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

@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

Community Meeting and Mobilization on RISING GRT TRANSIT FARES — Wed, 19 June 2013

Community Meeting and Mobilization on RISING GRT TRANSIT FARES — Wed, 19 June 2013

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

EVENT: Community Meeting and Mobilization on RISING GRT TRANSIT FARES. Bus passes and tickets are going up by 10% on July 1. This will present a hardship for the main populations who ride the bus: low-wage workers, the unemployed, and those on assistance. An action group is forming to demand a halt to the increase and more subsidized fares to be made available.

Join us Wed June 19 at 7 pm at Queen St Commons (43 Queen S). [map]
Contact shannon.balla@gmail.com

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

Dialogue on Diversity — 24 June 2013

Dialogue on Diversity — 24 June 2013

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

EVENT: Dialogue on Diversity.
Mon June 24 at 1 pm at the Region office at 150 Frederick. [map]
Does our commitment to Diversity include those in poverty and precarious employment? What is needed to make our commitment real?

Learn more and register at: Diversity & Inclusion Events — Region of Waterloo

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

Housing Opens Doors — Thursday, 27 June 2013

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

EVENT: Housing Opens Doors.
On June 27, ONPHA, the Social Planning Council of Kitchener-Waterloo, and HHUG will set-up the Housing Opens Doors installation in front of Kitchener City Hall [map] to raise awareness of the importance of affordable housing and the powerful role it plays in Waterloo Region.
ONPHA | HOUSING OPENS DOORS
Join us between 9 a.m. and 6 p.m. and show your support for affordable housing. You know that an affordable home has the power to change lives and benefit communities – help us share that message!

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

Two new actions and events

Two actions, two events: Petition against tax evaders, Citizens’ Climate Lobby, Israeli settlements, Dorothy Day documentary

Here’s the latest newsletter from Eleanor Grant:

Hello KW peace and justice supporters.

Two Events and two Actions:

ACTION 1 on Tax Evaders:

The G8 meeting this week in Northern Ireland will discuss a public registry to prevent individuals or corporations hiding their income or profits behind shell companies. But to implement this much-needed plan, the G8 needs unanimity. CANADA can either be the reason it fails, dooming us all to billions in extra taxes, or it can be the champion that ensures the deal passes.

Tell PM Harper you want Canada to be a backer not a blocker:
Avaaz – Harper: End the great tax scam

——————————–

ACTION 2 on Climate:

In early May we passed the milestone of 400 parts per million of carbon in Earth’s atmosphere. This trend must be reversed if there’s to be a sustainable future on this planet.

A local chapter of the Citizens’ Climate Lobby is being formed. Read more at We Generate Political Will for a Livable World

There will be an initial meeting, at the organizer’s home, on Sat June 1, with lots more to follow. If you’d like to get involved in this, please let me know and I’ll put you in touch.

——————————–

EVENT 1 on Israeli Settlements:

Thurs May 30, 7 to 9 pm,
UW Student Life Centre, Multi-Purpose Room:

A CHALLENGE TO JUSTICE: a PowerPoint presentation by Omar Ramahi, on Israel’s policy of settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem. Omar was a 1948 refugee. Read more at Israeli Settlements: A Challenge to Justice | Waterloo Public Interest Research Group

——————————–

EVENT 2 on Dorothy Day, founder of the Catholic Worker movement:

Tues June 4 at 7 pm,
Queen St Commons (43 Queen S Kit):

Documentary Screening: DON’T CALL ME A SAINT

Local sponsor Isaiah Boronka writes:
Dorothy Day’s life and the movement she founded exemplify an approach to issues surrounding peace and justice that place an equal emphasis on personal commitment & change as on social change – her remarkable life and the movement she helped start has had a profound influence on many, including KW’s own Working Centre.

Read more at: Dorothy Day: Don’t Call Me a Saint

——————————–

Hope to see you at these events.

And please sign the Avaaz petition at the top of this msg.

Eleanor Grant

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

Affordable Housing and Refugee Sponsorship

From Eleanor Grant’s newsletter:

And from KAIROS Grand River:

Here is a friendly reminder about our last two KAIROS-Grand River events this spring, on the theme Restoring A Good Life for All.

Both events are at First United Church – King & William Street, Waterloo map at 7 p.m. (doors open at 6:45 p.m.)

Monday MAY 27

Theme: Affordable housing for everyone – with discussion.
Guest presenters:

  • Michael Schuster, former Commissioner Social Services at Region of Waterloo
  • Colin Gage, GM Victoria Park Community Homes

Monday JUNE 17

Theme: Refugee Sponsorship (Obstacles to a Good Life for Refugees) – with discussion.
Guest presenters:

  • Jennifer Ardon, Church Liaison and Volunteer Coordinator, Canadian Lutheran World Relief (CLWR)
  • Janet Howitt, Trinity United Church and Chair of the Refugee Committee

(This is a World Refugee Day Kitchener-Waterloo Event. See http://worldrefugeedaykw.ca for complete listing.)

All are welcome.

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

Restoring a Good Life for All: Affordable housing for everyone

A presentation by KAIROS Grand River.

Restoring a Good Life for All: Affordable housing for everyone

Presenters: Michael Schuster, former Commissioner Social Services at Region of Waterloo, Colin Gage, GM Victoria Park Community Homes.

When: Monday, 27 May 2013, 7:00pm to 9:30pm; Doors open at 6:45pm
Where: First United Church, 16 William Street West, Waterloo (map)

Homelessness Awareness Week (5 – 11 May 2013)

Eleanor Grant writes:

  • Sun May 5 at 10:20 a.m: First United Church, Waterloo (King & Wm) – Outreach church service focussed on homelessness in our community.
  • Sun May 5 at 7 pm AND Mon May 6 at 9:15 pm: Princess Twin – Movie: HIT ‘N STRUM, a drama about a homeless musician in Vancouver.
  • Stepping Up: Monday May 6th 2013, 11:30am -1:00pm: Join us for a silent walk with masks, from Waterloo Square to Kitchener City Hall, to raise awareness of homelessness in the Waterloo Region.
    RSVP to Mike Savage by Phone: (519-579-5268) or by email : msavage@golden.net
  • Speaking Up: Tuesday, May 7th, 1:00- 2:30pm at Kitchener City Hall Rotunda: Speakers from all walks of life will discuss personal experiences of homelessness as well as challenges of service provision in the Waterloo Region. Light Refreshments will be served.
  • Tues May 7 at 7 pm: First United Church – Discussion of Hit ‘n Strum movie. (This is not a screening of the movie.) Please RSVP to Mike at msavage@golden.net
  • Thurs May 9 at 5:30 pm at Kitchener City Hall: free BBQ sponsored by Downtown Kitchener Community Health Centre – followed by Kindred Spirit awards.

For more information:
http://www.homelessawarenessweek.org/

 
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

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

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