The big battle over climate change is just starting

In the House of Commons’ emergency debate on climate change, Elizabeth May  laid out the dangers of inaction and the promise of a Green economy in a remarkable, impassioned speech HERE. 

NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh. Photo: Wayne Polk/Flickr

On Wednesday, May 15, the federal NDP will use an opposition day in the House of Commons to focus like a laser on climate change. Jagmeet Singh’s party will make some sweeping and bold policy proposals.

That is only one sign that the war of words over global warming is getting hotter. In that war, the who-cares-about-climate-change side seems to have gotten the jump on the pro-environment side.

The Doug Ford government of Ontario will soon be airing blatantly one-sided ads with a simple and simplistic message: carbon taxes make everything more expensive.

The ads devote a few seconds to say there are better ways than taxation to deal with climate change. But their list of those better ways is bizarre: hold the biggest polluters accountable, reduce trash, and keep Ontario’s lakes clean. The first way is part of the current federal government’s carbon emission reduction plan, while the latter two would no doubt be salutary, if they were to happen. The ads do not explain, however, what, if anything, they have to do with reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

“It’s time to call climate change what it is — an emergency — and act accordingly.” -deposed Ontario environment commissioner Dianne Saxe

During Liberal premier Kathleen Wynne’s time, the Ontario auditor general criticized government ads that looked and sounded too politically partisan. She advocated that her office should have the power to vet all government advertising for accuracy and context.

The Ford Conservatives, then in opposition, promised to heed that advice. Doug Ford did not wait even a full year before he brazenly broke that promise.While Ford and his allies, Alberta Premier Jason Kenney and Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe, take an axe to efforts to combat climate change — in the courts, in their legislatures and in their propaganda — sympathetic right-of-centre pundits are working overtime to provide something resembling an ideology for their movement.

In the pages of the National Post, former oil sands executive Gwyn Morgan engages in a sophisticated form of climate-change denial. He argues that the disastrous floods we have been experiencing in parts of Canada are the result of a long and cold winter, with record high snowfalls. “Isn’t climate change supposed to be about global warming?” he asks rhetorically.

The answer is yes — with a big qualification. Climate change is, indeed, producing far higher temperatures, overall, than in the past. But what does this warming trend do? It melts glaciers, raises sea levels and adds moisture to the air. All of these effects drive erratic, fluctuating and often violent weather events. MORE

 

Jagmeet Singh’s call for fossil fuels ban leapfrogs the Leap Manifesto

“The NDP is coming late to the issue of dealing comprehensively with climate change. Can it compete effectively with Elizabeth May’s Greens on this front? We shall see.” – Thomas Walkom

NDP leader Jagmeet Singh rises during Question Period in the House of Commons on May 7 in Ottawa. “The NDP is coming late to the issue of dealing comprehensively with climate change. Can it compete effectively with Elizabeth May’s Greens on this front?” asks Thomas Walkom.
Jagmeet Singh’s New Democrats have discovered climate change. 

The party had been reluctant to take too uncompromising a stand on global warming for fear of alienating potential voters. That reluctance has gone.

Now the NDP is calling for an end to the entire fossil-fuel industry in Canada.

“The future of our country cannot involve fracking,” Singh said Monday in Ottawa, referring to a controversial method of drilling for oil and natural gas. “It cannot involve the burning of any fossil fuel.”

He said Canada must adhere to carbon reduction targets that are much stricter than those proposed by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s Liberal government if it to seriously fight climate change.

And he declared that he now opposes ambitious plans by British Columbia’s NDP government to build a massive liquefied natural gas project in the province’s north.

[In the past] the Leap Manifesto’s call to ban any new fossil-fuel energy projects, from pipelines to fracking, was seen as too radical. No more. Now, with his call for a Canada free of fossil fuels, Singh has outleapt the Leapers. MORE

 

Elizabeth May’s Greens Need to Fix Their Indigenous ‘Vision’

Party’s positions are thin, unrealistic and riddled with embarrassing errors.

ElizabethMayBurnaby.jpg
Green Party leader MP Elizabeth May joined Will George of the Tsleil-Waututh First Nation and others protesting the Kinder Morgan Pipeline last year in Burnaby. But her party’s stance on Indigenous issues badly needs work. Photo: Michael Wheatley/Alamy Live News

The Green Party by-election victory in Nanaimo on May 6th could be called a breakthrough — it is only their second federal electoral victory, and coming days after the near election of a Green provincial government in Prince Edward Island, it shows that increasingly many Canadians are seeing the Greens as a valid alternative. Among those looking seriously at the Green Party for the first time are Indigenous people — who after a litany of disappointments by the Trudeau government, are looking for a new home for their votes.

Rumours are circulating that former Liberal justice minister Jody Wilson-Raybould is considering a run with the Greens in the next election. Before being expelled from the Liberal caucus, Wilson-Raybould was at the heart of that party’s reconciliation agenda. The legitimacy she and other Indigenous candidates brought, together with Liberal promises to Indigenous people, and outreach efforts resulted in the largest Native vote in Canadian history.

Wilson-Raybould’s appearance at Green Party leader Elizabeth May’s wedding on April 22nd may be a sign that she is getting ready to do for May in 2019 what she did for Trudeau in 2015.

However, it will take much more than the mere presence of Wilson-Raybould to make the Green Party an appealing place for Indigenous voters, because while some Native people are considering voting Green, it’s clear from their platform that the Green Party has given next to no consideration to Native people or our issues.

Among those policies is a promise aboriginal to “set a date for the Repeal of the Indian Act, ideally in less than 10 years, to allow all nations and interested parties to prepare.”

No one likes the Indian Act, but asking First Nations governments to prepare policy and bureaucracy to do the job of every single part of it in less than 10 years is asking for the impossible. Such an imposition would, in an instant, require 600-plus bands with populations ranging from a few dozen to a few thousand to create inheritance policy, land codes, taxation regimes, membership codes, human rights regulation, conflict resolution policies, election codes, public housing authorities, education authorities, child welfare authorities, fish and game regulation, agricultural regulation, and on and on and on. MORE

 

Paul Manly’s Green victory is personal vindication and sends a message on climate change

The NDP’s prevarications on the export of natural gas and fracking, coupled the neoliberal parties’ efforts to conciliate oil and gas interests that are, at heart, unreconcilable, means that the Green Party may remain the only choice for many voters in 2020.

Paul Manly. Photo: Green Party of Canada/Facebook

Green candidate Paul Manly has won the federal byelection in Nanaimo-Ladysmith on Vancouver Island, a seat formerly held by the NDP’s Sheila Malcolmson. Commentators are saying the result is a wake-up call for all of Canada’s political class. It means Canadians might be much more serious about climate change than most politicians seem to think, they say.

That may or may not be true. One byelection does not tell the whole story.

What is definitely true is that the result is a great one for the Green Party. It gives a thumbs-up to the excellent work Green Leader Elizabeth May has done in the House since first winning a seat in 2011. Opinion polls routinely show that May is the only federal leader with a positive favourability rating.

The Green victory in Nanaimo-Ladysmith might only be a local, personal and evanescent phenomenon. But this writer has been picking up indications from erstwhile NDP and Liberal supporters in other parts of the country that they are thinking of voting Green next time.

The fearsome scientific forecasts of potential environmental and climate catastrophe — of which the UN report on biodiversity released on Monday, May 6, is only the latest — could be having a greater impact on public opinion than the mainstream media and political class seem to believe. MORE

Green Party win in B.C. shows climate issues could impact October

Canadians are serious about climate change, something that has largely escaped neoliberal parties. Perhaps this is a turning point.

Newly elected Paul Manly expects support to grow ahead of federal election

Green Party supporters hope Paul Manly’s byelection win signifies the clout which climate issues will carry in October’s federal election. (Chad Hipolito/Canadian Press)

British Columbia voters sent a message that Canadians are deeply concerned about the environment and climate issues will be at the forefront in October’s federal election campaign, jubilant Green Party supporters said Monday night.

Voters in Nanaimo elected Paul Manly of the Greens as their new member of Parliament, barely six months before October’s federal vote.

With 96 per cent of polls reporting in the Nanaimo-Ladysmith byelection, Manly received 37.1 per cent of the vote.

John Hirst, the Conservative candidate, was a distant second with 25.1 per cent of the vote. The NDP polled 22.9 per cent and Liberal candidate Michelle Corfield received 11.1 per cent of the vote.

“People really want to see action on climate change,” said Manly, who called his victory “historic.”
British Columbia voters sent a message that Canadians are deeply concerned about the environment and climate issues will be at the forefront in October’s federal election campaign, jubilant Green Party supporters said Monday night.

Voters in Nanaimo elected Paul Manly of the Greens as their new member of Parliament, barely six months before October’s federal vote.

Green Party wins federal byelection in Nanaimo-Ladysmith
With 96 per cent of polls reporting in the Nanaimo-Ladysmith byelection, Manly received 37.1 per cent of the vote.

John Hirst, the Conservative candidate, was a distant second with 25.1 per cent of the vote. The NDP polled 22.9 per cent and Liberal candidate Michelle Corfield received 11.1 per cent of the vote.

“People really want to see action on climate change,” said Manly, who called his victory “historic.”

Manly will become the second Green Party member in Parliament, joining Leader Elizabeth May.

His victory shows the other parties that Canadians are serious about climate change, Manly said, adding he expects the Green wave of support to grow in the October election. MORE

RELATED:

Greens coast to victory in Nanaimo-Ladysmith byelection

Why a Green Wave Could Spread Across Canada

 

The party’s future has been limited by the view it couldn’t win seats. PEI is just the latest example of a changing reality.

ElizabethMaySunflower.jpg
The October election might give Green Leader Elizabeth May something to cheer about, says Matto Mildenberger. And next week’s Nanaimo-Ladysmith byelection could be a good indicator of the party’s chances. Photo: Darryl Dyck, the Canadian Press.

There isn’t a bigger environmental politics story in the world right now than the extraordinary results by the Green Party in the recent Prince Edward Island election.

For some observers, the eight seats nabbed by Peter Bevan-Baker’s party were unsurprising. The Greens led in most pre-election polls. Bevan-Baker has consistently been ranked the province’s most popular politician.

Don’t let these facts distract from the party’s singular achievement in becoming Her Majesty’s Loyal Opposition. Its P.E.I. breakthrough built on waves of recent Green Party wins across Canada. And it foreshadows the party’s serious prospects at the federal level this fall.

…Most people underestimate how common pro-environment opinions are within their communities. Even people who personally want climate action think the public is less green than is actually the case. MORE

Shouldn’t we want MPs who don’t conform?

The list of so-called maverick MPs over the past few decades is small. Parties usually weed them out, with the help of the media.

Image result for Shouldn’t we want MPs who don’t conform?
Photo: Independent Members of Parliament Jane Philpott and Jody Wilson-Raybould make their way to speak with the media before Question Period in the foyer of the House of Commons in Ottawa, on April 3, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld

ith the expulsion of Jody Wilson-Raybould and Jane Philpott from the Liberal caucus, I began to think back on the other so-called “maverick” MPs I’ve come across over the past two decades. Who were the folks who dared to challenge the party line, or speak out of turn, or were just a little oddball? The list is pretty darn small, mostly male, and the individuals don’t last long in either their caucus or federal politics.

I’m thinking of Conservative MPs Brent Rathgeber, who tired of PMO micromanagement, and Garth Turner, turfed for saying too much in his blog. There was Bill Casey (Conservative, now Liberal), Carolyn Parrish (Liberal) and John Cummins (Conservative). There was earnest and outspoken Liberal MP Keith Martin; NDP MP Bruce Hyer who bristled at vote whipping on the long-gun registry; and yes, even Maxime Bernier. In the more polite vein, there is Michael Chong, one of the sole voices in the Conservative Party calling for intelligent carbon pricing and parliamentary reform. And thank goodness for Green Party Leader Elizabeth May, who consistently bucks the trend of uber-partisanship in favour of rational arguments and civility.

Within the Liberal Party ranks in the 1990s and early 2000s, there was a very identifiable group of anti-abortion, social conservatives who found their home in caucus – people like Tom Wappel.

But overall, MPs are a fairly obedient bunch, and the events of the last few weeks should give you an indication why. It turns out Parliament Hill is a bit like Grade 8: Sticking your head out from the crowd is social suicide. And God help you if you don’t know how things work around here, as former Liberal cabinet minister Sheila Copps has driven home with her criticism of Wilson-Raybould and Philpott. You’ll be called out for your political inexperience and naïveté. MORE

 

Bill McKibben likens climate change to Second World War

Environmentalist and author Bill McKibben calls climate change the most important issue facing the world today and likens the struggle against it to the Second World War.

McKibben told a packed house at the University of British Columbia’s Chan Centre for the Performing Arts that they should consider it an honour and a privilege to be part of the battle.

“Not very many people in any given moment of history get to say they are doing the most important thing they could be doing right now in the world,” said McKibben, who is the author of 12 books including 1989’s The End of Nature. He’s also the founder of 350.org, an organization that campaigns against new coal, oil and gas projects and supports building 100 per cent clean energy solutions. His newest book, Falter, will be released on April 16.

McKibben appeared with Canadian Green Party Leader Elizabeth May, who is also Member of Parliament for Saanich-Gulf-Islands.

May said if people get depressed about climate change, they should “shake it off and keep working. If the people who understand the problem start to despair, it’s just as bad as apathy,” May said.

McKibben encouraged everyone in the audience to get involved, specifically mentioning protests against the Trans Mountain pipeline as one way to change the world by keeping millions of barrels of oil in the ground.

“It has been so powerful and beautiful to watch people fight against the Trans Mountain pipeline coming across British Columbia,” McKibben said. “That pipeline, like everything else coming out of the tar sands is a global warming machine.” MORE

Votes in B.C. and P.E.I. give the Greens two shots at making history


Green Party Leader Elizabeth May has been her party’s sole MP since 2011. That could change with the Nanaimo–Ladysmith byelection on May 6. (Justin Tang/Canadian Press)

Green Party Leader Elizabeth May has been her party’s sole MP since 2011. That could change with the Nanaimo–Ladysmith byelection on May 6. (Justin Tang/Canadian Press)The stars could be aligning for the Green Party of Canada to catch a lucky break — and just in time for October’s federal election.

A federal byelection in the B.C. riding of Nanaimo–Ladysmith gives the Greens a chance to make a pre-election breakthrough. Nanaimo–Ladysmith is one of the party’s target ridings and the byelection there could take place just days after a provincial Green Party makes history in the smallest province.

Voters in Nanaimo–Ladysmith will be heading to the polls on May 6 for a byelection — the last opportunity Canadians anywhere will have to cast a federal ballot before the scheduled general election on Oct. 21. It follows the resignation of former NDP MP Sheila Malcolmson, who quit her seat to mount a successful bid for provincial office.

The timing couldn’t be better for the Greens. Last night, the P.E.I. government announced the next provincial election will be held April 23.

Normally, a provincial election in P.E.I. wouldn’t have any implications for a federal contest at the other end of the country. But the Greens are leading in the polls in P.E.I. If that lead holds, the Greens could form their first government anywhere in Canada. MORE

RELATED:

Greens in lead as Liberal premier calls Prince Edward Island election for April 23

Green Leader Elizabeth May calls upon Trudeau government to fire the clerk of the privy council, Michael Wernick

Green Leader Elizabeth May thinks it would be foolish for Liberal MPs to try to dispute the truth of what Vancouver Granville MP Jody Wilson-Raybould told the justice committee this week.
Green Leader Elizabeth May thinks it would be foolish for Liberal MPs to try to dispute the truth of what Vancouver Granville MP Jody Wilson-Raybould told the justice committee this week. STEPHEN HUI

Before this month, most Canadians had never heard of Michael Wernick.

But when he stepped out of the shadows to defend the Trudeau government’s handling of the SNC-Lavalin case before the Commons justice committee, it was clear that he was a central player in the story.

As clerk of the privy council and secretary to the cabinet, he’s Canada’s most powerful bureaucrat.

Now, the leader of the Greens, Elizabeth May, is calling for his dismissal.

“Advice from my heart to my friends in the Liberal party,” May said in Parliament. “Do not dispute the truth of what our former minister of justice has said. “Do not attempt to question or undermine or impugn her integrity. No one will believe them if they do. What they must do is tell the truth, let the chips fall where they may, starting with these three steps,” May continued. “Call for a public inquiry. Release the former minister of justice from restrictions in her evidence, and fire the clerk of the privy council office!MORE