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Joan Russow is running for Councillor in Oak Bay PDF Print E-mail
Earth News
Posted by Joan Russow
Saturday, 30 August 2014 05:59

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photo by Janine Bancroft from the rally

SEE UPDATE AT http://pejnews.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=9940:vote-joan-russow-nov-15th-oak-bay-council&catid=84:vi-pej-events&Itemid=232

 

"Why am I running? 25/10/2014

 

 

I am committed to helping implement the Oak Bay Official Community Plan to reflect social equity and sound environmental and heritage values.

 I am concerned, however about how some sections might be interpreted and implemented.  

 Such as "There are some challenges related to infill housing in established neighbourhoods. One of these is the potential loss of vegetation and tree canopy associated with additional housing on a property." Page 74

 

While I have run in a couple of Federal Elections,  I have spent most of my political life  lobbying for compliance with international  law  

 I feel, however, that  Oak Bay is at a crossroads:

 Will Oak Bay chose to amalgamate and lose its character and identity.

and rather than protect heritage buildings allow them to be demolished or moved elsewhere?

And  will densification take precedence over the natural  environment?

 Or  will Oak Bay become a "green leader" in integrating  ecology, heritage, affordable housing, and a vibrant local economy within existing footprints as much as possible?  I  will work for the latter vision. And  I would  support the proposal that the CRD seek the designation of a UN  Biosphere Reserve and become worthy of this designation." (Joan Russow" This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it )

 

 

Joan Russow  

1230 ST Patrick Street

She has lived in Oak Bay since 1982

 

Joan is a widow with two sons and two daughters, and six grandaughters and a seventh to arrive in April.

 

She is internationally known for her efforts to achieve peace, and environmental and social justice,  through compliance with international law.  She feels it is time to curtail her international pursuits and focus on local issues. Her international experience, however, will be invaluable to a Council in need of a deeper understanding of our connections with the world at large.

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photo by Janine Bancroft from the rally for teachers

 

Joan  regrets that she will not be in Oak Bay for the full election period,  she returned jet-lagged at 6pm October 23  just before the Oak Bay All Candidates Forum . She had prior obligations to participate in The Hague at a Peace Symposium on the De-legitimization of War, and in Geneva on a panel related to the 20th Anniversary of the Beijing Conference on Women.  She can be contacted by e-mail at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .  Marion Cumming ( This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it ) has agreed to be her official agent.

 

Education

 

Joan has a BA in Art History and studied architecture and art in Rome, Seville and Paris, and an MA in Curriculum Development in Education. Both degrees are from UBC.  She developed a method of teaching human rights, linked  to peace, social justice and the environment, within a framework of international law. She has a doctorate from University of Victoria in interdisciplinary studies, and for several years, she was a sessional lecturer in Global Issues in Sustainable Development in the Environmental Studies Programme at the University of Victoria. From 1997 to 2001 she was the National Leader of the Green Party of Canada. She has since rejoined the NDP, and values the strong environmental values she has encountered in both parties.  At the same time she is aware that cooperation with Council colleagues ought to take precedence over strict political stands.

 

                                                                                                             

International  Experience in brief

 

Joan has represented the Ecological Rights Association at a number of international conferences on the environment. In 1995, she founded the Global Compliance Research project and wrote a 350 page book about obligations incurred, and commitments made by member states of the United Nations.  This book was officially distributed in French and English to all state delegations, at the Beijing Conference on Women, to remind governments of their legal agreements. Since 1996, she has participated, on behalf of Canadian Voice of Women for Peace, and an ECOSOC participant at various international conferences.

 

She believes that the most pressing challenges internationally, nationally and locally are  (i) that the political will necessary to promote the public trust has given way to vested economic interests to the detriment of the health and welfare of the community and the environment; and (ii) that the presumption that uncontrolled unregulated economic growth is the solution to national and local problems.

 

ENCOURAGING INCREASED RESPECT FOR CITIZENS

PARTICIPATION IN THE DECISION MAKING PROCESS  MAKING

 

Years of “consultative” panels, working groups, roundtables etc. before which citizens make well founded submissions and presentations that have fallen on deaf ears have alienated citizens. There must be a meaningful consultation process drawing upon citizens with a range of expertise and experience and occurring within a framework of overarching principles.

 

COUNTERING IMPACT OF TRADE AGREEMENTS ON LOCAL DECISION MAKING

 

 Ever since the MAI (Multiple Agreement on Investments) in 1997, when she lobbied Oak Bay Council to oppose the MAI Joan has opposed the signing and ratifying of  trade agreements at the international and federal level, not only because of adverse impacts at the national, regional and local levels, but also because most trade agreements lead to deregulation and violation of international peremptory norms affecting human and ecological rights, (including civil and political rights, social, economic and cultural rights,  labour rights, and indigenous rights).

According to the Vienna Convention on the law of treaties, a treaty is null and void if it violates international peremptory norms.

 

IMPLEMENTING THE PARTS OF THE OFFICIAL COMMUNITY PLAN THAT ARE REFLECTIVE OF SOCIAL JUSTICE AN ENVIRONMENTAL AND HERITAGE VALUES

 

Oak Bay’s rich heritage ought to be protected, yet diversity promoted.  Some neighbourhoods are worthy of consideration as Heritage Conservation Areas.  Since Oak Bay is recognized as a mature, built-out community, development ought to be confined as much as possible to existing footprints in order to conserve precious greenspace. To conserve biodiversity, our urban forest should flourish and a stronger tree bylaw be implemented. The 100 year plan for restoration of Bowker Creek can be speeded up. When ageing apartment buildings and condos are replaced, in exchange for the granting of variances, as a community benefit there needs to be a percentage of units categorized as affordable housing.  Parking must be addressed in situations where duplexes, triplexes, laneway housing and garden or in-house suites are concerned.  Permeable paving ought to be incorporated on some sites, and where adequate parking space does not exist, enforceable covenants precluding vehicle ownership must be signed.  

 

STRENGTHENING OF PESTICIDE REGULATIONS

 

The Oak Bay bylaw on pesticides with the word “generally” creates a loophole. Some of the main common pesticides that are not “generally”allowed for use- contain the following synthetic chemicals 

  • Glphosate as found in products such as Round-up, Sidekick.
  •  2,4-D such as weed n feed , Killex, etc
  •   Malathion 
  •  Carbaryl such as Sevin
  •  Diazinon

In addition, pesticides such as the neonicotinoids should be banned because of the proven deleterious impact on the bee population.

 

PROMOTING FOOD SECURITY

 

Since the 1960s, Joan has been a supporter of organic pesticide-free, agriculture. And she was part of the group that opposed the spraying, of Foray 48B, to kill Gypsy moths because of the impact on human health, the environment and local agriculture. In 1997 when she was leader of the Green Party of Canada she called for the banning of genetically engineered food and crops, along with the instituting of a fair and just transition for farmers and communities into organic agriculture. She participated in a conference organized by Vandana Shiva, and drafted a call for a global ban on genetically engineered crops. She supports the grassroots municipal GE-free campaign, and the resolution that was passed at the AGM of BC municipalities.

 

Joan is  a keen supporter of urban agriulture and of proposals to link those who wish to grow edibles with those who have land to share.

She supports farmland protection and expansion, and opposes the current weakening of the Agricultural Land Reserve.

 

PROMOTING A SEWAGE TREATMENT THAT IS ECOLOGICALLY SOUND

 

She has  been involved in dealing with sewage issues since the 1970s  in Kelowna where she was active in lobbying for tertiary treatment in Okanagan Lake. In the early 1980’s, she was part of an Oak Bay Citizen’s group lobbying against an inappropriate pumping station and proposing  real treatment - tertiary treatment. In the late 1980’s, citizens of the CRD were given three choices, one of which was to do nothing, and have faced the consequences ever since. In 1992, she examined all the Rio documents on water, including statements against dumping deleterious substances into the sea, the basis of her strong presentation to the Water District.

 

SUPPORTING CONSERVATION OF BEACH ECOSYSTEMS

 

There appears to be no mention in the Community Plan of coastal ecosystem preservation.

 

ADDRESSING CLIMATE CHANGE AT THE LOCAL LEVEL AND LOBBYING AT THE FEDERAL LEVEL

 

She attended the Climate Change conferences in Copenhagen.   Canada agreed to a reduction of 17 % below 2005 levels of carbon dioxide while the European Union was willing to agree to 30% below 1990 levels. Twenty years after the Rio Conference, Canada along with the US, deleted the Precautionary Principle, and Canada lobbied to remove any commitment to end subsidies to fossil fuel companies.  Oak Bay can address this issue from a local perspective as outlined in the Official Community Plan. In addition Oak Bay Council could raise concerns about the federal government’s failure to lead the way. in significantly mitigating greenhouse gas emissions. And point out that at the Rio +20, It was the municipalities that were demanding the significant measures that had to be taken to address the urgency of climate change.  She is opposed to pipelines from the tar sands and supports the concerns raised at the Union of BC Municipalities AGM.

 

PROMOTING CULTURAL AND NATURAL HERITAGE

 

She actively promotes the legally binding Convention on the Protection of Cultural and Natural Heritage and encourage their implementation federally, provincially and locally.  She supports the many proposals in the Official Community plan to preserve natural and cultural heritage. She was concerned by a decision reached at a heritage meeting in 1999.  A heritage building was preserved but  removed from its location in Oak Bay. She believes that this trend must be addressed because too many heritage buildings have already left the community through relocation and demolition.

She supports the proposal, by a number of groups, to apply for the designation, for the CRD, of UN Biosphere Reserve. This would encourage Oak Bay to live up to the expectations in the designaion.

 

ADVOCATING THE INCLUSION AND EXPANDING OF ENVIRONMENTAL EDUCATION AND THE ABIDING WITH THE PRECAUTIONARY PRINCIPLE

 

SUPPORTING SENIORS RIGHTS AND INTERGENERATIONAL RIGHTS

 

Not only must the senior population be assured of their basic rights of universal health care, housing, food, and social security, but also of their continued relevance and importance in society. There should be more intergenerational cooperative programs where the wealth of knowledge and experience of seniors can be shared. In addition, a specific program linking retired academics with a recording, teaching and publishing experience with students who apply for research funding, could maintain the intellectual relevance of the seniors and assist the students with their careers.  This can be carried out with the approval and cooperation of the resourceful Oak Bay Archives.

 

PROMOTING HOME SHARE – HOME CARE PROGRAMME

 

She supports an innovative proposal that could help more seniors remain in their homes. Home Share/Home Care would be a Registry of seniors and others in need of some form of assistance at home. They would provide background information related to their needs and their interests. Companionable tenants with harmonizing interests could live in at an affordable rent.  In exchange, they could help fulfill needs related to house and garden maintenance, meal preparation, errands, etc. An Affordable Housing Organization set up by Oak Bay could explore and help implement such an initiative. Home care through family reunification ought also to be encouraged.  The empty Easter Seal House on Granite Street ought to provide affordable housig

 

LAUNCHING A PROPOSAL OF A PROGRAMME OF CARE GIVER EXCHANGE

 

Familiy unification being granted when sons and daughters living in another contry are willing to come too Cannada to care for their elderly parents and a reciprocal arrangement with other statesw for Canadian sons and daughters are willing to go toother countries to care for their elderly parents.

 

 

 

PROMOTING PUBLIC TRANSIT

 

Because large buses are inefficient on many routes, apart from the ones leading to UVic, smaller demand-responsive buses are needed.  Scheduling needs improvement, including evening hours.

She supports many of the recommendations in the Oak Bay Community Plan  for ways of moving away from car dependency.  She hopes that serious consideration will be given to designating one Sunday a month as voluntary Car-Free Day so citizens of all ages can experience the community without unnecessary cars.

 

ADVOCATING CO-EXISTENCE WITH THE DEER

 

Oak Bay should not be a guinea pig. Local citizens have taken many measures to find ways of co-existing with deer and we ought to continue with creative, compassionate measures. The speed  limit in deer crossing areas like Cadboro Bay Road and Lansdowne alongside Uplands Golf Course, where most deer fatalities have occurred, should be reduced to 40 miles an hour. More well placed deer crossing signs ought to be erected in vulnerable areas. In the future after all reasonable measures have been taken in Oak Bay, if a deer count warrants deer population reduction, contraception ought to be implemented as a Pilot Project instead of proposals to kill the deer year after year. Oak Bay Council and the CRD should actively seek ways of promoting contraception.

 

OPPOSING AMALGAMATION

It is quite clear from the experience of Toronto and smaller cities that amalgamation would not benefit Oak Bay.  Important services that logically cross borders ought to be shared.

 

PROMOTING TRUE SECURITY WHICH  INCLUDES THE FOLLOWING OBJECTIVES:

  • to achieve a state of peace and disarmament through   reallocation of military expenses and delegitimization of  war
     
  • to create a global structure that respects the rule of law and the International Court of Justice;
     
  • to enable socially equitable and environmentally sound employment, and ensure the right to development and social justice;
     
  • to promote and fully guarantee respect for human rights including labour rights, women’s rights civil and political rights, indigenous rights, social and cultural rights – rights to food, rights to housing, rights to safe drinking water and sewage, rights to education and rights to a universally accessible, not for profit health care system.
     
  • to ensure the preservation and protection of the environment, the respect for the inherent worth of nature beyond human purpose, the reduction of our ecological footprint, rejection of the current model of unsustainable consumption

 

photo by Janine Bancroft from the rally for teachers and

Marion Cumming This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it is her official Agent

Last Updated on Wednesday, 05 November 2014 08:43
 

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