2017 AGM with Keynote Speaker

It has been another busy year for the Comox Valley Council of Canadians. On Thursday, Nov. 23, the Chapter invites you to attend their 2017 AGM and presentation Proportional Representation Gives Every Voter a Voice!

The evening will begin with the Chapter’s news and updates on their various campaigns and activities, in what has been an exciting year. We will also present our Community Action Award for 2017.

Keynote speaker Terry Dance-Bennink, chair of Fair Vote Canada-BC, will address how, by moving forward with proportional representation (PR), we can make sure every British Columbian’s vote counts.

“B.C. is a vast and diverse province and people want to know their values are being represented in the legislature,” says Barb Berger, member of the CV Chapter. “Canada is one of the last Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) countries yet to adopt a proportional voting system. It’s time we take this important step to bring our democracy into the 21st century.”

“We may just get our chance,” says Dance-Bennink, “when BC holds its referendum on PR next fall. With PR, parties will no longer be able to rely on ‘safe’ seats during an election.”

Dance-Bennick will highlight why we need to change our voting system. She’ll also discuss the benefits of PR and lay out the Fair Vote campaign strategy to win the 2018 referendum.

The Chapter invites you to bring your questions to our highly regarded guest speaker. Let’s talk and grow the PR discussion!

Everyone is welcome to what promises to be an interesting and informative evening – bring a friend – Thursday, Nov. 23, Lower Native Sons Hall, Courtenay 7 p.m.


Beyond Banksters – What You Can Do!!

Organize, raise awareness, make these issues part of the national conversation!

Join forces with groups that are working to oppose privatization and corporate rights deals, promote public services (like postal banking), and raise awareness of financial alternatives: Council of Canadians, Friends of Public Services, Canadian Bank Reformers, COMER, the Public Banking Institute, LEAP manifesto… and many more…

Form a reading/discussion/action group for Beyond Banksters. Watershed Sentinel can will connect you with others in your area who are also interested.

Ask for a copy of Banksters at your public library or university/college library, or order your own to donate to friends/family/libraries.

Follow Beyond Banksters on Twitter and the Watershed Sentinel on Facebook to get and share news of the book and related issues.

Learn more & spread the word: Do your own research. Check out CUPW’s cool resources on Postal Banking – including great animated videos that you can share to explain how postal banking works and why we need it.

Sign the Council of Canadian’s NAFTA petition to the Prime Minister demanding that the government:

• Protect water by explicitly removing it as a tradable good, service or investment. We cannot leave our water vulnerable to bulk exports or privatization.
• Eliminate Chapter 11 investment provisions that allow corporations to sue governments over public interest laws or policies that hurt future corporate profits.
• Free Canada from the energy proportionality clause that locks us into supplying the U.S. with oil quotas that are destroying our environment and restricting real action on climate change.

Take Action on Water!

3 petitions you can sign:
Stop Nestles Water Grab https://secure.canadians.org/ea-action/action?ea.client.id=1899&ea.campaign.id=59428

Strengthen the BC Water Sustainability Act – Protect Community Water https://secure.canadians.org/ea-action/action?ea.client.id=1899&ea.campaign.id=46959

Ban Fracking Now https://secure.canadians.org/ea-action/action?ea.client.id=1899&ea.campaign.id=31179

Send your Letter Now: Though the Water Sustainability Act (WSA) delivers some gains and positive steps forward, it falls short of what it must do to put the needs of communities ahead of private interests, corporations and industries, and to protect the health and vitality of our precious BC waters.

The Chapter has put together a list of points to assist you in writing your letter. https://cvcofcanadians.wordpress.com/2017/03/27/a-stronger-water-sustainability-act/

Your Election Guide to Water Issues in B.C. http://canadians.org/blog/your-election-guide-water-issues-bc

Ensure that ALL candidates in your riding are aware of the issues that matter to you. Voters in the Courtenay-Comox Riding should contact:
Ernie.sellentin@greenpartybc.ca                                    Ronnarae.leonard@bcndp.ca
info@leahmcculloch.ca                                                   jim.benninger@bcliberals.com

Voters in the Mid-Island-Pacific Rim Riding should contact:
darren.deluca@bcliberals.com                                      alicia.larue@bcgreens.ca

Write letters to the editor of your local paper: editor@comoxvalleyrecord.com

Be sure to exercise your right to vote!

Send a message to the new Minister of Democratic Institutions

make-every-vote-countMP Karina Gould of Burlington is the new Minister of Democratic Institutions.

Although Ms Gould has in the past expressed support for replacing Canada’s first-past-the-post voting system, since her new appointment, she has remained non-commital.

Send a message to Minister Gould. Let her know that proportional representation is important to you and that you are committed to holding the government accountable for its campaign promise of electoral reform. Click here for letter writing points and contact information.letter-to-minister-gould

Author Yves Engler visits Comox Valley

propaganda_cover_for-catalogue_300_420_90Book signing and a Meet, Greet & Chat on his latest release: A Propaganda System: How Canada’s Government, Corporations, Media and Academia Sell War and Exploitation

Author, Yves Engler, dubbed Canada’s Noam Chomsky and one of today’s most important voices on the Canadian Left, is the author of nine books and hundreds of enlightening articles.

Engler’s engagingly-written and latest book A Propaganda System: How Canada’s Government, Corporations, Media and Academia Sell War and Exploitation highlights the dark sides of Canada’s real involvement in the world. His book reveals why most Canadians believe Canada is a force for good worldwide, despite its long history of supporting empire, racism and exploitation.

Visiting Courtenay on Friday, Nov. 18, Laughing Oyster Bookstore (286 5th St. Courtenay) is hosting a book signing with Engler from 12-1pm.

Then a Meet, Greet & Chat with Engler, sponsored by the Chapter takes place at Cornerstone Café, 1:15–2:30pm, following his appearance at Laughing Oyster.

In A Propaganda System, Engler lays bare the links between corporations, government, media and academia, when it comes to establishing and maintaining Canada’s brutal foreign policy from helping to destabilize Haiti’s democratically elected government to backing the human rights-abusing Canadian-based mining companies.

A Propaganda System clearly exposes the facts that run in stark contrast to Canadians’ popular notion that we are a peace-loving country.

The Chapter welcomes you to join in a thought-provoking conversation with author Yves Engler Friday, Nov. 18 from 1:15 to 2:30 at Cornerstone Café – corner of 5th and Cliffe.

Let the Electoral Reform Committee Know What You Want

Just a few weeks left to provide your input to the special parliamentary committee on voting reform before they wrap up their consultations and begin to write their final recommendations to government.

The online survey set up by the committee is a great way for you to let them know before October 7 you want a voting system where every vote counts.

The survey will ask you some general questions about what is wrong with our current first-past-the-post system and what you think of various voting systems. Remember that first-past-the-post and Alternative Vote (the first two systems the survey asks about) are NOT proportional representation ( PR).

There is room at the end of the survey for additional comments – so make sure you emphasize that PR is the way to go.  You could also comment on which type of PR you like best.

To access the online survey https://survey-sondage-hoc.parl.gc.ca/TakeSurveyPage.aspx?s=0d6f61512d6a49108ec8370a88135ce7&tsid=8b757f288d264f85b589054aeb80fa47&c=en-CA

For some further resources on electoral reform from Leadnow, check out http://www.votebetter.ca/resources

Consensus for Proportional Representation

On Sunday, September 18, the Comox Valley Council of Canadians hosted an informative 010public dialogue on electoral reform.

Participants, working together in small groups, used a selection of polling questions as the basis of their wide-ranging discussions.

The consensus from the discussion groups was overwhelming in favour of some form of proportional representation(PR) when electing members of parliament. It was deemed essential that all votes be equal. Participants agreed the essence of PR is having the percentage of votes received during the election directly reflected by the number of seats held by a political party.012

A report from the meeting was sent to the Special Committee on Electoral Reform.

Join the Electoral Reform Dialogue

electoral reformOn Sunday, September 18, the Comox Valley Council of Canadians is hosting a public discussion about what kind of electoral system would better represent the values and diversity of Canadian voters than our current “first-past-the-post” system.

Canada is one of only three Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) countries (a forum of 35 democracies) that does not use a form of Proportional Representation (PR) to elect its government.

During the 2015 election campaign, Liberal leader Justin Trudeau promised to consult Canadians on what type of electoral reform was wanted, saying “We need to know that when we cast a ballot, it counts. That when we vote, it matters. So I’m proposing we make every vote count”. Continue reading

Electoral Reform

“We need to know that when we cast a ballot, it counts. That when we vote, it matters.
So I’m proposing we make every vote count”.
Justin Trudeau, June 2015

Canada is one of only three Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) countries (a forum of 35 democracies) that does not use a form of proportional representation to elect its government. Our current “first-past-the-post” system can deliver 100% of the power to a party that receives less than 50% of the vote.

Canadians have been given a rare opportunity to engage in dialogue in order to determine the best kind of electoral system for our country.

Please take this momentous opportunity to write about why electoral reform is important to you. For suggestions on what you might include in your letter and contact information, click here

Express Your Concerns about the TPP

The Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP)was negotiated in secrecy between the previous tppfederal government, the United States, Mexico and nine other countries.The Council of Canadians opposes this deal because it includes an investor-state dispute settlement provision that allows transnational corporations to sue governments over legislation or policies made in the public interest, it extends the patent length (and profits) of pharmaceutical corporations by delaying the introduction of lower cost generic drugs, it slashes the domestic content requirement for automobiles, putting thousands of autoworker jobs at risks, and it undermines family farmers by opening up the Canadian dairy market to imports without creating new export markets for Canadian farmers.

The Trudeau government has promised real consultation and has extended the deadline for Canadians to submit written comments on the TPP to June 30, 2016

Individual letters in your own words are the most effective – and handwritten trumps all. Please use the key points and background information in Notes for Word Activists-1 to craft your own letter.

You can also email your concerns to the House of Commons Standing Committee on International Trade ciit-tpp-ptp@parl.gc.ca



Questions for Candidates 2015

The following are issues that we care deeply about, but are not necessarily hearing discussed in the public coverage of the election. Each of these are crucial areas of federal responsibility and we feel all Comox Valley residents would benefit from knowing each Candidate’s position on all of these questions.

What is your strategy to conserve and protect our water resources? Will you develop a National Water policy that recognizes water as a human right, invests in water and wastewater infrastructure in municipalities and First Nations, bans fracking, and transitions away from tar sands and other fossil fuels?

What is your strategy to deal with fracking, the natural gas extraction process that uses and pollutes massive volumes of water and has been proven to be the cause of earthquakes?

Clean drinking water is an irreplaceable resource for communities, yet many have little control over what happens to water before it arrives in their community. Will you support the development of community based watershed management plans?

Do you commit to reinstating protections on the 99 per cent of lakes and rivers delisted from the Navigable Waters Protection Act?

Will you commit to reinstating changes to other environmental legislation and reallocating the more than $100 million cut from critical water research and programs?


Current “Trade” deals include more than tariffs and quotas, and increasingly include important public policy initiatives. They are considered “treaties” and do not require a vote in the House of Commons. Do you support full federal parliamentary debate and vote on any future trade deals?

Current trade agreements include Investor State Dispute Settlement clauses that make it possible for corporations to sue Canada if they feel their anticipated profits have been lost or threatened. What is the position of your party on Investor State Dispute Settlements?

Do you support a public, unbiased assessment of the effect of any unsigned and future trade agreements on: i) environmental protections; ii) public health protections; and iii) human rights protections?


What will you do to prioritize issues that matter to young people, as well as to reduce barriers to voting faced by youth and students, to engage them more in electoral politics?

Will you commit to introducing electoral reform to ensure every vote counts in future elections?

What will you do to ensure Elections Canada has the power to find the perpetrators of the 2011 election fraud and prevent it from happening again?

Will you repeal Bill C-51?


Canadians are currently subsidizing the fossil fuel industry to the tune of $1.3 billion per year. How will your party support alternative energy sources to reduce demand for fossil fuels?

In light of recent climate change agreements between the United States and China, does your party believe a price on carbon should be set by the federal government?

What plan and climate change targets would your government take to the United Nations Conference on Climate Change in Paris in November?


Canadians share a deeply held belief that access to needed health care services should not be based on how rich we are, but rather on our medical need. What will your party do to provide the funds and national standards needed to give everyone in Canada access to quality public health care regardless of where they live or how much money they earn?

Studies show that 1 in 10 Canadians don’t buy the prescription drugs they need because of their cost. What is your party’s position on a publicly funded and administered national drug plan?

What is your party’s position on a national seniors care strategy would provide homecare, hospital care, long-term care, hospice and palliative care to aging Canadians as they need it?