Good Sunday Morning!
Not sure how many of you have a British background, but to those who do, Happy Guy Fawkes Day! My father, transplanted to North America after the war, used to recite “Please to remember the fifth of November, Gunpowder Treason and Plot! I don’t see no reason why gunpowder and treason should ever be forgot.” In his childhood, there was no trick or treating, but children went door to door asking “penny for the Guy.” My mom adopted all the Anglophiles we knew and hosted a proper Guy Fawkes Day celebration every year. We lived on seven acres of mostly wooded land in rural Connecticut. We got permits from the Town of Bloomfield for a bonfire and fireworks. The effigy of poor unlucky Guy Fawkes is traditionally placed atop a bonfire. Fawkes was caught November 5, 1605 in the anti-Papist plot, as he guarded the gunpowder under the House of Lords. The paper bag head on the Guy drawn by my mother tended to bear a strong resemblance to Lyndon Johnson throughout the years of the War in Vietnam. Mum made fish and chips, served around the bonfire, held in aluminum foil cones wrapped in English newspaper. Our ponies in particular loved this party as the only time they got to enjoy a toasty fire. They would stand and sway and even the fireworks did not bother them.
I have been thinking a lot about the pall cast over our lives by the war in Vietnam — as it is only now through the bombing of Gaza the physical memory of grief of the bombing of Vietnam comes back to me. That overwhelming constant feeling of anguish knowing children are being bombed, sits on my heart as I try to keep up with other work.
This week both Mike Morrice and I used every opportunity in Parliament to press our government to work for release of the hostages, an end to bombing, for a ceasefire for both sides and for peace.
On Monday, I was not sure I would be allowed to join the round of speeches to mark the beginning of Veterans Week. In terms of the rules of the House, whenever a Minister rises to make a statement, there is an automatic right of reply from all the recognized parties in the House (Conservatives, Bloc and NDP replying to a Liberal Minister) but Greens have to ask for unanimous consent. Over the last few months, the Conservatives have mostly said “no.” Even one “no” dashes my chance to speak, so I held my breath as the Speaker made his way to me on the screen allowing me virtual participation. I really wanted the chance to speak to Remembrance Day and Veterans Week and focus on peace. All the other parties had spoken and no one had mentioned peace — not the current wars in Ukraine, and Israel and Occupied Territories. And, in particular, I wanted to make the link to the bombing of Gaza by mentioning the Commonwealth Gaza War Cemetery, the most neglected graves of Canadian war dead anywhere. I held my breath until the Speaker verified that all present were prepared to give me the floor. I was able to end with a prayer for Peace.
On Thursday in my one question for the week in Question Period, as I did last week, I pressed our government to stand with those nations calling for a ceasefire: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fG1q5q1ffa4
And so did Mike: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vU1fWUgChBE
Most of Parliamentary debate this week – in daily business and in Question Period – was about carbon pricing. The debate was not about the climate crisis. It was nakedly partisan, political “gotcha” debate — devoid of principle or appreciation of what carbon pricing should do and why it is an essential, if insufficient, part of a climate plan. But Justin Trudeau and the Liberals have no one to blame but themselves for putting their climate pricing through a political shredder. On Thursday, October 26 Trudeau announced a three-year pause on application of carbon pricing to home heating oil. Also announced were good ideas, more support to low-income Canadians to install heat pumps, and an increased carbon tax rebate for rural Canadians. As the inevitable political fallout came down on their heads, things just got worse. Liberals tried to back-peddle and claim this move was not about Atlantic Canada, but the stage-managed press conference featured Trudeau nestled in a sea of Atlantic Canadian Liberal MPs. They were so busy patting themselves on the back for forcing their own leader to cave, that to say no one thought this through, is the understatement of the year. It was reported by CBC that the majority of Trudeau’s cabinet opposed the Atlantic home heating carve out. And we know Environment Minister Steven Guilbeault opposed it. What were they thinking?? Making things worse, Newfoundland MP, Minister Gudie Hutchings told CTV “Power Play” host Vassy Kapelos, that if other regions of the country want such a good deal, they should elect more Liberals (ouch!). Then provincial premiers, namely NDP leaders and premiers Alberta’s Rachel Notley and Manitoba and BC premiers started applying pressure for similar deals. Never forget that as Pierre Poilievre rallies his troops with “Axe the Tax” that slogan was copyrighted by the BC NDP under Carole James. The BC NDP lost the 2008 election betting that voters in this province did not care about climate. Gordon Campbell’s carbon tax was at least well planned and structured as revenue neutral. “Revenue neutral” meaning that the money brought into the government treasuries was 100% returned to this provinces’ citizens, through tax refunds. Then the NDP’s Horgan contaminated that revenue neutrality by keeping some of the funds generated for government spending and, at the same time, ramping up GHG emissions through promotion of fracking and LNG. No surprise the “Axe the Tax” crowd with Poilievre leading the parade now has the NDP on side — with all NDP MPs planning to vote with the Conservatives tomorrow for the Conservative motion to further carve up carbon pricing to make the plan more patchwork than national. (small note, did you notice Trudeau just made Horgan Canada’s Ambassador to Germany! Why? Maybe Teck Coal needs German sales?)
I was pleased the Globe ran my letter on Wednesday, as it is hard to get the media to notice our positions:
Globe and Mail, Letters, November 1, Climate record
Re “The Liberals’ heating-oil gambit blows up in their face. The carbon tax may be collateral damage” (Nov. 1): No one could ever accuse the Liberals of climate-policy coherence.
After eight years, we still have the worst climate record in the G7. Our claim to climate “leadership” was further compromised by buying the Trans Mountain pipeline and funding its construction, while costs to taxpayers ballooned to more than $30-billion.
As for the assumption that natural gas is a better climate choice than oil, that is only looking at emissions from burning. Upstream natural gas is mostly fracked and releases vast amounts of a powerful greenhouse gas in methane. To reduce emissions from homes, by far the best strategy would be maximizing energy efficiency and making heat pumps affordable.
Unfortunately for Justin Trudeau’s Liberals, their policy incoherence looks to have caught up with them. But it is certainly not the end of carbon pricing – it is one thing they (almost) got right.”
Here is an excellent heat pumps explainer from the National Observer:
And my chance to actually talk about the climate emergency in “late show” — adjournment proceedings on Thursday: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Gzt9I9ZTWnk
And we did have some really good news for nature this week. The federal government has announced significant funding in partnership with Indigenous peoples for nature conservation in British Columbia.
The federal government will invest up to $500 million over the life of the deal, with B.C. contributing $563 million, which includes a recently announced $150 million First Nations-led fund to protect old-growth forests.
The federal funding has not been fully allocated yet, but will include $50 million to protect 4,000 square kilometres of old-growth forest, and $104 million to restore the habitat of species at risk.
The B.C. Green Party said in a statement it views the agreement as an essential step forward, but called on the B.C. government “to finally introduce legislation that will provide legal protections to species at risk and biodiversity in B.C.”
There are more than 1,800 species at risk of extinction in B.C., the Greens said.
Thanks again to all who came last night for the 40th Birthday bash! I am so very grateful to you all and especially to Trevor Hancock, Bob Bossin, Calvin Cairns and John Kidder for the music. As a political party we need more parties! More chances to recharge our batteries by remembering why we do this work – to show our love for Mother Earth and our willingness to stop the violence against our Mother. (hugs and thanks to Rainbow Eyes for the reminders!)
Have a great week. Health update: I had the MRI on Saturday and hope the results are interpreted in time for me to head to Ontario on Tuesday. The BIG news for Greens in Ontario this week is the Kitchener Centre by-election has been launched with election day November 30!! Let’s do all we can from wherever we are to help elect Aislinn Clancy!
Love and thanks to you all. Pray for Peace. Work for Climate Sanity, Give as much love as you can to as many as you can reach and let the returning love wash over you and keep you safe and happy!
Love from me,
P.S.: Save the date and join me for the launch of the GPBC campaign to elect Ned Taylor in Saanich South — November 13.