And, thank heavens, Parliament has risen until September 19th. Hope I will be seeing many of you at Victoria Pride this morning.
One of my Conservative friends, an Alberta MP with opinions considerably to the right of almost anyone, asked me “Do you know why the Pride parades are all in summer?” I had a sense of dread in case it was a comment I would not enjoy. He surprised me with “Because pride goes before the fall.”
Yesterday, Green leader Amita Kuttner marched for the first time in the giant Toronto Pride event. Today is Victoria Pride. I am looking forward to Vancouver Pride and – of course – my favourite – Salt Spring Island Pride. We grieve for the LGBTQ+ community of Norway after the death of two people after an attack in Oslo. Pride in Oslo was canceled as a result.
In other devastating news, the US Supreme Court overturned Roe v Wade in a decision that sets all rights back. This brilliant dissent, written by Justice Stephen Breyer is worth reading.
The dissent rips apart the radical actions of a politicized majority that wholly ignores the principle of stare decisis (Latin for “stand by things decided.”) Courts operate under the principle that those things previously decided must continue to be respected by courts. A Supreme Court decision is to respect previous rulings. This one does not.
“Either the mass of the majority’s opinion is hypocrisy or additional constitutional rights are under threat,” say the dissenting justices. “It is one or the other.”
The political efforts to put Clarence Thomas on the court, despite Anita Hill’s warnings, to stack the court with activist judges who oppose women’s rights all came to fruition yesterday. In his ruling, concurring with the majority, Clarence Thomas points to where the court goes next. He identifies other cases that he believes should now be overturned. Thomas did not have the other justices with him on this point, but these landmark cases relied on that same legal reasoning as Roe v. Wade: Griswold v. Connecticut, a 1965 decision that declared married couples had a right to contraception; Lawrence v. Texas, a 2003 case making same-sex sexual activity legal across the country; and Obergefell v. Hodges, the 2015 case establishing the right of gay couples to marry.
Pride marches everywhere will have a very different feeling after the action of the US Supreme Court on Friday. The rights of women everywhere are under threat. And yes, we are lucky to be Canadian, but we cannot be complacent.
In Canada, your Green MPs had a very good week! On Tuesday – Solstice and Indigenous Peoples Day – Amita invited Mike and me to join them outside Parliament Hill for the big announcement of the Party’s two new Deputy Leaders. We had a lovely circle ahead of time for smudging and drumming, led by one of the new Deputies – Angela Davidson, better known by her Fairy Creek camp name “Rainbow Eyes.” The press conference that followed the ceremony was well attended. Luc Joli-Coeur is a Green candidate and businessperson from Quebec. Both are excited to start working with Amita in building a team.
It has been a long time since I have seen this much positive media coverage for the Greens. Here is a sampling of the response:
The next day, the House voted on my bill on environmental racism and promoting environmental justice, Bill C-226. I thought we had the votes, but I am pretty superstitious about being 100% sure of anything until it happens. We got the votes of every Liberal and NDP MP, plus the only independent in the House. Of course, both Green MPs voted yes. (Mike and I quite often vote differently. Not this time!) Not one Bloc or Conservative voted in favour. Still, it carried handily – 177-146!
I had hoped we might get enough support so the bill, originally former MP Lenore Zann’s bill from the last parliament, would not have to repeat steps already taken – like the vote at Second Reading and going to the Environment Committee for more study and amendments. All done before Lenore’s bill C-230 died on the Order Paper in the election. I drafted my bill to include the amendments already agreed upon last year, hoping to speed things up.
Our biggest stroke of luck was the number I drew in the lottery by which the sequence of Private Members Bills is determined. I got #21 and then I traded spots with MP Michelle Rempel Garner and advanced by one week. That is how we have succeeded in having our vote before the summer recess.
Also on Wednesday, the Parliamentary Budget Officer released his update on the Trans Mountain pipeline. No surprise, it is a loser.
As you may recall from last week, I had asked how the government could call the project commercially viable when the TD and BMO financial reviews were being withheld. The answer came in the Parliamentary Budget Office report. PBO Officer Yves Giroux and his team were also not allowed access to the Finance Canada reports, but they still were able to confirm that those analyses had been based on the assumption the pipeline would have a one-hundred-year lifetime – and would have customers and make profits for the next century. PBO concluded this was an unreasonable assumption for numerous reasons including climate.
We must all demand the pipeline expansion be canceled.
For my last question in Question Period until September, I tried once again, to focus the government on the shrinking timeline for action to have any hope of holding to 1.5 degrees or even 2 degrees:
In another last week of session effort, I joined a press conference to call for the Canadians, mostly children, held in hellish conditions in Syria to be brought home.
And lastly, here is my end of season scrum, at this link at 28 minutes. In it I appealed for more understanding and less divisiveness in our politics. Much will depend on who is chosen as the next Conservative leader on September 10th.
As we look south of the border, we see where nastiness in politics, endless obstruction for the sake of obstruction, can lead us. We have to do better.
Looking forward to Canada Day and seeing people at our local celebrations! Let’s be sure we reclaim our flag as a flag for every Canadian to wave!
Elizabeth May is the Member of Parliament for Saanich-Gulf Islands, B.C., and the Green Party of Canada Parliamentary Leader.
Saanich-Gulf Islands Greens