43rd Parliament (2019-2021)
For the first time since her election in 2011, Elizabeth serves as Parliamentary Leader for an elected Caucus of Green MPs. This has involved developing practices to meet the Green values of grassroots democracy and consensus decision-making. The daily procedures for Green MPs working together – with no whipped votes – will stand the party in good stead as more and more Green MPs are elected.
She also serves as Chair of the Global Greens Parliamentarians Association, representing approximately 400 elected Green Members of Parliament around the world.
In December 2019, Elizabeth participated in the 25th Conference of the Parties to the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP25) in Madrid.
She was elected chair of the All-Party Democracy Caucus, serves on the executive of the All-Party Climate Caucus, and is a member of the Canada Palestinian Parliamentary Friendship Group, the Mental Health Caucus, the Canada-Tibet Friendship Group, the Parliamentary Anti-Poverty Caucus and a number of other all party committees.
- This parliament has been marked by unprecedented challenges due to COVID-19. Elizabeth and her colleagues Paul Manly (Nanaimo-Ladysmih) and Jenica Atwin (Fredericton) have taken turns being physically present in Ottawa. Elizabeth attended days in the House in every month until October 2020 when distance voting was approved.
- Throughout the pandemic, Elizabeth has effectively advocated for local businesses threatened with financial disaster due to COVID.
- Elizabeth assisted dozens of constituents return home to Canada from far flung regions including Mexico, New Zealand, India, Ukraine, Peru, Argentina, Ecuador, India, Guatemala, Taiwan, Philippines, Iran and even Vanuatu!
- Elizabeth tabled remotely her private members bill to protect passenger rail service across Canada (Bill C-251).
- She also tabled her private members bill to reduce the voting age to 16, C-279.
- Since spring 2020, Elizabeth has played a leading role working to build a consensus across party lines, supporting the CF Foundation and its work to get CF patients access to the life-saving drug Trikafta. She has pressed for the move to universal pharmacare and meeting the needs of those with rare diseases as a priority for access.
- Remotely and in person, Elizabeth participated in every debate in the House and worked on amendments to legislation.
- In this Parliament, Elizabeth was elected by her peers the Parliamentarian of the Year under the “Most Knowledgeable” category, in the annual Macleans awards.
- Attended the climate negotiations in 2019 at COP25 in Madrid in the official Canadian delegation.
- Through frequent meetings (every two weeks in the first four months of the pandemic) with the former Minister of Finance, Bill Morneau, managed to reverse errors that denied benefits to charitable and religious institutions and ensured COVID relief reached the tourism and arts and culture sectors.
- Oversaw completion of funding for Raey Creek clean up. Still working to obtain more funding for downstream work.
- Continuing work on priority issues of residents of Saanich-Gulf Islands including unwanted freighters in our waters, a better regime around abandoned vessels, opposition to TMX pipeline, protections for Southern Resident Killer Whales, wild pacific salmon, sustainable transportation options, more affordable housing (both market and social), local and sustainable agriculture and supports for seniors.
42nd Parliament (2015 – 2019)
- Advocated for and helped secure $16 million of federal funding for an overpass at the Pat Bay Highway and Keating Cross Road, as well as $500,000 for the remediation of Reay Creek. Both funding commitments were made in August of 2019. Elizabeth acted quickly, knowing that federal money would lapse once an election was called.
- Wrote a letter of support for the Shaw Centre for the Salish Sea’s request to the Town of Sidney for funding. This funding was approved in May 2019.
- Organized and hosted the Wildfire and Preparedness Town Hall Meeting in August of 2018, working with MLA, Adam Olsen and the North Saanich Wildfire Prevention Committee. This was an opportunity for experts in the field to speak to the public about their experience with fire safety and to discuss best practices.
- Assisted in obtaining $10 million for the Island Corridor Railway from Via Rail to improve the island railbed.
- Convened a meeting between Canada Steamships and concerned local residents about the use of Plumper Sound as an anchorage for the movement of gypsum. The shipping industry met with local residents February 12, 2015 on Pender Island. There is now a consultative committee with local residents and the shipping industry is listening.
- Successfully lobbied for major grants for the Panorama Recreation Centre and the expansion of the Jubilee Park playground in North Saanich.
- Represented the concerns of constituents by becoming an intervenor in the NEB Kinder Morgan Pipeline process. In 2018, Elizabeth was pushed outside her comfort zone and arrested while protesting the construction of the Trans Mountain pipeline. Elizabeth’s primary accomplishment on this file has been correcting misinformation about the pipeline project to the general public.
- Advocated on behalf of residents on the Southern Gulf Islands who express concern with freighters anchoring in the Salish Sea disturbing the endangered Southern Resident Killer Whales and the human residents of the Gulf Islands. Elizabeth has participated in several meetings with various Ministries, has written numerous letters, and continues to be vocal about having this issue addressed.
- Seconded a motion put forward by a Liberal MP in October 2016, calling for the government to take meaningful steps to address the issue of abandoned and derelict vessels, as many of her constituents have expressed concerns regarding this issue.
- In response to a tragic story of Lindsay, a 14 year old girl who went missing, Elizabeth advocated for the creation of Lindsay’s Law — a national DNA data bank including data from missing persons across the country. The law was passed in 2014, and was operational by 2018.
- Responded to an email from a Sidney accountant about an error made by Canada Revenue Agency in 2015 concerning the deadline for filing income tax. She alerted the Minister of Revenue. Within 2 days, the tax deadline was extended for all Canadians.
- Between 2015 and 2019, there have been just under 3000 files attended to through Elizabeth’s constituency office, with the majority being immigration related issues.
- Explained in Parliament that voting for Bill C-91 (an Act respecting Indigenous languages) was a collective moral responsibility to walk together on a path to truth, justice, love and reconciliation — a pledge and a promise to do more.
- Travelled nationwide in a Community Matters Tour to meet with Canadians, hear their concerns, and represent our communities on the national stage.
- Attended climate negotiations in Poland, calling out world leaders for ignoring the loudest alarm from the UN’s top climate scientists.
- Sponsored Bill S-203 – aka the “Free Willy Bill” – which prevents whales and dolphins from being kept in captivity. This became Elizabeth’s second bill to become law.
- Intervened to prevent the deportation of a dissident Russian scientist facing imprisonment or death if forced to return to her homeland.
- Succeeded in ensuring that small businesses and not-for-profits in Saanich-Gulf Islands received $750,000 in federal grant funds for 260 student summer jobs.
- Helped ensure that the Canadian Food Inspection Agency and Plant Health Centre in North Saanich received $80 million from the federal government for infrastructure improvements. This is a second big win for the centre, the first being successful efforts in 2012 to persuade the Harper government to reverse its decision to close the facility.
- Developed and distributed a newsletter specifically about Reconciliation in Canada.
- Registered as an intervenor before the National Energy Board and was the only MP to appear before the NEB to make a final argument against the Kinder Morgan pipeline.
- Called upon the Liberals to reduce taxes on small business owners, which encouraged the Finance Minister to embrace the long-standing Green Party of Canada policy to lower the small business tax rate to 9%.
- Worked on the Special Parliamentary Committee on Electoral Reform from June – November 2016, never missing a hearing or meeting, with 60 committee meetings held.
- Advocated for creation of the Lyme Disease Framework, which received $4 million from the federal government in 2017, beginning with a private member bill tabled in 2012.
- Presented more amendments to legislation than any single MP in history.
- Seconded a motion about abandoned, derelict and wrecked vessels, calling for more education, owner responsibility for clean-up, and government help to remove vessels from Canadian waters.
41st Parliament (2011 – 2015)
- Drew our attention to the dangers in Bill C-51, the Harper administration’s so-called public security law — again, the first to point this out.
- Strengthened Canadian environmental legislation by successfully amending Bill C-46, the Pipeline Safety Act, requiring government to go after polluters for costs of an accident.
- Notified Canadians of the risks of the Trans-Pacific Partnership in October, 2015.
- Awarded an Honorary Doctor of Divinity from the Atlantic School of Theology.
- Convinced Canada Steamships to meet with concerned local residents about the use of Plumper Sound as an anchorage for the movement of gypsum. The shipping industry met with local residents on Pender Island because of her advocacy.
- Succeeded with her private member’s bill for a Federal Lyme Disease Framework, which passed unanimously in the House and Senate.
- Obtained over $9 million for the University of Victoria’s “Smart Oceans BC” to support underwater observatories and monitoring of seismic activity along the coast.
- Initiated a housing round table which led to the Saanich Peninsula Partnership working to bring affordable housing to the region.
- Convinced the Finance Minister to reverse the decision to stop advertising for tourism in the US market. Funding was restored in the 2015 budget.
- Alerted Canadians to the dangers of the Canada-China Foreign Investor Protection Agreement — the first parliamentarian to caution us.
- Won Maclean’s “Hardest Working Parliamentarian” (voted by fellow MPs).
- Honoured as “Best Constituency MP” in the Hill Times 21st Annual Politically Savvy Survey.
- Honoured by Maclean magazine’s as “Parliamentarian of the Year” (voted by fellow MPs).
- Became the only MP in the 41st parliament to prevent the closing of a science centre in their riding — convincing the Harper administration to reverse its decision to close the Centre for Plant Health, later bringing tens of millions of dollars of federal investment into Saanich/Gulf Islands.
- Stayed in her seat for 24 hours straight, defending more than 400 constructive amendments she proposed to the first Omnibus Budget Bill C-38 (which was then known as the “Environmental Devastation Act”).
- Won the vote to become the first Green Party MP elected in Canadian history.
- Was the only MP in parliament to vote against military action in Libya—you can watch her speech here.