Ola! March 2012
- B.C. trip
- Dignity for All Policy Summit – April 19-20
- CPJ climbing the Hill
- Visit with First United Church
- BIEN Canada Conference: Putting Equality Back on the Agenda
- Welcome Alex!
- Protect Canada from Bill C-31
- Summer Job opportunity: Graphic Designer
- Easter Appeal
- Earth Hour
- Web Features
- A Psalm of Dependence
Welcome to the March issue of Ola!, the monthly e-newsletter of Citizens for Public Justice. We’ve experienced some interesting weather in the nation’s capital this month, with an unexpected summer interlude that had the whole city rummaging for shorts and pining for holidays. Colder winds have since returned, reminding us that it is still, in fact, March. In any case, the CPJ office was far from vacation mode this month with cross-country trips, important visits on the Hill and plans underway for upcoming conferences. Read up on the latest news!
On March 2-7, Joe Gunn and Simon Lewchuk were in British Columbia for several workshops and meetings with CPJ supporters. Joe and Simon were able to introduce many people to CPJ and our work on environmental and poverty issues, including the Dignity for All campaign for a poverty-free Canada. Highlights from the trip included:
- Workshops at the “Do Justice, Love Fearlessly” conference at New Life Christian Reformed Church in Abbotsford on March 3.
- A DfA presentation to representatives from 7 different Anglican and Lutheran parishes in North Vancouver at St. Agnes Anglican Church on March 4.
- A presentation to members of First Christian Reformed Church in Vancouver on March 4.
- A presentation at Cadboro Bay United Church in Victoria on March 7th to representatives from local congregations, KAIROS, and Faith in Action BC.
Thanks to our many BC supporters for your hospitality and continued efforts for justice!
Dignity for All Policy Summit – April 19-20
The CPJ co-founded Dignity for All campaign for a poverty-free Canada is holding an income security policy summit April 19-20 in Ottawa. The summit will be the second in a series that develops recommendations for progressive policy solutions to combat the structural causes of poverty in Canada. Significant attention will be given to strategies for moving these recommendations forward in the current political and economic context. Representatives from over 60 anti-poverty policy and advocacy organizations have been invited to attend. Get more information, including the outcomes from last year’s summit on housing and early childhood education.
CPJ climbing the Hill
On February 29, Joe Gunn and Patricia Graça met with Ms. Kirsty Duncan (MP, Liberal, Etobicoke North). Members of Parliament’s all-party climate change caucus, including Ms. Duncan and various NDP MPs, as well as five Conservative MPs, recently tabled thousands of signatures on petitions in the House of Commons in support of the Interfaith Call for Leadership and Action on Climate Change (developed by CPJ).
On March 16, Joe also met with Green Party Leader Elizabeth May (MP, Saanich—Gulf Islands) to discuss that party’s plans for future action on climate change issues. CPJ’s Executive Director also met with 5 NDP Members of the Environment Committee on March 26th in an attempt to assess the impact of past efforts on climate issues, and ascertain how the Parliamentary climate change caucus plans to move forward. Given that party’s election of a new leader on the previous weekend, the post-Easter assignment of new responsibilities for Parliamentary critic roles (such as Environment critic) will become important.
Visit with First United Church
On Sunday, March 25th at Ottawa’s First United Church, CPJ board member Mike Bulthuis led the service and Joe Gunn participated with Mike in the homilist’s reflections for the day. This congregation features strong CPJ supporters, including former Board member Murray Angus, and former staffer Kevin Elder. Members of the congregation were particularly interested in CPJ’s work on poverty reduction in Canada, the role of the churches in addressing climate change, and recently announced changes to federal immigration and refugee policy.
BIEN Canada Conference: Putting Equality Back on the Agenda
The U.S. and Canadian Basic Income Guarantee Networks are hosting the 11th North American Basic Income Guarantee Congress at the University of Toronto from May 3rd to 5th, 2012. This year’s theme is: “Putting Equality Back on the Agenda.” Come and hear Richard Wilkinson, co-author of The Spirit Level: Why More Equal Societies Almost Always Do Better, and other speakers from Canada and the United States discuss the growing trend of inequality and the potential of a basic income to reduce economic disparities. CPJ is organizing the final panel plenary: Income Security across the Life Cycle: Next Steps for Canada on Saturday May 5th.
CPJ is excited to welcome yet another new face in the office. Alexandra Baynes is a grade 11 student at Holy Trinity Catholic High School in Kanata where she is enrolled in a social justice Specialist High Skills Major program. As part of the program, Alex will be gaining some practical experience in the non-profit sector by assisting in various tasks at CPJ this semester. Besides going to class, Alex is actively involved in her social justice club at school, teaches gymnastics to elementary school students, performs in school plays, sings competitively, and plays touch football for the Kanata knights. Does she sleep? We’re not sure. But we’re happy to have her on the team!
Protect Canada from Bill C-31
On Feb. 16, the federal government announced new legislation that will change Canada’s refugee determination system. While the bill is intended to create a more efficient system, numerous groups, from lawyers to human rights organizations, argue that the bill re-victimizes the refugees we are meant to protect.
You can take action to protest C-31 by sending a message to your MP opposing C-31 through Amnesty International’s webpage.
Summer Job opportunity: Graphic Designer
CPJ is looking for a creative graphic design student to assist CPJ for seven weeks this summer for 37.5 hours per week (full-time).
The principal task will involve the development of visual elements for our new website; additionally the position requires the design and production of a variety of print resources.
The successful candidate will be a student enrolled in a graphic design or visual arts course of studies. As part of the funding is provided from a Summer Students Grant Program, it is essential that applicants be enrolled in a college or university program and returning in the Fall term. (S)he will be creative, focused and will work well within a small team setting. There will be other tasks assigned from time to time as the need arises.
Remuneration has been set at $13.00 per hour plus legally required vacation pay.
This position will be under the direction of our Communications and Development Specialist. The position shall begin on July 9 and will end on August 24.
Please provide a resume and at least two samples of your work to Michael Krakowiak.
No phone calls please. We regret we can only respond to those selected for an interview.
Application deadline: April 15, 2012
Our journey towards the common good is what motivates Citizens for Public Justice (CPJ) to work tirelessly to promote public justice in Canada.
Easter, in particular, is a time to remember the great hope for positive change. The death and resurrection of Jesus marks the unmistakable sign of God’s love and healing for our broken world, and the cross stands as a beacon of hope.
Your faithful support in 2011 made it possible for CPJ to carry out important public justice initiatives that seek to bring about positive change for the common good. But we still have important work ahead of us. Along with your prayers, CPJ kindly asks for your financial support to carry out its important mission throughout 2012. If you could give early, it would be a blessing for this mission and its growth.
Giving early strengthens our organization by creating a stable financial platform for CPJ throughout the year. This year, CPJ also hopes to expand its public justice initiatives through an increased budget. Your faithful generosity allows us to dare to achieve this goal. We kindly ask you to consider giving now, or if possible, increasing your donation. You can also support CPJ on a monthly basis.
To send CPJ your donation today, or to begin your monthly donations please visit CanadaHelps.
Last year, Earth Hour was celebrated in 135 countries around the world. This year Earth Hour is happening again on Saturday, March 31, at 8:30 pm. Hundreds of millions of people will turn off their lights, power down their computers, unplug all appliances and go without electricity for one hour.
Join the largest environmental event in history and spend an hour unplugged!
Counting the Cost of Our Carbon
Canada now has the distinction of being the 2nd biggest per capita greenhouse gas (GHG) emitter in the world. GHG emissions come with serious environmental and social expenses-- costs we haven't factored into the price of energy and commodities dependent on it. But the fact is, a healthy economy depends on a healthy environment. Being a good neighbour also means caring for the planet we share. In other words, it's time to factor in the damage. First step: a national carbon tax. Read more…
What Can We Do About Poverty? Ask Brazil.
When it comes to poverty reduction, Canada could learn a thing or two from Brazil. There, a conditional cash transfer program called Bolsa Família (Family Grant) has made a significant difference in the fight against poverty. The program provides financial assistance through direct income transfer to families living in poverty and extreme poverty. According to the World Bank, Bolsa Família is among the most effective social protection programs in the world, having helped raise approximately 20 million people out of poverty between 2003 and 2009. Read more…
Federal Budget Watch: Waiting for the other shoe to drop…
We’ve been warned. The next federal budget, expected in March, will be first and foremost about cuts to public programs, with the express goal of reducing the federal deficit over the next few years, and reducing the debt accumulated since the 2008-09 recession. This approach echoes the debate and fallout from the famous Martin budget in 1995—a budget in which deficit reduction consumed the entire agenda, pushing aside plans for job creation, social security reform and child care. Is Canada willing to make the same mistakes again? Read more…
A Psalm of Dependence
Let these words from Psalm 121 remind us that in all of our efforts to seek justice as well as in our everyday, commonplace activities, it is God who sustains us.
I lift up my eyes to the mountains—
where does my help come from?
My help comes from the LORD,
the Maker of heaven and earth.
He will not let your foot slip—
he who watches over you will not slumber;
indeed, he who watches over Israel
will neither slumber nor sleep.
The LORD watches over you—
the LORD is your shade at your right hand;
the sun will not harm you by day,
nor the moon by night.
The LORD will keep you from all harm—
he will watch over your life;
the LORD will watch over your coming and going
both now and forevermore.
Psalm 121,THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.
For all at CPJ, Melodi Alopaeus. See you again when the flowers are in full bloom!
Citizens for Public Justice (CPJ) and our work of faith, justice and politics: