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World Food Day Tastefully Celebrated

Potluckers pose for a photo at the Prince Albert Chapter of The Council of Canadians' annual Slow Food Potluck celebrating World Food Day.

Prince Albert, Saskatchewan -- October 27, 2016 -- World Food Day was celebrated at the Prince Albert Chapter of The Council of Canadians' annual Slow Food Potluck on Friday October 21. It was held at the well-equipped Grace Mennonite Church Hall.

Before slowly savouring the fruits of their labour, potluckers introduced themselves and their dishes and then explained how slow their food was. While it was not a competition, a spontaneous round of applause went to the baker who 23 years ago planted the tree which produced the apples used in her dessert. As many potluckers are also gardeners, there was a delicious variety of local garden produce: beets, celery, kale, squash, tomatoes, etc.

The World Food Day theme "Climate is changing. Food and agriculture must too" was recognized by the speakers.

Guest speaker Keri Sapsford from the Prince Albert Permaculture Guild said, "Our group is interested in the promotion of self-sustainability and producing our own food and creating community around that." She and Rene Blom, another member of the Guild, shared information about the newly developed seed library. The seed library is a partnership with the John M. Cuelenaere Public Library. In the spring, gardeners are encouraged to check out seeds and in the fall return seeds. The Guild hopes the seed library will become a collection of proven producers for our climate.

Wes Clark, Executive Director of the Prince Albert Food Bank, was also a guest speaker. He told the tale of the many ingredients that had to come together to start the Food Bank's own garden this year.

Many hands made light work of the dishes.

Democracy Like Umbrellas Needs to be Held Up

Photo: Umbrella Democracy event along North Saskatchewan River in Prince Albert.

Prince Albert, Saskatchewan – September 27, 2016 – Saskatchewan Chapter Fair Vote Canada (FVC) and the Prince Albert Chapter of the Council of Canadians celebrated Democracy Week with an Umbrella Democracy gathering.  It was held on September 25 at the river bank near Prince Albert's Diefenbaker Bridge.

Co-spokesperson of FVC Nancy Carswell explained to the crowd, "Democracy is like an umbrella, it only works if you hold it up."  She repeated her two minute open mic speech given to the Electoral Reform Committee (ERRE) which is touring Canada to gather public opinion and was in Regina on September 19. 

Both Fair Vote Canada and the Council of Canadians recommend proportional representation for electoral reform.  A key point in her speech was that "As citizens, we can best maintain our values if our voices have proportional representation in our government." 

For Umbrella Democracy, Carswell had 24 flags from countries which use proportional representation and are recognized for having a "most robust" democracy.  Generally, this means they have high voter turnout, fewer wasted votes, more women and visible minorities in government, income equality, economic stability, and better environmental protections. 

Umbrella holder Crystal Frenette said, "I want proportional representation.  It gives everybody more of a voice because it doesn't waste votes, like the 9 million that were wasted in the last election.  Mine was one of those wasted votes."

Carswell encouraged participants to visit tinyurl.com/tellerre where the Committee offers options for collecting opinions from the public until Friday October 7.  She also offered proportional representation post cards that are addressed to the ERRE and tabloids that explain proportional representation and its benefits.  "The committee's mandate is to find a system that offers effectiveness and legitimacy, engagement, accessibility and inclusiveness, integrity, and can offer Canadian-made local representation.  Proportional representation offers all of these and more.  As my co-spokesperson Dr. Lee Ward said as a witness to the Committee, 'Empowerment goes beyond 'engagement' or 'effectiveness.'  It is a radical and profoundly democratic principle.  It means literally every single voter having the power to elect a representative of their choice and every citizen experiencing the subjective feeling that he or she is part of the sovereign general will of society.'"

MPs were asked to have town halls and talk to their constituents on electoral reform.  Their reports to the Committee are due October 14 so people can also give their opinions on electoral reform to their MPs.