Good Sunday Morning – March 24

Good Sunday Morning!

This Sunday morning, I am on the last leg of my trip home. I got the train last night from Montreal to Toronto so I could take the one direct flight to Vancouver this morning where John will pick me up and we will head for the ferry. By tonight, we’ll be home in Sidney.

Yesterday was one of those extraordinary moments of experiencing Canada as the small community we really are. Jonathan Pedneault and I were seated among all the current opposition party leaders. All gathered in the Notre Dame Basilica in Montreal, where Prime Minister Trudeau mentioned that his last time there had been for his father’s funeral. My husband, John Kidder, had been at that funeral along with his late sister Margot who had been a pretty long-term partner of Pierre. So, as I was saying, Canada is a small community. John remembers vividly that as Jimmy Carter and Fidel Castro stepped out on the steps of the Basilica after the service and the crowd roared “Viva Fidel!”

Saturday, we all surrounded the bereaved Mulroney family. We are an extended family of Canadians. Regardless of political party, we gathered––all premiers, federal politicians current and past, Indigenous leaders, my dear friend Natan Obed head of the Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami, former Prime Ministers Joe Clark and his wife, the fabulous Maureen McTeer, Kim Campbell, Stephen Harper, Jean Chretien, and Supreme Court Justices. I chatted with Beverley McLachlin about her dropping a reference to Deep Cove Chalet in her first novel––the third is due out this fall. It was wonderful to speak to current and past Governors General Mary Simon, David Johnston, Michaëlle Jean, Adrienne Clarkson and husband John Ralston Saul, all current party leaders from the House, and senators. I saw friends I had not seen for ages from David MacDonald, once our ambassador to Ethiopia, current UN Ambassador Bob Rae, former MP Svend Robinson, and Jean Charest who remained my friend from when Mulroney made him our youngest ever Environment Minister.

We all know each other and, for the most part, are fond of each other. In moments of loss, we can and should pull together as Mulroney, in his life, tried to accomplish.

On Monday, I spoke in the House about his legacy. Here is the clip. His family told me later how many of the accomplishments I mentioned were news to them. Mark Mulroney suggested maybe I could do seminars for the grandchildren. Fingers crossed. Wouldn’t that be a joy? 

This week in parliament we had an extraordinary motion from the NDP in support of a Palestinian state that, in the end, was watered down to remove that reference. I have been asked by many regular readers of this letter how I can ignore the horrors of what is happening in Israel and the occupied Territories. And I hear from friends who are very angry I voted for the NDP motion and others who wish I had pressed to make it stronger. I can share that ever since October 7, I am constantly in a state of psychic suffering. I know my pain and anguish is as nothing compared to the parent of any Israeli child killed or kidnapped on October 7th, and as nothing to the thousands and thousands more parents who have lost their families in the assault on Gaza by the Israeli military. As Greens, Mike Morrice and I have been consistent in calling for peace, for a negotiated ceasefire, to get humanitarian aid to Gaza. It never feels like enough. I am also aware and deeply disturbed to hear from many Jewish friends that they no longer feel safe in our country. Antisemitism is on the rise in ways I would not have imagined. I decry Benjamin Netanyahu. I see him as another version of Putin or Trump. And strangely enough they are all friends – Putin, Trump and Netanyahu.

The course of the NDP motion this week was unprecedented. The motion we debated was massively changed at the last minute. It was hard to figure out what was changed and I cannot see how it is controversial to call for Palestinian statehood when Canada’s fording policy is for a “two-state solution.” The only possible “two states” are Israel and Palestine. The ongoing illegality of a state of permanent occupation for Palestinians is untenable. I have a hunch many in the Jewish community would have been better prepared to accept the motion with Palestinian statehood still mentioned but the removal of restoring UNWRA funding. But we will never know. I do know that in visiting the occupied territories in spring 2018, I experienced the critical role of UNWRA. For 70 years, it has been the only source of basic social services in the occupied territories., I cannot imagine how humanitarian aid can be delivered without UNWRA. Can we ensure that UNWARA does not have any Hamas supporters in their employ? I think so. The accusation is of 12 people out of a staff of 30,000 supporting Hamas.

It was a chaotic process as the new text was read out, never really debated, and the votes shifted to allow the motion to carry with most Liberals, all NDP, All Bloc and Greens in favour. Still, a non-binding vote in the Canadian Parliament does not deliver peace. We must do more in achieving a peaceful resolution and humanitarian aid, the release of al hostages as soon as possible. We must do more.

Meanwhile most of the week was occupied in yet another anti-carbon pricing vote from the Conservatives.

Just as the UN announced that 2023 was the hottest year on record and it was confirmed this winter was the hottest Canadian winter on record and the seas are at unprecedented levels of warmth, we have a debate that ignores all of that. My comments made it to the National Post so I am sharing my comments and how they were covered.

Sparks fly as non-confidence motion fails to bring down Liberal government over federal carbon tax by Catherine Lévesque “There were references to ‘Liberal math’ and the Three Little Pigs but minimal talk of Canada’s environmental policies after Poilievre introduced a ‘motion of non-confidence.

“Eventually, Green Party co-leader Elizabeth May had had enough: ‘Could we ever have a serious discussion in this place about the actual climate crisis?’ she asked.

“May suggested convening a committee of the whole, once MPs get back from the Easter break, to hear from the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and other scientific experts to “raise a conversation that doesn’t involve rhyming slogans.

“Liberal MP Mark Gerretsen said he thought it was “an absolutely fabulous idea.”

Question to Mark Gerretsen

Question in Question Period

My bill C-226 was in front of the Senate committee this week, so here is a brief clip on that! Progress!

I will never give up on having an evidence-based conversation.

Many thanks for all your support.

Love and thanks, Elizabeth

P.S. I want to apologize for the error in last week’s letter. Murray Rankin is the MLA for Oak Bay/Gordon Head, not Beacon Hill.  The Green candidate running in OB/GH is Deputy Leader Dr. Lisa Gunderson. Please do support her!!