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Brandon-Westman chapter AGM to focus on electoral reform, Energy East pipeline

The Council of Canadians Westman chapter’s annual general meeting on September 13 will focus on the issue of electoral reform and the Energy East pipeline.

Following their AGM, the Westman chapter will hold a town hall meeting on electoral reform on September 15.

The Westman Journal reports, “Dr. Scott Blyth, the leader of the local chapter that was formed last summer, says the registered non-profit organization – which is just one of 60 chapters across the country – stands firm on the notion of changing the current national electoral system. ‘From our perspective, proportional representation – and there are several different models of that – would be ideal. We’ve certainly pushed for that for years.’ …Also on the AGM agenda is a discussion on the Energy East Pipeline, a proposed 4,500 kilometre pipeline project that, Blyth says, the COC is very much against.”

In terms of the timeline for electoral reform, upcoming dates include:

  • August 29 – October 1 – the federal minister of Democratic Institutions will travel to twenty-two communities to discuss electoral reform

  • September – the Special Committee on Electoral Reform’s ‘national engagement process’ including written submissions, committee travel, online suggestions

  • September – MP town hall meetings

  • October 1 – deadline for MPs to send their submissions from the town halls to the committee

  • December 1 – the committee reports to the House of Commons

  • May 2017 – the deadline for the Liberals to introduce legislation on electoral reform

  • October 21, 2019 – the next federal election under a new electoral system

And with respect to the federal government’s decision on Energy East, the timeline has been presented as follows:

  • August-December 2016 – panel sessions in communities along pipeline route

  • January-May 2017 – written process for participants

  • Mid 2017 – draft conditions for comment

  • November-December 2017 – final arguments

  • March 2018 – NEB report to Governor in Council (which is a term for the federal cabinet)

  • June 2018 – the deadline for the federal government to make its decision

  • 2020 – if approved, the 1.1 million barrel per day pipeline could be operational by this date

Both of these are longer term campaigns, a reality Dr. Blyth highlights.

He says, “What I’ve certainly found is that making people aware of some of the things that are going on and making them understand what is going on is one of our prime concerns. There’s still so many messages that need to get out there about all sorts of social issues. Everyone would like to wave their wands and change the world in about 10 seconds, but everyone knows certain things kind of grind on and you have to be patient and try to gather a force and momentum behind a movement. I think I’m very happy with what’s gone on so far, but there’s still a lot of work to do.”

The annual general meeting on September 13 will take place at The Towers (1930 Rosser Avenue), while the town hall meeting on September 15 on electoral reform will take place at Brandon University.

Further reading
Brandon chapter holds “Is health care an election issue?” public forum (October 15, 2015)
Brandon chapter to march for 100% clean energy future (November 20, 2015)
Brandon chapter to screen This Changes Everything (March 31, 2016)
Brandon/Westman chapter calls on federal cabinet to reject pressure to champion pipelines (April 27, 2016)
Brandon chapter takes TPP concerns to their city council (June 22, 2016)