Good Sunday Morning!
So, let’s start with the good news.
After six years of steady work in court battles and protests, the Mi’kmaw water protectors of the Sipekne’katik Nation have won!! The natural gas storage facilities planned by Alton Gas of Calgary to be placed in abandoned salt mines would have contaminated the river. A really good documentary on the issue was done by Elliot Page on environmental racism in Nova Scotia.
On Friday came the great news that Alton Gas has given up and will remediate the site.
I love this photo of the celebratory group, many of whom I have met when visiting the protest camp. Thanks to Maude Barlow and Council of Canadians for strong support. What good news!
Some personal good news. Thanks to the Global Greens, John Kidder now has a pass for COP26 – not to get in everywhere, but to most of the site. Thanks for good vibes for this to happen! I found the effort dealing with Wilkinson’s office very frustrating. I got permission from the Conservative environment critic Dan Albas to use his “plus one” pass for John, but that wasn’t good enough for the minister’s office. And George Heyman’s office was willing to help get John on the BC delegation and that was not happening either. Well, I was reminded of very good advice recently. I was talking with my dear Saturna neighbour, the Hon. Pat Carney, who reminded me of Brian Mulroney’s advice, “It you are out after Big Game, do not get distracted by rabbit tracks.”
No more distractions — rabbit tracks here and there…internal Green Party stuff (rabbit tracks!) getting passes, accommodation to COP- (rabbit tracks). Holding to 1.5 degrees- BIG GAME.
I had a good half hour by phone with the prime minister on Wednesday. He was touching base about the plans for parliament and new COVID restrictions. Of course, I turned the conversation to COP26 to press him to do more. The position of Greens, here and around the world, is clear. This is the “Last Chance COP” and collectively, all nations on earth must do much more. We must move heaven and earth to hold to no more than a 1.5 degree C global average temperature increase (as against the global average temperature before the Industrial Revolution).
I pressed Trudeau to use his speech to commit to a tougher target for GHG reductions, cancel the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion, convert the TMX Crown Corporation to climate resilience work – building fire breaks and removing standing dead timber, and linking our fragmented national electricity grid, building interties we need. This would be great work to do. Just walk away form the pipeline and deliver of projects that meet the demands of IPCC science and survival. And ban fracking. And cancel fossil fuel subsidies. This is how I pitched it in Policy magazine:
My pitch was, more or less, the same in my phone call with the PM. I do not repeat private conversations, but (spoiler alert) I do not expect him to say these things in Glasgow – but I still hope he will. Maybe two days of pressure from other countries in the G-20 meetings in Rome might help push him to be brave.
The Canadian delegation to COP is getting bigger. Although not officially announced, Justin Trudeau is expected to speak in the first two days of the leaders’ summit (November 1-2). Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland is now attending. And the NDP spot is being taken by Jagmeet Singh. So that is a welcome boost to the political capital in the mix.
Meanwhile, we still do not know who Canada’s minister of environment is, for certain. The likelihood is that it will remain Jonathan Wilkinson. But after the 2019 election, Catherine McKenna was shuffled to Infrastructure as Wilkinson was made minister for Environment and Climate Change just days before COP25 in Madrid. He showed up a bit late, a bit dazed. So anything is possible when the new Cabinet is announced on October 26 – this Tuesday.
National media is increasingly paying attention. This is the recording from Saturday’s CBC The House, with guest host Laura Lynch. It is a very well done primer for the uninitiated:
And for some encouraging words, I am sharing these two articles from the Guardian, first from Bill McKibben and from George Monbiot – both of whom feel surprisingly hopeful.
Wish us luck. By next week’s Good Sunday Morning, we will be on the train to Glasgow!
Lots of love,
Saanich-Gulf Islands Greens