Posts Tagged ‘environmentalism’

Being completely open-minded is something I truly strive for, yet I struggle to keep an open mind towards the extreme authoritarian governments in power in my country and my province. In Nick Fillmore’s latest BLOG post,

Is Stephen Harper displaying
fascist-like tendencies?

he makes the case that although he doesn’t accuse Mr. Harper of being a fascist, one can easily identify elements of fascism from Harper’s actions when applying Dr. Lawrence Britt’s fourteen defining characteristics of fascism. It is compelling reading. I worry about the changes happening in a country once known for its collective social conscience.

Our province could be similarly analyzed. In a province where a campaign has been launched AGAINST opposition leader, Adrian Dix, before an election has been called; in a province where teachers enter an eleventh year with bargaining rights suppressed;  in a province where cuts to arts funding were increased (AGAIN!) and the Bible is raised in discussion by the Minister of Culture and the Arts, I begin to see fascist-like tendencies very close to home.

One can despair, shut them out or take action. Of course taking action is the obvious solution, yet that, too, can be difficult. What to do? What obstacles? What politics within the politics?

Which brings me to social conscience…

When you find someone with true social conscience with whom you can work, volunteer, collaborate…it all becomes so much easier. I found Dave McPherson. He is smart, funny, caring, dedicated, a great navigator but above all he has a true social conscience. And, he’s handling Joe Trasolini’s by-election campaign. Officially he’s the Campaign Manager, but that title seems minimal for what he does. Somehow I knew this was where I could make a difference, stop the creeping fascism, restore some balance and join a team of like-minded people. I am very impressed with the candidate and the myriad of volunteers who have arrived to make a difference.

Joe Trasolini has a public persona that one begins to identify through discussion, through the press, through living in a neighbouring municipality, but every day I like and respect Joe more and more. His values are the right values. He cares about people. He cares about getting things done.  This hard-working man has earned the respect of many, many people in the City of Port Moody. He makes himself available to anyone in the public for meetings through his open-door policy carried over from his 12 years as Mayor. He IS open-minded. He has the mindset of a person who comes to politics to make the world a better place for the many, not for the few. The environment is always in the forefront of his thinking. Scent-free office – OF COURSE. In fact, time to stop BLOGGING and get down to the office. Volunteers are welcome. The office including the phone rooms are wheelchair accessible. Come and join me. We can make a difference.

Hello, neighbours…

It is a privilege to have an opportunity to stand before you this evening, once again to offer to serve you as a Councillor in the Village of Anmore. Many of you have come to know that I am a passionate advocate…for individuals, for the environment, for sustainability, for the ARTS, for this Village and for the Tri-City region.

There is no us and them. That is an illusion. There are only people – some with a more generous spirit than others. This can be observed in small, every-day behaviours. You can see it in how they interact with a child or with nature. You can see it in the things they choose to do with their time. When you choose someone to lead your country or your province or your village, what do you want? A kind person? An honest person? A person who does not just promise to do her best but shows it every day? A person who demonstrates true kindness of spirit? A person with a strong work ethic? A person who can suspend judgment?  A person who can truly listen and does so? A person who will not be bullied? I offer you these, my good qualities – and more because I KNOW…

Such a person will bring to the COUNCIL table your interests, always. You can trust that selfishness, greed and power will not be on MY agenda.

It is certainly helpful if your leader can understand easily the workings of government, and I have studied hard over the years. Yet I put it to you: it is equally important to bring questions to the table.

The candidates here before you this evening have worked hard – to promise you the same promises I have seen on campaign literature over the last three elections. If you peruse my handouts, mail-outs and websites, you will see that financial accountability, environmental protection and community planning are important to me as well. The difference I can offer you – is my community record of committee work, consensus-building and advocacy.

I am here for you –  and I am here for Anmore. On election day, vote for ELAINE WILLIS.

 

It is not an easy decision to run for Council in Anmore. It is a tiny municipality. There are currently about 1400 voters. Three years ago there were approximately 1200 voters which actually demonstrates the growth we are experiencing, and one of the reasons I decided I must, once again, offer to serve. From 2001 to 2006 there was a 32.8% population increase, and this upward population pressure continues. With a “Rural” designation from Metro Vancouver and an outdated, incomplete Official Community Plan with a firm one acre minimum lot size, the village is evolving via the drift rather than plan mechanism that is created by development pressures. Land values continue to soar and conflict between development and sustainability have come to the fore.

What to do about it? Clearly deflecting attention from it with conflict will not solve the problem. Communication, consensus-building and judicious planning are required to create sustainable development. The Official Community Plan must be revised and adhered to. We must also work effectively with our neighbours. Anmore does not exist in a vacuum. The region of the Tri-Cities shares air and watersheds, we share roadways, transportation and infrastructure. We share services. Working within this small region is as important as working with the greater region of Metro Vancouver in planning and decision making and I pledge to keep communication key for shared resources and services. Already I have inserted myself into committees relating to hospital services, watershed management, social services and the arts in the Tri-Cities as I believe so strongly in their importance.

So, a vote for me is a vote for communication, for dialogue, and for advocacy for our village and our region. I promise to stand for and maintain open government, to be responsive to the voices of individuals and to groups. Sustainable development is not rampant development; we need careful planning to keep Anmore beautiful, green and livable.  I have no hidden agenda. My life for the past several years has been devoted to advocacy. I offer that now in service as your Anmore Councillor. Vote for Elaine Willis on November 19th.

I have the privilege of working as a representative in an exciting, new kind of governance body – a ROUND TABLE. Now when I say “NEW”, the historians amongst you may bristle, and point to the early twentieth century origins in Britain. What Wikipedia doesn’t show is the current use of ROUNDTABLES as more than just a form of academic discussion, but a new way of bringing governance to an often diverse group of stakeholders.

I have been participating on the Core Committee of the Coquitlam River Watershed Roundtable. The process of forming the Roundtable took years and evolved from the Coquitlam River Watershed Strategy.  When the Roundtable officially formed, it was defined as ” a multi-interest body with members representing various sectors with interests in the watershed. Governments and government agencies are represented on the Roundtable, which is an independent entity, not under government direction. The Roundtable does not have authority to make decisions related to the jurisdictional authority or legislative responsibilities of governments or government agencies.”  Now my initial sentence, states that the Roundtable is a governance body, and ultimately, by having all the stakeholders together, with common goals and common values, it is my belief that the Roundtable will drive decisionmaking through its collective strength. After all this is my BLOG, I can say what I believe without censure.

Ultimately, what I want to comment on at this juncture is that this process is working, and working brilliantly. On a subcommittee tasked with revisioning the website, stakeholders have donated hours of time on a regular basis to work through goals, visions, beliefs and ideas to achieve consensus. This is no small feat. Yet, outsiders working with the group, see us as homogenous.

I see the subcommittee as a diverse group of experienced community leaders, each with a view of the Watershed and the world, willing to share and debate, but even more willing to achieve harmony. Our enemies are time, constraints on our creativity and assaults on our cohesiveness. Yet these very things, perhaps like all opposing forces, only serve to bring us closer. I have great respect for each member of this group, for everything they bring to the table.

How lucky I am to have the luxuries of time, creativity and consensus-building skills so I can participate fully. As I participate, thinking (Roger’s Innovation Adoption Curve) I have spent most of my life as an “Innovator” or “Early Adopter”, and seeing many of the other members as “Late Majority” or  later, I find myself delighted that we are working in a modern process style and exploring extremely innovative ideas. Diversity, when given opportunity and nurture, can point the way to new and successful paths.

This was definitely shocking news. We all believed that Jack would, fighter that he is, get well and return to lead the party in the fall. He walked the walk. He made history. We loved him. And Canadians, with hope anew, embraced this straight shooter.

But I am disheartened by all the negativity on the mainstream news this morning. The predictions that with Jack’s death there will be no individual to rise to take the NDP forward. Our job is to honour Jack by keeping the momentum – by making his legacy the one of caring and strong governments at all levels ensuring that government is participatory, consensus oriented, accountable, transparent, responsive, effective and efficient, equitable and inclusive and that the voices of the most vulnerable in society are heard in decision-making. As the mainstream media GO ON about how he can’t be replaced – we will find that little bit of JACK LAYTON in all of us and forge forward. We will not be stopped!

Jack’s favorite song – Oh, What a Feeling by Crowbar:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Yay4YMyL8U0  (Canadian of course)

In death, as in life, Jack will be, must be our hero. What we do with what he has given us is now in our hands. The last election defied the predictions of mainstream media and now this legacy must do the same. Social justice, good government and the issues that matter – Jack and the federal NDP platform  listed, of course,  the environment as one of the top issues.

His plan to change this country for the better has not ended with his passing. I see it broken into millions of little pieces to be shared with all of us. Take your piece, feel that feeling, get that rush – let’s march forward without missing a step….a tiny bit of Jack’s giant heart beating inside each of us. I am saddened by his passing but strengthened by these past few months filled with Layton-ness. We will look back at this time in history when the mainstream media stopped having the power to create our reality. We will, like Jack, create our own. His guidance is not gone. It was a starting pistol!

My son runs (is that the right word?) an amazing website – SFF AUDIO.The homepage states :

“Our goal was to tell the world about the cool stuff we were listening to. Since then we’ve added a bunch more contributors, reviewers, and even an editor!

We think audio is the best medium for Science Fiction literature and drama. We’re not against the dead tree, cathode ray, and celluloid versions, we just know them to be the inferior medium for transmission of story, mood, and ideas.

Before the creation of printed books, stories were told by the Greek aoidos, the Celtic bards and other poets of the human voice. After the printing press allowed for greater numbers of “novels” to be written, the families and friends in all the households that could afford to buy them would gather together and spend their evenings reading books aloud to each other. In the late 1970s the audio cassette allowed for the creation of a new industry, a new medium, the audiobook. Over the last three decades new technologies, CDs, MP3-CDs, and especially the portable MP3 player have made the audiobook even more popular.

Audio drama, too, is our passion. It goes by many names: audio theatre, audio cinema, and of course “radio drama” – the name of the place where it got started. We love this stuff. And if you’re reading this, we bet you do too.”

This endeavour uses a lot of his time, and like most such undertakings, is volunteer work. Yet I feel a sense of awe and pride because it is an amazing site. And, when I am a contributor, despite the fact that I am a teacher, a relatively accomplished writer and blogger myself, I want my work to be more than perfect when submitting to SFF AUDIO.

It took me a long time to listen to The Year of the Flood. On occasion it was because it moved slowly, but more often than not I was relistening to a section, making notes for my review. I wanted my review to be unique. Not just the content, I wanted to focus on how the audio experience would differ from the reading experience. In my advancing years I seem to be listening to a lot more non-fiction than fiction. I seem to save fiction for vacations, of which I take few because of my MCS (MULTIPLE CHEMICAL SENSITIVITY) status.

So although the review is short, and somewhat critical, please note that this is a book about the future where going oputside requires a “nosecone”. Masked breathing is the norm.

So if you want an interesting read or listen, and the depth of Atwood’s literary imagination complete with ups and downs doesn’t scare you off, give The Year of the Flood your time. Who knows, on-line BLOGGY book club?

Link to my review complete with a listening sample:

SFFAUDIO REVIEW THE YEAR OF THE FLOOD

Not too much commentary – I will try to let Glenn ter Borg’s film speak for itself. Believe me, there are hours and hours of film that went into making this 10 minute segment of the Hindsight Years. Glenn says mine was the most difficult to date. Here’s the link… enjoy!

The Hindsight Years – Elaine Willis