What happens in the Arctic... (August 9, 2020)

Good Sunday Morning!

75 years ago today, Canadian uranium from Saskatchewan loaded in a nuclear warhead detonated, destroying the Japanese city of Nagasaki.  The radionuclides from that chain reaction continued to poison people for long after in radioactive fallout.

One reader reminded me last week of Toyama and the other cities destroyed in that dreadful first week of August. Conventional fire-bombing, aimed at demonstrating the new technology of the B-29 bombers, destroyed Toyama and many other cities in Japan.

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Emancipation Day (August 2, 2020)

And August already!

Let us celebrate August 1st – Emancipation Day! Marking the passing of the 1833 Slavery Abolition Act in the British Parliament. In our Green Party release supporting the official designation of August 1st in Canada as Emancipation Day (as in many countries around the world), we made note of the fact that millions of people are still living as slaves. Products we think of as “treats” come from industries dependent on slave labour – such as those popular rings of farmed shrimp and any chocolate bar not marked “Fair Trade.”  Marking our colonial legacy and the existence of historic slavery is important; so too is confronting modern slavery.

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Climate change with little coverage (July 26, 2020)

Good Sunday Morning!

Let me start with a mea culpa. 

I was brought up short last Sunday morning for forgetting to make note that July 20, 2020 – an auspicious date – is the 149th anniversary of British Columbia joining Canada.  On July 20, 1871 B.C. became the sixth province in Canada.  Happy Birthday!

Even writing those words brings up a huge dose of internal distress; of awareness of colonialism and oppression.  Any time we mark a major historical event for Canada, we mark a moment of oppression for indigenous people.  What could reflect colonial powers more than the name “British Columbia”?  The derivations of the names is worth considering.  “British” is pretty obvious.  So too our capital city – Victoria.

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Activist in a pandemic (July 19, 2020)

Good Sunday Morning!

By my COVID timeline, we are just heading into week 19 of our new existence.

News from south of the border makes us want to seal the border ever tighter. My constituency office is deluged with calls of concern about foreign license plates. I raised the so-called “Alaska loophole” again in parliament last week. Meanwhile, our local tourism businesses - from iconic Butchart Gardens to Wilsons bus line - are wondering how they can hold on without those tourists.

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Modern Monetary Theory (July 12, 2020)

It’s not every day I get good news about a campaign I have been working on for decades.  My family home in Cape Breton was on the shores of the Gulf of St. Lawrence. The fossil fuel industry set its eyes on this environmentally sensitive habitat for whales and endangered leatherback turtles and healthy fisheries while I was still at Sierra Club.  First, the industry wanted near shore permits to drill for gas. That fight took years.  Then they wanted to drill for oil in the deep waters off the western coast of Newfoundland.

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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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