Good Sunday Morning – June 25

Good Sunday Morning!

This Sunday finds me in Toronto for the Annual Pride Parade.

I have not walked in the Toronto one for a while, not since I was leader in 2019. And then there was COVID and then our wonderful interim leader Amita Kuttner could represent the Green Party. I am so thrilled to be able to walk this year with co-leader (still technically Deputy Leader) Jonathan Pedneault. Jonathan has just succeeded in the highest-ever vote for Greens in Quebec, winning 13.45% of the vote in Notre-Dame-de-Grace-Westmount on Monday. In 2021, the GPC had 4% of the vote. More significantly, his support was virtually the same as the NDP and Conservatives. Only 79 votes separated the second-place NDP from us in 4th place. Seventy-nine individual votes! It was really a three-way tie for second. And significantly, all the other parties – Bloc Quebecois (5th place), Liberals winning handily, NDP and CPC – saw their vote share drop. Jonathan increased Green support more than three-fold. We were very well satisfied with the result.  

Parliament wrapped on Wednesday a bit after midnight, on a day that earned its name- the longest day of the year. I started in Ottawa very early (2 AM BC time) to be sure to get to Victoria for the events marking National Indigenous Peoples Day.  Still, thanks to Air Canada, I nearly missed the event. Thank heavens for Rainbow Eyes who managed to hold a spot for me to speak whenever it was I got there. I ended up being the last speaker. My speech was pretty straightforward – no reconciliation without truth.

And then once that wonderful ceremony was over, I rejoined Parliament by Zoom. Mike Morrice was physically in the Chamber as I participated remotely. I lament that my bill for a national strategy against environmental racism (Bill C-226) did not get through Second Reading in the Senate, but our Senate sponsor feels confident it will get picked up soon after we resume in September.  Senator Mary Jane McCallum, an extraordinary woman and a Cree dentist from Manitoba, is lining up support from all corners of the Upper House. At least Bill C-22 for a national disability benefit finally became law. My Green colleague, Mike Morrice (MP Kitchener Centre) has worked very hard in shoring up cross-party support for that bill.

I gave a little talk the other day at one of our fundraisers, and Greens present urged me to try to share it in Good Sunday Morning. They said it made them feel hopeful. I must admit I am not sure I can write it. I think it helps me to explain it to use my hands and create a visual sense of disequilibrium across multiple spheres. But here goes.

The current state of the world leads so many to feel both hopeless and helpless. It is all too much. The pandemic has left us with a lot of unsettled feelings. We live in a more disrupted society. The war in Ukraine is wrenching. The domestic situation is described in terms of crises – the housing crisis, the opioid crisis, the mental health crisis.  All true. And overriding it all is the climate emergency.

Thomas Homer-Dixon and the team at Cascade Institute at Royal Roads delve into the understanding of “polycrisis.”  As is clear in the graph below, the crises are interlinked.

Most decision-makers are incapable of handling even one crisis. Interlinking across many dimensions of many systems is required in decision-making, but few have focused on it. As war impacts energy prices, impacts the climate crisis, threatens famine, and water scarcity and on and on, one can be super-depressed. Looking at the world as a set of systems in the breakdown is mostly scary, but we are equally living in a time of extraordinary possibility.

For years I have thought about how quickly apparently stable systems move to disequilibrium and appear to suddenly hit tilt. When I worked on acid rain in the 1980s, scientists would talk about how an acidifying lake appeared healthy until it shifted to acidic. That disequilibrium led to sudden shifts. I thought about it in the early 90’s when the Soviet Union collapsed. The last people to know that the disequilibrium was leading to a sudden system change were likely the people in the Kremlin. The Capitalist West celebrated its “victory” without realizing that the disequilibrium that led to the collapse of the USSR could also happen to Capitalism. Disequilibrium is like that.

Which brings me to the polycrises and how this is a moment that could go in many different directions. Imagine the geo-political, societal, and biological systems on many different planes beginning to go loopy. Imagine a multilayered set of planes undulating and moving into unexpected shapes. Imagine a Rubik’s cube out of form as if painted by Dali. In this moment of shifting possibilities, we may be about to hit tilt and enter into a whole new set of systems. I believe (and this hardly sounds hopeful) that we could be heading for a totalitarian political world of fascists presiding over the collapse of the biosphere – BUT equally, we could hit tilt and enter an era of democracy, equity, ecological recovery, and peace.

What will make the difference is the energy we bring to it. What will matter is how we react. And how hard we fight. We cannot treat each crisis as a separate matter. We cannot react sequentially. All must be confronted at once. And we must ensure that an action to one threat considers the impact of that response on all the other crises we face. We need to consider the global human family – all at once. The energy of citizens’ movements matters. All the threats we face are on a very short timeline for us to make the change.

And I do believe we can, which is the next part of feeling optimistic. If we are going to save ourselves, we must do so in the next two years or we cannot arrest the galloping climate emergency – nor can we hold on to functional democracies. We must go fast. That is also encouraging as decades more of fighting is a bit dispiriting. This is more a case for “once more into the breach!”

So with that, I will close. Various important bits and links are in the P.S. I am including a super website I just found that shows real-time jet stream maps. It is the warming of the Arctic that has led to the collapse of the Polar vortex leading to the jet stream going AWOL. That is what is driving the fires and the floods and heat domes. A lazy loopy jet stream is creating chaotic weather and climate disasters. I also include below my last 60-second member’s statement in the House on the expected climate events this summer.

Stay safe and take care of each other!




Elizabeth: Summer 2023 will be defined by climate crisis.

What I want to see on the evening news: The Jet Stream Map

From the Global Jet Stream Forecast you can view the jet stream over Canada or anywhere else in the world:

And one from Canada on where the smoke is going:

And some media on my work:

‘We need to wake up’: Algonquin leaders sound alarm over planned nuclear waste facility near Ottawa River

Nuclear-based fantasies are holding back real climate action


Saanich-Gulf Islands Greens