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All In Hand

Miss Vicky gives thanks

Miss Vicky Mon Oct 8, 2007

Wow. I can't believe it's been a whole year since WeeG was born. In many ways, it feels like he's been with us forever. Then again it's like he just got here.

We got up this morning and took a long walk by the Ottawa River - something we did a lot while I was pregnant. We all really love the river (Winston most of all, maybe) and the perfect loop that is Bridgehead-Western-River Pathway-Parkdale-Home. Today's strolling bonus: Bridgehead was open! On Thanksgiving Monday! So WeeG was able to have his tripleberry muffin fix enroute.

River Walk

Then we had a party for him at the Plant Bath. Very simple - a family swim, then balloons, cake and general mayhem in the Preston Room (a spot Miss Vicky recommends for gatherings - it's beautiful AND great when you have a mess of kids who need to run off their cake). Here's WeeG doing his favourite birthday activity, balloon chasing:

Balloon!

Here's the money shot:

the money shot

Gordie's birthday will often fall on Thanksgiving. Which is only right... he was born on Thanksgiving Sunday, a few hours before we were due at Miss Vicky's mother's for our turkey dinner (she snuck some in to the Civic later, thank goodness). And Miss Vicky is thankful, every day, for WeeG's presence in her life. It is so much fun to witness and be a part of how he grows and changes as each day passes. He is a beautiful, curious, joyful, loving little person. Now that he's mobile.... so close to walking.... it's even more fun (busy yes, but fun). It's great to watch him interact with his surroundings, how he smiles at the folks he passes on the street as we are out and about with the stroller, how he plays with the other kids at Kitchicoo. A lot to be thankful for, to be sure.
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A community grocery?

Miss Vicky Sun Oct 7, 2007

Following the closure of the Loeb on Booth Street - the only grocery solution for folks in Chinatown and it's nearby neighbourhoods, Somerset West Community Health Centre has been exploring different ways of getting a new grocery store to take up residence. They've approached chains and independent grocery owners in Ottawa, but to no avail. So now they are exploring the possibility of a community grocery store or food project. But they need to know if there is interest and support among folks in their catchment area. So they are doing a survey.

They're asking Lebreton Flats, Somerset Heights, Centretown and Hintonburg residents - anyone who lives North of Carling between Bank and Parkdale - to fill out their survey, available here. All responses are confidential and will be most useful in helping determine how to proceed.
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Wednesday: Ottawa Women for MMP

Miss Vicky Tue Oct 2, 2007

Want to see more women at Queen’s Park? So do we! Find out how voting YES to MMP in the October 10 referendum can help make it happen! Join women from all political stripes at Ottawa’s hippest gallery for an evening of informal discussion, networking and fun!

Ottawa Women for MMP Reception
Wednesday, October 3 CUBE Gallery
7 Hamilton Ave N
7-10pm


A bit of background:

As you know, Ontarians are being asked to make a very important
decision about the future of our voting system. I believe this question is of paramount interest to women, as a shift to mixed-member proportional representation, or MMP, will allow us to break through the political glass ceiling that keeps women in Ontario under-represented.

We will be asked to the following question and given two options:

Which electoral system should Ontario use to elect members to the provincial
legislature?

The existing electoral system (First-Past-the-Post)

or

The alternative electoral system proposed by the Citizens’ Assembly (Mixed
Member Proportional)

The Citizens' Assembly was struck by the provincial government to look at our electoral system and recommend how we might improve or reform it. It was made up of 103 representatives - one from every riding in the province, randomly selected but also reflecting Ontarians' diversity. They spent a year looking at how our democracy works, and examining different sytems in all corners of the globe. After careful deliberation, they decided that our current system (First-Past-the-Post) is inherently unfair, and recommended that we adopt a system similar to the one they use in Germany and New Zealand - Mixed-Member Proportional Representation, or MMP.

Currently, we vote for a local representative from a list of candidates representing political parties in our constituency. Whoever receives the most votes in our riding wins the seat, and whatever party receives the most seats in the province wins government. Generally, the distribution of seats and the eventual result rarely reflects the desires of voters, in that we often get governments who win a majority of seats in the province but receive less than 40% of the total overall votes. This has contributed to widespread cynicism among voters and a general sense that one's vote doesn't count.

With MMP, you would get two votes: one for a local representative, and one for a political party. The local seats would be elected just as they are today - whichever candidate receives the most votes in the riding wins the seat. Once all the votes are calculated and the local seats elected, parties will be allocated additional seats based on the proportion of the province-wide vote they receive. The people elected to these seats would come from lists determined by the political parties in advance of the election. The process the parties use to come up with their list must be transparent to voters - but they can use the lists to help ensure good representation by women, visible minorities and other equity-seeking groups, good regional representation, expertise in certain policy areas and so on. The Provincial Parliament would be made up of 2/3 local representatives and 1/3 representatives from the lists. A political party must have 3% of the TOTAL vote to win a seat in the provincial parliament (note: the only party other than the 3 current parties holding seats to have even come close to this goal is the Green Party, who have not yet broken the 3% threshold).

a few benefits to MMP...

- The results will actually reflect the will of Ontario voters - a party that gets 25% of the vote will get 25% of the seats. No more wasted votes.

- MMP retains strong local representation, but it also adds a new kind of representative in the people elected from lists. These members of provincial parliament will be accountable to voters province-wide and will supplement and complement the work done by local MPPs.

- There is a very good chance that our legislature will better reflect the people of Ontario. Systems with MMP have much better representation of women than our current system, where women are more or less frozen at 21% of seats. In New Zealand, where they recently switched to MMP, they have seen much better representation of women, aboriginal people and ethnic minorities.

Want to find out more? Stop by the Cube tomorrow!
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Kitchicoo is open for business!

Miss Vicky Mon Oct 1, 2007

Miss Vicky is not calling the daycare to check up on her son. Miss Vicky is not calling the daycare to check up on her son. Miss Vicky is not calling the daycare to check up on her son. Miss Vicky is not calling the daycare to check up on her son. Miss Vicky is not...

Kitchicoo launched today. I can't believe how well everything has come together. All the families have worked really hard - cleaning, building babyproofing solutions, painting, finding supplies, putting together a menu and more. It's going to be an interesting week as we find our feet and figure out the best way to work things. But we're pretty excited.

I dropped Gordon off this morning. Of course he jumped right in and started playing right away so I was able to sneak away without too much fuss. Hopefully he is adjusting (I'm sure he's better off than I am).

(for families interested in Kitchicoo - we have one full time space and one afternoon space left. Get in touch if you're interested!)
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