2019 Brantford—Brant Debates

Citizens have a big decision to make in this election. Do we want to keep the status quo? Or do we want change?

In 2015, a lot of citizens wanted change.  And so, as often happens, we replaced a Conservative false majority (39%) government for a Liberal false majority (39%) government.

But it turned out not to be so very different after all.

To make good decisions, voters need information. We need to know who and what we are voting for.

Brantford—Brant voters have a wide field of candidates from which to choose.  To my mind one of the best ways for voters to get a sense of the candidates and the parties they represent is by hearing directly from them.  Meeting candidates in person when they knock on your door is lovely, but in a riding with more than 100,000 voters, no candidate could possibly visit every household in a year, much less in an election campaign.

2019 Brantford-Brant Election Debates

Election Debates may even be better, because voters get a chance to compare before they decide.  When both Liberal and Conservative candidates declined to attend what would have been the 1st debate of the campaign, I was disappointed to learn the Paris Chamber of Commerce chose to cancel it instead.

And so the televised Rogers Local Campaign debate became our first 2019 All Candidates Debate.  It was televised on Rogers Cable, but if you missed it, you can watch it online here:

YouTube: Brantford-Brant Debate

These are the other two All Candidate Debates scheduled for the last few weeks of the campaign:

Women Inspiring Women, Women’s Institute Branch

Wednesday, 9 October 2019
7:00 pm – 8:30 pm
Bethel Community Hall
Bethel Road, Paris ON

All Candidates Debate, University Women’s Club

Tuesday, 15 October 2019
7:00 pm – 9:00 pm
North Park Collegiate Vocational School
280 N Park St, Brantford, ON N3R 4L1

Unlike the televised debates, these debates will be held before a live audience, so you will have the opportunity to hear us in person, and perhaps chat with us before or after.

Making Informed Choices

Naturally I believe I would be the your best choice of Member of Parliament.  Like all the other Brantford—Brant candidates, I wouldn’t be running if I didn’t.  But the choice is yours.  I hope you take the time to look us all over, and make sure to vote for the person who will best represent you..

Here in Brantford—Brant, we vote for our local candidate. The MP we elect will represent us here on the ground: Their office will help us out when we need help navigating federal government services available.

But that is only part of what we elect our Member of Parliament to do. The main reason we go through the expensive time consuming election process is to choose the candidate who will best represent our interests in Parliament. The most important work MPs do is voting on the laws and policies the federal government makes.

So we’re not just voting for the candidate, we’re voting for the party they represent. Political parties have platforms that tell us what policies they would enact if elected.  Party leaders go across Canada explaining their plans, as well as publishing them on their website.

When we cast a vote for our local candidate, we are also casting a vote for their party platform.

Danielle Takacs (Liberal), Bob Jonkman (Green), Phil McColeman (Conservative) & Dave Wrobel (PPC)

Rogers Local Campaign Political Parties

This is where you’ll find the party platforms of the political parties invited to participate in the 2019 Rogers Debate.

Liberal Party of Canada: https://2019.liberal.ca/our-platform/
Green Party of Canada: https://www.greenparty.ca/en/platform
Conservative Party of Canada https://www.conservative.ca/
People’s Party of Canada https://www.peoplespartyofcanada.ca/platform
New Democratic Party https://www.ndp.ca/commitments

In this election, the parties have had the option of submitting their budget materials to the Parliamentary Budget Office to determine whether or not the party’s costed budgets are likely to cost what the parties say they will.

The Conservative Party has taken a page from the Doug Ford playbook by not releasing an actual platform, much less a budget (or even asking for anything to be vetted by the PBO at all).  Instead they are making ad hoc announcements on the fly, expecting voters to trust them with a blank cheque.  Curiously, the Liberals asked only for independent review of ‘big ticket’ budget items and the NDP only 4.  The Green Party budget submission was by far the most comprehensive.

See for yourself which budget items have been independently corroborated for all of the parties.

2019 Brantford—Brant Candidates

Conservatives: Phil McColeman (Incumbent)
MP website http://www.philmccolemanmp.ca/
Liberals: Danielle Takacs
Candidate website: https://danielletakacs.liberal.ca/
NDP: Sabrina Sawyer
Candidate website:  https://sabrinasawyer.ndp.ca/
Green: Bob Jonkman
Candidate website: https://bobjonkman.ca/
Libertarian: Rob Ferguson
Withdrawn due to health

I was unable to find candidate websites for all the candidates, so I’ve included what turned up in internet searches.

The Sarnia Observer published a piece about Brantford—Brant’s other Candidates:

People’s Party of Canada: Dave Wrobel
website: https://www.peoplespartyofcanada.ca/
reddit: https://www.reddit.com/r/brantford/comments/c9g2wd/dave_wrobel_ppc_for_brantfordbrantcounty/

Veteran’s Coalition Party: Jeffrey Gallagher

Independent: John The Engineer Turmel
CBC: The biggest loser: John Turmel is making his 99th try for office this fall https://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/election-record-biggest-loser-1.5264087

Independent: Leslie Bory
reddit:  Leslie Bory, MP candidate in Brantford-Brant, drops the N-bomb in a complaint video https://www.reddit.com/r/brantford/comments/dbsj5f/leslie_bory_mp_candidate_in_brantfordbrant_drops/

Party Platforms and “Whipped” Votes

Something the three biggest parties have in common is “whipped” votes.  This makes the party platform even more important than the candidate in parties that “whip” votes, because when our MP votes on legislation, they are obliged to vote the way they are told to vote by the party.  Whipped votes used to be uncommon, but these days are the norm for the 3 big parties.

This means if you disagree with legislation our elected MP’s party wants to pass, s/he won’t have the choice to be able to vote the way their constituents want, they will have to vote the way the Party says.  MPs who don’t “vote the party line” run the risk of being expelled from the party.

You may recall Mr Trudeau’s promise to reform our voting system.  Despite the fact that policy was overwhelmingly adopted by the Liberal Party, and echoed by most LPC candidates in the 2015 election, when Mr Trudeau unilaterally decided to break that promise, only 2 Liberal MPs dared vote against it.

The Green Party allows its MPs to put the needs of constituents ahead of the party.  As your Green MP, I will be your representative first.  When Brantford—Brant has local issues that need to be brought to Parliament, I will do so by representing your interests when I vote on the federal legislation that will affect our lives.

It’s easy to think there is no point in voting when so often our votes don’t count, but even strategic voters can vote for what we want in this election because it will probably be a minority government.   With enough Green Party candidates in Parliament, 2019 would actually be the last election under First Past The Post, making it safe to vote for what you want in every election.


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Super Saturday with Cynthia Trentelman @CCTrentelman on 12 October 2019 at Noon

Cynthia Trentelman holds a lawn sign

Cynthia Trentelman

Cynthia Trentelman

October 12, 2019 at Noon

Super Saturday

Come join Cynthia, Bob Jonkman (Brantford-Brant) and Dan Turcotte (Don Valley East) for a fun day of sign waving, door knocking and yummy treats.

When: Saturday, October 12, 2019 @ 12:00noon
Where: Lincoln Hollow, next to the Sheridan Centre on Erin Mills Parkway & Lincoln Greenway Map
What to bring: Water bottle, warm coat, and your good cheer!

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Busy Weekend!

We started Saturday at the 7th Annual Brantford Mosque Open House.  Imam Tarek invited the federal candidates and offered us the opportunity to introduce ourselves to the community.

We also made it to Art in the Park and Scare in the Square.

The Chronicle.Lance got into our spirit of fun:

@ChronicleLance tweeted "MOB OF BOB JONKMAN CLONES on the loose. (Just kidding, folks! I'm sure he's out door knocking today.)" on a Retweet of a signwaving photo where everyone holds Bob's sign face in front of their own faces.

You can subscribe to the calendar iCal in the sidebar to keep track of where our campaign will be. Come by and say “Hi!”

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All Candidates Debate held Monday 30 September 2019

On Monday, 30 September 2019 I was at the first All Candidates Debate, hosted by the Brantford Chamber of Commerce and Rogers Television. The debate was moderated by Paul Bisanti, with Cindy Swanson and Sandra Vos on the question panel. I was joined by Liberal Danielle Takacs, Conservative Phil McColeman, and PPC’s Dave Wrobel.

Unfortunately, Sabrina Sawyer was not able to attend due to an urgent family matter, and Jeffery Gallagher of the Veteran’s Coalition Party and independents Leslie Bory and John Turmel were not invited.

The debate received a bit of media attention:

A Rogers spokesperson said the video of the debate will be available on 4 October; I’ll update this page when it’s online.

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#FridaysForFuture Canada #ClimateStrike #BrantfordBrant

PARIS Ontario
NOON – 1pm
Paris Town Hall, Paris ON

2 – 3 PM
STEAM Academy
411 Elgin Street, Brantford, Ontario

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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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