2014 Actions

2014 Local Actions

Candlelight Vigil, December 22
A candlelight vigil was held in front of Town Hall to remember and honour the victims of the recent attack on a Pakistani school.
Max Khan and Mayor

Some of the Crowd

When: Monday, December 22, 2014 @ 6PM

Where: Oakville Town Hall
1225 Trafalgar Road,
Oakville, ON L6H 0H3

Several RODC members attended the vigil. 

142 people, mostly children, were senselessly killed by terrorists at a school in Peshawar, Pakistan. 

Oakville Council stands in solidarity with the victims of this attack, their families and relatives during this difficult time. 
Check out the brilliant ABC Under Harper book here.  This is the work of Tina Agrell on behalf of RODC.  
      Profits from the sale of the book go to RODC to continue its work for democracy.      Harper said, "You won't recognize Canada when I get through with it."  This book is the ABC's of how he has achieved his goal.
If you are on Twitter, check out Leave Steve at #leavesteve2015
Join the Up For Debate movement here.

When it comes time to elect our next government in 2015, over 100 organizations representing more than 3.5 million Canadians want to see party leaders explain how they plan to build a more equal Canada for us all, and make meaningful commitments to change women’s lives for the better, at home and around the world.

Introduction by Bev

To remember and honour the lives of missing and murdered aboriginal women and girls 

 Saturday October 4th, 2014

Opening remarks by Ms. Sherri Seavil, 
Halton Catholic School Board Aboriginal Liaison Officer 
Students read stories

 In the Garden of St. Jude’s Church 
160 William St. (Downtown Oakville) 
Candles light the dark night
To light a virtual candle, click here.

In the top row (2014), click on the last page and then on an unlit candle.

Table at Eden Mills Writers' Festival
September 14, 2014

Judy explains the brochure

Table on Publishers' Way

Tue. Sept. 30, 2014

Sponsored by Scientists for the Right to Know and supported by the University of Toronto Faculty Association.

On what evidence does Ottawa base its policies?

A panel discussion moderated by Carol Goar

A public forum


Munir Sheikh
Munir Sheikh is an Executive Fellow at the School of Public Policy at the University of Calgary.

Mel Cappe, O.C.
Mel Cappe is Professor in the School of Public Policy and Governance, University of Toronto.

J. David Hulchanski
J. David Hulchanski is a Professor of Social Work at the University of Toronto

Carol Goar
Carol Goar has been a journalist for more than 35 years. She is an editorial columnist for the Toronto Star.

at the
Campbell Conference Facility, Munk School of Global Affairs, University of Toronto: 1 Devonshire Place

Sponsored by Scientists for the Right to Know and supported by the University of Toronto Faculty Association.

TOPIC: On what evidence does Ottawa base its policies?

A panel discussion moderated by Carol Goar

June 10
Slide show photos of both events by Laurie Wierzbicki

Because of the Provincial Election: June 12!
we co-hosted an
All Candidates Meeting with Unifor and the Oakville and District Labour Council.

on Wednesday, June 4, 2014 at the 707 Galaxy Club.

All five Oakville candidates were present.
Kevin Flynn (Liberal, incumbent), Che Marville (NDP), Andrew Chlobowski (Green), Larry Scott (PC), 
David Clement (Libertarian)

As co-hosts, RODC had an initial question for the candidates related to democracy in Ontario. 
 In our view, the following actions would protect and enhance democracy in Ontario: taking steps to raise voter turnout; promoting the adoption of proportional representation; introducing on-line voting; advocating for greater transparency in your own party; drafting a code of conduct for yourself and colleagues; asking constituents to suggest changes that would raise MPPs in public esteem. 

If elected, what actions to protect and enhance democracy in Ontario would you commit to and why? 

Nicole (RODC) at the public mike

This was a rare chance to make our voice heard by the candidates who are seeking office in Ontario’s Provincial government.

RODC members greeted people at the entrance and handed them our brochure.  Bev spoke to the audience of about 100 at the outset as the spokesperson for RODC.

Unifor hosted and co-sponsored the event.
RODC Members supported the demonstration in Towne Square, Oakville at 6:30 Wednesday May 14.

Slide Show in right frame -photos by Laurie and Clare

Article on InsideHalton here.

Boko Haram video.

A group of Oakville citizens gathered in the rain to demonstrate against the taking of girls in Nigeria and to demand their release. There were several members of RODC, GRAN, Saint Thomas Acquinas High School, and the general public.
Sarah from Social Justice Group
Lorraine Green from GRAN
     Speakers were Sarah from the Social Justice group, Lorraine Green from GRAN and a young Nigerian lawyer.  Their message was clear and unequivocal --the girls must be released immediately and girls in Nigeria must be free to receive their education without fear.
Pam Damoff organized the demonstration

Heavy Rain did not hinder this group.

Book Launch: Tragedy in the Commons

May 5     Details here.
A video about the book here.

A large crowd gathered at Finn's Irish Temper in Oakville to help members of RODC launch Tragedy in the Commons with author Michael McMillan speaking and answering questions.  Several local politicians were present as were future poiticians. 
M. C. Judy Rivard from RODC
Michael McMillan signing his book
Tina Agrell Introduces Michael

MPP Minister Kevin Flynn and
Che Marville, NDP candidate
Jennifer Malabar speaks with
 Bonnie Brown, former MP
Pam Damoff 

Tragedy In The Commons
An evening by Tina Agrell

Canada’s very own Richard Branson was in town on Monday evening.

Billionaire Michael MacMillan won an Oscar in his 20s, and was CEO of Alliance Atlantis television network before selling out to CanWest. He owns a vineyard and winery, runs an open-air movie festival, and has received gold and diamond Jubilee awards for his charitable work. He founded Blue Ant, a media company that creates and distributes engaging content in niche channels, designed to appeal to small but passionate communities.

Together with Alison Loat he is the co-founder of Samara, a democracy think-tank. Some years ago he and Alison carried out exit interviews with over eighty former MPs. The pattern of responses they gathered from these interviews forms the basis of their new book, “Tragedy In the Commons: Former MPs speak out about Canada’s failing democracy”.

At a book launch at O’Finns Irish Temper, hosted by Reclaim Our Democratic Canada, Mr. MacMillan spoke engagingly about the research and the results to a fascinated crowd. He fielded questions from former MP Bonnie Brown, MPP Kevin Flynn, Mayor Rob Burton, provincial NDP candidate Che Marville and Liberal hopeful Jennifer Malabar, among many others.

According to Mr. MacMillan, if we are going to get government right, Canadians must believe that politics is worth their time and more of us must actively participate.

Press and citizens must create conditions and pressure for parties and MPs to change.

Citizens must demand a more nuanced political culture, with less exchange of malicious barbs and more sober debate.

Parties must hold themselves to higher standards of openness and accountability.

Perhaps one day a small group of MPs will band together and work towards a movement for political renewal.


7 PM, Wednesday, April 9th, 2014 


Guest Speakers: 

JULIA BOMBERRY, Ganohkwasra Family Assault Support Services 

VALARIE KING, Activist & Social Worker 


Dr. ADAM J. BARKER, Researcher
Progress Summit in Ottawa, March 28-30: Notes
Ed Broadbent

Chief Gilbert Whiteduck “We are willing to share the land but not to give it up; we are willing to forgive but not to forget”.

Ed Broadbent
This meeting will put flesh on the progressive values that are held by most Canadians
Prosperity must be broadly shared
Prosperity must be Greener
Prosperity needs to occur within the context of a new democracy.
We need evidence based policy debate and serious discussion.

Jonathan Sachs, researcher at the Broadbent Institute, quoted British Historian Tony Judt “if we do not talk differently we shall not think differently.”

“The Entrepreneurial State’ 
Marianna Mazzacuto University of Sussex. What are the future “Big Missions” for government? Climate Change, Youth Unemployment, Ageing Population. . Smart, inclusive, sustainable growth won’t happen by chance. The public sector is the essential source of infrastructure to carry new ideas and applications. The military-industrial complex actually is super-important for long-term research.

Indigenous Rights and the Challenge of Natural Resource Development
Haydon King,  Professor of History, Ryerson .The First
Nations model of how to manage resources is “How to eat from a dish with one spoon.”
Chris Henderson Author “Aboriginal Power” We need good internal economic development in government.  Legacy development – this is how we get progress – with two canoes paddling side by side into the future.

The Rise of The Right: France, Europe and the Progressive Challenge
Axelle Lemaire. French Canadian. Elected to French National Assembly in 2012, member of European Affairs commission. Joblessness and pessimism among youth in Europe has led to the rise of extremist parties like the National Front. There is a unique opportunity in Europe for the Left but left groups must not stay in separate silos, they must be open to each other. Progressives have very high expectations of the state and are very easily disappointed.

The Best Defence is a Good Offence
Denis Lemelin, President National Union of Postal Workers We must support each other and push back. Solidarity is important.  Use a common voice and create a hope for the future campaign.
How do you eat an elephant?  One spoonful at a time.
Income Inequality and Austerity
Janine Brodie Prof Political Science U Alberta,
We need to focus on The Gap.  Full time jobs are disappearing, replaced by part time and contract employment – precarious jobs.  The precariat have no voice because they don’t vote. We have to bring the precariat to the centre of the debate.
The government must provide protections for this group and instill a sense of shared fate.

Alex Himelfarb Director Glendon School of Public & International Affairs, York U.
The purpose of tax cuts is to create austerity. We did it in slow motion so that it took longer for the consequences to show. What are the consequences of austerity?
It undermines growth and undermines jobs. Fix the labour market, create living wage jobs.  It snatches services from those who need them most. It erodes institutions of redistribution (e.g. EI continues to erode.  We have to stop that) It stunts the political imagination and makes the future seem impossible.
If you talk to any politician (federal, provincial or municipal) and say wouldn’t it be wonderful if we could do …They say, oh yes it would, but you’re dreaming. How could we ever afford that? And you say “Taxes!”

Eve-Lyne Couturier Institute of Socio-Economic Research Montreal:
We can’t continue to bring in immigrants and condemn them to poverty.
We need an immigration nomination scheme, where we identify needed skills
We will never change the discourse if all political parties are trying to move to the centre to seduce voters. We need PR, so that all sorts of voices can be heard.
Every man in the street understands that we need taxes to pay for services.  We have to build a new concensus.  The old model neo-liberalism and the free market is dead.  We have to tax fairly, spend wisely and regulate on behalf of people

Leadership and Purpose: Progressive Politics for Today and Tomorrow
The Hon Julia Gillard 27th Prime Minister of Australia 2010 to 2013.
First woman ever to serve as Prime Minister or deputy Prime Minister in Australia.
Be clear about your purpose.  Don’t forget it.
Use modern tools to achieve it.
Use your voice to stand up for things you believe in.
Do not let facts ‘speak for themselves’ underline them, shout them out.
Plan for the future, don’t just drift into it.

To form a coalition you need to have good policies and you need to establish trust.

I did vote against Gay Marriage at first. Gay is OK.  Marriage not so much.  I’m from the Germaine Greer feminist generation that views marriage as slavery.  I saw no reason to extend that institution. 

March 25 Demonstration*
Tuesday March 25, at Terence's office at 265 Cross Avenue 

We were joined by several members of Unifor in this demonstration against the unfair elections act, our response to Leadnow's call for action in the "Let People Vote" campaign.

We had a good flyer to pass out and collected signatures on our petition.

Several people had signs.

Suggested Personal Action: Write a letter to your MP.
                 Our flyer could be used for ideas.
*Photo by Jennifer Malabar
Fair Vote Canada spoke at a Town hall on Democratic Reform hosted by MP Kyle Seeback
The Reform Act and Proportional Representation
Date: Saturday, March 1, 2014
Time: 2-4 pm
Location: Royal Canadian Legion 15, 80 Mary St. Brampton, ON L6W 2R3


· Kyle Seeback, MP Brampton West, on The Reform Act
· Professor Dennis Pilon on Proportional Representation

Kyle will speak about MP Michael Chong’s proposed Reform Act that puts forward three simple reforms to strengthen Parliament by proposing to restore local control over party nominations, strengthen caucus as a decision-making body and reinforce the accountability of party leaders to caucuses. Learn more about the Reform Act and read Fair Vote Canada's statement on it here.

Professor Dennis Pilon is an electoral reform expert and a member of Fair Vote Canada’s Advisory Board. Dennis will speak about proportional representation, an electoral system used by 27/34 OECD countries whereby most votes count towards electing a representative, and the percentage of seats a party receives roughly matches its popular support.  

Each speaker will speak for about 10 minutes to allow ample time for Questions and Answers. Refreshments provided. Everyone welcome. Space is limited. 

Please RSVP your attendance to Pat at fairvotepeel@gmail.com


Inter-Continental Day of Action, Friday, January 31, 2014

Silent March vs NAFTA and TPP
from the Mexican Consulate marching to U.S. Consulate on University.

More photos on Facebook here

Story on Rabble.ca  here

1.     What is it? It is a proposed Trade Agreement currently being negotiated between 12 countries: Canada, the United States, Mexico, Australia, New-Zealand, Singapore, Malaysia, Japan, Brunei, Peru, Chili and Vietnam.

2.     The economic power of the twelve countries is close to 40% of the world economy.

3.     While some countries were negotiating in 2005, many entered the negotiations in 2008 (USA, Australia, Peru, Vietnam…); Canada joined the negotiations in 2012 “sight unseen” (had to accept text already negotiated by consensus).

4.     The goal of the negotiations is “to facilitate the movement of people, goods, services, capital, and data across borders” (Source: Foreign Affairs Canada).

5.     TPP will affect three-quarters of a billion people and potentially more (Source: Foreign Affairs) and people, elected politicians are not being consulted.

6.     Yet a leaked list of the 600 advisors to the American negotiators include Exxon, Monsanto, Wal-Mart, Halliburton, Chevron, Pharmaceutical companies etc…. TPP IS ABOUT CORPORATE GLOBALIZATION.

7.     Not much is known about the negotiations because they are conducted in secret, in the most undemocratic manner; the only known information is from Wiki Leaks and partially leaked texts of counter proposals made during the negotiations.

8.     The negotiations include but are not limited to:
  • labor (i.e. relocating domestic jobs abroad, welfare regulation, workplace safety);
  • changes to environmental rules (i.e. nuclear energy, pollution, sustainability);
  • new pledges on customs, food and safety;
  • government procurement;
  • financial deregulation (more power and privileges for the bankers and financiers);
  • investor state protection rules  (public access to essential services i.e. water, electricity, gas,  could be restricted due to investment freedom);
  • Public/Global Health, Access to affordable medicines in Canada and among the world’s poorest where affordable medicines is a matter of life and death;
  • internet freedom and new copyright rules;
  • the TPP contains 29 chapters, only two pertains to trade, the other 27 are non trade matters.

9.     TPP Trade agreement will override domestic laws on both trade and non-trade matters; foreign investors will have the right to sue governments in international tribunals overruling national sovereignty.

10.   Mr. Obama and Mr. Harper are pushing to reach a final agreement at the next negotiations expected to be held in the latter part of February 2014.

11.  Once it is signed, there will be no going back! It is not too late to be heard. Speak up!


Noam Chomsky said it (TPP) was "a joke" that the deal is designated a "free trade" agreement. "It's called free trade, but that's just a joke," Chomsky said. "These are extreme, highly protectionist measures designed to undermine freedom of trade. In fact, much of what's leaked about the TPP indicates that it's not about trade at all, it's about investor rights."

To read all of Noam Chomsky's view on TPP, click here.

RODC has endorsed this action officially. To check details click here.

Terence Young, Tina Agrell, June Wright, Pat Froio, John Kinnunen

Report on visiting MP Terence Young to talk about PR by Tina Agrell January 23, 2014

John Kinnunen, Pat Froio, June Wright and I met Thursday afternoon (Jan 23rd) at MP Terence Young’s constituency office in Oakville.  We were greeted warmly and shepherded in through the marble topped reception desk cum security barrier (to prevent incidents like a band of pot smokers with video cameras who invaded recently).

Terence chatted pleasantly and I am ashamed to say, his charm offensive was quite successful.  He did mention that he used to be a salesman and loves the chance to woo people face to face.

As suggested in Fair Vote Canada’s “ Tips for Visiting Your MP” we congratulated him on the recent passing of his Private Members Bill (Vanessa’s Law.)  He pointed out that what seemed like a no-brainer law to control the sale of pharmaceuticals took 13 years to pass.  He admitted to being frustrated, since another idea he champions has now been 5 years in the works.  He likened the process to dropping pennies in one of those giant collecting jars you sometimes see.  There is only room for one at a time.

We started to tell him about PR.  He majored in Political Science and knew at least as much about it as we did.  He said that visits to the (PR) Knesset in Israel have confused him.  On the one hand they are absolutely the most democratic legislature anywhere, with Palestinians, Arabs, extreme right and extreme left parties plus very conservative religious groups as well as the largely secular - but on the other hand, small aggressive parties are able to block needed legislation for years in efforts to bring their own goals to the forefront.  

We talked about Germany’s model and the stability they have been able to gain through negotiating.  He wanted to know more about that.  He said that in the past a lot of negotiation and collaboration went on in Parliament – but admitted that in recent years the so-called majority has led to the Prime Ministers Office, staffed by brilliant 26 year olds with no life experience, taking control of policy. He did take the opportunity to point out that this will not change any time soon, as Justin Trudeau “has no policies other than being a nice guy” and Thomas Mulcair is seen as “emotional and scary”.

We explained that we appreciate that you can’t just superimpose any existing PR model on Canada and showed him the petition asking for a country-wide consultation on the best electoral reform for Canada.  

He promised to present the petition in the House.  He said that the Conservatives have a case before the Supreme Court in relation to reforming the Senate.  He said that he personally will support Michael Chang’s Reform Bill.  He recommended writing to Pierre Poilievre, Minister for Democratic Reform.

We had a 30 minute appointment that stretched to 50 as he chatted and posed for photographs with us.

Was he supportive?  He seemed so, but he is first and foremost a politician and a charming one at that.
Canadian Electoral Alliance
Activist Workshop: How to lobby on Proportional Representation

Notes on the workshop:

How to Lobby 101 and PR 101 Workshop

Campaign to make 2015 the last unfair election in Canada

Approx. 25 – 30 attended
Kelly Carmichael, Exec. Director of Fairvote, presented background on Fairvote and PR 101. The campaign started with average expectations but the response has surpassed all expectations.

John Deverell, founding treasurer of Fair Vote hosted and introduced Lynn McDonald, Professor emerita, Guelph University.  

Lynn made specific points when lobbying a Conservative MP:
·       Some of the best articles about PR were written by Stephen Harper
·       With FPTP, Conservatives have also been shut out and not represented fairly.

Other information that will answer questions and prepare you to lobby:
·       The “Report of the Law Commission of Canada.” I checked Google - various sites but this site has the highlights as well as access to the full report consisting of 209 pages. http://wilfday.blogspot.ca/2010/01/law-commission-of-canada-report.html
·       There is agreement that Mixed Member Proportional is the most effective.
·       You will be more effective if you go in small groups. Perhaps 3 to 5 people. When you register for the kit below you will be asked if you want to go with others in your riding. If others from your riding have registered and want company, you can be linked up. 
·       Anita Nickerson has created a complete lobby kit you can access by registering at:
·       A constitutional amendment is not necessary to change the system to PR.
·       It will take 18 months for Elections Canada to get the machinery in place for MMP.

We went into separate Conservative, Liberal and NDP ridings for further discussion and strategies related to that particular party. The greatest number of attendees were from Conservative ridings, then the NDP, which had almost twice the number of attendees as those in Liberal ridings.
·       A point was made for the response to the complaint that MMP would create more elections, like Italy. We were told that since the last war, Canada FPTP had more elections than Italy something like 23 to Italy’s 18.
·       It may be covered in Anita’s materials but the suggestion was to take a photo of delegates with your MP after the meeting.
·       Another excellent point was to make an effort to lobby other party candidates in your riding if they’re known.

The materials available online and when you register will provide all you need to know.

Good Luck!

Site Meter