On Social Housing

I received a question on Social Housing today:

Hi Bob, I am just wondering what your views are on the social housing crisis for newcomers to Canada in the Kitchener area? Hope you can answer before voting day.

Hi! There is a social housing crisis not just for newcomers to Canada, but for anyone of low income, affected by disability, or in a social situation that removes them from access to housing.

The situation for refugees has responsibility divided among all three levels of government — the Ministry for Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship at the federal level, the Ontario Ministry of Housing and Ministry of Municipal Affairs, and finally the municipalities who are tasked with setting the by-laws and issuing the building permits for housing.

Unlock Housing

The Green Party has been advocating for a comprehensive Housing Strategy at both the federal and provicial levels. The Green Party of Ontario’s platform on housing is to ensure that 20% of all new development is affordable housing. But rather than burdening municipalities with the costs, funding for shelters, social, co-op and supportive housing will come from the developers, and an increase in the housing speculation tax. In addition, we would relax municipal by-laws (through the Ontario Municipal Act) to permit “tiny homes”, laneway homes, and basement apartments, which will increase the supply of housing almost immediately.

Please have a look at the Green Party of Ontario’s platform, and let me know if you have any other questions!


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Advance Polls in Kitchener–Conestoga (Ontario Election 2018)

Voting Day is Thursday, 7 June 2018, but if you’re busy or out-of-town you can vote now at one of the advance polls. Here are the locations as listed on the Elections Ontario website.

Kitchener — Conestoga Elections Ontario

Dates: Saturday, 26 May to Wednesday 30 May 2018
Time: 10:00am to 8:00pm

Breslau Community Centre

Location is accessible
100 Andover Drive Map
Breslau, N0B 1M0

Elmira Lion’s Club

Location may have an accessibility barrier
40 South Street West Map
Elmira, N3B 1K8

Forest Heights Community Centre

Location is accessible
1700 Queen’s Boulevard Map
Kitchener, N2N 3L6

Wilmot Recreation Complex

Location is accessible
1291 Nafziger Road Map
Baden, N3A 0C4

You can also vote at the Returning Office:

Kitchener—Conestoga Returning Office

Location is accessible
1187 Fischer Hallman Road Map
Kitchener, N2E 4H9
Phone number is (866) 850-8977
You can vote from Thursday, 10 May to Wednesday, 6 June 2018
Monday to Saturday: 10 AM – 8 PM
Sunday May 13, May 20, June 3: 12 PM – 5 PM
Sunday May 27: 10 AM – 8 PM

In-person voting at returning offices ends on June 6 at 6 P.M. ET

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Infiltrate The Debate: 6pm Sun 27 May 2018 at the @WR_Greens Campaign Office

Mike Schreiner on stage
Hi everyone! Want to see Mike Schreiner participate in the Leaders Debate tomorrow night? Join the Waterloo Region Greens at the Campaign Office for a watching party!

Despite our best efforts, the unelected and unaccountable media consortium has continued with their decision to exclude the Greens from the televised Leaders Debates.

Even though we are silenced, we must stay strong. We will keep pushing to get our Green voices heard, in all the ways we can.

On Sunday, Mike Schreiner will ‘infiltrate the debate’ by hosting a viewing party and doing a live commentary of the televised Leaders Debate in his home riding of Guelph. The event will be livestreamed, so we hope you can all tune in to hear the real solutions Greens want to provide to the province.

Join us at the WR Greens campaign office, perhaps bring a snack to share, and we’ll watch the Facebook live stream.

When: Sunday, May 27, 6:00pm – 8:00pm
Where: WR Greens Campaign Office, 6 Duke Street East, Kitchener Map
Facebook Live: Mike Schreiner: I’ll be doing a live commentary of the (unfair) Leaders Debate.

Infiltrate the Debate | Green Party of Ontario

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Who wants a lawn sign?

Bob Jonkman puts up an election sign

Bob Jonkman puts up an election sign

The Kitchener–Conestoga Sign Team has been busy: The road signs are mostly up!

There are still some lawn signs left — if you’d like to get one, let us know:

We’ll deliver it to you in a day or two, and pick it up after the election.


Google Map showing locations of election signs in Kitchener--Conestoga

Roadside Election signs in Kitchener–Conestoga

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CKMS 102.7 Radio Waterloo “Vote For Me 6-7-18” show with @DavidWeberGreen and @BobJonkmanGPC

This morning I appeared on the CKMS 102.7 Radio Waterloo show “Vote For Me 6-7-18” with David Weber, Green Party candidate for Kitchener South — Hespeler.

YouTube: David Weber and Bob Jonkman on CKMS 102.7 Radio Waterloo

We chat about electoral reform, health care, affordable housing, hidden sources of revenue, carbon fee and dividend, and other issues on the Green Party of Ontario platform.

Many thanks to our host Kevin Hiebert, who also hosts My Audio Face on Friday afternoons.

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High Speed Rail in South-Western Ontario

Updated 4 June 2018, including some corrections from InterCityRail technical experts — Thank you!

One of the first events I attended as the Green Party of Ontario candidate for Kitchener–Conestoga was the InterCityRail Town Hall meeting on High Speed Rail, held Wednesday, 18 April 2018.

Map showing High Speed Rail corridor from Windsor, through Chatham, London, Kitchener, Guelph, Malton, and Union Station in Toronto

Proposed Future Southwestern Ontario Passenger Rail Network

Kitchener–Conestoga rural residents are worried about the High Speed right-of-way cutting their farms in two, and since HSR cannot have at-grade crossings (because HSR is 200+ 177+ km/h speeds), farmers are concerned that they’ll have to detour tens of kilometres out of their way to access their farmlands — InterCityRail says only four grade-separated crossings are planned required to be kept open between Kitchener and London. It is not known how many will eventually be kept open.

There would be only seven stops: Starting in Windsor, through Chatham, London, Kitchener, Guelph, Malton, and ending at Union Station in Toronto. None of the smaller communities such as St. Mary’s or Stratford would have service. Not even the large community of Brampton is slated for a High Speed Rail station. If the experience of expanding GO Train service around 2012 is anything to go by, VIA Rail will cut its service to those communities once High Speed Rail is established. Phase One would connect Toronto with Kitchener-Waterloo and London with operations starting 2025, while Phase Two would extend the route to Windsor Ref1. Phase Two is not of immediate concern.

An alternative, High Performance Rail (HPR) has been proposed that would allow slightly slower trains (150-180 175 km/h) to run on the existing right-of-way and still have grade-level crossings, but the Minister of Transporation, Kathryn McGarry (Lib), has flat-out said the government will not consider anything in their EPA study except a new High Speed Rail corridor. And the Ontario Federation of Agriculture that represents the farmers directly affected by this have not been consulted, and do not have a voice in the decision making.

Other jurisdictions are jumping on the High Speed Rail bandwagon too. 570AM news reports that Waterloo is pushing for High Speed Rail with the intention of turning South-Western Ontario into one continuous city of 6 million people…

I was a fan of High Speed Rail until attending the Town Hall meeting, which was educational in informing me about High Performance Rail and the issues farmers face with HSR. The Green Party’s Vision Planet document says: “Prioritize low-cost high-performance rail in the short-term as the province plans long-term for higher-cost, high-speed rail projects.” But as the representative for Kitchener–Conestoga I will advocate that High Performance Rail should be the ultimate goal, the better to keep farms together, preserve farmland, protect wildlife, and provide better rail service to smaller communities.

Actually, it’s more than Kitchener–Conestoga residents who are concerned, also Oxford and Perth–Wellington residents are affected, and more. Hopefully we’ll have Green Party Members in those ridings soon!

The image is from the Ontario government report: High Speed Rail in Ontario: Special Advisor’s Final Report

Reference 1: High Speed Rail in Ontario — Special Advisor for High Speed Rail: Final Report pg. iv
http://www.mto.gov.on.ca/english/publications/high-speed-rail-in-ontario-final-report/pdfs/high-speed-rail-in-ontario-final-report.pdf (2.3 MBytes)

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Speaking at THEMUSEUM’s Cultural Exchange 6.0

Last week I was invited to participate in THEMUSEUM‘s Cultural Exchange 6.0 — Every election THEMUSEUM brings together candidates and people from Waterloo Region’s culture and arts community to discuss the importance of arts and culture.

The candidates move from table to table for discussion, punctuated by each candidate speaking to everyone about their party’s platform. I spoke of learning music for mental health, and the importance of music, art and culture in all sectors of society.

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WRGreens Campaign Office Opening Party!

The office isn’t quite ready yet, but the WRGreens are holding a party anyway!

Please join me, the candidates from the other Waterloo Region ridings, the volunteer office staff, supporters, friends and family as we celebrate the opening of our campaign office.

Map to 2018 WRGreens Campaign Office

What: WRGreens Campaign Office Opening Party!
When: Sunday, 13 May 2018 from 7:00pm to 9:00pm
Where: 6 Duke Street East, Kitchener, Ontario Map

There will be pizza and snacks; if you can, bring something to share!

The office is not fully furnished, so you may want to bring a lawn chair. And if you have some spare office furnishings, loans and donations are gratefully appreciated. The WRGreens blog has a list of needed items: WRGreens 2018 Campaign Office: OPEN HOUSE

Duke Food Block, Kitchener, Ontario

See you tonight!

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The Kitchener — Conestoga Campaign Has Begun!

Hello Kitchener–Conestoga! The campaign period for the 2018 Ontario provincial election has begun, and things are busy already! If you’d like to volunteer to help out with setting up our new campaign office, putting up roadside signs, or canvassing door-to-door you can sign up on the GPO web site or send an e-mail to the WRGreens Volunteer Coordinators at volunteer@wrgreens.ca

Green Party of Ontario | Let's Make History

I’ll be at the WRGreens campaign office at 6 Duke Street East in Kitchener Map on Thursday morning to drop off some stuff: Whiteboard, wall calendar, two tables with tablecloths, mops and pails. I may pick up some dishsoap and vinegar, my universal eco-cleaning agents of choice.

Then going to the printer to pick up the KitCon signs (they weren’t ready Wednesday), and back to the office to drop them off.

I’ll be away for the afternoon, but others will be there all day long setting up.

On Thursday evening (4:00pm to 6:30pm) is the Together In Education event at Conestoga Place, 110 Manitou Drive, Kitchener. Map

On the way back home we’ll stop by the campaign office again to pick up some signs and distribute them between Breslau and Elmira (the east side of the riding)

On Friday I’ll go back to the printer to pick up the remaining KitCon signs, put some up in the south-west section of the riding (Wilmot, Kitchener), then return to the campaign office to help clean up and set up the office. Late afternoon putting up the remainder of the signs in the north part of the riding (Woolwich), then some canvassing in Elmira.

Drop by the office if you have some free time! We’ll hand you a paint brush (green paint, of course) so you’ll feel right at home.


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Bob Jonkman is quoted by 570AM News on the removal of Michael Harris, the incumbent PC MPP.

Remaining candidates in Kitchener-Conestoga don’t think they’re at an advantage to win the riding

Remaining candidates in Kitchener-Conestoga don’t think they’re at an advantage to win the riding

Candidates vying for the Kitchener-Conestoga seat at Queen’s Park say they were caught off-guard by the allegations brought forward by a former intern against Michael Harris.

But at least two of Harris’ challengers say they don’t think the scandal puts them at an advantage.


Green Party candidate Bob Jonkman says he believes it’ll be a fair fight between all the parties.

“This is an issue that affects all parties, and so I don’t think it’s going to affect any one party more than any other, ” says Jonkman. “Really any member of any other party could be in the same situation as well.”

Harris has been the MPP for Kitchener-Conestoga since 2011, but prior to that, the riding was held by the Liberals. Gowing doesn’t think Harris being removed from the Tory caucus will impact his party’s bid to turn the riding red again.

But it could be seen as a blessing in disguise, now that the candidates no longer face the uphill battle of trying to unseat a two-time incumbent. Both Gowing and Jonkman say they’ve considered how Harris’ departure bodes for their own chances at winning the riding.


“I think that not having an experienced candidate on the slate will actually equalize things much more for the remaining candidates,” Jonkman says.

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