Good Sunday Morning!
Apologies that this letter is not from your regular and much-loved correspondent, but from a poor substitute husband.
Elizabeth is not feeling well today, Canada Day. She has been working absolutely non-stop through the spring and early summer, doing, honestly, nineteen-hour days – Parliament carrying on until midnight, constituency meetings, a million Green Party matters, fundraisers, supporting candidates in the recent by-elections, Pride parades, high school graduations, letters, phone calls – it never stops. I used to think when I was a tech entrepreneur that I was the hardest-working person I knew. But I’ve been with Elizabeth for four years now, and I see clearly that that was just a vain conceit. Nobody works harder than she. Nobody. And now she needs a bit of time and rest to refill the tank (there’s a fossil fuel analogy for you), better I should say to recharge her battery.
It is vital for all of us that Elizabeth stays strong – her work is essential. So give her your best wishes, however you send best wishes. She will get them all.
In the meantime, a couple of comments and tidbits you may find interesting.
You may have seen this article in the National Observer following from the Green Party’s press release – Liberal ministers Champagne (Industry) and Wilkinson (Natural Resources) having a friendly sit-down with senior executives and board members of Royal Dutch Shell, at their first “global board of directors meeting”. Minister Champagne posted: “With a strong and historic presence in our country, Shell is our reliable partner. Together, we can and will pave the way for tomorrow’s green economy.” Holy smokes. This is, after all, Royal Dutch Shell. Shell has indeed been a “reliable partner” for years in the fossil industry’s campaign of disinformation, a continual maker of never-to-be-met promises about emissions reduction, a steady hand in delaying climate action, and a war profiteer that made $40 billion of profits last year. It is astonishing that anyone, let alone a candidate to replace Prime Minister Trudeau when the Liberals finally realize that he is past his best-before date, could even mouth these words to himself, and then say them in public as if he actually believed them. “Reliable partner”, indeed. Ministers Champagne and Wilkinson should certainly be meeting Shell, but in court, as reliable and consistent adversaries of the public good.
In our neighbour to the south, as Texas goes through another “unprecedented” heat dome (“unprecedented” is an excuse word – none of this is “unpredicted”), 14 deaths so far, the Republican state government has 1/ forbidden local governments to mandate rest and water breaks for workers, 2/ is legislating to prevent incentives for renewable energy while maintaining them for oil and gas. This is surely the way forward – prevent reasonable worker safety rules as the world heats up, and at the same time provide financial incentive to heat it up even further. Watch Mr. Poilievre in Ottawa and Ms. Smith in Edmonton – this is their home turf.
Speaking of Mr. Poilievre, I had the pleasure of watching US President Biden deliver his address to Parliament this March. If you have the time to watch, let me direct your attention to minute 11:20 on, where Mr. Biden talks about union jobs in the transition to renewables. You’ll see that he speaks largely to the people on his left – that’s the Conservative benches. You know that the President is well briefed – he knows exactly to whom he’s talking. “Well-paid union jobs” as a result of moving away from fossil fuels? You can imagine the reactions of Mr. Poilievre and his followers – complete stony-faced silence. Not a ripple of applause, it was as if they were all sitting on their hands. And just for fun, here’s a link (again) to that magic moment when Elizabeth gave the President his “Peace by Chocolate” bar. For the best laugh of the (at least of my) day, watch at minute 1:20, when Elizabeth says “Don’t let the Prime Minister keep your chocolate, Mr. President, he’s like that”, and the resulting kerfuffle as various aides recover the bar and get it back to him.
Here is a review we wrote for Policy Magazine of two books I recommend to you: “How to be a Climate Optimist”, by Chris Turner, and “Fire Weather” by my old friend John Vaillant. Both are alarming, John’s is positively frightening. John likes a suggestion from Cristian Proistosescu at the University of Illinois: rather than calling June 2023 the hottest June in the last hundred years, let’s think of it as the coolest June for the next few hundred. One might hope that Ministers Champagne and Wilkinson read both books before their next cosy tête-à- tête with Shell.
You may know that before Elizabeth married me, I was living in Ashcroft, in the only true desert in Canada. In June 2021 the Tremont Creek fire was burning fiercely just across the river from our place. My daughter Julia called me to come up and get pumps and sprinklers and fire hoses in place – as I rushed up, traffic was much delayed by construction crews all over the highway building, guess what, the TMX pipeline, so that we Canadians can try to sell even more bitumen to heat the world ever hotter to make fires ever more prevalent. We’re just as dumb as those Republicans in Texas. The day we got our water situation settled, it was 50.1 degrees C in my back yard (that’s 122 Fahrenheit), and the whole town of Lytton, just down the river, burned up in 25 minutes. Julia got heatstroke and nearly died. When a grown child comes to grief from a climate event, when 619 other people actually do die, when friends’ homes burn up and their farms are washed down rivers, it brings things home with a wallop. And it means that, no matter how old or tired, one can never quit this fight.
That’s why Elizabeth needs rest today, and that’s why you’re getting this from a second-order reporter. Thanks for your understanding, and for your continuing support. She’s the best.
Cheers, Happy Canada Day on this our home on native land,
Here are recent press releases from the Green Party website:
Wednesday, 28 Jun 2023 – On June 26, two cabinet ministers – the Hon. Jonathan Wilkinson and the Hon. François-Philippe Champagne – attended the Royal Dutch Shell’s Global Board Meeting, wishing them a warm welcome to a…
Wednesday, 28 Jun 2023 – OTTAWA – Thousands of Canadians are fleeing their homes while millions are breathing toxic air. For decades, scientists warned that warmer average temperatures would result in catastrophic weather…
Friday, 23 Jun 2023 – Ottawa, ON – Just a week after the House of Commons gave final passage to the Canada Disability Benefit Act (Bill C-22), the bill has passed in the Senate and received royal assent from the Governor…
And another link to the book reviews: