SGI Greens October 2021 Newsletter

Welcome to the SGI Greens October 2021 newsletter.

Welcome back to the post-election Saanich-Gulf Islands Electoral District Association (EDA) Newsletter.   In this edition you will find a note from Elizabeth, introduction to our new SGI website, fall gardening information and more.  Read on….

What a whirlwind election!  Who knew that so many events could be squeezed into such a short election campaign- 10+ all candidates meetings, over 3000 phone calls, a couple dozen pop up meet-and-greets, almost 30 sign waves, and on and on…… including notes from young fans!


The SGI EDA sincerely appreciates the support of all of the amazing volunteers who helped in a myriad of ways, and thanks to the voters in SGI who collectively re-elected Elizabeth!  As we wrap up this election’s business we are looking ahead to another minority government with all of its advantages and uncertainties.  We truly hope that this new government will find a productive way forward through collaborative work with the other parties. That said, we will need to keep vigilant and election ready, hoping not to have to jump into action any time soon.  For now we will move forward with planning an Annual General Meeting in the New Year, and hope that SGI members stay engaged and perhaps decide to join the executive.


Notes from Elizabeth

Dear all.

The expectations for COP26 are being lowered, just when we need them to be heightened.

The high level session – featuring Queen Elizabeth II, the British PM, the US President and – at this point – lacking any confirmation from Canada, will run November 1-2.  I hope Trudeau will attend, but only if he is prepared to do the right thing and announce that Canada is going to be serious about the Climate Emergency.  We must cancel the TMX pipeline, ban fracking and cancel all fossil fuel subsidies… and that is just the beginning.

How it is that we can stand on such a perilous precipice and the Canadian media and major political parties seem to think we have all the time in the world to me is inexplicable.  Only monsters could ignore the deepening emergency – yet I do not think the decision makers are monstrous.  Deluded? Distracted? Uninformed?

I always remember the words of one of my heroes, Dr. Ursula Franklin who once said, “I used to think politicians were well-intentioned, but ill-informed. But increasingly I have come to the conclusion that they are well-informed, but ill-intentioned.”

Whatever the answer. The real solution lies in louder and more sustained citizen pressure.  Please help by emailing and phoning and stirring things up on social media. 613-992-4211 (phone) email –

Let us hold out hope that, despite the odds, Canada emerges as a COP26 hero.

Our SGI EDA team has been working hard, several of them for many years and if you live in SGI I would be so grateful if you consider putting your name forward to sit on the board.  All executive boards need a steady influx of new people, ideas, and energy in order to optimize their productivity.



SGI Annual General Meeting


2021 has certainly been a challenging year and this is especially true for trying to schedule events. The SGI EDA executive had scheduled an AGM for September 12 but that was postponed when we learned in August that Canada would go to the polls.

With the election over we have rescheduled the AGM for January 22, 2022 from 2 to 4 pm – please save the date!

The ever evolving Covid-19 situation makes it difficult for us to say at this time if we will be holding an in-person AGM or if it will be a Zoom meeting – but we will be sure to let our members know closer to the date.

As part of the process leading up to the AGM, we will soon re-issue a call for nominations to the EDA executive. This is a unique opportunity for you to be part of a knowledgeable and friendly team engaged with the local Greens as well as benefiting your own community. Please contact Dan if you would like more information about positions on the SGI Executive.

On a general note, please take the time to check if your membership is current, or consider taking out a membership for the first time.  Participation in our local and national GPC events is important and more voices will absolutely make for better governance.

On a national note, there is a one-day Green Party of Canada virtual General Meeting scheduled for Friday, November 26th, 2021, and membership will allow you to take part in decisions made at the meeting. In general, memberships must be active for 30 days to be able to vote.  To learn about GPC membership, go here.  If you already have a GPC login, check your membership status here.


SGI EDA Civic Engagement Scholarship

Every year at school graduation time, Elizabeth May and the Saanich Gulf Islands Green Party EDA recognize students within our Electoral District for civic engagement. The seven secondary schools in our EDA choose a recipient who they believe has shown exemplary commitment to effective citizenship. They have improved our world through their volunteer activities. The value of the scholarship is presently set at $500.00.

With the Covid-19 Pandemic, none of the schools were able to host an awards ceremony this year where Elizabeth could present the awards. In lieu of in-person presentations Elizabeth intends to personally call each of the recipients.

​​SGI’s new website  

Our new SGI website has been online since May, 2021. Let’s consider why we built it, how well it serves our needs, and any changes that may be desirable.

The old SGI website was supported by an expensive software platform called NationBuilder, which also supports our email mailouts, plus our contact information for members, volunteers, and donors. Saving SGI Greens about $2000 per year by moving all three functions to other platforms was the first of three reasons to develop a new website.

The second reason was that the old website was, well, old. It did not display properly on smartphones and tablets, it was cluttered with too much old material and, despite a re-organization in 2019 it was still difficult to navigate. It was easiest to start from scratch with a fresh design and new text.

The third impetus for a new website was a desire to help other Green electoral district associations, many of which have fewer volunteers and less financial support than the SGI Greens. Consequently, creating a simple template that is easy to customize for other EDAs was a major design consideration.

Currently, costs for NationBuilder have been reduced, primarily by removing thousands of unused contacts; the new website is complete and works well on all sizes of electronic devices; and, several EDAs across Canada have signed a user agreement and are using the template for their own website.

The purposes of our website are worth reviewing before considering possible additions and changes:

  •   Our website promotes our values, activities and Member of Parliament to current and potential supporters, including members, volunteers and donors.
  •   Our website is an accessible reference source for members and non-members, including our constitution and annual general meeting minutes. (Based on the Green value of transparency, our executive is now also publishing its meeting minutes on the website.)
  •   Our website serves as an organizational memory for events, newsletters, Elizabeth May’s weekly Good Sunday Morning blog, and historically important documents. (E.g., Vision Green 2020, a summary of member-driven Green policy, can be found on our website.)
  •   The website does not provide a forum for member discussion of news and policy. Social media (SGI on Facebook and Twitter) and the Greensconnect website are more suitable.

A website is always a work in progress. Ideas for additions and changes to the website are always welcome. For example, would you like more photos? New content? More of the archival content from the old website? A French version of the template has been suggested. Who writes and/or controls website content is worth discussing. Perhaps a members-only section would be more appropriate for some of the content? Please submit your thoughts on the website’s Contact Us page.

I would like to thank Bob MacKie for his enthusiastic support, Brian Smallshaw for his technical expertise and many hours of work, Morgan Fraser for good design ideas, Marilyn Redivo and the SGI Executive Committee for ideas on content and working with other EDAs, and Elizabeth May for updating the information about her and providing her weekly Good Sunday Morning blog. And I thank you in advance for any ideas and comments you submit.

Tom Niemann


Fall Gardening


Thanksgiving has just passed, but we are still giving thanks for the bountiful harvest of 2021. What a year. The heat was deadly for flowers out where there was no escape from the sun, but the veggies loved it. Even our peas, typically a cool-loving plant did better than we can ever remember.

We love this time of year in the garden. There is something satisfying about clearing out the garden beds that have been so productive for so long this year. Not that the process of clearing out a garden bed or two did not happen all season as one crop was replaced by another and not that the beds are actually cleared of all crops as many of our garden beds are full of winter crops such as cabbage, kale, Brussels sprouts, beets, Swiss chard and others that will be harvested most of the winter and some such as cauliflower, broccoli, cabbage, leeks and onions that will be ready to harvest in the spring. Heck, we still have peas and tomatoes that will go for another week or two. But you know what we mean – much of the harvest is in and those beds are now either being cleared or have been cleared already.

The saying “nature abhors a vacuum” applies equally well to our gardens and rather than leaving the soil bare we try to plant a cover crop – usually a mixture of fall rye and clover. This will protect the soil from some of the pounding it takes with a winter of hard rain and will add to the organic matter in the soil. We used to till the cover crop in, but since we stopped tilling it has been more of a challenge to deal with cover crops in the spring. We tried cutting it down close to the soil, but most of it simply regrew. We are still working on solutions. Last year we simply ripped it out (since it is just growing in compost) and composted it. We will try cutting it earlier this year and covering it to kill it before planting – that is if we are well-enough organized to do that. It is hard to motivate ourselves to get out in the garden early enough when the weather is still cold and nasty. Thank goodness for greenhouses to reward early season gardeners in comfort!

Of course, October isn’t all about putting gardens to bed. There is garlic to plant. Hopefully you saved your largest and red-est cloves to replant. We like to plant ours just into the soil with 5 cm of compost over the top. We had a severe rust problem 2 years ago, so bad that the rust had penetrated the bulbs. We decided to not save the bulbs for replanting and actually planted elephant garlic instead because it is not as prone to rust as the true garlics and we certainly didn’t want the rust to spread to our onions and leeks. It was quite traumatic for us not to save our garlic for replanting – those cloves had been with us for over 20 years and grew baseball-sized garlic for us each year. So now we are starting over with new bulbs of Red Russian garlic. We spaced them out more widely to allow more airflow and will try to inspect our crop early and often and try to remove any leaves that begin to show white or yellow spots. We cover our crop all winter so we don’t need to worry about them getting wet and religiously rotate out garlic into allium-free soil from the year before. Trouble is we grow so many onions that it is hard to find soil that has not had alliums for more than a year. That said, we had the best onion crop ever this year with huge red, white and yellow onions to store for the winter.

And the best part of putting the garden to bed in the fall is the time it gives us to dream about the garden we want to have next year and to start rummaging through the seed catalogues (no more waiting for them to appear in the mail – they are all on-line for us to access on any rainy day) putting together our wish list of vegetables and flowers to plant next year. And in between our dreaming, we still have bushels of apples to dry and turn into sauce, so all is not rest and relaxation even though the to-do list is shorter. Now where is that apple peeler….


Nancy and Gary Searing

Honeysuckle Cottage


Goodies Galore for the Holiday Season, a special birthday, or just because they are beautiful:


The Green Knitters are back in action producing touques, fingerless gloves, headbands and mug warmers.  If you would like to see what is available, contact Nancy.  Proceeds from the sale of knitwear go to support either the SGI (federal) or Saanich North and the Islands (provincial) campaign.  Also, stay tuned for an upcoming knitwear sale mid to late November, details in our next newsletter.

We also have Green Party t-shirts available – please contact Linda for details.  We have in stock the traditional green cotton t-shirts for $20 as well as the beautiful new black “tree” bamboo t-shirts for $30, sizes XS through XXL.

And…. we have some beautiful “Because there is no Planet B” bumper stickers! If you’re looking for one please contact Linda.


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