Good Sunday Morning – July 30

Good Sunday Morning! On the last July Sunday,
I am still following doctor’s orders to do as little as possible. No doubt you have seen the news from all around the world of this being the hottest July on record, of BC being in extreme drought. It is hard to rest when the climate news is so terrifying, with flash floods in my former home province of Nova Scotia. But rest I must.
I realized this week that a lot of friends never heard what had actually happened to me. It turned out not to be exhaustion (that was John’s guess and a good one given my schedule in May and June…) but the CT scan showed I had had a small brain bleed, so almost a week after it happened we got an actual diagnosis of hemorrhagic stroke.. but amazingly it did no damage. All I need is to keep resting until my energy levels come back. At this point all I want to do is sleep. I am actually – surprisingly – enjoying the rest, but I cannot help but feel guilty when I have to cancel something I was committed to do – like Friday’s Ask Salt Spring (to be rescheduled) or this weekend’s Salt Spring Pride events. (see you next year). Still hoping I get the go-ahead to attend Montreal Pride August 13…it looks like Vancouver Pride on August 6 is not for me this year, but my amazing co-leader Jonathan Pedneault will be there, plus our best choice for premier of BC, the amazing Green BC leader Sonia Furstenau.
I am hoping that medical appointments will not interfere with our Saanich Gulf Islands Annual Greens picnic at Centennial Park on August 5th. I am hoping to be there and Jonathan will be there too!
This week on Wednesday night I lost a dear friend, a towering political presence and amazing Canadian – Pat Carney.
That Pat and I should have become friends is amazing, that she voted Green is also astonishing. We met in 1986 when I was in charge of the work from the Environment Minister’s office back to get a deal with the BC government to stop the logging of the ancient temperate rainforests of Haida Gwaii and create what became Gwaii Haanas National Park Reserve. It is often misreported that I was a Conservative back then, but I was not affiliated with any party at all when I was recruited to the Minister of Environment’s office to take on all the environmental issues (as Senior policy advisor) while the rest of his staff did partisan work. It was an odd role in that the minister wanted me to stay out of sight of the Conservative party folks while steering issues from acid rain to ozone to Great Lakes. But that is a longer story. I got to know Pat Carney from the vantage point of someone in awe of her. She was at the time a member of the Cabinet in the Mulroney government and the lead British Columbia MP in the Conservative caucus. We needed her help to keep the work moving forward to stop the logging and somehow convince the right wing So-Cred government of Bill Vander Zalm to agree to take the side of the environmental groups and the Haida Nation and against MacMillan Bloedel. At one point she shocked her Conservative pro-logging colleagues by describing BC’s forests as a “silvicultural slum.” I tell the whole story in my 1990 book, Paradise Won and in a 2020 updated revision (available in paperback from Rocky Mountain Books.)
I wish I had been able to include this anecdote Pat shared with me years later. “Elizabeth, in one conversation with VanderZalm back then, he said, and she did a spot on imitation of Bill VanderZalm’s booming voice, “You know Pat, there are trees up there more than a thousand years old!! . . . They should have been logged long ago!”
Pat and I became friends over the years through many connections, but most surely when I became her MP. She helped me in so many ways to be a better MP.
She tried very hard to dissuade me from ever repeating something I said (and still say) often. It was a mantra I learned from my mother, “You can accomplish anything you want if you do not care who gets the credit.” She was very short with me about it. Elizabeth, you are a woman in politics and believe me no one will ever give you credit for things you have done. If you do not care who gets the credit you will never receive the credit you are due. And then she told me of the many, many times, the history books have given credit to others for things Pat accomplished. It was so much easier to believe John Crosbie deserved credit on trade negotiations done entirely by Minister Pat Carney before Crosbie was assigned the file. After all, the deep deep assumptions of patriarchy meant her contributions were discounted. Or the myriad times she stood her ground and changed policy. I owe her enormously for one of her very first actions as an MP. In 1980 she succeeded against the Liberal tide and was elected in Vancouver Centre as a Progressive Conservative. She opened her constituency office and started working for her voters immediately, but she refused to take her seat in parliament until a serious issue of inequality was corrected. While all men in parliament had the right for travel expenses for their wives to visit Ottawa, as a single parent there were no supports for Pat to bring her teenaged son from Vancouver to be with her in Ottawa. MP salaries were a lot lower then and she could not have afforded the costs. She wondered why she had ever thought being an MP would make sense if it meant her family would fall apart. Her constituents understood and supported her, even if the men in parliament did not. It took Jeanne Sauve, one of the few other women in parliament and Speaker of the House to correct the situation. Sauve changed the designation from spouse to “next of kin.”. That change meant that when I was elected, as a single mother, in Saanich Gulf Islands my daughter Cate could travel to Ottawa so we could be together.
Many policies and laws have Pat Carney’s fingerprints all over them, like the legislation to protect heritage lighthouses, but she also cast the deciding vote in the Senate to protect women’s reproductive rights, defeating a restrictive abortion bill . In the wake of the US Supreme Court reversal of Roe v Wade, Pat told the story in this July 2022 article in the Globe and Mail.…/article-abortion…/olli
Many do not know that in 1981 Pat Carney introduced the first private members bill to prohibit discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation. It did not pass, but it was the beginning. Pat’s career started in journalism and she was until her dying day a wonderful writer.
Please do enjoy this wonderfully evocative slice from our many adventures. We did not agree on electoral reform. But we enjoyed lively debates. This one community meeting on her home and much beloved island of Saturna is a keeper. Enjoy it.…/opinion-political-potluck…
I will continue finding ways to make sure my friend Pat Carney is well and truly remembered and honoured for her many gifts.
One piece of good news to share was announced this week in Victoria. The announcement is one of those things I really regret missing. It is rare these days, although it should not be, for opposition MPs to be invited to federal funding announcements. I appreciate that Liberal Patrick Weiler (West Vancouver, Sunshine Coast Sea to Sky Country) invited me to this one and that BC Transit thanked me for my support for low carbon transit. This is good news.
The provincial and federal governments and BC Transit have earmarked nearly $400 million to help electrify transit buses.
The funding, announced in Victoria on Wednesday, will allow the transit service to buy 115 battery electric buses and install 134 charging stations across the province.
The federal contribution amounts to nearly $170 million, while the B.C. government is putting in just under $159 million. BC Transit’s share of the funding comes to just over $67 million:…/bc-transit-electric-bus…/amp/…
And lastly- Cabinet Shuffle news..
In most ways the shuffle changes nothing. The same government with the same policies, same Finance minister, same environment minister. But key issues for this region and the Salish Sea depend on improved policies and legislation on transport issues- anchorages, derelict vessels, and protection for SRKWs. There we have two new ministers, Diane Lebouthillier in Fisheries and Pablo Rodriguez in Transport.
I am worried about the new Fisheries minister. As minister for CRA I found her to be entirely willing to believe her officials and take the departmental line on everything. She is the MP for a region dependent on fishing- Gaspésie—Les Îles-de-la-Madeleine (the Magdalene islands). But if she takes the DFO departmental line on everything, we are in trouble. Here is an article from the July 28 Globe and Mail on how the aquaculture industry hopes she will depart from the position taken by former Fisheries minister Joyce Murray.…/article-new…/
Ottawa’s new Fisheries Minister is being urged by conservationists to maintain a federal commitment to phase out British Columbia’s remaining ocean-based salmon farms, in the face of pressure from the fish-farm industry and some First Nations.
Diane Lebouthillier, who took over the ministry from Joyce Murray in this week’s cabinet shuffle, is wading into an intense battle between the fish-farming industry and conservationists over the future of commercial salmon farming in B.C.
Conservationists and some First Nations chiefs argue that ocean-based salmon farms are harming wild-salmon populations and should be closed or moved to tanks on land. But the fish-farming industry and other First Nations chiefs want to keep the farms open and say there is no conclusive scientific evidence that they are passing on diseases to wild salmon.
The head of the Canadian Aquaculture Industry Alliance (CAIA) said he hoped that the appointment of a new minister would lead to a “reset” and further growth in the industry.
Last month, the alliance published an open letter to the Prime Minister attacking Ms. Murray over her handling of the B.C. fish-farm issue and plans to close more farms.
“We look forward to working with Minister Lebouthillier to focus on the opportunities across Canada to grow Canada’s seafood farming production to benefit rural, coastal and Indigenous communities that have many of the same needs as the small communities in the minister’s riding,” said CAIA president and chief executive Tim Kennedy.
“We hope this is an opportunity for a reset – to really work collaboratively and to listen to the coastal and Indigenous communities on the ground to hear their solutions and build from the bottom up,” he added.
Ms. Murray’s mandate letter from Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in late 2021, setting out the priorities while in office, instructed her to work with the B.C. government and Indigenous communities “on a responsible plan to transition from open-net pen salmon farming in coastal British Columbia waters by 2025.”
On Friday, Bob Chamberlin, chair of the First Nations Wild Salmon Alliance, called on the new Fisheries Minister to press ahead with the Prime Minister’s instruction to phase out these types of salmon farms, despite opposition from the industry.
“Minister Lebouthillier must continue the path charted by her predecessor to ensure that the precautionary principle is applied to fish farms and wild-salmon interaction in British Columbia,” he said.
“First Nations across the province rely upon wild salmon and we look forward to this government upholding their application of Supreme Court law by including First Nations in fish farm transition planning – to ultimately remove the farms from Pacific waters by 2025.”
Tony Allard, founder of Wild Salmon Forever/Wild First, said open-net salmon farms, based in the ocean, had been closed in California, Washington State and Oregon, and B.C. was lagging behind.
He said there was widespread support in British Columbia for closing the salmon farms off B.C’s coast. If the government failed to deliver on its promise to close them, he said, it could turn into an election issue for the Liberals.
“The government has mandated this transition twice. I am confident that they will deliver,” he said. “She [the new minister] will have her work cut out for her though.”
In June, Ms. Murray suddenly shelved the release of a transition plan to move open-net fish farms out of B.C’s coastal waters, to land-based farms. Her office issued a statement saying it was extending a consultation on the future of the remaining open-net salmon farms throughout the summer.
The delay to the publication of the transition plan followed meetings in Ottawa between representatives of fish farms and senior staff from the Prime Minister’s and ministers’ offices.
One aim of the extended consultation was to explore further how to support First Nations with salmon farms in their territory as they transition to alternative sources of income and jobs, such as eco-tourism, and other forms of aquaculture that would not pose a risk to wild salmon.
Ms. Lebouthillier is the third minister to take over responsibility for the transition plan. Her appointment was welcomed by Grant Cumming, the North American CEO of Grieg Seafood, which has 14 salmon farms in B.C.
“As she herself comes from a region largely dependent on the fishing industry, we are optimistic that she will understand the importance of salmon farming to rural and Indigenous communities, as well as to the Canadian economy and exports,” he said.
Simon John, chief of Ehattesaht First Nation, which has a salmon farm run by Grieg Seafood in its Vancouver Island territory, welcomed the new minister, saying there were many important issues to discuss.
“We really hope there is a new desire to work together to build better, more sustainably driven, local management of the waters in places like the Ehattesaht so we can create good jobs in our communities,” he said.
In March, chiefs from Indigenous communities throughout B.C. came to Ottawa to make opposing arguments about whether open-net salmon farms should be able to continue off the coast or be closed and moved to tanks on land:…/article-indigenous…/
I hope we can all influence her to understand the threat to BC wild salmon and act accordingly.
All for now, thanks to all for all the lovely get well messages! Lots of love,
Saanich-Gulf Islands Greens