Join Elizabeth, Sonia & Adam this Tuesday

Good Sunday Morning,

usa-election-alabama.jpgIt's pretty exciting when you achieve what is widely accepted as impossible. Electing a Democrat as Senator in Alabama has these folks stunned with elation. We know what that feels like. It happened to us when we elected the first Green MP in Canada. It happened again with every other "First Green..." in BC, New Brunswick and PEI. Peter Bevan-Baker put it best when he said, "If you work hard and stick to your principles, the almost impossible becomes almost inevitable."

Last May we felt the excitement of electing the first Green caucus. We supported candidates that personified our values, that showed integrity and a deep commitment to our community. They put responsible government ahead of political gain and were dedicated to finding the best solutions to the complex challenges of our time. But once the euphoria of election night met the dawn of the next day, most of us felt relieved that the election was over. We were exhausted. We could go back to our daily routine with the comfort that we had elected good people to represent us.

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"Only communities grant permission."

Good Sunday Morning,

Trudeau.jpgWhen I searched for stories this week and came across this CTV reference to the dying polar bear, I couldn't escape the irony that the article was interrupted by an ad for a pickup truck that featured a chainsaw wielding he-man. It was alright though, the ad suggested, because he burned all that gas to build a canoe that he paddled in the wilderness. 

Recognizing and fully appreciating the complex interdependence of everything is really hard. It's not just hard for Rachel Notley, it's hard for everyone. And it takes a real commitment to be prepared to face the culpability of our actions. But the role that each of us play in the fate of that polar bear is not just hard, it's heartbreaking to accept. And that's why the other heartbreak, the growing duplicity of the federal Liberals in their support for Kinder Morgan, is so painful.

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A time for celebration!!!

Good Sunday Morning,

Of course the big news this week is Hannah Bell. Last week we celebrated the end of corporate rule over BC politics and tamed the wild west of political financing. This week we started on Monday by celebrating the arrival of the latest Green legislator in Canada. We now have seven. Three on the west coast and three on the east coast. Like bookends to a bright Canadian future they are connected by a streak of light that flashes back and forth across the country touching Canadians with a dash of hope and a pound of courage. We affectionately call that seventh light Elizabeth.

NZ_Green.jpgIn this clip from the BC Legislature, Adam Olsen mentioned that watching David Coon speak in New Brunswick was just like hearing from the BC Greens. "Our values and our principles carry the day." And here is a chance to hear that same message, our message, from a passionate young Green in New Zealand. Chloe Swarbrick, born in 1994, was elected to the New Zealand Parliament in 2017. "I want to change people's awareness of what politics really is." You will love this short speech!

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Rachel and Jim come to BC

Good Sunday Morning,

vancouver-822.jpg"RESPONSIBILITY: We believe that long-term vision is important for a sustainable society at home and abroad. We believe that social, economic and environmental issues are interconnected and that society is strengthened when we take action on all three.
REASON: We believe in making decisions based on facts and evidence. We rely on legitimate research and expertise to make rational and informed decisions in order to provide Canadians with a responsible and responsive government that addresses their needs."

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COP23 - what it means to us

Good Sunday Morning,

Fijisong.jpgFriday night I was deeply moved, listening to the delegation from Fiji sing a bittersweet song at the close of COP23. It was early Saturday morning in Bonn and the conference had just pulled an all-nighter. Elizabeth tweeted throughout the night's proceedings as I, halfway around the world, was developing a record of the events of the week.  You can hear the song that touched me by going to the 3:52:00 mark of the closing plenary. "[These young people] reminded us of the human cost of climate change and our ultimate responsibility; the interests and welfare of our children. Every culture and faith has this as their first principle and it must be ours as well."

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What's this all about?

Good Sunday Morning,

writing.jpgEvery week I receive emails from our readers with comments and feedback that is very much appreciated. I am not able to reply to everyone personally but I do my best. For you to take the time to let me know what you appreciate and how I might be able to improve, means a lot to me. Last week I received an email from two readers that are worth answering for everyone's benefit. 

One reader's question was about the length and meandering style of this missive. For those expecting a regular newsletter format, it takes some getting used to. It breaks some of the 'rules' of modern communication technique. It's not super efficient and does not aim to deliver raw news. There are no bullet points or executive summaries. That genre is already well represented. As much as possible I try to tell a story. A story that unpacks the issues and explores the linkages between seemingly unrelated events. The intent is to foster engagement and spark interest or discussion.

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Times Have Changed

Good Sunday Morning

mainframe.jpgBack in the late 1980s I started a small microcomputer business assembling IBM clones. Mainframes were still popular and I sold the odd dumb terminal to large institutions but distributed computing using PCs was starting to take hold. It was a small startup and I used to do this thing where I asked customers to prepay their computer when they ordered it. This gave me the assurance that I had cash in hand to buy the parts needed to assemble the custom built machines. Thing is, that by the time the computer was ready for pickup it often turned out that the parts cost less than I had quoted. Much like wind and solar today, prices were constantly going down. To their delight, I always passed those savings onto the customer.

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Trust, honour and credibility

Good Sunday Morning,

Ottawa2.jpgTrust, honour and credibility are the currency of exchange for parliamentarians. Wikipedia tells us that the term "Minister" comes from Middle English, deriving from the Old French word ministre, originally minister in Latin, meaning "servant, attendant." Even after decades of abuse by members of all three mainstream political parties, there is still a public expectation that our elected members in the House of Commons honour our trust and credibly demonstrate their dedication to serving the public at large.

Last week I was encouraged to attend the two day meeting of the Green Party of Canada's Federal Council, as a member/observer. These dedicated volunteers usually meet by video conference but twice a year they gather in person to attend to the business of the party. They are a Policy Governing Board under the Carver Model, setting the party's direction and objectives, and giving instruction to our Executive Director. The Council itself is elected by the membership and includes the co-chairs of our Young Greens. Our two Deputy Leaders and Executive Director serve as ex-officio members without voting privileges.

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The Great White North

Good Sunday Morning,

sea_ice.jpgIt's always been known that we Canadians huddle against our southern border like children around Santa Claus. There are many reasons for this, including our close economic ties with the United States and our weather. But so much of our country, in fact the vast majority of it, is totally unlike anything most Canadians experience or may ever experience. It's not called the Great White North for nothing. Its vastness is almost unimaginable.

In celebration of 150 years of confederation, Canada C3 has embarked on an epic 150-day sailing journey from Toronto to Victoria via the Northwest Passage. As the map indicates, the ship visited some of the remotest communities in Canada as it practically circumnavigates the entire country. It's a trip that has been made easier because arctic sea ice is vanishing far faster than anyone thought possible.

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A Conservative MP and the Green Party leader walk into a church...

Good Sunday Morning,

Ed Broadbent and Preston Manning make strange bedfellows. Mix in a little Bob Rae and you get an amazing trilogy of forewords to "Turning Parliament Inside Out" by Michael Chong, Scott Simms and Kennedy Stewart.

Elizabeth_and_Chong_text5.jpg"As happened in the 1930s," writes Ed Broadbent, "severe social and economic disruption is resulting in major portions of the disaffected moving not to the democratic left but to the authoritarian right. His [Trump's] appeal to the large number of Americans thoroughly fed up with the traditional leadership of both the Republican and Democratic parties [in the US] is now understood as a common sense fact." He goes on, citing other international examples to underscore that this is not just a US phenomenon and then asks questions like: "Is Canada's parliament responsible to its citizens, or do parties operate as leader-controlled oligarchies stifling MPs?"

Preston Manning reminds us that Parliament is (or should be) the institutional embodiment of our most fundamental principles. He tells a story of a sign on an old back road east of Lesser Slave Lake pointing to the town of Sawridge. The sign was sturdy and strong, acting as a landmark for over fifty years. It was a beacon, a guidepost that represented a steadfast sense of direction. There was just one problem. If you followed the sign it would not take you to Sawridge. The sign was permanent but the world around it changed. Over time the town changed its name and its location to higher ground after a flood. The roads were also rerouted. Anyone relying on the sign would find themselves lost, as surely as anyone trying to make sense of democratic institutions that are no longer democratic at all.

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