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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.

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

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

————————————–

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

————————————–

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.

————————————–

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

————————————–

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

Tools for Change: Farm to Fork – Tuesday, 11 June 2013

TransitionKW presents: Tools for change: Farm to fork on Tuesday, 11 June 2013 from 7:00pm to 9:00pm at the Kitchener Farmers Market, 300 King St E in Kitchener.

TransitionKW is hosting a local food cooking demo at the Kitchener Farmers’ Market (2nd floor). Come out to learn about the link between local food and sustainable living, and learn how to cook a great meal with seasonal, local produce! Just $5. Invite your friends!

Register by emailing resilientcommunities@transitionkw.ca

Walk A Mile In Her Shoes – Wednesday, 5 June 2013

Eleanor Grant writes:

MEN WANTED to WALK A MILE IN HER SHOES !!

On Wed June 5, the men in our community will combine their big hearts and big feet at the 3rd annual Walk a Mile in Her Shoes, in support of YWCA Kitchener-Waterloo.

The walk begins at the Waterloo Public Square map at 11:30. Walk (in red high-heeled shoes!) to Kitchener City Hall, where a lunch is provided. Event ends by 1 pm.

Get your pledge form at: Walk A Mile In Her Shoes – KW YWCA

Photograph of a similar event:

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

March Against Monsanto Everywhere – Saturday, 25 May 2013

In her e-mail newsletter Eleanor Grant tells us:

Marches are planned in over 250 cities around the world, to take back our food supply from the growing use of genetically modified crops (GMOs).

Marchers will meet in front of the KITCHENER MARKET map at 2 pm, and peacefully walk to Kitchener City Hall, where great speakers are planned. WEAR A RED T-SHIRT – and bring a sign if you like! Contact <misslissa.m@gmail.com>

For more info on the world-wide movement, please visit March Against Monsanto. If you click on the drop box in the “Home” bar, there’s a Links tab with informative articles on GMOs. For example, Der Spiegel on-line reports that German scientists are investigating suspected links between GMOs and Colony Collapse Disorder in bees – but can’t get funding to continue their research.

And view for free the feature-length documentary The World According to Monsanto (YouTube video, 1h49m)

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

tri-Pride Live Music Festival, Saturday, 1 June 2013

It seems the tri-Pride Week started today:

tri-Pride is the LGBTQ (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans, Queer) Pride Festival celebration in Cambridge, Kitchener & Waterloo, Ontario. Join us this year May 22-June 2 for tri-Pride Week, including the tri-Pride Live Music Festival on Saturday June 1 at Kitchener Civic Square, King Street & Victoria Park’s Clock Tower.

What: tri-Pride Live Music Festival
When: 22 May to 2 June, 2013
Where: Kitchener Civic Square map1, Victoria Park Clock Tower map2
Also: Saturday, 1 June 2103 from 12:00noon to 8:00pm iCal
Register: Eventbrite: tri-Pride Live Music Festival

March against Monsanto

Update: There is a March Against Monsanto starting from the Kitchener Market at 2:00pm, Saturday, 25 May 2013

Eleanor Grant writes:

On Sat May 25 many communities around the world will hold a March Against Monsanto. Read why here:

Council of Canadians: March against Monsanto Everywhere on May 25

(As yet I haven’t heard that anything is planned in KW.)

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

May Day Campaign: Raise Minimum Wage to $14 now! #14Now

Eleanor Grant writes:

Peace and Justice Friends –

Please join in the May 1 Twitter / E-mail campaign to Premier Kathleen Wynne, in time for the Ontario Budget on May 2. Tell her Ontario needs a minimum wage of $14 now!

Initiated by Workers’ Action Centre in Toronto.

Let’s flood the Premier’s computer! Simple steps in forwarded msg below.

More articles on minimum wage:

Melt the Freeze! Campaign to Raise Ontario’s Minimum Wage” by Jean Kenyon

“Behind the Numbers: Boost the Minimum Wage, Boost the Economy, from the bottom up” by Armine Yalnizyan

Trish Hennessy “What if the minimum wage were a living wage?

Armine Yalnizyan: Welcome to the wageless recovery!

Eleanor

———- Forwarded message ———-
From: “Special Diet” <forspecialdiet@gmail.com>
Date: Apr 29, 2013 5:49 PM
Subject: action alert – may day email and twitter campaign!

This International Workers Day – May 1st – take a moment to tweet or email Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne, demanding a raise in the minimum wage.

$14.00 Now!

The 2013 Ontario budget will be announced this Thursday.  We need your support to help us raise the minimum wage!

Please forward this call-out to your networks, friends and family. We only have a few days, and every message counts!

Callout adapted from Workers Action Centre, workersactioncentre.org:

Take action on Mayday to send a message to Premier Kathleen Wynne before the May 2 budget. Ontario needs a minimum wage that lifts workers out of poverty now; no delays, no commission to study minimum wage.

  1. Send a tweet to @Kathleen Wynne, #14now
  2. E-mail Kathleen Wynne at premier@ontario.ca  – or write a letter from your organization supporting our call for an immediate increase and no panel! (Sample E-mail)
  3. Submit a letter to your local paper on why your community needs a raise now
  4. Like the Campaign to Raise the Minimum Wage on Facebook to get regular updates

Why we need a minimum wage increase now!

In March, communities across Ontario came together to launch a campaign for a minimum wage increase.  Creative actions took place in 15 different cities, calling for a raise in the minimum wage to $14.  The message was clear, we need an increase now!

As we get ready for the 2013 budget to be announced on May 2, we are calling on the government to raise the minimum wage to $14 and not to delay with an advisory panel or commission.

We need a raise in the minimum wage to $14 an hour now because:

  • A strong minimum wage will help workers, our communities and boost our economy.
  • Working full-time should raise us above the poverty line.  Working 35 hours a week, we need $14 an hour to get 10% above the poverty line (LIM) in 2013.
  • The minimum wage has been frozen for 3 years while rent, food and transit costs have soared! It’s time to melt the freeze, and then index the minimum wage to the cost of living each year.

Don’t delay with an advisory panel

If the Minister of Labour creates an advisory panel to study the minimum wage:

  • It will be a deliberate strategy to have a minimum wage rate set below the poverty line while trying to avoid responsibility for that decision.
  • It will be a way to distance the government from a decision to keep minimum wage workers in poverty.
  • It will be a waste of time and taxpayer’s money.

We have seen other examples of the Ontario government under Dalton McGuinty establishing panels and commissions to make recommendations that were inadequate, or that the government didn’t follow, such as the long-term affordable housing strategy and Social Assistance Review Commission.

Ontario workers don’t need a panel or commission to study the minimum wage.  We need an increase now to bring us out of poverty!

For more information, visit: workersactioncentre.org

Take action!

The Campaign to Raise the Minimum Wage is coordinated by ACORN, Freedom 90, Mennonite New Life Centre, OCAP, Ontario Campaign 2000, Parkdale Community Legal Services, Put Food in the Budget, Social Planning Toronto, Toronto and York Region Labour Council and the Workers’ Action Centre.

For additional info and local action visit povertymakesussick.wordpress.com PMUS is a proud member of the Raise the Rates campaign, and actively participates in the #14now Raise the Minimum Wage campaign

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

Report back from the (En)gendering Resistance conference

From Toronto Media Co-op via @alexhundert:

Report back from the (En)gendering Resistance conference

by Alison Thomson

Community accountability was the buzzword of this year’s School of Public Interest, titled ‘(En)gendering Resistance: Exploring the possibilities of gender, resistance and militancy.’ The weekend long conference, organized by the Waterloo Public Interest Research Group at the University of Waterloo, was an engaging, though sometimes disjointed, community affair which played host to a diversity of feminists from across southern Ontario and beyond, converging around the question of gender liberation.

Read the rest at Report back from the (En)gendering Resistance conference | Toronto Media Co-op.