Priorities and timing

Good Sunday Morning:

The events this week underscore again why the diversion from our priorities by the fallout from last summer's convention is so damaging to our cause. The timing for our party to be divided over a purely symbolic motion, that addresses itself to an age-old conflict half way around the globe, could not be worse. That it was passed into Green Party policy through a process, that gave final say to a small group of self-selected individuals privileged to attend a convention, and without taking the time to build a consensus that included the support of our Party Leader, highlights a major deficiency in our internal processes.

So while I am taking some time out from my job as coordinator for the SGI EDA, traveling across the country and bringing people together to explore those deficiencies, I will try to give you an update of some of the issues that should be our primary focus.



CTV.jpgCOP22:

As Elizabeth pointed out in last Sunday's interview on CTV's Power Play, our role on the international climate stage has only been intensified by the election of Donald Trump as President. Reaching across the political divide and amplifying our voices is more crucial than ever. We have to isolate any efforts to roll back the clock on climate action as out of touch with global realities. "We mustn't assume that Canadian - US relationship on issues doesn't make a difference. If PM Trudeau is able to create a good working relationship with the future President Trump, we could play a positive role in making sure he understands the issues."

Can you believe that it's been a year already since COP21 in Paris? Do you remember the flurry and excitement. Did you see the video where Elizabeth was overcome with emotion when the agreement was finally announced? It was a major accomplishment and now, less than one year after that historic moment the agreement has already become binding to all signatories. "COP22 (currently underway) is very important. It is both setting up the working mechanisms under the Paris Agreement and continuing the work under the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change. I'm looking forward to seeing Canada again, under Catherine McKenna as Minister, playing a leading role there in Marrakesh."

Here is what we tweeted: https://twitter.com/SGIGreens/status/798009061983694848 "looking forward to seeing again under as Minister playing a leading role in "

Steven Heywood also wrote this piece in the Peninsula News Review entitled  "Green Party leader fears climate issues will take a hit after Trump's election"  ".. there is a lot of uncertainty around what a Trump government might do to oppose climate change prevention efforts — as well as many other unknowns about his presidency...We have to be in a position to work with the United States, no matter who the president is. As a Canadian Member of Parliament, I have to expect the best...” Elizabeth May

Here is a tweet you can use to spread that piece:  https://twitter.com/SGIGreens/status/798001270791356416

: We h2b in position to work w/U.S no matter who president is. As a Cdn MP I have to expect the best.” ~@ElizabethMay

testdrive02.jpgElectoral Reform / ERRE:

The R word is front and center in the news again this week with much speculation on the progress being made by the Special Committee on Electoral Reform to achieve consensus. It seems the intractable stance by the conservatives on a referendum is still dominating the discussion. One can only hope that the committee can stay focused on the selection and design of a made in Canada Voting System and leave the referendum question to be decided after the report has been presented to Cabinet. In the meantime building popular support for an informed referendum that allows us to "try before we buy" can still be our priority. It seems grossly unfair to ask Canadians to decide on such a complex issue without the benefit of experiencing it. And having seen how extremely polarizing the results can be as we  look south for inspiration, the timing to test drive a proportional system is perfect.

The media seems to have swung into action, giving more and more air time to the inevitability of a referendum"At this point, even Canadians who don’t care how we elect politicians should pay attention. Consensus from the committee on electoral reform would be hard to ignore. That could force the issue of a referendum onto the calendar.  You could be voting, about voting, much sooner than you think." proclaims the Ottawa citizen in this editorial.

Elizabeth is still hopeful that the all party committee can come to consensus but it seems that consensus continues to be misinterpreted as unanimity. Unanimity is not consensus as it allows a single voice to prevent a decision. Unanimity provides a veto that can stifle any process of collaboration or democratic engagement. But consensus is also not just compromise. I often use the illustration that if half the room believes 2x2=6 and the other half believes 2x2=8 then compromise comes up with an answer somewhere around 7. Consensus makes sure that everyone is heard before a decision is made. It makes sure that the opportunity is there for that lone voice, belonging to someone who may have expertise in mathematics and can point out why 2x2=4, to be heard.

The #ERRE committee has done a stellar job at allowing all the voices to be heard and and ensuring that a broad spectrum of opinions are considered.  A recommendation on the best system for Canada should be forthcoming even if consensus does not include a unanimous outcome. The liberals have said that to move forward a solution needs to have multi party support but they have never asked for unanimity from the committee. In fact it is striking to me how far they have gone out of their way to leave their options open by refusing to lock themselves in to the outcome (read success) of the Electoral Reform Committee.

In the end the Liberal majority in the House can make the decision. And in the end the voting public will hold them accountable. We have changed our voting system countless times throughout our history without referendum and we can do it again this time. Surely a false majority government, elected under a system that has given them the control and power to implement change, has the moral prerogative to implement a voting system that could jeopardize their ability to form another false majority in a second term. The question seems to be whether we believe that this government is serious about electoral reform or not. And if they are not, it begs the question as to why they have gone out of their way to engage us in this unprecedented process. The most recent announcement about the post cards and on line survey could be an attempt to weasel out of their commitment to electoral reform or it could also be a bulwark against the criticism that the people were not adequately consulted if they decide to impose a proportional system without a referendum.

Either way, what Maryam Monsef seems to be telling us yet again, is that we need to make our voices heard. I still believe that helping to raise public expectations that Justin Trudeau will make Electoral Reform his personal legacy is still the best strategy. Yes let's all show up and register our interest but let's also continue to give credit to a remarkable process. And let's publicly look forward to an amazing birthday present for our 150th birthday next year.

Kinder_Morgan_Rally_EM_Photo.jpgKinder Morgan:

B.C. Liberal MP to Trudeau: Don't approve Kinder Morgan pipeline expansion- 11.17.2016 While (some of) his constituents understand Alberta’s need to find export markets, they believe the health, environmental and social costs of a spill in such a highly populated area, in an economy dependent on industries like tourism and fisheries, are “far too great,” McKinnon concluded. The environmental assessment of this project was a sham and everyone knows the risks are unacceptable. Dilbit does not belong in pipelines or tankers. Yesterday many of you were able to join thousands that made their voices heard on the streets of Vancouver. Elizabeth was there to make sure our opposition to this silly project continues. It just makes no sense. At a time when the world is transitioning away from fossil fuels for us to build infrastructure for Dilbit is both environmentally and economically irresponsible.

Tomorrow there will be vigils across Canada to stop the Kinder Morgan Pipeline: http://canadians.org/event/vigils-stop-kinder-morgan Here in Victoria you can participate - 4:30 PM at Victoria City Hall, Centennial Square: http://act.350.org/event/km-vigils/13394/?source=Council.  

Tweet:  #Vancouver @MayorGregor warns of protests 'like you have never seen' if #KinderMorgan approved: http://www.cbc.ca/beta/news/canada/british-columbia/kinder-morgan-protests-1.3858817  #cdnpoli #stopKM



Maude_Barlow_Ad.jpgMaude Barlow:

Tonight is the big event! Doors open at 6pm. There are still tickets and you can purchase them online or at the door. It will be a fabulous evening with many celebrities. Bring a friend and be inspired!

And finally for anyone who missed Elizabeth's fabulous "week in review" here is an excerpt that shows the multi-faceted engagement of our Leader and only Green MP: 

Private Members' Bills

Elizabeth May has introduced the following bills:

Bill C-269: This bill will abolish mandatory minimum sentences for all crimes of except murder and treason.

Bill C-258: This "Think Small First" bill would require that every new bill introduced in the House undergo an assessment to determine how the bill would impact Canadian small businesses.

Bill C-259: The Open Science Act would require all federal departments to make all publicly funded scientific research available to Canadians on their websites.

For a list of private members' bills Elizabeth May has seconded, please visit elizabethmaymp.ca


Have a fun Sunday,
Thomas


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