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

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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Bob Jonkman is the Kitchener–Conestoga candidate for the Green Party of Ontario

I’m very happy to announce that I’ve been elected to be the Kitchener–Conestoga candidate for the Green Party of Ontario in the upcoming Ontario Provincial Election on 7 June 2018.

Bob Jonkman and David Weber

Bob Jonkman speaks at the Kitchener–Conestoga Nomination Meeting

I’d like to thank the many Green Party supporters in Kitchener–Conestoga, especially those who came out to listen to the nominees and vote in the nomination contest.

Thanks to David Weber, for encouraging me in the previous Federal election, and for being the Returning Officer for the nomination contest.

And thank you to Bryan Izzard, our host, for giving us the use of your home and providing a wonderful array of light refreshments.

I’d like to thank my very worthy co-nominee, Patrick McDonald for keeping me on my toes, and giving me some new ideas to promote in my own campaign.

And a very special thank you to my wife, Laurel Russwurm, who has given me 100% support in this adventure, and who has worked very hard to promote the Green Party of Ontario and raise our profile throughout Waterloo Region.

–Bob Jonkman.

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Kitchener–Conestoga Green Party AGM, 15 March 2018



Hello Kitchener–Conestoga Green Party members, supporters and friends!

There’s a provincial election coming in June, and the Kitchener–Conestoga Greens are starting to gear up.

Along with the other Waterloo Region Green Party riding associations, we’re having an election planning meeting this Thursday:

What: Election planning meeting
When: Thursday, 15 February 2018, 7:00pm – 9:00pm
Where: Re/Max Office
Location: 720 Westmount Rd East, Kitchener Map

Everyone is welcome to come, not only Green Party members. Bring a friend, and meet the candidates for Waterloo, Zdravko Gunjevic, and Kitchener Centre, Stacey Danckert. We’ll talk about campaign strategies for Waterloo Region, and the Green Party of Ontario’s priorities

If you’re hearing about this for the first time, my apologies for the short notice. We’re just getting started with mailouts for KitCon Green Party members, so future events will get much more advance notice.

Speaking of future events:

The Kitchener–Conestoga provincial Consituents Association and the Kitchener–Conestoga federal Electoral District Association will be having their Annual General Meeting in four weeks:

What: AGM for Kitchener–Conestoga Green Party CA and EDA
When: Thursday, 15 March 2018 from 7:00pm to 8:00pm
Where: Kennedy’s Restaurant
Location: 1750 Erb’s Road, St. Agatha, Ontario Map

We’ll elect new executive for the upcoming year. Positions to be filled are:

  • EDA Chief Executive Officer (currently Bob Jonkman)
  • EDA Financial Agent (currenty Laurel Russwurm)
  • CA President (currenty Bob Jonkman)
  • CA Chief Financial Officer (currently Laurel Russwurm)
  • Up to three Principal Officers (currently Marie Bridel, David Weber, Wiyanna Green)

The AGM is at 7:00pm, but please join us for dinner at 6:00pm, and feel free to stay and chat about politics over a beverage until closing. Have a look at Kennedy’s menu!

Everyone is welcome to attend the AGM, but only paid-up members can vote or run for the Executive. Lapsed members can renew their membership that night, but new members need to submit their membership payment by 1 March 2018.

The AGM also marks the closing day for candidate nominations for the Provincial Election. If you’d like to run, please contact Maureen Balsillie, Organizer for the Green Party of Ontario at or +1–519–400–1437

The Kitchener–Conestoga Nomination Contest will be held in early April to select our candidate for the June provincial election.

Hope to see you at a Green Party event soon!

–Bob Jonkman

Kitchener–Conestoga Green Party of Ontario
Constituents Association

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Soundbites and other videos

Laurel’s Sheridan College based multi-media skills have been getting a real workout in this campaign.  There is still much video that won’t make it online before the election, but we’ve got a few uploaded to the Bob JonkmanGPC YouTube Channel, which we’ll continue adding to as long as we can.

YouTube: #culturalexchange5 with Bob Jonkman

The latest (as of this writing) is #culturalexchange5 with Bob Jonkman. This is the three minute “my views on culture” talk I gave at  A Cultural Exchange 5.0.

Along with posting the longer debate videos, Laurel has also begun putting together soundbites,  even shorter video promos  (less than a minute) which are good for sharing.

If you support my campaign as the Green Party Candidate for Kitchener-Conestoga, and/or the Green Party generally, it would be enormously helpful if you could share on social media.  The Green Party is still very much a grass roots party; we can’t begin to compete with the Conservative Party in buying advertising, but social media can help level the playing field a little.

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7 Minutes on Proportional Representation

Fair Vote Canada Waterloo Region Chapter logoOn Saturday, 3 October 2015 the Fair Vote Canada Waterloo Region Chapter held an all-candidates meeting on Electoral Reform at Forest Heights Library. Here’s a 7 minute excerpt from that meeting in which I explain why Canada should adopt Proportional representation!

YouTube: Bob Jonkman On Proportional Representation

Fair Vote Canada has assembled a list of Candidates that support Proportional Representation.

At 17 October 2015 the Canadian parties whose policy does not support Proportional Representation include
  • Conservative Party of Canada
  • Liberal Party of Canada


The three parties actively campaigning on implementing Proportional Representation are:
  • The Green Party of Canada
  • The NDP (New Democratic Party of Canada)
  • The Pirate Party of Canada

As a matter of course, most (if not all) smaller parties support Proportional Representation because it would give them a better chance of achieving representation in Parliament.

Disclaimer: I’m also one of the Co-Chairs on the Executive Board of the Fair Vote Canada Waterloo Region Chapter.


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Carbon Fees and Dividends

Carbon cap

Yes, that’s a carbon cap!

Somebody asked:

Can anyone explain to me exactly how the fee and dividend system is better than cap and trade?

I first read about carbon cap and trade in Scientific American in the 1980s when it was still an economic theory that had yet to be put in practice. The idea is that each year the government sells or auctions off carbon credits to set a maximum amount of carbon emissions that any organization can emit. Organizations are only permitted to emit as much CO2 as the number of carbon credits they’ve purchased. If an company wants to increase its production they need to purchase additional carbon credits from another organization that hasn’t used all of theirs.

A benefit of cap and trade is the absolute limit it places on GHG emissions. This makes it easier for government to meet their carbon emission targets. Even if organizations trade or purchase carbon credits, the total amount of emission is fixed by the number of carbon credits issued. The cost of carbon credits is reflected in the price of goods produced, driving manufacturing processes to minimize GHG production, and causing consumers to avoid goods that have increased prices from carbon credits. Additionally, the price of traded carbon credits increases as demand for GHG goods increases, which should limit the demand for those GHG goods. Carbon credits become a commodity of their own, with trading in futures, derivatives, options, and other market instruments.

But the drawbacks of cap and trade are also significant. Every organization that emits GHG needs to be regulated and monitored — not just the companies that extract or sell fossil fuels, but every manufacturer, every airline, even forestry companies that reduce natural carbon sinks by cutting down trees. There are ways to circumvent the caps by purchasing goods from countries that have no emissions regulations, and carbon credit trading is a benefit only to the wealthy who can afford to dabble in the market, thus increasing income inequality even more.

But worse, when a government receives tax revenue from selling carbon credits there is no incentive to reduce the amount of carbon credits. Perversely, the incentive is to increase the amount of allowed GHG in order to increase tax revenue, lower the deficit, and “boost the economy”. We’ve certainly seen this with Canada’s current government.

In contrast, the Green Party proposes a Carbon Fee and Dividend system.

The government will collect carbon fees when GHG emitting fuels are extracted, or as they’re imported across the border. These fees are returned as dividends directly to Canadians.

Carbon fees might start at $50 per tonne of CO2 initially, increasing by $10 each year to $200/tCO2 by 2030. The costs are passed on to the consumers who use fossil fuels, but the dividends are distributed to everyone.

For industry and business, knowing there’s a set, predictable price for carbon-based fuel allows them to plan for a transition to a zero-carbon economy. As carbon fees increase it becomes increasingly profitable to invest in renewable and sustainable energy, such as the manufacture of windmills, low-head hydro-electric power, solar and geothermal energy, and all the related energy storage technologies. New, high-tech jobs in the renewable energy sector will outstrip the dwindling jobs in the extractive industries in short order.

For consumers there is an incentive to move off fossil fuels to renewable energy. All Canadians will receive the same dividend, distributed through the income tax system. People who reduce their GHG footprints, people with low incomes, and those employed in the renewable energy would benefit more — carbon fee and dividend is a means of income equalization.

Over time, as Canada moves to a carbon-free economy the fees collected will diminish. We’ll have met our carbon reduction targets, and created a vibrant sustainable energy industry. The Green Party is very optimistic that actions such as carbon fee and dividends will result in progress in Canada’s climate change obligations.

Further reading:

Carbon Hat by Anne Heathen is used under a CC BY-NC-NDCC BY-NC-ND 2.0 license.

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Strategic Voting Doesn’t Work, Redux

Bob Jonkman votes

Vote for the candidate who will best represent you

I’m going to aim one last kick at the “Strategic Voting” can. Now that there is a feel for the relative strengths of the candidates in each riding, there are people who think they can manipulate the First-Past-The-Post system to influence the outcome of the election and oust the Conservatives.

“Strategic Voting” is not very strategic. It’s a negative tactic to defeat a particular candidate; it is an insincere vote that does not reflect the true beliefs of the voter. There are two possible scenarios: Those ridings where the Conservative candidate is weak, and those riding where the Conservative candidate is strong.

Kitchener-Conestoga has a popular Conservative candidate, who won the 2011 election with a true majority of the votes. FPTP is not a factor in this case. Even with a proportional voting system, a candidate with a majority of votes will be the winner. FPTP or not, all votes for the other candidates put together cannot defeat a majority of the votes. So, in Kitchener-Conestoga, tactical negative voting will not work. You can safely vote according to your principles, and know that it will not affect the outcome. Vote for the candidate who will best represent you.

In Kitchener Centre it’s a toss-up between the NDP and the Liberals. The Conservatives don’t hold popular support in that riding, so that casting your vote for either NDP or Liberals and choosing the wrong “strategic” side just means the vote will be split. This is exactly what Strategic Voting activists fear the most. Vote for the candidate who will best represent you — which I hope is Nicholas Wendler for the Green Party, but I encourage you to vote for your principles. Any other choice just means the best you can hope for is electing a government you don’t want, and at worst handing a victory to the candidate you hope to defeat.

The Waterloo riding is another close call. Contrary to what the polls suggest, when I’ve been canvassing for Richard Walsh most people tell me they are still undecided. “Strategic Voting” means you need to know how other people will vote so that you can cast a negative vote against them, but in a largely undecided riding there’s not enough data on which to base your decision. Voting the for the candidate who will best represent you is the only strategic choice.

The strategic voting group Vote Together isn’t as effective as they hope. At a forum they held a few weeks ago they claimed to have maybe 2,000 supporters. But the Kitchener Centre voting base is around 65,000 people, so they hold only a small fraction of the votes. Their polling has been limited to small samples, land-lines only, with the usual inaccuracies that incurs. The small sample is not representative of the riding, and those people who respond may not be telling the pollsters how they really feel. The polls themselves show incredible fluctuation from one week to the next, showing that many people are still changing their minds, and may vote differently on election day.

Vote Together’s methodology is to ask their supporters for the “strategic” decision, so their own poll results aren’t even being used to determine Vote Together’s endorsement. You’ll find that Vote Together is predominantly endorsing Liberal candidates. But in Guelph they are still advocating strategic voting to oust the Conservatives, yet the Guelph Conservative candidate is not even a contender there — it’s entirely a race between the Liberal and the Green candidate, Gord Miller. Strategic voting has no role to play there, but Vote Together is endorsing the NDP. Vote Together’s “strategy” really makes no sense.

So, vote for the candidate who will best represent you. It’s the only way to ensure you’ll get the government you want.


See other posts tagged “strategic voting”

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Here’s Why

Here’s a very short (and shareable!) video to explain why I chose Green.

Watch on YouTube: Why Green?

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How to Vote

Presenting Identification

When you arrive at the poll location, present your Voter Information Card to make it easy for the Elections Canada staff to direct you to the correct polling station.

Go to your assigned poll and get the Ballot

Go to your assigned poll, present your identification and the Elections Canada staff will cross your name off the list and give you the ballot.

Because Canada uses a secret ballot, the next step is to step behind the privacy screen...

Because Canada uses a secret ballot, the next step is to step behind the privacy screen…

... where the voter marks their choice on the ballot.

… where the voter marks their choice on the ballot.

Because this is a secret ballot, the voter deposits the marked Ballot into the Ballot Box

The voter deposits the marked secret Ballot…

...into the Ballot Box!    And you're done!

…into the Ballot Box . . . and you’re done!

Bob Jonkman smiling behind voting screen

The feeling you get when you vote for what you want.

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