Thursday, October 2, 2008

Recent Headlines from the Globe and Mail

‘Dead Zones’ killing marine life, scientists warn: Need to halt oxygen depletion caused by fertilizer runoff and sewage outflows. The 400 marine dead zones doubles every 10 years. Fish that swim into the zones die. August 15, 2008.

Greenland ice sheet melting faster than predicted, report says: A new study warns that the Greenland ice sheet could raise sea levels three times higher than predicted. September 1, 2008

Large Arctic ice shelf breaks away, now adrift in Arctic Ocean: The 50-square-kilometre Markham Ice Shelf broke away in early August. September 3, 2008.

Oil refineries underestimate release of emissions, study says: Test facility spewed 19 times more cancer-causing benzene than it reported. September 6, 2008.

Alberta oil spill kills hundreds of birds: On top of the 500 ducks killed in April 2008 on a tar sands tailings pond, a recent conventional oil spill has killed another estimated ducks and swallows. September 10, 2008.

Oil spills far exceed forecast, study says: Oil spills off Newfoundland have already exceeded estimates even though the projects will operate up to 15 more years. September 16, 2008.

Alberta’s reluctance may doom advisory group: Government refuses to follow CEMA’s recommendations on sustainable land use. CEMA is composed of oil companies, government agencies, natives and ecological groups. It studies the environmental effects of industrial development in the tar sands. September 18, 2008.

Black clouds on the horizon for birds of the world: From field sparrows to boreal chickadees, 20 of the most common species in North America are being decimated, report warn. September 23, 2008.

Humanity at risk: Are the males going first? The percentage of males being born is dropping, virility and fertility are down, testicular cancer is up. Scientists say males are more vulnerable than females to pollutants while in the womb. September 20, 2008.

World’s Shark and ray species at risk: Of 21 species surveyed, three-quarters are in danger due to overfishing. May 23, 2008.
World biodiversity drops by one-third: In the past 35 years worldwide biodiversity has dropped almost one-third due mainly to habitat loss. May 16, 2008.

We need a government whose first priority is taking immediate action on climate change! We must ensure that future generations do not pay the price for Canada's poor environmental record. We have to learn to cooperate and work together if we are going to make the necessary changes. Give us a future by protecting our environment now!

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Our children deserve no less- the costs of nuclear outweigh the benefits.

We must never forget about the consequences of our actions today on future generations, especially not when nuclear power is involved.
I just answered the following comment on a recent blog post of mine:

"Larissa, I agree with most of the positions that have been articulated by the Green Party. But I am particularly troubled by your dislike of nuclear energy. Nuclear, is, by no means, an optimal energy source, but in terms of radioactive pollution and radioactive waste, it is light years ahead of coal. If a nuclear reactor was proposed for the Moose Jaw area (at Lake Diefenbaker) to replace highly pollutting coal-fired power plants at Estevan or Coronach, would you be for or against such a development?"

There is unfortunately a lot of controversy with the nuclear issue, so I have posted my answer below for others:

At the current rate of usage without building any new nuclear power plants, we would be out of domestic uranium in 40 years! With the soaring price of uranium (approx. $10/pound in the 1990's to appprox. $170/lb these days) and with industry making false claims that nuclear is green, many new plants are proposed around the world and five new plants in Canada as well.

Each gigawatt of nuclear energy requires 170 tonnes of uranium. When the uranium is processed into fuel, 250,000 tonnes of carbon are emitted for every 1000 megawatts produced. Nuclear energy produces huge amounts of greenhouse gases. There is no safe way to store the radioactive waste produced. Nuclear waste stays toxic for one million years! It is highly carcinogenic, and so are the routine emissions of nuclear power plants.

Consider the following information quoted below:

"The KiKK study commissioned by the Federal Office for Radiation Protection in Germany and made public on December 10th 2007 examined cancer rates in young children between 1980 and ­2003. It showed a 60% increase in solid cancers and a 117% increase in leukemia among children up to five years of age living within 5 km of 16 German nuclear reactors. It also found a 20-40% increase for all cancers in children living within a 50 km radius of the plants. These nuclear power plants were operating under normal conditions, with radiation releases well within levels allowed for civilian populations."

I just lost my seventeen year-old cousin to cancer. When are we going to start taking responsibilty for our actions and start addressing any known causes of this cancer epidemic?! I have to represent our party's position on nuclear strongly, for Jen.

The quoted info above continues:

"The new evidence from Germany of an association between increased cancers and proximity to nuclear facilities raises difficult questions. Should pregnant women and young children be advised to move away from them? Should local residents eat vegetables from their gardens? And, crucially, shouldn't those governments around the world who are planning to build more reactors think again?"

I do not support and can not support a nuclear power plant being built in Saskatchewan, especially nearby. I hope you won't--can't, either.

As for coal, leave it in the ground! The health consequences from coal are completely awful too, and the effects to the environment from coal are HORRIBLE! That is why we must shift away from non-renewable resources (like uranium) and make the transition to a healthy, just and sustainable energy future.

All of Canada's uranium is mined in Saskatchewan, and 85% of it is exported to the U.S. In a recent book on the war in Afghanistan by Jack Warnock, he writes the following:

"Depleted uranium (DU) is produced during the uranium enrichment process. The U-235 used to produce fuel for reactors that generate electricity is removed, leaving the U-238 isotope. The remaining material is extremely dense and increases the penetration capability of weapons; it is used in the warheads of missiles and bombs. On impact the shell, with its uranium and traces of americium and plutonium, vaporizes, generating very tiny particles of radioactive dust. When this is inhaled it stays in the body, emitting radiation. The DU used in US weapons comes from the uranium mines in Saskatchewan.

Thousands of DU bombs and missiles have been used by US forces in the Afghan and Iraq wars. A typical bunker bomb contains 1.7 tons of depleted uranium."

I shudder to think of what we have done to the health of too many inncocent civilians in Afganistan, most of which are women and children. We all deserve a chance at a healthy life. This is not the legacy that I want Saskatchewan to have. We can't control the uranium mined here once we ship it south of the border. Nuclear is an international security threat and is destroying ecosystems too.

Plus, Saskatchewan's uranium is mined using dirty coal in Texas. How does this make nuclear better than coal? NEITHER should be an option, especially when we have more wind and solar power generating capacity than anywhere else in the world, right here in Saskatchewan!

I am a young women. I have to think of future generations. If I don't, who will? Certainly not Harper!

Can nuclear power meet our energy needs and be the solution to climate change? Not when one considers the cost, pollution and threat to global security associated with nuclear power.The Green Party believes that choices should be economically rational. The best energy choices to respond to the climate crisis should be those that deliver the greatest reduction of GHG per dollar invested. By this criterion, nuclear energy is among the very worst options. Reactors cost billions of dollars, take more than a decade to build, operate unreliably after about the first dozen years of operation, and only produce one type of energy: electricity. Even if the industry were “green and clean” as claimed by the pro-nuclear propaganda efforts, it fails on the economics. Nevertheless, it is neither clean nor green.

I'm sorry that we can not support nuclear to appease your opinion, but I can not lie to yourself or others about this issue. I am too honest by nature, and our children deserve no less.

Peace and Solidarity,

Larissa Shasko

Free transit in Moose Jaw Sept. 15-20: a good first step, but not enough!

From Septmber 15-20, the city of Moose Jaw will be offering residents free bus service. Acting city transit supervisor, Darlene Noble, said the free bus week not only gives riders a chance to try out Moose Jaw’s new seven-piece transit fleet, but promote environmentalism as well. I say it's a good first step, but it's not enough.

It's a shame that our city's brand new garbage bins (that hold five bags) weren't accompanied by local blue bin service, which would create local green-collar jobs in Moose Jaw and help to make our city cleaner for the people that have to live here for many years to come. Becoming a zero waste city with local recycling facilities would mean even more new jobs in Moose Jaw.

Here's some more good news for the City of Moose Jaw: the Green Party would allocate one cent (1%) from the GST on a per capita basis to municipal governments for “Green Cities” initiatives, ensuring (through contractual agreements) that the funding is not used in ways that encourage urban sprawl, but instead to reduce sprawl and greenhouse gas emissions, conserve electricity and water, increase densification, expand convenient, safe, reliable and affordable public transit, and build cycling and walking paths.

But if you're looking for multiplex funding from this Green M.P., sorry! I do not consider it a fiscally responsible project. I was not consulted, were you? Is democracy lost in this country?

The Civic Centre would, however, be getting a federally funded facelift and "greening" including energy retrofitting which will actually provide the Moose Jaw Warriors with more money by reducing utility bills. This would be accomplished with the Green Party's Sports, Cultural and Recreational Facilities (SCRF) Fund to support the development of green recreational and cultural facilities and refurbish existing facilities. If a facility already exists, it should be refurbished. Why throw away a whole building with a great history and force the burden onto Moose Jaw taxpayers when we have not been asked first. This is not fiscally responsible. This is certainly not green. Plus, what's the harm in asking Moose Jaw taxpayers first?! The Green Party is a grassroots party and that means we stand for DEMOCRACY!

Public transit is a very important part of urban sustainability, but Moose Jaw's bus routes and hours of service need to be improved in order for public transit to be adequate here. Since public transit is being featured as environmentally friendly by the City of Moose Jaw, this means that it needs to be adequate enough for those that work outside of regular business hours to be able to bus to work or stores in the evening hours. Right now, the bus only runs on Thursday evenings and not at all on Sundays. If you can't take the bus on a Sunday, how are you supposed to spend the day with family or friends if you don't own a car and live too far away? Biking isn't an option for our city's seniors or for anyone here in the middle of winter! Our public transit system needs work, but this is a good FIRST step! I hope many people take advantage of this opportunity. Thanks to the city for offering free bus rides next week.

As your Green Party M.P., I would double existing funding to stimulate a massive re-investment in public transportation infrastructure in all Canadian towns and cities to make it convenient, safe, comfortable and affordable. With the money already spent on the new transit fleet, an equal amount of funding provided by a Green Party Government could be invested in more bus drivers for extended hours and days of service, meaning, once again, more new local jobs in Moose Jaw.

You have the power to make that happen Palliser! I'm pleased to be your Green Party Candidate.

Peace and Solidarity,
Larissa Shasko

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Youth Have the Power!

Young environmental activists are popping up everywhere! We have a different view on life, and unless you are one of us, you may not realize how frustrated we feel, or that it is not a hindrance for our lives at all, but rather, it gives us power!

Many people my age are not afraid to express either our insecurities or our frustration about the way things are today, infact we probably want and need to. I think it's healthy for us to express these frustrations, especially since we have inherited an unhealthy planet to raise our own children in someday.

It is important to recognize that the younger generations are being told from a variety of sources that we will be the ones who will someday feel the full effects of climate change and environmental poisoning, and the outlook is even worse for my generation's children. As a women, these thoughts obviously way heavily on my mind and heart. It is my view that many older environmental activists will find that their message will hit the younger age demographic hardest, more specifically younger women, and we will become not only afraid of the "what if's" laid out by environmentalists before us, but we will be angry that we have to either live with or try to fix a problem that we did not create, at least not by our own doing. As a young person, I feel that this anger is healthy, as we have been dealt a rough card.

But please don't worry about me or the rest of us Young Greens for a second! Our frustration, our fear, our anger--- that's what gives us power as youth to create the change that is needed. It may surprise older generations to hear that many young people today are willing to sacrifice the traditional role of youth as carefree, driven by fun, and apathetic. But my generation, Generation X, is different! We are coming of age, and we recognize that we do have the power to change this world for the better! If the older generations are prepared to hear our frustrations, our worries, and most importantly, our anger towards those out there with bad intentions who have made our futures that much more complicated, we will succeed even faster!

Generation X fights hard, but we laugh even harder! No one knows how important it is to take time off, to have fun, and to come together for good times and great memories than generation X does! When we tackle the things in this world that we as a generation have deemed unjust, we gain a feeling of empowerment and great joy that has, unfortunately, been lost by so many other people our age. We are more interested in stopping the tar sands or learning about the risks of nuclear than in what Lindsay Lohan is doing or how many children Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie have now, and we wouldn't have it any other way! We are proud of who we are and what we are doing, and this empowers us with joy!

After meeting a number of like minded youth over this past summer, the following are similarities in the priorities of environmentally progressive youth I have noticed:

*We care about communities. We want to experience the caring relationships and sense of sharing that comes out of these sort of arrangements where we take care of each other. Not only are communities sustainable, they are an essential part of human nature that has been misplaced for generation X by the computer age and widely dispersed families of the modern day. We are coming together to form communities, and we are already benefitting remarkably by doing this.

*We recognize the responsibility of technology. We know that computers are a tool and must not replace people, or control our lives. We are beginning to see cell phones as a mistake for our health, the environment, and our pocket books. We know that natural is better than artificial, and that profit often overrides human rights. We may feel this way about technology as a whole because we are the generation that would have the hardest time going back to a computerless world. Technology has brought so much good to us that we recognize the importance of using and developing it responsibly.

*We are willing to change our materialistic upbringing, often drastically. It is easier to change our ways when we are still young, and since we have many years ahead of us, we feel the urgency perhaps even more than older generations do. For example, many of us have given up driving, even more of us have given up meat or are eating less of it to lower our ecological footprint, etc. We demand organic because it is healthier for our young bodies and our young minds. We are willng to live with less "things" and to replace material goods with good times and friendship.

*We know the power of freedom of speech, and we are not afraid to use it. Never has youth been so passionate about the causes we tackle. The world is finally turning green out of necessity, and today's young environmental activists will potentially see the hard work of activists from the past 30 years come to fruition in our own lifetimes. It is exciting! We are on the verge of a revolution. My generation recognizes this, and we want to fight that much harder. We see that despite all the hard work of incredible activists who came before us, things like the tar sands or palm oil plantations have not ben stopped, and truthfully, we get scared by that. We feel that we must be that much braver, that much stronger, and that much louder than out predecessors. Amazing older activists will one day be passing the torch down to the younger generations, and we will be more than ready!

What I've learned from other youth this summer has not only fueled my ambitions, but has also brought the importance of friendship and community back into my life. I hope this message has shown you how honored I am to fight for a Green and just future.

It may come as a surprise that a 26 year-old like myself has chosen to devote my time to being a Green Party Candidate, Young Greens Councillor, and an activist, but I wouldn't trade it for anything! The brilliance and the joy of activism is that you don't have to feel powerless, no matter what you have to face. The people I continue to meet everyday in this journey make my heart smile, and the memories that I'm making will last a life-time!

In Solidarity,

Larissa Shasko

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Canada needs the Green Party more now than ever!

The world is so rushed these days. Everyone has ten thousand things to do, and we are all running as fast as we can just to stay afloat. Inflation, rising gas prices, and Globalization only make matters worse. Are days of family, community, and happiness over?

According to the television, the only way to be happy in the year 2008 is to buy as many "wonderful new" products as possible and to be beautiful, even if it means plastic surgery, botox injections, breast implants, crazy and unhealthy diets, aspartame, hair extensions, tanning beds, and new teeth via lumineers.

As I see it, vanity is just another way for corporations to profit. They are counting on us to buy into it, to feel inadequate without looking like a star in a magazine (even though that star doesn't even look like their air-brushed picture in the magazine). And if you don't have the latest version of windows, then forget about having a life, hey?!

When did the world get so crazy, and why?

I am learning a lot about the economy this summer, and how to make it sustainable. I am taking a class in Ecological Economics at the U of R. We are in trouble with the current system of GDP (Gross Domestic Product), which requires the economy to grow forever just to stay at the same level of quality of life for you and I. I would argue that our quality of life is actually decreasing as the economy grows. We are running out of what's called "waste sinks". In otherwords, the earth is running out of room for the waste that is created by growing the economy endlessy.

The Genuine Progress Indicator is a new and different kind of accounting method that provides a more complete overview of well being then the GDP does. The GPI measures areas such as housework, health, culture, fitness, family time, volunteering, literacy, water, air quality, farmland, forests, and employment. Perhaps under that system, we could lower our ecological footprint.

An ecological footprint represents the land and water it takes to provide us with the things we use and to absorb our waste. To calculate your own ecological footprint, click on this link:

The sad part is that even if we all change our individual lifestyles and, as Mike Nickerson would say, learn to live on this earth as if we want to stay, that would barely make an impact. For this problem to be solved, industry has to change. They produce huge amounts of waste compared to you and I. I'm not saying that it's not important to live as green of a life as possible (because it is), I'm saying that it's not enough. We need industry to change, and we need Green Party Governments elected around the world to legislate the necessary changes.

The shift to a green economy is actually a great thing all around. We NEED to use less energy and make less waste. To do this will require much more human energy, which translates into more jobs, including a whole new wave of green jobs for our generation and our kids. Poverty in third world countries will also be relieved through sustainable jobs and by stopping corporations from going into these countries to destroy entire ecosystems forcing the people that live there off their land by polluting the air and water beyond being liveable. We're allowing corporations to do that in Canada too, in Fort Chip, an Indigenious community located downstream from the Alberta Tarsands. They are experiencing huge increases of auto-immune illnesses, and they have lost too many of their people to extremely rare cancers.

Because of NAFTA, Canada must continue to develop the Tarsands in Alberta and Saskatchewan in order to maintain U.S. oil supplies (presently used for the U.S. war effort). Otherwise, Canada will be taken to a NAFTA tribunal, sued, and will be forced to develop the Tarsands anyway. The Tarsands will single-handedly cripple Canada's ability to meet Kyoto Targets, and therefore cripple the world's ability to meet Kyoto targets. As Nuclear power gets further utilized by corporations as a way out of carbon taxes by convincing people that nuclear is green and safe when it's NOT, AT ALL, Canada will have to continue exporting uranium mined in Saskatchewan, despite the increased cancer rates from Uranium tailings.

NAFTA must be killed, and only the Green Party of Canada will do that.

In 1997, Canada banned the import of a maganese compound gasoline additive called MMT. It was banned out of concern that the carcinogenic manganese contained in the octane enhancer could cause memory impairment, tremors, and in extreme cases, psychosis similar to that caused by Parkinson's Disease.

Through NAFTA, U.S. based Ethyl Corporation sued Canada for more than a quarter billion dollars (the amount they claimed they lost in profits and reputation by Canada's MMT ban). Rather than face a messy scrap, the Canadian government paid a reported $20-million settlement to Ethyl Corp., wrote a letter of apology and agreed to withdraw the ban on MMT. As a result, it is still counted as one of the many chemicals added to the gasoline we pump today.

It is cases like MMT and horrible acts against humanity like NAFTA that keep me fighting for what is right. It is issues like the Tarsands, uranium/nuclear, and palm oil that stop me from giving up. If I don't speak out, who will? I am an activist, and I can't sit by while my world, my future, crumbles. That is why I am the Green Party of Canada Candidate for Palliser. Canada needs the Green Party more now than ever.

Peace and Solidarity,


Wednesday, July 23, 2008


From July 4-7, 2008, Canadian youth from coast to coast to coast gathered in Edmonton for a three day long climate summit. We came to form a united front of youth whose vision is to stop further development on the Alberta (and Saskatchewan) Tarsands with a transition to a just and sustainable energy future through Green jobs and renewable energy. We recognize that this will not be easy...

However, it is so worth it! Canada can't meet our Kyoto targets because of the Alberta Tarsands, and the world can't meet Kyoto targets without Canada. The Alberta Tarsands and the soon to begin development of the Saskatchewan Tarsands is an issue that affects everyone on this planet.

I found out about the National Youth Climate Summit only shortly before the event, yet I instantly knew that I needed to go. Three friends of mine also attended from Regina, and it was so much fun to carpool with them.

The summit started off with in-depth education about the Tarsands. We learned not only about the shocking statistics, but also about the people whose lives have been hurt so badly by them. Apparently, the Alberta boom is a lot like the Saskatchewan boom; only corporations, the very elite, and the extremely wealthy scum are benefitting from it. Two thirds of the people who find jobs created by the Tarsands are laid off after the construction phase. Families that have relocated to Alberta, and more specifically Fort McMurray, are faced with insanely high housing costs along with no income after these lay-offs. Fort McMurray has grown from a city of 40,000 to 65,000 practically over night! Forecasts from the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo's Strategic Planning and Policy Division indicate that the city will reach a population of 100,000 by 2012. The rates of suicide, drug/alcohol addiction, and spousal abuse have gone way up in Fort McMurray. The city can not keep up with the housing and healthcare demands of such rapid growth. So, why are so many people moving to a place that is out of control? It's simple really. The answer is money.

As I understand it, average people from overseas and across Canada (especially from somewhat nearby cities like Moose Jaw) come to Fort McMurray to receive fantastic wages for working twelve hour-long shifts in extremely dangerous jobs. Sometimes their families come with them; sometimes they get left behind. The rows of little white crosses that line the surrounding overcrowded highways are a blatant symbol that far too rapid expansion simply for the sake of maximum profit is far more important to the oil and gas corporations than human life is.

Regina Ecoliving has an amazing article entitled "Canada's Highway to Hell" about the devasting effects of the Alberta Tarsands.

I strongly encourage you to read the full article here.

This article offers such vital information, especially for those of us in Saskatchewan who are about to be subjected to the same woes once the next sale (August 11) of Crown petroleum and natural gas dispositions, including oil sands exploratory permits begins.

A few Quotes from "Canada's Highway to Hell"-- by Regina Ecoliving:

"Most locals call it Hell's Highway or the Highway of Death. On any given day thousands of logging trucks, SUVs, semitrailers, buses, and tanker trucks form a frantic parade to and from North America's largest engineering project. Convoys of extrawide loads often block an entire lane of the highway with turbines, tires, or house-size coker ovens used in oil processing. In fact, Highway 63 ferries one of the highest tonnages per mile of any road in Canada.

This congestion encourages a certain do-or-die recklessness. Impatient drivers not only pass on solid lines on hills but do so at speeds of 140 miles an hour. As a consequence, road accidents tend to be fatal or bloodily spectacular: Every month as many as four tar-sands workers get decapitated, skewered, or incinerated."

"With nearly 175 billion barrels in proven reserves, the tar sands represent the biggest pile of hydrocarbons outside Saudi Arabia. Many experts suspect they hold eight times that much."

"Most Americans don't know it, but approximately 16 percent of their oil imports already come from northern Alberta. Plans drafted last year by the North American Energy Working Group, which is made up of high-ranking Canadian and U.S. officials, recommend boosting production from one million barrels a day to five million barrels in a "relatively short time span." So the tar sands could soon be topping up a quarter of the U.S. gas tank."

"The (Alberta Tarsands) project will eventually transform a boreal forest the size of Florida into an industrial sacrifice zone complete with lakes full of toxic waste and man-made volcanoes spewing out clouds of greenhouse gases. Are Canadians willing to create an environmental disaster in Alberta in order to provide the U.S. market with some of the most expensive oil in the world? The answer seems to be an emphatic yes."

Please visit the Regian Ecoliving website by clicking here to read the rest of this very informative article.

It doesn't have to be this way. It musn't be this way. It is hard to write about without tears in my eyes. What have we done?

And where is all this oil going?

In all honesty, it's going to kill civilians in Iraq and Afghanistan. It's going to the U.S. war effort. With tankers that easily use one gallon of gas per mile, not to mention the huge amount of fuel needed for air power attacks. Alberta Tarsands production will soon be lifted from 1 million to 5 million barrels a day! Yikes! Producing 1 million barrels a day already uses as much natural gas as it would take to provide heat to 4 million homes! With 5 million barrels a day, that is equivalent to heating 20 million homes.

Forget about Kyoto, forget about a future for my generation's children and grandchildren.

But on with the "war on terror"!?

Friday, June 27, 2008

Announcement of Candidacy for Green Party Federal Council and Green Update from Larissa Shasko


I am pleased to announce my candidacy for the position of Councillor at Large on the Federal Council of the Green Party of Canada (GPC). The Federal Council Elections are held in conjunction with the GPC National Convention (AGM) held in New Glasgow, Nova Scotia on September 5-7, 2008. Voting packages have just been sent out. Voting can be done in person at the AGM or by e-mail ballot.

One of the main reasons that I am running for Federal Council is too increase the level of awareness, Green Party membership base, and environmental activism that exists in my home province. I was born and raised in Saskatchewan, and I made the choice to stay in this province to help make it a better place for everyone to live, now and in the future. In the recent GPC by-election, the Green Party of Canada received 13% of the popular vote in Vancouver and Toronto ridings. In Saskatchewan riding of the federal by-election, the Green Party of Canada received only 3% of the popular vote.

Saskatchewan residents are falling victim to acid rain from the Alberta Tarsands, we are at threat of a nuclear power plant being built here to provide power to the Alberta Tarsands and to the U.S., and we produce most of Canada's grain. We've also lost passenger train service within the vast majority of Saskatchewan and we produce more greenhouse gas emissions per-capita than any other province mainly because we rely on coal for power (even though we have endless sun and wind here). You'd think we would have many reasons for caring about the environment in Saskatchewan, but a lot of people haven't woken up to the facts yet. I will do all I can to raise awareness here, especially as Councillor at Large on GPC Federal Council.

The Green Party is doing incredible things and has an amazing vision. If you are not a member of the Green Party of Canada, please consider becoming one today. You have to be a member of the GPC in good standing to vote for Federal Council. I need your vote to get elected! There are no demands placed on you for becoming a member, it is not permanent, and you don't have to get involved in any way unless you want to. But you can help me to get involved on your behalf.

Click on the following link to join the Green Party of Canada:

Green Party members residing anywhere in Canada can vote for the position of Councillor at Large.

I am the only candidate for Councillor at Large from the prairies.

Voting for Saskatchewan Representative is only open to GPC members that are Saskatchewan residents, so make your voice heard Saskatchewanians!

Click on the following link to join the Green Party of Saskatchewan:


I'd also like to update you on where I have been devoting my efforts in the Green fight lately:

I am the Green Party of Canada Candidate for MP in the next federal election for my home riding of Palliser (as of March 2008). Palliser covers the southwest corner of Regina and all of Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan. I was also the candidate for Palliser in the 2006 federal election. I am thrilled to have a great Palliser team to support the campaign, including an Electoral District Association started up in 2006 by my Official Agent, Phil Boychuk. Phil is a great asset. We need all the help we can get, so don't hesitate to get in touch with myself or Phil Boychuk to offer your help as a volunteer or in the form of a tax deductible donation to the Palliser campaign.

To make a donation online to the Palliser campaign, click on the following link:

Last fall, I ran as a candidate for the Green Party of Saskatchewan (GPS) in the provincial election for my home riding of Moose Jaw-Wakamow. I felt it necessary to run for the GPS to represent such issues as nuclear power that were being ignored by the other political parties and the press. I remain a committed Green party of Saskatchewan member. I have been offering my help to the new GPS executive for policy and other areas, and I will be coordinating the province's youth supporters, including Green Party Campus Clubs, during the summer and fall semesters.

I have been serving as Finance and Administrative Chair on the Young Greens of Canada (YGC) Council since February of 2008. The YGC is the entirely youth run wing of the Green Party of Canada consisting of all Green Party members from ages 14-29. I recently had the privilege of writing the very first YGC Budget Proposal which will potentially bring new resources to Green Campus Clubs and help to grow Green Party youth membership. The average age of a Canadian voter is 59! Youth can make a Green Party Government happen just by voting and bringing a friend or two! I am honoured to be on the YGC Council, and I plan to stay involved with the YGC until I am 30, and unfortunately, too old! My involvement on the Young Greens Council has inspired me to offer my services as Councillor at Large on the Federal Council of the Green Party of Canada. The people I have met (and continue to everyday) through the YGC share the same vision. We will win this fight. The planet and the future generations are relying on us. Government has an important role to play in protecting the environment from further damage and in creating policies that will help us to live on this planet as if we want stay.

I have been back at the University of Regina since Fall of 2007, and loving every minute! I am majoring in Political Science and minoring in Visual Arts. I am taking some great classes on environmental issues as well. I plan to study law at the University of Saskatchewan after I finish my degree. I am interested in Environmental Law and Charter Law (Charter of Rights and Freedoms).

Thanks so much for your time and your help in the Green fight to do what is right!


Larissa Shasko

Friday, June 13, 2008

"Vision Green Eyes"- The Beauty and Integrity of Arts and Culture

Above: (Top)Wasabi, pencil (Bottom)Blind Contour Drawing, pencil

Below: 5 Minute Sketch, Charcoal

Above drawings were done by Larissa Shasko in winter 2008.

The Arts have never been as important to Canadian Society as in these times of increasing ugliness. Our beautiful natural landscape is being consumed by sprawling cities, growing suburbs, and resource extraction. Strip malls, parking lots, litter, and unwanted graffiti do not ennoble us as a people. On the other hand, beautiful and intelligent Canadian art has the ability to enrich our lives while bringing peace in times of pain. We live in times of pain that will only get worse: cancer, school shootings, job loss, climate change, futile war, auto-immune illnesses, world-wide food shortages, shall I go on?

Art has an important place in this crazy world, and Canada is home to amazing talent that must be embraced and celebrated. I am a Visual Arts Minor at the U of R partly because art offers a stress release from the demands of being a Political Science Major. My father, Orest Shasko, is a Canadian artist. His work is beautiful, but it is not well-known. He has had to spend his life working as a teacher and a carpenter instead. Like so many other talented Canadian artists, his art has often had to take a back seat to making money. This is a shame of epic proportions.

In addition to incredible visual art, many talented actors, and a booming film industry, Canada is home to amazing musicians such as Neil Young, Rush, The Tragically Hip, Arcade Fire, and Stompin' Tom---just to name a few. Their music elevates Canada around the world. They are more than musicians, they are Canadian embassadors, and they do us proud! This is the power of art: to heal, to represent, to unite, to educate, and to beautify.

Unfortunately, art appears to mean very little to the Conservative mindset. In his first budget, Harper's Government axed $4.6 million in funds for museum assistance. This was one of the many cuts in the September 25, 2006 budget delivered by the Conservatives which had a surplus of $13 billion! For more on the cutbacks in the 2006 budget, click here.

Now, Bill C-10 seeks to give the federal Heritage Department the power to deny funding for films and TV shows it considers offensive. Censorship does not belong in the world of art, especially not in Canada where such gems as SCTV have gained us world-wide recognition. Clearly, the Conservatives have the wrong approach when it comes to arts and culture.

The Green Party has a different vision. Government can create the right conditions to protect and support those who beautify and enrich the Canadian identity through their art. Today, over 600,000 Canadians are employed in the cultural sector.

Our Vision:

The Green Party understands that our future, our sense of who we are as a nation, depends on policies that ensure a thriving, diverse and socially responsible cultural community as part of an inclusive Canada.

We will continue and increase support for those cultural institutions that are within the Heritage Canada portfolio: Canada Council, the Canadian Broadcasting Company (CBC), the National Film Board (NFB), and Telefilm Canada.

We will reverse the funding cuts of the Harper government for the exchange of artists and the performance of Canadian arts abroad as they are a vital aspect of effective diplomacy and artistic expression.

We plan to establish the equivalent of the Japanese National Treasure programme where outstanding individual artists are supported to perfect their craft.

Green Solutions:

Green Party MPs will:

Increase support for community arts programs and facilities across Canada by establishing stable base-funding at a set percentage of the federal budget.

Establish a grant programme that provides full costs of university, tuition, books, housing and living expenses for 200 students whose artistic promise is extraordinary

Protect Canada’s cultural identity during trade negotiations.

Increase support for regional arts festivals that bring Canadian art to a wider audience.

Provide stable base-funding for the CBC so it can continue to provide quality Canadian content
television and radio programming in both official languages to all Canadians.

Ensure that the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) to reserve more bandwidth for independent and non-profit stations.

Require cinemas and video chains to have 20 % Canadian content.

Adequately fund Canada’s heritage and artistic museums to protect our cultural heritage from decay and neglect.

A note from Green Eyes:

Art has been around for far longer than Conservatives have. Artists record the world, reveal hidden or universal truths, give visible or tangible form to ideas, philosophies or feelings, and help us see the world in new or innovative ways. Artists are experiencers, reporters, analysts, and activists. Art is truly an important part of life.

In my first art class, my amazing art prof, Seema Goel, taught us about landscapes. We are all familiar with landscape paintings: painted scenes of the great outdoors, generally absent of people. I learned that in landscapes, what is painted is what is considered to be temporary. We are familiar with European landscapes featuring rolling green hills, jagged mountains, lush waterfalls, or bone-chilling winter scenes. Inuit landscapes feature none of these things. For the Inuit, their scenery is constant. For them, temporary is the brilliant sky, the animals, and the people. With the polar ice caps melting, I sadly wonder if Inuit landscapes will start to include the snow.



Read Vision Green! Click Here

Monday, May 26, 2008

Rush Rocks Regina!

Rush is one of the greatest bands ever, and I just had the chance to see them live in my hometown! Rush played Regina, Saskatchewan on Sunday, May 25th. This was the second time I have seen Rush in concert, both times on the Snakes and Arrows tour. I made the trek to Calgary to see them last summer. I did not believe they'd come to Regina on this tour! Their show in Regina was even better than Calgary was! It was also louder (and so was the crowd). Everyone had a great time, and the setlist was unbelievable! Subdivisions, 2112, Red Barchetta, and 3 hours beyond just those gems! Thanks Rush!

Rush is a Canadian (and proud of it) band. All three members: Alex Lifeson, Geddy Lee, and Neil Peart, are world class musicians. They are also one of my absolute favorite bands.

I find it hilarious and odd that I get constantly questioned for being female and liking Rush. I have not faced too much opposition for being a female political candidate or pre-law student, but apparently if a girl likes Rush, all hell brakes loose!

Well, that's just too bad, because I think that Rush is one of Canada's greatest strengths. Great bands inspire society to become more involved with the arts. The Green Party has an amazing platform for enriching Canadian culture and improving the lives of the many very deserving and talented Canadian artists across the entire arts spectrum. I will write more about that soon in a new section called "Vision Green Eyes." It wil be my take on the Green Party of Canada Platform called "Vision Green."

It is too late to write more! Goodnight Regina Rush fans!