Good Sunday Morning – April 14

Good Sunday Morning!

The news this week will be the federal budget to be unveiled on Tuesday. Although as Justin Trudeau and his cabinet ministers have been making a pre-budget budgetary announcement every day for weeks this budget reveal has been compared to the dance of the seven veils.

Remember when there was high-level security and secrecy about budgets? Leaks were firing offences. Bloc Québecois house leader Allain Therrien remembers and asked the Speaker to rule it violated our privileges as members for the budget to be released in pieces across the country. This led to a fascinating little journey of research for me. I had assumed Therrien was right, but it turns out no rules are broken if the government of the day chooses to announce the budget as policy in advance promotional tours. It is only a tradition that the budget be kept secret. The only violation would be if specific budgetary changes opened the door to the equivalent of “insider trading”. Such was the allegation—disproved—against former Finance Minister Ralph Goodale back in 2005 that some insiders benefited from knowing the government did not plan to tax income trusts.

In any case, Mike Morrice, JP and I, plus our teams (including John Kidder who arrived Saturday to be with me this week in Ottawa—yay!) enter budget “lock up” on Tuesday morningto read through the final budget documents and ask detailed questions of Finance Canada staff. We kick off tomorrow laying out what we hope to see in the budget (go to sometime Monday to find our submissions and details.

Much of this week for me was working on the detailed plan for the Green Party’s Special General Meeting. The GPC Federal Council voted to hold a special general meeting in order to allow members to vote on the constitutional change to co-leadership. It had been on the agenda for the February GM but we ran out of time. Please watch for announcements and—if you are not sure if you are a current GPC member, please make sure you are in order to participate in this critical vote.

The silly fights this week in Parliament just get sillier. The Conservatives put forward over 200 amendments to C-50 the Sustainable Jobs Act. You may recall I wrote a way-too-detailed explanation of the gong show in committee in the clause-by-clause amendments to the bill. I had been in Dubai and Mike was trying to get our amendments voted on, but there was so much shouting and confusion that the NDP accidentally voted to extend the effective date for the plan from 2025 to 2040. Fixing the bill required amendments at Report Stage which happened this week. Unfortunately, our amendments got swamped (and never put to a vote) with the intense two days of nearly non-stop voting. The act itself is a pale imitation of the “Just Transition Act” Liberals had promised for workers and the climate. It is thin gruel indeed and only creates an advisory committee to government to help create a “sustainable jobs” plan. The Conservative over-reaction was hyperbolic – claiming it was a bid for “Soviet-style” top-down control of the economy to put thousands of people out of work.  In the end voting paused at 1am Friday morning resuming at 9am and through the rest of Friday.

I gave two major speeches in Parliament this week that I want to share with you. One was on the softwood lumber dispute and the other on the Conservative motion that we are in a “carbon tax crisis”. It was shocking when the NDP voted with the Conservatives on that one, so I am also including links to some of the media reaction to Greens being the only opposition party unwilling to claim carbon pricing had created a crisis. I pointed out we do have an affordability crisis and we have a climate crisis, what we do not have is a carbon tax crisis. 

Here is the speech on the carbon tax motion.

And reaction to the NDP vote—Greens shocked as NDP vote with Conservatives against carbon price

Jagmeet Singh backpedals on consumer carbon levy, distances NDP from support for Justin Trudeau’s policy – Toronto Star, April 11

And lastly, just before I rose to speak about the softwood lumber dispute I learned that a dear friend and a true environmental champion, John Fraser, former Environment Minister and former Speaker had passed away on Saturday at age 92. I began my speech with a tribute to John. I often wonder what he would make of the pathetic level of discourse in Parliament today. I can imagine his response would be colourful.

Here is the clip of my speech on softwood lumber.

Please plan on joining Saanich-Gulf Islands Greens for our Earth Day event next Sunday April 21.

Where: Star Cinema, Sidney

When: 1:00-3:00 pm, Sunday, April 21

Who: Sponsored by the Green Party of Canada, Saanich-Gulf Islands

Free admission. Win a stunning door prize. Hear expert speakers.

Meet with MP Elizabeth May and MLA Adam Olsen.

Looking forward to seeing you then!

Sending love to you and hope for aa week that brings better prospects for peace to the world,