A 'Stunning Disrespect for our Democracy'
Before winning a majority government in 2011, Harper's contempt for democracy was clear (see resources below), including prorogation of parliament, suppression of research, and attack ads adopted as political standard.
Since 2011, the assault on democracy by this administration has accelerated. The budget omnibus bills alone, pushed through with little debate, provide ample proof of the decline of democracy in Canada. We even have legislation designed to discourage dissent and make Canadians less likely to vote.
One example: A Salt Spring Island resident, who spoke briefly at Elizabeth May's Birthday Party June 6th in Fulford Hall, expressed the problem with a few riveting words. He could only give his first name because he is eligible for citizenship in another country, which means under newly passed Bill C-24, his Canadian passport could be taken away. He cannot exercise his right to free speech, to speak against the current administration because of this threat. Is this really Canada?
Party of One author Michael Harris reiterates in a recent interview how serious the threat to our democracy has become - having attained absolute power, Harper has abused it absolutely. It is urgent to change course now. Ottawa must be more than a democracy theme park.
Canadian democracy needs you more than ever. Pledge your vote to a leader that does represent us, Elizabeth. Support your local Green Party candidate.
Voting is a Right and a Responsibility
The only way to restore real democracy is for Canadians to vote for a party that respects democracy. Canadians have fought and died to protect the right to vote. Worldwide, not everyone has it and few take it for granted. The 2015 election is an opportunity for Canadians to defend our democracy by turning out in record numbers.
“The only wasted vote is the one not cast.” (Elizabeth May)
Why did 40% of Canadians not vote in 2011? Researchers say non-voters are disillusioned and cynical about politics. Non-voters believe it's irrelevant or no one worth voting for is running.
Only 39% of young Canadians eligible to vote do so. If they don't start, they are less likely to vote, ever. Young Canadians could have prevented Harper's majority and put issues such as student loan debt and youth unemployment on the national agenda. More youth and more First Nation voters will have significant impact in 2015.
Some non-voters consider not voting an act of resistance. This shows a misunderstanding of how our country works. The performance of our MPs has a major impact on our social, economic, and environmental conditions. We are touched every day by their decisions. Federal laws, policies, and programs affect us in our homes and on the world stage: How much tax do I pay? How is that money used? How many and what kind of jobs are being created? How accessible is quality health care? How much tax do businesses, small and large, pay? Is the environment being protected? How much scientific research is being done? Is innovation encouraged? Where, when, and why does Canada go to war?
Together we can fix our government - Pledge your vote.
Exercise Your Power
When asked 'why vote?', young Brentwood Bay resident Ali responded, "Because I want to be represented!". But MPs in the three official parties cannot vote to represent their constituents' wishes – they are compelled to follow their leader. That's why noted NDP environmentalists may have to hold their noses and vote for more pipelines. The power of the party leaders of the Conservatives, NDP and Liberals is such that three white men now shape every aspect of our lives.
Voting just makes sense and voting Green makes even more sense. Greens lead, cooperate and encourage cross-party collaboration. Politics can be done with integrity, transparency, collaboration, and a commitment to act for constituents.
Elizabeth May has proven what one Green MP can accomplish. It's worth noting that whenever Green candidates run in Canada, whether municipal, provincial or federal, voter turnout increases.
Potential Green Party candidates must sign a pledge before they are accepted to run in the 2015 election:
The Green Party is attracting the best minds of our country to run in 2015. Green MPs vote freely and conscientiously to create policies and laws that protect our values and shape a positive future. You can help:
Donate to Elizabeth's re-election campaign. Volunteer.
There is a lot you can do.
People who are politically engaged can inform their friends, family, neighbours, and co-workers about the importance of voting.
Higher voter turnout will affect the success of Canada as a democracy. We can hold politicians accountable. We can vote for people with integrity who will represent us in parliament.
It is especially important right now to make sure that you and everyone you know is ready to vote.
- Make sure you are registered to vote and have the ID you will need on voting day.
- If you are a student, register now and confirm your ID. Students at Claremount Secondary in Central Saanich made a Canadian Youth Vote Challenge video, showing how to vote.
- Talk to people in your social networks about the issues. Encourage them to get out and vote. Choose a non-voter and arrange to be their voting buddy. Go with them to vote early in case their ID is not in order and you have to go back later.
- Become well-informed about the issues important to you via independent media, books, and videos.
But vote! You don’t need to know everything to vote for someone who represents your values.
- If accessibility at the voting place is a concern, check resources available through Elections Canada. If you need a ride to the voting place, the Green Party or any other party will offer you a lift and an arm if needed.
We can create a Canada that works. Together.
Volunteer for door-to-door canvassing. Direct personal engagement, a smiling face at the door, listening is key to encourage people to vote.
More Resources (to share, like, tweet or forward)
Stephen Harper's Hitlist (2011) Murray Dobbin's detailed review of this administration's anti-democratic actions.
What I saw at Nigerian Polling Booths was Inspirational (2015)
Updated: Ten Things You Need to Know About Canadian Citizenship (2015) Impact of Bill C-24
Samara's Democracy 360 A report card on the state of Canada's democracy. Currently, we have a C grade.
Democracy Watch Canada’s leading citizen group for democratic reform, government accountability and corporate responsibility. See their new video Stop the SuPremos.
Celebrate Canada Day in Saanich-Gulf Islands, Wednesday, July 1, 2015
Join Elizabeth May to celebrate. She will attend the annual Sidney Lions Pancake Breakfast, march in the Sidney Canada Day Parade, attend the Salt Spring Island Canada Day Show and Shine Car Show, and visit the Saturna Island Lamb Barbeque.
Sidney Lions Pancake Breakfast
Time: 8:00 am
Location: Mary Winspear Centre, 2243 Beacon Ave., Sidney (map)
Sidney Canada Day Parade
Time: 11:30 am
Location: Beacon Ave. and Resthaven Dr. (map)
Salt Spring Island Canada Day Show and Shine Car Show
Time: 1:00 pm
Location: Centennial Park, Rainbow Rd. and Jackson Rd., Ganges (map)
Saturna Island Lamb Barbeque
Time: 3:00 pm
Location: Winter Cove, Gulf Islands National Park Reserve (map)
Summer Town Halls with Elizabeth May, June 12th to July 14th, across Saanich-Gulf Islands
Canada’s hardest working MP continues to reach out and listen to her constituents. See Elizabeth’s schedule for a Town Hall near you.
March with the Greens at Victoria Pride Parade, Sunday July 5th at 11 am, Victoria
Join Elizabeth May and the Green Party in marching in Victoria’s Pride Parade! People of all sexual orientations and gender identities are invited to join together in a celebration of diversity. More information here.
When: Sunday July 5th at 11am
Where: Starting at Government and Pandora, Victoria
Photo: 2014 Pride Parade Victoria
Saanich-Gulf Islands AGM & Reception with Elizabeth May, Sunday July 5th at 4 pm, Sidney
Calling all Green Party members and prospective members to join us for the 2015 AGM for the Green Saanich-Gulf Islands Electoral District Association. The AGM will be followed by a reception with Elizabeth May, who will provide highlights from her first four years as MP for Saanich-Gulf Islands. Please RVSP.
When: Sunday July 5th at 4 pm
Where: Mary Winspear Centre, Sidney, BC
When: Sunday July 5th at 3 to 5 pm
Where: 754 Goldstream Road, Langford
Saanich, 3550 Saanich Rd, Unit 106
Open Tuesday to Friday, 2 to 6 pm
And a correction to our June 2015 Newsletter: Green Rallies ‘Round Our Communities
Another recent Green event was the celebration of Elizabeth’s birthday. Many of the participants at this lovely party on Salt Spring Island were deeply moved by the heartfelt gratitude from Devendra and his family.
Devendra's wife Chhering and their baby Dawin were airlifted to India after the Nepal earthquake. Elizabeth and the constituency office kept in touch during the ordeal. They then provided a strong letter of support for the urgent processing and approval of a Visitor's Visa for Chhering to bring her and their Canadian son to Canada. They are continuing this support for an appeal for her permanent residency application. With his family safe in Saanich, Devendra was more than happy to pledge his 2015 vote to Elizabeth. You can too.