Good Sunday Morning – June 11

Good Sunday Morning!

And thanks to everyone who sent me a birthday greeting on Friday, as I am now well launched into my 70th year.

The POLITICO Ottawa Playbook gave me this nice shout out:

Who’s up: Green leader ELIZABETH MAY, whose decades of largely unheeded warnings about climate change look more prescient by the week. (HBD, BTW.)”

The very definition of Cassandra – uttering prophesies and fated never to be believed. If stuck in myths, I would rather be Bodica, the ancient warrior woman Farley Mowat once wrote I embodied. Maybe the fires will wake people up and then I can lead the charge.

Rather than share details of yet another jam-packed week (the third in a row where Monday, Tuesday and Thursday I worked 19 hours/day), this letter reflects on something I see as sinister. The Conservatives are attempting to rewrite the Canadian identity story. Before launching into that theme, if you want to see what went on this week, please check out the P.S. to this message. Also please help promote an important event for Green Party BC by-election candidate Camille Currie. And sharing other GREAT NEWS- David Suzuki has endorsed Jonathan Pedneault for NDG-Westmount.  Polling shows Jonathan running second! Please share the news- especially if you have Montreal area friends!

What I want to share this week is my concern about the steady repetition of a false narrative of Canada. It is subtle and many may not react as I do. I have yet to hear MPs in other parties reject it. In fact, some Liberals end up repeating it without seeing its toxicity.  Every day we hear this over and over again in Parliament. It comes from the Conservative MPs and especially from leader Pierre Poilievre. They call it the “Canadian Dream.” It is lifted holus bolus from the American dream. “People come to this country with the promise that if they work hard and play by the rules, they can expect to get ahead, own their own home and have the good life” or words to that effect.

This is often coupled with an emphasis on freedom as a core Canadian value.

The problem is, of course, that they are right. Canadians do want to have economic security and freedom, but the story is not our story. The narrative is off-putting and I have been trying to figure out exactly why I find it dangerous.

Central to its falsity is the constant emphasis on the individual.  Canada is a country, a society, that cares about community.  We want all of our society to do well. We care about the public good. That notion is key to “peace, order and good government.” A stodgy, but loveable, counter point to the American “Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness.” The US mythology is of rugged individualism – every man for himself! (emphasis on gender appropriate.)

York University professor Peter Timmerman, a practicing Buddhist, once gave a fabulous lecture asserting that Canada has a state religion. Despite notions that we are a secular society, without religion, Timmerman claimed that we have a state religion with its own orthodoxy, foundational scripture, priesthood and liturgy. He called it “Econotheism.”  We worship the Economy.  He concluded that its central value was “selfish Individualism,” which, he said, “all great religions will tell us leads straight to doom.”

Pierre Poilievre’s central message is to exalt selfish Individualism.  When he says “Canada is broken,” what he means is we have to make Canada more like Trump’s America – which is good and truly a mess. It is the doctrine of Trump and the Proud Boys (Free-DUMB! as they chant on parade).  I am very worried that it is seeping into our collective consciousness. Far too many people, many young white men in particular find it intoxicating.  Even young lefty men are moving toward Poilievre.

Our health care system is proof of how our national identity differs from that in the United States. We have an essential desire for fairness that is missing in the USA. John Ralston Saul wrote about this in A Fair Country: Telling Truths about Canada (2011): .

Ralston Saul attributes our affinity for fairness to the sharing, by something like osmosis, of Indigenous values. He highlights the Iroquois Confederacy, the democracy that was here first, that prioritized consensus as vastly preferable to “might make right” decision-making.

The focus on the individual is also what is wrong with freedom as our central goal. When Pierre Poilievre says he wants Canada to be the “free-est” county in the world, what does he really mean?

The words speak directly to those who are sick of having to look after others; to those who want lower taxes and cuts to social services. Some want the freedom to reject the rules and agreed upon social contracts, such as those that require corporations to obey laws to reduce pollution. Or reject laws designed to eliminate hate speech. A whole lot of what Canadians accept as fair- protections for the most marginalized in the SSLGBTQI + community, for example, to be free from harassment, as well as more effort (completely inadequate thus far) to protect the lives of Indigenous women and girls in a continued genocide. All of those efforts and more are dismissed in this particular new mythology as being “woke.”

I predict, there goes Cassandra again, that the Conservatives are planning the next election campaign to be framed as a cultural war against Trudeau and the “woke.”  They will be aided in this by the dreadful degree to which Trudeau’s commitment across a wide range of issues is merely performative. Lots of lovely words, some good actions, but mostly hypocrisy.

The war will not mention, of course, that it is really a battle for the soul of Canada between those who believe this country is about compassion, sharing and fairness against those who embrace selfish Individualism as a lofty ideal.

How best should we call this out? How do we, like the characters in the classic horror film “Invasion of the Body Snatchers” identify the alien notions among us?  And most importantly, how do we reach out with love and compassion to those who are falling down this particular rabbit hole?  Jonathan Pedneault is gifted in calling this out.  Please help get him elected to Parliament. Voting day is June 19!

Best wishes for the coming week. If you are near fires or suffering in heat waves, be careful and take no chances,

Love and thanks,


Press conference on wildfires and Parliament fiddling while Canada burns:  June 8

Monday 2-minute speech on wildfires on Monday:

(49) Elizabeth May: Wildfires Need Long-Term Action – YouTube

Late show Tuesday:  Elizabeth May: IPCC report says eliminate GHG emissions by 2025 – YouTube.

Coverage of my normal constant work (from POLITICO Ottawa Playbook):

“TODAY IN SILLY SEASON — When Government House Leader MARK HOLLAND moved Tuesday to limit debate on CHRYSTIA FREELAND’s budget bill, Green Leader ELIZABETH MAY called out pretty much everyone in the chamber.

May spoke some truth to silly season, setting her sights on Tories who delighted in delaying the bill and Liberals who deployed a blunt instrument — and super-weapon — of time allocation in response. And, presumably, the New Democrats who gave the governing party all the votes they needed.

“I find myself in the awkward position of being in favor of this legislation, opposed to the government moving to push it through quickly, and very much opposed to meaningless partisan obstruction tactics that do not deal with the substance of the legislation, which I fear most people in this place have still not read,” she said.


— The antidote: Not everybody on the Hill was feeling angsty.”

Elizabeth May supports Bill C-47, opposes the budget – YouTube

Link to my statement on June 8 on World Oceans Day.

Elizabeth decries marine pollution on World Oceans Day – YouTube

BC Greens important announcement: On Monday, June 19th we are holding a rally and fundraiser at W̱MÍYEŦEN Nature Sanctuary (formerly Mary Lake) in Highlands. Details are here: