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