From the BGOS Ontario Greens

By Joachim Ostertag

I am writing to you as the Green Party of Ontario president of the Bruce Grey Owen Sound Riding:

Greens have been a very strong voice for over two decades to address local, provincial andfederal environmental issues and work towards a more just society. We, the people and voters in Grey and Bruce, have been very passionate and concerned about our environment and the complexities of social issues we are facing in our region. Some of the themes, issues and concerns we have addressed in the past and need to continue to work on include: Ecological and economic sustainability, native fishing rights, prorogation of parliament, the planned shipment of 16 nuclear generators through our counties and across the Great Lakes to Sweden, the Deep Geological Repository, sustainable farming practices, alternative transportation, renewable forms of energy, local food, electoral reform, Great Lakes water levels, Idle No More, and the lack of democratic process by federal and provincial governments, collaboration with local groups and organizations etc..

One overriding goal has been to elect a green party candidate for the provincial legislature. It was the deep passion for our region and the larger world, combined with a great mistrust in the established parties and their willingness to address these essential concerns that have led to very strong results in past provincial elections.

Last year the Green Party of Canada and Green Party of Ontario executives conducted two strategic planning sessions with Doug Miller who was an excellent facilitator leading us through exciting processes clarifying where we saw ourselves as Greens then, and where we would like to see ourselves in two years. Some main themes discussed below, evolved from these sessions.

  • For some time we will focus increasingly on specific local issues and work more closely with other initiatives and groups rather than focus too heavily on the electability of the Greens which in itself can have a rather isolating effect. This would allow individuals to get engaged in areas of their personal interests while generating greater visibility of the Greens.
  • Other plans included: Connecting with other Green constituencies and see how they manage coping with challenges. We would network with them and conduct some joint strategic planning.
  • Conduct some big events with the goal of greater visibility in the communities and raising funds. The goal of such events would also be to broaden our membership. Eventually a suitable candidate may emerge from a partnering initiative and/or the community.

As Ontario Greens we obviously have a strong vision for a green, sustainable and just future of this province and our riding. Fortunately there is a lot of momentum in Grey and Bruce within the Green Party membership and we share this vision in principle with numerous initiatives and groups. Now it will be our task to connect, to articulate loudly and clearly, and put into action what we stand for .

We do not know when the next election will be called: October 1, 2015 or earlier? It will depend on how long the Liberals can hang on to power. We need to get ready within the next months to prepare for this process.

One of the first issues we, the Ontario Greens of Bruce Grey need to resolve is to elect a new executive, particularly a male and a female president and a chief financial officer (CFO). These positions are the most crucial ones for the green party to function in an election. Therefore I encourage everybody to raise the question in their circle of politically engaged friends and groups who may be interested in taking on these positions on the executive. We know the excitement about a green movement and the potential of Green Party representation in Queen’s Park runs deep in the counties of Bruce and Grey. Now it’s time to find a new and strong voice to articulate who we are.

The preceding article was extracted from our Spring 2013 Newsletter, we will feature additional content from it on our front page over the next few weeks.

Forum on Democracy:

A free public forum on increasing awareness and strengthening democracy in Canada

Peace & Justice Grey Bruce has been concerned about an apparent crisis of democracy occurring in Canada today. There are fewer people voting and more voter apathy, increased negativity and a general distrust of politicians and the political process, and an increase in polarization where political parties see each other as ‘enemies’ and are unwilling to work together towards a common good.

In a strong democracy, the political system serves to engage, motivate and inspire its citizens. Politics is the way we make decisions together, decisions that will shape how we want to live and work together. How can we strengthen democracy in Canada today? To address this question in Grey and Bruce, we will be holding a free public forum to examine and discuss this topic.

We know that democracy and citizen engagement are important to the community, so we have asked local leadership from the major political parties to help plan and participate in this large community forum.

We have also engaged the support of Peter Russell, who will be the opening speaker for the forum and will help frame the questions we need to ask ourselves. Russell is one of Canada’s top legal experts on the Canadian constitution, and was an adviser to Michaëlle Jean during her tenure as Governor

General. In addition to his participation in the forum, Russell will speak to students at the OSCVI auditorium, 1550 – 8th Street East, earlier in the afternoon.

What: Forum on Democracy
When: Tuesday, April 30th, 2013 at 7:00 PM
Where: Bay Room of the Harry Lumley Bayshore Community Centre,
1900 3rd Ave East, Owen Sound.