This was the final sitting week of this parliamentary session. For two weeks MPs mostly sat past midnight to push legislation through before the summer break. With Elizabeth recovering from knee replacement surgery last week, Paul had to shoulder the end-of-session work.
Monday, June 21st, was National Indigenous People’s Day. For Elizabeth and Paul, it was a day of reflection on Canada’s ongoing oppression of Indigenous peoples. Paul wished everyone ’Uy’ skweyul, ‘good day’ in Hul’q’umi’num’ (a Coast Salish language), while Elizabeth encouraged settler Canadians to educate themselves on the history of colonialism and its present-day manifestations.
Paul had two speeches on Bill C-10, the updated Broadcasting Act. He lamented that important amendments to the act never reached committee because of opposition filibustering. During final debate on the bill Paul emphasized that the existing broadcasting act protects Freedom of Expression, and that has not changed with Bill C-10. Content producers were protected from censorship under the previous act and will continue to be protected under the updated act.
At the end of the session, Paul put forward two more motions; M-95 to eliminate tuition fees; and M-96 to reduce the greenhouse gas emissions of industrial-scale animal agriculture.
Summary of legislation
This session of Parliament was characterized by unprecedented delay tactics from the Official Opposition. In parliament and in committee, Conservative MPs obstructed meaningful debate and slowed the passage of important legislation. The Green Caucus participated meaningfully and consistently in Parliament. They put forward amendments to all major legislation debated and studied in this Parliamentary sitting. Although not always successful, our MPs did their part to improve legislation for the good of all Canadians.
Bill C-12, Canada’s Net-Zero Climate Accountability Act, passed and was sent to the Senate. Paul gave a speech Tuesday evening stating that he would vote for the bill only because it was “better than nothing.” This bill has many shortcomings. It falls short of, to mention just a few elements: establishing a robust, world-class climate accountability framework for Canada; a rolling 5-year accountability cycle (starting in 2025) that aligns with the Paris Agreement‘s 5-year stocktake process and its goal of ratcheting up ambition; and the implementation of carbon budgets as done in the UK. In the absence of carbon budgets, it is unclear what the near-term planning and accountability increments will be. A thorough stocktake and goal-setting moment needs to be designed by 2025 in order to create a springboard for enhanced action that takes us to 2030. The bill also lacks a purely science-based independent advisory panel, instead having a multi-stakeholder advisory panel. Climate action should be non-partisan and guided by climate science. More here from Elizabeth.
Bill C-6, the government bill to restrict conversion therapy, also passed and was sent to the Senate. Greens supported this bill, which makes it illegal to provide conversion therapy to non-consenting adults and minors. This law supports the 2SLGBTQQIA+ community without governing private conversations. It affirms that having a non-heterosexual identity is not a sickness requiring a remedy, and that people should not be forced to change their gender identity or sexual orientation against their will.
We would also like to encourage Canadians to observe a solemn and reflective Canada day. Consider wearing orange to raise awareness about residential schools instead of red-and-white this Canada day.
July 1st may not be a time for celebration this year. It might be better spent reflecting on Canada‘s history of colonialism, the oppression and genocide of Indigenous peoples, and the present day manifestations of these dynamics. Non-Indigenous Canadians benefit from the systemic oppression of Indigenous peoples. It is important that settlers understand their privilege in this system and how they benefit from it. If you can, consider donating to an Indigenous organization or charity. Click here for resources.
Parliament is scheduled to resume on September 20th, 2021. During the summer, Paul and Elizabeth will be busy working and meeting with constituents in their ridings. Until the Fall, stay safe, and thank you for reading the Green Caucus Week in Review. Keep in touch!
Questions and Statements
e-3330 Establish a National Council of Reconciliation (closes June 28)
e-3164 Implement a national living wage (closes June 29)
e-3474 COVID-19 public health and safety response (closes July 15)
e-3383 Future DND land use (closes July 6)
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)
e-3483 Moratorium on deep seabed mining (closes September 9)
e-3516 Remove the statue of John A. Macdonald from Parliament Hill (closes September 20)
e-3398 Redefine our nation’s defence policy (closes August 25)
e-3364 Marine Protection (closes October 13)