The future of Canada is at stake

Good Sunday Morning,

Political conventions can be predictable; hyper-partisan talking points to whip up the base and strive desperately to appear united in solidarity behind a common ideology. Seldom do they dare to explore the realities of our time or unpack the complexity of the issues that face us as a society. Instead they tend to be mired in the perceived safety of the status quo, guided only by the desire of political strategists to strengthen the party brand.

But not all political conventions are created equal. Every once in a while there is a moment in history that compels people to step outside the political norm and face the challenges of our time head on. These moments compel us to reach beyond mere policy proposals, that may or may not ever reach the floor of the House, and embrace opportunity to question our trajectory and speak truth to power.

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"I'd much rather embrace the future than try to live in the past."

Good Sunday Morning,

Paris.jpgSince the Saanich Fair last weekend, much of my time has been absorbed by working with the Kevin Taft Tour Organizing Team to complete the last minute preparations for this amazing endeavor. Over twenty volunteers send and receive between 10 and 20 emails a day to sort out details ranging from effective promotional strategies, to what plugs are needed to connect laptops to digital projectors. The whole volunteer driven enterprise is probably the most effective volunteer group-think organizational effort I have ever had the opportunity to participate in and support.

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Jumping for joy

Good Sunday Morning,

jump_for_joy.jpgElizabeth arrived at the Saanich Fair yesterday and dropped it on the table in front of us with a thump: "Here it is!" The printout of the ruling, already dog-eared and a little crumpled from reading it in its entirety while squeezed into her economy seat on the plane back from New Brunswick, was over an inch thick. Elizabeth had a hard time containing her joy. The thrill of campaigning with David Coon and his fabulous Green Team as they enter the home stretch of their provincial campaign, combined with the court ruling that Elizabeth had long predicted would tie Trudeau's Liberals into a political pretzel, made her positively jubilant.

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The Takeover of our Democracy

Good Sunday Morning,

The Earth seen from Apollo 17Fifty years ago, in 1968, a study found that global increases in temperature could collapse the West Antarctic Ice Sheet resulting in a catastrophic sea level rise of 11 feet. A year later we landed on the moon and saw the "blue marble" in space for the first time. And although this iconic photograph was not taken until 1972, we celebrated our first "Earth Day" in 1970.

A decade later, in 1979 a US National Academy of Sciences report found that doubling our CO2 levels could increase average global temperatures by 4.5 degrees. It was the year that President Jimmy Carter installed solar panels on the White House. And in 1985, studies concluded that global warming may come twice as fast as expected because of a rise of methane and other trace greenhouse gases.

In 1992, the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) was adopted at the Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro with the objective to "stabilize greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere at a level that would prevent dangerous anthropogenic interference with the climate system". Since then, we've had COP after COP and successive governments of all stripes promise that they would act on climate change.

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Our Home - Our Family

Good Sunday Mourning,

No, that's not a typo. I am in mourning today. In fact, I'm in tears. The Salish Sea is my home. It's the only place on this planet where I feel I truly belong. I have lived in Germany, California, Ontario and Nova Scotia but no place has reached so deeply into my soul. I have drifted on its tides and sailed in its gales. I have watched raccoons scour the beach and crabs scurry through the tide-pools. I have played Mozart to the porpoises as they swam in my bow wave and been surrounded by Orca, waiting patiently, in silence, as they pass me by.

Seventy five percent of all pregnancies in the last two decades have not been viable and it has been four years since any newborn has survived past infancy. The recent images of a grieving mother lifting her dead baby from the depths for eight days were heart wrenching. The baby Southern Resident Killer Whale (SRKW) died a short time after it was born near Victoria, British Columbia on July 24, 2018. The newborn whale was reported alive and swimming with its mother, J35, and other members of J pod near Clover Point on the Victoria shoreline in mid-morning. 

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Hope is a verb

deep sea lifeGood Sunday Morning,

Recently, scientists discovered a 'wonderland' of life on a deep-sea mountain off the B.C. coast. The peak is a previously undiscovered extinct volcano deep in the Pacific Ocean. Instead of trees, the ancient forest is made up of red tree corals, and the animals may include numerous species that have never been seen by humans.

While sea life continues to be threatened by ocean acidification, the tide of climate litigation is rising. Citylab reports that the City of Baltimore announced lawsuits against 26 oil and gas companies for damages their fossil-fuel products—and the climate change they’ve compelled—have inflicted on the city. “For 50 years, these companies have known their products would cause rising seas and the other climate change-related problems facing Baltimore today.”

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Being responsible and accountable matters

Youth_Council.jpgGood Sunday Morning,

In this video, addressing the Prime Minister's Youth Council, Justin Trudeau responds to the question of what exactly he wants out of a national youth policy: "Well the fact is, as I've said to you, and I know the team has said to you, we want you to tell me what Canada needs to have as a national youth policy." Well last week these passionate young Canadians advised the Prime Minister on a very important issue.

"More than a dozen current and former members of the Prime Minister’s Youth Council are calling on Justin Trudeau to halt the federal government’s announced $4.5-billion buyout of the Trans Mountain pipeline from Kinder Morgan", reports CTV News. “The decision to buy the Trans Mountain pipeline project calls into question your commitment to young Canadians,” the letter says. “It is youth who will be disproportionately affected by the devastating consequences of a warming world, and yet you did not sufficiently consult before taking a decision that has profound and irreversible consequences for youth in Canada and around the world.”

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This is about you!

Good Sunday Morning,

group.jpgWell over a thousand people have contributed time and/or money locally to support Elizabeth in her efforts to fundamentally change politics in Canada. For decades Elizabeth has spoken truth to power. She has written books and made people weep with her oratory. And it always comes from a place deep inside, a place of values and principle, a place that's rooted in her past but also embraces a beautiful future for all.

Next Saturday many of these supporters who share Elizabeth's passion for a better world, will gather for our annual summer picnic. These are regular people, with gardens to tend, bills to pay, grandchildren to love and careers to build. Like so many who are part of a growing, global, movement, they know that in addition to living their own lives, their contribution to the greater community is vital. And they find solace and sanctuary with those that share their commitment, Elizabeth's commitment, to building a bright, bold and beautiful future for everyone.

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In the face of impossible odds

Good Sunday Morning,

Elizabeth.jpg"It can't be done!" In one form or another that's the argument anyone gets who dares challenge the status quo. From the Prime Minister, to a lowly canvasser, if you want to bring about real change that's the argument that confronts you.

Elizabeth has faced that argument since she stood up against the powerful interests of Nova Scotia's forest industry back in the 1970s. She had an incredible mentor. Her mom, deeply embedded in the movement to stop nuclear testing, believed that there is no limit to what you can accomplish if you don't insist on taking the credit.

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we are wealthy

Good Sunday Morning,

Alexandria.jpgWe live in an amazing country. Statistically we enjoy some of the highest standards of living in the world. We are wealthy. And yet, we struggle to offer basic support services to vast segments of our population. Most Canadians are too busy trying to make ends meet (or have lost faith in the political process entirely) to engage and solve these challenges, let alone address climate change. Throughout society, but especially among young people, there is a strong sense of cynicism that the game is rigged.

This week saw a stunning upset south of the border that is cause for hope. CNN Reports that Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez "worked as a community organizer and, eventually, with economic stresses rooted in the recession and the loss of her father taking hold, began low-wage, long-hour work at restaurants to help support her family. During the 2016 presidential season, she worked as an organizer for Sen. Bernie Sanders, who ran in the Democratic primary. In 2017, Ocasio-Cortez launched her campaign to unseat Crowley, the powerful Democrat who chairs the party in Queens County."

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