sharing your story, and donating here.

Dan Burton Presents: In Between Spaces, An Art Show – Friday, 23 August 2013

Cathy MacLellan writes:

Hello Friends:

Next weekend I’ll be celebrating yet another birthday – by attending an art show in Kitchener! On Friday, August 23rd, I’ll be at the Opus Lounge, supporting our local artists and ROOF. Just as Waterloo Region has become a hub for hi tech entrepreneurial enterprises so too the number of new and promising artists has grown exponentially, full disclosure – my daughter is one of them! This event marks the professional curatorial debut of Daniel Burton. Look for the posters around town and check it out here:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/events/484702944951652/
Buying Tickets: http://inbetweenspaces.eventbrite.ca/

“It’s not what you look at that matters, it’s what you see.”
Henry David Thoreau

Enjoy your weekend!

Cathy MacLellan

And Happy Birthday, Cathy!