Jeff Wheeldon Acclaimed as 2019 Green Party Nominee

The Green Party NPS Riding Associations’ Annual General Meetings and Nomination Meeting were held last night (March 6 2019) at the Cobourg Community Centre. The meetings yielded a good turnout and positive results: both the GPO and GPC riding associations increased the size of their Executive with new volunteers, and Jeff Wheeldon was acclaimed as the Green Party of Canada nominee. Jeff will become the Candidate when the campaign period begins.

Patricia Sinnott and Minne deJong will be maintaining their positions as President and Chief Financial Officer of the GPO riding association. They will be joined by Secretary Rob Taylor and Membership Chair Andy Kirkpatrick.

The Green Party of Canada riding association saw a new CEO, Pascal Barabé, and new Financial Agent Tom Telford. They will be joined by Secretary Rob Taylor and Membership Chair Andy Kirkpatrick, who have both agreed to do double-duty, fulfilling the same position in both riding associations. Rob Taylor has also volunteered to take on the Communications Chair post.

There are more positions available, including Organizing Chair, Fundraising Chair, and numerous volunteer activities. Contact us for more information.

Jeff Wheeldon gave a short speech before his acclamation:

My name is Jeff Wheeldon, and I want to be your MP.

Not just because, though I believe strongly in the role of a public representative and would consider it an honour to represent the people of this riding;

I want to be your MP because there are problems that need to be solved. We’ve grown accustomed to hearing bad news, especially lately:
-climate change is potentially the biggest threat in human history;
-economic changes, driven by automation, artificial intelligence, and online retailing are predicted to cause an economic disruption 4x the size of the Industrial Revolution;
-demographic changes and population growth challenge our social safety net and ability to provide for our most vulnerable;
-technological changes and the internet are disrupting the way we relate to each other, and we’re becoming increasingly polarized in a society that is described as “post-truth”;
-and in the midst of all of these changes and the challenges they provide, our political institutions and economic models maintain the status quo.

I’m running for office because these problems aren’t being addressed. I like to run a positive campaign, and I’d rather talk about what we need to do rather than what other people are or aren’t doing, but I can’t pretend this isn’t part of my motivation. We’ve been let down by the establishment, status-quo parties:
-the Liberals pay lip service to important issues like electoral reform, climate change, and reconciliation, but they have too little follow-through and too many broken promises;
-the Conservatives have embraced far-right populism and abandoned traditional conservative values and policies, stoking outrage and pandering to racist groups while they offer plenty of criticism but no policy alternatives;
-and the NDP is in the midst of an identity crisis, struggling to mobilize its own party behind their leader or the Leap Manifesto.
None of these parties have a vision for the future. They aren’t planning ahead for the new economy that is transforming and eliminating our jobs every day; their emissions targets aren’t adequate to even meet our lukewarm international commitments, and they’re not even talking about mitigating the damage of climate change; and they plan their platforms based on market research about what is popular, rather than on the challenges we face.

I’m running with the Green Party because I want to do politics differently. I had the opportunity to run as a Liberal in 2015, and I turned it down: I know that as a Liberal MP I would have to put the party ahead of my constituents, or face the consequences. I’ve been invited to join conservative parties too, but they’re worse in this regard, requiring an oath of allegiance to the leader. Even the NDP punishes MPs who step out of line to put their constituents first: we’ve had two NDP MPs cross the floor to join us for this reason. But especially for the Liberals and Conservatives, it’s not just a matter of party discipline, but of the longstanding relationships these parties have with corporate interests. Inside these parties and inside the governments they form, there are too many opportunities for corruption: what good is it if I gain the whole world, but lose my soul? I joined the Green Party because we do politics differently, and this is evident in the way that our representatives conduct themselves. We take a candidate’s pledge to behave in ways that reflect the dignity of our office and our constituents, with high standards for transparency and accountability, and we always put our constituents and our country ahead of the party. It was Green Party of Ontario leader Mike Schreiner who led the way in banning corporate and union donations to political parties, and Elizabeth May was recently polling first as the federal leader seen as the most ethical in Canada. Her principled stand against the Kinder Morgan Trans-Mountain Expansion pipeline project led to her being arrested for civil disobedience alongside protesters, clergy, and NDP MP Kennedy Stewart who is now mayor of Vancouver. These kinds of principled, ethical leaders remind us all what politics is supposed to be: people who represent and uphold the best in us, working together to build a better nation. Partisanship has no place in the Green Party, and a Green government would have an all-party Cabinet to ensure that all parties have a voice and an investment in solving the crises of climate, affordability, and employment that we face. These issues are too big to let partisanship get in the way of real solutions.

This will be my third campaign in two years. I am campaigning because there IS good news to be had. We have the knowledge, technology, and policies we need to solve these problems, and the means to implement them. What we lack is the awareness, the proper priorities, and the political will to do so. There is a gap between what needs to be done and what IS being done, and we can close that gap by engaging with our communities and rallying people behind solutions, no matter who ultimately implements them. There is no limit to what we can accomplish if it doesn’t matter who gets the credit, and our campaigns are about building communities that are resilient and engaged so that we can do more together.

I was speaking with someone the other day and they mentioned how cynical they feel about politics – that after a while they just want to give up on the whole thing. I understand that feeling, but we have a choice in that moment: we can either give up, or we can step up and change it. I choose to run as a Green because I choose to be the change I want to see. We have all of the ingredients for good news, but if we want to see that good news we have to make that good news. We can’t rely on others to do it for us; our future is ours to make.

By choosing to make the future we want, we will also make history! Across the country and at every level, the Green Party is surging. Even here in Northumberland – Peterborough South we’re getting unprecedented numbers of volunteers, from all party backgrounds and none, saying that this is the year that they’re going to step up and make a difference. Are you willing to do what it takes to make the future you want? Do you want to be part of making history? Stand with us, hit the street with us, host us in your home or plan a community event – we can only do this together. And that’s fitting, because doing great things together is what politics is all about.

Jeff was acclaimed as the nominee after his speech. The meeting wrapped up just after 9pm.

John Draper of the Cobourg News Blog attended. His coverage can be found here.

The campaign team will be planning a volunteer meeting sometime in the coming month. Members will receive notice of the meeting via email; contact us here or on Facebook if you are not a member but want to volunteer!

AGMS and Nomination Meeting: Tonight!

Please join us tonight for the Annual General Meetings of the Green Party of Ontario’s Northumberland – Peterborough South Constituency Association and the Green Party of Canada’s Northumberland – Peterborough South Electoral District Association, as well as our Nomination Meeting to select our candidate for the 2019 federal election!

The meeting will be held at the Cobourg Community Centre, 750 D’Arcy St, Cobourg, from 7:30-9:30.

The GPO CA AGM will start at 7:30, followed immediately by the GPC EDA AGM at approximately 8:00, followed immediately by the Nomination Meeting at approximately 8:30. Refreshments will be provided. Here are the agendas:

Please join us as we take the first steps toward a fantastic 2019 campaign!

2019 Green Nomination Contestant: Jeff Wheeldon

On March 6th 2019, the Green Party of Canada’s Northumberland – Peterborough South Electoral District Association is hosting their Annual General Meeting at the Cobourg Community Centre, 7:30-9:30pm. This meeting will double as a Nomination Meeting to select our 2019 federal candidate. The Green Party of Ontario Constituency Association will also occur at the same time, as both organizations have largely overlapping membership pools.

As of February 7th, Jeff Wheeldon is unopposed in his bid for the Green nomination. Jeff currently serves as the International Affairs Critic on the Green Party of Canada’s Shadow Cabinet (since 2016), as well as Secretary for both the federal and provincial riding associations in Northumberland – Peterborough South. He previously ran municipally in Brighton last fall; provincially for the Green Party of Ontario in the NPS riding in Spring 2018; and federally for the Green Party of Canada in 2015 in the riding of Provencher.

Jeff is a REALTOR® in Brighton, where he has lived with his wife Andrea and two sons since 2016. Originally from BC, Jeff has also lived in Alberta and Manitoba, but has family roots in the riding: his wife Andrea grew up in Norwood. The Wheeldons settled in Brighton to raise their children, leaving behind careers in higher education administration in order to provide a great environment and community in which their kids could grow up.

Education, Work, and Volunteer Experience

Jeff holds a Master of Arts degree in Systematic Theology, and wrote his MA thesis on the role of ethics in reforming social institutions – a topic which largely inspired his involvement in electoral politics. Before moving to Brighton he worked in higher education administration in various roles including some teaching work, finally serving in a director-level position as Registrar in 2014-15. His work experience also includes several blue-collar jobs, including two years as a factory worker and various trucking jobs over a decade. He has served in various volunteer capacities, from several poverty-related ministries in downtown Vancouver, to teaching roles in churches, to serving as the founding CEO of a Green Party riding association. He is currently a member of the Rotary Club of Brighton, and identifies strongly with the Rotary motto of “Service Above Self” and the organization’s emphasis on the obligation of the business community to high ethical standards and generous community engagement.

Goals for Canada and Northumberland – Peterborough South

This section is contributed directly by Jeff Wheeldon:

The nature of federal politics is that most decisions are made on a scale much broader than any particular riding, but that virtually all decisions made for Canada as a whole and even in international relations have some effect on every riding. The challenges we face are on a massive scale, but will have a major effect on the economy and lives of people in Northumberland – Peterborough South. Thankfully, we have policies to address these challenges, and help us to not only survive but to thrive in the difficult transitions ahead. My policy priorities in 2019 are:

  1. Climate change. This is possibly the most serious issue human beings have ever faced, and certainly the biggest issue we’ve knowingly faced. Since we know it’s happening, we can do something about it. The science is clear, the policy solutions are clear, but the political path to real action is cloudy.The Conservatives continue to work against climate action: despite the fact that carbon taxes have the support of all other parties and numerous Nobel-prize winning economists, they continue to argue against any form of it, claiming to favour industry-by-industry regulations; but let’s not forget that a generation before, under Stephen Harper, they supported carbon pricing and argued against the more costly and complex approach of industry-by-industry regulations. Ultimately we need both, and clearly they will not support either approach so long as another party is suggesting it.

    The federal Liberals, on the other hand, talk a big game about climate action and have even borrowed the Green Party’s plan for a carbon-fee-and-dividend system to price carbon; but their emissions targets are the same as those set by Stephen Harper, and are vastly inadequate to effectively combat climate change. At the same time, they continue to subsidize fossil fuel companies by billions of dollars per year, and went so far as to buy a pipeline to continue to support the expansion of the oilsands. We cannot talk out of both sides of our mouth, and climate change doesn’t care if we say the right things – only real action matters.Green policies to combat climate change include transitioning our oil economy to renewables as quickly as possible, investing in energy retrofits on a large scale to save energy (and money!), and to put a price on carbon that will actually have an affect on the market by providing large enough incentives to affect consumer behaviour and, most importantly, industry behaviour. Our carbon-fee-and-dividend system, borrowed by the federal Liberals, would ensure that no individuals are punished by the increase in energy costs by paying out the dividend cheques on a monthly basis; but would also include a higher carbon fee (and therefore a larger dividend) that would have a much faster effect on our markets, incentivizing lower levels of consumption and levelling the playing field for low-carbon products and energy sources. All of these policies will create significant jobs, and not just in Alberta: per million dollars of investment, renewables and energy retrofitting create as much as 10x the number of jobs as investments in oil and gas, with wages averaging $80-90,000/year.

    As International Affairs Critic I have also been engaging in developing policy options for treating climate change as the greatest security threat in the world – an approach that has recently been emerging from our Forces as well. We have some of the highest trained forces in the world waiting to be used in a violent conflict, even as millions of people are displaced by natural disasters, droughts, famines, and conflicts that come from such conditions, all of which will increase in a warming world. I will continue to promote the cross-training of our forces to have special forces designated for firefighting and disaster relief to be deployed in Canada and around the world to bring stability and aid before conflict starts. A connected goal is to stabilize areas in crisis to reduce flows of migrants: most refugees want to return home as soon as possible, and of course they would have stayed in their homes if they could. Canada has a larger role to play on the world stage to help provide the stability needed to reduce the number of refugees in the first place, in addition to our role in resettling refugees here in Canada.

  2. Automation, AI, and the New Economy. The economy has already changed, and our federal and provincial governments don’t seem to recognize that they’re playing catch-up. 40% of Ontario’s economy is in manufacturing, and Ontario represents 40% of Canada’s economy, but the number of jobs that make up our manufacturing sector are dwindling. The Liberal approach has been to “foster innovation” by promoting Ontario as “Silicon Valley North” and hope for a boom of jobs in the tech sector, the NDP and organized labour is fighting to keep jobs that are increasingly obsolete, and the Conservative approach has been to talk about how they’ll “bring back” manufacturing jobs without getting into further detail. The reality is that those jobs are gone and not coming back, and the transition to the new economy is just getting started. We need a plan that doesn’t involve fighting the future, like the Conservatives and NDP, or fuelling the economic transition without planning for massive job losses as the Liberals have been doing.The Green plan for a new economy begins with implementing a Guaranteed Livable Income (GLI), which is not only an incredible streamlining for our existing social services with potential to save significantly on how we deliver our social safety net, but which will also provide a stronger foundation from which Canadians can launch their own contributions to society. A GLI would provide us with the stability we need to take important risks such as going back to school and starting our own businesses. It would also provide a basis for an economy with increasingly fewer jobs that have to be shared by more people: with a GLI in place, funded at least partially by taxing the productivity of the robots that replace human workers, more people will be able to get by working part-time or in job-sharing arrangements. With this system in place, governments would also be better able to focus on the purpose of the economy (the productivity needed to support our lives and society) rather than the means of achieving it (fighting robots for deskilled, low-wage jobs just to survive).

    At the same time, there are many jobs that need more workers right now. Agriculture, for example, can benefit tremendously from more sustainable and organic farming practices – but that generally requires more workers, and agricultural workers are often temporary foreign workers. Sustainable farming is critical for reducing emissions and combating climate change (not to mention for feeding us!), and employment in this sector will increase under Green policies. That’s excellent news for us in Northumberland – Peterborough South, where agriculture is a major industry!

  3. Democratic Reform. Remember when Justin Trudeau said, so clearly and unambiguously, that “2015 will be the last election under First Past the Post”? Democratic reform means much more than that: it’s about restoring the confidence of Canadians in their government, correcting the abuses of our institutions and violations of our trust, and ensuring that our democracy is one that engages citizens in the decisions that will shape their lives.

    This is a particular emphasis for me because I value ethics and transparency. I know that our political system was designed to function in ways that it no longer does, either because Canada has changed drastically since 1867 or because political parties have learned to game the system as it stands. Our political structures were designed in a time when only white male landowners were considered persons and all of them knew their MP; now we have universal suffrage, and ridings with 120,000 constituents with a much wider range of interests and perspectives than an MP must address. At the same time, the winner-takes-all style of FPTP elections incentivizes constant campaigning, which feeds party culture that puts messaging ahead of problem-solving and enforces party discipline on all MPs to ensure that they present a united front for the next campaign. The result of all of this is that MPs largely serve to represent their party to their constituents rather than representing their constituents in the House of Commons; consultations are PR exercises more than attempts to actually engage the citizenry; and parties design their platforms based on a marketing strategy rather than on meeting the needs of their constituents and facing the challenges of our time.I joined the Green Party because we believe that a good government is honest, focused on the best interests of its constituents rather than the best interests of the party, and therefore willing to make hard choices and not sugarcoat important issues. I’m proud to have taken the Green Party candidate’s pledge in both 2015 and 2018, dedicating myself to a higher standard for service and a better vision for our democracy, and I look forward to taking the pledge again in 2019. I’ve had the chance to run for bigger parties in the past, but I’ve chosen to run as a Green primarily because my integrity means a lot to me: I will not compromise the best interests of my constituents for fear of a party whip.

  4. Housing is an issue that needs to be addressed at all levels of government, but one that affects Northumberland – Peterborough South significantly. Because I work as a REALTOR®, it’s also something I think about quite a bit.

    We are in a housing crisis. There are many causes and no easy solutions, but there’s a lot that can be done at every level to make it better. First, the housing crisis is an indicator of the health of the rest of the economy too: it’s not just that houses are too expensive for people to buy (although that’s true), it’s also that people aren’t making enough money to buy them; our economic policies will create more jobs with good wages (see point 1 above). Supply is also down: there are almost no rental vacancies in this county at all, much less affordable housing; the federal Liberals have promised $40 billion over the next decade to help with that, and I would support continuing that funding as well as working with provincial and municipal governments and agencies to address the incentives provided by programs and structures at those levels to stimulate housing supply. In tandem with implementing a Guaranteed Livable Income (see point 2 above) we also support a housing-first strategy for addressing poverty, which would provide federal and provincial funds to provide affordable housing as a baseline condition on which other services can build to help the poor.

    I am reminded all the time that fixing the housing crisis is bad for my day job. As a political candidate I’ve been lobbied by my own industry organizations to support policies that would keep us limping along in this unsustainable market by getting the government to subsidize mortgage down-payments and reduce homeowner taxes – but that would ultimately just pass more costs on to citizens, including those who still can’t afford a house, by putting a bigger burden on the government and requiring more tax revenue. These policies are being entertained by federal (Liberal) and provincial (PC) governments, but the only winners with such policies are real estate agents. We need better solutions for everyone.

  5. I want to know what your big issue is! The role of an MP is to communicate between constituents and the government, which means your concerns are always in my top priorities.


Please come to the AGM/Nomination Meeting on March 6th to hear from Jeff and anyone else who seeks the Green nomination in Northumberland – Peterborough South! We will also be filling positions in the EDA Executive and campaign team; see where you fit!

Upcoming Events!

The election campaign has not yet officially begun, but we’re ready. Community groups are already planning all-candidate events, and your Green candidate Jeff Wheeldon will be there. He would also love to be at YOUR event! Please invite us to your event, public or private. Bring your friends, and ask Jeff anything about the Green Vision, himself, his candidacy, or any particular issues of concern. You can reach Jeff at jeff.wheeldon@gpo.ca to book a meeting. He’d love to hear from you!

Here is a schedule of all-candidate meetings in the riding. Find a .pdf version below, with active links to maps or for printing and posting in your area! (Please recycle your posters once the campaign is done.)

UPDATE 5/20/2018: The events just keep on coming! Had to update the poster to add three new events!

Schedule

Events poster

PDF version:

All-Candidates Meetings schedule (.pdf link)

 

Your Green Party of Ontario Candidate: Jeff Wheeldon

Jeff Wheeldon

Green Party Northumberland – Peterborough South Chooses Jeff Wheeldon as 2018 Candidate

The Green Party of Ontario’s Northumberland – Peterborough South Constituency Association is pleased to present Jeff Wheeldon as their 2018 provincial election candidate. Wheeldon was acclaimed on Tuesday night at the Cobourg Community Centre by members of the Constituency Association, after an inspiring speech by Green Party of Ontario leader Mike Schreiner. Wheeldon also gave a speech, followed by the unanimous vote in support of his candidacy, before Schreiner and Wheeldon closed the evening with a Q&A session with the audience. The event was covered by local media, including the Cobourg News Blog.

Jeff Wheeldon’s speech:

Thank you all! It is an honour to represent the Green Party of Ontario in the 2018 provincial election.

I don’t need to tell you that the Green Party has a thorough, comprehensive platform rooted in core values that speak to people from across the political spectrum; if you’re here tonight you’re either a member or you’ve probably come with one, and I know they’d be happy to talk out the platform over coffee. And I don’t need to tell you that we have a leader who is highly intelligent and the hardest-working person in Ontario politics; you’ve just heard him speak. But I do want to take a few minutes to tell you a bit more about myself and why I’ve put myself forward as a Green candidate.

I’m running to represent the people of Northumberland – Peterborough South for reasons so deep in my heart and soul that you might say I couldn’t not run.

I don’t claim to have the answer to the meaning of life, the universe, and everything, but I believe that my purpose in life boils down to serving others, and it was for that purpose that I was trained for ministry and leadership in my undergraduate degree. But the more I learned about serving others, the more I realized that there are systemic issues that we must face together, so I expanded my concept of ministry from personal issues and spiritual guidance to structural issues and social ethics in my graduate studies. The more I looked to heaven, the more I was directed back to earth, to my neighbours and the institutions that govern how we relate to each other.

Looking at our systems of government, I am struck by two powerful convictions: first, that government must always be an “us” and never a “them”, the result of us coming together to achieve things we could never achieve on our own rather than some outside force that we are beholden to; and second, that the way our political institutions behave now is NOT the way that they were designed to behave, and so they are no longer capable of fulfilling their purpose. Simply put, our government should be a tool to advance our civilization, but right now it is barely capable of being civil. A key reason I am Green is because we are willing to work across party lines, we pledge to uphold the dignity of our province and parliament, and we keep the good of our constituents ahead of party politics. There are two phrases that I love that I think sum up our approach to politics: the first is that “There is no limit to what can be accomplished if we don’t care who gets the credit”, and the second is “Be the change you want to see in the world.” As a Green candidate, I want to be the best MPP in the house – not only for the sake of my constituents, but also for the sake of creating an island of nonpartisan politics at Queen’s Park. I’m here to serve you, to get the work done, and I’m happy to work together with others to get it done.

I love this riding. It is full of character, beauty, culture, innovation, community. I am not originally from here, but my family and I chose to settle down here. This is my home by choice, and I am committed to our communities. I am invested here: my wife and I have small businesses here, we are raising our two children here, and even my parents have moved here from across the country. I want to see this region, this province, and this country thrive, today and forever.

We face tremendous challenges right now: the world is changing, like it or not, and I strongly believe that how we prepare for change now will determine the quality of life our children will have. In many ways, “prepare” is the wrong word: we have already fallen behind the pace of change, and many of our social institutions are still based on ideas from the nineteenth century. Communism has collapsed or faded away, and while there are some powerful ideas and tools in socialist paradigms, so much of the NDP outlook is still rooted in concepts of class and labour and production that seem downright quaint in today’s increasingly automated and digital economy; raising the minimum wage and increasing social programs, without a new paradigm for our new world, will not solve our problems.

At the same time, neo-liberal capitalism cannot be smug: it is on the brink of collapsing under its own weight, with growing inequality, massive internet monopolies, unsustainable production of throw-away products, and virtual dependence on both private and public debt to achieve the illusion of wealth we enjoy today. The Liberals too often answer this crisis by repeating the word “innovation” and throwing money at startup companies, and creating more social programs to support the people left behind by our economy; the conservative approach is to cut taxes and regulations and pretend that nobody does get left behind. This is not the 1980’s; our conversation needs to get bigger than these tired ideological disputes of yesteryear, to take innovative policy ideas seriously and start to think about what Ontario will look like in an automated world that is two degrees warmer. We need to learn from the past, but plan for the future. The Green Party is doing that, and we’re taking those ideas to Queen’s Park to lay the foundation for that future.

We face economic and ecological crises, but these also present us with opportunities. I believe that we have everything we need to not only survive in an automated and warming world, but to thrive in it. We already have the technology, the resources, and the knowledge we need to prosper, to move beyond the endless crisis mentality we now live in toward a brighter and cleaner future. What we lack is the courage, the political will, to take concrete steps out of the status quo. The question that I pose to you tonight, and to the people of Northumberland – Peterborough South come June 7th, is: are you willing to commit to a better future?

To you tonight, I will ask more concretely: are you willing to commit to volunteering, donating, coming to events, talking to your friends and family, writing letters to the editor, putting a sign on your lawn, waving signs on street corners, engaging on social media (politely), collecting signatures, promoting our platform, driving people to the polls on election day, or anything else you can do to help us make that future? Nobody has to do everything, but we can’t do this alone. Please talk to Minnie afterward about any donations, and to Patricia about how to volunteer. Anything worth doing is worth doing together, so please join our team however you are able!

Thank you for the trust you’ve placed in me; I will work hard to earn that trust, and to serve the people of Northumberland – Peterborough South.

To hear Jeff speak, watch this website for upcoming events in your area. To invite Jeff to your event, contact us.