Welcome to the May Saanich-Gulf Islands Electoral District Association (SGI-EDA) Newsletter. It has been an eventful month, with the appointment of a new Executive Director of the Green Party of Canada (GPC) and Federal Council Elections – all while under restrictions due to COVID-19. We hope that you are all well and managing to stay safe.
Introducing Prateek Awasthi
We would like to extend a very warm welcome to Prateek Awasthi, to the very important position of Executive Director of the GPC. Mr. Awasthi will work closely with the party’s Federal Council to provide strategic and operational leadership, formulating goals and annual plans and directing all party operations including administration, fundraising, communications and election planning.
Mr. Awasthi was formerly Director of Policy and Advocacy with Engineers Without Borders Canada. Prior to that, he worked for a decade as a specialist on youth participation and leadership at United Nations headquarters in New York. He has a law degree from the University of Pune, India, and a Masters in Public Administration from the School of International and Public Affairs at Columbia University.
His work with the GPC began May 4, and like many others in these tumultuous times, he is working from home.
Learn more in “Excited to be Green – An Interview with Prateek Awasthi”.
Contact details are as follows:
Federal Council Election Results
The results of the Federal Council Election are in! The SGI Executive congratulates all of the candidates for working hard on behalf of the GPC, and for being willing to take that extra step in supporting the party’s goals.
The following people were elected for their region. Click here for more details and to see the results for other areas of Canada.
VP English: John Kidder
Fund Representative: Kate Storey
British Columbia Representative: Bob MacKie
Youth Representative: Liana Canton Cusmano
Youth Representative: Kiara Nazon
SGI Annual General Meeting
In normal times, we would have scheduled our Annual General Meeting of the EDA for early June. Due to COVID-19, we are unable to have an in-person meeting. The Federal Council of the Green Party of Canada has allowed EDAs to postpone their normally required AGMs due to the pandemic rules regarding gatherings of large numbers of people. At this time our constitution does not permit virtual meetings and we have requested advice from the Green Party of Canada. When we have more clarity on this issue we will let you know.
One of the most important, and exciting parts of the AGM is the election of new executive members. Even though an EDA Executive election may not be imminent, we welcome all applicants, and it’s simple. You can step forward and nominate yourself. so please do give some thought to volunteering at this time. In particular, we are under-represented by executive members from the Saanich area of the riding, so please consider joining us.
As you might expect one key member of the executive is the Financial Agent. Our esteemed FA, Sharon Forrester, will be “retiring” from the executive in exactly one year, and we are actively looking for an aspiring executive member with a finance background who can learn along with Sharon prior to taking over next year. For more information, please contact Dan at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Finally – a gentle reminder: In order to vote at the SGI-AGM you need to be a member at least 30 days prior to the election. If you wish to join, renew your membership, or are uncertain of your status, visit here:
A Note from Elizabeth
Elizabeth on her first wedding anniversary, cheering front line workers. Photo credit to her husband John Kidder.
Greetings in the pandemic!
I am so grateful to our local leadership in the Saanich-Gulf Islands Electoral District Association (EDA). You may not know how much time and effort goes into keeping our local party structure (as required under the Election Act) up and running and engaged between elections!
Saanich-Gulf Islands has the largest Green membership of any EDA in Canada! Things like this newsletter are prepared and distributed by volunteers. My “Good Sunday Morning” newsletter (you can subscribe here) is also prepared and distributed 100% by volunteers. And like everything else during the restrictions of COVID-19, the work has gone virtual and presents other challenges. Planning for events like our AGM, is one of those challenges discussed in this newsletter.
We would love to be able to gather together. For now, we are finding new ways to be together – at a distance. As Greens, we have held three national webinars with Jenica Atwin, Paul Manly and me answering questions with (in one meeting) 800 people gathered virtually.
These meetings allow the Green caucus to share a bit of the work we are doing. As a team and as individual MPs, we are working so hard. My own workload has increased. The days tend to blur together in working seven days a week, and long hours – but mostly from home. It certainly is odd, but I am so encouraged by the changes we are able to make working collaboratively.
Locally, we have held two non-partisan community zoom meetings for me to report as an MP. My constituency office staff is all working very hard, mostly from home.
The federal party is in a transition to a new council. The Greens for Council group of aligned candidates won in every slot. All of the BC candidates were part of that effort. Our own SGI executive member Bob MacKie was elected for BC; all the other candidates have committed to work together in other roles, such as working committees. Greens for Council was very innovative, using a consensus based approach in which every person running, regardless of whether they won or not, pledged to stay involved to help strengthen the Green Party. It is also a very good sign that the level of member participation in these elections was way above previous elections.
I feel very positive about our new Executive Director, Prateek Awasthi, (introduction to him also in this newsletter), and the change in direction to greater engagement with volunteers and membership. All that – and there is now a very competitive race to elect the next leader. You can learn more about the leadership race here. We are staying very active and engaged as Greens. Be sure to share the news that being a Green Party member makes a difference in shaping and building the future we want.
Good Green Reads and Actions
Are you looking for some good, green, actionable information about climate solutions?
BC activist and author Guy Dauncey has published the online resource The Practical Utopian. Informative and thought-provoking, it shares important insights into a post-carbon and post-COVID-19 economy.
In addition, Project Drawdown (available in print format as “Drawdown, Penguin Books 2017 via most book sellers) with extensive web-based information, is also an excellent review of the myriad of climate solutions. As we transition to a post-carbon economy, understanding the opportunities before us has never been more important. Project Drawdown hosts numerous speaking events; check their calendar for more details.
Prominent local author and poet Lorna Crozier was recently a guest on Good Company with Shelagh Rogers. What ensued was a wide-ranging discussion of life during COVID-19, poetry, humanity and the future, not to be missed.
This winter we developed great plans for some really interesting events this spring and summer – and then came COVID-19! We are working hard to resume our plans virtually – so stay tuned.
It has been suggested we start a meditation group for our Green Community. To be held monthly, with physical distancing in private gardens.
Everyone welcome, family, friends, experienced meditators and newbies. If interested, please reply to Shelagh at email@example.com.
Giving to SGI and the GPC
Organizations such as the EDA have one main financial goal – to build sufficient capital for the next election campaign, whenever that might take place. Many of you very kindly donate to the SGI EDA already, and for this we thank you. It’s a difficult time to ask for donations with COVID-19 ongoing, and we understand that many people are not currently in a position to consider a gift. However, if you find yourself able to consider supporting the EDA but have not yet done so, you can do so here, with our sincere gratitude. Monthly donations are wonderful in that they better allow for organizational long term planning – and spreading your gift over 12 months is easy to do online. Need help? You can email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Thank you.
GPC Leadership Race
Amazing candidates are stepping forward to be the next leader of the Green Party of Canada. Just a reminder – in order to vote in this historic leadership contest, you must be a member of the GPC by September 3rd. We strongly encourage all Green voters to become members and take part in this important event! You can learn more here.
Our next newsletter will be available mid-June. The SGI Executive wishes you good health and safety during these unusual and challenging times.
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