Jenica Atwin crosses the floor (June 13, 2021)

Good Sunday Morning!

As all of you know, this has been a very hard week for the Green Party of Canada. I cannot remember a worse moment for us.

But it was a very hard week for Canada. Many things to share with you on this Sunday.

Before diving into the bad news, let’s take a moment to celebrate that the BC government finally agreed to defer logging in Fairy Creek old growth! I am linking here to the excellent and cautious statement from the BC Greens. 
https://www.bcgreens.ca/b_c_greens_respond_to_old_growth_logging_deferrals_in_fairy_creek_and_central_walbran

But most of the week’s news was very painful. First, last Sunday, was the devastating and brutal murder of nearly an entire family in London, Ontario. I know London well. Thanks to the strength of Green support in London North Centre in the 2006 by-election, to that date, the Green Party got its best result by far. I came in second with 26% of the vote. In the course of that by-election, I got to know amazing members of the city’s Muslim community. I would never have believed such an act of hate and violence would be possible in that community.  It hit hard. 

Three generations of one family were deliberately run down.

Salman Afzaal, 46, his wife Madiha, 44, their 15-year-old daughter Yumna, and the children’s 74-year-old grandmother were killed. Only little Fayez, 9 years old, survived the attack and remains in hospital. Parliament opened Monday with a statement from the Prime Minister, followed by leaders of all the parties, and me as parliamentary leader for Greens.

"Our hearts are broken. Our minds are numb."

On Tuesday, the leaders gathered in London for a vigil. Annamie Paul spoke on behalf of Greens.  “At the end of the day, what we can do to remember those who have been lost, is to say that hate will not win.” 
https://www.thestar.com/news/canada/2021/06/08/vigil-underway-at-london-mosque-to-honour-muslim-family-killed-in-what-police-say-was-hate-motivated-attack.html

On Monday, June 7th another heartbreaker for me was the release of the decision in the killing of Chantel Moore.  Chantel was killed June 4th 2020 by an officer from the Edmundston NB police.  Lacking a police oversight body in New Brunswick, the investigation into the killing was undertaken by the Bureau des enquetes independante du Quebec (BEIQ). I had hoped, as had her family, that the long delay between the conclusion of the investigation by the Quebec police watchdog (December 2020) and its release by the New Brunswick prosecutor, was an indication that charges would be laid. Instead, the New Brunswick government concluded that the officer would not be charged, because there was no prospect of a conviction.  The facts do not support this. I spent some time reading the report. It took a long time because it was so hard to read. But it came down to this:  There is no evidence of the immediate events before and during the time Officer Jeremy Son killed Chantel Moore. There is no video evidence. No audio evidence. It is his word only.

He claims he feared for his life as a petite 26-year old came at him with a knife. But no knife was found in her hand- nor near her body. A small steak knife was found under a flattened carboard box- but it had no fingerprints.  He shot her four times at close range.  The whole thing is deeply distressing. It screams out injustice.

Recently, a Quebec Court found that the BEIQ had, in another case, taken mistakenly, due to bias, covered for the police word in a killing.  This agency has a history: 
https://montreal.citynews.ca/2021/06/09/family-awarded-30000-court-rules-quebec-police-watchdog-statement-wasnt-impartial/

I made it the subject of my last question in Question Period on Friday – my last question until the House resumes in September.   
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fClbONSjRpw

And then we come to the long nasty slog of the Net Zero Climate Accountability Act, C-12. We finally finished the clause by clause review. I realized none of my amendments would be considered at all - because of the Liberal NDP pact. 
https://www.nationalobserver.com/2021/05/28/opinion/climate-emergency-weak-climate-change-act-being-steamrolled-through-parliament

So I decided to withdraw a bunch of my amendments to speed things along, and then the Conservatives did the same. Despite some small tweaks, the bill remains massively deficient. This was the moment for the Liberals to demonstrate the government grasps the climate emergency. They have failed to do so. Here is a brief climate debate just as the clause by clause wrapped up.
Elizabeth May: Canada's climate targets must be stronger

So it was a hard week without having yet mentioned the worst part.  Our little Green caucus has done so much good work together. And we have been – and remain – very close friends. It has been amazing working with Paul Manly and Jenica Atwin. Both hard-workers and excellent MPs. 

Jenica’s decision to cross the floor and join the Liberal Party is a huge blow to our party, our candidates gearing up for the next election, and to all our members.  Paul Manly and I are heart-broken.

I hope we can find ways to pull together and push on.  Canada needs the Greens.  We exist to make the difference the planet needs. 

You will hear many things about the circumstances. No doubt lots of rumours and theories will be shared. Please let us take some time to reflect and review and see what lessons can be learned.  Give us a bit of time. 

From the bottom of my heart, I ask you to stay with us while we get ourselves to a place of consensus where we can share next steps.

Much love,

Elizabeth

P.S.

Reminder for tomorrow night- Monday June 14th at 7 pm BC time. Green Book Club with me and Seth Klein. We will be discussing his wonderful book, The Good War. This is the right link:  
https://us02web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZYsduGpqD0qGNKiG8VpjCYXgIJU-lGifxaq

And PETITIONS!!


e-3433 Cancel the $19 billion competition to purchase the 88 new combat aircraft (closes 18)

e-3353 Create and fund the National Council of Tree Science Research (closes June 21)

e-3330 Establish a National Council of Reconciliation (closes June 28)

e-3164 Implement a national living wage (closes June 29)

e-3496 Call for a National Day of Mourning so that all Canadians take the time to reflect and extend a hand of support, understanding, and love to all those in need; and

  1. Work with other levels of government to enact the Truth and Reconciliation Commission Calls to Action, beginning with a National Day of Mourning with support for communities, to raise awareness, healing, and understanding for all Canadians.

https://petitions.ourcommons.ca/en/Petition/Details?Petition=e-3496  Closes July 9

e-3348 Canada‘s alleged political interference in Haiti (closes July 29)

e-3408 Work with First Nations to immediately halt old-growth logging (closes September 8)

 


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