Today marks the end of Holocaust Remembrance Week (April 4-11, 2021). In Ottawa, every year after my election in 2011, I attended the very moving National Holocaust Remembrance Ceremony with dozens of other MPs, Supreme Court Justices, ambassadors and Holocaust survivors and their families. That is every year until last when the April 21, 2020 service was canceled due to COVID. Leaders from every party, including Greens, would speak and join Holocaust survivors in lighting a candle.
The society that organizes the event, the Canadian Society for Yad Vashem, exists to increase awareness and education about the Holocaust – or the Shoah – especially for young people. “Shoah” in Hebrew literally translates as “catastrophe.” And it was that – an up-ending of the world, the brutal and deliberate, systematic effort to eliminate a people. The Jewish people. A genocide without equal. In COVID, some of these moments – annual events canceled - are lost in a blur, but I wanted to share how important it is that the Shoah never be forgotten. And that we mean it when we say, “Never again.”
Let me start this newsletter with an apology for last week’s embarrassing typo. Yes, I have read Walden. Cut my teeth on it, as it were. And Henry David Thoreau is one of my heroes. So it was not very “thorough” of me in proof-reading to miss that spellcheck had decided that “Thoreau” was a mistake and I must have meant “Thorough”! Oh dear. And an apology to a reader who thought it disrespectful that I referred to another true and much revered hero, Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, without his appropriate honorifics. Mea culpa.
I did hear from a lot of readers that they wanted to know what is going on with vaccines and variants. I am so proud of our Green leadership on these issues. The clearest voices on keeping people safe and doing the right thing are GPC leader Annamie Paul and the provincial Green leaders. Annamie has been extremely consistent and evidence-based in her approach. She has been hosting panel discussions, broadcast on national CPAC with media in attendance, with some of the top epidemiologists, vaccine and public health experts in Canada. And she has been calling for a taskforce of federal and provincial leaders to do a much better job in coordination, to put a priority on vaccinating the front-line workers - whether in grocery stores or servers – to get vaccines ahead of people like me, who can safely self-isolate and work from home. It is critical we get vaccines to low-income, essential workers, living in neighbourhoods with many other low-income, essential workers. I am including one clip – of the many available on line- as an excellent example of top-notch vaccine information that Annamie Paul is sharing. I was so impressed that she was able to get leading national experts, like Dr. Zain Chagla and Dr. Abdu Sharkawy, to join a Green Party panel. You will recognize them immediately from their many presentations on the national networks on this youtube, originally broadcast on CPAC. I really love that Dr. Sharkaway thanks Annamie using the honorific “the Right Honourable” -- a term used only for the Prime Minister! Let that be prophesy!)
Here in BC, Sonia Furstenau has been so clear. And I doubt either Annamie or Sonia have had time to check in with each other to coordinate the message– but they are making all the same points. Over the years, I have been amazed as on issue, after issue, I find that federal Greens and provincial colleagues are on the same page- based on doing our homework and sticking to our values.
Sonia has been out front to protect our teachers and vulnerable communities. This week she made it clear that the BC government has been unclear and should do more. BC Greens call for real restrictions on non-essential travel, more testing and tracing and more transparency about data. BC now has a higher per capita rates of COVID than Ontario, and the spike is being driven by the variants. She was on national CBC “Power and Politics” she said, “We need to let the vaccines catch up in this race against the variants.” It is pretty clear that we are losing that race. Watch Sonia here (long clip, so go to the 58.47 mark for her great interview: https://www.cbc.ca/player/play/1883698755950 )
Meanwhile, support for the Fairy Creek blockades continue to build. I wanted to share this key article on the lies that Teal Jones told the court to obtain the injunction. Again thanks to “Focus on Victoria” and David Broadland. https://www.focusonvictoria.ca/forests/46/
It was a busy week and capped off with such a fun zoom celebration on Friday night of my nomination as the Green Party candidate in Saanich-Gulf Islands. Thanks to all the local SGI team who joined in, to William Deverell and Adam Olsen MLA for coming along to endorse my campaign! And especially to surprise guest MP Paul Manly. We had a blast. And it reminded me again how much I miss working in person with Paul and Jenica, and our time in real life in the House of Commons together, as opposed to only seeing our dogged debate in parliament in a small box on our computer screen. I did make a wonderful announcement - as we gear up for an election none of us think we should have! My SGI campaign manager will be Debra Eindiguer, who has been my right arm for about 17 years – starting working together at Sierra Club of Canada. When I won the Green leadership, she came to the Greens and continued being my indispensable manager of all details while building relationships with media and ministers offices and ambassadors etc!. She has been my Chief of Staff since I won in 2011. Every election campaign, she has taken a leave of absence from Parliament Hill to work in the national campaigns. Debra has been the key organizer of four campaigns’ national leader tours, as well as negotiations for the leaders’ debates and many more tasks, behind the scenes, never properly thanked, for all those years. I couldn’t be more thrilled that she agreed to take this on.
Green candidates are being nominated across Canada, following careful vetting. It is not too soon to say “please donate now” in case we are in an election in 2021. Remember the fixed election date is fall 2023, but it is a safe bet that Justin Trudeau will call a snap election in 2021 (as per Blaine Higgs and John Horgan). We can expect a federal election as soon as Trudeau can safely claim vaccines are ahead of variants. Please go to greenparty.ca and donate as much as you can.
Many thanks!! Stay safe!!!
Lots of love,
And please sign these petitions!
Stop weapons sales to Saudi Arabia (sponsor Jenica Atwin):
Insist on real climate action to hold to 1.5 degrees (sponsor Jenica Atwin):
Calling for meaningful action to address the housing crisis (sponsor Paul Manly):
Call for Ombudsperson investigation of Recon-Africa fracking plans for Okavango Delta (sponsor: Elizabeth May):