Let me begin with an apology. Last Sunday, I think many of you expected and needed for me to talk about the cold-blooded murder of George Floyd and the horrors of Donald Trump. And you were disappointed. Instead, I wrote about
climate and endangered species. Not the right call. Honestly, I couldn’t bear it. My weekly Sunday family zoom was canceled as my daughter and her half-sibs all wrote to say that they were just gutted…not in a family zoom mood. On Monday I traveled to Ottawa and on Tuesday was among those approximately forty members of parliament physically present for the hybrid meeting of the COVID committee – which is essentially a Committee of the Whole- and the Prime Minister’s speech about these recent events, followed by responses from other parties, including mine on behalf of the Green Party.
I had to call out Donald Trump for his “incendiary response to a wounded, grieving nation” quoting The Rt. Rev. Mariann Budde, Episcopal Bishop of Washington D.C. Trump is dangerous. I wrote that two weeks back about his unhinged advice in the face of COVID-19. I said it again this week in response to his coded-language which for years has given oxygen to White Supremacists. I called on other Members of Parliament to call him out for his tweets – fomenting violence. I did not however demand that Justin Trudeau do so. I am very aware that the US now poses a real danger to Canada. Keeping our border closed for all but essential traffic really matters. It would not be wise to pick a fight with this infantile bully and risk the health of Canadians in doing so. We must be prepared to assist refugees from the U.S. (you can find the link to various press releases and a press conference in which Greens spoke to this at the end of this letter).
The killing of George Floyd was quickly followed by more acts of Anti-Black Racism – in the United States and in Canada. In the United States, acts of police brutality caught on cell phone video after cell phone video – a steady barrage of
horrific visuals – big white cop wrestling little black girl to the ground next to a chain link fence, National Guard marching up a sleepy suburban street shouting at people on their porches and then opening fire with non-lethal force. Protester after peaceful protester kicked and punched by multiple officers, in city after city – over 100 journalists targeted. The black news reporters arrested blocks from where their white colleagues were left alone.
And in Canada, just this week, we have been horrified by the unexplained but suspicious death of a young Black woman, Regis Korchinski-Paquet, falling from her Toronto apartment balcony with no one with her in her last minutes other than a reported eight police officers. On Thursday, the death by police gun fire in Edmundston NB of Chantel Moore, 26 year old Indigenous woman from Tla-o-qui-aht Nation of Vancouver Island. In Iqaluit, a staggering Inuk man deliberately bashed with the door of the white RCMP truck, before being hustled into the truck. This week marked the one year anniversary of the release of the Report on the Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls. It is one year and still the government has not responded to the reports multiple recommendations.
One key recommendation was an end to “man camps” – the remote work camps for construction of pipelines. In spite of COVID-19, the governments of Alberta, British Columbia and Canada give these places a free pass. Worse, we have the resumption of work on the TMX pipeline, with our money. It is now a Crown Corporation prepared to spend over $10 billion to build a pipeline for the export of a product with no market. Our corporate media reports the largesse of TransMountain as though it is a philanthropic private entity — funds to community projects in the Kamloops ($700K) and $500K to Thompson Rivers University (over a 20 year period, a paltry $25,000/year) for academic awards. “The company has also signed a mutual benefits agreement with the local Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc First Nation to provide employment and business help to the community,” reports the Globe and Mail. Not one word that this is all public money that should have been available to every First Nation – and not as a reward for agreeing to a pipeline. The First Nations that are still in court fighting this project fight against the Government of Canada – not Kinder Morgan in Texas.
To add the ultimate insult, Alberta Energy Minister Sonya Savage recently gloated that now was a great time to build a pipeline because protests were banned due to COVID19.
The coming week promises to be eventful. We will see as many of six bills trying to get through the Unanimous Consent hurdles in Parliament on Wednesday, while earlier in the week our Green Caucus will release details of how we see the world
in a shared renewal and rejuvenation, or a “new evolution” as recently described.
Stay well and safe. Be a good ally.
Love and prayers for the world,
This weekly newsletter is published by Elizabeth’s EDA in Saanich-Gulf Islands. You can sign up for it here.
Statements and Press Releases
In Their Own Words
Petitions tabled by Green MPs this week
E-petitions open for signature