Paying for COVID-19 (July 5, 2020)

Good Sunday Morning!

This Sunday finds me finally out of the 14 day isolation from the last trip to Ottawa and on my way back. The House will sit this coming Wednesday July 8th, and I’ll arrive tomorrow for the Finance Committee meeting on Tuesday.

On Wednesday, Finance Minister Bill Morneau will provide the first economic update since the pandemic began. It will not be a budget. In case you were wondering if you missed the budget, you haven’t. The planned tabling of the 2020-2021 budget was originally scheduled for March 30. It was postponed due to COVID-19 without a new date chosen. The coming economic statement from Bill Morneau is not an economic update. He has described it as a “snapshot.”

In anticipation of whatever he thinks Canada’s finances look like at the moment of this snapshot, despite all the other critical and urgent issues demanding attention (systemic racism, police killings of unarmed people – indigenous and of colour, the climate emergency), I will take the rest of this Sunday missive to try to put some context around a sea of red ink.

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Greens, Climate and Sanity (June 28, 2020)

Good Sunday Morning! Welcome to Summer!

The Green Party leadership race is now well underway with ten candidates. The first debate was co-hosted by former Green leaders, Jim Harris and me and sponsored by Fair Vote Canada, and included some French. 

There will also be debates with a French broadcaster, details in the works. If you missed the English language debates on TVO, here are the links.

https://www.tvo.org/video/green-party-of-canada-leadership-debate-part-1

https://www.tvo.org/video/green-party-of-canada-leadership-debate-part-2

As a group, this is one strong field of diverse contenders. Veteran political debates host Steve Paikan moderated. Having decided ten was unwieldy, TVO split the debate into two groups of five. I really enjoyed Steve Paikan’s reflection on the very different leadership races - the Greens and the Conservatives. Paikan noted how vicious the Conservative front-runners were to each other, contrasted with the civility of Greens:

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Systemic Racism (June 21, 2020)

Good Sunday Morning!

Happy Solstice! Happy Indigenous Peoples Day! Happy Fathers’ Day!! Happy Longest Day of the Year!

It is my first full day home after a long shift in Ottawa, from June 1-18. The COVID-19 pandemic has been nearly over-shadowed these last few months by issues of racism and police violence. It is almost one month since the killing of George Floyd, an unarmed, handcuffed, innocent black man by the Minnesota police. The anger and cries for justice in the face of anti-Black racism have not lost momentum. On the contrary, Black Lives Matters protests have spread the message globally that racism must end.

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Reimagining Our Future (June 14, 2020)

Good Sunday Morning!

We have hit the three months mark of living in pandemic land. I don’t know about you, but I am sick of it. But we know it is not over.

We have to be careful.

As Greens, we called for a coordinated national response months ago. We are the only party that called for the federal government to trigger the measures for a Public Welfare Emergency under the Emergencies Act. Recently, Professor Amir Attaran, professor of both law and epidemiology, called for the same thing in Macleans. And although they differ on some aspects of their pandemic analysis, Ontario’s former health minister Eric Hoskins agrees we have an appalling lack of information: “decision-makers are just reading tea leaves while blindfolded.”

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Trump is dangerous (June 7, 2020)

Good Sunday Morning! 

Let me begin with an apology. Last Sunday, I think many of you expected and needed for me to talk about the cold-blooded murder of George Floyd and the horrors of Donald Trump. And you were disappointed. Instead, I wrote about climate and endangered species. Not the right call.

Honestly, I couldn’t bear it. My weekly Sunday family zoom was canceled as my daughter and her half-sibs all wrote to say that they were just gutted…not in a family zoom mood.

On Monday I traveled to Ottawa and on Tuesday was among those approximately forty members of parliament physically present for the hybrid meeting of the COVID committee – which is essentially a Committee of the Whole- and the Prime Minister’s speech about these recent events, followed by responses from other parties, including mine on behalf of the Green Party.

I had to call out Donald Trump for his “incendiary response to a wounded, grieving nation” quoting The Rt. Rev. Mariann Budde, Episcopal Bishop of Washington D.C.

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COVID, Climate and Caribou (May 31, 2020)

Good Sunday Morning! 

Amazing. Tomorrow is June first; starting Week 13 in my own COVID timeline. Life in COVID-world is now assured to span four months of 2020 and will likely take us through months to come. 

I have to return to Ottawa to take the last in-person shift for the Green Caucus of the parliamentary session, until June 18.  I will be traveling with John Kidder (thank you honey!) and taking the ferry today and the flight to Ottawa on Air Canada first thing tomorrow. 

Checking the VIA Rail website the other day, I was crestfallen to see no trains will run from Vancouver to Toronto until November 1st.  Far more worrying is the impact of COVID-19 on the implementation of the Paris Agreement.  The climate negotiations (the Conference of the Parties – COPs) are annual. But some years are more important than others.  Clearly, COP3 in Kyoto, COP 11 in Montreal, disastrous COP15 in Copenhagen and successful COP21 in Paris were very important COPs.  So too is the upcoming meeting. 

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Re-opening after COVID19

Good Sunday Morning! 

Around the world, some countries inch toward re-opening, while others shutter. Globally, more than five million people have been diagnosed with COVID19 and nearly 350,000 people have died.

We know we are lucky in Canada. We are particularly lucky in British Columbia. But nowhere in Canada are we out of the woods yet. We need to observe public health advice. We cannot let down our guard.

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Two Wins in Court (May 17, 2020)

Good Sunday Morning! 

Amazingly enough, my time line for pandemic tells me this is week 11 in lock down. The days have blurred together, but with parliamentary committees meeting virtually every week day, at least weekends have begun to feel different. I still work through Saturday and Sunday, but mostly in zoom meetings with constituents and on projects I can no longer juggle during the week. I am covering three standing committees (Finance, Procedure and House Affairs and Government Operations), plus the virtual parliament Special COVID committee. Most days I have the feeling of being imprisoned by zoom. I feel as though the mandatory headset with high quality mic to protect the ears of our House translators is starting to grow into my skull. It is an odd old world, but at least we are able to do good work.

We did get some good news from the world outside of COVID19 – and yes the world is still there. Both rays of sunshine came from court decisions long in the making.

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"Oil is over" -- "Oil is dead" (May 10, 2020)

Good Sunday Morning! 

And to all mothers reading this, Happy Mother’s Day!

My Mother’s Day was made on Friday with a delivery call from the door of our building to say I had flowers. It was the first time my 28-year old Cate has ever sent me flowers. And what a gorgeous bouquet of local flowers and ethically sourced and packaged! (A shout out to the Victoria florist Cate found on line, for COVID precautions and ecological blooms – Bespoke Blossoms) And a note: “Happy Mother’s Day – Sending lots of contact-free love and hugs!”

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Nine years of Greens (May 3, 2020)

Good Sunday Morning!

This Sunday marks the beginning of my tenth year as the Member of Parliament for Saanich-Gulf Islands. Thanks to many of you, I have been re-elected twice and hope to hold the seat in the next federal election. (Yes, I am running again!)

If you are a constituent living in Saanich-Gulf Islands, I invite you to our second Virtual Community Meeting. It is this coming Friday, May 8th at 7 pm. Please RSVP so the team can send you the zoom link. Email: Elizabeth.May@parl.gc.ca, or phone 250-657-2000. If you want to send a question in advance, write Elizabeth.May.C1@parl.gc.ca.

Nine years have flown by. Bringing back memories, the Green Party office sent out this picture by twitter of the victory party May 2, 2011.

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