The Salt Spring Green Party office opening ceremony featured bags of buttery popcorn; it was also the launch party for a short film about our MP, Elizabeth May. Why make a film about Elizabeth now? As Elizabeth explained, for many Canadians, she is known mainly as one of Ottawa’s ablest politicians. But to really understand her political life, you need to know that she is first and foremost an activist. Politics is the vehicle she saw she needed, to get to where we need to go now. The 24th of August, she remembered, “that was the anniversary of when I was first tear-gassed”. Elizabeth’s mother was working to quell the nuclear arms race and had gone with her 14-year-old daughter to support the election of the anti-war candidate, Eugene McCarthy, at the Democratic national convention. Eventually, her family moved to Cape Breton, Nova Scotia, where Elizabeth became heavily involved in efforts to prevent the spraying of the pesticide agent orange on local forests. Even thou…Read more about Video: Elizabeth May Opens Salt Spring Green Party Office for Fall Re-Election Campaign
Electoral Reform Ballots in the Mail
Does our electoral system need changing? Andrew Coyne has argued it most certainly does: “Anyone who ever proposes to change anything inevitably runs into the unanswerable objection that this would mean… changing things. Nowhere is this more true than with regard to electoral reform. […] At some point someone invariably invokes that ancient bit of cornpone philosophy: ‘If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it’, which is very good advice unless it is broke.” He continued, explaining why our current system is less than democratic - often, majority governments are formed with less than 40% of the popular vote. For democracy to work, people need to be free to vote for the candidate and party of their choice. But under our system, fear of splitting the vote means people are told, “you can’t vote for the party you prefer, but must vote for a party you don’t like to prevent a party you detest from getting in." Canada’s democracy has evolved over the years, sometimes to improve democrac…Read more about Electoral Reform Ballots in the Mail
Incorporation: Vote NO and Keep Our Options Open
If Salt Spring were to vote for incorporation on Sept. 9, this would close the door for a number of options for positive change that are open to us under our current system. This is one of several reasons why I will be voting “no”. Like many others, I would have liked our governance and incorporation studies to look into options for modifying our current system. But the provincial government paid for those studies and placed considerable restrictions on them. Now an ad hoc group of citizens is organizing an information session to discuss options for improving governance after a no vote and I can imagine some people who support incorporation will cry foul. So I’d like to provide some context to explain why I look forward to the information session. After the “no” vote in 2002, some supporters of incorporation formed the Islanders for Self Government (ISG) group. Then, in 2006, elected officials began a governance review which led to a referendum in 2008 on whether o…Read more about Incorporation: Vote NO and Keep Our Options Open
Celebrating the Islands Trust
Those of us who live here know: Salt Spring is a special place! In order to “preserve and protect” this place, this community, the ISLANDS TRUST was established in 1974. This Sunday evening (July 5, 7 – 8:30 pm, Lions Hall) there will be a celebration of over 4 decades with the Islands Trust with 2 guest speakers, leaders in the effort to preserve and protect Salt Spring and other special places. Former trustee, Peter Lamb, is the author of a brief (and engaging) history of the Trust and Briony Penn is an award-winning educator, naturalist, author and activist. They’ll be joined by the Gaia Soul Sistahs and there will be cake, a Gulf Islands display and a children’s activity centre. Organizer Jan Slakov sees this as a great opportunity for people to learn about the history of the Trust and to look at the Trust in the current historical context. “It’s also a chance to meet some long time Salt Spring conservationists, for people who care about the environment to connect wi…Read more about Celebrating the Islands Trust
Bike to Work Week
If you love this planet, if you love your health, bike to work – that’s the message of Bike to Work Week (BTWW) , May 25 – 31. Some of the many reasons for participating are to be found online. On that site you can register on an existing team or start a new one, even if your team only has one person. Then, next week, keep track of how many km of active transportation you do, whether you’re biking or walking to paid or unpaid work, going shopping, taking your kids to meet the bus, etc.* Many thanks to our sponsors, including the Government of BC, Moving Around Pender, Outspokin’ Bike Shop, Windsor Plywood and Island Pathways. Thanks to you our island is more people-friendly. Island Pathways volunteers have helped build many pathways and now the new kiosk. John Rowlandson, the volunteer who brought Velo-Village to the island, is sharing his enthusiasm through the website. It’s the place to go to register for BTWW, to learn more about special offers for participants, …Read more about Bike to Work Week
Bike to Work Week - Try It, You’ll Like It!
Active transportation: cycling, walking, running, using a mobility aid. Because May 26 – June 1 is “Bike to Work” week, but any time is a good time to get out of your car and get to where you’re going under your own steam. Bike to Work Week serves to raise awareness and provides an ideal time for people to try active transportation for their first time. To register, go to www.biketowork.ca . Under “communities” choose “Salt Spring and other Gulf Islands” and follow the prompts from there. Any problems or ideas: just get in touch with Jan (local BtWW coordinator) at email@example.com . There are lots of ways to participate even if you don’t use active transportation. For instance, come to the “Happy Pathday” appreciation event for the new pathway along Lower Ganges Road: Saturday, May 24, 11 AM at the bus stop across from Country Grocer. Instead of driving around Ganges looking for a spot to park, leave your car where there’s more parking and enjoy the walk into town…Read more about Bike to Work Week - Try It, You’ll Like It!