Saturday, July 22, 2006

About me

I have received a few requests for more biographical information about myself, so here's a brief bio:

For the last several years, Catharine Johannson has been a strong voice for competent internal governance. She was appointed interim Manitoba Representative to the Green Party of Canada Federal Council in November 2003 and was elected in the party's internal elections of August 2004.

Catharine has a detailed and thorough knowledge of the GPC constitution. She has extensive experience chairing meetings using both Roberts' Rules of Order and Green Rules of Order and is familiar with various consensus decision making models.

Catharine joined the Green Party because of the green commitment to promoting a steady-state economy and using materials in continuous cycles as opposed to continuous economic expansion, with unsustainable exponential growth of production and consumption.

Catharine holds a degree in Economics from the University of Manitoba. She is currently the Financial Agent for the Winnipeg North EDA and served as Official Agent for 2 candidates in the 2006 federal election.

Her responses to Frank Cameron's council survey are available here:

Sunday, July 16, 2006

Letters from Lebanon

Some of you know Roy Ball, Party Chair of the GPBC. His son, David, is a friend of mine. David is currently in Lebanon, so I have been checking his blog more regularly.

I was in Beirut in 1999. I remember the fresh olives and the beautiful countryside. The ruins at Baalbeck. The Jeita Grotto. My good friend Marcel, an electrical engineer who worked on the expansion of the Beirut International Airport.

Friday, July 14, 2006

Sorry I missed you, Mike

Mike Nickerson and Donna Dillman were in Winnipeg on the 11th, promoting Mike's new book Life, Money and Illusion. Unfortunately, I had to work late and wasn't able to attend the event. Luckily, I had already bought a copy of the book, but it's no substitute for a real life presentation. Any Manitobans looking for a copy of Mike's book - you can purchase it from the Green Party of Manitoba ($20). Just contact the GPM office (488-2831).

Mike will be in Kingston on July 19, so if you're in the area, be sure to drop by!

Sunday, July 09, 2006

Joy Kogawa and Metta Spencer

Last night I attended an amazing reading by Metta Spencer and Joy Kogawa. They are road-tripping from Vancouver to Toronto, stopping at bookstores along the way.

My folks were in town (from Dauphin), so we all went together. Kogawa sat down beside my mother and we chatted about how I had met Joy several years ago at an ecumneical conference in Ontario. She had been a guest speaker and had read us sections of the poem she was working on: A Song of Lilith. I remember that it was so beautiful it made me cry.

Last night, Joy Kogawa was reading from Emily Kato, which is a reprint of Itsuka. There are also some significant re-writes, so even if you already have Itsuka, pick up Emily Kato. Art Miki, former President of the National Association of Japanese Canadians, was in the audience. He is featured prominently in the book because it tells the story of the redress movement and, of course, Art Miki was right in the middle of things.

Metta Spencer was promoting her book Two Aspirins and A Comedy and spoke about the role television could play in fostering a culture of peace. Very interesting stuff.

Joy Kogawa told the audience about how their last stop had been Yorkton, where they had met a Grade 12 student who had no hope for the world. He felt that the end of civilization cannot be avoided. The story of this Grade 12 student from Yorkton reminded me of similar conversations I have had with Roger Benham.

Despite the hopelessness of humanity's current situation, this student plans to become a massage therapist to help people one person at a time. You can read about him in Metta's blog.

Joy Kogawa then told us about how, during the fight for redress for Japanese Canadians, she didn't think that it would actually be achieved, but that didn't stop her. She told us about how she never dreamed that her house would be saved. She spoke about the need to do your part, even when hope is fleeting. Then she read the opening passage of Emily Kato. It was so beautiful it made me cry.

Saturday, July 08, 2006

vote NO on the proposed constitution/ne votons NON sur les révisions constitutionnelles proposées

(le français suit)

A number of people have asked me what I think about the proposed constitution and bylaws.

On June 30, Jim Harris said:

The Constitutional Review Committee’s proposed changes to the constitution, if adopted, will leave the party open to take over and merger.

I think the biggest problem with the proposal is the low threshold for amendment. The NDP and LIberals both require 2/3 to amend their constitutions, and the Conservatives require a double majority (of both delegates and provinces) to amend. At the 2004 general meeting, Jim Harris brought forward some important amendments (like the current Article 20) and included protection for them through the current Article 10. This is stripped from the proposal.

Some people plan to vote in favour of the proposal and suggest we fix all the problems later, but I don't think this is a good strategy. Jim fought for those articles to be included for a reason, and I don't want to gamble with the party's future.

Beaucoup de membres m'ont demandé ce que je pense à la révision constitutionnel.

Le 30 juin, Jim Harris a dit:

Les révisions constitutionnelles proposées par le Comité de révision constitutionnel, si adoptés, laisseront la partie ouverte pour succéder et la fusion.

Je pense que le plus grand problème avec la proposition est le bas seuil à modifier. Le NPD et les libéraux tous les deux exigent de 2/3 de modifier leurs constitutions, et les conservateurs exigent d'une double majorité (des deux délégués et provinces) de modifier. Lors de l'assemblée 2004, Jim Harris a avancé quelques amendements importants (comme l'Article 20) et a inclus la protection pour eux par l'Article 10. La proposition enlève cette protection.