Winter 2011/2012 E-Newsletter
We wish you all the best for a very happy holiday season!
In this issue
- Message from Mike Schreiner
- Sign our petition to improve cycling safety
- Maximize your 2011 tax refund
- Election 2011 recap…
- … and more
I would like to thank all of our supporters, volunteers, members, staff and candidates who have dedicated so much time to spread our Green vision. I am honoured to have worked with you in sharing our ideas and offering voters with an alternative to the old parties at Queen’s Park.
Working together as a team we achieved some important milestones for the Green Party of Ontario during the 2011 election. We set new records in terms of volunteers, membership, and fundraising. These organizational achievements have established a strong foundation for future growth for our party.
I was disappointed, but not discouraged, by the drop in our vote total. It is important for all us to reflect on the campaign and together chart a course forward. We have begun this process of self-reflection by hosting campaign debriefs for candidates, volunteers, staff, and PE members. I appreciate the hundreds of responses to our post-election survey from members and supporters. We’ve also solicited feedback from members of other parties, media, and the general public. It is important to understand what we can do better in the future, especially when we face a challenging electoral climate. I look forward to continuing this important conversation through to our spring AGM.
I am proud of the principled stands the Green Party took during the campaign. We argued strongly against the other parties’ proposal to subsidize energy use. At a time when the other parties and the media avoided the climate crisis, with the NDP even calling for lowering and regulating the price of gasoline, we were the only party calling for a carbon tax to tackle climate change while strengthening our economy. Already the NDP is teaming up with the Conservatives to subsidize fossil fuels. Even without a seat, Greens will speak out against such an environmentally and economically poor policy.
Our strong voice against the largest proposed mega quarry in Ontario’s history pushed the other parties to take a stand. We will continue to call for the elimination of corporate and union donations to political parties so that the interests of citizens and communities come first. Greens remain committed to reforming our healthcare system to focus on preventing illness. And we will stand up for entrepreneurs in the green energy and building sectors hurt by the government’s flawed FIT review process and cancellation of the Home Energy Savings Program.
As we move forward, I am committed to working with you full time to share our vision and build the Green Party. This election saw the lowest turnout ever in Ontario. I believe this gives us great room to grow. It is a disappointment that so many people didn’t vote, but this illustrates the disengagement that many people feel with the status quo parties. I look forward to the challenge of re-engaging our next generation of voters and promoting solutions for a sustainable future in Ontario.
It’s time for Ontario to go Green. Thanks again for your continued support.
Leader of the Green Party of Ontario
Thank you Alethea Spiridon!
Alethea Spiridon, who has edited our GPO newsletter editor for the past three years, is moving on to new adventures in the new year.
Thank you, Alethea, for all the hours you’ve put in over the past years. All the best for the future.
Meet our new Shadow Cabinet
The Shadow Cabinet has been hard at work over the short fall legislative session, recommending three courses of action for the government:
- Stop rewarding waste: start helping people save money by saving energy.
- Revise the FIT review process to protect local jobs.
- Keep government promises to protect our communities, clean water and farmland.
Maximize your 2011 tax credit
There are just two weeks left to maximize your 2011 tax credit!
Facing two elections six months apart (one federal and one provincial) is challenging to a young political movement such as ours. Your support throughout the year is a true testimony to the resiliency of our party, and is truly appreciated.
Knowing first-hand the extraordinary efforts and sacrifices so many of you made this year, we know that we ask a lot of you to make a final 2011 donation.
As a special thank you for rising to this challenge, everyone who makes a financial contribution of least $100 before January 1, 2012 (or a monthly donation of at least $10) will receive a special Green Party gift: a GPO cap, T-shirt, corn mug, or the 2012 Green Party calendar.
Don’t forget that political contributions are eligible for generous tax refunds of up to 75% of your donation! A full tax credit chart can be found online at www.gpo.ca/donate.
We truly value any amount you can give. To show our gratitude, we will send a special GPO fridge magnet with your February tax receipt for any final 2011 financial contribution.
You can donate online at www.gpo.ca/donate or over the phone at 888-647-3366.
Sign our petition to improve cycling safety
Every year, 15 to 20 cyclists are killed on Ontario roads. The tragic death of Jenna Morrison in Toronto on November 7 was particularly poignant. As she approached a west end intersection, this well-known community activist was run over by the rear wheels of a large truck that was turning right. A few days later, a rally of 400 cyclists paid their respects and vowed to press governments at all levels to improve safety for cyclists.
As a result, the Green Party of Ontario called on the provincial government to implement a 1998 Toronto coroners’ recommendation calling for side guards to be installed on all large trucks. (Side guards prevent upended cyclists from falling under moving trucks.) In the 20 years since the European Union mandated side guards on all heavy trucks, truck-bike fatalities have dropped significantly. Compared with saving lives, the $800-$1600 cost of side guards is small and for highway trucks the cost is recouped through lower fuel consumption.
Please sign our petition to show your support for mandatory side guards on Ontario’s trucks. Every time we reach 500 signatures, we will print and deliver the petition with those signatures to the new Minister of Transportation, Bob Chiarelli.
On the federal level, NDP MP Olivia Chow recently reintroduced a motion calling for the federal government to mandate side guards on all trucks. Some municipal governments are considering similar regulations. To learn more, visit www.safetrucks.ca.
Temagami under threat!
The McGuinty government’s plan to remove the forest reserve status from parts of the Wolf Lake Forest Reserve in Temagami is short-sighted and irresponsible. Wolf Lake is part of an endangered ecosystem that is estimated to be only 1.2% of what it once was.
What remains of this region should be permanently protected, not opened for mining and commercial logging.
It is not too late to stop this.
If you haven’t already, please write Premier McGuinty and Minister of Natural Resource Michael Gravelle today.
Mike Schreiner sent a message to the Premier on this important issue; please feel free to use his letter as an example.
The election delivered some good news in the fight against the mega-quarry, with the Liberal government promising to conduct an Environmental Assessment for the Melancthon mega-quarry, and to review the Aggregate Resources Act (ARA).
We know the problems that the proposed mega-quarry presents:
- It’s the largest extraction site to ever be proposed in our province (1/3 the size of Toronto), and the second largest in North America.
- It would severely impact the area’s groundwater, disrupting the water table in the entire region, affecting area’s rich farming land, manipulating 600 million litres of water each day.
Thanks to the tireless work of local community groups who have helped to organize events and opposition to the mega-quarry, forcing the government to take steps in the right direction. 20,000 people attended Foodstock over the October 15 weekend. With over 100 hundred well-known chefs making appearances, including Jamie Kennedy, the event helped to raise funds for legal fights against the proposed mega quarry, while feeding the crowds with locally grown food. There has been strong support from musical artists, such as Jim Cuddy of Blue Rodeo, who performed for free at Foodstock.
These are strong signs that the Mega-Quarry campaign can be won. To make sure this happens, we need to continue to pressure the government to ensure the government fulfills their promises and responsibilities on the Melancthon mega-quarry – and to plug the loop-holes that allow projects like this that threaten our water and our farmland.
2012 GPO calendars have arrived!
The Second Annual GPO Calendar has arrived! Twenty-seven thousand votes were cast on 430 photos from 90 photographers.
With so many fantastic photos, we have taken the 22 best to make up our calendar this year.
We are pricing the calendars as low as possible at $16, including shipping, handling, and taxes. (Cheaper still if you buy more than one).
These are perfect gifts for your friends and family!
2011 provincial election recap
It has been a whirlwind past few months, with the campaign kickoff on September 8 seeming so long ago. As our largest campaign in our party’s history, Mike Schreiner, our candidates, and countless volunteers have built a solid foundation for our future in Ontario.
This was an election of firsts for the GPO as we saw our first radio ads, and the launch of GPOtv as an innovative and interactive way to broadcast our campaign to Ontarians through the Internet. We had our first virtual town hall with over 6000 participants. And for the first time the Green Party was able to fill the slate in Ontario federally or provincially before an election campaign started.
This is all the more impressive considering the Green Party was once again blocked out of the leadership debate. This being said, we have made gains in our media representation, with TVO fully representing us in their election coverage. This is something that we can grow on and move forward with.
Thanks to the dedication of our candidates and our volunteers across Ontario, we have helped to bring issues such as sustaining small family farms, the Holland Marsh Gas Plant, and the Mega-Quarry onto the provincial agenda, which otherwise would have been ignored by the old parties.
Even more significantly, the Green Party saw our membership more than double since January, and we have seen our total membership eclipse our previous record. As well, our fundraising dollars grew approximately 68% from our 2007 provincial election.
While the results are disappointing, it is clear that there has been a strong foundation built in this province where we have an increasing number of people who support the future of the Green Party in Ontario, and they are doing so more and more actively.
If you haven’t had a chance already, please take a moment to tell us what you think about the 2011 election by filling out our survey.
Newsletter Editor: Alethea Spiridon