The campaign of our lives

Good Sunday Morning,

ElizabethAfter Paris many news outlets reported that we had to keep global temperatures below 2% which drove Elizabeth right around the bend. They didn't even care enough to understand the difference between 2 percent and 2 degrees. Now much of mainstream media coverage refers to the recent IPCC report by claiming we have 12 years to fix the problem. Actually the IPCC report, compromised though it is, doesn't say that at all. It states that in 12 years we will blow past 1.5 degrees on our way up to 3, 4 and 5 degrees if we stay on our current trajectory.

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leadership is voluntary

Good Sunday Morning,

Greta Thunberg is a leaderAlthough we don't like to admit it, most of us are very comfortable living in an autocratic world. We talk about "Strong Leaders" as if we expected them to be arm wrestlers and reward those that dictate a course of action, a strategy or even a belief system, by elevating them to the status of leader. We pretend that we elect a Prime Minister even though a majority of MPs can elect any one of their fellow MPs as the "Prime" Minister of the day. We seem to be comforted by knowing that "someone" is in charge, presumably because they know what they are doing.

After the Iron Curtain melted into the dustbin of history, it was surprising that so many Eastern Europeans were nostalgic about the good old days. It perplexed me when I heard stories from my relatives. But over time I've come to understand the basic appeal of autocratic rule. If someone else is in charge and we don't have a say, it's not our fault when things go sour. And that's convenient because we're really too busy with our daily lives to take on the extra work.

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Renewal is always possible, even when you least expect it.

Good Sunday Morning,

Elizabeth and JohnOf course we have to lead this morning's missive with the wonderful announcement that Elizabeth May and John Kidder are deeply in love and engaged to be married on Earth Day. Here is how Anne Kingston reported it in McLeans: "On a day filled with grim news — layoffs of thousands of GM workers in Oshawa, Ont., as federal Conservative leader Andrew Scheer tried to make political hay by blaming the carbon tax, and the U.S. president said he didn’t believe his own government’s dire climate report — the happy announcement that federal Green Party leader Elizabeth May was marrying for the first time at age 64 was more than a welcome respite: for a fleeting moment, one could hear bluebirds chirping, woodland animals cavorting, and be reminded that life’s surprises aren’t all bad; they can also include unexpected love and joy."

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We don't have time!

Good Sunday Morning,

We can't wait any longer.The Club of Rome has been ringing the alarm since it published "Limits to Growth" in 1972. And this weekend it held an international air travel free conference entitled "We Don't Have Time." They joined forces with Scientists Warning and organizations like the Citizens Climate Lobby and a youth organization based in Seattle called This is Zero Hour, to unveil what they called "The Climate Emergency Plan."

I was made aware of this event by a network of climate emergency action advocates who operate a website called the Climate Emergency Declaration in Australia where Elizabeth's speech to the House Emergency Debate on Global Warming is linked as an example of political leaders who champion real climate action. Last week, the Trump administration quietly released The National Climate Assessment, mandated every 4 years, which says the last few years have smashed records for damaging weather in the U.S., costing nearly $400 billion US since 2015.

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Time to fix this...


Good Sunday Morning,

100% of the powerSo here is how it currently works:

  • We elect our MPs and MLAs with a plurality of votes. That means whoever gets the most votes wins. In 2015, 205 of the 338 seats in the House of Commons were won by people who received less than 50% of the vote. Almost 2/3 of the House of Commons is made up of representatives that a majority of the people in their riding didn't want.
  • If a majority of the seats in The House are thus occupied by a single political party, that party uses a system called "whipping the vote" to ensure they vote as a block on any legislation "the government" wants to pass. There are many ways that a Prime Minister or Premier can punish dissenters and these are freely utilized.
  • Having thus secured power, the Prime Minister or Premier then hand picks a cabinet; an inner circle of MPs or MLAs who are sworn to secrecy and meet behind closed doors to decide on policy, tactics, strategy and yes, talking points.
  • The rest of the governing party's caucus is essentially relegated to back-bencher status where they languish in silence waiting and hoping for the day when they too get a plum cabinet appointment and the salary boost that accompanies it. But to get that they have to behave themselves and so it can be argued that they are even less effective at representing the wishes of their constituents (most of which didn't vote for them remember) than opposition MPs. Prime Minister Pierre Elliot Trudeau famously referred to them as "trained seals". 
  • Meanwhile the opposition MPs are condemned to a life of just pointing to the shortcomings of a government. Ironically, since the voices of the opposition parties are likewise whipped, they are compelled to stand united in their condemnation of pretty much any government initiative.
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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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