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-First day at the Hazelwood Community Garden 2009 Season with Jenn Hill of Ojistoh House and Dan Cole of Direct Current Renewable Energy.


Community Garden-Last day of the 2009 Hazelwood Community Garden Season with Judy and Neil Tranmer of Digital Davinci Inc and Community Worker Carrie Sinkowski. 

Every week Parliament is prorogued brings you a column about what could have, and should have been discussed in the House of Commons, but sadly was not. 

The issues discussed in this column are ones important to Canadians with a special focus on Brant Riding.

While our current Conservative MP supports prorogation, it is incredibly important to keep important issues at the forefront of discussion and debate.

People need help and a government that moves forward on issues.  Not one that shuts down because the Prime Minister feels there is too much heat on himself and his government.

Prorogation does not mean that issues Canadians face will go away.  They won’t go away for Canadians; and, they shouldn’t go away for this government.

Let’s look at this Week’s issue – Our Environment.

The world is looking for leadership on the environment.  

Canadians are looking for leadership on the environment.  

Those of us living in Brant Riding are looking for that leadership too. 

Stephen Harper and the Conservatives have sided with their big polluter friends when Canadians demanded action on the issue of climate change.

A strong international agreement coming out of Copenhagen could have meant the difference between a manageable future and dramatic environmental consequences.  Conservative leadership has time-and-time again refused to show leadership on reducing greenhouse gas emissions. For what are they waiting – for Canadians to have health problems from global warming?

Last week I wrote about how the Conservative’s prorogation had halted 17 crime bills.  There has been a pattern with the Conservative government of squashing progressive bills on issues we care about.  Crime is one – the Environment is another.

When Stephen Harper called a snap election in 2008 the New Democratic “Climate Change Accountability Act” (Bill C-311) had passed the third reading in Parliament.  Environmental leaders around the world celebrated its adoption as a world first.  The Prime Minister’s actions halted the bill in the fall of 2008.  We have gone from world leader to the bottom of the barrel on this issue DESPITE the desire of Canadian’s to commit to climate accountability.

Our local MP’s slogan has been “Strong Leadership – A Better Canada.” Yet on the issue of our environment he is noticeably silent.  Strong leadership for a better Canada and a better world would be taking a leadership role locally and on the world stage to combat climate change.  His vote in the House supports the wait-and-see approach of his party. To wait-and-see what the United States will do rather than creating a leadership role on this issue for Canadians.

The environment cannot be a wait-and-see issue.

When is the Conservative Government going to offer a made in Canada plan for dealing with the pollution Canadians produce?

The environment is not just an issue that should be looked at from a worldview, but locally as well.

During these tough economic times the Federal government could have supported infrastructure projects that supported jobs for a new green economy instead of the old oil economy that is being phased out. Brant/Brantford officials have been striving to bring those jobs to this area but the government chose not to support projects for a greener environment and a greener economy.

My work with The Brant/Brantford Community Garden Project has shown me that there is a great desire in this community to address the issue of our environment from several angles.

The project last year produced over 3,000 pounds of organic, healthy vegetables and medicines it also utilized acres of land in a respectful way that benefited our community.

As a leader on that project I saw how connected many of us from various backgrounds and affiliations are united on this issue.  Aboriginals and non-aboriginals worked the land together.  Business and municipal governments worked together for a better environment.  Unions and management staff from the same companies worked together to help the project. Agencies and concerned citizens taught others about environmental stewardship and how to use our resources responsibly. 

Community Gardens are about a lot of things.  When it comes to local environmental issues it is so important to leave things better than we found them.  Not worse!

When Jack Layton traveled across the oil sands in a recent campaign trip he pointed out an example of our government leaving the environment worse than we found it. 

Which vision do we want in our Canada?

When Mr. Layton attended Copenhagen it was to demonstrate that Stephen Harper’s voice is not the only one to represent the position of Canadians when it comes to the environment. Many Canadians don’t like the message Stephen Harper is delivering about the environment.

Which voice do you want representing you?

In Brant we are fighting to get a voice in Parliament that better represents the concerns from Brant Riding, one that listens to and understands local, national and international environmental issues.

Next month there are many opportunities to engage our community on this issue. 

1)  A non-partisan “Open Forum on the Environment

Wednesday March 24th, 2010

Location: TBA

6:30 pm – 9:30pm

Facebook page HERE


2)  Eco-Yoga-Fair

Saturday March 27th, 2010

12:30pm – 4:00pm

Location: 45 Dalkeith Drive, Unit 13, Brantford.

Webpage click HERE 


3)  Earth Hour Celebration

Saturday March 27th, 2010

8:30pm – 9:30pm

Location: Harmony Square, Brantford.

Facebook Page HERE

I look forward to attending these events along side other residents of Brant Riding to see what else the community thinks we should be doing. 

And, when the time comes, join our team to become that strong voice for our environment. Please contribute your time, energy, financial support, and most importantly – your vote to our efforts in Brant and beyond.

For a great video from the UN on Earth Hour 2010, click the Vote!Earth logo below: 


Your Federal NDP Candidate in Brant Riding,

Marc Laferriere MSW, RSW


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