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Newsletter for July 2015
The Green Party of Alberta is very happy to present our second monthly newsletter. This initiative is just one part of our post-election leap into plans to grow the party’s outreach and visibility and influence significantly. There will be no dozing off between elections! Kudos to Vice President and newsletter editor Jill Browne and Leader Janet Keeping for bringing the newsletter project to life.
Susan Stratton, GPA President
I’m excited to share my thoughts with you this month, especially about urban sustainability.
Soon we’ll have another by-election in Calgary-Foothills, the riding Jim Prentice resigned from on election night. I ran against him in the general election, and I’m going to run there again.
Calgary-Foothills is a good riding to show how many things the provincial government could be doing to ensure that municipal governments do a better job of managing urban development. The same principles apply to rural areas as well, but since the by-election is in a city suburb, that is a logical starting place.
Please read on.
Janet Keeping, GPA Leader
- Janet Keeping’s thoughts on the NDPs’ first days in government
- 10 ways to support the Green Party of Alberta (and 9 of them won’t cost you a nickel)
- Highlights from our Facebook and Twitter streams
- A link to Janet’s article, “Ending separate schools would build equality”
- By-election in Calgary-Foothills
- Looking ahead to the federal election
Green Party Events
- Calgary – Green Stampede breakfast with Janet Keeping and Elizabeth May
- Annual General Meeting to be held in Red Deer
- Meet the Leader – Janet’s road trips and meetups
- Green Book Clubs and Discussion Groups
More ways to get involved
- Green Party field trips and meetups
- Provincial Constituency Associations
- Contribute to the website, newsletter and social media
- Appointment of Executive Director
How to Join, Volunteer, or Donate to the Party
Janet Keeping’s thoughts on the NDPs’ first days in government
It’s early days yet, but here are some thoughts from Janet on how the new NDP government is doing.
1. I am still very pleased about the change of government: I had hoped I would live long enough to see the end of the PCs’ domination of our political culture and government, and I wasn’t sure it was going to happen. It did – I am so happy about that.
2. And I love the reaching out to Liberal MLA David Swann to co-chair a committee to review Alberta’s mental health services and to Wildrose Leader Brian Jean to work on as yet to be defined ethics-in-government issues. Even though Greens don’t yet have any seats in the Legislature, I hope there will be issues on which the NDP will seek our input.
3. It’s wonderful that corporate and union donations have been prohibited by the NDPs’ Bill 1. This change was long overdue and enhances the fairness of our electoral system. But we need other changes to be made as well. For example, maximum donation amounts should come down and we need the provincial government to enact just as strict rules for the municipal electoral system as well.
4. I applaud the moves to follow through on other issues that the NDP ran on, for example, the promised hike in corporate taxes and the increase in income tax for individuals with incomes of over $ 125,000 per year. Income taxation is probably going to have to be even more progressive but at least the new government has made a start on reform – moving away from the flat tax – in this area.
5. I worry that the NDP won’t be strong enough to counteract the pressure being brought to bear on them from the oil and gas industry. There is so much progressive policy and legal work to be done on this front. The challenges presented by climate change continue to grow. The Alberta government has to move in a considered way on seriously pricing carbon in order that emissions in the province are forced down, but it must not allow itself to be rushed to judgment by an industry that can make it sound as if reducing uncertainty is the only thing that matters. And the NDPs’ commitment to reviewing royalties is an important one. It is imperative that the NDP remain strong in the face of self-serving intimidation from the industry in respect of royalties.
6. I worry too that the NDP will not handle the need for flood prevention and mitigation in a sufficiently rigorous way. I empathize, as I think NDP is right in saying that the PCs “dragged their feet” on the problem. But to rush to action in the absence of a full understanding of the causes of the 2013 flooding would be foolish – a great deal of money might be spent on measures that are not what needs most to be done. All government action must be evidence-based and there is not yet any reason to think we have the evidence we need to best manage the flood-prone watersheds of southwest Alberta.
In all I’d say the new government has performed as well as could be expected under the very difficult circumstances they face. But the going will get rougher.
10 ways to support the Green Party of Alberta (and 9 of them won’t cost you a nickel)
10. Talk about it. A lot of people don’t realize there is a provincial Green Party. They automatically think of the federal party and nothing else.
9. Write letters to your local newspaper any time you want to give a Green perspective, especially on important local issues.
8. Call in to open line radio programs, again offering the Green point of view.
7. Organize a friendly meet-up, not just for Greens, but for anyone in your community who is interested.
6. Send in photos we can use on the Party website and in newsletters like this one. Show your part of Alberta. You can send these to Jill Browne, firstname.lastname@example.org.
5. Keep up the conversations on social media. We have a Facebook page at facebook.com/GreenPartyOfAlberta and our Twitter handle is @GreenPartyAB.
4. Put up a Green Party of Alberta sign on your lawn next time there’s an election or by-election near you. One of the measures of success in an election campaign is the number of signs on private property. When your neighbours notice Green signs nearby, they start to think Green is something they might also get behind. This sort of social validation happens online as well as in real life.
3. Volunteer! Email email@example.com to get started. Whether you’re a brand new volunteer or you’ve helped out in the past, it’s always great to hear from you.
2. Join the Party. Another measure of success for a political party is the size of the membership base. Being such a small party to begin with, every single member counts for a lot. You can join via the party’s website, here: GreenPartyOfAlberta.ca/join-donate. The same web page also has instructions for joining by mail.
1. Stay in touch. Any time you have a chance to participate in something Green, try and do it. It could be a small thing, like reading this newsletter, or it could be something big, like running for a spot on the party executive. It all matters.
There you go, 10 ways to support your provincial Green Party without spending anything but the membership fee, which is a modest $10 for one year or $25 for three years.
You can support the Party for next to no money, but please remember that it does cost money to keep the Party going. The online link for donations, and the instructions for donating by mail, are both on this page of our website: GreenPartyOfAlberta.ca.
Highlights from our Facebook and Twitter streams
Green Party leader Janet Keeping: AB needs a sustainability framework. Let’s stir green into our orange.
Links to Janet’s article on the Green Party of Alberta website, “A provincial sustainability framework for Alberta’s cities”.
The energy transition success story we posted to our Facebook page came from the website GreenEnergyFutures.ca, and can be found here:
“111. Ontario: Canada’s energy transition success story. Why shutting down coal and ramping up renewables is working.”
On June 23, the Edmonton Journal ran a story, “NDP government to review ‘conflicting mandate’ of energy regulator“. We posted the link to our Facebook page.
Ending separate schools would build equality
by Janet Keeping
Janet’s article is published on Troy Media’s website and will soon appear on the Green Party website.
Troy Media “Ending separate schools would build equality”
Green Party of Alberta blog, where you will find all of Janet’s blog posts and more
By-election in Calgary-Foothills: Another chance to have a Green elected to the Legislature
By Janet Keeping
On election night, when he saw that the PCs had been reduced from a 71-seat majority government to a 10-seat third party status, Jim Prentice resigned as leader of the PC party. He also resigned as MLA for Calgary-Foothills. So much for his commitment to serve constituents!
The good news is that Prentice’s bad behaviour gives the Greens and other provincial parties another chance to compete for that seat in the Legislature. I ran there in the May general election and will be running there again in the by-election that must be called by early November to fill that seat. With an ND rather than a PC government we’ll probably want to give the general election platform something of a re-think (see GreenPartyOfAlberta.ca/platform). However, I think it’s likely we’ll want to pay particular attention to our ideas for urban sustainability as most parts of Calgary-Foothills would benefit from provincial rules around what can and cannot be done by way of urban development.
For example, there are communities in Foothills without schools and provincial law could make it impossible for cities to allow housing to be constructed where schools are not within walking distance. For another, there are some huge stretches of land between residential areas and major roads which are now empty but could be used for productive (perhaps, agriculture or light industrial) or recreational purposes (think tennis courts or ball fields): provincial law could make it impossible to waste such lands, which makes commutes longer and the provision of utility services more expensive, and require that they are used for purposes useful to people living in the nearby neighbourhoods.
Please get involved with the Green campaign in Calgary-Foothills. We’ll start door-knocking soon even though the campaign is not likely to get formally underway for several months (my best guess but it could be called any time.)
The campaign will be fun but we do need all the help we can get.
Looking ahead to the federal election
By Susan Stratton
Canada’s federal election is scheduled for October 19, 2015, and the closer we get to the date, the firmer it seems. Plenty of Alberta Greens are also federal Greens, since both parties are grounded in the values of the Global Greens, and the results of any Green party’s efforts have an effect on all.
For each of us, our choice may look much as it did in the Alberta election: will we act strategically to get rid of the party in power, or will we act in support of the party we want to advance? Will we share the excitement by joining a campaign in our riding?
Many federal riding names and boundaries have changed since the last election. Also, the so-called Fair Elections Act makes it harder for many to vote. To find out what your federal riding is and to check on voter registration requirements, go to Elections Canada’s website at elections.ca.
Green Party Events
Calgary – Green Stampede Breakfast with Janet Keeping and Elizabeth May
Save the date: Saturday, July 11
Where: Banff Trail Trail Community Association, 2115 – 20 Ave NW
When: 9 to 11 a.m.
Bring the whole family for a morning with your Green friends and neighbours.
If you can help on the day, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Annual General Meeting to be held in Red Deer
Green Party of Alberta’s 2015 General Meeting and Policy Convention will be held this fall in Red Deer.
Party members are being polled to determine the best weekend for the event in view of the federal election campaign and the uncertainty of the Alberta by-election timing. All will be welcome, but only members who have joined at least 30 days before the AGM will be able to vote.
Meet the Leader – Janet’s road trips and meetups
Would you like to meet Janet Keeping in your community?
Janet is making travel plans now, to get out and about in Alberta while the sun is shining and there’s no s.n.o.w. on the ground. If you’d like her to visit your town, please let her know. Janet’s email is email@example.com. She’d love to hear from you.
Green Book Clubs and Discussion Groups
On Tuesday, June 23, the Calgary Green Book Club discussed Jeff Rubin’s The Carbon Bubble. If you’d like to come along to the next book club, please email Jill Browne at firstname.lastname@example.org. If there is a change of plans we need a way to let you know.
We plan to meet on Tuesday, July 28 at 7 p.m. at the Party office, second floor, 112 – 16 Ave NW. The entrance is at the back, up the stairs. For this meeting, we will each bring something of interest on the topic of “Social Justice and the Environment”. Bring a book, a magazine article, or something similar, and come prepared to talk about it for 5 or 10 minutes.
This is a friendly group. No one is expected to do a detailed, formal presentation. Just enough to get the conversation going and to share good resources with everyone else.
The August meeting will be on Tuesday, August 25. No topic has been decided yet.
Anywhere – Discussion groups
We are thinking of having a discussion group in Calgary in addition to the Book Club. This group would have a pre-set discussion topic but would not require anyone to buy any particular book. If you want to participate in the Calgary group, please email Jill Browne at email@example.com.
If you have started a Green Book Club or other Green group where you leave, please pass along the info to the same addresss, firstname.lastname@example.org, and we’ll announce your next meeting here in the newsletter.
More ways to get involved
Green Party field trips
From time to time, Green Party members and others share news of local environmental problems.
Are you concerned about something going on in your part of the province? Is it worth making a Green field trip to see first-hand what’s happening?
Please send in your thoughts on this. If you want to organize a field trip, or to be on the mailing list for any trips that do come about, please write directly to Janet at email@example.com.
Provincial Constituency Associations
The Green Party doesn’t have any Constituency Associations, but our constitution does allow for them to exist.
If a group of Green Party of Alberta members from the same Electoral District want to form an official Constituency Association, the best way to start is to tell the Party. Send a note to Susan Stratton, GPA President at firstname.lastname@example.org to introduce yourself and to make it known you’d like to form a CA.
While you are working on the formal requirements of becoming a CA, go ahead and get started with other Greens to advance the cause. Please keep the executive in the loop and feel welcome to ask for help or support any time.
A CA is a legally-recognized entity with legal rights and obligations that come from the Alberta government. At the moment, the Party executive is working on the pathway to becoming a CA.
If you have any thoughts on how CAs should be created, or on anything else to do with Constituency Associations, please share them. An email to the President is a good way to do this.
Contribute to the website, newsletter and social media
Our communications team can use your help.
If you want to contribute an article, pictures, or both, to the website or the newsletter, please email your idea to Jill Browne at email@example.com.
On social media, please follow and engage with the party and other Greens.
Janet Keeping on Twitter is @leader_janet
Appointment of Executive Director
Our Party Vice President, Jill Browne, has become our first volunteer Executive Director. Jill can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
How to Join, Volunteer, or Donate to the Party
The Party’s mailing address is:
Green Party of Alberta,
319 – 3630 Brentwood Rd NW,
PO Box 45066,
To join, volunteer, or donate online, use the “Engage” tab on the Party website. You will reach a page with links for joining, donating, and volunteering.
There are tax credits for donations.
Party website: GreenPartyofAlberta.ca