My head is in so many places all at once. I know some regular readers will want updates on Fairy Creek, but I am still in the midst of C-12 (Climate Accountability Act) amendments, and then there’s TMX news, and World Environment Day – and we are reeling from the evidence of 215 buried children in Kamloops and the anniversary of the report on Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls and Two-Spirit peoples… and the first anniversary of the killing of Chantel Moore (June 4th). And I have been working on all of the above – all week.
So, deep breath, and apologies for gaps.
Let’s start with today. June 6th. We have been asked by Kukpi7 Roseanne Casimir, Chief of the Tk’emlups te Secwepemc, to join in prayer at 10 am today. It is Kukpi7 Roseanne’s work that led to hiring an expert in underground radar readings to uncover the preliminary results she released May 27th. Through my dear friend and former Green Victoria candidate Racelle Kooy (who is now living back in her home territory) that I heard of the call for a National Day of Prayer. https://www.
The most powerful statement yet has been my MLA’s words in the BC Legislature. Adam Olsen’s speech drew widespread attention, including in this insightful column from Rob Shaw that noted how hard the NDP tried to defeat Adam last fall. https://theorca.ca/
The pain and loss (especially for Indigenous peoples, but also for settler culture allies) is real and deep. Indigenous friends have suggested that we pause. That we stop and postpone the political debate, inevitable finger pointing, and instead just listen and mourn together for those dear children, their souls, their families and for the many more not yet accounted for. We are heading down a long road. And we cannot let this be a “news story” where we turn the page and fail to take on the work that we are required to do. The Truth and Reconciliation Commission set out a path. It will not an easy one. Let us pray. Whether we believe in God or not, let us mourn.
On Friday, I marked the anniversary of the killing of 26-year old, Nuu-Chah-Nulth woman Chantel Moore with a statement in parliament. On June 4, 2020, Chantel was killed by a police officer in Edmundston, NB. As I made the statement, our extraordinary Green MP Jenica Atwin joined Chantel’s mother, Martha Martin, at a ceremony in Fredericton to mourn her death and demand justice. In solidarity, national Green leader Annamie Paul issued a strong statement with specific recommendations to end the threat of death by “wellness check.”
Although the Quebec policy inquiry review was submitted on her death in December, the family still has no answers as to why a tall, muscular cop felt so threatened by a small Indigenous woman that he shot her at least five times. https://www.cbc.ca/
Say her name and keep demanding #justiceforChantel.
For the rest of this little Sunday letter, the good news first.
The TMX (formerly Kinder Morgan) pipeline suffered a serious blow with the news that its insurer will not renew the policy. Lloyds of London was the first global insurer to decide to reject fossil fuel infrastructure from their policies. The Canadian Energy Regulator – CER (which used to be called the NEB) attempted to assist the Crown corporation now building TRMX with our money by agreeing to an outrageous request from TMX to keep the name of its insurers confidential. So we only found out Argo Insurance was an insurer when it announced this week it would not renew the TMX policy. David Snowden, senior VP of group communications at Argo Group US, wrote “This type of project is not currently within Argo’s risk appetite.”
Charlene Aleck of the Tsleil-Waututh Nation Sacred Trust Initiative urged more insurance companies to refuse to insure this risky project: “In addition to fuelling the climate crisis, this pipeline represents an ongoing violation of Indigenous rights. The lack of free, prior and informed consent is a material risk that most insurers have not fully captured, and that needs to change. We are calling on the rest of the Lloyd’s syndicates, as well as AIG, Chubb, and Liberty Mutual, to follow Argo’s path.”
Looking for more good news is hard.
I am so grateful to my dear friend and colleague Paul Manly (Green MP for Nanaimo-Ladysmith) and his chief of staff Ilan Goldenblatt. They are at Fairy Creek this weekend to let the land protectors know we strongly support them. I am still trying to sort my own logistics to join them. Meanwhile, once again, I need to give a huge shout out to Adam Olsen for his work in exposing the cynical, colonial, patronizing approach of the Horgan government toward the Pacheedaht First Nation. Under what was supposed to be a commitment to respect Indigenous sovereignty, the government has engineered a despicable agreement that Adam outlines here: https://www.cheknews.ca/
Please read the details, but Adam’s bottom line conclusion says it all: “The BC NDP is effectively using BC Liberal policy to put Indigenous Nations in the centre of conflicts and use the language of reconciliation to cover for their inaction.”
Meanwhile, back in Ottawa, the C-12 clause by clause process will likely wrap up tomorrow with no Green amendments passed. The deal between the Liberals and NDP for modest improvements are indeed improvements. The main item is the insertion of a 2026 “interim greenhouse gas emissions objective.” But the first milestone year remains 2030, the advisory committee is multistakeholder and not expert or independent (despite a sleight of hand amendment to say the non-independent body will provide “independent advice,”) with no carbon budgets and no legally enforceable method to hold any minister to account. Meanwhile, the government is still subsidizing fossil fuels and committed to TMX. Here is my question to Minister Wilkinson asking him to explain why my amendment to base government action on science was rejected: https://www.
I am heartened by growing support from 350.org and Leadnow to oppose the ReconAfrica proposed oil and gas project in Namibia, near the UNSECO World Heritage Site at the Okavango Delta. Thanks to nearly 900 people who signed the petition I presented this week (and especially to local activists Vicky Husband, Doug Funk and Shelagh Levy): https://www.youtube.
Speaking of Shelagh, I am really excited for our next SGI-Green book club event featuring Seth Klein and his wonderful book “The Good War.” Seth and I will explore how we get societies to move on climate as though our lives depended on it, which they do. Join us on Tuesday, June 14th, 7 pm BC time. Please register in advance for this event here.
And for a really exciting book event involving my daughter Cate, dear friends Sylvia Olsen (“Growing up Elizabeth May”), Lynne Quarmby (her new book “Watermelon Snow: Science, Art and a Lone Polar Bear”) and Anu Rao (whom some of you will know thru Seachange, with her book “One Earth: People of Colour Protecting our Planet”) plus an activist I do not know, but am excited to hear, Nafeesa Alibhai, check out “Story Telling for Change” – coming up next Saturday morning June 12th: https://www.banyen.com/
This week marks the start of midnight sittings in parliament to try to push through as much legislation as possible before we break June 23rd for summer recess. Please help me by signing petitions listed below and join in the events I have included here. One great event I should have promoted more was the Twenty Year Anniversary of Fair Vote Canada! I have not had so much fun for ages. We had over 400 attendees for Judy Rebick, Andrew Coyne, Hugh Segal and me. Watch it here video and recommit to fighting against FPTP every chance we get!
Keep Calm and Carry on!!
PS another cheer for Paul Manly! Paul made a statement calling attention to Motion M-90 for a national ban on gas fracking, which he put forward on Wednesday.
e-3159 Ban new strip mines in the Rocky Mountains (closes June 5)
e-3383 Clarify the safe operation of the DND Rifle Range (closes June 6)
e-3353 Create and fund the National Council of Tree Science Research (closes June 21)
e-3330 Establish a National Council of Reconciliation (closes June 28)
e-3164 Implement a national living wage (closes June 29)
e-3348 Canada‘s alleged political interference in Haiti (closes July 29)
e-3408 Work with First Nations to immediately halt old-growth logging (closes September 8)
Saanich-Gulf Islands Greens