Voting with our wallet?

Good Sunday Morning,

SGI Movie Night"I'm 34 years old and still don't have a family. I'm back at university, taking on debt in the hope that I can find a career that will offer me a future. Remember the eight years when minimum wages were stuck at $8 an hour? That was me, moving from one abusive job environment to another." It was a personal story offered last week at our Green Media Group volunteer potluck held at a member's home in Gordon Head. This week we had 19 people share fabulous food and great conversation. The meal is usually followed by an update on the latest goings on in the Green Party before we settle into our GreenStorming session. That's where we all share our experiences, perceptions and uncertainties. That's where the magic begins.

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"Listen to Elizabeth May..."

Good Sunday Morning,

tar_sands2.jpgTo revisit a bit of historical context I touched on back in July, when I found my first job in the 1970s, the minimum wage was about $3 per hr. You could buy a new car for about $3,000 and a new house for about $30,000. Today you can barely still buy a house in some parts of Canada for $300,000. A new car costs about $30,000 but the minimum wage is no where near $30/hr.

Interestingly, the 1970s were also a time when the "Oil Sands" were a long-shot that would never have survived without public investments from Trudeau's government. They were more accurately called the Tar Sands then and their development was considered a bold and innovative step, an investment in the future. On September 30, 1967, the Great Canadian Tar Sands facility opened north of Fort McMurray, Alberta. Fifty years later, things look a whole lot different.

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Who finances political parties...Really?

Good Sunday Morning,

British Columbia took a step this week to join the club of advanced democraciesFirst, let's be clear. We probably would be much better off without political parties. They are not mentioned in our constitution and are not required for parliamentary democracy to work. Instead, they are an overlay on our political system. An overlay that has escalated division and sometimes devolved our principles to the pettiness of ejecting members for things like voting for what their constituents want or agreeing to be the speaker and serve the legislative body as a whole. The fixation on political parties is at its core a misguided focus on ideological power at the expense of democratic representation.

But alas, we seem to be stuck with them. So let's see what possible good they can serve in our society. When I was canvassing during the last federal election I often found myself defining the party as being a source of collective wisdom, that an MP or MLA, who is not whipped to vote along party lines, can draw on as she contemplates her position on a particular issue. (I would also include her sense of what her constituents want, her personal values and the complexity of the issue before her as other considerations.)

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It's better together

Good Sunday Morning:

are we doomed?Do we really live in an age of anger or is it mostly apathy fueled by structural greed? Jeff Braustein is our digital director at the GPC (Green Party of Canada). His Facebook posts are often rich with references. This week he offered a link about "Decoding the resistance to climate change," which bluntly asks the question; are we doomed? While on the CBC Ideas site I also noticed another program about the Age of Anger. "More and more people feel the gap between the profligate promises of individual freedoms and sovereignty and the incapacity of their political and economic organizations to realize them." Pankaj Mishra talks about, among other things, the disenfranchisement with electoral politics as he explores the concept of Globalized Anger. Everywhere authoritarian leaders are springing up, feeding on populations that are fed up with the status quo.

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Good News, Town Halls, Throne Speech and innovation

Good Sunday Morning,

First of all I need to apologize for the deeply embarrassing errors in last Sunday's missive. One reader quite rightly scolded me: "Thomas Berger is, arguably, the most respected and well-know legal mind in Canada - please please DO NOT spell his name incorrectly as you have done in today's newsletter." And another pointed out that "Robyn Allan is a woman giving an extraordinarily astute perspective on these topics." There was also a typo in "conditional." Thank you to Mar, Gary, Pamela, Ian, Patrick, Ingrid, Libbie, Barrie, Robin, Marlyn, Sandy, Christa, Ted, John, Greg and Chad for keeping me on track. I won't bore you with excuses about late night double vision and soft grey matter between my ears as I squeezed out last week's edition between my shifts at the Fair.

Irma and JoseThe Fair was fantastic though. We received a lot of positive responses to our three perspectives (Green, First Nations Elders, and the Saanich Inlet Network)on the LNG threat. And our Saanich Inlet video found almost 4,000 viewers in three days on Facebook. If you are on social media please help spread the word by sharing or tweeting. Our engagement does matter. "Sources said the original plan was to develop Malahat first, but that plan has changed given certain domestic challenges, (my emphasis)Russell Searancke writes in Upstream Magazine. "So Sarita LNG has become the priority. Sources said a study is under way as to a possible new location for the Malahat LNG facilities. The Sarita project, meanwhile, is understood to have a development concept that comprises both floating barges and a floating LNG vessel, and some land-based LNG components."

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Floods, Fire and LNG

Good Sunday Morning,

Watch our video and then shareThis past week was a scramble. In addition to my deep involvement with the broadly representative, Green Party of Canada grass roots Committee on Motion Development (the CMD), I was getting ready for the annual Fair here on the Saanich Peninsula. Organizing the display and choreographing the volunteer roster, left me inspired by the dedication of so many fabulous people who give freely of their time and skills to put this event together. Our Events Team's last potluck, held just a few days ago, was a blast. We assembled our new popcorn machine and previewed the final draft of our new Saanich Inlet video. We were also joined by some Native Elders who are at our booth this year. Together with the folks from the Saanich Inlet Network we are standing side by side to protect this sacred and unique ecosystem from the insanity of an LNG terminal.

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Stories of Trust and Community

Good Sunday Morning,

Enough is EnoughThe blackberries were mostly ripe as we walked along the country road at the headwaters of the bay. We stopped to pick them here and there, thankful for their antioxidants and sweetness. Back at the dock, someone whispered to us: "The best store on this island is the honour store." It didn't look like much at first but the signage and empty tents in the yard made it clear that it was the site of Saturday markets during the summer. This was Sunday.

As we entered this tiny shed we heard CBC playing on the radio. A large table dominated the room. It was filled with pies, bread, pastries and more. The freezer had lamb and the fridge had eggs but there was so much more. The walls were covered with shelves and bins containing fresh tomatoes, cucumbers, peaches and an abundance of produce. One whole shelving unit was stocked with preserves. And in the corner a cash box sat next to a ledger where you could leave comments and record what you've taken.

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We can lead the way!

Good Sunday Morning,

It can be done. It has been done.Why are politicians always the last to figure things out? Maybe it's because they live in a bubble and we don't speak loud enough for them to hear us. There are others who speak louder, mostly because they have more money. Yes, money influences politicians but not in the way that one would suspect. Sure some are on the take but most are sincere in making thoughtful informed decisions. The trouble is that there are those who have a lot of money to employ people to provide the information, the briefs, the discussions over lunch, the voluminous (and often empty) reports of misinformation, that make their case.

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Don't let John Horgan follow Justin Trudeau down the pipeline

Good Sunday Morning,

As reported by Michael Harris in iPolitcs this week, David Suzuki's recent letter to Justin Trudeau was heartfelt. The letter is full of the urgency of his cause. It cited a doomsday article from New York Magazine (The Uninhabitable Earth) outlining what could happen if governments continue doing nothing about reducing greenhouse gases. According to Harris, Suzuki copied Environment Minister Catherine McKenna and urged Trudeau to have all his people read the article and the responses to it.

The elephant in the room"The good news is that the future predicted doesn’t have to happen, but only if you take the hard steps - stop all discussions of building pipelines, shut down the tarsands and fracking, and get on a hard path to renewables. You know I have no hidden agenda. I implore you as an elder near the end of my life and terrified for the future of my grandchildren," Harris quotes Suzuki. As the fifth greatest Canadian of all time (according to the CBC), a Trudeau voter in the last election and a world-famous scientist and environmentalist, David Suzuki is someone who can’t be ignored. And yet it seems that he is; that his confidence in Justin Trudeau was misplaced.

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Our carbon budget

Good Sunday Morning,

Carbon budgets explainedIt's been a great week! A new cabinet was sworn in while the Green Vision of making the BC legislature the house of the people manifested itself in an unprecedented level of attendance. Free ice cream helped of course but it does represent a huge paradigm shift after 16 years of corporate rule. Donna Sanford was appointed executive director of a special secretariat that will be established in the Premier’s office to oversee the confidence and supply agreement with the Greens. On Friday Elizabeth and Adam spoke at the unveiling of the WSÁNEĆ Welcome Pole in Beacon Park and our new MLA is setting up his constituency office as a people place as well. This coming Thursday the provincial Green Riding Association of Saanich North and the Islands is having its organizing meeting.

Meanwhile on the federal side, the Committee on Motion Development (CMD) sent out a survey to all the CEOs of Green Electoral District Associations (EDAs) across the country as part of their initiative to seek input on how we can improve our internal processes. The Saanich-Gulf Islands (SGI) EDA has partnered with the Vancouver East EDA to host a meet-up of BC EDAs as an adjunct to the BC Greens Convention which will be held here in Sidney next month. Elizabeth will be hosting a webinar on the 30th of July to reach out to EDAs across Canada to hear first hand about their challenges and opportunities. Our EDA is gearing up for a whole new level of activity this fall as we prepare to work with Sonia Theroux, our new National Director of Mobilization, and her staff to support other keen EDAs across the country.

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