Honesty, integrity, dedication and sacrifice.

Good Sunday Morning,

yes_we_can.jpgThat the carbon tax is some lefty strategy to undermine the economy is just plain laughable. Sure it was proposed by Al Gore in his book "Earth in the Balance" but Greg Mankiw, head of the Council of Economic Advisers under the George W. Bush administration, economic adviser to Mitt Romney for his 2012 presidential campaign and economics professor at Harvard University since 1985, has been advocating for increased carbon/oil taxation since at least 1999. As far back as 1979, economist Milton Friedman expressed support for the idea of a carbon tax.

Former US Federal Reserve chairman Paul Volcker and NASA climatologist James E. Hansen have argued in support of a carbon tax. Former Congressman Bob Inglis (R-South Carolina) heads the Energy and Enterprise Initiative at George Mason University which is making the conservative case for climate legislation through support for a carbon tax.

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Everything has consequences

Good Sunday Morning,

election-2019.jpgChatelaine asked recently if Canada is heading into a nasty election year. It interviewed the four national party leaders, recognizing that over the past three years, the political landscape has been completely reshaped. The article introduces Elizabeth May this way: "Gone are the days when casting a ballot for the Green Party might have felt like wasting a vote. Early polls show that the Greens have record-level support among Canadians, and the party’s environmentalist lens resonates particularly with millennials, who are now the single largest voting block in the country. Provincially, the Greens have made significant advances, holding the balance of power in B.C. and nabbing three seats in New Brunswick."

Two questions jumped out at me, mostly because of the thoughtful answers that Elizabeth, true to form, provided.

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voices at the table

Good Sunday Morning,

young people careLast Wednesday Ricochet reported that close to 100 students and youth were arrested on Parliament Hill for their participation in what organizers described as the largest act of youth-led climate civil disobedience in Canadian history. “Climate leaders don’t build pipelines,” Sophie Birks, a McGill University student who was arrested at the action, is quoted. “My generation wants to see real action on climate change and Indigenous rights. That starts with rejecting the Kinder Morgan pipeline.”

Meanwhile rabble's headline reads "Trudeau goes bold on emissions..." stating that the Trudeau government has taken the bull by the horns and imposed a carbon-pricing scheme on four provinces -- Manitoba, Saskatchewan, New Brunswick and Ontario -- which account for nearly half of Canada’s population. They report that Elizabeth was happy to give the Liberals at least a passing grade, while adding that there is “much more to be done.”

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The ballots are in the mail

Good Sunday Morning,

Elizabeth rocksSince the ballots are in the mail, my intention was to make this week's missive exclusively about how important it is that we make our democracy more representative by voting in BC's referendum on electoral reform. But then Elizabeth blew the lid on that with her speech in the House on Monday. Even though she initiated the call for an emergency debate on the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report, as a lone MP, it was only through the graces of some Liberal colleagues that she even had a proper opportunity to address the nation from her seat in parliament. Thank God she did.

We are the first generation to feel the effects of climate change and we are the last generation that can do something to stop it. Elizabeth's speech, if you have not already seen it, is a must. It calls on our higher angels to help us reach deep inside us and recognize the urgency of the moment. "Humanity is conducting an unintended, uncontrolled, globally pervasive experiment whose ultimate consequences could be second only to global nuclear war," Elizabeth quotes COP in 1988. She has had a ringside seat as we missed opportunity after opportunity. "Every time the alarm rings, we hit the snooze button."

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Are Canadians "ordinary" or extraordinary?

Good Sunday Morning,

yes he's still on the wrong side of history"In his new book, Stephen Harper warns that standing up for the environment makes for bad politics, especially in a populist age when parties are looking for the votes of 'ordinary' people." Susan Delacourt quotes a new book entitled Right Here, Right Now: "Political parties, including mine, have won elections just by opposing a carbon tax. The reason is simple. It is ordinary voters who pay carbon taxes."

But Delacourt goes on to point out that "not surprisingly perhaps, Green Party leader Elizabeth May holds exactly the opposite view. In a speech to her party's convention in Vancouver last month, May said ordinary Canadian voters are more than ready to hear the truth about the climate crisis in the 2019 campaign. She intends to build her campaign around the idea that Canadians are ready, even eager, to have politicians telling the truth to them, and climate change is a perfect entry into that discussion.

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No one likes bad news - so let's build an alternative

Good Sunday Morning,

Life in the Gulf of Saint LawrenceElizabeth gave us fair warning during last weekend's convention in Vancouver: The United Nations' Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report coming out tonight is going to be bad news.

"It must not only tell governments what we know about climate change — but how close they have brought us to the edge," Chris Mooney and Brady Dennis wrote this in the Washington Post. "And by implication, how much those governments are failing to live up to their goals for the planet, set in the 2015 Paris climate agreement.

"1.5 degrees is the most stringent and ambitious goal in that agreement, originally put there at the behest of small island nations and other highly vulnerable countries. But it is increasingly being regarded by all as a key guardrail, as severe climate change effects have been felt in just the past five years — raising concerns about what a little bit more warming would bring.

Yet "it is universally recognized that the pledges made in Paris would lead to a warming far beyond 1.5 degrees — more like 2.5 or 3 degrees Celsius, or even more."

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There are those who see the future

Good Sunday Morning,

There are those who see the future and those who make it happen. It was December of 2016 when Elizabeth introduced me to Tony Seba. I watched his talk, connected the dots, and understood that what he saw was real. I've written about the technological convergence he predicted regularly on this blog but last week, I saw it's power unleashed.

electric.jpg

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How we fund our democracy

Good Sunday Morning,

Elizabeth invites youIt was probably Al Gore that popularized the saying: "It's hard to understand something when your paycheck depends on you not understanding it." Of course our personal morality meter and our need to avoid cognitive dissonance combine to help us rationalize and justify our actions, but this basic human instinct for self preservation nonetheless holds true.

It applied to the purchasing agents at the coal mines that I used to supply with carbide tipped cutters and the engineers at the oil companies that I used to supply with test bits for their offshore exploration on the Grand Banks and Scotian Shelf. But it also applies to NGOs and political parties. In fact it applies to anyone who derives their income, funding or financial resources from an external source, which means pretty much everyone.

The influence does not have to be as overt as the bribes I witnessed in the Cape Breton coal fields or the free booze that flowed for Texas engineers in Halifax bars back in the 1980s. It can be as seemingly benign as being careful not to alienate the lovely people that are paying for the new wing of our library or providing play areas for our children in public hospitals. Funding public services through private donations can be treacherous and the potential for abusive manipulation grows exponentially with the dollar amounts involved.

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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.

BGM-poster-colour_banner_wide_-_03.jpg

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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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