What's this all about?

Good Sunday Morning,

writing.jpgEvery week I receive emails from our readers with comments and feedback that is very much appreciated. I am not able to reply to everyone personally but I do my best. For you to take the time to let me know what you appreciate and how I might be able to improve, means a lot to me. Last week I received an email from two readers that are worth answering for everyone's benefit. 

One reader's question was about the length and meandering style of this missive. For those expecting a regular newsletter format, it takes some getting used to. It breaks some of the 'rules' of modern communication technique. It's not super efficient and does not aim to deliver raw news. There are no bullet points or executive summaries. That genre is already well represented. As much as possible I try to tell a story. A story that unpacks the issues and explores the linkages between seemingly unrelated events. The intent is to foster engagement and spark interest or discussion.

The email reaches over 5,000 subscribers and in any given week about 30% read it. I've been told that some like to scan it in their PJs over Sunday morning coffee. Others meet in discussion groups after church to further exchange views on the topics discussed. Some are quite avid followers, while others read the odd one. A number of readers forward the email to family and friends and some tweet the pieces out from the website archive. It is doubtful that anyone reads the whole missive every week and clicks on all the links but for many it is comforting to know that their connection to a green and sustainable future is ever present in their inbox on Sunday mornings.

Another reader noticed that at the bottom of each newsletter there is a link to our "Sustaining Donors" page. This prompted her to ask if I was actually being paid to write this weekly missive. Here is my reply:

"Yes, SGI is fortunate to be able to hire paid staff. We have done so since Jocelyn Gifford took on the role of Coordinator about four years ago. Leading up to the last election this role was part-time and mostly focused on events and fundraising.
gmg4ccompilation.png"As you know, the results of the last federal election were disappointing in that Elizabeth had to return to the House of Commons as a lone Green MP. It was then that a number of volunteers decided that they were not ready to quit and wanted to dedicate themselves to helping Elizabeth influence change in Ottawa. It was also around that time that I took over from Jocelyn in a part-time capacity as coordinator and staff support for volunteer activities.

"Since then the activities of the Saanich-Gulf Islands Electoral District Association (SGI EDA) have continued to expand. We play a strong supportive role at the national level within the Green Party of Canada and continuously reach out to other EDAs across the country to inspire and assist them. We feel that this is part of our effort to support Elizabeth and ensure that the next election will be more fruitful. You can get a glimpse of our commitment to this effort by reading our vision statement.

"We currently have about 50 volunteers active in the EDA in various capacities. My job is to make it possible for volunteers to contribute their skills and ensure that their precious time is applied effectively. I also do my best to fill any gaps and take care of those duties that for one reason or another are not handled by volunteers. Among other things, this includes maintaining the web site and communicating with members and supporters as I do through this weekly blog.
"Naturally donations fund all the activities of the EDA. SGI has taken the approach that political engagement is not only important during election campaigns but is, and should be, a 24/7 responsibility. Facilitating that kind of dedication to democracy is our aim. In this, we are continuously inspired by Elizabeth May and her unwavering dedication to her constituency, her country and this planet, our home."

Events_Team.pngThe Green Party of Canada simply does not have the party apparatus of established old style political parties in Canada. That's why our local EDAs play a vital role in the organization. As Elizabeth does in her role as MP, the members of SGI are committed to reinventing how we do politics. We do this mostly by putting the value of service to the community ahead of political advantage. We champion greater citizen engagement, building bridges across political, social and economic divides. And we are respectful and appreciative of good ideas from across the political, cultural and economic spectrum.

In addition to our Executive Committee we have a very active Events Team and Green Media Group. We are currently formalizing the Admin and Data Team and have recently helped with the launch of EDA 2.0, a national grassroots effort to connect Green EDAs from coast to coast to coast. We have spawned a national Green Writers group of letter writers and we have been instrumental in encouraging the work of the EDA driven Committee on Motion Development, or CMD, which has just completed six months of consultations and has submitted a very comprehensive recommendation to our Federal Council.

We strive to update our web site regularly to try and reflect this paradigm more clearly. I would like to invite you to explore it and provide me with feedback. We will be sending out our annual year-end fundraising email at the end of this month. We would like the website to provide good information on why we do what we do and how a donor's funds are utilized. We also want to be sure that donors who pay income tax are aware that for the first $400 per year donated, a 75% rebate will be forthcoming through their tax return.

Periodically we still encounter a little confusion about the separation between the provincial and federal parties and the roles of the local EDA or riding association and that of the party as a whole. While we share many common values, the federal and provincial Green parties operate under distinct and separate jurisdictions and each have their own governance model as well as policy development mechanisms and procedures. Local Riding Associations or as they are known federally, Electoral District Associations (EDAs) are the conduit between the local community and the party.

Elizabeth.jpgAs I write this, I'm looking at the clock. I am scheduled to meet Elizabeth en route to the airport, to capture a quick video blog as she heads off to Bonn. COP23 is getting underway and the work continues to move the world towards the 1.5 degree target that brought so much hope to us two years ago. Elizabeth will be part of the Canadian delegation led by Catherine McKenna but will also work hand in hand with the Global Greens to advance climate action around the globe. For more information check out Elizabeth's Week in Review here.

There are of course many other things to write about. China just developed a cool new streetcar, Tesla is still in "production hell", investor confidence in Kinder Morgan is dropping as the company tries to bully its way past the courts and local governments, and Rachel Notley is coming to BC to sell pipelines.

The National Observer also tweeted Elizabeth's piece on "Why Environmental Laws Matter" where she wrote: "Justin Trudeau and the Liberal election platform promised to restore the broken laws, bringing back the lost protections in the Fisheries Act and Navigable Waters Protection Act and ensure Canada had an effective environmental assessment process. Two years later, it is increasingly clear that only the Fisheries Act will receive substantial repair. The structure of Harper’s anti-environmental law regime appears to be a hair’s breadth from Liberal endorsement. The strong recommendations from expert panels Liberals convened are about to be rejected."  I hope to cover some of these next week but one never knows. Each week is a surprise.

Wishing you a blessed weekend of remembrance, filled with gratitude for all those who have sacrificed so much to keep our democratic rights and freedoms strong and filled with hope for a peaceful and bright future for all.

Until next weekend,


"It is our job to work tirelessly for justice, for peace, and for a planet that can survive with a human civilization that thrives. This is the challenge that we take on as Greens." Elizabeth May, October 19th, 2015

This weekly missive is authored by Thomas Teuwen, our SGI EDA coordinator. Opinions expressed are his own. We welcome your comments and feedback. If you were sent here by a friend and would like to subscribe to our weekly email simply click here. You can also go to the archives section of our SGI website to read back issues.

This Good Sunday Morning is made possible by Sustaining Donors like you. Thank You!

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