Two visions of our world

Good Sunday Morning,

Stuart_McLean.jpgStuart McLean has died. Like so many iconic Canadians, the legacy he leaves behind is larger than life. It's larger than Stuart himself because it spoke to so many at the deepest level. As Jess Milton shared in this As-It-Happens interview, "He never let facts get in the way of the truth... His stories connected us, to our country, to each other and to ourselves. He swam in our oceans, he rode our railways, he skated on our ice, and he told us our story over and over and over again until we could really hear it, until it felt really true." We will miss him.

Stuart McLean told us our story. Our story. Not the factual one that we all live day to day but the one we aspire to when we take the time to reach out to a neighbor, help a friend or touch a perfect stranger with our kindness. Stuart gave us permission to believe in a world of love, forgiveness and acceptance. It's a world that so many of us long for, especially in these troubling times when others use their pulpit to legitimize hate and bigotry.

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It's not too late...

Good Sunday Morning,

ER_Rally.jpgWhat does it mean to find new solutions? How committed are we to the trajectory of the past? Will our future be shaped by inertia or by innovation?

Andrew Coyne started his monologue with the insight that: "Anyone who ever proposes to change anything runs up against the unanswerable objection that this would mean, well, changing things." Real change is what Canada needs to stay ahead of the technological curve that is sweeping the globe. Yesterday thousands of Canadians from coast to coast took to the streets to express their disappointment and outrage about what history may well record as Justin's biggest miscalculation. Elizabeth spoke in Victoria.

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Protecting Canadian Democracy? Or Breaking Promises?

Good Sunday Morning,

“We’re going to watch Donald Trump rip apart everything that Barack Obama has put in place,” Kelly Carmichael, the executive director of Fair Vote Canada, was quoted in the The Walrus just after the US election. “That doesn’t happen with a proportional system. We watched the same thing happen here. The Liberals came in and they’re undoing what the Conservatives had done, and the Conservatives undid what the Liberals had done. It’s just incredibly ineffective policy making, and when you look at proportional countries you see continuity. There aren’t massive swings. You can vote people in and out, but a two percent difference in the vote doesn’t mean a wholesale change in government, which is what you see under winner-take-all politics.” As the article points out, "electoral reform is no longer just about improving our democratic interactions. It’s also a way to inoculate our political institutions against the virus that Trump’s election has unleashed—a virus that’s already crossed the border to us."

Elizabeth_Calls_on_Trudeau.jpgThis week the Liberal government has decided not to vaccinate our democracy against that virus; a reckless gamble at best and a capitulating return to old style, cynical politics at worst. "The Prime Minister and his Minister of Democratic Institutions broke their clearest election promise:" Elizabeth wrote in her weekly parliamentary review.  "To end First-Past-the-Post and install a new electoral system for 2019 that would ensure ‘every vote counts.’ I’ve written about Prime Minister’s Trudeau reckless, cynical decision here.

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Truth and Power

Good Sunday Morning

It's hard to believe that it's only been one week since Elizabeth gave her amazing speech at the Women's march in Victoria. You can hear Elizabeth describe her experience in this C-FAX interview. Every day the new president has signed executive orders that stunned people around the globe. How many of them will stand the test of time is up in the air but he's making his intentions clear. We have also already been introduced to Alternative Facts and the relationship between the press and the White House is already strained while the science community is feeling the heat. A second clip from this week's CBC science show tells us how Carl Sagan shared our concerns as his words went viral this week: "Science is more than a body of knowledge. It's a way of thinking."

LNG-Adam.jpgOn Tuesday evening many of us attended a presentation and discussion about the Malahat LNG plant proposed for the Saanich Inlet which was kicked off by a documentary film followed by a compelling presentation by Eoin Finn on the numbers and players behind this Fracked Gas facility. Adam Olsen makes it clear why this is a bad project. One of the new pieces of information I picked up was that Steelhead is planning to connect with a second fracked gas export facility near Port Alberni that is reported to be three times as large as any existing LNG facility. And we are asked to believe that turning our Salish Sea into a global hub for carbon fuel exports will not prevent us from meeting our Paris targets.

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Fairness and Respect

Good Sunday Morning,

this_is_china-m.jpgThis week a piece in the Globe and Mail reported that numbers don't lie.  China is investing $324 Billion in wind and solar over the next five years. That's more than the total capital investment of the entire oil and natural gas sector in Canada. So who is going to buy the expensive dilbit Kinder Morgan is hoping to build pipelines for? Here is the conclusion to the Globe and Mail piece:

"The rising global demand for renewables represents an opportunity for Canada to become a leading provider of clean technology. Our clean-technology sector is already generating exports and creating well-paid jobs while cutting greenhouse-gas emissions. Investments now being made in clean technology innovation, coupled with a road map for pricing carbon, position us to take a greater slice of this rapidly growing global market.

It is vital that we continue to support creation and adoption of new clean technologies in Canada, or we risk losing our competitive edge to countries that are fully committed to a low-carbon economy.  The rush for renewables is happening – and it will continue with or without us. In the long term, failure to embrace this transition really would be economic suicide."

So is it really about shipping low grade petroleum to China or is it all about trying to build confidence in a dying industry? The numbers don't lie. If oil prices go up, solar and wind will become even more attractive for investors. If oil prices go down, the oil sands simply can't compete.

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Town Halls, Tar Sands and the Salish Sea

Good Sunday Morning

Kinder Morgan and the Carbon Bubble

KM_BattlePC.jpgThe Kinder Morgan expansion of the Trans Mountain Pipeline can't be built. It makes no sense. Unless you need to keep the old story alive. Unless you need to keep inflating the carbon bubble.

“That’s what is so frustrating — nobody’s interests in this have been served,” Adam told CHEK news. “Not the environment, not people, not industry and the economic interests have not been served.” Adam stands strong in his opposition to this five fold expansion of tanker traffic and explains why the Salish Sea is particularly vulnerable.

Both Adam and Elizabeth were intervenors in the failed NEB process and with your support, they continue their fight to expose the misinformation surrounding this issue.

Economist Robyn Allan wrote last October that Governments are being dangerously mislead: "There is no market for Alberta’s heavy oil in Asia. If markets in Asia ever develop it will take many years and Asian purchasers are not going to pay a higher price for Alberta’s crude than it commands in North America."

And that price is now being undercut by solar. Protests and court cases are great tools to show opposition and slow down the process. But we should also remember to spread the news that this just doesn't make economic sense nor is it in the best interest of Canadians.

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Greens set to ride the tidal wave of change

Good Sunday Morning,

carbon_bubble.jpgAs we explored last Sunday, we are facing a tidal wave of change. Fueled by the growing recognition that it is critical to the survival of our civilization, this change threatens to undermine the dominance of political and corporate dynasties alike.

About a dozen years ago our very own Ronald Wright warned us about the increasing resistance to change that is the hallmark of a faltering civilization. Easter Island is small enough that the person who cut down the last tree must almost certainly have been able to view his surroundings and know that it was the last one and that there would be no other. He cut it down anyway. Wright documents how in their desperate attempts to cling to the myth of growth and power, even in the face of environmental consequences that spell the end of their dominance, civilizations have migrated towards autocratic rule. He also reminds us that every time history repeats itself, the price goes up. Unlike the civilizations of Sumer, Rome, Maya or Easter Island, our current civilization is global in scope and the stakes are higher than ever.

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Welcome to the fantastic reality of 2017!

Good Sunday Morning,

letter.JPGToday is the day when many take the time to contemplate what the future might hold and maybe speculate on some of the opportunities and challenges the new year might bring. Some will take the time to reflect on the past and how much the world has changed. As these thoughts collide it's hard to escape the increasing rate of change that has gripped our world.

The tools I used to run my business in the early 1980s were much the same as the tools my mother used to run my father's business in the 1950s. Change was gradual and established practices ruled the day. For thousands of years we built a civilization on the notion that what we learned from our parents was intrinsically valuable and should be taught to our children. Now Exponential Change Agents have upended that paradigm and the future is much less certain. As Elizabeth reminded us before Christmas when she pointed us to this video by Tony Seba, we are facing a Clean Disruption that is about to hit us like a tidal wave.

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Lots of holiday cheer!

Good Sunday Morning,

You've all received Ann's newsletter earlier this week reminding you how important it is to ratify the resolutions that we passed in Calgary. For those of you still unsure about the significance of these resolutions we've update our Calgary blog for your reference. Among other things you will find this link to our new revised policy on the Israel/Palestine conflict which, once ratified, will replace the controversial policy resolution passed at last summer's convention.

Many of you have also received the fabulous update from Elizabeth's Hill Office with the subject line "Elizabeth May: Week in Review." Here is an excerpt.

Christmas_Message.jpgDebates: Dec 12 - Debate on C-30 - CETA and ISDS Provisions

Questions: Dec 14 - Question on Commitment to Asbestos Ban

Update on Electoral Reform Committee

For the first time in Canadian history, a Parliamentary committee recommended that the government take concrete steps to move away from the archaic First Past the Post voting system and toward a proportional system of electing Members of Parliament and the Government

The report, an unprecedented document that compiles the best public and academic evidence available, will be an important milestone for reform. It confirms that the overwhelming majority of those who testified to the Committee favoured proportionality. Further, it tasks the government with designing an electoral system according to specified guidelines which will achieve acceptable levels of proportionality. By 2019, in the words of the Liberal Speech from the Throne, ‘every vote will count.’

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Consensus Based Governance Rocks!!

Good Sunday Morning,

We did it! The Special General Meeting in Calgary was a resounding success!!

Elizabeth_SGM.jpgIt felt like deja vu all over again as I rode the escalator down to the baggage carousel at the Calgary airport. But instead of my wonderful billet host waiting patiently for my arrival on my last stop of the Unity Tour, a bunch of us made our way to the car rental counter at the far end of the concourse. The hotel was sparse but comfortable, no restaurant but free coffee, porridge and croissants for breakfast. I was disappointed that David Simon, a German Green I had hoped to meet and tap further for his vast experience, was sadly turned back at the airport in Berlin due to a new visa requirement he had not anticipated. We didn't know what to expect as we arrived at SAIT early the next morning to register. Trepidation hung in the air.

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