Good Sunday Morning!
And for those of you who observe Christian holidays, Happy Palm Sunday!
It is hard to keep track of time. It is almost Passover. One week until Easter, but each day is like the one before. For most of us, we are working from home and only going out for essential things.
I continue to work at a fever pitch to resolve issues for constituents stranded in various places around the world (and making real progress getting people home!) and helping businesses access help and arguing for more help with the government for those (far too many) falling between the cracks.
When did this all start? I look back to late December and early January as the news from Wuhan spread. This business news site from the US sets out its timeline. I reflect on my own timeline.
I remember a hurried hallway conversation with Health Minister Patty Hajdu in Parliament about moving ahead on pharmacare. She sighed and said that all anyone wanted to talk about was COVID-19. At that point, neither of us could have imagined that Canada would be in lock-down within weeks. When did we have that conversation? My best guess is early February.
February 18th I was on CTV Power Play. The MP panel was supposed to discuss the Wet’suwet’en situation but, at the last minute, the topic shifted to COVID19. Before going on air, I did a quick research into advice from Dr. Theresa Tam and the World Health Organization. We “knew” that Canada would largely be unaffected; it was countries that lacked good primary health care that should worry. I repeated this as well as that COVID-19 could not be spread by touching surfaces. We now know that was wrong, but the picture was evolving and this is, as we know, a very tricky virus previously unknown to science.
By March 13, I was standing in the House to give unanimous consent to adjourning until April 20.
I am going to somewhat arbitrarily pick March 9 for Day One of my timeline. That was the day of first tragic death at the Lynn Valley Care home in BC.
So, as I write you we are now at the end of Week 4. It seems like longer.
I hope wherever you are as you read my weekly missive, you are safe and well. If by yourself, I hope you have good connections by phone and internet with people you love. I am lucky. It is almost one year since John Kidder and I were married, so for the first time in many years, I am not alone. Our plans for our anniversary have changed, as we anticipate another night at home! At least, I will be with Paul Manly and Jenica Atwin in an Earth Day virtual town hall! If you are a Green Party member, you should have already received an invitation by email. If you did not, let me know.
To bring you up to date on GOOD NEWS with nothing to do with COVID-19:
- At long last, Grassy Narrows First Nation has a signed deal for a long-term care facility for those poisoned by industrial mercury pollution.
- The re-opened Donkin coal mine in Cape Breton, opened by a US corporation with a terrible record as anti-union and lax on safety, announced a permanent shut-down due to geologic instability.
- The environmental assessment panel on the proposed Roberts Bank expansion at the Port of Vancouver found it would have “significant adverse effects” on the southern resident killer whales and on indigenous rights. It is also a huge threat to the endangered western sandpiper. The recommendation goes to Environment Minister Jonathan Wilkinson and, from there, to Cabinet.
- Woodfibre LNG on Howe Sound has asked for a one year delay. Nothing to do with the uneconomic conditions for LNG, they say, but due to COVID19… And we have a bridge in Brooklyn…
- And HUGE news, (not sure if good or bad), COP26 is postponed. The all-important climate summit cannot take place as the preparatory meetings simply cannot happen. If Trump loses in November 2020, the postponement could be very good news. If the COVID19 pandemic significantly reduces GHG in 2020, we could have breathing room to hold to 1.5 degrees. Conversely, if economic stimulus post-COVID19 ignores the climate imperative, it could be disastrous.
Stay well, stay safe! (Please read the P.S. about opportunities to hear from candidates in the Green Party federal council election)
Virtual Green federal council “Meet the candidates”
April 5 Young Greens 6 pm Eastern https://zoom.us/j/866777980
April 6 Ontario 7 pm Eastern https://zoom.us/j/847525053
April 7 Sask & Territories 7 pm Mountain https://zoom.us/j/792791972
April 8 BC 7 pm Pacific https://zoom.us/j/473167148
April 10 Executive national (VP English& Fund Rep) 6 pm Eastern https://zoom.us/j/201253583
RSVP: write <firstname.lastname@example.org> to confirm your participation in the Zoom session for your region.