Good Sunday Morning:
Do we really live in an age of anger or is it mostly apathy fueled by structural greed? Jeff Braustein is our digital director at the GPC (Green Party of Canada). His Facebook posts are often rich with references. This week he offered a link about "Decoding the resistance to climate change," which bluntly asks the question; are we doomed? While on the CBC Ideas site I also noticed another program about the Age of Anger. "More and more people feel the gap between the profligate promises of individual freedoms and sovereignty and the incapacity of their political and economic organizations to realize them." Pankaj Mishra talks about, among other things, the disenfranchisement with electoral politics as he explores the concept of Globalized Anger. Everywhere authoritarian leaders are springing up, feeding on populations that are fed up with the status quo.
Could it be that both of these manifestations, anger and apathy, are rooted in a deeper longing? A longing for something to believe in; for a future that we can trust?
Jagmeet Singh's amazing sprint to the front of the pack of the NDP leadership race is being noticed. Hélène Laverdière, a Quebec MP who supports Singh, is reported to have said she didn’t know much about him until he showed up in Ottawa around the time he formally launched his campaign. He came to her office, and she was impressed. “He wanted to listen, rather than talk,” she said. “What struck me the most with him — how could I say? — it’s the leadership side. It’s the human being.” Jagmeet Sing is openly certain that he is going to win the NDP leadership race. And why not. He has signed up 47,000 new members for the NDP and raised more money than the other three contenders combined.
But the trust we feel when we back a winner can be fleeting, as Justin Trudeau has painfully taught us yet again. The promise of "1.5 to stay alive" has inspired the world to move beyond the carbon bubble while here at home our dashing Prime Minister seems trapped in Harperland. Carbon targets are frozen at Harper's levels, LNG terminals are approved, Tar Sands are subsidized and he keeps insisting that Rachel still needs a pipeline. Sure promises are made and expert panels are convened, but their reports are ignored.
I used to take the subway to Kensington Market in Toronto when I was a teenager back in the 1970s. There was a tiny cheese store with the finest varieties from all over the world on display. They would always let you taste a piece before you made your decision. But then in the hustle and bustle of the crowds you had to watch carefully for as often as not, your order was cut from a different wheel.
That's what it feels like when we hear Catherine McKenna say "it's clear that we need to be taking a leadership role in [fighting] climate change." She did it again this weekend at an international conference being hosted by Canada, China and the European Union in Montreal. The Paris agreement, championed by the Minister herself, sets a global target of 1.5 degrees and was struck just two months after the Liberals swept to power. Months later, the U.S. and China jointly said they would sign off on the deal. This weekend, China's special representative for climate change affairs, Xie Zhenhua, emphasized the importance of pushing forward in spite of the recent announcement from the Trump administration that it plans to bow out. "The Paris agreement should not be renegotiated," he said.
Whether Canada likes it or not, the world is committed to moving forward. Tesla is making news again with the introduction of its autonomous semi truck line. Demand for the all-electric truck is expected to be high, according to Ravi Shanker, an analyst at Morgan Stanley. The trucks could operate autonomously, and cost as much as $100,000 per vehicle. Their batteries could be leased to truck owners, setting the company up for a network of battery swapping stations to quickly refresh the batteries and range of the vehicles. As this video summarizes so clearly the revolution is underway and it will have far reaching consequences. That's why Another LNG project bites the dust and our Minister of Environment and Climate Change is cautiously linking intensifying storms with climate change. "Now is exactly the time to be talking about extreme weather, climate and resilience," McKenna told Hayhoe on Twitter last Monday. "Failing to do so is irresponsible."
So with all that doublespeak where do we find that future we can trust? With elegance and passion, Arnold Chan, who passed away this week, pointed the way. As you might recall, in his last speech to the House in June he praised the conduct of Elizabeth, saying she set an example that other MPs should aspire to follow. “Despite strongly disagreeing, perhaps, with the position of the government of the day, she does so in a respectful tone. I would ask all of us to elevate our debate, to elevate our practice to that standard,” Chan said.
It was such a thrill to see Elizabeth and Adam, stand side by side on stage as they engaged their constituents on federal and provincial issues at Town Halls. They both represent that higher calling Arnold Chain was hoping for. There was no passing the buck, only real answers to real questions asked by real people. On Friday was the 30th anniversary of the signing of the Montreal Protocol. Elizabeth was one of the Ozone Heroes then. And there she was at the Fulford Community Hall on Salt Spring, three decades later, proud to be standing next to her Green MLA, still championing the cause for a sustainable and just world for us all.
Tomorrow Elizabeth will be back in Ottawa to take her seat in The House for the fall session. Tomorrow our Green BC Caucus will start it's second week sitting in opposition to, and working with, the new BC government. It is in their efforts to turn the halls of power into revered chambers of responsible governance that we can find hope. The hope we need to embrace the challenges of our time. The hope we need to have confidence in ourselves, to believe in each other, and to know that each and every one of us has something to contribute.
Have a fabulous week,
"It is our job to work tirelessly for justice, for peace, and for a planet that can survive with a human civilization that thrives. This is the challenge that we take on as Greens." Elizabeth May, October 19th, 2015
This weekly missive is authored by Thomas Teuwen, our SGI EDA coordinator. Opinions expressed are his own. We welcome your comments and feedback. If you were sent here by a friend and would like to subscribe to our weekly email simply click here. You can also go to the archives section of our SGI website to read back issues.