Good Sunday Morning,
Of course the big news this week is Hannah Bell. Last week we celebrated the end of corporate rule over BC politics and tamed the wild west of political financing. This week we started on Monday by celebrating the arrival of the latest Green legislator in Canada. We now have seven. Three on the west coast and three on the east coast. Like bookends to a bright Canadian future they are connected by a streak of light that flashes back and forth across the country touching Canadians with a dash of hope and a pound of courage. We affectionately call that seventh light Elizabeth.
In this clip from the BC Legislature, Adam Olsen mentioned that watching David Coon speak in New Brunswick was just like hearing from the BC Greens. "Our values and our principles carry the day." And here is a chance to hear that same message, our message, from a passionate young Green in New Zealand. Chloe Swarbrick, born in 1994, was elected to the New Zealand Parliament in 2017. "I want to change people's awareness of what politics really is." You will love this short speech!
A little backgrounder: James Shaw heads the New Zealand caucus of 8 MPs. Six women and two men. This occurred due to the massive meltdown in the party when co-leader Metiria Turei outed herself as a welfare cheat, to highlight the unfairness of the system. Indigenous and a single mother, 30 years ago she had people share her flat and her rent, and didn't declare it so she could get through law school. A few of the top male candidates on the Green Party list resigned to force her out. All tragic. but in the end, as the list couldn't be changed, gender parity was skewed as the men who quit could not be replaced... it led to 6 women and 2 men elected , and in a Confidence and Supply Agreement, they got four cabinet seats.
And then Elizabeth tweeted that Iceland now has a Green head of government. Katrín Jakobsdóttir became Prime Minister this week when her new coalition government took power. The new coalition government spans the entire political spectrum in Iceland. It is comprised of the Left Green Movement , the Independence Party and the Progressive Party. Greens continue to defy the pressure to be restricted to a single place on the political spectrum. Greens are about striving for good government, period.
Peter Bevan-Baker is one of the amazing Greens elected here in Canada. As leader of the PEI Greens he has brought light, respect, and a heightened commitment to better decorum into the PEI legislature. Like all other elected Greens, he has maintained the tradition of raising the bar on how we do politics in this country and is recognized as the most popular party leader in his province. Well, as of this week he doesn't have to sit alone anymore. On Monday, Hannah Bell was elected with a solid margin and we now have our second Green elected caucus in Canada!!!
In this interview with Chris Hall, Hannah talks about how the people were tired of the same old politics. "The Green party is a family, not just on a provincial basis but across the country and globally. Because whatever level we're at we all have that same set of values... Moving away from what is more and more a confrontational style of politics... and demonstrate that it's possible to achieve things in government with a very different tone."
In putting together this week's edition I came across this ad for an investment company. TMX Group claims to be an integrated, multi-asset class exchange group. They operate cash and derivative markets for multiple asset classes including equities, fixed income and energy. They also provide clearing facilities, data products and other services to the international financial community. In other words, these are international investment strategists and they make it their business to predict what the future holds. Guess what, their ad didn't show a single oil well or pipeline.
So while the investment community and the rest of the world is shifting to clean energy, Premier Notley is still equating jet fuel pipelines with dilbit pipelines, a gross misrepresentation of the risks involved, and claiming once again that the Trans Mountain pipeline will not increase the GHG emissions from the Tar Sands. She goes so far as to say that those who say otherwise are just playing politics. Pretty amazing stuff. While the NEB refused to consider neither job impacts nor downstream emissions in its bogus environmental review, both Rachel Notley and Jim Carr continue to spin the story that this is just another pipeline in the national interest and BC should suck it up.
It's another example of what turns so many people off politics and why we are so excited to see the Green movement grow. Some would call it "morality by convenience." The spin doctors call it "just politics." Abandoned by the Federal Liberals and the Alberta NDP, we now have to support our local governments and First nations in their heroic stand against this national attack on BC's right to protect our home and our future. The good news is that so far John Horgan has stood up to this political charade. Let's support him and the BC government in that stand.
Working together to protect our province from exploitation actually works. On Friday Steelhead LNG announced that they were pulling out of their proposal to develop an LNG facility in the Saanich Inlet and terminating their relationship with the Malahat First Nation. It's an announcement that Adam Olsen has been waiting for. He was instrumental in forming the Saanich Inlet Network. He inspired all of us to work hard and unite as a community to, as he said in this campaign video, "fiercely protect this place, our home."
In other good news BC Transit is testing an electric bus on Victoria routes for six months. “We, as B.C. Transit, want to make sure that we keep up to speed with where the technology is going. Advancements in electric-battery buses are continuing to improve, they get better, better every year.” The bus is manufactured by BYD, a company reported to be the world's largest plug-in electric vehicle manufacturer. In 2015 they sold over 100,000 units. Their local sales rep said BYD has delivered more than 30,000 of these buses around the world and they are “here to stay. It’s not a matter of if, but when every bus in town will be electric.”
The world is shifting towards renewables and renewal. Greens across the country and around the globe are at the forefront of that shift. On December 19th, Elizabeth May, Adam Olsen and Sonia Furstenau will be our special guests at our 2017 Solstice Party to celebrate that renewal.
Greens from all over southern Vancouver Island will gather in Saanich to share stories and good cheer for the festive season. But hurry, early bird tickets are only on sale until Tuesday. For those traveling from the Cowichan Valley or the Islands, billets can be arranged. And if you presently find yourself financially disadvantaged and would really like to attend, please let us know. We already have some prepaid sponsored tickets to share.
In the meantime, you can continue to follow that streak of light as she flashes by. Last week I reported that Elizabeth spoke to the Dalhousie Law School about how much damage has been done by the last government to our environmental regulations. It's hard (but critical) to fix what Harper broke. Here is the video of that speech.
Elizabeth also spoke with passion in the House to the apologies that were finally offered for the historic injustice to the LGBTQ2 community. "I just want to say clearly that I know they [the apologies] matter. They matter to the people who have suffered injustice, they matter to the families of those who have died who never got to hear this apology, they matter to all Canadians who know that we recognize that we have wronged our fellow citizens and that we will never do it again." The remarks sparked a standing ovation.
Today Elizabeth will be reading one of three Lessons at Christ Church Cathedral in Victoria. Andrew Weaver and Adam Olsen will be reading the other two. The theme for this First Advent celebration is sustainability. Then, after spending the week in Ottawa, Elizabeth will speak at the 6th Annual Green Gala in Vancouver on Friday and support Larry Colero in the South Surrey-White Rock by-election on Saturday. Next Sunday Elizabeth will stand with First Nations and speak to the Sacred Water Ceremony in Victoria.
Greens everywhere champion fiscally responsible government and here in British Columbia Greens continue to shine the light on what John Horgan called the hardest decision a BC Government has had to make in decades.
All last year, Elizabeth championed Electoral Reform across the country because it's good for Canada's democracy. Now we are on the brink of a referendum that could make it a reality here in BC. And the government is looking for input.
Finally, if you are interested in the emerging economy you can attend this Community Dialogue with Adam Olsen in Sidney this week or attend this Green Economy Forum with Elizabeth in Toronto.
There is so much to celebrate and so much to be thankful for. So bundle up, enjoy these long winter nights, and join us for our Solstice Party on the 19th!
Thank you for reading,
"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.