Author: Bob Jonkman, Green Party Candidate for Kitchener-Conestoga (page 1 of 3)

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.

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.

–Bob.

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.

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.

–Bob.

See other posts tagged “strategic voting”

Advance Poll Locations in Kitchener–Conestoga

What’s next weekend? Yes, it’s Thanksgiving, but it’s also Advance Polling Days from Friday, 9 October to Monday, 12 October 2015!

The (un)Fair Elections Act has introduced more stringent requirements for ID at the polling stations. I expect that on election day (Monday, 19 October 2015!) it will take longer to process voter registrations. You can avoid the lineups by voting in the Advance Polls.

Make sure you have the ID required to vote: One piece of government ID with your picture, name and address; or two pieces of ID with your name, and at least one with an address; or show two pieces of ID with your name, take an oath, and have someone already registered attest to your identity.

Remember that thanks to the (un)Fair Elections Act your voter registration card is no longer accepted as ID, and you can no longer have a friend or family member vouch for your identity. The list of acceptable ID is on the Elections Canada site at ID to vote.

Advance Polling Locations

If you’re not sure where your polling station is, check the Elections Canada site Voter Information Service – Where do I vote?

Advance Poll Number 600 Map

Slovenian Cultural Association Sava Club
50 Schiefele Place
Breslau, Ontario
N0B 1M0

Advance Poll Number 601 Map

Bloomingdale Recreation Club
1031 Snyders Flats Road
Bloomingdale, Ontario
N0B 1K0

Advance Poll Number 602 Map

Gale Presbyterian Church
10 Barnswallow Drive
Elmira, Ontario
N3B 0A8

Advance Poll Number 603 Map

Royal Canadian Legion Branch 469
11 First Street East
Elmira, Ontario
N3B 2E3

Advance Poll Number 604 Map

Calvary United Church
48 Hawkesville Road
St. Jacobs, Ontario
N0B 2N0

Advance Poll Number 605 Map

St. Clements Community Centre
1 Green Street
St. Clements, Ontario
N0B 2M0

Advance Poll Number 606 Map

Wellesley Community Centre
1000 Mapleleaf Street
Wellesley, Ontario
N0B 2T0

Advance Poll Number 607 Map

Wilmot Recreation Centre
1291 Nafziger Road
Baden, Ontario
N3A 1A1

Advance Poll Number 608 Map

New Hamburg Arena & Community Centre
251 Jacob Street
New Hamburg, Ontario
N3A 1C6

Advance Poll Number 609 Map

Stonecroft Recreation Centre
156 Stonecroft Way
New Hamburg, Ontario
N3A 4R3

Advance Poll Number 610 Map

St. Agatha Community Centre
205 Erb’s Road East
St. Agatha, Ontario
N0B 2L0

Advance Poll Number 611 Map

Resurrection Catholic Secondary School
455 University Avenue West
Kitchener, Ontario
N2N 3B9

Advance Poll Number 612 Map

Forest Heights Community Centre
1700 Queen’s Boulevard
Kitchener, Ontario
N2N 3L6

Advance Poll Number 613 Map

Highview Community Church
295 Highview Drive
Kitchener, Ontario
N2N 2K7

Advance Poll Number 614 Map

St. John the Baptist Romanian Cultural Centre
2150 Bleams Road
Kitchener, Ontario
N2E 4K5

Advance Poll Number 615 Map

Chartwell Westmount Retirement Home
190 David Bergey Drive
Kitchener, Ontario
N2E 3Y4

Advance Poll Number 616 Map

St. John the Baptist Romanian Cultural Centre
2150 Bleams Road
Kitchener, Ontario
N2E 4K5

This list is provided only as a service; for up-to-date Advanced Polling Station locations check the Elections Canada site Voter Information Service – Where do I vote?

Unequal Wealth Distribution

One of several questions from Jesse Bauman, editor of The Community Edition:

Wealth is very unequally distributed in Canada. According to Statistics Canada, the average net worth of the top 20 per cent of families (sorted by income group) rose by an average of 80 per cent between 1999 and 2012. The bottom 20 per cent experienced a 38 per cent increase. Do you think this is a problem? And if so, what would you do about it?

Wealth distribution and income inequality are both problems in Canada, especially for those who have neither sufficient wealth nor income. The Green Party will implement a Guaranteed Livable Income so that every Canadian has the means to survive without requiring welfare or food banks. A person with food security is healthier and more productive, so that there is a reduced burden on health care services and other support services. At the other end of the spectrum there are people with large incomes who pay disproportionally low taxes. The Green Party would remove many of the boutique tax credits and close tax loopholes so that high income earners pay a fair share of tax. Between the reduced costs of social services and the increased tax revenues the GLI is an affordable way to reduce income inequality for all Canadians.

I’m looking forward to seeing the responses from all the candidates in
The Community Edition.

I vote CBC!

CBC Logo

CBC Logo

I’ve received several letters from constituents who want funding restored to the CBC:

Bob Jonkman
Kitchener–Conestoga
Green Party

Like most Canadians, I value public broadcasting. Yet the current government has systematically attacked the CBC. After promising not to do so, the government cut CBC funding, stacked the CBC Board with Conservative Party donors, and grabbed new powers to undermine its independence. CBC has announced major cuts and more are expected.

If you are elected, will you champion a strong CBC and work to undo the damage done to CBC’s funding and independence from government interference? This is a voting issue for me. Please get back to me before October 19th.

Yours sincerely…

Thank you for your concern about CBC funding.

I’m a big fan of the CBC, and I believe that a strong, independent national broadcaster is an important part of our cultural makeup.

Happily, the Green Party agrees, and has promised to restore funding to the CBC, as well as reverse other decisions that have adversely affected the CBC’s ability to serve as an independent voice for Canadians. You can view the full statement in the Vision Green document Arts and culture: Beauty and integrity.

Thank you for your letter, and thank you for supporting the CBC!

–Bob.

I Support Digital Freedom

I’ve received many e-mail messages from people writing through OpenMedia’s web site asking me to support Digital Freedom, more than on any other issue. I’d send a reply to everyone, but all the messages came in with the same address (contact@openmedia.org), so I’m using this blog post to state my position. Here is the message I received:

Dear Candidate, As a voter in your riding, I am asking you to take a stand for a free and open Internet. I believe that every Canadian:

  • deserves to use the Internet without fear of being spied on by their own government.
  • deserves affordable access to world-class, high-speed Internet service.
  • deserves to be able to express themselves freely online.

On October 19, I will be voting for a candidate committed to these goals. Right now you have a unique opportunity to let your constituents know where you stand.

I’m calling on you to become a pro-Internet candidate, by making the following declaration:

As a pro-Internet candidate, I care about affordable access, free expression, and a surveillance-free Internet. I’m inspired by the crowdsourced vision set out in OpenMedia’s plan, Canada’s Digital Future, and I commit to advancing policies that address Canada’s digital deficit. Should I be elected, I commit to making digital policy a priority.

Over 250,000 Canadians worked together to crowdsource OpenMedia’s election platform, which you can read at https://OurDigitalFuture.ca/Platform OpenMedia will soon be publishing a report card, grading each party on how committed they are to putting these crowdsourced proposals into law. I urge you to make sure your party encourages all its candidates to endorse this pro-Internet statement.

Now that the positive pro-Internet alternative exists, we need politicians to commit to implementing it. Please declare yourself a pro-Internet candidate by visiting https://OurDigitalFuture.ca/Candidates#signup today. If you’ve already made this declaration then thank you! Please take this message as an indication of how much voters in your riding care about the future of Canada’s Internet.

OpenMedia will keep me informed as to your stance.

Thanks for listening,

Your Constituent.

I have a very strong position on a free and open Internet. Before I became a member of the Green Party I helped found the Pirate Party of Canada, and was its Executive Director at the time the PPCA qualified as a registered political party with Elections Canada.

Both the Pirate Party and the Green Party want a reduction (or elimination) of the spying on Canadian citizens by Canadian surveillance agencies (or their foreign counterparts in Five Eyes). We champion for Net Neutrality, where the carriers treat all content equally, and are prohibited from throttling their competitors’ content.

We want an end to the arbitrary enforcement of copyright, and especially the fraudulent accusations from Big Media about copyrights that have expired, never existed, or are actually owned by the people who are distributing their own music and art. That’s so common there’s even a word for it: copyfraud.

ISPs need to be neutral in delivering content. They should in no way be held responsible for filtering infringing material (violating copyright is an infringement of a government-granted monopoly, there’s no theft, acquisition of goods, or loss of property).

I’ve been involved in community organizations to work on OpenData and FreeSoftware (software that respects your freedom). In fact, on 19 September I did a presentation for Software Freedom Day in Toronto on achieving E-mail Privacy Using Free Software.

In fact, as a computer consultant my entire livelihood depends on a Free and Open Internet. So yes, you can be assured of my support for this initiative.

By the way, did you know that Green Party leader Elizabeth May is the first party leader to sign the OpenMedia declaration? And it looks like the list of candidates endorsing digital freedom is dominated by the Green Party! I find myself in good company!

–Bob.

My Interview on the CBC

The candidates in Kitchener–Conestoga were invited to a panel discussion at the local CBC station in downtown Kitchener today. We were all crowded into the small studio — Amanda Grant thinks it may have been the cosiest setup in the station’s history!

In the CBC-KW 89.1FM studio

In the CBC-KW 89.1FM studio

You can hear the interview on the CBC news story Meet your Kitchener Conestoga candidates – Kitchener-Waterloo.

Promoting Participation in the Election

Bob and his sign

Bob and his sign

I received a call from a gentleman last week, asking for a sign. Happy to oblige! When I got there, I saw that he already had three signs for the other candidates on his lawn.

He told me that his purpose was not to advertise his political affiliation, but to promote awareness of the election and the candidates’ names. And he also complimented my sign because it is the only one to recognize Kitchener–Conestoga with the picture of the Kissing Bridge!

Thank you, sir, for encouraging others to become politically engaged!

You can request a sign from the Green Party website or make a donation to my campaign.

Bob puts up a sign beside others

Bob puts up a sign beside others

Bob and the other signs

Bob and the other signs

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