Good Sunday Morning – May 5

Good Sunday morning!

This week we had an unusually high number of environmental announcements and events. Forgive me that there will be too much to give proper details, so I will rely a lot on links to the best media coverage to give you a sense of things.

First, as I mentioned last week the international negotiations to develop a treaty to end plastic pollution continued into Monday, actually until 3:17 am Tuesday morning. We did not succeed in getting consensus on anything like a working draft. We did agree to step up the work between sessions before INC5 opens in Korea in late November (INC5 is the fifth session of the Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee to develop an international legally binding instrument on plastic pollution). The plastics industry and the millions it spent lobbying against a treaty was more successful than the rest of us. 

On April 30, Environment Commissioner Jerry DeMarco released five studies. The five reports focused on contaminated sites in the North, the greening of building materials in public infrastructure, the zero plastic waste initiative, the Net Zero Accelerator initiative, as well as agriculture and climate change mitigation.

Mike and I went to the microphone in the foyer to respond. But I was first asked about Poilievre’s recent comments so we start in on the Environment Commissioner at 3:10 mark in this CPAC YouTube.

On May 2, the government also released its updated national inventory report on Greenhouse gases. And, yes, emissions went up between 2021 and 2022. Guilbeault claimed credit that they did not go up by as much as would have happened if there was no carbon pricing, which is true. It is also true that wasting $34 billion on the TMX pipeline will drive up GHG emissions far more than the small reductions against expected increased emissions. 

ECCC ignores the actual target (NDC) tabled with the UNFCCC Secretariat is expressed as a range – 40-45% below 2005 by 2030. They have effectively weakened the target by calling it 40% and lopping off the -45. Of course national media is unaware of the trickery. Meanwhile the USA sticks with its 50% goal and is getting there. Building the TMX pipeline is a crime against our children, and I am so very depressed by the celebratory antics of my Liberal friends as they proclaim success in finishing the pipeline. The CER rubber stamped the approval to ship oil on Friday.

Also massively depressing was the tabling of an omnibus budget bill (over 600 pages) including from pages 555-581 amendments to the impact assessment law – best described as incremental tweaks. In my view these amendments will both fail to ensure evaluation of environmental impacts in federal jurisdiction as well as failing to repair the unconstitutionality of the bill known as C-69. Here is an article I wrote in October 2023 to provide more background.

My Thursday question was on the new horror of an omnibus budget bill failing to meet the minimum needs of environmental assessment.

Mike and I also spoke to this fresh betrayal at the mic in the foyer.

I also participated in several press conferences this week on the need for a foreign interference registry as well as on nuclear waste on indigenous land… and at 38.11 my answer to a question about Poilievre’s mention of using the notwithstanding clause to get tough on crime.

Every week is overloaded but also so very interesting. It is a privilege to routinely meet such a wide variety of fascinating people. Yesterday I was at a reception with our wonderful BC Lieutenant Governor Janet Austin in honour of Princess Anne, the King’s sister, titled The Princess Royal, with an array of BC dignitaries. I chatted with Dr. Bonnie Henry who is still in need of personal security to ensure her safety. This week I also met with our minister for emergency preparedness, Harjit Sajjan to discuss how we must be better prepared for extreme weather events of all kinds, as well as meeting with Israel’s new Ambassador to Canada Iddo Moed. The ambassador wanted to thank me for getting through the motion denouncing antisemitism, as well as discussing issues about which we do not agree. In such highly charged times, I appreciate our diplomatic community and the ability to respectfully communicate, and to be kind to each other.

Here is a quick update on Rainbow Eyes and the launch of her appeal, which also allows her to be out of jail on bail.  We are trying to find the best route to raise funds for her legal bills. I should have details nailed down by next week’s letter.

The BC Court of Appeal has ordered the release of Kwakwaka’wakw land defender and Green Party of Canada Deputy Leader Rainbow Eyes (Angela Davidson), pending her appeal against a sentence of 60-days jail for criminal contempt of court in connection with the Fairy Creek protests in 2021 and 2022.

“We are still trying to braid the laws – the Indigenous and natural laws, and the colonial laws,” Rainbow Eyes says. “I did not see this during my trial unfortunately. So I’ve appealed the sentence and am asking the Court of Appeal to recognize these laws in a way that Chief Justice Hinkson did not. We are in a time of reconciliation and action, raising awareness about our collective history and duties in the face of the ecological and humanitarian crises in our world.”

From the GPC press release.

Lastly hold the date and plan on joining for two important events – Special General Meeting of the GPC virtual gathering with in-person watch parties June 23, 2024 (would you be willing to help organize a local group of Green friends for a watch party?), and in-person fun event May 20, Victoria Day – PLEASE come and walk with me in the parade through downtown Victoria! It is time to start flashing some Green strength in the community.

All for now! Love and peace and deep thanks!