"Every Newfoundlander knows someone in Fort McMurray" -- Victory for N.L.ers evacuating Alberta

"Every Newfoundlander knows someone in Fort McMurray," writes petition-starter C.L. Brake of Cornerbrook.

C.L. wanted to help her fellow Newfoundlanders trying to flee the Alberta forest fires, and petitioned independent Crown Corporation Marine Atlantic to offer free ferry crossings to Newfoundlanders trying to return home.  

"The people who have had to evacuate their homes mostly left with what they had on their backs," she wrote on her petition. "[They] may be displaced for days, weeks, or even months. [...] We need to help them.  Most of us here cannot physically do anything to help because of the distance. Let's talk to Marine Atlantic and see if we can help the ones who choose to come home."

On Saturday - just a few days but hundreds of signatures later - she was able to update her signers with some good news:

"Thank you all for your support. Marine Atlantic has officially announced that they will give evacuees free passenger fare and 50% of vehicle fare when travelling home to NL. This is a great help to all affected by this devastating situation. God bless you all and please continue to help where you are able."

From our U.S Blog: "Sanders and Trump Supporters are Bonded by One Thing"

Bernie Sanders and Trump supporters, who share different opinions on almost every political issue, are bonded by a single concern: they want to be heard by delegates.

As we enter the last months of primaries and get closer to the party conventions in July, people are questioning the way that our electoral system works, particularly when it comes to delegates.

Many voters worry that delegates’ votes will not reflect their vote, or how their state voted. To that effect, we’ve seen many petitions specifically asking that delegates vote for Donald Trump (16 petitions) or Bernie Sanders (39 petitions). (Hillary Clinton also gets a shout out with 7 petitions).

Trump and Sanders supporters have different concerns when it comes to the delegate system depriving voters of their voices.

For Sanders supporters, of course, the issue is superdelegates -- party big wigs who can vote for whoever they want. This petition, started by Elliot Simpson, asking Washington state superdelegates to support Bernie Sanders has the most signatures regarding delegates with more than 8,800.

“Despite the caucus delegates supporting Senator Sanders by a margin of approximately 3:1 over Hillary Clinton, the super-delegates of the state have already committed to support former Secretary-of-State Clinton,” writes Simpson. “...It is your civic duty to represent your constituents according to how we have cast our votes, and we support Senator Sanders!”

For Trump supporters, the fear is a contested convention that leads to multiple rounds of delegate voting. A contested convention means that the candidate with the most delegates walking into the convention (Trump) may not be the one that walks out with the nomination.

With more than 3,300 signatures, Jamie Hart’s petition echoes the concerns of many Trump supporters stating, “If Donald J. Trump receives the majority of delegates he should not be blocked in any way by the RNC or anyone else. The people have spoken. He will be the 2016 Republican Nominee.”

Americans aren’t just upset about delegates. They want to reshape the electoral process in other ways as well.

Citizens in Arizona, Florida, Pennsylvania, New York, and California, for instance, would all like to change their state’s closed primary to an open primary system.

Kate Davey is based in Change.org's New York office.



Denis Coderre: Stop horse-drawn carriages/Non aux calèches

On any given day, you will find carriage horses being left unattended and untethered at the hack line while their drivers socialize with other drivers and fail to pay attention; making dangerous u-turns in heavy traffic around the Montreal's Old Port Area. You will see carriages being overloaded because no one in authority is monitoring the situation.

And this does not even begin to touch on their living conditions, which include no turnout to pasture; "legally" working 9 hours a day, 7 days a week; stalls, which are legal, but less than half the size of what experts recommend. Let's also consider people and the human safety issue - flimsy open carriages; most importantly, the nature of a 1,500-2,000 pound animal whose first instinct is to flee the scene when frightened becoming an unwitting weapon. Around the world people have been killed because of out-of-control carriage horsesspooking -- both passersby and those in carriages. A five-year old girl; an elderly woman, a young boy.

It's time to ban horse carriages in Montreal.


À tout moment, on peut trouver des chevaux d'attelage laissés sans surveillance et en liberté sur le bord de la rue(pendant que leurs guides socialisent et ne font pas attention à leurs animaux). Les cochers font des demi-tours dangereux autour du quartier du Vieux-Port de Montréal et on peut voir de calèches surchargées parce que personne ne surveille la situation.

Et cela c'est sans parler de leurs conditions de vie, qui ne comprennent aucune visite à des espaces de pâturage; travailler «légalement» 9 heures par jour, 7 jours par semaine au milieu des voitures (ainsi que leur émission de CO2). Les calèches sont légales, mais elles sont moins de la moitié de la taille de ce que les experts recommandent. Considérons également les gens et la question de la sécurité humaine – les calèches sont fragiles et ouvertes. N'oublions pas le plus important: la nature d'un animal pesant entre 1500 à 2000 livres dont l'instinct premier est de fuir la scène quand effrayé. Ceci peut devenir une arme involontaire. Autour du monde, des gens ont été tués à cause des chevaux hors de contrôle - des passagers et des piétons. Une petite fille de cinq ans, une aînées, un jeune garçon.

Il est temps de bannir les calèches à Montréal. 

"Mr. Prime Minister, please do what you promised" : Growing petition calls for extended maternity leave

Extend Maternity/Parental Leave for Canadians to 18 months

Petition by Toronto Mommies:

While campaigning in 2015 the Liberal Party and their leader, current Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, campaigned on the Liberal's promise to many young families to increase the maternity/parental leave from 12 months to 18 months. Many parents voted Liberal just for that reason and are now planning to hold the new government to their promise!

For many moms who are now on mat leave, the change can't come too soon!

Here is a link to the Liberal's promise:https://www.liberal.ca/realchange/more-flexibility-for-parents/

Justin Trudeau promised that:

"We will introduce more flexible parental benefits that will:

allow parents to receive benefits in smaller blocks of time over a period of up to 18 months; and make it possible for parents to take a longer leave – up to 18 months when combined with maternity benefits – at a lower benefit level"

Daycare situation in the province of Ontario and Canada as a whole goes from dire to not ideal. An estimated 20% of our daycare spots are licensed, prices sky-rocket and availability is scarce. Some cities drive young families out just because there is no realistic early childcare solution for their children. Even when a spot is available, the daycare will only accept toddlers from 18 months. Why, then, does our maternity leave end at 12 months? How are the average Canadian young parents expected to go back to work? Who will care for their child? It makes no sense.

Extending maternity/parental leave to 18 month will allow parents to care for their children until they are ready to go to daycare. It will allow for families to survive during this difficult financial period of having a child. It will encourage people to have more children and it will make for better communities and better policy!

"Mr. Prime Minister, please do what you promised and make it easier for us to have children without having to lose our jobs!"

#BringLimHome - A Canadian humanitarian stuck in North Korean Prison

On December 16, 2015, North Korea sentenced a Canadian pastor on a humanitarian mission to hard labor for life for "crimes against the state."

Hyeon Soo Lim, a Korean-Canadian pastor from Toronto in his early sixties, was given the sentence after a swift 90-minute trial. He has been in detention since February 2015. 

Pastor Lim traveled to North Korea on January 31, 2015 on a regular humanitarian mission.  Since 1997, Rev. Lim has been supporting where help is most needed, including an orphanage, public schools, and a nursing home in North Korea. He's made more than 100 trips to North Korea during the last 20 years, supplying food, textbooks, and agricultural tools to civilians. His trips were not political in nature.

He was charged with "crimes" including harming the dignity of the supreme leadership, trying to use religion to destroy the North Korean system, and helping U.S./South Korean authorities abduct North Korean citizens, along with assisting North Korean refugees escape the authoritarian regime. Rev. Lim admitted to these charges, which were most likely forced (other foreigners detained in North Korea and then released have said they were coerced into making similar statements and confessing guilt). 

North Korea has very strict rules against any missionary or religious activities, as they are threatening to the supremacy of totalitarian leadership. Merely leaving a Bible in a public place can lead to arrest and severe punishment.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau expressed "tremendous" concern with the sentence and noted that Canadian consular officials have not been allowed access to Lim while he's been in custody. "We certainly hope to be able to engage with this individual and stand up for his rights," Trudeau said. Diana Khaddaj, a spokeswoman for Canada's Global Affairs Department, said Canada is "dismayed at the unduly harsh sentence [...] particularly given his age and fragile health."

But the Canadian government needs to express more than mere hope and dismay.

How will Prime Minister Trudeau and United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon respond to a humanitarian imprisoned - and most likely abused and tortured - in the world's most atrocious regime? 

What we are asking for is more than possible. Last year, North Korea released Kenneth Bae, a Korean-American missionary who was convicted of anti-state crimes and had been serving a 15-year sentence.He was freed along with another American detainee after a secret visit by James Clapper, a top U.S. intelligence official.

The Canadian government and the United Nations need to take strong, affirmative action NOW. If there is political will, Pastor Lim can be rescued.

Few of us have the courage and dedication to jeopardize our life and liberty for the sake of those in need. But all of us can help #freepastorlim #bringlimhome. Please sign and share! 

The petition is available in these languages on separate pages as well:
French/français https://goo.gl/3GXp58

Korean/한국어 https://goo.gl/Lg5HrD

Chinese/中文 https://goo.gl/hczw65

Japanese/日本语 https://goo.gl/oQckOO

This petition was created by Ji-Soo An (U of Alberta Law School) and Hyun-Soo Lim (Yale Law School). We started the petition after reading this disheartening story on the news. For inquiries or comments, please contact us atfreepastorlim@gmail.com

Victory! A woman will finally be featured on Canadian money

From Victoria based historian and petition starter Merna Forster:

"We did it! On International Women’s Day, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Finance Minister Bill Morneau announced that a Canadian woman will appear on a new bank note in 2018. As you know from Minister Morneau’s response to our petition, the Bank of Canada has now launched a public consultation process, which began with an invitation to nominate notable women on a website. Please be sure to suggest the iconic Canadian women you’d like to be considered; you can submit as often as you like! And if you run out of ideas, take a look at either 100 Canadian Heroines (http://heroines.ca/about/100canadianheroines.html) or 100 More Canadian Heroines (http://heroines.ca/about/100morecanadianheroines.html).

It’s fantastic to see extensive media coverage of the announcement, and a lot of excitement. I did twenty interviews on March 9th: a television interview with Heather Hiscox on CBC News Network, seventeen radio interviews (including sixteen on CBC radio programs from coast to coast), and two interviews with journalists from newspapers. What a crazy day! My hometown newspaper ran an article supporting the Government’s decision and thanking me. 

Thanks to everyone who helped promote the campaign, and a shout-out to Pascal, Kathryn and Lauryn at Change.org for being an awesome team. It’s been a challenging time since I started this petition in July 2013, but I could not have found the determination to persevere without your ongoing support. I’m indebted to each and every one of you who signed the petition and to those who posted wonderful, heartfelt “Reasons for Signing”. When I was discouraged as did happen over these three years, those posts kept me going. I also appreciated your encouraging comments on my updates, and the many tweets and emails. Thanks to supporters Kim Cattrall, Margaret Atwood, Judy Rebick, Catherine Clark, Cynthia Dale, Shelagh Rogers, Lorna Crozier and Charlotte Gray.

Also, thanks go to each of the city councils that passed motions calling for Canadian women on bank notes and those of you who organized that. I appreciate Marvin Rotrand’s brilliant idea asking that Montreal City Council pass a motion about this issue. After that motion passed, it was very helpful that a number of councillors accepted my invitation to follow his example. Thanks to the councils in Whitehorse (Betty Irwin), Cambridge (Donna Reid), Toronto (Mary Fragedakis), Oakville (Cathy Duddeck, Pam Damoff) and North Saanich (Celia Stock) for supporting the national campaign with these motions.

I want to express my appreciation to several women from the Liberal Party of Canada in BC (Saanich-Gulf Islands) who quickly mobilized support for the campaign, from a resolution that made its way through the ranks to behind-the-scenes work in contacting Liberal MP’s. They are: Carolyn Stout, Vice-President; Lynda Sorensen, Representative on the Liberal Party of Canada’s BC Women’s Commission; and Renee Hetherington, Director at Large. 

I also want to recognize my amazing friend Virginia Watson-Rouslin, who contributed to the success of the campaign in a multitude of ways over many years – from being a sounding board to coming up with campaign strategies, arranging meetings, writing letters to journalists and politicians, championing the cause, etc. 

As we close the petition, more than 73,000 people have signed! Wow. 

We can all be proud of standing up for gender equality and fighting to ensure that Canadian women are celebrated on our bank notes. When the new notes featuring an iconic Canadian woman roll off the printing presses, you will know that you made that happen. Honouring a Canadian heroine on the face of our notes is an important step, and I hope that we can look forward to gender parity on bills as is the case in Australia and Sweden. Congratulations to all of you for this significant accomplishment, and thanks to Prime Minister Trudeau, Finance Minister Morneau and Governor Poloz for taking action."

Photo: Victoria Times-Colonist

Photo: Victoria Times-Colonist

"Thank you Merna": Finance Minister Bill Morneau responds to Bank Notes petition

Amazing news! Today, Canada's Minister of Finance Bill Morneau responded directly to Victoria-based historian Merna Forster, whose petition to feature a notable woman from Canadian history on our bank notes has over 70,000 supporters. Here's some of what he had to say (you can read the full response here):

"Thank you for signing this Change.org petition, urging the Bank of Canada to add a woman from Canadian history to a bank note. The advancement of women’s rights and progress has always been propelled by people like you – people who take the time to make a difference.

Women are, and have always been, instrumental in building Canada into what it is today. Yet in our country's nearly 150 year history, women, with the notable exception of the Queen, have been largely unrepresented on our bank notes. 

Like you, I’ve never felt that was right, and it’s why very soon after becoming Finance Minister I began discussing the idea with my colleagues and with Governor Poloz at the Bank of Canada.

On International Women’s Day 2016, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and I announced that an iconic Canadian woman will be featured on the first bank note of its next series in 2018 – and you get to pick her.


I invite all Canadians to have their say so that one day, very soon, a new generation of women will carry with them constant reminders that they are not only Canada's future, but a celebrated part of our history.

Thank you to Merna and to all of you for the passion you bring to this cause. Together, we’ll bring real change not just to our money, but to our country."

Bill Morneau
Minister of Finance

"Our mom is our sun" -- Minister McCallum: please grant refugee Dima Siam permanent residency

The three children of Dima Siam, who is fighting deportation from Canada to Syria because of a simple paperwork error. All of them live in Ottawa, and all three children are Canadian citizens. We are seeking the same status for Dima Siam as was recently granted to 25,000 other Syrian refugees welcomed to Canada: permanent residency

The three children of Dima Siam, who is fighting deportation from Canada to Syria because of a simple paperwork error. All of them live in Ottawa, and all three children are Canadian citizens. We are seeking the same status for Dima Siam as was recently granted to 25,000 other Syrian refugees welcomed to Canada: permanent residency

Petition by Matthew Behrens of Perth, Ontario:

 To: John McCallum, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada; Arif Virani, Parliamentary Secretary to Mr. McCallum; Jenny Kwan, NDP Critic for Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship 

We are asking you to grant immediate Permanent Resident status to Dima Siam, a stateless Syrian Palestinian who lives in Ottawa with her husband and three children, all of whom are Canadian citizens.

Since January 29, 2015, Dima Siam, a teacher with university degrees in education and biology, has lived under the threat of deportation from Canada to Syria, the very war zone from which Canada has recently received 25,000 refugees. Amnesty International writes: “As a Syrian woman Dima Siam faces a wide range of serious human rights abuses in Syria,” adding, “anyone fleeing Syria should be considered in need of international protection.”

You can provide Dima Siam with that protection by exercising your discretion under Section 25.1 of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act and granting her the same Permanent Resident status enjoyed by over 25,000 Syrians recently welcomed to Canada. You have shown compassion and common sense in resolving cases like Dima Siam’s that were left over from the previous government, and we trust you will do so once more upon considering the facts of this case.

Needless to say, the threat of deportation to Syria, where Dima Siam would be at risk from all sides of the conflict, ispsychological torture. It has resulted in depression, family stress – especially for the young children, who fear they too will be deported and who won’t stay in a room unless one of their parents is constantly with them – emergency room visits via ambulance, and a range of other afflictions due to a life of constant fear and uncertainty.

While a letter outlining the chronology of this case has been sent to your office, we wish to point out to you that Dima Siam finds herself in limbo because of a simple paperwork error, an honest misinterpretation of one checkbox on her sponsorship form, which was filled out by her husband, Mohammad. When Dima and Mohammad were called in to see an Immigration officer more than 20 MONTHS after it was submitted, they were informed their application could only proceed if they repaid a modest amount of social assistance that the family had received when the application was submitted.

 Despite meeting the Immigration Officer’s requirement of paying back the social assistance, on January 29, 2015, Dima Siam’s sponsorship application was rejected, and she then received a letter with this ominous demand: “You are currently in Canada without status and you must leave immediately.”

Needless to say, they were devastated. How could Canada send anyone back to Syria based on a checkbox error?What’s worse, in February, 2015, the Canadian Border Services Agency (CBSA) called Dima Siam in to fill out a Pre-Removal Risk Assessment (PRRA), which the family took great pains to produce and submit. After waiting almost an additional stressful year for a decision (one in which the stress resulted in emergency room hospital visits), they were told the CBSA would NOT review the PRRA application because it was issued to the family in error. When the government makes a mistake that results in an additional year of excruciating limbo and thousands in expenses, the only ones who pay the price are Dima Siam and her family.

Canadian courts and tribunals have long recognized that there will be instances where the strict, inflexible application of the rules in an individual case would be unjust and harsh, and the case of Dima Siam is certainly one of them (see, for example, Hajariwala v M.E.I., [1988] F.C.J. No. 1021, where the Federal Court of Canada recognized “The purpose of the [immigration] statute is to permit immigration, not prevent it.” See also Baker v. MCI [1999] S.C.J. No. 39, at para. 53-74, where the Supreme Court of Canada declared: “immigration officers are expected to make the decision that a reasonable person would make, with special consideration of humanitarian values such as keeping connections between family members and avoiding hardship by sending people to places where they no longer have connections.”)

While we are pleased to welcome 25,000 Syrian refuges to this country, we believe that Canada must also immediately end the limbo faced by Dima Siam and hundreds of other Syrian refugees facing deportation FROM Canada back TO Syria. They should be granted permanent resident status leading to citizenship so they can properly access health care, educational opportunities, and employment.

A positive first step will be the immediate resolution of the Dima Siam case, allowing her and her family to lift the weight of fear and terror that hangs over their heads with Canada’s threat to deport her to Syria based on an honest paperwork error.

We look forward to reading you have granted Dima Siam permanent residency and that your government will consider a similar solution for hundreds of other Syrians facing similar challenges.

Victory! Mail delivery is saved for 4 million Canadians

"I wonder, has anyone at Canada Post ever tried to to push a stroller or a wheelchair or a walker through the snow? I don't think they realize the impact of ending door-to-door mail delivery when it comes to the parents of young children, to the disabled, and to the elderly, especially in winter. 

This has to be stopped. A lot of people need home delivery because of their circumstances. Please sign the petition and share this with as many people as you can. The more people we get, the more solid the chances will be that Canada post and the government hear our voices!!"

That rallying cry is what Susan Dixon of Cambridge Ontario, a single mother of two kids including a 6-year-old with cerebral palsy, had to say in December 2013, when the government announced the end of home mail delivery. She didn't think she'd get much support, but felt she had to find some way to fight back. 

Two years and over 270,000 signatures later, after allying with postal workers, contacting the media, and rallying fellow Canadians, Susan managed to do what she thought was impossible: she helped saved home delivery, for herself and 4 million other Canadians.  

Tips for Petitioning the New Government

What if you could write a law? Or improve any government policy?

You feel closely connected to the issue, but you’re not satisfied with the situation. Based on your experiences or expertise, you know what it takes to make the country better. What would you do?

Canadians just elected a new federal government, and last week they arrived in Ottawa to get to work. Now, we can help set the tone for the next four years - we can show the new government that we have good advice about the decisions affecting our lives. Starting a petition on Change.org gives you access you the best online organizing tools in the world to raise awareness and mobilize support.

Here are a few tips for petitioning the government:

1. Find your minister. The prime minister is powerful, but chances are there is a minister in cabinet who can play a direct role in making the change you want to see. Take a look at each minister’s portfolio to target the right one and make reaching them part of your strategy. (List of all federal ministers)

2. Find other decision-makers or influencers. Who else has a say in the decision you’re after? There may be a government agency who can do what you and your supporters want. Also consider asking your local member of parliament to get behind your idea.

3. Check jurisdiction. If you can’t find the right federal minister or agency, it’s possible that your provincial or municipal government is responsible for your issue. Be sure to target the people that can really make the change you’re after!

In the digital age, you’ve got everything you need to rally support for your ideas, speak directly to your new government, and help shape Canada’s future:

Minister Hoskins: "Will you help give Me a voice?"

Petition by Liesa Switzer of Goderich, Ontario:

This is my daughter named Me.

Did we keep up with the latest celebrity baby name trend? Is it a family name?

No, my daughter Me, can't say her own name. At first, like many parents we laughed and giggled when we asked her name and she replied with "me". Until, we realized she can't say her own name.

You see, Me celebrates her 3rd Birthday today. Every day we try to guess what she is saying. From the time she wakes up until it is time for her to go to bed.

She has Apraxia of Speech. It's a neurological condition, she fully understands you but her brain can't send the signals to her mouth muscles to pronounce words properly. She needs to learn every single sound combination.

Children like Me need Speech Therapy. Children with apraxia of speech can learn to speak if they receive 3-5 therapy sessions a week. Without it many rely on sign language to communicate. Right now, the Ontario government provides therapy but because they are so full they can only offer one appointment every 2 weeks. She should be seen 6-10 sessions in that time. If they had the space, all of her therapy would be paid for.

Over the course of the year, she will only have 26 appointments. She should have 156-260.

This is a neurological condition and children should be given the proper medical treatment.

Private Speech Therapy costs $140 an hour. Many parents have been taking out loans and even mortgaging their homes to cover the cost.

Apraxia of speech should be treated like other neurological conditions and receive the proper treatment. Please help us tell our stories to the Ministry of Health and Ministry of Child and Youth Services.

Me and others like her need your help. She needs to be able to access the therapy she needs.

Will you help give Me a voice?

White House responds to "Making a Murderer" petition

Jan 8, 2016 — This response was posted by the We The People Team at the White House:

"Thank you for signing a Change.org petition on the Teresa Halbach murder case, currently featured on the "Making a Murderer" documentary series. We appreciate your interest in this case.

To best respond to your petition, we should go over what exactly presidential pardoning power entails..."

Bring back Katimavik!

Petition by Sami Lester of Belleville, Ontario:

La version française suit. Join me in petitioning the Canadian government to restore funding to Katimavik by September 2016 so that thousands of Canadian youth and hundreds of Canadian communities will be completely transformed. Signez la pétition pour le retour du financement du programme Katimavik dès septembre 2016 afin que des milliers de jeunes canadiens et canadiennes, ainsi que des centaines de communautés, soient transformées dans les prochaines années.

Before you read any further, share the link to this petition on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, email, and whatever else ASAP! Don't sign this petition in secret. Avant de poursuivre votre lecture, partagez le lien de cette pétition sur Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, par courriel, etc., dès maintenant! Ne signez pas cette pétition en secret!

 Also, watch this 3-minute video testimonial from Canadian Patrick Pichette, CFO of Google.  Aussi, regardez cette petite témoignage de Patrick Pichette de Google. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TKQOjMKKTL0

HISTORY:  In 1977, Katimavik began with the focus on educating youth and spurring on lifelong civic engagement through community service. In its first year, Katimavik mobilized 1,000 volunteers, who worked on projects in more than 80 communities. The program continued, through many ups and downs, throughout the years. In the 2011-2012 fiscal year Katimavik brought together more than 1000 young Canadians to contribute to the social and economic well-being of 54 Canadian communities; Katimavik provided over 600 not-for-profit organizations with nearly 660 000 hours of service to benefit those communities. Unfortunately, it suffered an unexpected blow with the March 29th federal government budget announcement. Despite strong words of support and encouragement from both the Prime Minister and the Minister of Canadian Heritage in previous annual reports, as well as the very positive summative evaluation of the program released by Canadian Heritage mere weeks prior to the budget announcement, the clear alignment with this government’s policy aims and priorities, and the indisputable value created by Katimavik for its volunteers and community partners, the federal government cut its funding of Katimavik. HISTORIQUE : En 1977, Katimavik était un programme qui misait sur l’éducation des jeunes à s’engager dans la société en rendant des services à leur communauté. Dans sa première année, Katimavik a mobilisé 1 000 bénévoles, qui ont travaillé sur des projets dans plus de 80 communautés. Le programme a continué, malgré les hauts et les bas, tout au long des années. En 2010-2011, Katimavik a réuni plus de 1000 jeunes canadiens à contribuer au bien-être social et économique de 54 communautés canadiennes; les bénévoles ont donné près de 660 000 heures à ces communautés en travaillant dans plus de 600 organismes sans but lucratif. Malheureusement, le programme a subi coup dur et inattendu dans l’annonce du budget du gouvernement fédéral le 29 mars 2012. Malgré les paroles de soutien et d’encouragement du premier ministre et du ministre du Patrimoine canadien dans les bilans annuels précédents, ainsi que l’évaluation très positive de Katimavik publiée par le ministère du Patrimoine canadien à peine quelques semaines avant l'annonce du budget, le gouvernement fédéral a tout de même décidé de couper le financement de Katimavik.

VALUE: The program was invaluable in the lives of rural and urban communities across Canada, not to mention the lives of those who participated in the program. Personally, it changed my life at a time when I needed to step back from life and reflect on where I was going. College/university was not helping me in that way. I needed different life experiences to help me decide my future and navigate relationships. Katimavik helped me, and other youth aged 17-21, develop independence, self-confidence, people skills, conflict resolution experience, emotional intelligence, positive attitudes, travel skills and much more. THERE IS NO OTHER PROGRAM IN CANADA THAT IS EQUAL TO KATIMAVIK. For Katimavik to be restored will immediately have an enormous impact on thousands of Canadian youth, and communities which receive the volunteers. It needs to be a 6- or 9-month program 100% fully funded by the federal government and open to all youth between the ages of 1-21 regardless of where they're from. (Currently, it is not so.)VALEUR DU PROGRAMME: Le programme fut inestimable pour les communautés rurales et urbaines à travers le Canada et aussi pour les jeunes qui ont participé au programme. Personnellement, il a changé ma vie à un moment où je devais prendre du recul afin de réfléchir à mon avenir. Le CÉGEP ou l’Université ne m’ont pas aidée à le faire. J’avais besoin de vivre des expériences différentes pour m’aider à prendre des choix en lien avec mon avenir et aussi avoir d’autres relations humaines que celles que j’avais déjà. Katimavik m’a aidée, moi et plusieurs autres jeunes âgés de 16 à 21 ans, sous plusieurs aspects : développer mon autonomie, la confiance en soi, développer plusieurs compétences, la résolution de conflits, gérer mes émotions, avoir une attitude positive, découvrir des cultures différentes et bien plus encore. IL N’Y A AUCUN AUTRE PROGRAMME AU CANADA QUI EST ÉGAL À KATIMAVIK. Restaurer Katimavik dès maintenant aura un impact énorme sur des milliers de jeunes canadiens et canadiennes et aussi pour les communautés qui les reçoivent. Le programme doit revenir à ce qu’il était avant, soit un programme de 6 ou 9 mois, ouvert à tous les jeunes âgés de 17 à 21 ans, peu importe d’où ils viennent, et surtout, entièrement financé par le gouvernement fédéral.

DESPERATION: I am now a full-time youth worker in a rural town in Ontario, and I am convinced Canadian youth desperately need the opportunity to do Katimavik as I once had. Prime Minister, and former chair of the Board of Directors for Katimavik, Justin Trudeau himself is also convinced that Katimavik is an invaluable program and was 'killed for ideological reasons.' So there is hope! DÉSESPOIR ET À NOUVEAU L'ESPOIR: Je suis maintenant une jeune travailleuse à temps plein dans une ville rurale de l'Ontario, et je suis convaincue que les jeunes canadiens et canadiennes ont besoin d’avoir l'opportunité de faire le programme de Katimavik, comme je l'ai eu il y a quelques années. En tant que premier ministre et ancien président du conseil d’administration de Katimavik, Justin Trudeau est lui-même convaincu que le programme est inestimable et a été « tué pour des raisons idéologiques ». Donc, il y a de l’espoir!

The best thing about Katimavik is that its benefits multiply over time. Invest in the life of a youth today and the next 30 years of their lives and the future of Canada will be forever altered. Please join me in petitioning the Canadian government to show it cares about the future of Canada and youth by reinstating Katimavik to its full glory by September 2016. La meilleure chose à propos de Katimavik est que ses avantages se multiplient au fil du temps. En investissant dans la vie des jeunes d’aujourd’hui, cela permettra de changer les 30 prochaines années de leur vie et l’avenir de notre pays! S’il vous plaît, joignez-vous à moi pour demander au gouvernement canadien de montrer qu’il se soucie de l’avenir du Canada, et de la jeunesse qui le compose, en rétablissant Katimavik d’ici septembre 2016.


For more info on Katimavik's history, see pour plus d'informations sur l'historique de Katimavik, voir…  http://www.katimavik.org/our-history   

For more information on Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's position, see Pour plus d'informations sur la position du premier ministre Justin Trudeau, voir… http://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/katimavik-killed-for-ideological-reasons-trudeau-says-1.1277023

Canadians Are Crowdsourcing Justin Trudeau's Government

Well, Canada, you wasted no time.

Last Monday night the Liberals rode a "real change" agenda to victory. By Tuesday morning, Canadians took to the web to speak to their new prime minister. Twenty-three new petitions for him, on day one. 

Life in the public square is playing itself out online, only the Internet has made the square bigger, more diverse, and capable of operating in real time. With every decision our government makes (or must make), social media in particular allow us to quickly gather, share, discuss, debate, suggest and demand, effectively crowdsourcing solutions to the questions facing the nation.

And by the looks of things, Canadians will have suggestions for Justin Trudeau every step of the way.

First things first

One of the first thing a new prime minister must do, for instance, is choose a cabinet. Cue the spate of petitions about cabinet, including seven (!) different ones on the first day asking Mr. Trudeau to name Green Party leader Elizabeth May to the post of environment minister.

Perhaps sensing this was a long shot, many (including the organizers of the largest petition) began suggesting Trudeau could instead invite May to the forthcoming Paris climate talks. He's now done so. Maybe he planned to anyway, but it certainly didn't hurt to have tens of thousands of Canadians joining the conversation and making such a strong recommendation.

And they have other ideas: Stéphane Dion for environment minister (again). Neil Young for environment minister (first time, pretty sure). Stephen Harper for finance minister (for real...and it has more support than the others). Then there's a personal favorite, Rick Mercer for Governor General. You never know.

And then, everything else

But there's much to do after choosing a cabinet, and in days following the election, Justin Trudeau heard from many more Canadians on a host of issues.

Interestingly, many new petitions address specific commitments the Liberals made on the campaign trail: multiple petitions on pot and democratic reform, for instance. Also on refugees, aboriginal women, veterans, clean energy, and more. A huge swath of Canadians have already mobilized. They are watching, and they are saying, cordially but clearly: "Dear Mr. Trudeau, Make Good on your Promises."

They're looking for new commitments: on everything from tuition to transit; C-51 to F-35s; ISIS to income splitting; TFSAs to the TTP; and from a National Housing Strategy to the PM's house. (There's a petition to renovate 24 Sussex, another asking CBC to film it, and a third calling for Mike Holmes to do the job. Together, a reality TV producer's dream.)

All told, we saw 87 petitions to the new prime minister in his first unofficial week on the job. Canadians, quite clearly, are eager to engage.

Who cares?

But what the heck makes these people think Justin Trudeau is listening?

Maybe it's that they've gotten answers from him before. My number is eight, as ineight direct responses to petitions on our site from Justin Trudeau during the campaign. On aboriginal womenmail deliveryrefugees, even the Kitsilano Coast Guard base -- these are commitments Mr. Trudeau made and communicated directly to the people asking for these specific changes. They won't forget about it any time soon. They'll want him to follow through on these things, and expect he'll be ready to talk about others.

(Deserving a mention here are Thomas Mulcair and Elizabeth May, who with great enthusiasm also adopted the idea of communicating with petitioners, responding to 12 and 20 petitions respectively.)

After shunning social media in the early years, politicians now see the value in meeting voters where they are: posting, tweeting, and gathering around petitions about issues that matter to them.

The conversation is on, and leaders who embrace these chances to interact stand to benefit. We all do, because we all get to be in on it. And that's true well beyond Canadian politics. New technologies offer people around the world -- and their elected leaders -- an opportunity to set a course towards more deliberative, participatory, citizen-made democracy.

Aside perhaps from Mr. Mercer as the Queen's viceregal representative, that's about as real as change can get.


Pascal Zamprelli is director of Change.org in Canada. This article also appeared on Huffington Post Canada.