The Election Sign Issue

Bob puts up his first 2019 election signEvery candidate knows the importance of election signs. When people put up a candidate’s sign in their yard, they are endorsing that candidate’s campaign and signalling their support to their neighbors.

It’s not going to surprise anyone to learn Green Party candidates are extremely conscious of the plastic in election signs.

The first time I threw my hat in the electoral ring, bag signs seem like a good idea, not just because they’re more economical, but because they use far less plastic than the ubiquitous coroplast signs.

But by talking to people who had used bag signs I learned that exposure to the elements made them look pretty broken down by the end of a campaign, and worse, they’re not much good for anything beyond recycling.

Coroplast signs are much sturdier, and can be reused in future campaigns when the same candidate runs in a future election.   They can be recycled as well, but we’ve put so much stick into recycling (and are just now learning how much of it is recycling theatre), and almost no thought into reuse and repurposing, which is far better than recycling.

These signs can also be repurposed; a coat or two of latex paint transforms them into a clean slate that can be used to make a sign advertising your garage sale or to carry in a protest march.

corner of a green party coroplast sign

One reason for its sturdiness is that Coroplast is a kind of plastic modeled on corrugated cardboard.  The air channels between the front and back faces of the sign allows these signs to function as an insulating material.

My creative and talented friend Temara Brown discovered used election signs (usually available for no charge) can make an excellent replacement for expensive sheets of new coroplast available for purchase from a building centre.

Election signs can be put to work as a variety of building materials.  They formed the walls, floor and ceiling in her mini portable chicken coop (left), as well as insulating material in many other projects.

Part of the problem of reuse is getting the repurposed materials to people who could make use of it. When we lived in Brampton there was an area at the dump where people could bring half cans of paint & other reusable items, and anyone could take what ever it was they wanted or needed gratis.

Repurposed Election Signs

Some candidates have applied outside-the-box thinking to the problem.  Green Party Candidate Tom Cull in London-Fanshawe is taking sustainable election signs to a whole new level by using paper leaf bags instead of plastic.  I think this is an excellent idea, but I’m a little concerned about how they’ll fare in the torrential downpours we seem to get every time it rains.

Although we are going ahead with coroplast yard signs this year in Brantford—Brant, we’re re-covering some of my old signs with this campaign’s message, and my campaign team has also opted to give digital billboards a try.  And after election’s end, these ephemeral digital signs will disappear without leaving behind any plastic waste.

Repurposed for building sign photos © by Temara Brown, used with permission.

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Join me for Green Drinks in Paris

Ken Burns, Bob Jonkman join Mike Schreiner for a Brantford Town Hall

Ken Burns, Bob Jonkman and Mike Schreiner

The 43rd Canadian federal Election is on!  Mr Trudeau decided to call it a little early, on the day of Mike Schreiner’s Brantford—Brant Town Hall.  The event was well attended, and turned out to be an excellent opportunity to discuss federal issues and answer questions.

The lead up to the official election period has been a busy one, and I’ve had some excellent opportunities to connect with voters.  There will be more opportunities in the weeks to come.

Green Drinks mini poster

Green Drinks is a non-partisan gathering of people from all walks of life and across the political spectrum who are interested in a Greener future. Naturally Green Party members and supporters (and candidates like me) come out.

Come out and Meet me— and perhaps other party candidates— at Green Drinks in Paris tonight.

Friday, September 13th
7:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m (or for as long as folks are around)
Midtown Kitchen & Coffee Co.
59 Grand River St N, Paris

Hope to see you there!

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Fall Fair Fun

Bob stands at the entrance to the Brant Greens Paris Fair booth. Behind him you can see people making buttons and part of the photo booth.

Brantford—Brant Green Party candidate Bob Jonkman collecting signatures on his nomination papers.

Every candidate from every party needs to get 100 verified signatures from qualified voters in their riding before Elections Canada will add their name to the ballot. This isn’t an endorsement, it tells Elections Canada the candidate is a real person, and a hundred other real people are okay with their name appearing on the ballot.

Paris hosts a real country fair, put on every year by the Paris Agricultural society.  There are information events. and many competitions.  People can enter their produce, artwork, farm animals and even their babies into competitions to see how they stack up.

Bob Jonkman at the Midway - Water Bottle Filling Station

Left: Bob checks out the midway              Right: Brant Greens Booth free water refilling station

2019 was the 161st Paris Fair.  The midway was enormous (but so were the exhibit halls).

Photography Exhibit

There was an entire photo exhibit devoted to the colour green.

Susan and Dave photograph a young subhect in the Green Screen photo booth

The Brant Greens booth at the 2019 Paris Fair was very successful.  People choose the photo they want to be part of, maybe with their favourite cartoon character or in a place they want to visit.  Then our photographers help them pose in front of the Green Screen so their image can be added to the photograph of their choice.

Button Making

Over the 5 days we estimate kids of all ages made well over a thousand buttons (we ran out!)

Bob got a chance to meet with a lot of people to discuss green issues in the lead up to the election.

And we signed up some new volunteers.

Bob visits the Liberal booth

Dropping by the Liberal booth

We were surprised to discover the Brantford-Brant Liberals still don’t have a candidate.  Ours were the only political parties at the Fair.

Michele Braniff talks to a voter

Michele Braniff chats with a Cambridge voter

Cambridge Green Party candidate Michele Braniff joined us at the Paris Fair and invited us to join her at the Cambridge Fair… and we did!  It’s always great fun.

We’re fortunate that Fall Fairs continue to thrive as an important part of Southern Ontario culture.

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Pre-Election Fun: Labor Day Weekend

Bob Jonkman packs up to leave the Firehall after the Brant Greens Volunteer Meeting.

Packing up after the first Brant Greens volunteer meeting at the Firehall. 
photo by Lin Geary

We’ve been very busy getting geared up for the 2019 Election Campaign.  We’re planning on hosting weekly “Coffee With the Candidate” events where anyone can drop by for an informal chat, ask me any questions they might have about about Green policy in general or discuss what my focus will be as your Brantford-Brant Member of Parliament.

Bob poses with the Canadian warplane Heritage Lancaster Bomber, sporting a pinup girl as nose art

Posing with the Canadian Warplane Heritage Lancaster Bomber at the Brantford Airshow.  The pinup girl nose art was painted by my aviation artist brother-in-law, Lance Russwurm.

I’ve also been attending events throughout the riding, like yesterday’s Brantford Community Charity Airshow.

You’ll be able to find me at the Paris Fair’s Tooney Thursday evening, so called because all midway rides will cost only $2 tonight.  But don’t look for me on  the midway, I’ll be in the Brant Greens booth helping with Brant Greens “Make Your Own Button” event from tonight on through the whole weekend.


2017 was my first time at the Paris Fair, and it was great fun.

We’ll also have a free water bottle filling station and a Green Screen fantasy Photo Booth where you can get for photo taken with your favorite cartoon character or whatever.

The Paris Fair runs from August 29 – September 2nd, 2019.

Hope to see you there!

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Acceptance speech at the Brant Greens Nomination Meeting, 21 May 2019

On Tuesday, 21 May 2019 the Brant Greens held a nomination meeting, and I was selected as the Green Party of Canada candidate for Brantford-Brant. Here’s the video of my acceptance speech:

YouTube: Bob Jonkman: GPC Candidate for Brantford—Brant

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The Green Party of Canada prefers a Mixed Member Proportional voting sytem

Someone asked:

I don’t understand how AV “institutionalizes strategic voting” – if one is able to rank their preferences there is never a need to “vote strategically”… you put the candidate you would prefer most as your first choice, and your second as your second choice, and so on. There is no need to vote any differently than your real preferences because your vote continues to have an impact regardless of how other people in your riding vote.

How To Vote cards
I look to Australia for an example of “institutionalized” strategic voting. Their House of Representatives is elected using Alternative Vote; during the election parties hand out “How to vote” cards to tell people how to rank their ballots to ensure their party has the best chance of winning the election by giving lower rankings to candidates in particular ridings that might win on the second or third round of counting. Ranked ballots in single member ridings just tend to weight results to a single party. Conservative voters tend to give 2nd choice to a centre-right candidate, 3rd to a centrist. Progressive voters tend to give 2nd choice to a centre-left candidate, 3rd to a centrist. Suddenly you have the centrist candidate (who got few first-ranked choices) winning on the second or third round of counting. With single-member ridings this happens again and again in each riding. Centrist parties really like Alternative Vote in Single Member Ridings. To ensure that all voters along the political spectrum get fair representation, ranked ballots need to be combined with multi-member ridings. Single Transferable Vote does this, and to a lesser extend Mixed Member Proportional. In either case, the more members that are elected in a single electoral district, the better the proportionality, but larger ridings result in less local, geographical representation. In speaking with hundreds of people at Fair Vote information tables over the last 12 years, I find that people really value local geographic representation. So Mixed Member Proportional is a good compromise between proportionality and local representation.
Mixed Member Proportional Representation ballot
The Green Party of Canada formally adopted Mixed Member Proportional as the preferred voting system in a policy meeting at the Special General Meeting in December 2016. That policy also states that if a referendum to change the voting system is held, either it should not include non-proportional systems in the question (so Mixed Member Proportional, Single Transferable Vote, maybe Dual Member Proportional, but not First Past The Post or Alternative Vote), or the referendum should be held only after at least two consecutive elections using a proportional voting system. –Bob.

Green Party of Canada Policy Resolution




Proposal Type



Be it resolved that the Green Party of Canada’s position regarding referenda on electoral reform is: That the Green Party of Canada supports conducting a referendum on electoral reform with options of proportional systems with a Gallagher index of 5 or less, as presented by the Special Parliamentary committee on Electoral Reform, but only 1) if the referendum presents only proportional voting options; or 2) after at least two consecutive elections using a proportional voting system.

Green Party of Canada Policy Resolution

Preferred Voting Model



Proposal Type



BE IT RESOLVED that the Green Party of Canada supports mixed member proportional representation as its preferred method for achieving equal and effective votes. BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Green Party of Canada will remain open to other proportional representation options with a Gallagher index of 5 or less, as presented by the Special Parliamentary committee on Electoral Reform

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Nova Vita Heels to Heal Walk 2019 Sunday!

On Sunday I’ll be participating in my first ever Nova Vita Heels to Heal Walk 2019

SUNDAY June 9th, 2019
Harmony Square, Brantford

Although this is very short notice with the event happening on Sunday, Nova Vita is an eminently worthy cause, and I’m sure any donation will be greatly appreciated.

So far only about a quarter of what was raised last year has been pledged, and I can’t but wonder how much that has to do with the deep cuts the Ford Government has made and is contemplating making.

If you can help, you can make a donation here:

I don’t have a team for this event I do have a team, the Brant Greens, so I’ll welcome any company along the way. The more people joining in, the stronger the message of nonviolence and peace. Participants don’t even have to make a donation, you can register at no charge and Nova Vita will even provide the red heels!

This is a family friendly event, and any funds raised will be helping out families with some very great needs. Hope to see you there!

Donations and pledges continue to be accepted until Sunday, 30 June 2019, so you can still help out Nova Vita for a few weeks after the walk!

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Bob Jonkman is the Brantford–Brant Green Party Candidate

Hi. My name is Bob Jonkman, and I’m the Green Party candidate for Brantford–Brant.

Bob Jonkman at the podium giving a speech

Bob Jonkman

Today I had the privilege of speaking those words for the first time. I was at the Brant Greens AGM, where I was selected as the Green Party of Canada candidate for the riding of Brantford–Brant. After the business portion of the meeting a panel discussion with other candidates from WR Greens was held, and I could introduce myself as the candidate.

I’m very grateful to the Brantford-Brant EDA for inviting me to run in Brantford-Brant. I’d like to thank Ingrid Douglas, Susan Norman, Nora Fueten, Ken Burns, Dave Legere, Lin Geary, and Don Douglas for all the support and encouragement they’ve given me. It’s great to start an election campaign with such a strong team behind me!


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Global Climate Strike March 15!

YouTube: Fridays For Future – March 1st March

The School Climate Strike movement inspired by 15 year old Greta Thunberg is going global on Friday March 15th, 2019.  Kids of all ages are encouraged to come make some noise!

In Waterloo Region the event will again begin outside Waterloo City Hall at 12:30pm.

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Congratulations to Mike Morrice and Kirsten Wright!

There was a packed house for the Kitchener Centre and Waterloo Green Party nomination contest, held at Descendants Brewery on Wednesday, 6 March 2019.

Bob Jonkman, Kirsten Wright, Ian Graham, Mike Morrice

Bob Jonkman, Kirsten Wright, Ian Graham, Mike Morrice

Congratulations to Mike Morrice for winning the Kitchener Centre nomination!

Mike Morrice

Mike Morrice

…and to Kirsten Wright for winning the Waterloo nomination!

Kirsten Wright

Kirsten Wright

And many thanks to all those from the Waterloo Region Greens who helped put on this event, the largest Green Party nomination contest in Waterloo Region history!

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