The election is over, the ballots have been counted, and there are new MPPs everywhere.
I’d like to congratulate Mike Harris Jr. on his election win to become the MPP for Kitchener–Conestoga. I’d also like to thank my co-candidates: Kelly Dick (NDP), Joe Gowing (Liberal), Daniel Benoy (Libertarian), and Dan Holt (Consensus Ontario) for providing alternative choices to Kitchener–Conestoga voters.
At the Campaign Office
I definitely want to thank all the Waterloo Region Greens who provided support, staffed the office, gave advice, and made it much easier to run a political campaign.
I Love Our Volunteers!
A special shout out to our volunteers who put up signs in all corners of Kitchener–Conestoga!
Of course, a big thank you goes to Laurel Russwurm, my wife and campaign manager, and my son Willem for putting up with all the frenzied activity of a campaign.
Meeting the Candidates
And finally, I want to thank you, the citizens of Kitchener–Conestoga, for attending the All Candidates Meetings, asking questions, and participating in your democracy.
…and if you’re still not convinced that voting Green will result in a better health care system (universal pharmacare, dental care and mental health care), transit infrastructure funded from non-tax sources, affordable housing, and Basic Income Guarantee to eradicate poverty, then consider that your vote will contribute $2.54 to the Green Party, building a Greener future for Ontario. That means every vote literally counts.
We discuss a variety of issues important to the citizens of Kitchener-Conestoga. As always, we faced some very hard questions from the attendees.
If you’re struggling to decide which candidate to support in KitCon, this thoughtful (and civil) hour and a half may be just what you need.
Thanks to the New Hamburg Board of Trade for an excellent oportunity, and the Puddicombe House for a wonderful venue! the most thanks go to the democratically engaged citizens who put us through our paces.
Afterwards I received a lovely letter from a local resident:
Hello all, Thank you to all of you for making it to the candidates meeting yesterday afternoon in Elmira! I attended for the first hour, after which I unfortunately had to leave. I would have loved to hear the whole discussion, but I am a single mom and my kids were home alone. I appreciated how Bob addressed each question directly with the Green party’s platform and his own beliefs. I do not like the tactic of putting other parties down.
Mike, you mentioned that the best way to get housing prices down is by building more houses. In order to do this, you said, we have to get rid of the ‘red tape’ and you specifically mentioned environmental studies that “take over a year to complete!”. Developers will not build affordable housing out of their own good-will (most will not). They make their money by building houses and selling at the highest price possible. They will not flood the market with a surplus of houses, as this will push prices down (but not to an affordable price for low-income families or people on social assistance). Environmental studies are necessary to protect the natural environment, including species at risk. Without such studies and guidelines, developers would cut down forests and remove wetlands and kill wildlife. Environmental studies take a full year to complete because of the seasonality of species (e.g. frogs breed at different times in the spring; birds migrate in spring and fall and breed in June; bats have to be studied in June; different types of vegetation grows at different times of the spring and summer; wildlife use the landscape differently in the winter). I admit that I work for an environmental consulting company, which is why I know a little bit about this. Climate change is a huge issue that the government needs to address! If we do not address it in a very solid and practical way, our children (who you also spoke of) will have a very difficult time to live, even if we would get everything else right.
I think the Liberals have done a good job for the most part during their term in office. Thank you! I support the environmental initiatives you have brought forward. I have also voted NDP in the past and believe they have many good ideas. However, on June 7 I will be voting for the Green Party! Their platform aligns best with my beliefs and I found Bob to be the most well spoken and most passionate.
P.S. By the way, Mike, it was extremely difficult to find your email address!
There are many people in Kitchener–Conestoga who align with the Greens, but not so many who vote Green. Farmers using sustainable land practices, and families using renewable energy. Yet I’ve been hearing many people say that in this 2018 election that in spite of their values, it’s most important to keep out certain parties or leaders.
See other articles on Strategic Voting In “strategic” voting, you cast your ballot for a candidate representing a party or leader you don’t want, in order to keep out a party or leader you want even less. But by voting for something you don’t want, the best result is that you’ll get something you don’t want! That’s not strategic at all.
In our electoral system we elect one local representative. When there are six candidates (as we have in KitCon) it is possible that each could receive about 1/6 of the votes, yet a candidate with only one vote more than the others would be elected. This means that it is possible some 5/6 of the voters do not get the representation they vote for, and none of those votes have gone towards strengthening the party or bringing more members to the legislature. This can be fixed with proportional representation in a multi-member riding, where every vote cast contributes equally and results in someone representing you. The Greens will work for fair representation and electoral reform.
The Green Party has a policy of “No whipped votes”. Other parties require their members to vote according to party policy; if their members don’t, they risk being removed from the party. This means those members can’t represent you in the legislature, they can only tell you what their party says. But as a Green, I have an obligation to listen to the constituents and represent your views, even when that’s contrary to party policy. I’ve done exactly that in support of High Performance Rail instead of High Speed Rail.
The ballot doesn’t have an option to choose a minority government. It only lets you choose one of the local candidates, so I urge you to consider the candidates themselves. If you missed the debates, you can view one online:
Vote for the candidate who will best represent your views in the legislature. That candidate may not become the MPP, but you’ll know you’ve made the best choice for you, your business, and your family.
(By the way, any party that gets 2% of the overall vote receives government support, about $2.50 per vote. If all other considerations are equal, you can support a party financially with your vote. But I wouldn’t put that ahead of all the other issues)
At the InterCityRail Town Hall meeting on Wednesday, 18 April 2018 I learned about the difference between High Speed Rail and High Performance Rail. Although I entered the meeting as a proponent of High Speed Rail (using a dedicated rail corridor), I became convinced that High Performance Rail (slightly slower than HSR, using the existing rail corridor) is a better option for the citizens of South Western Ontario.
Q: Is there room for some level of compromise? One of the big concerns for the Green Party of Ontario is the reduction of fossil fuels, and that generally means the electrification of all manner of transit systems: Buses, cars, and rail as well. Is there still room in your plan for electrified High Performance Rail, rather than relying entirely on diesel and fossil fuels?
A: I think at this point there is room for any of the options. From our perspective, if we’re going to invest this kind of money to improve the transportation system within South Western Ontario we should be looking at all the options, and essentially expand the EA process to do just that, so that we have investigated High Performance Rail that is electrified, perhaps High Performance Rail that’s diesel powered, and perhaps High Performance Rail that’s hydrogen powered, or enhanced VIA, or any of the… There’s many options that could be considered, and High Speed Rail is very restrictive in this situation.
Congratulations on your candidacy. We are writing today to let you know about an urgent issue facing Ontario consumers who depend on accessing affordable eyewear online as a modern convenience and also to meet our family budgets. Buying glasses and contacts online is something Ontarians deserve but is under threat due to protectionist court action. Other provinces, such as B.C. have made the necessary regulatory changes to protect those who have come to depend on accessing glasses and contacts online and we are looking for Ontario to do the same. Please respond to the following questions. We will be publishing your position on our website and social channels:
1. Will you stand up to keep affordable eyewear available for Ontario residents?
2. Will you oppose restrictions on Ontario residents’ choice to purchase eyewear online, while the rest of Canada has the freedom to choose?
3. Do you oppose the implications of the court ruling that threatens to suppress online e-commerce in Ontario?
1) I am definitely in favour of keeping the cost of prescription lenses affordable.
2) Online purchasing is pervasive, and definitely something in which Ontarians want to participate. People should be able to determine for themselves how they want to acquire their prescriptions.
3) I have read the CBC article you reference. I am not a lawyer, and the article does not provide enough information for me to determine the intent or consequences of the court ruling.
I had the privilege of attending an information session with Re-Vision, where I learned that the Ontario Assistive Devices Program is not meeting the needs of Ontarians who need assistive devices to help with low or no vision. This includes prescription glasses. One of the issues raised is the restriction of “authorized distributors”, which seems similar to the restriction on purchasing prescription lenses only from an optometrist or other licensed professional.
I am very much in favour of including prescription lenses in the Green Party of Ontario’s vision of universal pharmacare, in which prescription medicine, prescription lenses, and prescription hearing aids would be covered under an expanded OHIP. This will eliminate the cost of prescription lenses for all Ontarians, even when purchased from licensed professionals in Ontario.
On Tuesday, 22 May 2018 I was invited for an interview on Bollywood Mix with Yasin Dewji and Andy Nagpal.
Bob Jonkman interview for Bollywood Mix
We talked about the Green Party’s platform, including Basic Guaranteed Income, the Renewable Energy sector, High Speed Rail, wandered away from provincial issues into local transit, and had a brief discussion on supporting the arts.
We will be meeting at: Date: Friday, March 29, 2019 6:00 PM Location: 307 Queen St. S (Bread and Roses Co-op, community room) The co-op consists of two buildings. The meeting room is in the brick heritage building, right on … Continue reading →
The Green Party Electoral District Associations for Kitchener South–Hespeler and Kitchener–Conestoga will be having a joint Nomination Meeting to select their candidate for the Federal election on 21 October 2019. In order to vote for a candidate you must be … Continue reading →
The Waterloo Region Greens meet on the first Wednesday of every other month to discuss election issues, campaign strategies, upcoming events, Green Party policy, &c. Meetings are open to everyone. A meeting agenda will be sent to the WRGreens Discussion … Continue reading →