Good Sunday Morning – August 29

Good Sunday Morning!

And we are entering the third week of a very brief election campaign. 22 days to
go!

The most frustrating thing for me in election campaigns is that all normal work
stops. For me, this means I am no longer “technically” a Member of Parliament.
The various government departments we have been pressing for action, no longer
reply to request for help for constituents or major issues of all kinds. My amazing
staff still works in the constituency office, being as creative as possible to make
progress. But there is a suspension of normal work. This also happens within
government. Ministers shift to a “caretaker” role.

I cannot help but believe the abandonment of thousands of Afghani civilians with
ties to Canada and its allies, would not have been as extreme without the election.
We could have done a better job in moving to rescue as many as possible if not for
the election. I am sick with worry for the women of Afghanistan. A number of my
friends in this area have close ties with civil society, Afghan women
parliamentarians and women’s groups now falling into the hands of the Taliban.
We have known for months that this was a predictable event. Back in early July,
Gwynne Dyer wrote, “Kabul may fall in a lot less than six months. The Taliban
already hold at least half the country and they are currently taking new districts
literally every day.” (The Hill Times, Afghanistan’s likely fall: Taliban look to
take over country after troop withdrawa
l, July 7, 2021)

If parliament had been in session, that news would have led me to request that the
Speaker allow an emergency debate. But the House was in recess, and all anyone
wanted to talk about was the looming election. We were reeling from heat dome
and deaths from heat stroke, raging wildfires and the climate emergency, but still, I
think we could have raised awareness of the threat to Afghanistan and the urgent
imperative to get as many as possible to safety. All I could do this week was send a
donation to Amnesty International to help the women of Afghanistan. I encourage
you to do the same. 

Turning to news from the campaign trail, I am happy to report that all our
signatures are in. I am officially on the ballot – and I have voted!
The visit to the Returning Officer at Mary Winspear Centre gave me the chance to
vote. I decided to vote early, when there were no line ups. A lot of people do not
know that you can vote any day! As soon as the writ drops, you can vote. The
ballots are not yet printed of course. The deadline to get the signatures for
candidates is 2 pm tomorrow. So, we do not yet know how many other candidates
will be running here in Saanich-Gulf Islands. If you want to drop into Mary
Winspear Centre, you just write in the full name of the candidate of your choice.
You can also go on line to Elections Canada to request a mail in ballot.
The advance polls will be September 10-13. And, of course, election day is
September 20.


I picked up some more intelligence from the Returning Office. We will have only
11 locations for advance polls, about half what we had in the past. Due to COVID
and the Delta variant, Elections Canada cannot use elementary schools for polling
stations. Other news is even more disturbing, both the young and the old will
have additional barriers to voting.

There will be no polling stations on university campuses. The snap election just did
not give Elections Canada time to organize this. I personally find this inexplicable and
unacceptable. LeadNow has started a petition to demand that Elections Canada
revisit and correct this position.

I have not heard it reported anywhere that polling stations will also not be set up in
seniors residences- due to COVID. Elections Canada is offering to train willing
staff from seniors’ homes to allow them to conduct voting. But how many people
know this? I will be pursuing this inequity in coming days. For now, please help
me spread the word. This snap election is already proving all the various ways
that an election in a pandemic is a mistake.

As ever, the wonderful community groups of Saanich-Gulf Islands are rising to the
occasion. Already there are seven all candidates debates planned. The first will be
tomorrow on CFAX Radio from 12:30 to 1:30. All candidates will participate
virtually. Lucky it is virtual, as I had already promised to go to Mission to
campaign for Nicole Bellay in Mission-Matsqui-Fraser Canyon. I would have
hated to re-schedule Mission, but I would have because candidates’ debates here at
home have always been my priority. So please listen in.

Keep an eye on the election website “elizabethmay.ca” for other election updates.
After Monday and CFAX, the next scheduled debate is not
until after Labour Day on September 7, hosted by Salt Spring Forum, and also
virtual. You can send questions to the candidates in advance by emailing:
[email protected]

As ever, I am so grateful to all our loyal and dedicated supporters and volunteers.
Looking forward to seeing many of you – at social distance – at the Saanich Fair!
Wherever you are across Canada, please support your local Green candidate.
I know we are going to surprise a lot of the naysayers in this election. More
Canadians than ever want to cast their vote for the climate.
Please hang on to hope and vote Green!

Love,
Elizabeth
P.S. A candidate I really know needs help is Adeana Young in Skeena Bulkely
Valley. She is a fantastic Haida candidate, currently on a local school board, but
best known as one of the leads in the amazing Haida-language film Edge of the
Knife
. She is also the newly named critic for the Green Party for Reconciliation
and Indigenous Affairs. Her riding is over 300,000 square kilometres. So just
getting around in the riding is very expensive. I would appreciate your donations
to help Adeana win that seat! https://www.greenparty.ca/en/riding/2013-59028

Crowded by Fair Vote Canada
With first-past-the-post, most voters are crowded out by politicians more interested in holding onto power than bringing in electoral reform. Fair Vote Canada is a citizens’ campaign for proportional representation. Learn more at www.fairvote.ca