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For Earth Day: Address to the Federal Climate Action Plan Consultation

This is the full text of the speech delivered by Niara van Gaalen at the conclusion of the Federal Climate Action Plan Consultation held 18 August 2016 at Kitchener City Hall. It is reproduced here for Earth Day.

Hello everyone.

Niara van Gaalen delivers closing remarks There are many people who are standing on a cliff of deliberate, unconcerned ignorance, when it comes to climate change. When they look into the abyss of the future, they simply want the normal life their parents wanted for them. Unfortunately, with climate change already happening, it will not be possible to live the way our forefathers did. We must be better. And it must happen now.

The Government of Canada needs to lead by example. Everything that is owned by the government, and that they spend our tax dollars on, must from now on contribute to the end of climate change. Institutions, like hospitals, schools, and city halls such as this one, have to help us sequester carbon biologically, to transition to a low carbon economy, to encourage world population reduction, and to restore nature. Our government also has to stop subsidizing, and accepting money from, the large and irresponsible fossil fuel, agro-tech, pharmaceutical, and forestry industries.

There is a list of simple, small things that need to be mandatory and made easily accessible to everybody by law, in order to end climate change: things like rain barrels, recycling, composting, physically separated bike lanes, and excellent, affordable, and punctual public transportation. For every child born in Canada we ought to plant trees in their honour. And we must protect Canada’s great forests, for all time, in our constitution, by restoring what we have damaged, and by embedding in law the protection of 40% of Canada as forest cover. We must also strategically protect at least half of Canada’s 9.985 million square kilometres as pure nature, for all eternity. This is one of the greatest gifts you, as politicians and citizens, could possibly give your children.

There is another list of things — chemicals, substances, and practices, the most important of which being the mining of the tar sands and fracking — that need to be banned. One law, one person’s vote can stop these atrocities that are destroying the earth. It is well understood that these things are important to Canada’s economy now, but is there a price that can be put on the quality of life of your children and grandchildren? Please look at me, and the faces of all the children on earth, in all honesty, and tell us “no.”

It is essential that we move to a low-carbon economy. A carbon tax will help, but it needs to happen nation- and world-wide. We need to tax items that should not be banned, but are still harmful to the environment, such as meat, and we need to ban factory-farming of animals. We also need to change the financial system, and address the problem of tax havens. Many ask how we will pay for the changes needed to stop climate change. This is just one of many examples: by cooperating with countries world-wide, money that hides in places like Delaware, and London, England can be returned to the people to whom it belongs, especially in Third World countries. In a similar way, we need to renegotiate and rethink all treaties and agreements, such as the TTP, NAFTA, space and extra space the Vancouver Declaration.

Biologically capturing and storing carbon is the single best way we can act quickly to prevent some of the worst events that could occur due to climate change. We need to make biochar, and incorporate it into our soil, a huge and damaged carbon sink that can be restored, and can simultaneously offset at least about 20% of global greenhouse gas emissions each year. We need to make more items out of sustainable wood, green our cities, pressure countries that destroy tropical rainforest, and replant and restore the kelp forests on our coasts, to the benefit of both us and the otters. Renewable energy, such as concentrated solar power and geothermal, will also be a part of the solution. Every day there is word of new developments in carbon-storage techniques, and renewable and sustainable technology. The government must be deeply informed of all the technological possibilities, make sure that Canada’s citizens, especially young people, are a part of their development, invest money in them, and make laws to ensure they happen quickly.

It will be easier to stop climate change if we slow and reverse population growth. We have the means to support a few billion more people. But it will be so difficult, especially considering that this growth will occur in the Third World. The fewer people, the easier it is to act quickly, cooperate, and share. We must invest in women in other parts of the world so that they are in charge of their bodies and can plan their families, and we must educate women and all children. Canada, however, will likely receive many climate refugees and immigrants. We must plan, creating infrastructure and jobs with opportunities for fairly paid manual labour so that we can welcome them with open arms. On that note, considering the number of people, also consider dogs and cats, about 14 million in Canada, all of which require meat to feed. A carbon tax on non-working cats and dogs, would help to reduce their number, and persuade people to think twice about the environmental impact of a pet.

There can be no waiting for the right plan or the right technology to fix things. We have had decades to find a magic bullet and have not found it; we have to proceed without one. Although technology will help us to end climate change, we cannot engineer it away. I once read that there is no good time to have a baby. There is no good time to rebirth our world. Of course it is inconvenient that the biosphere has fallen ill; there is never a good time to be sick. But we still have to heal what we have damaged. I find it incredible that we can send a man to the moon, but we have failed to act proactively when it comes to climate change. We, the young generation, on behalf of all the other unique species on earth, expect the government to make drastic changes now, because the biosphere is incredibly fragile. We hold the government, and every single adult in Canada and across the world, accountable for all the actions you do and do not take. We must make another giant leap for mankind today, because otherwise all of mankind and every other living thing will suffer immensely. I challenge you, and expect you, to go and partake in this change, because to do nothing would be a betrayal of my generation.

Thank you.

Waterloo Region Town Hall – Federal Climate Action Consultation 2016 – Working Group Feedback

PETITION: Ontario nonprofits and fair wages

From the Social Development Centre Waterloo Region:

A much needed minimum wage boost has come to Ontario. The nonprofit sector requires similar consideration to make the transition to higher labour costs as small businesses do. One step is to adjust Transfer Payment Agreements (TPAs) to accommodate higher labour costs in the next fiscal period as discussion begins on the 2018-19 Ontario Budget, as requested by the Ontario Non-profit Network’s pre-budget submission (PDF, 333 kBytes), supported by the Social Planning Network of Ontario. Many smaller non-profits without TPAs also require consideration for increased funding support to adjust to new employment standards and fair wage practices take effect.

http://www.socialplanningtoronto.org/helpontario
A needed minimum wage boost is coming to Ontario. Nonprofits will need a little extra help so we can continue to make a difference in our communities. | The province has offered a 22% reduction in the Corporate Income Tax Rate for small businesses. | Help us help Ontario. | Nonprofits need increased support to keep providing important services.
Help Us Help Ontario

Nature Bonds

The petition to create a new financial security, Nature Bonds (E-1264 – Protection of the Environment) must be signed online by 3:00pm, 23 March 2018.

Addressed to the inhabitants of Canada

On the following interesting subjects:

  1. A move to protect 90% of Canada’s land and aquatic area as a permanent natural reserve.
  2. A move to zero carbon by 2024.
  3. As funded by the creation of a new financial security; Nature Bonds.

2017 marked the one hundred and fiftieth anniversary of our nation. This same year also marks 35 years since the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms came into effect. This is cause for celebration, but also a re-evaluation of what it means to be Canadian. What it means today to respect the ideals outlined by our forefathers.

I am thinking about the right to security of person, a right not only in our own country’s charter, but in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

Climate change, and the biodiversity crisis violate my generation’s (I’m seventeen) right to security of person as set out herein. Although the current government has taken unprecedented action on this issue, it will not suffice. It is a drop in the ocean of things that need to be done. Therefore I propose a very simple solution:

That we create a new financial security, Nature Bonds, in order to fund the protection of 90% of Canada’s land and aquatic area as a permanent natural reserve, and a move to net-zero carbon by 2024.

I understand that this is an incredibly ambitious goal, that this is a kind of previously unheard of action. However, “We meet in an hour of change and challenge, in a decade of hope and fear, in an age of both knowledge and ignorance. The greater our knowledge increases, the greater our ignorance unfolds” (Kennedy).

Everyone is susceptible to fear and ignorance, but we are stronger than that. We, as a compassionate and kind people, must come together to achieve the protection of the biosphere because if we fail, we betray every single generation to come. In six years the allied forces defeated both Hitler and Hirohito. In eight years humanity brought a man to the moon. We have had decades to counteract climate change and still no one has moved to do what must be done. Perhaps the ship has already sailed. But we must still try. A failure to do this would reflect cowardliness and an unprecedented failure of humanity when this generation and all generations to come need us most.

The goal to protect ninety percent of Canada’s land began with the knowledge of acclaimed biologist E.O.Wilson. He explains that, “The fraction of species that can be protected in one-half the global surface is about 85%. A biogeographic scan of Earth’s principal habitats shows that a full representation of its ecosystems and the vast majority of its species can be saved within half the planet’s surface. At one-half and above, life on Earth enters the safe zone.”

Canada has 9 985 000 square kilometres of land. When you combine the amount of arable land, permanent pastures, cities and other built-up land, the total occupied land is less than 10%. So, by that count we could easily protect 90% of Canada’s area— 8 986 500 square km.

Ninety percent makes sense because we must do more than we are doing now, as a country extremely gifted with space, and monetary resources. We must do more because other nations will be able to accomplish less. But truly, we must do more because it is the right and true thing to do.

I know that a good deal of land is already protected in Canada, through our national parks program, and other initiatives. This would just formalize and expand on what we have, and this 90% would include the parks and other currently protected areas. In addition, it is not my intention that people are forcefully relocated in order to create these protected areas.

The exact land that is protected should comprise of all the different ecological zones and regions in Canada, and as many different species as possible should be protected within this land. Sometimes, this will mean that areas such as roads will need to be temporarily closed, for example, during the migration of animals, in order to protect species.

Ninety percent should also apply to our coastlines, which are fragile and not well protected. 243,797 km of coastline, times the 360 km out that Canada claims, is 90 204 890 square km of ocean. If we include the great lakes’ 3800 km of coastline and all our smaller lakes, rivers, streams, etc. we have thousands more of square km of water to protect.

I propose that:

  1. This land and water will belong to all Canadian citizens.
  2. It is not allowed to be used for corporate gain for the next 30 years, to allow the area to regenerate to full health. At that point, a new discussion can begin on the topic of sustainably harvesting renewable resources.
  3. This protection means that all resources both underground and aboveground on the protected land will remain where they currently are.
  4. Aboriginal citizens will be allowed to harvest what they need in small and reasonable amounts for personal use, and all citizens who are camping or whatnot should be able to do the same.
  5. This land is to be maintained and restored so that it is as healthy and diverse as possible.
  6. It is to be extensively researched so that we better understand the nature of the ecosystems and wildlife that comprise it.
  7. All Canadians are allowed to inhabit this land on temporary and net-zero carbon structures.

As for climate change, in order to meet the Paris targets, we must aim to be carbon neutral by 2024. Most of our target dates are set for 2030, and so we only have to shorten the timeline by six years. If we do not aim for 2024, we will most likely not succeed in staying below 2 degrees of warming, the models show us. The government of Canada has not put out any information showing how their goals will bring us directly to the targets in time, and I believe that this is because they have not set ambitious enough goals to make good on the Paris treaty. We have already started the transition to zero carbon, as seen in the government report, Achieving a Sustainable Future. We must simply do it much more quickly and on an even grander scale.

And regarding how to pay for this I propose that we issue a new kind of bond, Nature Bonds, to fund it. I know that Canada recently made the decision to end the Canadian Savings bonds program, but what I am suggesting is a way to directly involve our citizens in our efforts, and it is an opportunity that cannot go ignored. I would like to remind you of the success of our private refugee sponsorship program, and I think that this bond program will allow us to accomplish similar successes with the environment. I am also thinking of war bonds, which are a capitalistic way of allowing individuals and corporations to raise funds for a common, patriotic goal. However, I want it to be clear that nature bonds would not be a privatization of government. They are a way for citizens to enable government initiatives that otherwise would not get the necessary financing.

Please note that the projects funded by the bond must have a clause in their contracts saying that if the project is not finished by 2024, there is no payment.

Despite a large investment on the part of the present government, we will not meet our Paris agreements if we go on like this. This bond will create the money that we need to invest in our society in order to create this fundamental shift. I cannot guarantee that all the benefits of investing in our society like this will create a monetary return in the traditional sense. However, it is not about the return on investment in the normal sense of getting whatever percentage on the money one originally puts in. The real return on investment in this case is preserving the earth for future generations.

I know that as a society newly come of age, we wish to prove to the world and to ourselves what are capable of. We have an opportunity to be visionaries, as we were in the making of historic moments such as at Vimy Ridge and Juno Beach, in the drafting of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, as peacekeepers in the Suez Crisis, and the signing of the Paris Agreement. We must do the seemingly impossible, and use the rich resources of our land, and the resourcefulness of our people in order to reverse this massive destruction of life. We must choose to protect our wildlife, our atmosphere, and an entire generation, not because it is an easy feat, but because it is hard, because it is a challenge that Canadians are willing to accept, one that we are unwilling to postpone, and one which we intend to win.

Pharmacare Town Hall in Burlington — Monday, 5 March 2018 at 7pm

Pharmacare for all -- why not?

Monday, March 5 at 7 PM — 9 PM
Art Gallery of Burlington
1333 Lakeshore Road
Burlington, Ontario

PHARMACARE FOR ALL — WHY NOT?

An event sponsored by Council of Canadians (Halton Chapter) — Monday, March 5 at the Art Gallery of Burlington, 7 PM to 9 PM.

This event intends to inform the public about the health, social and economic impacts of universal Pharmacare, and intends to help keep this issue at the forefront of the political agenda for Ontario and Canada as a whole

Keynote Speakers

Maude Barlow:

Maude Barlow is the Honorary Chairperson of the Council of Canadians and chairs the board of Washington-based Food and Water Watch. She serves on the executive of the Global Alliance for the Rights of Nature and is a Councillor with the Hamburg-based World Future Council. Maude is the recipient of fourteen honorary doctorates as well as many prestigious awards for her environmental activism. In 2008/2009, she served as Senior Advisor on Water to the President of the UN General Assembly and was a leader in the campaign to have water recognized as a human right by the UN. She is the author of dozens of reports, as well as 18 books, including her latest, Blue Future: Protecting Water For People And The Planet Forever and Boiling Point: Government Neglect, Corporate Abuse, and Canada’s Water Crisis.

Prof Emeritus Brian Hutchison:

Brian Hutchison is a Professor Emeritus in the Department of Family Medicine at McMaster University and past Director of the Centre for Health Economics and Policy Analysis at McMaster University. He practiced comprehensive family medicine for five years in a fee-for-service group practice, followed by 25 years in a McMaster University academic family practice. Among other senior roles, he was the Co-Chair of the Canadian Working Group for Primary Healthcare Improvement from 2008 to 2014 and is currently a vice-chair of Canadian Doctors for Medicare. In 2015 he was named as one of 20 Top Pioneers of Family Medicine Research in Canada by the College of Family Physicians of Canada.

Following their presentations, there will be a panel including a local pharmacist, a retired benefits specialist and a health professional. The audience is welcome to participate in the discussion.

Canada is the only developed country with a universal Medicare program without a universal Pharmacare plan. This event intends to inform the public about the health social and economic impacts of universal Pharmacare and keep this issue at the forefront of the political agenda for Ontario and Canada as a whole. Ontario has already improved Pharmacare coverage to Age 25 but it is time to complete the process.

Free Admission
For parking, there is street parking available nearby, free after 6 PM. Also, the AGB parking lot (see map http://bit.ly/2EtoJck) requires payment only until 7 PM.
https://artgalleryofburlington.com/

Please bring your own reusable water bottle

Let us know you’re coming on our Facebook Event page.

Pharmacare Toolkit — https://canadians.org/pharmacare-toolkit

Pharmacare Town Hall – Halton Chapter

Trudy Beaulne, Executive Director of the Social Development Centre, has passed away

Trudy Beaulne
Trudy Beaulne in January 2016
I am very sorry to hear that Trudy Beaulne has passed away.

Trudy was the Executive Director of the Social Development Centre, a community leader, and a dear friend.

I first met Trudy at Connect with TransitionsKW, SPCKW and Leadnow where she spoke passionately about community involvement. We met again during the election of 2015, when she invited me to the New Hamburg debate and several educational opportunities for candidates hosted by the Social Planning Council of KW. Our paths crossed again and again at social justice events, when Trudy was speaking at the Basic Income consultation, and when I was invited to speak on election reform at a meeting of ALIVe.

Most recently Trudy joined KWPeace at our potluck in the spring. As a result of that meeting, Trudy started to work with some KWPeace groups on setting up a community hub, intended to provide meeting space and to provide guidance in getting funding for community groups.

Trudy was an inspiration to me, and taught me much about social justice. I will miss her.

–Bob Jonkman

In The News

Trudy Beaulne’s Funeral

Visitation: 10:00am to 2:00pm, Friday 12 January 2018
Sharing Memories: 2:00pm, Friday 12 January 2018
Where: Henry Walser Funeral Home
Location: 507 Frederick Street, Kitchener Map
Phone: +1-519-749-8467

Cropped from Aleksandra Petrovic Graonic & Trudy Beaulne (Social Development Centre of Waterloo Region), © 2017 copyright by Laurel L. Russwurm and used under permission of a CC BYCreative Commons — Attribution 2.0 Generic license.

GRT Affordable Transit Study

From our friends at the Social Planning Council of Cambridge and North Dumfries:

From: Social Planning Council of Cambridge and North Dumfries <info@spccnd.org>
Date: Friday, 1 September 2017
Subject: Affordable Transit Study – Help Get the Word Out

Hello everyone,

The Region of Waterloo is looking for volunteers to participate in a research study.

The purpose of the study is to evaluate the effects of different reduced fare transit passes. People who are selected for the study could get:


  • Off-Peak Pass: $23 per month
  • 20-Ride Pass: $25 per month
  • Combo Pass: $48 per month
  • Unlimited Pass: $65 per month

Please help spread the word and advertise in your offices / through your communications.

Community members can sign up to attend study information and registration sessions through Eventbrite links that can be found on the GRT website.

Please see the GRT webpage for more information/details of the study:

Transit Affordability Study – Grand River Transit

Our mailing address is:
Social Planning Council of Cambridge and North Dumfries
55 Dickson St,
Cambridge, ON N1R 1T8
Canada

Stop Deportation of Issam al-Yamani

Hello friends of Palestine in KW and area,

A lot going on right now, here in Canada.

  1. This urgent action came in today from Canadian Friends of Sabeel. Mr ISSAM AL-YAMANI, a Palestinian-Canadian activist in Mississauga, is about to be deported. LETTERS NEEDED BY FRI AUG 4 if possible. At this link Action: Letters of support requested for Issam Al Yamani, facing deportation threat from Canada you will find more information and a sample letter. Issam has lived peacefully in Canada since 1985, and has no country to return to. Here is a letter I wrote today to Ministers Goodale and Hussen. Please act today.

    From: Eleanor Grant <eleanor7000@gmail.com>
    Date: Thu, Aug 3, 2017 at 12:58 PM
    Subject: Stop Deportation of Issam al-Yamani
    To: Goodale.R@parl.gc.ca, Hussen.A@parl.gc.ca
    Cc: Clement.T@parl.gc.ca, Rempel.M@parl.gc.ca, Mulcair.T@parl.gc.ca, matthew.dube@parl.gc.ca, Kwan.J@parl.gc.ca, Virani.A@parl.gc.ca, Chagger.B@parl.gc.ca

    To the Honourable Ahmed Hussen and Ralph Goodale, Ministers of Immigration and Public Safety:

    Re the deportation order against Mr Issam al-Yamani

    Please grant Ministerial Relief from deportation to this man, who has lived peacefully in Canada for more than 30 years.

    And please review his case and reinstate his permanent resident status.

    I draw your attention to this informative letter from the Ontario Civil Liberties Association:

    http://ocla.ca/letter-canadas-record-regarding-the-civil-rights-of-mr-issam-al-yamani/

    In addition to the facts mentioned in the letter, I would add that the PFLP was not a banned group in Canada until 2003, long after Mr Al-Yamani ceased association with it; and that Mr Al-Yamani would become stateless if deported to Lebanon, where he was born a refugee.

    Mr Al-Yamani has no national home but Canada and he has been an exemplary Canadian resident and family man.

    I urge you to let him stay in Canada and to drop all threats against him.

    Yours Sincerely,

    Eleanor Grant
    Waterloo Ont

    cc Opposition critics Tony Clement, Michelle Rempel, Tom Mulcair, Matthew Dube, Jenny Kwan

    cc Arif Virani MP cc Bardish Chagger MP

    I made 2 small mistakes in the recipient list cc line:

    1. Instead of Arif Virani MP I meant to cc it to Omar Alghabra, who is Issam’s own MP.
    2. The address for Matt Dube (NDP critic for Public Safety) should be matthew.dube@parl.gc.ca .

    You will of course want to change Bardish Chagger to your MP if you don’t live in Waterloo.

  2. You may also be interested to hear that Canadian-Israeli journalist DAVID SHEEN is facing a defamation lawsuit by an unsavoury Israeli general. David does exceptional work making known in the West the increasingly racist culture happening in Israel at present; I heard him speak at U Waterloo in 2015. Canadian Journalists for Free Expression is asking the Cdn govt to get involved:

    Defamation suit against Israeli-Canadian journalist David Sheen must be dismissed – CJFE | Canadian Journalists for Free Expression

    As yet they have not requested mass support.

  3. If you’ve been following the case of HASSAN DIAB, the Lebanese-Canadian professor being detained in France on flimsy charges – his supporters are requesting financial support for his mounting legal costs:

    Justice for Hassan Diab | Bring Hassan Home!

    Click on How You Can Help.

  4. Lastly, close to home in London Ont, an assortment of Islamophobic hate groups are getting a foothold. I heard today that a Christian Peacemaker Teams group in Kitchener has been asked to support a Speak Peace rally in London on Aug 26 at one of these hate events. To attend, some training in nonviolence is required – the training will take place in London on Aug 25 and 26. IF YOU THINK YOU WOULD LIKE TO TAKE PART IN THIS TRAINING AND THE RALLY, I will put you in touch with Esther of CPT in Kitchener.

Thank You for all you do to be a light in these times.

Eleanor Grant
on Twitter @eleanor70001

Speak Peace Rally — 26 August 2017, London, Ontario

Hello CPT and seekers of justice and peace Friends, Several weeks ago there was a rally that PEGIDA, a right wing Islamophobic group held in London, and our group People for Peace was there to counter their message. The turnout was better than expected and we outnumbered the above group, and were mostly successful in drowning out their hateful rhetoric. Having to plan at short notice, we did experience a number of situations during the rally which could have been managed in a more positive way.

PEGIDA was not happy with us however, and are now coming back with a vengeance on August 26, and they are courting other right wing groups to come with them, as listed in the announcement below, for another rally on the steps of London’s city hall. There have also been vitriolic comments aimed at individuals within our group, threats, and that too, is concerning. We support our Muslim community and want to communicate a message of welcome, and “Speaking Peace”. We feel an urgent need for an even larger peaceful presence, and are planning a two to three hour “Nonviolence Training” to be held either on Friday evening or early Saturday morning, prior to the event. We are still working out details and it depends too, on who may be coming from a distance. We are prepared to offer accommodations as needed. There are already offers for car pooling from a distance.

Please let me know whether you can come, when, what your needs will be, and whether you can help with the “Nonviolence Training”. As we find out who is coming and when, I will provide more details as we plan for this event. Please plan to bring your singing voices, justice and peace signs, banners, rainbows, bubbles, balloons etc, to make it a colourful event!

In peace and solidarity,

Esther Kern <estherk@cpt.org>

Speak Peace Not HateThere are several groups in and around London (PEGIDA, JDL. Proud Boys, Sons of Odin, biker groups such as Hell’s Angels etc.), all xenophobic groups spewing hate who are gathering to try to spread their messages of intolerance and Islamophobia. People for Peace London calls on all Londoners to join us for a peaceful, non violent, inclusive, diverse counter rally:

Saturday August 26, 10:30 am.

London, in front of or near City Hall at Dufferin and Wellington (note: this location may change, and we may gather earlier in Victoria Park to prepare ourselves). We will dispel the myths that the hate groups promote, educate the public and stand together in unity against their violent messages. Please bring drums, rattles, stories of inclusion, poetry and your love for humanity.

Please share the Facebook event and watch that page for updates:

Anti Hate Rally- London Ontario | Facebook

—–

People for Peace, London Ontario

Protestors with bannerSparks fly at London City Hall as protesters clash during anti-Islam rally – London | Globalnews.ca (22 July 2017)

CBC News reports on Cross Cultures event

Kitchener marks UN Day for Elimination of Racial Discrimination

We need to “treat each other as human beings instead of labelling and stereotyping,” organizer says

CBC News Posted: Mar 21, 2017 7:00 AM ET

This flag was used at a Walk Against Racism in Regina in February. A day-long event at Kitchener City Hall Tuesday is dedicated to the United Nation's International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination.

This flag was used at a Walk Against Racism in Regina in February. A day-long event at Kitchener City Hall Tuesday is dedicated to the United Nation’s International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination. (CBC)

External Links

(Note: CBC does not endorse and is not responsible for the content of external links.)

An all-day event at Kitchener City Hall Tuesday is meant to open the discussion on racism in Waterloo region.

The event marks the United Nations’ International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination and is organized by the editor of the local website Cross Cultures, Gehan Sabry.

In the past year, there has been a lot of talk about racism in the region and Sabry hopes this event — now in its 16th year — will help kickstart more dialogue about the issue.

“There is racism,” Sabry said.

“Sometimes it’s more obvious and to the surface,” she added. “We’re hoping that people, through understanding each other, that there will be less of the unknown and treat each other as human beings instead of labelling and stereotyping and being leery of other people because they just don’t understand them.”

Everyone has talents, passions

The day will include several speakers, presentations, booths, music and discussions. The morning and early afternoon is largely for high school students, but the public is encouraged to take part in events starting at 2 p.m.

One of those talks will be by the organization Bridges to Belonging. Executive director Cameron Dearlove said that group is known for helping people with developmental disabilities or mental health issues, but he says they help anyone who struggles to build a full life in the community.

He said their message will be about how we need to see each other as people first.

“Everybody, whether you have a disability or not, has gifts, has talents, has passions,” he said. “If people aren’t sharing those, that’s our job to help people uncover those and find the places where they can share those and build their life within the community.”

‘More peace, more respect’

This year’s theme is Our Home On Native Land, and Sabry said it’s important because we need to remember “we are all guests of the Indigenous people of this Turtle Island.”

Sabry, who is Muslim, said she hopes people will come, listen and then go back to their communities and talk about the issues.

“I’m hoping people will be encouraged to share this information with others: Their family, their friends, their colleagues. And that we can promote better feelings amongst us, more peace, more respect, mutual respect,” she said.

Kitchener marks UN Day for Elimination of Racial Discrimination – Kitchener-Waterloo – CBC News

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