First the things to celebrate! Courts!! Justice!!
So unusual to celebrate… My early legal fight to stop the spraying of Agent Orange led to my sainted mother, at that point still extant, to frequently say, “Judges should be taken out and beaten with chains.” My mom’s book on the herbicide case was rejected by Farley Mowat’s dear friend Jack McClelland, famous Canadian publisher https://en.
Farley prevailed on Jack to review my mother’s manuscript. His phone call rejecting the book was a treasured memory for my mom. He said that the book was a page-turner and a great read, but was, he regretted, “unpublishable.” “If we published this book, there would be a class action suit for libel from every lawyer and judge in Canada.”
So this week, the courts have upheld earlier rulings in favour of compensation to indigenous children. A huge victory for our hero Cindy Blackstock. We await whether the Liberals, claiming their deep commitment to Truth and Reconciliation, will once again appeal to deny indigenous children their rights to be compensated. https://www.
The other amazing court ruling was that of the B.C. Supreme Court Judge Douglas Thompson. He denied Teal Jones an extension of the injunction against forest protectors blocking logging at Fairy Creek. Predictably, Teal Jones is appealing. But the court’s ruling is exceptional. As you have likely read by now, the court found that the excessive, militarized approach of the RCMP in enforcing the injunction has been damaging the reputation of the court and drawing it into disrepute.
I doubt there is any legal precedent for such a ruling. It is a triumph for non-violence and a stand against ecocide. It is a condemnation of increasing abuse of civil liberties by state force and corporate rule. He wrote, the “methods of enforcement of the Court’s order have led to serious and substantial infringement of civil liberties, including impairment of the freedom of the press to a marked degree.”
In other, much less happy news, Green leader Annamie Paul resigned. She did so amidst a torrent of accusations that she never had a chance due to the dreadful treatment she received from the Greens. Her charges call for a serious, independent investigation.
The strange news is that she has says she did not resign. Despite the resignation statement, under her contract, Ms.Paul is still in charge of all party communications. After the resignation, her participation in recent council meetings has created turbulence and unpleasantness, driving a newly elected council member to resign.
Until she is no longer controlling all press statements, until the council can appoint a new interim leader, we are in an untenable situation. The Green Party’s dedicated volunteers, elected to council, are struggling with how to deal with a leader who refuses to resign after resigning. It is unprecedented in Canadian political history, but so to was having a member of the leader’s staff call for the defeat of Green MPs.
For months, many regular readers of this little missive have asked me what is really going on inside the Green Party. I do not know all details. I am not engaged in any of the various governance bodies of the party. I have been unable to speak about what I do know as Ms. Paul has instructed me quite firmly that I was never to speak about internal Green Party matters.
From the moment she became leader, I was to avoid media coverage. I totally agreed, of course. After so many years as leader, it was critical that I recede so that she could become known. I was placed under increasingly restrictive controls. Not to write my frequent column in the Hill Times, not to participate in press conferences, not quoted except rarely in party press releases, etc. That all made sense.
Even when she came to Victoria in the last weekend of the campaign, I sat behind her, but was not allowed to speak at the press conference. Imagine my distress this week at being attacked by a member of her staff in national media, claiming the leader’s office disapproved of my silence. Well, I am not much troubled by such an unworthy and nasty bit of libel.
The last straw for me was discovering that after issuing a resignation statement, Ms. Paul blocked the new Green Party president, the first indigenous president of any political party, Lorraine Rekmans, Anishinaabe from Serpent River First Nation, from making any public statement on the first National Day of Truth and Reconciliation.
So, dear friends, even though the (former) leader has asked me not to talk, I think I need to. Canadians need to know that the only communications from the Greens are those allowed by Ms. Paul. The story will continue to be a bit one-sided.
I do not discount that something dreadful happened. We need to find out. We need to uncover any evidence of racism or anti-Semiticism. Wherever such incidents occurred, those responsible must be rooted out and accountability is required. What I also know is that much of what her staffers have alleged is categorically false.
So, expect to hear me talking. Starting this morning with Evan Soloman on CTV “Question Period.” at 8:00 AM PT.
I will stay focused on climate work. COP26 starts at the end of this month, and we have a lot of work to do.
As a post-script, I am sharing a recent climate talk I gave locally as well as the most recent brilliance from Greta Thunberg.
Greens will rebuild and we will focus on what matters.
Elizabeth May – Climate Change, Questions and Answers – Tuesday Drop-In Cordova Bay 55+ Club, September 28th, 2021 Recording Elizabeth May Recording
And Greta news: Blah, blah. blah
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