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Canadian Innovation | Elizabeth May at TEDxYYC

Green Party of Canada News - Mon, 09/29/2014 - 15:26
Canadian Innovation | Elizabeth May at TEDxYYC

Statement from the Green Party of Canada on International Day for the Total Elimination of Nuclear Weapons

Green Party of Canada News - Fri, 09/26/2014 - 15:48

 OTTAWA – Elizabeth May, Leader of the Green Party of Canada and MP for Saanich–Gulf Islands, has issued the following statement for UN International Day for the Total Elimination of Nuclear Weapons: 

“The Cold War ended a generation ago, yet to this day the doctrine of nuclear deterrence continues to pose an unacceptable risk to humanity and indeed to life on our planet.  

The more than 3,000 nuclear warheads that remain active around do not make us safer – rather, they are an impediment to peace talks and meaningful conflict resolution. 

The Green Party of Canada and Green parties around the world stand firmly with the global movement for nuclear disarmament.”

 

Statement from @ElizabethMay on @UN International Day for the Total Elimination of Nuclear Weapons #nuclearweaponfree

#StopCETA: Canadian and European Greens on this dangers of Investor-State agreement

Green Party of Canada News - Fri, 09/26/2014 - 15:11

"Mr. Haper, we are not against trade, but we ask you: Make trade work for people, not just corporations."

- Elizabeth May 

.@ElizabethMay on why #CETA is a bad deal for Canada #StopCETA http://bit.ly/1u35ucZ

Harper Conservatives vote against helping Canadians save on home energy costs

Green Party of Canada News - Thu, 09/25/2014 - 18:21

In a House vote on September 24, 2014, Green Party Leader and MP for Saanich-Gulf Islands Elizabeth May and Green Deputy Leader Bruce Hyer, MP for Thunder Bay-Superior North, voted in favour of a motion to have the government establish a program to support energy efficient home renovation. 

Once again, the Harper Conservatives put partisanships ahead of good policy and voted it down.

“Canada wastes more than half the energy we use,” said Elizabeth May, Leader of the Green Party of Canada and MP for Saanich–Gulf Islands. “Heating the outdoors in the winter and then cooling it in the summer just doesn’t make any sense. I am stunned that the ecoEnergy program was cancelled by the Conservatives in 2012, at a huge cost to homeowners.  This motion would have brought the program back – yet sadly, the Conservatives voted against saving Canadians thousands of dollars in energy costs.”

NDP MP François Choquette’s motion M-497 stated that an energy efficiency program would help to combat climate change while reducing Canadians’ energy bills and creating jobs. 

“It was disappointing, if not unexpected, to watch almost every Conservative MP in the House stand against a proposal that could have restored the successful energy efficient home retrofit program,” Hyer said. “This motion was a no brainer. The Conservatives could have killed two birds with one stone – creating jobs while lowering carbon emissions. It’s beyond me why any government would oppose it.”

In 2012, the Conservatives cancelled their own ecoEnergy Home Retrofit program without warning. The ecoEnergy program gave out grants of up to $5,000 to homeowners to help pay for energy efficient upgrades like replacing furnaces, improving insulation and sealing windows and doors. 

The program helped over 750,000 Canadians during its five years, saving users an average of 20% on their home energy bills every year, reducing greenhouse gas emissions, and adding up to $4 billion to the Canadian economy. It increased government revenue and created thousands of jobs.

“EcoEnergy brought huge benefits to the environment, the economy and the average Canadian.  It was particularly significant in Northwestern Ontario, where the cost of home heating is rising rapidly,” concluded Hyer. 

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Contact:

Julian Morelli
Director of Communications
Green Party of Canada
(613) 614 4916
julian.morelli@greenparty.ca

Harper Conservatives vote against helping Canadians save on home energy costs

Green Party of Canada extends best wishes for Rosh Hashanah

Green Party of Canada News - Wed, 09/24/2014 - 18:39

OTTAWA – Rosh Hashanah, the first of the Jewish High Holy Days and the beginning of the Jewish New Year, begins tonight at sundown. Elizabeth May, Leader of the Green Party of Canada and MP for Saanich–Gulf Islands, extends the following greetings on this joyous occasion:

“Rosh Hashanah is a time for family and friends to gather together to celebrate and take part in sacred traditions. It is also an important time for personal reflection on the year that has ended, and a time to look forward to the year that is beginning. I extend my best wishes for a very happy new year to all those celebrating this evening. L’Shanah Tovah Tikatevu!”

Green Party of Canada extends best wishes for Rosh Hashanah

Greens stand with Treaty 8 First Nations, Union of BC Indian Chiefs in opposition to Site C dam project

Green Party of Canada News - Tue, 09/23/2014 - 19:09

OTTAWA – Elizabeth May, Leader of the Green Party of Canada and MP for Saanich–Gulf Islands, joins the Treaty 8 First Nations chiefs and the Union of BC Indian Chiefs in calling on the federal government to reject BC Hydro’s application to build the controversial Site C Dam on northeastern BC’s Peace River.  

Ms. May and Green Deputy Leader Bruce Hyer, MP for Thunder Bay–Superior North, joined Chief Roland Wilson of the West Moberly First Nations, Chief Liz Logan of the Fort Nelson First Nation, and Grand Chief Stewart Phillip of the Union of BC Indian Chiefs (UBCIC) for a parliamentary briefing on the Site C Dam this morning. 

“BC has enormous potential to increase its power-generating capabilities without resorting to reckless, environmentally destructive development projects like this,” said May. “Moreover, Federal approval for the Site C dam would be a direct infringement of the Treaty 8 First Nations’ constitutionally protected treaty rights.” 

The federal and British Columbia governments will decide next month whether to allow BC Hydro to go ahead with this controversial project. If built, the 1,100-megawatt Site C Dam would flood over one hundred square kilometers of high-quality farmland and pristine forest on Treaty 8 First Nations lands. 

The May 2014 federal-provincial Site C Joint Review Panel (JRP) report stated that the dam would have "significant adverse effects" on local vegetation, fish, birds, and some 23 protected wildlife species, and that these effects "cannot be mitigated." The JRP also found that the project would "accrue substantial financial losses" for several years, would not would not financially benefit local First Nations communities or contribute to job creation in the region, and that BC Hydro had not fully demonstrated the need for the project.  

“The JRP’s own assessment of Site C concluded B.C. Hydro had not adequately explored alternative energy sources, with a conclusion that geothermal especially could come in at similar costs, and with better source-to-consumer potential ” said Andrew Weaver, Deputy Leader of the BC Green Party and MLA for Oak Bay–Gordon Head. “Instead of Site C, we have an opportunity to develop renewables, distributed around the province, such as geothermal, wind and solar, and save the only Class A agricultural land north of Quesnel.”

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Contact :

Julian Morelli
Director of Communications
Green Party of Canada
(613) 614 4916
julian.morelli@greenparty.ca

Greens stand with #Treaty8 First Nations -- Stop #SiteC Dam #cdnpoli #bcpoli

Greens make history in New Brunswick

Green Party of Canada News - Tue, 09/23/2014 - 13:20

OTTAWA – Elizabeth May, Leader of the Green Party of Canada and MP for Saanich–Gulf Islands, today congratulates David Coon, Leader of the Green Party of New Brunswick, on his historic win in the New Brunswick provincial election.

David Coon has won his seat in the riding of Fredericton South, defeating PC incumbent Craig Leonard, the province’s former Minister of Energy, to become the second-ever Green to win a seat in a Canadian provincial legislature. The New Brunswick Greens also increased their share of the popular vote by almost 50% over the 2010 election, with strong third-place finishes throughout the province.

"With David Coon's historic win, we now have Green MLAs on both coasts and Green MPs in Ottawa,” said Ms. May. “The Green Party's growth is now beyond doubt, but yesterday's win is David's triumph. He is enormously thoughtful, ethical, caring and will bring much-needed civility to the NB Legislature. This election showed that voting Green is not a protest vote – Voting Green is a vote for something you want."

“Throughout this campaign, the Greens showed that they were a party of strong principles and bold ideas for the future of the province," said Green Deputy Leader Bruce Hyer, MP for Thunder Bay–Superior North. “David Coon offered New Brunswickers a meaningful alternative to an economy based on fracking and clear-cutting, and all his hard work and dedication have paid off. This victory is an important step forward for New Brunswick and for Greens across Canada.”

Greens make history in New Brunswick -- Congratulations @DavidCCoon!

Harper Conservatives’ Bill C-36 beyond repair

Green Party of Canada News - Mon, 09/22/2014 - 19:10

OTTAWA – Stating that there would be no way to amend the bill in a way that would fix it, Elizabeth May, Leader of the Green Party of Canada and MP for Saanich–Gulf Islands, today proposed that the entire text of the bill be deleted.

The Conservatives’ Bill C-36, the so-called “Protection of Communities and Exploited Persons Act” was before the House of Commons today for report-stage amendments.

“Far from being a made-in-Canada solution to prostitution, this bill is a made-in-Moscow approach that will only serve to make sex workers’ lives even more precarious,” said May. “The evidence is clear: punitive laws and stigma make it harder for sex workers to access protection.”

Ms. May's deletion amendment was seconded by Green Deputy Leader Bruce Hyer, MP for Thunder Bay–Superior North.

“C-36 is simply irredeemable,” said Hyer. “The Conservatives could have taken a progressive approach to prostitution reform – like legalizing, regulating and taxing it. Instead, they have brought forward a bill that is clearly unconstitutional, and will further endanger sex workers.”

The Green Party of Canada supports comprehensive Criminal Code reforms that would remove criminal sanctions and develop regulations for legal prostitution between consenting adults, along with enhanced counseling and educational services to assist people trapped in the sex trade through poverty or addiction.


Harper Conservatives’ Bill C-36 beyond repair

Who decided biotech was a technology winner?

Green Party of Canada News - Mon, 09/22/2014 - 17:27

The federal government, regardless of political stripe, has a poor record of picking technology winners.  Canadians essentially lost tens of billions when the giant white radioactive elephant Atomic Energy of Canada Ltd (AECL) had most of its assets sold at bargain basement prices to SNC Lavalin.  AECL went for $15 million, with the government pledging another $75 million to help them out.

As an example of the federal government’s ability to pick economic winners, the nuclear experience should have been a lesson learned in humility.  But no, after squandering billions on nuclear, the federal government, first under the Liberals and now under the Conservatives, have decided to shovel tens of millions into biotechnology.   Without any prudence or sense of return on investment, biotechnology has been decreed a priority for subsidies.

It’s ironic, because, otherwise, one would think the philosophical bent of Stephen Harper would eschew intervening in the market place, pushing tax dollars to favoured corporate welfare recipients.  The nuclear industry never justified the investments, and now Harper has continued Chretien’s subsidies to the oil sands and biotechnology.

In the 2013 budget, when we were supposed to be experiencing restraint, tens of millions of federal dollars were committed to biotechnology.  On top of previous spending, a further $165 million was dedicated to Genome Canada while a $225 million went to Canada Foundation for Innovation, its press release highlighting its potential for biotech. The $121 million (over two years) is potentially available for biotech as well.

Yet what has biotech produced?  While the blind assurance that GMOs are good for our economy persists, it is not matched by empirical data.

As an example, one only has to look at Murray Rankin’s motion for GMO labeling.  As have Green efforts before him, Murray Rankin (Victoria MP)’s effort (a motion for mandatory GMO labeling) is strongly supported by the vast majority of Canadians -- if not by other parties.  We need to recognize that the overwhelming majority of Canadians, between 80-90%, want labeling to ensure consumer confidence in our food by mandatory GMO labeling.

The demand for mandatory labeling has been growing.   Yet Health Canada has rejected the call for mandatory labeling of food products containing genetically modified ingredients. It has long been Green Party policy and I look forward to supporting Murray Rankin’s motion whenever it comes up this fall.

Meanwhile, the science is beginning to tell us that GMOs are not delivering on their promises of better and more robust agricultural strains and varieties.  A recent article in Nature pointed out that good, old fashioned cross-breeding was succeeding in developing maize crops better able to handle extreme conditions, such as drought. 

In a September 16, 2014 article in Nature reported that GMO technology was not as successful in developing drought –resistant strains as selective breeding.  In the article “Cross-bred crops get fit faster: Genetic engineering lags behind conventional breeding in efforts to create drought-resistant maize,” Nature reports on an extensive study of efforts to develop Drought Tolerant Maize for Africa. The project, with a $33 million investment, unintentionally has provided undeniable evidence that GMO crops are no match for cross-breeding in developing resistant maize.  As conventional cross-breeding has shown incredible potential, outstripping any GMO technology:

An analysis published earlier this year reported that by the project’s end in 2016, the extra yields from drought-tolerant maize could help to reduce the number of people living in poverty in the 13 countries by up to 9% (R. La Rovere et al. J. Dev. Areas 48(1), 199–225; 2014). In Zimbabwe alone, that effect would reach more than half a million people. (from Nature)

As the climate crisis increases extreme drought (as well as sudden deluge rain events) crops need to be drought resistant.  It turns out that cross-breeding in local environments is having a far greater success than GMO splicing in the laboratory.  

This research is a healthy reminder that we need to examine the so-called miracle new technologies.  Before betting the farm on such high-tech, over-promoted new approaches, let us not forget to allow all approaches to compete on a level playing field.  Let’s not waste billions on biotech as we did with nuclear before pulling the plug.  Let’s ask biotech and conventional agriculture to compete against objectives that deliver results for our well-being – not just corporate profits of Monsanto.  

Originally published in The Hill Times, September 22, 2014

Blog post from @ElizabethMay: Who decided biotech was a technology winner?

September 22 is Car Free Day

Green Party of Canada News - Mon, 09/22/2014 - 15:24
OTTAWA – Today is World Car Free Day, an international day of action to promote alternative modes of transportation and a cleaner environment.

“Car Free Day is an opportunity to think critically about the seemingly small choices we make every day, and the impact that they have on our lives and our planet,” said Elizabeth May, Leader of the Green Party of Canada and MP for Saanich–Gulf Islands.

“As a Member of Parliament, I will continue to advocate for transportation policies and infrastructure investment that will make it easier for all Canadians to leave the car at home and instead try walking, cycling, or taking public transit.”

On average, Canadians spend the equivalent of 32 working days each year sitting in traffic. Canada’s major urban centres have some of the worst traffic in the developed world, with average commute times of upwards of 80 minutes a day in Toronto and Montreal. Canadians today are also driving more than ever, with total daily car trips in the GTA have increased by nearly 60% over the past 25 years.  Happy #CarFreeDay from the Green Party of Canada

A $15 federal minimum wage will not solve inequality – but it could help

Green Party of Canada News - Thu, 09/18/2014 - 20:19

I am going to vote for the NDP’s motion on reinstating the federal minimum wage. A federal minimum wage would only apply to federally regulated industries which comprise only a small portion of the workforce. The reaction to this motion has been fairly predictable. Labour supports it and the Canadian Federation for Independent Business opposes it. Both have some good points. 

Here’s the full text of motion:

That, in the opinion of the House, the government should reinstate the federal minimum wage and increase it incrementally to $15 per hour over five years.

All the economic evidence in Canada shows that income inequality in Canada is rising steadily. This isn’t partisan data. In 2013, the Conference Board of Canada gave Canada a “C” grade, noting that income inequality in Canada has been increasing over the past 20 years. Earlier this year, Former Bank of Canada Governor Mark Carney, spoke of an unease “backed up by hard data” that the “basic social contract is breaking down” due to the “growing exclusivity of capitalism.” The World Economic Forum, The OECD, the IMF, and countless others are making the same urgent argument. Inequality is destabilizing, damaging to the whole economy, dangerous, and increasing at an unacceptable rate. Not to mention that it’s fundamentally unjust.

Some have criticized this motion to reinstate a federal minimum wage, eventually reaching $15, because it would affect only a few hundred workers (the most recent data we have is from 2008 and shows that only 416 federally regulated workers made minimum wage). Others have, legitimately, countered that all workers are worth protecting. Some hope that it will pressure the provincial governments to raise their minimum wages. As Trish Hennessy wrote, it could “set a new tone for the value of decent work in Canada. Still, providing a fairer wage that is still below any calculations for a living wage to a few hundred workers will not by itself address structural inequality. I support this motion but we can do better. 

We need something more substantial to get out of this mess. The Green Party calls for the implementation of a universal Guaranteed Livable Income (GLI). A GLI would provide the means for every Canadian to avoid poverty. It would save the health care system, the criminal justice system, and a whole raft of other social programs from spending their valuable resources on issues whose root cause is poverty. It could easily be paid for by a modest carbon tax. It would make our economy stronger and our society more just. A GLI paid for by a carbon tax would help to bridge any perceived gap between the fights for social, labour, economic, and environmental justice. It would also help minimize the disproportionate carbon footprint of the wealthy while allowing the less wealthy the freedom to find good work, without being forced to take any job that will employ them. It would hopefully spur real change in the intertwined fights for a livable climate and a just society.

I support this motion but I’d like to see real action on inequality. 

New blog post from @ElizabethMay on why a $15 federal minimum wage will not solve inequality, but could help

MEDIA ADVISORY: Elizabeth May to raise Question of Privilege arguing that Closures on Debate deny MP's the ability to do their Job: Holding the Government to Account

Green Party of Canada News - Mon, 09/15/2014 - 21:38

Elizabeth May, Leader of the Green Party of Canada and MP for Saanich–Gulf Islands, will raise a question of privilege regarding the Government's use of time allocation in Parliamentary debates.

Party Leader Elizabeth May will speak about the unprecedented frequency of debate closure tactics used by Stephen Harper's Conservatives to prevent discussion on issues that could affect Canadians for generations. 

Ms. May will also address how debate closures have disproportionately silenced independent MPs, making it difficult for them to express the concerns of their constituents in Parliament.  

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For additional information or to arrange an interview, contact:

Julian Morelli
Director of Communications
Green Party of Canada
cell: (613) 614 4916
office: (613) 562 4916 (224)
julian.morelli@greenparty.ca

MEDIA ADVISORY: Elizabeth May to raise Question of Privilege arguing that Closures on Debate deny MP's the ability to do their Job: Holding the Government to Account

Elizabeth May: Canada-China Agreement is a Threat to Canada’s Sovereignty

Green Party of Canada News - Mon, 09/15/2014 - 14:16

"At no time since 1867 has the sovereignty of Canada been significantly undermined…" Elizabeth May.

(OTTAWA) – Elizabeth May, Leader of the Green Party of Canada and MP for Saanich-Gulf Islands, denounced Prime Minister Stephen Harper's unprecedented move to ratify the Canada-China Foreign Investment Promotion and Protection Agreement (FIPA).  Ratification of the international accord by Cabinet was made without debate or public consultation.

“At no time since 1867 has the sovereignty of Canada been significantly undermined,” stated Green Party Leader, Elizabeth May.  “This deal is one-sided and will never benefit Canadians.  Stephen Harper has now committed this country and future governments to an agreement that has locked us in for a minimum of 31 years - more than a generation.”

When news came of Prime Minister Stephen Harper and Hu Jintao of China witnessing the signing of the Canada-China Investment Agreement on September 9th, 2012 in Vladivostok Russia, Green Party Leader Elizabeth May has continued to raise the alarm about the threat to Canada's sovereignty.

Details of the agreement were kept secret from the Canadian public and Parliament until September 26th, 2012, when it was quietly made public and tabled in the House of Commons. The treaty was never subjected to study in any committee, other than one hour before the trade committee. 

In a recent article in the Tyee entitled, Harper Gov't 'Conceded to China' under Pressure, associate professor at the Osgoode Hall Law School and an expert in investment treaties, Gus Van Harten, was quoted saying that "FIPA is practically a one-way deal in favour of China.”

"Cabinet's signing of the deal behind closed doors, instead of giving Parliament a say, is not just undemocratic, it is also a profound attack on Canada's sovereignty as a nation." added Deputy Leader Bruce Hyer. "The Conservatives have now allowed for Chinese interests to sue in secret tribunals if they don’t like our laws. In effect, Stephen Harper has allowed for a foreign state to rewrite Canadian law in order to protect their interests.”

Andrew Weaver, Deputy Leader of the BC Green Party and MLA for Oak Bay-Gordon Head, expressed his concerns, stating, “The consequences of this decision will reverberate down to the provinces. Why did the federal Conservative not consult with the provinces and why has the BC government not been asking the tough questions as to whether this is in the province's interest?

"New Brunswickers want to know why our laws can now be challenged by the Peoples' Republic of China. Where was the premier? Was NB even consulted?" asked NB Green leader David Coon. "This is a deeply disturbing development."

"This agreement is one that Canadians will come to regret for generations,” concluded Elizabeth May.

Backgrounder: What is an Investor-State Agreement? https://www.greenparty.ca/backgrounder/2014-09-12/backgrounder-investor-state-treaties.

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For additional information or to arrange an interview, contact:

Julian Morelli
Director of Communications
Green Party of Canada
cell: (613) 614 4916
office: (613) 562 4916 (224)
julian.morelli@greenparty.ca

Elizabeth May: Canada-China Agreement is a Threat to Canada’s Sovereignty

MEDIA ADVISORY: Elizabeth May to join Green Party of New Brunswick Leader David Coon at Rally in Fredericton

Green Party of Canada News - Sun, 09/14/2014 - 13:15

(OTTAWA) September 14, 2014 - Elizabeth May, Leader of the Green Party of Canada and MP for Saanich–Gulf Islands, will be in Fredericton today to support the Green Party of New Brunswick in the upcoming provincial election.

On Sunday afternoon, Elizabeth May will join David Coon, Leader of the Green Party of New Brunswick, at a rally in downtown Fredericton.

 Event Details

Date: Today -Sunday, September 14, 2014

Time: 1:00 – 3:00 PM (Atlantic)

Location: iRock, 339 King Street, Fredericton, NB


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For additional information or to arrange an interview, contact:

Julian Morelli
Director of Communications
Green Party of Canada
cell: (613) 614 4916
office: (613) 562 4916 (224)
julian.morelli@greenparty.ca

MEDIA ADVISORY: Elizabeth May to join Green Party of New Brunswick Leader David Coon at Rally in Fredericton

Harper sell out to China will be locked in – Elizabeth May

Green Party of Canada News - Fri, 09/12/2014 - 16:52

“I call on every Conservative MP to block this sell out..." Elizabeth May

(Ottawa) September 12, 2014 - Ever since September 2012, when news of Prime Minister Stephen Harper and Hu Jintao of China witnessing the signing of the Canada-China Investment Agreement in Vladivostok Russia, Green Party Leader Elizabeth May has been raising the alarm about the threat to our sovereignty, implicit in any such agreement. 

Tabled in the House of Commons on September 26, 2012, quietly and without any briefings or news release, the treaty was never subjected to study in any committee, other than one hour before the trade committee.  Ratification involves a vote of Cabinet, not Parliament.

The treaty has been in a legal position for ratification since November 2, 2012.  "As the months passed, I became more hopeful that more thoughtful and concerned members of Mr. Harper's own Cabinet were constraining the ratification,” stated Green Party Leader, Elizabeth May.

“The brave actions of the Hupacaseth First Nation in challenging the treaty in court also appeared to be delaying ratification.  That court action is still unresolved.  My fear is that the events of this summer, specifically the Communications Security Establishment Canada (CSEC) charging that China had hacked into the National Research Council database, created new pressures to repair the damaged relationship with Beijing in advance of Prime Minister Harper’s visit to China.  Rewarding the Peoples' Republic of China for hacking into our national research database is a double betrayal of our national interests."

Elisabeth May went on to say, “Once ratified, the Canada-China Investment Agreement will bind Canada, including future governments, for a minimum of 31 years.  Unlike NAFTA, with an exit clause of 6 months’ notice, this agreement, also called a FIPA (Foreign Investor Protection Agreement) cannot be exited for the first 15 years.  After 15 years, either country can exit on one year's notice, but any existing investments are further protected for another 15 years.  Despite some claims by other politicians that the treaty could be voided by a future government, that is not the case.”

“The only way to exit the treaty would be through negotiations with China in which the government in Beijing agrees. Unilateral withdrawal would trigger a multi-billion dollar claim by the Peoples Republic of China against Canada, with damages open to collection in one hundred countries around the world.”

"Cabinet's signing of this deal behind closed doors, instead of giving Parliament a say, is not just undemocratic in itself," added Deputy Leader Bruce Hyer. "It is also a profound attack of Canada's sovereignty as a nation, and an erosion of the rights of all Canadians to make democratic decisions about our economy, environment, and energy.  The Conservatives have now allowed for secret tribunals that will work to re-write our laws in order to protect Chinese interests.”

Green Party Elizabeth May concluded by saying, "This agreement will permit state-owned enterprises (SOEs) of the Peoples Republic of China to bring claims for damages against Canada for decisions taken at municipal, provincial or federal levels if those SOEs believe the decisions will harm their profits.” 

“The arbitration process has been shown in countless decisions globally to generally favour the larger economy in the dispute.  No Canadian company has ever won a chapter 11 (investor state) case under NAFTA against the US.  US corporations have won and wrangled multi-million settlements repeatedly from Canada.  I am certain no Canadian company will ever benefit from this agreement.  But Canada will lose -- not once but over and over again.  If ratified this cements our relationship to the Peoples Republic of China as a compliant resource colony. I call on every Conservative MP to block this sell out."

Backgrounder:  https://www.greenparty.ca/backgrounder/2014-09-12/backgrounder-investor-state-treaties

 

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For additional information or to arrange an interview, contact:

Julian Morelli
Director of Communications
Green Party of Canada
cell: (613) 614 4916
office: (613) 562 4916 (224)
julian.morelli@greenparty.ca

Harper sell out to China will be locked in – Elizabeth May

Statement from Elizabeth May on the anniversary of the September 11th terrorist attacks

Green Party of Canada News - Thu, 09/11/2014 - 17:17

OTTAWA – Elizabeth May, Leader of the Green Party of Canada and MP for Saanich–Gulf Islands, issued the following statement to remember and honour those who lost their lives on September 11, 2001: 

"Although it has been 13 years since the world witnessed the horrific attacks in New York that lead to the loss of over 3,000 people, including 26 Canadians - the effects are still being felt today.”

“I condemn all acts of violence and say to those who believe that terrorism is a justifiable way in which to bring about change – you are wrong."

“My heart goes out to the families of the victims who still deal with the pain of losing a loved one because of such a tragic and senseless act.”

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Contact:

Julian Morelli
Director of Communications
Green Party of Canada
(613) 614 4916
julian.morelli@greenparty.ca

Statement from @ElizabethMay on the anniversary of the September 11th terrorist attacks

The People’s Climate March

Green Party of Canada News - Wed, 09/10/2014 - 19:19
Event Date:  21 September 2014 - 11:30am

On September 21, Elizabeth May will join tens of thousands of concerned citizens from around the world in New York City for the People’s Climate March. They will be marching to show the world leaders assembled there for the 2014 UN Climate Summit that our planet cannot wait for more negotiations – we need climate action now.

Date: Sunday, September 21, 2014

Time: 11:30 AM (Eastern)

Location: New York City: The march begins at Columbus Circle, at the southwest corner of Central Park, and finishes on 11th Ave., in the streets between 34th Street and 38th Street

This free event is open to media and the public, for more information please visit The People's Climate March website; for more information on the Green Party's presence at the march, please visit greenparty.ca/climate-march

Join @ElizabethMay at the #PeoplesClimateMarch --

Salt Spring Island Fall Fair

Green Party of Canada News - Wed, 09/10/2014 - 17:56
Event Date:  13 September 2014 - 2:00pm

Elizabeth May, Leader of the Green Party of Canada and MP for Saanich–Gulf Islands, will attend the Salt Spring Island Fall Fair this Saturday afternoon.

Date: Saturday, September 13, 2014

Time: 2:00 – 5:00 PM (Pacific)

Location: The Farmers’ Institute Grounds at 351 Rainbow Road, Salt Spring Island

This free event is open to journalists and the public, for more information please visit the Salt Spring Island Fall Fair website

Green Leader @ElizabethMay to attend Salt Spring Island Fall Fair #SSI #GulfIslands

The price of cheap shrimp

Green Party of Canada News - Thu, 09/04/2014 - 04:00

The readership of Island Tides is, in my experience, among the best informed and most conscientious about our collective and individual ecological footprint of any people on the planet. However, I keep encountering a blind spot. We wouldn’t touch farmed salmon but have very little awareness of the monstrous damage done by shrimp aquaculture.

Vandana Shiva, brilliant scientist and campaigner, once told me that she thought of all the industries that had ever come to India—chemical factories, mining, industrial agriculture—shrimp aquaculture was the worst. In fact, thanks to protests and a court challenge, the Indian Supreme Court banned any expansion of shrimp aquaculture.

It has not met with effective opposition elsewhere. Protesters in Bangladesh and Thailand have been murdered. Korunamoyee Sardar, a heroic Bangladeshi woman who fought the industrial shrimp industry, was beheaded in 1990; her head stuck on a pole to warn others.

To explain the multiple levels of human and ecological devastation caused by the industry, we have to start with the mangrove massacre. We have lost nearly one quarter of the mangrove forests of the planet. Mangroves are remarkable habitat for creatures like the endangered proboscis monkey and even the Bengal tiger. In 2010, a collaborative project, involving numerous UN agencies, produced the World Atlas of Mangroves. Its lead author, scientist Mark Spalding, described the multiple benefits to humanity of this unique ecosystem:

‘Mangrove forests are the ultimate illustration of why humans need nature … The trees provide hard, rot-resistant timber and make some of the best charcoal in the world. The waters all around foster some of the greatest productivity of fish and shellfish in any coastal waters. What’s more, mangrove forests help prevent erosion and mitigate natural hazards from cyclones to tsunamis—these are natural coastal defenses whose importance will only grow as sea level rise becomes a reality around the world.’

We are losing mangrove forests to two major developments—coastal tourism and shrimp aquaculture. The intensive shrimp aquaculture in Thailand has essentially appropriated whole coastlines, with fishpen abutting the next fishpen. With the loss of the mangrove forests, salt water intrusion can also devastate local farms. The deforestation of mangroves undercuts the local fishery. Salt water has also contaminated village water supply, leaving them without potable water. The means people once had to feed themselves, both through agriculture and small scale fishing, is destroyed.

The pens are stocked by stretching fine mesh nets at the mouth of the river. Children are often used for this work, pulling the tiny shrimp fry from the net. The rest of the small fish are by-catch, dead and discarded. Once the fry are in the pond, pesticides and antibiotics are routinely added.

The ponds tend to last between 10 to 15 years, and then are left abandoned—a toxic, salty hole where a forest once thrived. And the industry clears more mangroves to build more ponds. All so that we can have ‘all you can eat’ shrimp specials at restaurants and buy cheap party shrimp rings.

This is what I knew about shrimp aquaculture in the 1990s when Sierra Club of Canada worked with small NGOs from India, Honduras, Bangladesh, Ecuador and Thailand to raise awareness about the threat. We organized speaking tours for activists from the global south to share their stories with Canadians. I used to go to international biodiversity meetings equipped with a small red ink pad and a rubber stamp featuring a shrimp in the centre and the words, ‘Stop the Mangrove Massacre’ ringing the shrimp. Inevitably at the cocktail receptions, farmed shrimp was served. I would distribute the cocktail serviettes I swiped from the tables the night before, stamped with the message. I didn’t think there could be a worse example of human greed and stupidity trampling on the rights of people around the world, destroying critical ecosystems.

And then in June of this year it got worse. An exposé appeared in The Guardian: ‘Globalised slavery: how big supermarkets are selling prawns in supply chain fed by slave labour.’

The shrimps in ponds are being fed with fish meal. The fish meal in the Thai prawn industry is caught in a supply chain that starts with stealing men and selling them to trawler companies. The Guardian exposé is not easy to read. It makes your hair stand on end as the authors, Kate Hodel and Chris Kelly, relate the brutality of the life on the trawlers and the reports of routine murders at sea.

The article quotes Steve Trent of the Environmental Justice Foundation: ‘The supermarkets know this is happening,’ he says. ‘Everyone knows this is happening. From the boat to the shelf, the supermarkets have an opportunity to stop this… They are actively supporting slavery by not acting and, conversely, they could be actively working to get rid of it if they really had the desire.’

We are blessed to have a local and sustainable fishery in spot prawns. Small cold-water shrimp from Newfoundland and Quebec are also good options, especially since new technology has reduced the by-catch. But, please, never again buy Thai shrimp and let your supermarket know why they shouldn’t either.

View The Guardian video: http://www.theguardian.com/global-development/video/2014/jun/10/slavery-supermarket-supply-trail-prawns-video.

The price of cheap shrimp

Letter to the Editor: Give Capital Region a Say on Pipeline: August 28, 2014

Green Party of Canada News - Mon, 09/01/2014 - 17:23

To the Editor,

I couldn't agree more with Mayor Fortin that citizens of southern Vancouver Island must have a say, and a definitive say, about the proposal to dramatically increase bitumen-loaded tankers through our waters.  I am also an intervenor in the Kinder-Morgan National Energy Board hearing process.  By reducing the process to largely a paper exercise, by eliminating the opportunity for oral cross-examination, the weakness of Kinder Morgan's evidence may escape public exposure. 

I first appeared before the National Energy Board as counsel in 1980.  It is a quasi-judicial body and cross-examination is an essential element of the process. In fact, only under Harper has the NEB started denying the right of cross-examination.  The fact that Stephen Harper wants the NEB to report quickly is not sufficient justification for eliminating the rights of intervenors.  I have retained respected lawyer Clayton Ruby to represent me to challenge the process if cross-examination is not allowed.

I have worked my way through the 15,000 pages of Kinder Morgan's application.  I believe its length is intended to impress and intimidate. It is long because it is duplicative and contains masses of irrelevant and bogus material.  I have found some amazing bloopers.  They claim that dilbit (the mixture of bitumen and toxic condensate they are shipping) will behave just like crude in the marine environment.  We know crude is a disaster when spilled, but we know from the Enbridge Kalamazoo River spill that dilbit is worse and impossible to clean up. In an appendix, I found the technical report setting out KM's evidence. It was a test conducted in Alberta over a thirteen day period. Contractors for Kinder Morgan  put salt water in tanks and then dumped in dilbit.  Then they stirred and took other action they claimed approximated wind and wave action in the natural environment. The tanks held 26.5 m3 (7,000) gallons.  Additional tests were done in a 1m x1m  x 1m fish tank and in plastic five gallon pails. The five gallon pail and fish tank research went awry, even according to the researchers:

 "Errors occurred in the fish tank, because the spill was installed in a manner that resulted in a large amount of dispersion at the outset, due to air ingestion, and the resulting slick was larger than the ruler and developed an asymmetric form.”

In other words, this so-called research was conducted by a team over 13 days that didn't have a ruler the right size to measure a spill in a five gallon bucket. That is not the only example of shoddy work in the KM application.   Another intervenor spotted that the model KM used to forcast oil spill dispersion, which KM claimed in the report was a U.S. Environmental Protection Agency approved method, was a draft EPA publication which had failed at peer review.  KM had emoved the word "draft" from its submission. This is tantamount to fraud.

We must not allow the NEB process to be a paper exercise.  We need to be in the room with the right to cross-examine Kinder Morgan.


Elizabeth May, O.C.
Member of Parliament
Saanich-Gulf Islands 

Leader
Green Party of Canada

Letter to the Editor: Give Capital Region a Say on Pipeline: August 28, 2014

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