Welcome to the April 2021 newsletter from the SGI EDA. We wish you all the best as spring and warm weather approaches as we all look forward to socializing more outdoors.
This issue features notes from Elizabeth and the EDA, exciting upcoming events, spring gardening info, book club news and more.
The Green Party of Canada has based their core principles on the Global Greens Charter. These are fundamental truths which bind Greens from around the world together:
- Participatory Democracy
- Social justice
- Respect for Diversity
- Ecological Wisdom
Notes from Elizabeth:
I am looking forward to a BIG week. On Monday, we will have the first federal budget in two years. In anticipation of the budget, the PM met with every federal party leader. I am so thrilled that the title “major party leader” is no longer a struggle for greens to be recognized. Annamie Paul had a good conversation with the PM in which she stressed climate action, the need for better COVID federal-provincial COVID response and the continuation of income supports through pandemic.
So frustrating that none of the other opposition leaders mentioned climate in their meetings with Trudeau, at least not that they told anyone before or after. As ever, Greens do not lose our focus! Thanks Annamie!
We have high hopes for a budget that – at long last – delivers on early learning and child care, as well as hoping for real progress on pharmacare. Even though the Liberal and NDP conventions voted for the Green policy of Guaranteed Livable Income at their recent conventions, I would be surprised to see it. I also expect a lot of “green” (green-wash) language and climate announcements, but I do not expect to see the cancelation of fossil fuel subsidies or the TMX pipeline etc. But hope springs eternal.
Speaking of hope, a very big event next week is the Climate Summit to be held on April 22, Earth Day (John's and my second wedding anniversary!). US President Joe Biden has convened the session on the five year anniversary of the signing ceremony in the U.N General Assembly Hall – marking the formal signing of the Paris Agreement successfully negotiated months before. Biden has invited the leaders of forty nations, collectively responsible for emissions that will make or break human civilization. Trudeau has committed that – at long last – Canada’s target, unchanged since when Harper was in power will be boosted. I am not optimistic that any new target will be adequate, but we do have hopes.
One strong message to Trudeau came from Canada’s leading permafrost scientists. We have to keep the Arctic cool to keep permafrost carbon out of the atmosphere.
So, a BIG week. Take care and see you soon! (on zoom!)
Join in the conversation – April 20th with Global Greens:
HOW GREEN IS BIDEN’S CLIMATE LEADER SUMMIT?
Sponsored by the Global Greens COP26 Working Group - Tuesday, April 20th at 12:00 pm PDT/3:00 pm EDT. You can register here.
And with the National Observer on April 22!
Introducing Debra Eindiguer
The SGI-EDA is thrilled to announce that Debra Eindiguer will be our campaign manager to re-elect Elizabeth for the next federal election. We share her very impressive bio here, with Debra’s permission. We are indeed fortunate and so happy to have Debra join us whenever the next election is called.
With hope of helping to protect the planet and its creatures, Debra graduated from McGill University with her BSc. in Zoology. Raised on the island of Montreal with Swiss French and East Coast ancestry, Debra was fortunate to become fluent in English and French and celebrates English and French Canada. Spending her summers on her Grand-mother’s farm in Ontario, sharing her parents’ awe of nature and watching the environmental destruction unfold, Debra was determined to put her skills to use for the greater good.
Over her career Debra worked in the corporate, non-profit and political sectors. For the last 18 years, Debra worked on the political scene in service to Elizabeth May, supporting her at Sierra Club of Canada and throughout her entire political career. The opportunities allowed her to develop a wide skill set as; office administrator, event planner, political organizer, media and communications liaison, leader tour election coordinator for 4 federal elections (2008, 2011, 2015, 2019) and GPC co-deputy national campaign manager in 2019.
Currently and since 2011, Debra is Chief of Staff to MP Elizabeth May. Since the 2019 federal election Debra also coordinates the mighty Green Party of Canada federal caucus.
Debra currently lives in Ottawa with her husband.
Why We Vote Green
In last month’s newsletter we invited you to submit a few sentences to say why you vote Green. All names were placed in a draw and the lucky winner is Margie Cogill who will have a private zoom conversation with Elizabeth May.
Here are these three womens' thoughts on this issue:
After I retired I became more interested in politics. I trust the Green members of parliament to tell the truth and not be tied to organizations that will give them money and expect to have their needs met because they fund the party. The Greens are wanting full democracy with other parties. The Greens listen to their constituents and act accordingly. Qualities, both federal and provincial. They are there for all people, not just the bankers and the money makers. All life matters! Animals, oceans, forests, air and fresh drinkable water for our homes and for all who live in and around our rivers, lakes and streams.
I Go Green because this is the party that shares my views regarding the sanctity of the earth and all its inhabitants!
Elizabeth May is special to me; I was arrested on March 21, 2018 protesting the pipeline and she climbed Burnaby Mountain shortly after, arrested on March 24, 2018! We are in this together!!
I vote Green because I believe in the tenents of the party. I trust my Green elected MP and MLA to be true to their word. I know what I am getting when I elect my representative. I see the intelligence and knowledge and science that the party bases their decisions on. I like that there is an alliance of world wide Greens. I believe that we are the only hope for the survival of our planet and a world for our children and grandchildren. I am so grateful that when I vote, I am able to help elect a Green MLA and MP.
The Green Scene
It is all too common to see our natural environment take second place to private land owners concerns and the situation is only worsened when the land in question is public.
This familiar issue occurred last year on Prince Edward Island when a sensitive ecosystem, that of a beach sand dune, was impacted by a new pathway cut through a dune to the beach. Permits were issued for the work and it was done legally. However, local residents are upset enough that the Minister, who was not aware of the work, is speculating about undoing the damage and restoring the public space.
Now, imagine if there had been a process in place that alerted residents (and Ministers) of any project that would affect their surrounding environment.
Such is the wish and heart of the effort being applied to the stewarding of the environment by one of the many hard working Green MLAs in PEI - Lynne Lund.
The PEI election of April 2019 made Canadian history with eight Green MLAs elected to become the Official Opposition with Peter Bevan-Baker under the Progressive Conservative minority government of Dennis King.
As Lynne comes up on the second anniversary of her election, she says she has learned some hard lessons about bringing forward an environmentally based agenda to the house.
Her first attempt to bring a bill to the house, about lowering emissions targets, was an awakening for her in process. After three difficult weeks of convincing other members of the value of this new target, the bill was passed.
She has learned that she must discuss the intentions and effects of new legislation with other parties members before introducing a new bill. As a result, her second bill about new Net Zero carbon targets by 2030 only took a few days to pass.
Now Lynne is preparing the way for her biggest effort to date - an Environmental Bill of Rights - embracing the values of ecological wisdom and prior notification into legislation. She has tabled this legislation and it has passed First Reading.
If legislation like this had been in place before the sand dunes were violated, local residents would have had an opportunity to have input on the plan. Even the Minister may have taken issue with the plan and amended or stopped it altogether.
So, where does this desire to work with the Green Party come from? Lynne grew up in a household that was politically involved and voted Liberal. When she became a mother to two young boys, she desired to become involved in creating positive change for the future of her family and residents of PEI. She realized that the only political party that would support her passion for a healthy environment and society was the Green Party.
Starting in 2014, Lynne has run three times for the Greens, both federally and provincially, culminating in success with the PEI Greens on her fourth run in 2019. These efforts were a challenging but valuable training ground for succeeding in politics.
She represents the second smallest riding in PEI of Summerside-Wilmot, a small, charming Canadian city with beautiful older homes and tree lined streets. It is easy to understand why the residents who live in this pleasant environment support a Green MLA working for a healthy and prosperous future for their city.
For Lynne, whether she gets to spend time in her wonderful garden with her boys or is working on behalf of her constituents to live in a flourishing city, she and her Green colleagues have an expectation, through hard work, of better days ahead. And after this pandemic, the Greens, wherever or whomever they may be, will be an important part of securing a brighter future for us all.
BC Greens Events
On April 20th at 7 pm,, the Saanich North the Islands RA will host a Zoom event of specific local interest. Titled “Inside and Out: Two Perspectives for Protecting the Natural Environment of the Saanich Peninsula”, this event features two individuals with long histories of advocacy work on the environment. For more information and to register for this event, click here.
In addition to these educational events, the Riding Association will host their Annual General Meeting on May 30th, details here. If you want to check your membership status, you can do so here. The RA is welcoming members to put their names forward to join the executive. For more information about the AGM and the executive, contact Tex.
Saanich - Gulf Islands Book Club
In March we read, What Does Green Mean? The History, People, and Ideas of the Green Party in Canada and Abroad. We were joined by the author James Marshall, as well as Elizabeth May and Trevor Hancock who was a Green Party of Canada founder.
Our book for May is How To Pronounce Knife, by Souvankham Thammavongsa. The gifted young writer was the Giller prize winner for this her first book of fiction. Born in a Lao refugee camp, Thammavongsa was raised in Toronto. Although it is a work of fiction, it is obvious that she is writing from knowledge. The beautiful minimalistic prose uses short stories to capture men, women and children torn between languages, cultures, values and family loyalties.
With great sensitivity and compassion the author gives us a glimpse into the lives of new Canadians struggling to build a life in Canada while occupying low paying jobs. They are stories of hurt, rejection, loss, discrimination and racism, but also love and hope. It is an informative and very moving book.
The reader may at times feel anger and embarrassment, but the author has the gift to open our hearts and even sometimes make us laugh.
Whether you have read it or not, you, your friends and family are welcome to join the discussion on Monday, May 10th at 7pm.
We are hoping that Souvankham Thammavongsa will also join us.
After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting.
April in the Garden
The sunshine has really got our gardening juices flowing, but wow, is it ever cold in the morning. As a result, the growth this year in the greenhouse has been slower than normal, or at least slower than last year. Lucky all of you who have room in your house to start plants indoors because you will be way further ahead. Nevertheless, our soil temperature outside in our beds was 10°C in the middle of March when we had only one or two days with high temperatures of 10°C. That is the value of using a cloche over your garden beds. Plus the soil was damp, but not too wet. As a result, we were able to get our brassicas into the ground a couple of weeks ago and they are doing great. Our peas too have been growing under the cloche and are about 45 cm high already.
Gardening is a series of lessons learned from experience. We often plant a green manure crop into the garden beds in the fall and then rototill them under in the spring. However, now that we are not tilling our garden anymore, we found out that green manuring does not work very well. It is hard to kill that fall rye that just wants to keep growing now that spring is here. So we now have to lightly hoe the rye to uproot it and then spread our compost over top. Hoeing all our beds is a big job that we will gladly not have to do next year because we will spread the compost in the fall and forgo planting fall rye.
We love the thousands of starts that are under lights in the greenhouse and hardening off in our “hoop house” because they are our garden in miniature. Germinating the seeds, nursing the seedlings, repotting them into ever larger pots before getting them into the garden is like raising children, except that it all happens in less than a year and you get to take the winter off. Now that’s the kind of parenting Gary can relate to. As usual, we are raising far more foster children than we can accommodate so we will be giving away lots of tomato and tomatillo plants and a few others. And that is another joy of gardening -- sharing the surplus.
Here is wishing all of you with veggie gardens great success this year. And for those who do not have veggies at your doorstep, please support the farmers’ markets because we need our agricultural land to be producing real food rather than houses and hay. Supporting farmers is the best way to get those idle agricultural lands back into food production so we can all eat locally.
Nancy & Gary Searing
As mainstream media becomes less responsive, thereby less valuable, to smaller political parties and issues, social media becomes the important information and news communicator for many of us. Here in the Saanich Gulf Islands EDA, we have a request for our members to assist us with this endeavor.
Our group has a Facebook account plus a Twitter account. We would love to have you join us in our efforts to bring the news and views of this valuable Green organization forward. If you or a friend would like to assist our EDA in providing tasty bits of info and fun to our social media, please contact Dan Kells at [email protected]
We hope that reading this has left you feeling inspired, encouraged, fortified! We are hard at work getting ready for a possible spring, fall, or whenever snap election. If you can, please consider helping the next SGI federal campaign to re-elect Elizabeth May! There are many ways to help, even during the pandemic, and our campaign plans have evolved to consider the different situations that might be present whenever an election is called. Would you like a lawn sign, to be delivered when the writ is dropped and picked up afterward? Would you like to discuss volunteer opportunities? We have a growing group of amazing volunteers, and we have fun. And of course, donations to support the campaign are always welcome here.
Please email [email protected] for further information about volunteer opportunities and to reserve a lawn sign. Our fantastic phone volunteers have been hard at work calling people who displayed a lawn sign in 2019 to support Elizabeth, but they have not been able to reach everyone often due to changes in phone numbers. A big thank you in advance for considering how you might support Elizabeth and the SGI Greens this year.
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