Good Sunday Morning – May 19

Good Sunday morning!

Good Sunday Morning! And happy weekend on this long weekend with tomorrow’s planned Green gathering. BC and Canadian Greens will walk together through downtown Victoria to enjoy the happy mood of celebratory and happy families! I love it every year.

Here are all the details! Join us in the parade! The more the merrier.


All groups will be staging on Douglas Street, near the Mayfair Shopping Centre. Please enter Douglas from Tolmie Avenue and look for an Esquimalt Lions Marshal (they will be wearing vests) to confirm our entry number and staging area. GREENS are entry number A26. Remember this, so you can tell the marshal and get directed to our staging area. You must be in the GREENS staging area no later than 8:45 am.


The easiest may be to come by bicycle or other micromobility device and use it in the parade.

If you are arriving by car, arrange to be dropped off near Blanshard and Tolmie, and picked up somewhere near the end of the parade (Douglas at Broughton). The car can be parked in the mall parking lot or closer to downtown. Many use Parking Lot Q (parallel to Menzies and the Parliament Buildings) for pick up. You will need a ticket if you are going to park your car there.

We’ll look better if everyone is wearing something GREEN. Some T-shirts to borrow or buy will be available. Decorate your bicycle. Wear a GREEN hat if you have one. Most of all — have fun and show it! (If it’s a hot day, bring some water.)

Meanwhile, this was a week when I worked from Sidney, meeting with constituents. A key meeting was hosted by the Saanich Inlet Protection Society (SIPS) focusing on the threat of spreading toxic sewage sludge. SIPS invited Philippe Lucas, former member of Victoria City Council and a key part of the Peninsula Biosolids Coalition.  I have worked on this issue for a couple of decades going back to when I was executive director of Sierra Club of Canada. I refuse to use the sanitized PR name for toxic sewage sludge. Back in the 1990s I read the book, Toxic Sludge Is Good for You: Lies, Damn Lies and the Public Relations Industry by John Stauber, Sheldon Rampton and Mark Dowie (Common Courage Press, 1995). The authors detail many examples of the PR industry defusing public alarm over issues from Three Mile Island to the Gulf War to the problem of how to convince people that spreading sewage sludge on farmlands is a good idea. The PR industry came up with a simple and cost-effective solution. Rename “toxic sewage sludge” as “Beneficial Biosolids.”

The industry does not want to face the fact that municipal sewage sludge has a heavy load of toxic chemicals as well as biological hazards. There is an industry promoting the spreading of toxic sewage sludge. I first realized this industry must have clout when the Walkerton Inquiry took place. The worst E-coli contamination of drinking water killed seven people in Walkerton Ontario, and made over 2,000 people ill.

The tragedy led to a public inquiry chaired by Mr. Justice Dennis O’Connor.

What we discovered at Sierra Club was that the Inquiry’s terms of reference set out that all possible sources of the contamination should be investigated – except spreading of human sewage sludge. There are deep pockets now invested in this industry. One of the biggest of these corporations has already been contracted by the CRD.

The issue is a hot topic right now on the Saanich Peninsula. We made the right decision to stop dumping raw sewage in our oceans, but the decision-makers did not pick the best technology to recover energy and benefit from the optimum sewage treatment approach. We basically have converted an ocean pollution problem to a land-based pollution problem. And now the CRD has partnered with one of North America’s large industrial toxic sludge companies, Synagro. From the Synagro website: “In February 2018, Synagro announced the Hartland Resource Management Group (HRMG) had executed a contract to design, build, finance, operate and maintain the residuals treatment facility for the Capital Regional District (CRD). Synagro is the majority equity holder in HRMG. Synagro will also be the service provider for the project and upon service commencement will partner with the CRD for a 20-year operations-and-maintenance term comprising responsibility for producing a thermally dried biosolids product in the form of granules.”

As reported in the Times Colonist, a group of Texas farmers is suing Synagro, “The farmers claim fertilizer made from a product of sewage treatment by Synagro Technologies’ operation in Fort Worth, Texas, is making them sick and killing their animals.”

A leading corporate citizen in our region, and one of Canada’s leading tourist attractions, Butchart Gardens has taken on this issue as a priority. This is from The Butchart Gardens website: “[we are].. greatly concerned about how government is disposing of sewage biosolids in our community” … Thanks to Creatively United for the Planet, for producing this little YouTube explainer, also being shared through the Butchart Gardens website.

The concentration of microplastics is a concern as is contamination with the class of chemicals known as PFAS – per and poly fluoroalkyl substances, also known as the “forever chemicals.” This fact sheet is to the point and includes updates on recent action by the Biden Administration.

I support the efforts of the International Association of Fire Fighters in getting these substances out of their equipment and clothing.  The strongest legislation proposed anywhere in the world is BC Greens MLA Adam Olsen’s Private Member’s Bill.

To get a really good briefing on the history of these chemicals, you cannot do better than to watch a Hollywood blockbuster of a movie, starring Mark Ruffalo, “Dark Waters.”  It is based on a true story. Ruffalo plays a dedicated and brave lawyer who took on the industry. The last thing we need is to distribute toxic materials where runoff can reach local waters, farmland, or our food.

It was great to be with so many local residents and conservation groups dedicated to protecting our local ecosystems. CRD reps were invited to the SIPS Round Table. None of them attended. I imagine this issue may surface in the federal election campaign.

Before wishing you a happy weekend, a reminder to please check if your membership in the Green Party of Canada is up to date. A very important Special General Meeting (SGM) will take place on June 23. Details in the PS.

Have a great weekend!!  Please plan to come to my 70th birthday party on Salt Spring Island on June 2nd. Email me and I’ll send you the address and details!  If you are in Ottawa, we are having a big party on Thursday June 13! 




I hope you will join us for Member Engagement Sessions leading up to (SGM) on co-leadership! These sessions will explore how co-leadership works in other Green Parties, I would really appreciate it if you would please attend! And please attend and vote in the June 23rd SGM.

Session 1: Q&A with Caroline Lucas

  • Date: Thursday, May 23
  • Time: 5 PM ET
  • Platform: Zoom
  • Caroline Lucas, the first leader, and MP, of the Green Party of England and Wales, will be joining us to discuss how co‑leadership works in her party and answer your questions.

Register Here!

Session 2: Q&A with Lorna Slater

  • Date: Friday, May 24
  • Time: 5 PM ET
  • Platform: Zoom
  • Lorna Slater, co-leader of the Scottish Greens and former Minister for Green Skills, Circular Economy, and Biodiversity in the Scottish Government, will share her experiences and insights on co-leadership within the Scottish Greens.
  • She is a Canadian-born Scottish politician, has been co-leader of the Scottish Greens since 2019. She served as a Minister in the Scottish Government from 2021 to 2024 and has been an MSP for the Lothian region since 2021.
  • These sessions will have interpretation available.

Register Here!