Good Sunday Morning October 23

Good Sunday Morning!

As I work wearing several different hats – as an MP, as a climate activist and as a leadership candidate – life goes on.  Amidst much joy in my life through blessings of family and friends, I have been experiencing recent loss. Two dear friends, likely known to many of you, died this month.

On October 4th, we lost one of the kindest and most generous women ever. Dona MacKie was the loving and much-loved wife of Bob MacKie. Bob has served in many capacities in the GPC – as President, as British Columbia rep on Council, as dedicated volunteer in SGI and key to getting this newsletter sent out for years.  Keep Bob in your thoughts as he goes through the tough days of recent bereavement.

This last Wednesday another dear friend and stalwart Montreal Green volunteer died. Michel Sigouin passed from this life after a brief and aggressive cancer diagnosis. Michel was a mainstay of every strong federal Green campaign in Quebec. When any candidate needed help, Michel was there.  I spoke with him the day before his death.  He was so calm, so brave. And he had faith. His strongest wish was for us to keep fighting.  Sending much love to his wife and family and to all those who loved him. It is a long list.

Reflections on love and loss also touched my work in the House as we paid tribute to the late Bill Blaikie.  Bill was an MP for thirty years and then became part of the Manitoba NDP government.  Wednesday, I was honoured to be among the six parliamentary speakers. I first met Bill Blaikie in 1987. We shared many adventures over that long friendship. I loved him and will miss him.

To my surprise, CBC As it Happens ran a clip that night at the 34:40 mark:  https://www.cbc.ca/listen/live-radio/1-2-as-it-happens/clip/15943440-plea-de-coeur

This YouTube links to my whole speech (including our marching together, and getting tear-gassed together, at the Seattle WTO).   https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RyIG7GVRCXk

Greens were also active this week pressing for action on water – and climate – stressing the link between the two:

CPAC.ca | Headline Politics | Federal Greens on Water Crises in B.C., Climate Adaptation – October 20, 2022

Elizabeth May: Canada needs an independent Water Agency – YouTube

As well, Mike Morrice was recognized by the people who mean the most to him.  He has been waging a crusade to eliminate poverty among the disabled.  We have worked together, of course, but Mike was thanked as “family” by the champions in Disability without Poverty. C-22, the act to create the Disability Benefit, moved through second reading with unanimous support! We will keep working to strengthen it!

Yesterday, I had a grand time in Calgary with Jonathan Pedneault, local friends and supporters. We experienced our first snow on the ground!  Later today, Calgary podcaster, Chris Brown, will be hosting all leadership candidates (6:30 pm ET, 3:30 BC) You can watch here: https://youtu.be/c5VLJPpF_aU.

All for now,

Elizabeth

Good Sunday Morning October 16

Good Sunday Morning!

I am not mentioning the leadership much this morning. Please join before Wednesday to vote! If you have joined the BC NDP (temporarily!), please vote in the Canadian Green leadership race. You can do both.

We are in mid-October with summer-like conditions continuing in British Columbia. We are at level 5 drought. Our normally rainy fall on the Island and the coast has been replaced with a long dry spell. Las Vegas has had more rain.

The drought conditions extend across the US with rivers running low. Just as BC salmon have too little water to swim upstream, so too has shipping slowed on the Mississippi.  This gets CBC’s attention. Without a trace of irony, CBC reports that Canadian oilsands dilbit is not getting a good price.  The perennial nonsense about how we would get a better price for oilsands dilbit if we could only get it to tidewater is repeated. Last week Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland made the absurd claim to defend completing TMX  – “to de-risk the pipeline” and “get our product to market.”  She was replying to Mike Morrice’s excellent question, citing the West Coast Environmental Law report by BC economist Robyn Allen that Canada is preparing to write off $17 billion in TMX debt. http://www.wcel.org/media-release/new-report-projects-federal-government-will-forgive-17-billion-trans-mountains-debt

CBC inaccurately reports “It’s generally seen to be of lower quality because of its high sulphur content…” Only partially true. It is of lower quality because it is mostly a solid, tarry bitumen, mixed with other petrochemical by-products (diluent) to make it flow in a pipeline.  At its destination, the diluent is removed, the bitumen is then upgraded to synthetic crude, and only then it can be refined.  Bitumen is, while expensive to produce, of inherently low value.  Now CBC reports it is getting even a lower price because several refineries are offline, and because Western Canada Select is mostly low value dilbit. (Western Canadian Select Explained | Oil Sands Magazine)

 CBC also notes another supply chain problem – low water levels. Ignoring  any mention of the climate changed-caused thousand year drought, CBC reports:

“…..barges on the Mississippi have been grounded in the past week … causing shipping delays and concerns that more could get stuck. One of the results…is that refineries that rely on the river to bring in crude and ship out product are temporarily losing their appetite for Canadian oil.”

CBC dolefully reports that demand for oil sands bitumen is waning. We have more than enough pipelines, but still, our bitumen is commending less than $60/barrel.  Oh! How we wring our hands at declining demand for some of the most carbon intensive oil on the planet.

Fortunately, CBC The Fifth Estate has done a great job exposing the climate fraud of the BC government, permitting logging for wood pellets.   https://tveveryday.com/the-fifth-estate-the-big-burn-october-6-2022-series-48-episode-2-on-cbc/

Canada’s mainstream media and most politicians are disconnected from the reality of climate chaos. Help Jonathan and me take the helm of the Green Party to effectively confront climate madness.    

In hope,

Elizabeth

Good Sunday Morning October 6

Good Sunday Morning and Happy Thanksgiving!

For all the colonial background of this holiday, it is always good to count blessings. It is easy to feel resentful of those with more – more power, more money, more success- until you consider the several billion people less fortunate. I have always loved Hoff’s The Tao of Pooh:
“Do you really want to be happy? You can begin by being appreciative of who you are and what you’ve got.”

This Thanksgiving I have the joy of time with family. Deep gratitude. And I am grateful for the Green Party family. I am so grateful for the hard work Greens do for a better world. Thank you to members, supporters and amazing volunteers. Please remind everyone to join by October 19 to vote!

Go to our websites to sign up. Btw, leadership candidates are not given the emails of members. We won’t have your email unless you sign up! Go to elizabethmay.ca and jonathanpedneault.ca. More than ever, I see that Jonathan and my joint leadership is desperately needed.

Why we do this is obvious. Every single day brings more reports of climate casualties. While the East Coast still deals with Fiona and 30 million Pakistanis are flooded out of their homes, the BC drought is terrifying. People in my riding are extremely aware of the fire risk. It was the news from Bella Bella of dead salmon clogging the nearly dry riverbeds that brought me to tears.

This week I have been working hard in parliament on the climate crisis.  This is likely the toughest climate question ever: Elizabeth May: UN Sec. General says leaders are lying about climate. Does he mean Canada’s leaders? – YouTube

We cannot ignore other key issues. In this speech I lay out the threat to public health care and emphasize Green solutions to the housing crisis, highlighting Mike Morrice’s work: Elizabeth May: Bill C-31 does not address the cause of skyrocketing housing costs – YouTube

I had to delay a planned return to BC when the government scheduled the Canadian Environmental Protection Act updates in S-5 to Friday.  This bill is a priority, as is getting my own bill C-226 confronting environmental racism passed into law.  
Elizabeth May: A right to a healthy environment must be enforceable – YouTube
Elizabeth May: Will the government create an enforceable right to a healthy environment? – YouTube

If you are not subscribing to our Parliamentary Week in Review, please do. You can always catch up with Mike and my parliamentary work here: https://elizabethmaymp.ca/

To everyone living on the Saanich Peninsula, please come to a non-partisan Community Meeting, Thursday, October 13, 6:30-8 pm at Sidney’s Mary Winspear Centre.   We will have meetings on the Gulf Islands and more locations on the peninsula, trying to move back to pre-COVID schedule.

For now, thanks for all your support. We do need donations for the leadership run. Please give if you can!

Love and Thanksgiving blessings,
Elizabeth

Running for Co-leadership of the Green Party: A Marriage Not of Convenience, but of Purpose

Elizabeth May

As Policy readers can imagine, there have been many and varied reactions to the news that I am throwing my hat in the ring to be Green Party leader – again.

The overwhelming response is “Why?” with a significant dose of “Are you nuts?”

The prospect of running for leader of the Greens in tandem with a much younger partner, with both of us running to change the leadership structure of the party, makes the prospect entirely different.  Delete “again.” Jonathan Pedneault and I are running to be co-leaders for the first time.

Turning to the first question, “why?”

I would not be doing this if the April 4th report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) had been reassuring. The Liberals are building their climate plan claiming net zero by 2050 will ensure our children a livable world. The IPCC  report knocked the stuffing out of that notion.  The only way to hold to 1.5 degrees C, or even the far more dangerous 2 degrees C of average global  warming, is to ensure Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emissions globally stop rising and start falling (or in IPCC terms, “peak”) at the latest before 2025.

I had trouble breathing as I took in that one key conclusion. It was the first time any immovable “do or die” IPCC timeline had loomed as soon as “before 2025.” It was the first time the IPCC had put the window closing on 1.5 or 2 degrees in the same sentence. I stopped measuring the time remaining to avert catastrophic global changes from years to months. Adding to my panic was the Liberal-NDP Confidence and Supply Agreement, effectively removing political heat until 2025 – after the window on a liveable world will have closed.

Two days later, the Liberals approved Bay du Nord – another one billion barrels of oil to be drilled, pumped and burned to make “peaking” before 2025 impossible. The next day, the budget yet again committed to the completion the Trans-Mountain pipeline to boost exports of bitumen. With UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres condemning any new fossil fuel investments as “moral and economic madness,” Justin Trudeau was doubling down on madness.

Those days in early April set me on a course of exploration to answer my own internal struggle: “what more can I do?”

I considered quitting politics altogether to work in a global climate effort. Many of the people I asked for advice challenged me as to why I was not considering the obvious. Why not run for leader of the Green Party of Canada?  It was a tough question. The obvious answer – because I knew I would be the target of nasty attacks and abuse – was a poor excuse. If being leader of the party held any prospect of making a dent in climate action, how could I allow a bit of personal unpleasantness to stand in the way?

Among the friends I consulted were other elected Green MPs from other countries. Many of them work as co-leaders. While an unfamiliar concept to most Canadians, co-leadership works in many countries where Greens are in power-sharing arrangements. The German Green co-leaders of their last election are now the Ministers for Foreign Affairs and Energy and Economy. The New Zealand Green co-leaders hold Cabinet posts in government. Green co-leaders have served in coalition governments around the world, including Scotland and Sweden.

With UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres condemning any new fossil fuel investments as “moral and economic madness,” Justin Trudeau was doubling down on madness.

By late May I was hoping to find someone who could be as different from me as possible, but who shared my values and work ethic. And amazingly enough, I found him.

In June, Jonathan Pedneault came to meet me at my Ottawa apartment to ask for advice as he considered the prospect of running for leader.  I am pretty famously unable to manage a “poker face.”   Jonathan was so impressive, so earnest and with extensive experience in the conflict zones of the world, it was hard not to blurt out at first meeting “what about running as co-leaders?”

It took a few additional meetings for me to ask about a Green partnership.  We were on an all too familiar zoom call. I watched as Jonathan’s brain registered my question. Within 30 seconds, he said, “Let me call you back once I have a plane ticket to Victoria.”

We spent a week in early July figuring it all out. We interviewed each other, probed for skeletons in each others’ closets and ultimately wrote up a memorandum of understanding confirming our commitment to each other.  We worked through the process of how we could offer a shared platform within the Green Party leadership rules conforming to the Elections Act as well.

His online presence confirmed an extraordinary track record. Where, as a teenager, I had decided I was an environmental activist for life, Jonathan made the same adolescent pledge to human rights.  Neither of us has ever wavered.

Jonathan first entered a war zone at 17, smuggled into Darfur with Sudanese rebels.  He had managed to talk Radio-Canada into a documentary on the latest betrayal of the world’s genocide pledge – “never again.” He has worked in the hellish places of the world as journalist, film-maker and investigator for both Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch. He knows that the links between climate and war are real. He has lived it.

His last work as staff to Human Rights Watch was to be in Ukraine for the first ten days of the war. Processing the world in polycrisis – pandemic, climate, war and looming famine – he felt the pull to return to Canada and change careers to pursue elected office. Seeking a political home, he decided the Green Party aligned most with his values. He also decided we were a bit of a fixer-upper.

I am now enthusiastic about a prospect I had rejected over and over again. I know we can rebuild this wonderful Green brand. We can and will elect a lot more Green MPs. And well before the next election we can be far more effective in forcing our government to act before it is too late.

Elizabeth May and Jonathan Pedneault join forces as candidates for the co-leadership of the Green Party of Canada

Sidney, August 31, 2022 – Elizabeth May and Jonathan Pedneault jointly announced today that they are candidates for the leadership of the Green Party of Canada. Together, they will seek the members’ approval to elect them as co-leaders.

May, 68, and Pedneault, 32, propose to bring a much needed complementary combination of experience and rejuvenation to the party through a powerful, bilingual duo that will empower members to achieve impact both within and outside Parliament.

“The Liberal government’s wait-and-see approach to problems is condemning us and future generations to an unstable, unsustainable future,” Pedneault said. “The Green Party of Canada is the only political force that computes every policy proposal around the future of our country instead of whatever the flavor of the day is. This party is a credible alternative for Canadians, and it deserves serious and committed candidates to leadership.”

May was adamant urgent change is needed: “As Canada faces the storms, fires and floods, decades of Conservative and Liberal climate inaction have condemned us to experience, a strong and credible Green Party has never been more needed and relevant. Our alliance showcases why and how the Greens are willing to work differently and collaboratively to solve complex issues,” she said.

For the past 14 years, Jonathan Pedneault has worked as a journalist and with organizations such as Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch to investigate abuses in war zones, including Darfur, Afghanistan, the Central African Republic and, most recently, Ukraine. An expert in crisis situations, Pedneault is worried about the polarization of the political discourse in Canada and mainstream parties lack of ambitious pathways to reduce economic inequalities, cut down emissions and prepare the country for the climate emergency.
May is one of Canada’s best-known parliamentarian and a former leader of the Green Party. As a life-long environmentalist and a grandmother, she worries our collective window to maintain average global temperature rise under 1.5 degree Celsius is quickly closing. She’s fought hard throughout her life to ensure we pass on a viable, sustainable environment to next generations. She is keen to ensure the Green Party of Canada has all the levers it needs to regain Canadians’ trust and help them face today and tomorrow’s challenges.

Whereas the past few months have been traumatic to some and disillusioning to most, the party’s membership remains committed to a Greener Canada and a stronger Green Party.

Pedneault and May intend to support one another during the campaign and create empowering spaces for other candidates to also present their ideas and views to the public and members. Both are committed to ensuring the divisions the party inherited from the previous race are avoided and the party comes out stronger and more united from the leadership contest.

If Pedneault or May is elected leader, they will appoint the other deputy leader and work with the party membership to enshrine co-leadership within the party constitution. Prior to elections, the membership will have an opportunity to select the party’s primary spokesperson who will participate in debates and, should Canadians so decide, become Prime Minister.

In doing so, the Green Party of Canada will join a growing family of progressive and Green parties in Canada and throughout the world, including New Zealand, England and Wales and Germany, who have espoused co-leadership as a tool to increase collaboration and representation.

Quotes:

“When war erupted in Ukraine, I had to rush into the country within a few hours to help the team document war crimes. I have been doing this kind of work all my life. But somehow, Ukraine reminded me of the need to not take anything for granted, ever. Because I didn’t think it would happen. And it did.

The unthinkable is happening everyday. Tornado warnings in Québec, homeless camps in Toronto, droughts in BC and the prairies, floods in the Northwest Territories – this is today’s Canada.

When I reflected about Canada on my way out of Ukraine, I came to realize we’ve got all too many politicians who take our security and the stability of our country for granted. I saw a behind-the-curve government that prefers piecemeal responses to interconnected problems, rather than visionaries who prepare the appropriate contingencies needed to deal with them. We have seen this with the pandemic, the passport crisis and the recent communications network outage, to name just a few.
 
This is why Elizabeth and I decided to join forces. She is not without her weaknesses and neither am I, but I am strong where she is weak and weak where she is strong. There are few people better equipped than Elizabeth to help rebuild this party with me ensuring it wins more seats. We are going to build a viable Canada for ourselves and future generations but we need a strong and stable Green Party. This is what we are offering members and Canadians.”
 
– Jonathan Pedneault, candidate for the leadership of the Green Party of Canada

“In 2019, after our most successful ever campaign – electing three Members of Parliament, I resigned as leader to fulfill a promise I had made to my daughter. She wanted me to have  a better quality of life. I also believed that after 13 years as leader, as the longest serving woman leader of a federal party in Canadian history, it was time for change. 

I believed we had an excellent succession plan. In hindsight, I realize our structure does not fit our values. As a party where the leader is not the ‘boss,’ not a dictator, and where the highest authority is our members at the grassroots level, the ‘leadership’ model sends the wrong message. We believe it is time to move to a co-leadership approach.  
 
My motivation for stepping up to run for co-leader is clear. The April 4 report of the IPCC was a shock. We have less time than we thought  – a lot less.  Canada is on the wrong side of history. Canada is not on our children’s side. In order to hold to 1.5 or 2 degrees C, we only have about two years to ensure we shift course to ensure GHG emissions stop rising and start going down. The window on 1.5 or 2 likely closes before the next election.   
 
So I had to ask myself what my responsibility is in all of this, as a sitting MP and a former party leader. I know I need to do more to avoid climate breakdown.  The tools in front of me are obvious. I am a Member of Parliament. That is the key fulcrum of debate. As co-leader, I could do so much more. The Green Party has been in disarray and I bear some responsibility for this. I have made mistakes and I apologize for them. The past two years have been hard on all of us .

I have an obligation to be of service. I know it will involve sacrifices, but there is nothing I would not sacrifice to protect a livable world for my children and grandchildren and the whole miraculous community of life. 


This is why I’ve decided to work with Jonathan to ensure our cause achieves its maximum impact. By joining him in this co-leadership bid and ensuring both he and the party have a strong advocate in the House of Commons from day one, I believe we are best equipped to rebuild the party and prepare it for the times that come. We must. Failure is not an option. ” 
 
– Elizabeth May,  candidate for the leadership of the Green Party of Canada 

ANNEX

Biographies:

At age 17, Jonathan Pedneault smuggled himself into Darfur in the back of a pick-up truck filled with rebels to document this deadly rights and environmental crisis for a CBC/Radio Canada documentary. By then, he had spent two years giving conferences in and around Montréal to fellow students about genocide and Canada’s responsibility to prevent mass atrocities.  

A gay, mixed-race single son of a single mom, Jonathan was raised in poorer suburbs of Montreal. An early understanding of how privileged he was to be born Canadian impacted everything he later set about to do. For Jonathan, privilege comes with immense responsibilities. And he is one to take responsibility seriously.  

Over the next fifteen years, Jonathan worked to report on crises throughout the world and advocate for greater accountability and global social justice.  
Through his work, Jonathan interviewed fishermen in Somalia who had turned to piracy to fight off illegal fishing, documented sexual abuses by UN peacekeepers in the Central African Republic, witnessed failed revolutions in Egypt and Libya and documented excessive force by police in places as diverse as Chile, Belarus and the United States.  

With two years spent living on Svalbard, in the high arctic, and years reporting from places affected by extreme weather events such as the Sahel and Central Asia or with refugees leaving drought and hurricane affected Central America to face abuses at southern US borders, Jonathan has been in the belly of the climate beast. He knows what’s coming. And why we need to urgently get our act together.  

Jonathan is an organized thinker, who seeks impact in everything he does. He believes the Green Party of Canada is the only party that has shown the moral courage and strength needed to face the coming crises. But he believes the party too needs to get its act together, and project itself as the credible alternative it is.

Together with Elizabeth May, he’s asking the membership for a mandate to empower the GPC to implement the changes Canadians from coast to coast to coast need. It is, after all, our shared responsibility.

Elizabeth May’s life is defined by one word: service. Service to community, country and planet. One of Canada’s best-known parliamentarians, she is a life-long environmentalist. From 2006 to 2019, she led the Green Party of Canada through four elections and became Canada’s first elected Green.

From her early years as an environmental activist, struggling financially while waiting tables at the family restaurant in Cape Breton, to her work, as a single mom, bringing the voices of underprivileged communities to the halls of power, she has been a trail blazer for generations of Canadian women and activists.

Elizabeth was the first Canadian environmentalist to identify how environmental racism caused marginalized people to be exposed to unacceptable threats to their health. Elizabeth used her legal training and resources to assist Indigenous peoples in Canada and around the world.

When legal and political avenues failed to yield results, Elizabeth put herself on the line. In May 2001, she went on a seventeen-day hunger strike in front of Parliament to protest toxic conditions for the only predominately Black community on Cape Breton, near the infamous Sydney Tar Ponds. That work led directly to her Private Members Bill on Environmental Racism.

It is rare Parliament turns a Private Members Bill into law. Elizabeth did it twice; on Lyme Disease and on banning keeping cetaceans in captivity.

Elizabeth always stands on principle. When the Environment Minister broke the law in 1988, she resigned from her role as Senior Policy Advisor. In that role, she had spearheaded work on the 1987 Montreal Protocol that saved the ozone layer. Later, she was the only parliamentarian to intervene against the TMX pipeline. In March 2018, she was arrested protesting it.

As the climate threat turns into reality, Elizabeth worries her grandkids may not inherit a livable future. With the Canadian government keeping its head in the sand, she knows the Green Party of Canada urgently needs to renew itself and present a credible alternative to Canadians.

Marlene Wells
[email protected]
902-921-4404

Randi Ramdeen
[email protected]
647-278-4825

www.jonathanpedneault.ca
www.elizabethmay.ca

It’s on!

The campaign has begun and we are looking to engage with you! If you are interested in being part of a revolutionary change in the Green Party, please get involved  in this leadership race. Go to our volunteer page and sign up today!