2013 Monthly Meetings

RODC Monthly Meetings
The members of RODC meet regularly at  a location in Oakville to conduct business and make decisions on group actions.

RODC Group 
It was decided at the January 2013 meeting that the RODC monthly meetings henceforth will be composed of a very short business meeting to be followed by speakers, videos and discussion topics to stimulate productive conversations and socializing.

Please bring books to our Book Exchange.
No December meeting.  
Next Monthly Meeting January 8.
November 6, 2013
The group continued our discussion on how to support Leadnow's campaign to unseat Harper in 2015


Planned for the November 16 local action. See Upcoming/Recent for photos and report.
October 9, 2013

The discussion (below)  focused on item #4 as one that we are most interested in pursuing and where we are most capable of making a contribution to the LeadNow campaign.  Hart will contact LeadNow and see where we might fit in.

Topic For Discussion:  Supporting Leadnow in its Goals

After the business section, we will study the document that Leadnow has produced based on their survey of groups in Canada, and make some decisions about how we can support their efforts.  What strengths and abilities do we have that can promote reclaiming democracy?

Leadnow Plan
We've created an audacious 2015 election plan based on survey responses from thousands of members of the Leadnow community-- but if we're going to pull it off we need to start now.

95% of us responded to say that we want the Leadnow community to “work together to organize a major campaign to engage hundreds of thousands to get out in the next election and vote for electoral reform, climate action and concrete measures to reduce inequality.”[1]

We need to bring in some fresh energy to change things in 2015. We’re preparing a bold plan based on your feedback and key lessons from our experience and Obama’s successful election campaigns. Together we’ll rally Canadians, including many young people who did not vote last election, to get out and vote for the candidate who has the best chance of working together in Parliament for progress on the major challenges facing our society.[4]

From environmental destruction to massive growing inequality, the Leadnow community agrees that our country is heading in the wrong direction. The next election CAN be a turning point, but only if we start working together now. Here’s the plan:

1. Find people who didn’t vote last time: To design the best election campaign, we need to reach out in campuses and communities across the country to listen to Canadians, especially people who did not vote in the last election. 

2. Create a program for action: We’ll ask people who didn’t vote in the last election about their concerns and see how their answers connect with the Leadnow community’s big picture goals on democracy, climate and inequality. Together we’ll create a program for action that will motivate people across the country. 

3. Organize in ridings across the country: We’ll work together to get out and build support in communities across the country. We’ll focus efforts in places where a hundred, or a few thousand, votes will make the biggest difference. We’re doing detailed analysis now so we can spend money wisely. 

4. Contain the damage: We’ll keep running campaigns to hold this government accountable on the issues that matter most to this community.[5] Together, we’ll create a list of the worst damage done by this government and build a powerful campaign to get the NDP, Liberals and Greens to commit to undo that damage after the election.[6]

5. Build support for crucial reforms: As we reach out to more and more Canadians and focus organizing in key ridings, will make sure the political parties respond to our community’s program for action on democracy, climate and inequality with strengthened commitments in their campaign platforms. 

6. Cooperate, endorse or support before the next election: Before the next election, we’ll either secure a cooperation agreement between the NDP, Liberals and Greens, or we’ll find another way to focus support behind the key candidates in strategic ridings - possibly through community endorsements. We’ll work together to find the best solution.[7]

7. Get out the vote during the election: During the next election we’ll focus our efforts on mobilizing in key ridings to inspire hundreds of thousands to vote for the candidate who has the best chance of representing their values in Parliament. 

8. Undo the worst damage: After the election, we’ll work with the new government to undo some of the worst damage that’s been done in the last few years. 

9. Pass crucial reforms: Now the real work begins! We’ll work together to ensure the new government passes crucial reforms to fix our broken electoral system, make Canada a climate leader and build a fair economy that reduces inequality. 

Okay, so that’s hugely ambitious, but there’s 300,000 of us in this community and we can accomplish so much if we work together. 
September 11, 2013
Topic for discussion: What constitutes an environmentally friendly house.

Danielle and Hart described the process of designing and building an eco friendly house in Oakville today, what that means and what obstacles there are.  A guided tour of the house climaxed the meeting.

May 1, 2013 Theme: What is the greatest threat to Canada today? What do we have the power to do about it?

Clare showed the trailer for the documentary film Revolution, currently in local theatres. Wendy explained how the film had come to be made by her friend eco-hero Rob Stewart and how it was being shown particularly to children, as future activists.  She introduced Geoff Phippen, Principal of Dearcroft Montessori School, who sponsored the film showing.  Together with students from David Suzuki High School, his school had traveled to Ottawa to show the film to Senators. Laureen Harper had seen it, but they had not been able to persuade the Prime Minister to do so.  
     Clare also showed an excerpt from from the film, “Ocean Acidification”.  
     Clare felt that if the oceans die, mankind dies and this must surely be the greatest threat to Canada or anywhere. 
Link to the Revolution Movie  
Link to Ocean Acidification.

Carole had found it difficult to identify just one threat, there were so many and all connected.  The destruction of the environment meant that Canada was a pariah and seen as obstructionist on the world stage; the disparity between rich and poor; the voices of advocates being silenced; the chipping away of human rights; mistreatment of aboriginal peoples; omnibus bills that hide draconian changes; distrust of science, an electoral system that is broken and no longer works.  
     What can we do about it? We really need to defeat the present government.  Our role is to bring disparate groups together, to cooperate and speak in one voice.  This may mean becoming ruthless, crass and fearless. 

Hart had a similar list: degradation of the environment; decline of economic well being in favour of Corporations; the decimation of the CBC. In each case, the principal cause was PM Harper.  All these things have increased visibly in the past 5 or 6 years and Canada’s reputation internationally has deteriorated. 
     What to do? We need to figure out the key issues and then be thoughtful about how to proceed.  Liz Benneyan, a local Green activist, has a training course touring the country entitled, “Organize to Win.”  We might benefit from her ideas. 

Judy R: He who has the gold, makes the rules.  Values-driven issues fall by the wayside in the pursuit of profits.  Probably this was always true but it as snowballed recently.  Who is behind it?  Not elected officials. Of the 100 largest world’s economies, 51 of them are corporations. Even if we all voted Green, the resulting government would still be forced to “follow the money” .
Donna: It happened first in the US and now here.  We keep thinking it can’t get any worse, and then it does! The Auditor General just announced that the government couldn’t account for $3 billion.  Where did it go?
     We have to get radical. We need strategy points, how to reach out to other groups.  Donna has a plan on how to bring in others and get them involved. We have to Go Big or Go Home.  We must get out of our comfort zone and shake people up.

Lorraine: A big concern is the apathy of the Canadian public. We have to wake up our neighbours.  How have people put up with all the stuff that has gone down in the past 10 years?       Maybe being nice is NOT the way to go!

June: As a history buff, June had a chart showing the interconnectedness of events.
 Democracy works best when there is a balance between capitalists and workers, then people have a chance to become upwardly mobile.   Currently, business, bankers and multinationals have all the weight.  This, in conjunction with things like climate change and wars, tips the balance towards unemployment, exploitation and unrest.  All political parties experience pressure to please Big Business.
     How can we reclaim our democracy?  We have to change the system. We need a change to PR, on-line voting to attract young people, a single party of the left.  In 1991 Mel Hurtig wrote describing politics in the 1980’s.  Exactly the same state of affairs exists today.

Bev: Felt we have to do missionary work with political parties, finding out who will put Canada first. We should focus a campaign on leaders Mulcair and Trudeau .
Perhaps we need mass unemployment to get people to protest.  We need protests to be a million strong. Most citizens cannot look beyond just keeping their daily lives as they are.  Education and enlightenment may help.  Revolution is a scary thing to participate in.  
     Can we get a variety of groups together for training in organizing?  Perhaps an on-line broadcast? 

Carole: Thinking of the recent factory collapse in Bangladesh and the Canadian Joe Fresh connection- perhaps there should be a consumer reaction addressing the corporations? 

Wendy: Cell phones and radiation are a concern.  Would the cost of controlling these (or of paying for a campaign to stop knowledge getting out) be more than that of raising autistic children?

General Discussion: 
Canadian people used to be stakeholders at the government table but in recent years we have lost our place.
The media is to blame for slavishly allowing equal airtime to all viewpoints. They never take a stand on any issue. 
Investigative reporting can still be powerful.
Local MP Terence Young recently released a door-to-door flyer (ten percenter) and his own on-line newsletter.  Several recipients were appalled by the content.

Judy R: I don’t want to hear what mud my MP has to sling at other parties. I want to know what he is doing for me in Ottawa.  He seems to be regurgitating the party line and using spin and propaganda.  If we don’t like it, we should let him know.

Wendy: Terence is one of the few Conservative MPs who sometimes takes an independent line.  We can use the political system, he can respond if we bring reasoned argument to bear.
April 3, 2013: Theme: Cooperation

Elka will lead a discussion on ideas for cooperation among parties to defeat Harper in 2015.  Our plans to support the movement will be outlined and elaborated.

In particular, Elka will outline her plans for a meeting between local riding association representatives to discuss cooperation in the next election and her reasons for this..

Advance Readings: Here are 2 websites and some information  that you can access at your leisure before the meeting.

The topic is Co-operative Voting to rid Canada of Harperite Governments.  While proportional representation is relevant to that topic, we will save that discussion for another time. 

Two websites with lots of information. 

This site gives the history of election results for Oakville.  Change 'Oakville' to any riding.

This will save us from spending time looking at charts during our meeting.  

This site is a very thorough examination of cooperative voting experiences in Canada and France.  I have excerpted and highlighted some parts for discussion.  Those that want a more thorough analysis with supporting documentation can read the full report for free on line, but you must pay to download and print it.

There will be videos to dramatize cooperation.

1. Rap song

2. Joyce

For more information, read this excellent article by Tim Harper in the Star  here.

March 6, 2013: Theme: Aboriginal Issues
Janet Wilson, Guest

Janet Wilson, renowned illustrator and author, showed slides and told of her experiences in researching for her book Shannen and the Dream for a School. The school of the title is in Attiwapiskat.
Janet Signing a Book

The photographs and videos, and the discussion of this specific situuation with Janet furthered the group's understanding of aboriginal issues.

Janet signed books for people after the discussion. Check her web site here.

See the video of Shannen speaking in Toronto here.

February 6, 2013: Theme: Elements of Democracy
Che Marville, Guest

Che and Carol February 2013

The first such meeting  featured a dialogue with Che Marville shown in the photo speaking with Carol Brayman during a break in the discussion of elements of democracy.

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