Day 30 of the Campaign

A wonderful day campaigning in Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island.  In Halifax, we held a press conference to release our position on Canada Post.  It was interesting to hear from even some supporters on twitter that they see ending daily delivery to the door as a green move.  Actually, the shift moves postal workers from public transit and walking their route, to delivery by vehicles from big box to big box.  It increases the carbon footprint of mail delivery.

On to Prince Edward Island where PEI Green leader, the first Green MLA in the island province, Peter Bevan-Baker and I met with Premier Wade MacLauchlan to discuss issues of mutual concern including the upcoming climate negotiations. We held a rally at the Legacy community gardens and a fundraiser at the local Legion. 

And we hit the 30 day mark... 48 days to go. 

Add your reaction Share

Day 29 of the Campaign

Fabulous rally tonight in Halifax.  After spending the whole day on Air Canada flights from Vancouver Island to Nova Scotia, we were greeted by a packed house!  The Maritime Museum of the Atlantic was a perfect venue, except it wasn’t big enough. People filled all the chairs, packed themselves in along the back and up in the balconies.  At one point I suggested people should find seats in the dories on display hanging from the ceilings. About 400 people cheered every new idea being proposed by the Green Party.  I am so encouraged by the growth in support.  On to PEI!

Add your reaction Share

Day 28 of the Campaign

Knocking on doors I am hearing a question I just cannot answer – “why are the other parties not talking about climate change?” 

I cannot answer for them. It is surrealistic. All summer long we have watched the climate news – out of control wild fires, severe drought, and now for Vancouver Island and the lower mainland – extreme high winds, devastating damage and loss of power. Tonight the US faces a hurricane “double threat.”  And then we move on to the political news.

The political news covers the latest attack ads.  The political news tells us where the major party leaders have been today.  But the “political news” does not connect with the climate news.

Meanwhile, Barack Obama is heading to Alaska for a three day tour of the climate emergency.   Tomorrow in Bonn, another round of climate negotiations begin to better prepare the ground for the upcoming climate summit in Paris (COP21).  All of this should be central to the Canadian election campaign.

I just cannot answer the question—why and how are the media and the major parties ignoring the climate crisis in this election? 

Add your reaction Share

Day 27 of the Campaign

Today, as ferocious winds tore across Vancouver Island and the lower mainland, and huge downpours made a mockery of the months long drought, I thought of the devastation of Katrina. The lessons from Katrina can inform how we prepare for extreme weather. New Orleans needed stronger levees to withstand that hurricane, but it can really teach us how necessary a social safety net is, along with integrated neighbourhoods, less inequality, and more redundancies for energy and food supply. Resiliency should be the goal of every city and province, especially in light of the extreme weather that we can expect with the current level of climate change.

I find it hard to understand why other parties aren’t addressing the challenges relating to climate change, be it resilience, or renewable energy, or energy security. It’s clear, though, that we will have to recuperate, adapt and thrive  ̶  and New Orleans offers lessons in that too.

Add your reaction Share

Day 25 of the Campaign

My blogging fell by the way-side in the avalanche of activities on days 25 and 26 of the marathon election campaign. With town hall meetings in the evening, canvassing and traveling between ridings the days are getting more packed. And inevitably, they begin to blur together.
We are bouyed by a sense of increasing momentum. In every riding I visit the green signs outnumber those of other parties -- and ours are on peoples' lawns and private property. I am hearing a lot of complaints of our signs being stolen (and the reaction from supporters -- "next time bring me a bigger one with one of those big wooden frames!") 
That feeling of momentum from word of mouth and door knocking is matched by poll results that show us on Vancouver Island in a two-way race. The Conservative votes has collapsed; so too the Liberal vote. The NDP is at 39% and Greens are at 32%. 
Our message is clear - vote for what you want! Vote for a candidate who will work for you and not some backroom of party spin doctors. Vote for MPs prepared to work across party lines to make a minority parliament function the way it should in a healthy democracy. On Vancouver Island the message is reaching voters and inspiring a hopeful surge in support.
Add your reaction Share

Day 24 of the Campaign

Campaign Blog – Day 24

We had a media-filled today with our statement on hydraulic fracturing. As with so many of the fossil fuel emitting projects on the table, fracking is not a job-creator. We can call this promise of prosperity what it is now: a myth. Just like the myth that keeping the budget balanced is a mark of economic savvy. Even the Liberals are bucking the political trend of promising not to run any deficits.

But what really stood out to me today was the pod of orca whales I saw on the ferry from Vancouver back to Sidney. There were more than I’ve ever seen from the ferry before, their fins peaking above the water and the rare tail slapping the water. We are so lucky on Vancouver Island to have so many beautiful sights with awesome life. It would be a waste and a crime for us to spoil it with bitumen-oil spills. We won’t allow for it; we will run the best campaign in Green Party history to keep our coasts tanker-free.

Add your reaction Share

Day 23 of the Campaign

Campaign Blog- Day 23

We had a great day launching our plan for a national housing strategy in Vancouver. A bunch of green candidates and team headed over from Vancouver Island on the 7 am ferry as we had a training session as well as the press conference and town hall.  Our strong candidates from Vancouver Island worked with our lower mainland and north shore candidates.

Anytime we spend together increases my sense of wonder and gratitude at the quality of our candidates. We were together most of the day - Fran Hunt-Jinnouchi, Jo-Ann Roberts, Paul Manly, Frances Litman, Clare Martin, Wes Regan, Ken Melamed, Lisa Barrett, Glenn Sollitt, and Lynne Quarmby.

What an extraordinary assembly of talent, integrity and experience!  We enjoy each others’ company. We have great conversations – sharing stories of what we are hearing from Canadians on their door step, at community fairs, and on the street.  We increasingly feel like family – along with Brenda Sayers running at the North end of Vancouver Island, we know we are in contention to be elected. We love knowing that in Ottawa we will work together in a way no caucus of MPs has in many years. Maybe even decades.   

We have great candidates across the country.  If any other party had candidates like Gord Miller in Guelph and Bruce Hyer in Thunder Bay – Andre Belisle, Daniel Green and Jici Lauzon in Quebec, Mary Lou Babineau in Fredericton, Deborah Coyne running against Pierre Poilievre, (and more!)-- if other parties had these candidates national media would have had headlines about the successful recruiting of star candidates. 

We can hardly wait til after the election to get down to work, reaching out across party lines, to deliver the government Canadians most want.

Add your reaction Share

Day 22 of the Campaign

Campaign blog  Day 22  - Another day, another debate cancelled. 

The “Up for Debate” coalition (including Amnesty International, Oxfam, YWCA, Native Women’s Association of Canada, Canadian Labour Congress, Council of Canadians,  KAIROS, Unifor and many others)  had been working for more than a year to create the first leaders’ debate on women’s issues since the last time we had one  ̶  in 1984.

I like to think the Canadian electorate is interested in gender equity, whether the question is one of pay equity or gender-based violence. Surely we need a forum to address the tragic numbers of murdered and missing indigenous women.

The Up For Debate website reports, “What we need is simple: we need a public space for conversation; we need a broadcast leader’s debate.

“The New Democratic Party, the Green Party, Liberal Party and Bloc Québécois have agreed to participate in a debate, but the Conservative Party has not.”

We know the status has changed. Recently Thomas Mulcair and the NDP said they only agreed “in principle” to a debate dedicated to women’s issues.  Yesterday, Mr. Mulcair confirmed he would not attend, and, today, the organizers announced the debate is cancelled.

I would like to hear Mr. Mulcair explain why he has agreed to a debate run by the Globe and Mail on economy (without the Greens or the Bloc) but has rejected a debate on women’s issues that was inclusive. I would like to know how the NDP justifies excluding me from private debates, rejecting the CBC debate, and refusing the only debate on women’s issues.

Add your reaction Share

Day 21 of the Campaign

Campaign blog - Day 21

Today I campaigned in three ridings on southern Vancouver Island. My own as well as in Cowichan Malahat Langford for Fran Hunt-Jinouchi and in Victoria with Jo-Ann Roberts. What a dynamic team.

The on-going question of the use of children in scouting uniforms became more surprising today. The photos were taken in Campbell River, but the scout group in question travelled there from my riding. That’s not just a hike – that’s about four hours drive. The scout leader in question, Victoria lawyer Bruce Hallsor, was the financial agent for Conservative Cabinet minister Gary Lunn in the 2011 election campaign.

In 2008, he was referenced in the Tyee for some pretty interesting political work:

“In the 308 ridings across Canada, 59 third-party groups registered with Elections Canada. Five registered in Saanich-Gulf Islands using the same address -- a law firm that includes Bruce Hallsor, a Lunn supporter.”

So, those were not local kids, but kids with a scout leader who takes “be prepared” in a whole different direction!

Add your reaction Share

Day 18 of the Campaign

The mainstream parties favour different forms of funding to childcare spaces. As Greens we support universal child care, reducing stress on families, supporting parents’ choices. We have a plan for universal support. We will make sure there are child care spaces for every family.

Issues are interconnected. We support public transit that works for families with children, so it also makes sense to have child care available near the workplace. This has the added benefit of far higher labour productivity as well as increasing precious time for parents and children. We also favour school nutrition – with food provided in the schools so kids can learn. 

Harper Conservatives have provided boutique tax cuts for families in higher income brackets while allowing our schools to so lack funding that ball courts and tracks are locked outside school hours. Kids need access to play grounds. Greens want to give resources to keep these public spaces open for everyone after school and on weekends. 

Add your reaction Share