Federal Greens News
OTTAWA – The Green Party of Canada today calls on the federal government to abide by the Supreme Court of Canada’s recent ruling in the Tsilhqot’in land title case, and to honour the established treaty rights of the Treaty 8, Saulteau and Blueberry River First Nations, in rejecting BC Hydro’s application to build the Site C hydroelectric dam on the Peace River.
"We have time to get this right. Given the Joint Review Panel findings that there is no need for Site C in the near term, that its anticipated purpose is to generate power for the LNG industry -- itself a shaky proposition -- we urge both the federal and provincial cabinets to reconsider,” said Elizabeth May, Leader of the Green Party of Canada and MP for Saanich–Gulf Islands.
“At the very least, the treaty rights of the Treaty 8, Saulteau and Blueberry River First Nations must be protected, and the Supreme Court ruling in the Tsilhqot’in case respected."
On October 10, Ms. May became the first MP to have risen in the House of Commons to ask whether the federal government would respect treaty rights of the Treaty 8, Saulteau and Blueberry River First Nations, and reject the application to build the dam.
The May 2014 federal-provincial Site C Joint Review Panel (JRP) report stated that the dam would have "significant adverse effects" on local vegetation, fish, birds, and some 23 protected wildlife species, and that these effects "cannot be mitigated."
The JRP also found that the project would "accrue substantial financial losses" for several years, would not financially benefit local First Nations communities or contribute to job creation in the region, and that BC Hydro had not fully demonstrated the need for the project.
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OTTAWA - The Green Party of Canada today celebrates the annual return of the Bufflehead, the world’s smallest diving duck, to the Saanich Peninsula.
These punctual sea ducks return to their winter stopover on the southern tip of Vancouver Island every year on October 15, the 298th day of the solar cycle.
“Buffleheads are a truly Canadian species, living in lakes and ponds throughout the Boreal forest, from coast to coast,” said Elizabeth May, Leader of the Green Party of Canada and MP for Saanich–Gulf Islands.
“Each autumn in my riding, we celebrate the return of these beautiful birds, and we celebrate the many years of hard work of local conservationists who have fought to protect the Bufflehead habitat in Shoal Harbour Migratory Bird Sanctuary."
The town of Sidney’s official coat of arms features two buffleheads as a symbol of the town’s coastal location, and in honour of the ducks’ vivacity and boundless energy.
Added May: "The buffleheads' arrival is a remarkable event, but it’s important to remember that naturalists are closely watching the timing of their migration, as any changes may provide a signal of climate change.”
Today, the Friends of Shoal Harbour Society will again be hosting a celebration of All Buffleheads Day on Roberts Bay in Sidney, to coincide with the birds’ expected return at approximately 12:00 PM local time.
“There are a large number of buffleheads in Ottawa, many in the House of Commons. But there is NOTHING buffleheaded about the honourable Member of Parliament from Saanich-Gulf Islands!” said Green Deputy Leader Bruce Hyer, MP for Thunder Bay–Superior North.
In October 2012, Ms. May, seconded by Mr. Hyer, introduced Bill C-454, An Act respecting an All Buffleheads Day.
On this Thanksgiving weekend, I think we are all drawn toward the counting of blessings. As my new book tries to set out, I think of “who we are” as a people and as a nation. And as both, we have much to be thankful for.
We are blessed with a peaceful country. We are not at war, although we are now engaged in a worrying mission that may do more harm than good. In bellicose moments, it is likely we will hear politicians claim we are “at war.” But that term is really only appropriate for a conflict between states that have declared war. We can be thankful that we are in peace-time. And we should work to ensure that more countries can enjoy peace.
We are a country of enormous natural beauty and with thousands upon thousands of square kilometres of untouched wilderness. We have pockets of wild places within reach of most urban centres. This weekend finds me and my two step-daughters, their husbands and children who live in Toronto and Haliburton and my youngest daughter who is doing her Masters degree in Halifax, sharing a rental house on the shores of the Bay of Quinte in Prince Edward County, Ontario. As much as I miss my view of the Salish Sea and the Gulf Islands at home in Sidney-by-the-Sea, this is yet another place of enormous beauty.
We are blessed to have a health care system that ensures that no one is turned away for lack of finances (although this pledge is fraying around the edges). We are, for the most part, economically secure, especially compared to those in the world who lack for food, safe drinking water and a roof over their heads. We think particularly of the desperate plight in Liberia where Ebola appears entrenched to claim many more lives. I would wish we had sent whatever resources will be deployed for dubious value in our airports in screening to go to West Africa to help there. Still, in Canada, we do have unacceptable levels of poverty, especially on First Nations reserves. There is much more to be done.
I am grateful that my private members bill for a National Lyme Disease strategy is now making its way through the Senate, co sponsored by Senator Janis Johnson and Larry Campbell. So far every Senator with whom I speak is committed to its speedy passage.
I am grateful for the friendship and affection I have with most members of parliament, regardless of their political stripe. If only I could translate their private civility into the public sphere!
I am grateful for the 400,000 people with whom I marched in the streets of New York on September 21 – and the tens of thousands more in 2600 demonstrations around the world — all calling for real climate action.
I am grateful for all the members, volunteers, donors and staff of the Green Party of Canada – and for the wonderful provincial Greens across Canada. I am particularly grateful that one of the finest people I know, a friend for over 30 years, David Coon, leader of the New Brunswick Greens, now has a seat in the NB legislature.
Since 2011, we have gone from not having a single seat in any legislature or parliament in Canada to having two federal MPs (with a huge thank you to Bruce Hyer, Green MP for Thunder Bay-Superior North), and Green MLAs in two provincial legislatures – Dr. Andrew Weaver B.C. MLA for Oak Bay-Gordon Head and David Coon for N.B. MLA for Fredericton South. With the upcoming Vancouver municipal vote, we are hoping to have two new Green council members, Pete Fry and Cleta Brown joining Adriane Carr.
So we should be thankful, but not complacent. We have a lot of work to do.
Thank you for being a big part of why I do my work – for a more secure world, for a Canada that knows who we are as a nation. That we should stand for something in the world community. As a country that leads in the fight against global warming, poverty and that sets its sights on dismantling the military industrial complex. We know who we are. And we have to work very hard to become that country once again.
With my warmest wishes for a lovely Thanksgiving among family and friends,
I had thought that the debate on sending a military mission into Iraq would allow for me to make a 10 minute speech. Due to the motion for closure, I never had that chance. I had some rough notes of what I had wanted to say and decided to share them. Despite my deep doubts about the mission, the concern that the mission violates international law, and does exactly what the terrorists hoped we would do, I fervently hope to be wrong.
The debate today is one of the most important, if not the most important, of the 41st Parliament.
Let me start with some first principles. Fundamental underpinnings of the current situation on which all Parliamentarians, and indeed all Canadians, are agreed:
- The terrorist organization known as Islamic State is in every respect appalling. It offends fundamental levels of decency and morality.
- Its acts of barbarism and atrocity rival those of historical evil – whether of Nazi soldiers killing babies with bayonets, the Spanish inquisition, or Salem witch burnings. ISIS strikes fear in our hearts because it marries ancient superstition, base cruelty and modern technology.
- As ISIS threatens innocent populations, such as the Kurds in Iraq, Canada should take some action.
Here is where consensus ends.
Reflecting on all this, we have to admit that — regardless of religion or culture — humanity is capable of terrifying murderous sadism. When permission for brutality is given by the ethical construct in which humans operate — whether through war, ideological mania, or shared delusions — human beings are capable of merciless, ruthless violence. Still, we must remind ourselves that of the seven billion of us on this planet, a tiny fraction now occupies our minds. Peoples of all races, religions and creeds are overwhelmingly caring and peaceful. Those who distort religion as justification to violate the teachings of their own sacred texts must not be allowed to obliterate the practices of the majority of their faith.
The extent of the evil of ISIS invites us to make simple judgments. They are bad. The narrative begins to take on the characteristics of a comic strip. Good guys versus bad guys.
But neither the region nor its history are simple. We backed Libyan rebels, even knowing al Qaeda forces were among their number. We bombed Libya, supported the toppling of Gaddafi, his public lynching in the street. The warehouses of his armaments flooded out to extremist groups — some to Mali, some to Syria. Perhaps the worst of the mistakes we made in Libya was to bastardize and knee-cap the doctrine of responsibility to protect. Going into Libya claiming our goal was to protect civilians, and then changing our mission to regime change, ensured that we would not be able to move into Syria to protect civilians. I referenced this in my speech at the time. We stood on the sidelines in Syria as pro-democracy rebels were slaughtered. If we had moved to a cease-fire and peace talks in Libya, we would have been better able to use R2P arguments within the UN for Russian and Chinese approval for protecting civilians in Syria. True, they might not have agreed. But we gave Bashar al-Assad and his allies irrefutable evidence that R2P was a cloak for regime change — thanks to our monumental errors in Libya.
We stayed on the sidelines in Syria. But we rooted for the rebels against the brutal Bashar al Assad. ISIS having formed itself in Iraq joined the loosely connected rebel groups in Syria to topple Assad. For awhile, “The enemy of my enemy is my friend” theory put ISIS in the white hats as the West hoped for Assad’s end.
More tenacious than we thought, Assad has held on… We now have our prime minister telling this House that if Assad requested it, Canada would engage in airstrikes in Syria. Complicated proposition — if bombing ISIS accidentally helps Assad stay in power. Or ,as happened recently, according to Human Rights Watch, US Tomahawk missiles bombing Syria killed civilians, as well as hitting non-ISIS rebels.
This is not a comic strip. We cannot launch a military action as though recognizing the obvious — ISIS is reprehensible in every way — constitutes a way forward.
Here are two fundamental principles we should follow:
- Ensure that whatever we do complies with international law. Despite the several UN security council resolutions, it is far from clear that acts of bombardment comply with international law. We need to stay within international law. We cannot allow multilateralism to degenerate into a shared vigilante-ism.
- As physicians have so long pledged, “First do no harm.” Retired ambassadors Bob Fowler and Peggy Mason have warned — a six month bombing campaign could do more harm than good.
- Send more funding to assist Lebanon, Turkey and Jordan deal with the Syrian refugee crisis on their borders.
- Offer to the UN that Canadian forces (on the ground) will be available to establish a multi-national peace-keeping force whose purpose is to provide round the clock security and protection for aid workers and refugee camps throughout the region.
- Sign and ratify the UN Arms Control Treaty to stop the flow of arms to terrorists globally.
- Shut down the oil refining capacity of captured ISIS oil fields and stop the black-market flow of oil. Choke ISIS of the millions of dollars a day it is making on black market oil. Admittedly, this would most likely include air strikes. They should be from Saudi planes.
- Ensure that as broad and deep a coalition of non-western, regional governments as is possible pledge to eradicate religious extremists and terrorists. These nations must commit to stop the flow of black-market oil and weapons crossing their borders. Multinational policing at the borders may be required.
- Send help to the Kurds immediately as they fight off the ISIS assault. This is ideally through support to the Iraqi and Kurdish armies, but could be through a UN resolution and peacekeepers.
Having offered these ideas let me add immediately that they may not be the right mix of solutions. The Green Party is committed to a path for peace and non-violence. But that does not mean we want to turn a blind eye to threats against innocent populations or individuals. We believe in the rule of law. We believe in the doctrine of Responsibility to Protect, as badly as we damaged that principle in our betrayal of it in Libya.
The situation is not a comic strip. The disastrous mess we are in now was largely created by failed US policies — first in Afghanistan by supporting religious extremists to confront occupation by the USSR and then in the illegal Iraq war. Barack Obama is not George Bush, but as an ally in the region, the US has a lot of baggage.
We cannot find our feet to do the right thing in a history-free zone.
Announcing a six month bombing mission is unlikely to help. It is likely to make matters worse. The road to hell is paved with good intentions, and against ISIS, good intentions are not enough.The speech I did not get to give
As the multilateral process within the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) works toward a new, more inclusive and stronger treaty to limit greenhouse gases to be completed by December 2015 in Paris, the impacts of the climate crisis are ever more visible.
As greenhouse gases build in the atmosphere, the patterns that sustained a hospitable climate for the development of human civilization over the last many millennia are being disrupted. The world has always known punishing droughts, floods and extreme events that disrupt agriculture, such as sudden early frost, or early thaw followed by a cold snap. Weather is the constant worry for farmers, but climate was not something they have had to worry about – until recently.
The increase in extreme weather events due to human-generated greenhouse gas pollution, compounded by loss of forests, is already threatening global food production. The agencies within the United Nations that monitor food security -- World Health Organization, World Food Programme, and Food and Agriculture Organization - recently reported in their annual 2014 report that 805 million people already experience food insecurity. The good news is that that number is down 0ver 200 million since the early 1990s, and down 100 million in the last decade. Nevertheless, the UN agencies agree that the climate crisis could reverse that progress:
“If we fail to act, we risk a downward spiral in which poverty and climate impacts reinforce each other. It is the poorest communities that will suffer the worst effects of climate change, including increased hunger and malnutrition as crop production and livelihoods are threatened. And poverty is a driver of climate change, as desperate communities resort to unsustainable use of resources to meet current needs. “
The Danish think tank, Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security, has calculated the cost of climate change on food production over the last few decades:
“Historical studies demonstrate that climate change has already had negative impacts on crop yields. Maize, wheat and other major crops have experienced significant climate-associated yield reductions of 40 megatonnes per year between 1981 and 2002 at the global level (Lobell and Field 2007)….
“Flooding due to climate variability is a significant problem for rice farming, especially in the lowlands of South and Southeast Asia. Flooding already affects about 10 to 15 million hectares of rice fields in South and South East Asia, causing an estimated $1 billion USD in yield losses per year. These losses could increase considerably given sea level rise as well as an increase in the frequencies and intensities of flooding caused by extreme weather events (Bates et al. 2008).”
One of the surprises of the warming world has been the way in which disappearing Arctic ice has created more extreme storms around the world. Scientists at Rutgers University have identified the mechanism that over thousands of years kept the jet stream moving at mid-latitudes in a relatively predictable fast, east west clip. The jet stream used to stay quite horizontal at the mid point between the Arctic and the equator. The Rutgers research points to the mechanism that propelled that behaviour by the jet stream was the temperature differential between the cold Arctic and the hot equator. As the Arctic ice melts and as its waters warm, the temperature differential has stalled.
In place of the relatively predictable east west jet stream, we are now experiencing the jet stream in long and lazy loops. These jet new stream patterns now remain sitting on large areas of the northern hemisphere for a very long time. Low pressure zones stick around for months. Just on the other side of the stream, high pressure zones sit on other regions. This summer, that pattern explains why central Canada was unseasonably cool while Atlantic Canada and British Columbia were unseasonable hot and dry. Or a few years ago, in 2012, why Russia was experiencing drought and flames while Bangladesh was under water. The loopy jet stream is also the likely cause of the intensity and abnormal pattern of Super storm Sandy.
Keeping ice covering the Arctic is critical if we are going to reduce the potential for the very worst potential impacts of climate change. While we must reduce greenhouse gases as rapidly as possible, we also must accelerate adaptation plans for food production – in Canada and globally. We need to both aggressively and right now, we are ignoring both challenges.
Originally published in Embassy News, October 8, 2014Climate Change is a threat to food production—one we are ignoring
OTTAWA – Elizabeth May, Leader of the Green Party of Canada and MP for Saanich–Gulf Islands, today tabled a petition on behalf of the Saanich Inlet Protection Society in the House of Commons calling for the environmental protection status of the Saanich Inlet to be elevated. Signed by over 1600 local residents, the petition asks that the Saanich Inlet be added to the list of designated zones where the discharge of raw sewage is not allowed.
“This is a globally unique ecosystem, and one that is simply too fragile to sustain this kind of contamination,” said Ms. May. “We have clearly fulfilled all the requirements for the Saanich Inlet to become a designated No Discharge Zone, now we need a commitment from the federal government to resolve this issue once and for all.”
The petition has received support from the Municipal Districts of Central and North Saanich, the Cowichan Valley Regional District, the Peninsula Streams Society, the Tseycum Saanich First Nation, the Willis Point Community Association, Gary Holman, MLA for Saanich North and Islands, and Randall Garrison, MP for Esquimalt – Juan de Fuca.
“It is critical to increase Saanich Inlet’s level of environmental protection to ensure that this unique and cherished waterway can continue to be enjoyed by local communities and visiting recreational users alike,” said Ms. May in a letter submitted today to Environment Minister Leona Aglukkaq, Minister of Fisheries and Oceans Gail Shea and Transport Minister Lisa Raitt.
The letter quotes a 1996 report from the BC Ministry of the Environment, Lands and Park stating that Saanich Inlet “is an important and sensitive ecosystem – physically, ecologically and culturally … world renowned for its beauty …is highly valued by humans and supports important cultural and recreational uses.”
“My constituents are deeply concerned that there be no further delay on this issue,” concluded Ms. May. “The Saanich Inlet is too important an ecosystem to leave unprotected any longer.”
Greens urge feds and provinces to step-up and increase investments in public transit and municipal infrastructure
OTTAWA - Elizabeth May, Leader of the Green Party of Canada and MP for Saanich–Gulf Islands, today joined Green municipal leaders and candidates in urging federal and provincial governments to help Canadian cities and communities with their infrastructure needs.
As debates rage in municipal elections across Canada, the commitments to build new and more efficient modern public transit takes place in the absence of clear answers about funding. While the Harper administration has committed gas tax revenue to municipal infrastructure, it is not nearly enough to address the scale of the problem.
"Although no federal party is calling for tax increases to meet the challenge, the reality is that cities and towns receive only 8 cents out of every tax dollar, which makes it impossible for them to meet their infrastructure needs.” stated Elizabeth May. “Communities throughout Canada need to build and maintain their roads and bridges, improve public transport, fund water and sewer projects,—not to mention the ongoing and escalating costs of repair and maintenance.”
"The federal government has consistently downloaded its responsibilities to the provinces, who in turn have downloaded them to the municipalities,” said Green Deputy Leader Bruce Hyer, MP for Thunder Bay–Superior North. “Unfortunately for mayors and councillors across Canada, cities are where the rubber literally hits the road. They have most of the responsibilities and none of the rights to address them. It's time for the federal government to step up and invest in our cities and towns will more funding.”
According to a 2013 report from the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives (CCPA) Canada's infrastructure funding gap amounts to a shortfall of approximately $145 billion in necessary maintenance and construction. To address the threat posed by crumbling infrastructure, the CCPA recommends that up to $30 billion a year over the next ten years, on top of current spending is needed to address the crisis.
“Something needs to be done to address how cities like Vancouver deal with having the financial resources to improve our transit system,” explained Vancouver City Councillor, Adriane Carr. “I call on both the Federal and British Columbia Government to increase investments so that we can ensure that our transit system is world class and serves the very people who pay taxes and need it the most – Vancouver’s families, workers, students and seniors. I am committed to working with the BC Government to make sure our transit system is the envy of the world.”
“Canada’s infrastructure crisis is real and leadership is needed to bring everyone together to ensure that decisions are made to help deal with the unfair burden put on municipal leaders today,” Elizabeth May concluded.
OTTAWA – The Green Party of Canada is disturbed by the government’s lack of meaningful response to today’s Report from Canada’s Commissioner of the Environment and Sustainable Development.
“Once again, the Harper Conservatives glibly claim that they accept the report’s recommendations – the exact same response they have given to the dozens of reports that preceded it,” said Elizabeth May, Leader of the Green Party of Canada and MP for Saanich–Gulf Islands. “Meanwhile, they have no credible plan whatsoever for how the recommendations will be implemented.”
The six-chapter report released this morning details the government’s ongoing failure to implement its own Canadian Environmental Assessment Act (2012), the near total absence of environmental monitoring and regulation in the oil sands, and an alarming lack of progress in mitigating climate change.
The report also highlights significant safety concerns regarding marine navigation in the Canadian Arctic, noting that the Arctic coastline remains inadequately mapped, and that the government is short of icebreakers, with the two most effective ships to be decommissioned by 2022.
“Unfortunately, it seems that the only ships in the Arctic that the Harper Conservatives care about are the ones that were on the Franklin Expedition,” added May.
Among the Commissioner’s findings were that the government had made unsatisfactory progress in each of four benchmark areas for mitigating climate change, and that Canada’s Copenhagen Accord target of a 17-percent reduction in emissions below 2005 levels for Canada’s economy as a whole by 2020 would almost certainly be missed.
“As this report makes clear, the Harper Conservatives’ sector-by-sector regulatory approach has been an utter and complete failure. This government has no hope of meeting even its weakened climate targets, much less our Copenhagen commitments,” concluded May. “After more than eight years of empty promises, this government has made zero progress in regulating the oil sands or reducing Canada’s greenhouse gas emissions.”
OTTAWA – This week is Mental Illness Awareness Week. The week was established in 1992 by the Canadian Psychiatric Association, and is now coordinated by the Canadian Alliance on Mental Illness and Mental Health (CAMIMH) in cooperation with member organizations and supporters across Canada.
“The ongoing stigma surrounding mental illness remains an obstacle to effective diagnosis and treatment. Initiatives like Mental Illness Awareness Week play a valuable role in increasing awareness and breaking down barriers of silence,” said Elizabeth May, Leader of the Green Party of Canada and MP for Saanich–Gulf Islands.
"The Mental Health Strategy approved by Health Canada in 2012 was supposed to be a blueprint for change, but today, more than two years on, it remains unclear how much of that strategy has been implemented, what kind of funding commitments are in place, or whether we are any closer to providing the mental healthcare services that Canadians need."
“Far too many Canadian families, particularly those in rural and northern communities, including First Nations and veterans confronting post-traumatic stress disorder, lack the necessary resources and supports to overcome mental health challenges,” said Green Deputy Leader Bruce Hyer, MP for Thunder Bay–Superior North. “As MPs, it is our collective responsibility to speak out on this issue and to engage in meaningful discussion of solutions.”Statement from the Green Party of Canada on Mental Illness Awareness Week 2014 #MIAW
Elizabeth May, Leader of the Green Party of Canada and MP for Saanich–Gulf Islands, has issued the following statement on the occasion of Yom Kippur, which begins this evening at sundown:
“Yom Kippur is a time for reflection and prayer, for repentance and forgiveness, and for judgment. From the Kol Nidrei service this evening until the Neilah prayers tomorrow night, Jewish people around the world abstain from food and drink to focus their minds and hearts on the year that has passed and their hopes for the year to come.
On behalf of the Green Party of Canada, I would like to wish everyone observing Yom Kippur a meaningful fast. Tzom kal and G’mar Chatima Tova.”Statement from @ElizabethMay on Yom Kippur
OTTAWA – Elizabeth May, leader of the Green Party of Canada and MP for Saanich– Gulf Islands, has issued the following statement on International Day of Older Persons:
“Canada is an aging society – By 2030, almost one in four Canadians will be over age 65. It should go without saying that all Canadians deserve a comfortable, secure and dignified retirement, yet for far too many people, that dream remains out of reach.
That’s why Green MPs are working every day to implement a Guaranteed Livable Income, to make our tax system fairer, and to introduce a national pharmacare program to reduce the burden of prescription drug costs.
International Day of Older Persons is a time to celebrate the accomplishments of our elders, and to express our profound gratitude for their contributions to our society. It is also a time to reflect on how we can do more to support older persons in our communities.”Statement from the Green Party of Canada on International Day of Older Persons
OTTAWA – The eighth book by Elizabeth May, Leader of the Green Party of Canada and MP for Saanich–Gulf Islands, will debut this Saturday, October 4 at a launch event in Sidney, BC.
Canada's first and only "Book Town", Sidney boasts 12 independent booksellers in a community of only 11,000 people.
Who We Are: Reflections on My Life and Canada (Greystone Books) is both a personal memoir and a political mission statement, drawing on Ms. May’s diverse experiences as an environmental activist, lawyer, Leader of the Green Party of Canada, and MP.
Ms. May will be on a national book tour over the fall with events in cities across Canada, including Victoria, Vancouver, Calgary, Saskatoon, Winnipeg, Toronto, Montreal and Halifax.
"This book is an argument for our future, the future of our children, and our grandchildren and generations beyond. It is about how diminished democracy undermines our best hope to avoid the worsening of the climate crisis, accelerating to threaten human civilization itself. It is a book about how we can make a difference."
-- Elizabeth May, from the introduction to Who We Are: Reflections on My Life and Canada
Advance Praise for Who We Are: Reflections on My Life and Canada
“Most observers acknowledge that Elizabeth May is Canada’s most effective MP, combining service to her constituents and causes with an uncommon respect for Parliament and democracy. Now her book, “Who We Are”, reveals another dimension: a tough and thoughtful activist, zealous, but with a gift for pragmatic compromise and accomplishment.”
-- The Right Hon. Joe Clark
“Democracy cannot function if the power of debate is not valued. Elizabeth May’s contribution to many of Canada’s great debates is one that all of us should recognize. As the environment becomes an ever more pressing global issue, our country’s ability to tackle the challenges of climate change will rely on a healthy democracy – and in this book, Elizabeth makes a strong case for why and how Canada must step up.”
-- The Right Hon. Paul Martin
“Elizabeth May is without doubt the most impressive party leader in Canada today --superhumanly hardworking, dedicated, smart, witty, and fearless when speaking truth to power and to the public. Who We Are reminds us she is also a fine writer. May’s insider story takes us into her own remarkable life and her profound connection with the lives of others on this planet: great and small, human and not. A fascinating and inspiring book.”
-- Ronald Wright, author of A Short History of Progress
More details on the book tour are available at greenparty.ca/book-tour
On Friday, June 13, I was pleased to be invited to present in Calgary at their TEDX talks. I decided to make the economic case for why it would help Canada if Obama says "no" to Keystone. It's pretty straight forward. Canada is lagging in innovation. We are falling behind the US in productivity. The evidence is clear that R and D occurs more in manufacturing than in raw resource export. But we have gone from about 60% of our exports being those with value added to 60% being raw, unprocessed, without value added. It's not an argument we hear much in Canada and I hope you'll find it interesting.Canadian Innovation | Elizabeth May at TEDxYYC
Statement from the Green Party of Canada on International Day for the Total Elimination of Nuclear Weapons
OTTAWA – Elizabeth May, Leader of the Green Party of Canada and MP for Saanich–Gulf Islands, has issued the following statement for UN International Day for the Total Elimination of Nuclear Weapons:
“The Cold War ended a generation ago, yet to this day the doctrine of nuclear deterrence continues to pose an unacceptable risk to humanity and indeed to life on our planet.
The more than 3,000 nuclear warheads that remain active around do not make us safer – rather, they are an impediment to peace talks and meaningful conflict resolution.
The Green Party of Canada and Green parties around the world stand firmly with the global movement for nuclear disarmament.”
Statement from @ElizabethMay on @UN International Day for the Total Elimination of Nuclear Weapons #nuclearweaponfree
"Mr. Harper, we are not against trade, but we ask you: Make trade work for people, not just corporations."
- Elizabeth May
In a House vote on September 24, 2014, Green Party Leader and MP for Saanich-Gulf Islands Elizabeth May and Green Deputy Leader Bruce Hyer, MP for Thunder Bay-Superior North, voted in favour of a motion to have the government establish a program to support energy efficient home renovation.
Once again, the Harper Conservatives put partisanships ahead of good policy and voted it down.
“Canada wastes more than half the energy we use,” said Elizabeth May, Leader of the Green Party of Canada and MP for Saanich–Gulf Islands. “Heating the outdoors in the winter and then cooling it in the summer just doesn’t make any sense. I am stunned that the ecoEnergy program was cancelled by the Conservatives in 2012, at a huge cost to homeowners. This motion would have brought the program back – yet sadly, the Conservatives voted against saving Canadians thousands of dollars in energy costs.”
NDP MP François Choquette’s motion M-497 stated that an energy efficiency program would help to combat climate change while reducing Canadians’ energy bills and creating jobs.
“It was disappointing, if not unexpected, to watch almost every Conservative MP in the House stand against a proposal that could have restored the successful energy efficient home retrofit program,” Hyer said. “This motion was a no brainer. The Conservatives could have killed two birds with one stone – creating jobs while lowering carbon emissions. It’s beyond me why any government would oppose it.”
In 2012, the Conservatives cancelled their own ecoEnergy Home Retrofit program without warning. The ecoEnergy program gave out grants of up to $5,000 to homeowners to help pay for energy efficient upgrades like replacing furnaces, improving insulation and sealing windows and doors.
The program helped over 750,000 Canadians during its five years, saving users an average of 20% on their home energy bills every year, reducing greenhouse gas emissions, and adding up to $4 billion to the Canadian economy. It increased government revenue and created thousands of jobs.
“EcoEnergy brought huge benefits to the environment, the economy and the average Canadian. It was particularly significant in Northwestern Ontario, where the cost of home heating is rising rapidly,” concluded Hyer.
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OTTAWA – Rosh Hashanah, the first of the Jewish High Holy Days and the beginning of the Jewish New Year, begins tonight at sundown. Elizabeth May, Leader of the Green Party of Canada and MP for Saanich–Gulf Islands, extends the following greetings on this joyous occasion:
“Rosh Hashanah is a time for family and friends to gather together to celebrate and take part in sacred traditions. It is also an important time for personal reflection on the year that has ended, and a time to look forward to the year that is beginning. I extend my best wishes for a very happy new year to all those celebrating this evening. L’Shanah Tovah Tikatevu!”Green Party of Canada extends best wishes for Rosh Hashanah
Greens stand with Treaty 8 First Nations, Union of BC Indian Chiefs in opposition to Site C dam project
OTTAWA – Elizabeth May, Leader of the Green Party of Canada and MP for Saanich–Gulf Islands, joins the Treaty 8 First Nations chiefs and the Union of BC Indian Chiefs in calling on the federal government to reject BC Hydro’s application to build the controversial Site C Dam on northeastern BC’s Peace River.
Ms. May and Green Deputy Leader Bruce Hyer, MP for Thunder Bay–Superior North, joined Chief Roland Wilson of the West Moberly First Nations, Chief Liz Logan of the Fort Nelson First Nation, and Grand Chief Stewart Phillip of the Union of BC Indian Chiefs (UBCIC) for a parliamentary briefing on the Site C Dam this morning.
“BC has enormous potential to increase its power-generating capabilities without resorting to reckless, environmentally destructive development projects like this,” said May. “Moreover, Federal approval for the Site C dam would be a direct infringement of the Treaty 8 First Nations’ constitutionally protected treaty rights.”
The federal and British Columbia governments will decide next month whether to allow BC Hydro to go ahead with this controversial project. If built, the 1,100-megawatt Site C Dam would flood over one hundred square kilometers of high-quality farmland and pristine forest on Treaty 8 First Nations lands.
The May 2014 federal-provincial Site C Joint Review Panel (JRP) report stated that the dam would have "significant adverse effects" on local vegetation, fish, birds, and some 23 protected wildlife species, and that these effects "cannot be mitigated." The JRP also found that the project would "accrue substantial financial losses" for several years, would not would not financially benefit local First Nations communities or contribute to job creation in the region, and that BC Hydro had not fully demonstrated the need for the project.
“The JRP’s own assessment of Site C concluded B.C. Hydro had not adequately explored alternative energy sources, with a conclusion that geothermal especially could come in at similar costs, and with better source-to-consumer potential ” said Andrew Weaver, Deputy Leader of the BC Green Party and MLA for Oak Bay–Gordon Head. “Instead of Site C, we have an opportunity to develop renewables, distributed around the province, such as geothermal, wind and solar, and save the only Class A agricultural land north of Quesnel.”
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OTTAWA – Elizabeth May, Leader of the Green Party of Canada and MP for Saanich–Gulf Islands, today congratulates David Coon, Leader of the Green Party of New Brunswick, on his historic win in the New Brunswick provincial election.
David Coon has won his seat in the riding of Fredericton South, defeating PC incumbent Craig Leonard, the province’s former Minister of Energy, to become the second-ever Green to win a seat in a Canadian provincial legislature. The New Brunswick Greens also increased their share of the popular vote by almost 50% over the 2010 election, with strong third-place finishes throughout the province.
"With David Coon's historic win, we now have Green MLAs on both coasts and Green MPs in Ottawa,” said Ms. May. “The Green Party's growth is now beyond doubt, but yesterday's win is David's triumph. He is enormously thoughtful, ethical, caring and will bring much-needed civility to the NB Legislature. This election showed that voting Green is not a protest vote – Voting Green is a vote for something you want."
“Throughout this campaign, the Greens showed that they were a party of strong principles and bold ideas for the future of the province," said Green Deputy Leader Bruce Hyer, MP for Thunder Bay–Superior North. “David Coon offered New Brunswickers a meaningful alternative to an economy based on fracking and clear-cutting, and all his hard work and dedication have paid off. This victory is an important step forward for New Brunswick and for Greens across Canada.”Greens make history in New Brunswick -- Congratulations @DavidCCoon!
OTTAWA – Stating that there would be no way to amend the bill in a way that would fix it, Elizabeth May, Leader of the Green Party of Canada and MP for Saanich–Gulf Islands, today proposed that the entire text of the bill be deleted.
The Conservatives’ Bill C-36, the so-called “Protection of Communities and Exploited Persons Act” was before the House of Commons today for report-stage amendments.
“Far from being a made-in-Canada solution to prostitution, this bill is a made-in-Moscow approach that will only serve to make sex workers’ lives even more precarious,” said May. “The evidence is clear: punitive laws and stigma make it harder for sex workers to access protection.”
Ms. May's deletion amendment was seconded by Green Deputy Leader Bruce Hyer, MP for Thunder Bay–Superior North.
“C-36 is simply irredeemable,” said Hyer. “The Conservatives could have taken a progressive approach to prostitution reform – like legalizing, regulating and taxing it. Instead, they have brought forward a bill that is clearly unconstitutional, and will further endanger sex workers.”
The Green Party of Canada supports comprehensive Criminal Code reforms that would remove criminal sanctions and develop regulations for legal prostitution between consenting adults, along with enhanced counseling and educational services to assist people trapped in the sex trade through poverty or addiction.
Harper Conservatives’ Bill C-36 beyond repair