Our carbon budget

Good Sunday Morning,

carbon_countdown.jpgIt's been a great week! A new cabinet was sworn in while the Green Vision of making the BC legislature the house of the people manifested itself in an unprecedented level of attendance. Free ice cream helped of course but it does represent a huge paradigm shift after 16 years of corporate rule. Donna Sanford was appointed executive director of a special secretariat that will be established in the Premier’s office to oversee the confidence and supply agreement with the Greens. On Friday Elizabeth and Adam spoke at the unveiling of the WSÁNEĆ Welcome Pole in Beacon Park and our new MLA is setting up his constituency office as a people place as well. This coming Thursday the provincial Green Riding Association of Saanich North and the Islands is having its organizing meeting.

Meanwhile on the federal side, the Committee on Motion Development (CMD) sent out a survey to all the CEOs of Green Electoral District Associations (EDAs) across the country as part of their initiative to seek input on how we can improve our internal processes. The Saanich-Gulf Islands (SGI) EDA has partnered with the Vancouver East EDA to host a meet-up of BC EDAs as an adjunct to the BC Greens Convention which will be held here in Sidney next month. Elizabeth will be hosting a webinar on the 30th of July to reach out to EDAs across Canada to hear first hand about their challenges and opportunities. Our EDA is gearing up for a whole new level of activity this fall as we prepare to work with Sonia Theroux, our new National Director of Mobilization, and her staff to support other keen EDAs across the country.

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They're going to keep what Harper did!

Good Sunday Morning,

It almost feels like "take out the trash day" on that West Wing TV episode. You make it appear as if you are doing a lot of good stuff and then when no one is paying attention you sneak through something you know could really hurt you politically. This is the time of the year in Canada when few people pay attention to politics. And so, here we are facing an August 28th deadline for public submission on a critical issue.

Elizabeth_02.jpg"Apoplectic is how I get when I look at [what] was just put out on a web site at the end of June from the Government of Canada. Basically taking you back to bill C-38 and C-45, the 2012 Omnibus Budget Bills that wrecked the fisheries act, the navigable waters protection act, the environmental assessment act and changed the NEB's role", Elizabeth explained at our annual Green Party Summer Picnic here in Saanich-Gulf Islands. The Liberals promised to address these travesties and launched four different consultation exercises: One under the transport committee to look at the Navigable Waters Protection Act, one under the fisheries committee to look at the Fisheries Act, and two really expensive high level expert panels.

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Goodbye America?

Good Sunday Morning,

trump_is_isolated.jpgThe G-20 represents more than 80% of global growth, more than 80% of global emissions and more than 80% of our resource consumption. And when they met this week to talk about global issues, the main topic of conversation was climate change. German Chancellor Angela Merkel called climate and energy "the one crucial issue" at the G20 and spoke of her frustration at the US choosing to leave the Paris accord. "You are familiar with the American position, you know that unfortunately, and I deplore this, the United States of America left the climate agreement," said Merkel. "But I am very gratified to note that the other 19 member states of the G20 say that the Paris agreement is irreversible." Nineteen of the twenty leaders made it clear that they are moving forward to embrace a low carbon future with or without Donald Trump.

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'We're committed to making this place work.'

Good Sunday Morning,

2017_parade.jpgIn September of 1864 political leaders met in Charlottetown to discuss a maritime union. “The Canadians” came to pitch a bigger idea, a federation. For a week they conferenced, mixing work with plenty of socializing. A historian on the CBC's The House pointed out that “the heavy lifting was done in the morning but in the afternoon, when the delegates met each other outside the chamber, that's when they formed the friendships and alliances that were critically important to the creation of this country. After a week they agreed in principle to a confederation by taking it from an idle idea to a prospect with real legs."

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Pride and Gratitude on Canada Day

 Good Sunday Morning,

toronto-airport-T1.jpgMy uncle Paul was happy to drive us to the airport in Frankfurt. He and his co-driver Helmut specialized in long distance taxi fares. "So Margaret," he asked his sister a short while into the trip. "How much money do you have on you as you embark on this journey to emigrate to Canada?" It was the summer of 1968. A nasty divorce had decimated our thriving family business, forcing this former executive manager to work at a clothing store in the Bavarian Alps: "Money? I have no money. I cashed in the last of my pension to scrape together the one way airfare for the kids and I."

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A new way of doing politics

Good Sunday Morning,

Elizabeth has often reminded us that our biggest challenge in the world today is that we are afraid to abandon our cynicism. Perhaps it's our fear of being labeled naive. Perhaps we are infected by the cynics that surround us. But in our hearts we know that we long for something better. We know this because when we see it, when we catch a glimpse of how things could and should be, we are touched deeply. So deeply in fact that it can move us to tears. That's what happened to me as I watched Arnold Chan address the House of commons this week.

Arnold_Chan_02.jpg"I would beg us, to not only act as honourable members but to treat this institution honourably. And to that extent I want to make a shout out to our colleague from Saanich-Gulf Islands, a parliamentarian. Despite the fact that we are not in the same party, despite the fact that we may disagree on some substantive issues quite vehemently, I consider this particular member to be a giant. Not simply because she exhorts us to follow standing order 18, but more importantly I've observed in her practice, Mr. Speaker, that she reveres this place, she is dedicated to her constituents, she practices both here and in committee the highest standard that any parliamentarian could ask for. Despite perhaps strongly disagreeing with the position of the government of the day, she does so in a respectful tone and I would ask all of us to elevate our debate, to elevate our practice, to that standard. We Must!

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Inspiration at the AGM

Good Sunday Morning

Elizabeth.jpgNormally I spend my whole Saturday writing this missive but today we held our Annual General Meeting (AGM). We elected a new slate of members to our Executive, adopted a bold vision document and passed a motion to adopt an updated constitution and bylaws. It is now 8pm and I am finally sitting down at my keyboard. Let's see what emerges, shall we?

The AGM was a tremendous success. Once again our Events Team worked their magic. Nancy, Annie and Yves brought flowers. Lil, Nancy, Annie and Claire baked birthday cakes for Elizabeth. Alexis and Teri created colorful fruit trays. Gary and Nancy signed people in at the door and distributed ballots. Grace led the vote and was the official ballot counter. Dan and Yves were scrutineers, Ann and Teri worked the Bar, Laura and Donnamae handled cards and everyone did their best to fill any gaps.

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Balance of power or shared responsibility?

Good Sunday Morning,

the_team.jpgThose of us who attended Adam Olsen's volunteer appreciation potluck last Sunday afternoon received a preview of what was about to unfold. In Adam's speech to the gathering, he clearly articulated the values that were continuing to drive negotiations. Then he left the event early to attend what turned out to be the last negotiating session. Adam reminded us that it has been a dream of Greens to hold the balance of power and joked that we have to be careful what we wish for. Suddenly this amazing Green caucus had been thrust into a role with crushing responsibilities that determine the trajectory of not only this province but of the Green movement and even electoral reform across the country.

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Failure of Kinder Morgan IPO could stop the pipeline

Good Sunday Morning,

ticker.jpgTuesday is going to be a big day. It's the day that the new Initial Public Offering (IPO) to finance Kinder Morgan's Trans Mountain Pipeline expansion starts trading on the Toronto Stock Exchange (TSE). To build the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion, Kinder Morgan has to spend about 7.4 billion dollars. But of course it doesn't want to spend its own money even though Richard Kinder, its co-founder and executive chairman, has a reported personal net worth of 7.2 billion himself. Better to pass the cost (and the risk) off to unsuspecting investors like the beneficiaries of pension and insurance funds. As the former President of ENRON (yes, that house of cards), Kinder knows how the game is played.

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Embracing the New Economy

 Good Sunday Morning,

Amid the roller coaster ride that Tesla's stock price is on, one annalist points out that Tesla will be a major player in a $2 trillion autonomous taxi market. A two trillion dollar Taxi market! That's three times as big as the total sales of the three largest automakers in the world; Volkswagen, Toyota and GM - combined. This week the Financial Post caught on to a study that was presented last year and that Elizabeth alerted us to over the Christmas holidays. It was made by Stanford University economist Tony Seba. His report, with the deceptively bland title "Rethinking Transportation 2020-2030", has gone viral in green circles and is causing spasms of anxiety in the established industries. "We are on the cusp of one of the fastest, deepest, most consequential disruptions of transportation in history."

400km_electric.jpgThis emerging market will be based more on the technological model offered by Apple and Amazon than the industrial model one would expect. As Seba points out the new autonomous electric vehicles are not computerized cars but rather smart phones on wheels. Tesla has already set the standard by upgrading features in their cars regularly with a simple (and automatic) software update. Since electric cars have 80% fewer moving parts than Internal Combustion Engine cars (ICEs), once you make them autonomous and add the technology of UBER-like ride sharing, city dwellers the world over will find car ownership obsolete. Seba predicts up to 80% fewer cars on the road and that all fossil-fuel vehicles will vanish in 8 years resulting in a twin ‘death spiral’ for big oil and big autos. 

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