Green Caucus Week in Review: Feb 16 – 19

This week, Elizabeth rose to ask the Speaker to defend the rights of Green Caucus MPs against the anti-democratic abuse of power by the larger parties.

Green MPs share speaking slots with Independent MPs on a rotation. Recently, an increasing amount of MPs have been expelled from their caucuses, joining the rotation shared by Greens. Though Green MPs are in excellent standing, they must share their time with MPs whose reputations have been disgraced. When Elizabeth was first elected, she got to ask one question per week. Now, her next scheduled question is not until March 8. Elizabeth, Paul and Jenica have sent letters to the Speaker and the House Leaders of the recognized parties; they have also issued press releases and held a press conference to raise awareness about the anti-democratic nature of this issue.

This week the House debated Bill C-15, to implement the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP) at the federal level in Canada. Under article 19 of UNDRIP, Canada must obtain the free, prior and informed consent of Indigenous peoples before beginning any development project that might impact them. Elizabeth asked the Minister of Justice how Canada can claim to respect Indigenous rights while spending $17 billion of public money on the Trans Mountain Pipeline.

In his question, Paul pressed the government to improve coordination between the provinces and territories to stop the spread of COVID-19 by creating a special task force. Paul also joined Green Party Leader Annamie Paul in a press conference calling for the government to decriminalize the possession of opioids.

Paul requested an emergency debate on Canada’s crisis in housing affordability. Citing structural issues, Paul said that government spending alone will not solve this problem, but that regulation and a coordinated government approach is necessary. Paul and Jenica held a press conference with Vancouver City Councilor Jean Swanson on this subject as well.

When Andrew Scheer, former leader of the Conservative Party, tabled a Private Member’s Bill, he launched into a partisan speech attacking the Liberal government’s environmental record. Elizabeth agreed that the Liberals have a terrible environmental record, though not as bad as the former Conservative government. Elizabeth put Scheer in his place with a Point of Order telling him that the tabling of a Private Members’ Bill is not the place to make a partisan speech.

Jenica closed off the week with a debate in adjournment proceedings, a response to a Minister’s statement, and a question! In adjournment proceedings she reminded the government that Canadians needed income support before the pandemic, and that they will need it after. She urged the government to transition the current COVID-19 relief benefits into a permanent Guaranteed Livable Income for all Canadians.

Responding to a statement from the Minister of Economic Development and Official Languages, Jenica spoke in English and French to express her enthusiasm for the long-awaited modernization of Canada’s Official Languages Act. She encouraged the government to protect Canada’s official languages as well as Indigenous languages, while modernizing the Act.

And one year since Parliament held an emergency debate on the Wet’suwet’en Nation’s assertion of their inherent rights on their ancestral territory, Jenica asked the government if anything had changed for the better for Indigenous peoples in Canada.

Key Moments

Question Period and Member’s Statements

Press Conferences and Media Releases

In Their Own Words