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The Green Party of Canada is a Canadian Federal Political Party that advances a broad multi-issue political platform that reflect its core values of ecological wisdom, social justice, grassroots democracy and non-violence.
Updated: 23 min 52 sec ago

Greens conclude successful 2014 Convention

Mon, 07/21/2014 - 14:22

FREDERICTON -- As the Green Party of Canada's 2014 Convention draws to a close, Greens from across Canada celebrate a productive weekend of rebuilding Canadian democracy.

Hundreds of Green delegates gathered in Fredericton from July 18 to 20 for policy debates, workshops, and speeches from special guests including former Parliamentary Budget Officer Kevin Page and world-renowned climate scientist Tom Duck.

"This was a great weekend for grassroots democracy," said Green Leader Elizabeth May, MP for Saanich–Gulf Islands. "The ideas that we discussed and the policy resolutions that were passed will be crucial in guiding our party toward the next election."

Green delegates voted strongly in favour of policy proposals calling for responsible economic growth, expanding environmental protection, and strengthening Canadian democracy. Delegates rejected a motion to weaken the party’s anti-GMO stance, and reaffirmed the party’s support for dairy supply management. The party also formally adopted a prohibition of whipped votes for Green MPs.

"The energy at this Convention has been remarkable," said Green Deputy Leader Bruce Hyer, MP for Thunder Bay–Superior North. "Our party has never been stronger, and we draw our strength from the grassroots. As we look ahead to the coming federal election, we can be proud of everything that we have accomplished together."

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Contact:

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


  Greens conclude successful 2014 Convention #GPC14

Greens call for federal intervention to save NB Morgentaler Clinic

Fri, 07/18/2014 - 15:11
Fredericton - Elizabeth May, Leader of the Green Party of Canada and MP for Saanich Gulf Islands, today urges federal Health Minister Rona Ambrose to intervene to defend women's rights in New Brunswick.

With the province's Morgentaler clinic closing tomorrow, New Brunswick women are on the verge of losing access to safe, legal abortion.

"It is completely unacceptable that women's health and safety should be put at risk in this way," said May. "I call on the federal and provincial governments to take immediate action to ensure that women's rights are protected."

May and Green Deputy Leader Bruce Hyer will join New Brunswick Green Party Leader David Coon at the Choix NB Choice Save the Clinic rally at the New Brunswick Legislature today at noon.

"This is a crisis for the women of New Brunswick," said Coon. "Premier Always has a responsibility to intervene and ensure that Horizon Health Network takes over the operation of this essential clinic."

 

Contact:

Nicholas Gall
Communications Coordinator
Green Party of Canada
(613) 294 3034
nicholas.gall@greenparty.ca 

Greens call for federal intervention to save NB Morgentaler Clinic #SaveTheClinic #NBProChoice

Greens to hold national Convention in Fredericton to chart course to 2015

Thu, 07/17/2014 - 16:04

(OTTAWA) July 16, 2014 – Hundreds of Green Party members from across Canada will come together in Fredericton New Brunswick this weekend, July 18-20 for the Green Party of Canada’s 2014 Convention.

From July 18 to 20, Convention delegates from coast to coast will vote on policy resolutions, participate in campaign workshops, and hear from guest speakers including former Parliamentary Budget Officer Kevin Page, Samara Canada Chairman and co-founder Michael MacMillan, and world-renowned climate scientist Tom Duck. Policy debates will include the current situation in Gaza, the issue of physician-assisted suicide and how to structure the carbon tax.

“We have achieved so much since our 2012 Convention in Sidney, from passing the first-ever Green legislation in the House of Commons, dealing with the growing threat of Lyme disease, being the only opposition party to participate in global climate negotiations, to putting forward hundreds of amendments to help ensure that Canadians are well represented,” stated Green Party of Canada Leader, Elizabeth May and Member of Parliament (MP) for Saanich–Gulf Islands.  “This Convention is also an opportunity to celebrate all that we’ve accomplished together as we prepare for the next federal election.”

“Over the coming days, we will have a conversation about our shared vision for Canada’s future, and how we can work together to make that vision a reality,” said Green Deputy Leader Bruce Hyer, MP for Thunder Bay–Superior North. “There’s never been a more exciting time to be a Green.” 

"It is an enormous privilege to serve my constituents from Saanich-Gulf Islands in the House of Commons.  Bruce Hyer and I attempt to prove every day that MPs can effectively represent their constituents, without mindlessly toeing a party line.  Gathering with our members from across Canada is another way we show how the Greens differ from other parties.  Our grassroots is our highest level of authority. We have practical realistic goals to create a more dynamic, sustainable economy with greater employment for all Canadians. The Green Party principles are crystal clear – all governments must be accountable to its citizens and that is not what is happening today.” 

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To schedule an interview with Elizabeth May or Bruce Hyer, please contact:

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

Greens to hold national Convention in Fredericton to chart course to 2015

How not to protect the lives of sex trade workers

Fri, 07/11/2014 - 23:35

The ruling from the Supreme Court of Canada was pretty clear in the Bedford case. The laws were preventing women (and men) in the business of selling sex from being unacceptably vulnerable to violence and murder.  We only need to remember the horrors of the Pickton hog farm to know that we were systematically failing the most marginal in our society.  The Supreme Court told Parliament to fix our laws to keep sex trade workers safe.

Instead, Bill C-36 makes their lives more precarious than before the Bedford decision. 

A few points need to be stressed:  The trade in human misery known as “human trafficking” is vile and must end.  We need to step up criminal resources, social programmes, and help for those who have, essentially, been enslaved.  That is why I am a donor to the Joy Smith Foundation.  The foundation, and my friend Joy Smith, do important work to rescue those who have been ensnared in this modern-day slave trade.

While it is true that there is some overlap between prostitution and human trafficking, the legal remedies are separate and distinct.  It is by conflating them that we end up with the idea that we can protect people from human trafficking by criminalizing prostitution. 

We do need greater investment in addiction counselling.  We need more robust funding for social services to help those driven to prostitution by economic deprivation.  The Green Party’s call for a Guaranteed Liveable Income would be a huge benefit and would ensure that extreme poverty did not rob children of good beginnings.

But C-36 sets out to end prostitution.  As pro C-36 witness Eric Jolliffe, the Chief of Police for the York Regional Police, testified at committee:

 "We appreciate the government's efforts to abolish prostitution."

As if such a thing were possible.  There is a reason it is referred to as the world’s oldest profession.  And it is by increasing the criminalization of the business of being in the sex trade that the bill fails to meet the challenge that was put before us by the Supreme Court: protect the lives of women by not driving the activity (no matter how much our moral compass might wish it eradicated) into increasingly dangerous shadows. 

On June 12th, my friend, and near seatmate in the House, Sean Casey of Charlottetown, gave a very clear analysis.  I am reproducing part of his speech from Hansard here:

“Sadly, Bill C-36 has as much, or more, in common with the prohibitionist approach in force in Albania, Croatia and Russia.

“In Russia, brothels are illegal. Under Bill C-36, they would also be illegal in Canada. In Russia, living on the avails of prostitution is illegal. Under Bill C-36, this would also be illegal in Canada. In Russia, buying sex is illegal. Under Bill C-36, this would also be illegal in Canada.

“In Russia, selling sex is illegal. Under Bill C-36, except for a few narrow exceptions, it will also be illegal in Canada. Selling sex will be illegal in public, it will be illegal near places where children may be, and it will be illegal with underage prostitutes. The differences between the Russian approach and this so-called made-in-Canada approach are relatively minor. I wonder if those present find it somewhat troubling that a country with Russia's human rights record has a regime governing this social issue that is so close to the legislation before the House today.”

I turned to him when he finished his speech and asked if we had now created, not a “Made in Canada” approach, but a “Made in Moscow” approach.  Not the Nordic model, not the New Zealand model, but the Putin approach, with the add-on of an inadequate fund of $20 million to help prostitutes leave the work of selling sex.  All the while flying directly in the face of evidence and of the clear Charter imperative to keep the bill constitutional.  Like many bills before it that have been forced through the House, C-36 will fail before the Supreme Court of Canada.  By then, I fear that the cynical political operatives who have crafted C-36 – not to meet the challenge of the court, but to create yet another divisive wedge issue – will have used the bill as an election tactic.  For the first time, I believe the Conservative political machine is prepared to take the chance on women dying so that they can drive more votes their way.

For shame.         

How not to protect the lives of sex trade workers - New blog post from @ElizabethMay #c36 #cdnpoli

Greens call on Israeli and Palestinian leadership to end hostilities and protect civilians

Fri, 07/11/2014 - 20:24

“We need to immediately put a stop to this terrible cycle of violence which is killing innocent Israeli and Palestinian children.” – Elizabeth May

(OTTAWA)  July 11, 2014 – Green Party of Canada Leader, Elizabeth May and Member of Parliament for Saanich–Gulf Islands calls on both Israeli and Palestinian leaders to put an immediate end to the escalating violence in the Gaza strip and Israel.

“We need to immediately put a stop to this terrible cycle of violence which is killing innocent Israeli and Palestinian children,” stated Elizabeth May.

The past few days have seen the deaths of approximately 100 Palestinians in the Gaza strip, the majority of whom have been civilians and have included entire families. The Green Party of Canada is deeply concerned about potential violations of international humanitarian law by both sides in the conflict, including the punitive demolitions of the homes of Hamas leaders, and the targeting of civilians in Israel by rockets fired from the Gaza strip.

“As an outside observer one cannot comprehend the emotional potency of the conflict between Israel and Palestine; however, policy derived from anger is misplaced and will lead to more violence,” said Ronnie Smith, Green Party Peace and Security Critic. “The mutual escalations and potential violations of international law must be condemned by the world with equal ferocity. My thoughts and prayers are with civilians in both Israel and Palestine who are caught in up in this violent retaliatory cycle and yearn for peace.”

“What history has repeatedly shown us is that the only way to end this violence and come to a long-term, peaceful and equitable solution is through meaningful dialogue," concluded Green Party Leader Elizabeth May. "Revenge is never a substitute or a solution to ending violence.  I call on both Israeli and Palestinian leaders to step back and immediately end any further escalation of military action before we witness the inevitable and horrific loss of many more lives.” 

With the people of Israel and Palestine still mourning the deaths of the senselessly murdered Palestinian and three Israeli teenagers, the last thing the region needs is to be engulfed in yet another war. The Green Party of Canada calls for the immediate cessation of hostilities and the return to negotiations for the establishment of a lasting peace under a two state solution.

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For more information or to schedule an interview, please contact:

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

Greens call on Israeli and Palestinian leadership to end hostilities and protect civilians #Gaza

Elizabeth May congratulates Green candidates on by-election gains

Tue, 07/01/2014 - 19:29

TORONTO – Green Party Leader Elizabeth May today congratulates Green candidates Camille Labchuk (Trinity–Spadina), Shahbaz Mir (Scarborough–Agincourt), Larry Ashmore (Macleod) and Brian Deheer (Fort McMurray–Athabasca) for their strong finishes in yesterday’s federal by-election.

"I am proud of all our candidates and I thank them for their hard work and dedication," said Elizabeth May, Leader of the Green Party of Canada and MP for Saanich–Gulf Islands. "We made important gains in Macleod, where we finished ahead of the NDP, and in Trinity–Spadina, where we tied with the Conservatives. Our candidates brought new and innovative ideas to the table, and they campaigned with integrity."

“I would like to thank my entire team for their tremendous efforts in this campaign – Together, we were a voice for Toronto voters who are tired of politics as usual,” said Ms. Labchuk. “Over the course of this campaign I heard from thousands of Torontonians that they want more from our country’s political leaders – they want meaningful action on the climate crisis, they want a more sustainable economy, and they want to fix our broken democracy.”

As had been expected, the number of voters who showed up to the polls in each of these by-election was exceptionally low: Turnout was only 31 per cent in Trinity–Spadina, 29 per cent in Scarborough-Agincourt, below 20 per cent in Macleod, and a mere 15 percent in Fort McMurray-Athabasca.

"Scheduling this by-election for the Canada Day long weekend was clearly a deliberate attempt on the part of the Harper Conservatives to drive down voter turnout," said May. "However, the larger issue remains our undemocratic voting system – many voters who felt that their preferred candidate had no chance of winning in their riding simply stayed home. This by-election just goes to show how urgently we need proportional representation in this country, to ensure that every vote counts."

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Contact:

Nicholas Gall
Communications Coordinator
Green Party of Canada
(613) 614 4916
nicholas.gall@greenparty.ca 

Elizabeth May congratulates Green candidates on by-election gains

Greens mourn tragic death of three Israeli teenagers

Mon, 06/30/2014 - 21:06

OTTAWA – The Green Party of Canada denounces the horrific killing of three young sons of Israel. Gilad Shaar, 16, Eyal Yifrach, 19 and Naftali Fraenkel, 16 were kidnapped while walking home from school on June 12. The three were found dead earlier today. 

“I am shocked and deeply saddened by the murder of these three innocent young men,” said Elizabeth May, Leader of the Green Party of Canada and MP for Saanich–Gulf Islands. "While the larger concerns of the search for peace in the region occupy our thoughts, these murders tear at our hearts. We must end the violence cutting down Palestinian and Israeli youth." 

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Contact:

Nicholas Gall
Communications Coordinator
Green Party of Canada
(613) 614 4916
Nicholas.gall@greenparty.ca

Greens mourn tragic death of three Israeli teenagers #EyalGiladNaftali

Greens welcome landmark Supreme Court of Canada ruling in favour of Tsilhqot’in First Nation

Thu, 06/26/2014 - 18:28

VICTORIA – The Green Party of Canada today celebrates the Supreme Court of Canada’s unanimous decision to acknowledge aboriginal title of the Tsilhqot'in First Nation to 1,700 square kilometres of land in British Columbia.

Today’s ruling comes after more than thirty years of legal disputes, beginning in the early 1980s when the Tsilhqot'in First Nation first launched a court challenge against logging operations in their traditional territory.

This decision effectively mandates that any development on land where title is established requires the consent of the First Nation holding that title. The ruling is expected to have a significant impact on a wide variety of future resource development projects, including the proposed Enbridge and Kinder-Morgan pipelines, and any other risky pipeline and tanker schemes.

“This is a victory for the Tsilhqot'in First Nation and for Aboriginal communities across Canada,” said Elizabeth May, Leader of the Green Party of Canada and MP for Saanich–Gulf Islands. “In upholding the fundamental right of the Tsilhqot'in to their traditional territory, the Supreme Court of Canada has taken a positive step toward reconciliation.”

“For far too long, our court system has undermined the legitimate land claims and legal rights of Aboriginal peoples across Canada,” said Lorraine Rekmans, Green Party Aboriginal Affairs Critic and a member of Ontario’s Serpent River First Nation. “This Supreme Court ruling validates what the Tsilhqot'in people have known all along. The people have cause to celebrate Canada’s recognition of the truth.”

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CONTACT:

Nicholas Gall
Communications Coordinator
Green Party of Canada
(613) 614 4916
nicholas.gall@greenparty.ca

Greens welcome landmark #SCOC ruling in favour of Tsilhqot’in First Nation

Harper silent as world leaders speak out on behalf of jailed Canadian journalist Mohamed Fahmy

Tue, 06/24/2014 - 21:40

OTTAWA – The Green Party of Canada is urging Prime Minister Harper to join US Secretary of State John Kerry and Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott in condemning yesterday’s verdict in the trial of Mohamed Fahmy, a Canadian journalist currently jailed in Egypt.

Fahmy is a producer with Al-Jazeera’s English service, and had been working in Cairo when he was arrested in December 2013. He and two other journalists had been jailed since then, awaiting trial for charges of providing a platform for the Muslim Brotherhood, a group declared illegal by the Egyptian dictatorship. Yesterday, the journalists were sentenced to seven year prison terms.

But while the US, Australian, and British governments were quick to condemn the verdict, the Canadian government issued only a vague statement calling on the Egyptian government “To protect the rights of all individuals, including journalists, in keeping with the spirit of Egypt’s new constitution.”

“The Canadian government’s response to this egregious breach of human rights has so far been completely inadequate,” said Elizabeth May, Leader of the Green Party of Canada and MP for Saanich-Gulf Islands. “Mohamed Fahmy is a Canadian citizen. The Canadian government must do everything in its power to protect him, and to stand up for freedom of speech and human rights worldwide.”

“Only real economic and diplomatic pressure from Canada will ensure that these journalists are freed,” said Eric Walton, Green Party International Affairs Critic. “The problem is Stephen Harper will not go to the defense of Canadian citizens in danger overseas, apart from going through symbolic diplomatic motions, because he puts trade above human rights.”

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Contact:

Nicholas Gall
Communications Coordinator
Green Party of Canada
(613) 614 4916
nicholas.gall@greenparty.ca

Harper silent as world leaders speak out on behalf of jailed Canadian journalist Mohamed Fahmy #FREEAJSTAFF

Round Table on Veterans' Issues

Mon, 06/23/2014 - 19:46
Event Date:  28 June 2014 - 9:00am

On Saturday morning, Elizabeth May will hear presentations on Veterans issues and take part in a discussion with local Veterans All Legion members are cordially invited to come with their concerns in relation to Veterans issues. All and any other Veterans are also invited. The general populace is also invited but please keep your comments to Veterans' issues.

Date: Saturday, June 28, 2014

Time: 9:00 AM (Pacific)

Location: Royal Canadian Legion, Mount Benson Branch 256 1630 East Wellington Road Nanaimo, BC.

This is an information gathering session and not in any way a political function.

Round Table on Veterans' Issues

All together now: How we stop Enbridge’s pipelines and tankers

Mon, 06/23/2014 - 04:00

It came to me in response to a biased question from a Sun News reporter in Toronto.  The question, playing into the warped world of Ezra Lavant, prompted me to explain what “protesters” might do to block Enbridge.  I am sensitive to the right-wing propagandists and new species of spin-miesters, social media “trolls.”  They hope to mischaracterize the opposition to Enbridge as radicals. Former natural resources minister Joe Oliver tried it back in January 2012 when he denounced anyone opposed to tearing through our wilderness to put hazardous and toxic shipments on supertankers through even more hazardous waters.  Watch for it on twitter. I get it all the time – attacked as hashtag “ecoterrorist.”  So the pro-pipeline narrative would want Canadians to believe that the legal and economically necessary, responsible corporate citizen Enbridge, is challenged by “protesters.”

With the Sun microphone in my face, I suggested that “protester” wasn’t quite the right word for the government of British Columbia, nor for the Union of British Columbia Municipalities, nor for the two-thirds of British Columbia’s citizens who say “no.”    In particular, it is absurd to call residents of Kitimat radicals --  the one place in all of British Columbia where one could make a case for the project’s economic benefits, where the voters in a plebiscite said “no” to Enbridge.

I have worked on environmental campaigns for decades  -- fighting pesticide spraying, uranium mining, mega-hydro dams, nuclear power plants, wilderness destruction.  I have been part of campaigns that won against impossible odds and did so most of the time.  But I have never been part of a coalition as broad, as deep and as imbedded in establishment voices as those arrayed against Enbridge’s mad scheme.

And what of Enbridge? Denounced by the US regulator following the Kalamazoo. Michigan spill as a bunch of Keystone Kops with a “culture of negligence;” lambasted by Harper’s own ambassador to First Nations, Doug Eyford, and by Alberta’s likely next premier, Jim Prentice, as having wholly mishandled its engagement with First Nations through monumental conceit and a failure to build any foundation for trust.

We all know one thing about Enbridge – it has money to burn sponsoring every cultural, charity and sporting event it can get its corporate mitts near, as well as an apparently inexhaustible budget for television and print advertisements extolling our beautiful wilderness. Every Enbridge ad should remind us why we will never trust that corporation, whether through its creative use of pastel line tv ads or the disappearing islands of its webpage.

So who are the radicals in the real narrative of how we stop Enbridge? It is Stephen Harper and his unquestioned allegiance to the Fossil Fuel Masters of the Universe. It is not Canada’s economy that he serves.  Not when oil sands are 3% of the GDP. Not when more jobs and more value-chains and more wealth will come from a diversified energy mix, a clean-tech revolution and (yes, even keeping the oil sands pumping along in the context of an aggressive climate plan) ensuring the bitumen is processed and not merely stirred into toxic fossil fuel condensate to be shipped abroad.  Putting an end to Harper’s plan to boost production to levels more than three times more than current levels is key to having anything that could be considered feasible and still reduce GHG to the levels required by science.

So back to how we stop Enbridge.  Art Sterritt, executive director of Coastal First Nations, had it right. “Unfortunately Ottawa didn’t get the message that they’re approving a dead project.” (Globe and Mail, June 18, “What’s Next, Major hurdles face Enbridge”). 

We stop Enbridge by working together.  NDP, Liberal and Green BC MPs are united.  In Victoria, opposition MLAs need to encourage an unnatural ally, premier Christy Clark, to maintain a clearer NO.  When asked to support First Nations, we have to be prepared to open our wallets and help with what will be staggering legal costs to defend their constitutionally enshrined rights – and our coasts and environment.

And we need to re-write this story.  The radical element is led by Stephen Harper.  The threat of lawlessness is found in his disrespect for the rule of law. The repeal of the environmental assessment law, evisceration of the Fisheries Act, removal of endangered species legislation along any pipeline route, and the removal of 99% of Canada’s rivers, streams and lakes from the Navigable Waters Protection Act were acts of legislative vandalism to clear the way for bitumen pipelines.

Those of us who wish to protect our climate, our coast lines, our whales and our salmon and respect First Nations, recognizing that we live on their territories --  we will prevail.  Our strength lies in a shared resolve and firm commitment to non-violence, the full exercise of our rights as citizens, and our faith, even in this corporatist state, in democracy.  All together now. 

Originally published in Island Tides, June 18, 2014

All together now: How we stop Enbridge’s pipelines and tankers - Article by @ElizabethMay in @IslandTides

Statement from the Green Party of Canada on National Aboriginal Day 2014

Sat, 06/21/2014 - 15:31

OTTAWA – National Aboriginal Day is a time both to celebrate the history and cultural diversity of Canada’s First Peoples, and to reflect on how much remains to be done to break down barriers of systemic racism and discrimination in Canadian society.

Canada’s 1.4 million First Nations, Inuit and Métis peoples represent the country’s youngest and fastest-growing population. 

Yet Aboriginal peoples in Canada continue to face disproportionately higher rates of poverty, addiction, housing insecurity, and violence. A report released last month by the RCMP indicates Aboriginal women currently face a homicide rate nearly four times higher than the national average. 

“On National Aboriginal Day, we ask all Canadians to commit to learning more about the history and the many contributions of Canada’s First Peoples, so that we can truly honour them through meaningful policy,” said Lorraine Rekmans, Green Party Aboriginal Affairs Critic and a member of Ontario’s Serpent River First Nation.

“National Aboriginal Day is a reminder that as settlers, we must always work harder to be allies and to overcome the legacy of colonialism in this country,” said Elizabeth May, Leader of the Green Party of Canada and MP for Saanich–­Gulf Islands. “For BC residents who increasingly look to First Nations for leadership to stop the reckless Enbridge twinned toxic pipeline, on this day we commit ourselves to support the Alberta and BC First Nations who have resolved to stop the supertankers and pipelines." 

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Contact:

Nicholas Gall
Communications Coordinator
Green Party of Canada
(613) 614 4916
nicholas.gall@greenparty.ca

Statement from the Green Party of Canada on National Aboriginal Day 2014 #NAD

Statement from the Green Party of Canada for World Refugee Day 2014

Fri, 06/20/2014 - 14:12

OTTAWA – On UN World Refugee Day 2014, the Green Party of Canada is bringing attention to the plight of displaced persons across the globe.

“Not so long ago, Canada was a world leader in welcoming and supporting refugees, but sadly, this is no longer the case,” said Elizabeth May, Leader of the Green Party of Canada and MP for Saanich­–Gulf Islands.

“World Refugee Day is an important opportunity to reflect on our shared responsibility as Canadians and as global citizens to provide care and support for those fleeing violence and chaos in their home countries.”

“In today’s global paradigm, our society is comprised of all the nations of the world,” said Ronnie Smith, the Green Party Critic for Peace and Security. “Canada must demonstrate leadership in this regard by accepting a greater number of refugees and providing increased material support for those around the world who are being oppressed.”

Legislation introduced by the Harper Conservatives since 2011 has made life significantly more difficult for those seeking asylum in Canada. In flagrant violation of international human rights standards, Bill C-4, a bill ostensibly aimed at preventing human smuggling, recently granted immigration officers the authority to jail migrants who arrive in Canada by boat for up to 12 months.

Funding cuts made to the Interim Federal Health Program (IFHP) in 2012 have left untold thousands of Canadian refugees, including pregnant women and young children, without access to health care.

The Green Party of Canada believes in increasing supports for those seeking resettlement in Canada through expanded opportunities for language training, improved recognition of immigrants’ professional credentials, and stronger legal rights for asylum-seekers and new Canadians.

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Contact:

Nicholas Gall

Communications Coordinator

Green Party of Canada

(613) 614 4916

nicholas.gall@greenparty.ca


Statement from the Green Party of Canada for #WorldRefugeeDay2014 @UNHCRCanada

Northern Gateway will help degrade environment

Fri, 06/20/2014 - 04:00

Imagine your favourite lake — the one on which you have a cottage or fish for walleye. Now imagine it is going to be acidified for 40 years by a giant industrial project. Or imagine your favourite park has been designated as a transport route for trucks carrying toxic chemicals. You would probably feel irate, and your outrage might spill over into protests at this assault on your local environment.

We may find the above unthinkable, but this is precisely what First Nations communities in northern Alberta experience daily in the face of exponential growth of oilsands mining.

Take the Jack Pine oilsands mine expansion, for example. This project will acidify more than 20 lakes, divert rivers, reduce local air quality, and have serious impacts on migratory birds, woodland caribou and wood bison. A review panel evaluating the project concluded "The long-term and possibly irreversible nature of these effects has significant implications for the sustainability of traditional ecological knowledge, TLU (traditional land use) practices, aboriginal and treaty rights, and culture."

Nevertheless, they recommended the project proceed "in the public interest."

Now, with the federal government’s decision to conditionally approve Enbridge’s Northern Gateway Pipeline, First Nations along the proposed route and coastal communities are being asked to put up with more of the same, and then some.

The National Energy Board’s joint review panel for Northern Gateway admits pipeline construction will impact already endangered woodland caribou and grizzly bears. The twin pipelines — one carrying bitumen liquefied with diluent (dilbit) to Kitimat, B.C., and the other carrying imported diluent to Alberta — will cross more than a thousand waterways, including major salmon streams such as the Stuart, Endako, and Skeena. Located in some of the most difficult terrain on in North America, each of these waterways is at substantial risk from any future spill.

Then there’s the Douglas Channel and Hecate Strait, with their numerous islands and reefs. These waters will be plied by tankers carrying anything from 600,000 to three million barrels of dilbit, with all the attendant risks of catastrophic spills, underwater noise pollution, and direct collisions with whales, whose populations have been recovering in recent years.

The review panel is both vague and excessively optimistic in its assessment of these risks. Regarding the "unlikely" event of a major spill, they contend the majority of marine life would recover in weeks, months or a few years. In fact, based on unspecified "scientific evidence," the panel "accepts the results of chronic risk assessments that predicted no significant risks to marine life due to oil deposition in subtidal sediments." The panel reached these inexplicable conclusions in spite of the known tendency of dilbit to sink when bound to suspended sediments, the known difficulties of cleaning up dilbit spills, such as the 900,000-gallon spill in the Kalamazoo River, and the numerous unknown unknowns surrounding dilbit’s behaviour.

Regarding the chances of a tanker coming to grief, a report prepared by Concerned Professional Engineers concluded the risk assessment used by the review panel was deeply flawed and underestimated the inherent risks. Among other things, the risk assessors omitted significant tanker wrecks from their historical analysis, falsely assumed tankers would spend only 10 per cent of their time in wreck-prone waters and provided no justification for their predictions of spill frequency.

So much for the acknowledged risks from transporting dilbit. Other important risks and impacts were simply omitted from the review panel’s subjective evaluation. Northern Gateway is slated to carry over half a million barrels of dilbit across the mountains each day. All that bitumen will be produced from expanded oilsands extraction.

Returning to the Jack Pine mine expansion, the acidified lakes, diverted rivers and violated treaty rights are not "risks"; they are acknowledged and certain consequences of these projects going ahead.

The construction of Northern Gateway would increase the pace of oilsands development, inevitably resulting in environmental degradation further into the fragile northern environment.

Finally, the review panel ignores the planetary risks posed by Northern Gateway bitumen’s greenhouse gas emissions. Over the next few years, 78 per cent of the growth in Canada’s greenhouse gas emissions will come from oilsands production, negating our modest recent reductions on that front. The International Energy Agency — hardly a bunch of tie-dye wearing tree huggers — concludes about two-thirds of known fossil-fuel reserves will have to stay in the ground if the world is to restrict global warming to two degrees C above pre-industrial temperatures.

The review panel imposed 209 conditions on Northern Gateway, including substantial measures to protect stream crossings and sensitive environments during construction. But the recommendation that it proceed was based on incomplete or unscientific risk assessments, biased towards best case scenarios. As a result, Ottawa’s (inevitable) approval of Northern Gateway violated its own requirement the decision be based on the "best science" available.

Originally published in The Winnipeg Free Press, June 20, 2014

new @WinnipegNews article from GPC Environment Critic Andrew Park - "Northern Gateway will help degrade environment"

Camille Labchuk: Fossil fuels, toxic waste moving by rail through our own backyards

Wed, 06/18/2014 - 14:39

TORONTO – Camille Labchuk, the Green Party candidate in the Trinity-Spadina federal by-election, is making rail safety a priority in her campaign in the downtown Toronto riding.

Elizabeth May, Leader of the Green Party of Canada and MP for Saanich-Gulf Islands joined Ms. Labchuk for a press conference at the candidate’s home this morning. The Dupont Street house backs onto train tracks, where on a daily basis, freight trains move toxic chemicals, fossil fuels and nuclear waste mere meters away from Ms. Labchuk’s back deck.

"A giant, transcontinental flow of oil is suddenly being shipped right through our backyards. It's pipeline by subterfuge," said Ms. Labchuk. "We don't have the infrastructure to treat train cars like pipelines, and the government has never done a proper risk assessment of moving this amount of crude oil through a densely populated city like Toronto."

"Despite a welcome move by Transport Canada to get 5,000 of the most dangerous rail cars off the tracks, over 50,000 of them remain. We need to follow the US example and move to 'positive train control,' upgrade track, and ensure a safety culture,” said May. “Moving goods by rail‎ can be a safe option, but the neglect of the safety fundamentals that led to the Lac Mégantic disaster remains a threat." 

At the press conference, Ms. Labchuk signed a Green Party of Canada Candidate Pledge, committing to make rail a priority by focusing on rail safety for passengers and freight; ensuring full, informed consent of municipal governments for the transport of dangerous goods; working to provide access to convenient and affordable rail; and working to establish a national legislative framework for VIA Rail.

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Contact:

Nicholas Gall
Communications Coordinator
Green Party of Canada
(613) 614 4916
nicholas.gall@greenparty.ca

.@CamilleLabchuk, @ElizabethMay bringing attention to fossil fuels, toxic waste moving by rail through #TrinSpa #Toronto

Predictable cabinet decision on Enbridge project launches the fight to stop pipelines, tankers on the BC Coast

Tue, 06/17/2014 - 21:17

OTTAWA – Today's unsurprising federal Cabinet decision to conditionally approve Enbridge’s pipeline proposal means that the fight to stop this risky project is just beginning.

This afternoon, the federal cabinet 'announced' its Enbridge decision like a thief in the night. Issuing a release and not being available for questions spoke volumes about the administration's confidence in its ability to answer questions.

"From the opening week of NEB review of the proposed risky pipeline and tanker scheme to ship out raw bitumen, and Joe Oliver's open letter blasting anyone with the temerity to oppose the project, today's Cabinet decision had been a foregone conclusion," said Elizabeth May, Leader of the Green Party of Canada and MP for Saanich­–Gulf Islands. “We will continue to fight this ill-advised, reckless and dangerous scheme and we will stop it from ever being built.”

Despite the project’s federal approval, there remain significant hurdles that must be cleared before construction can begin, including numerous legal challenges from the BC and Alberta First Nations along the proposed route.

“Canadians don’t want a pipeline to ship our oil off to China, when Eastern Canada depends on expensive imported oil from Venezuela and the Middle East,” said Green Deputy Leader Bruce Hyer, MP for Thunder Bay–Superior North. “This project would bring enormous environmental risks while doing nothing to create Canadian jobs, or to reduce our dependence on foreign oil.”

“The Federal government continues to ignore the will of British Columbians,” says Andrew Weaver, MLA for Oak Bay-Gordon Head and Deputy Leader of the BC Green Party. “The fact is, Kitimat is opposed to this project. First Nations are opposed. British Columbians are opposed. It’s time for the Provincial Government to draw a line in the sand, and reject the Northern Gateway project.”

“This is the wrong decision for the Canadian environment,” said Andrew Park, an ecologist at the University of Winnipeg and the Green Party Environment Critic. “It's the wrong decision for the First Nations and coastal communities that will be affected by the transport of dilbit in pipelines and tankers, and it's the wrong decision from the viewpoint of Canada's planetary responsibility to fight climate change and reduce our greenhouse gas emissions."

If completed, this Enbridge pipeline would transport dilbit, a toxic mixture of oil sands bitumen and chemical diluent, for 1170 kilometers from northern Alberta to the port of Kitimat. Once in Kitimat, the dilbit would be loaded onto super tankers and shipped through the 260-km Hecate Strait, a narrow channel crowded with islands and prone to storms and thick fog. The cleanup costs for a single spill have been estimated at over $9 billion.

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Contact:

Nicholas Gall
Communications Coordinator
Green Party of Canada
(613) 614 4916
nicholas.gall@greenparty.ca

Predictable cabinet decision on #NorthernGateway launches the fight to defend BC Coast #nopipelines #notankers

Liberal candidate in Trinity-Spadina chooses pizza over climate

Mon, 06/16/2014 - 21:36

TORONTO – Adam Vaughan, Liberal candidate in the upcoming Trinity–Spadina by-election, has backed out of an all-candidates debate on climate change scheduled to take place tonight, leaving only Green Party candidate Camille Labchuk and Joe Cressy of the NDP to participate in the discussion.

Vaughan had previously confirmed his attendance at the debate, but announced at the last minute that he would instead be joining Liberal MP Scott Brison for a pizza party at the Liberal candidate’s campaign office.

“This decision just goes to show that the global climate crisis isn’t a priority for the Liberals,” said Labchuk, a Toronto criminal defence lawyer and environmental activist. “While I’m glad that the NDP are allowing their candidate to participate in this debate, their party has so far failed to show any real leadership on climate policy. The Greens are the only party that has consistently stood for meaningful action to cut Canada’s emissions by making polluters pay.”

Added Labchuk: “I would be more than willing to take part in a debate on Canada’s role in the climate crisis any time it fits with Adam Vaughan’s schedule.”

Organized by the Toronto branch of the climate activism group 350.org, “Trinity-Spadina Candidates Debate: Canada and the Climate Crisis” will take place tonight at 7:00 PM at the University of Toronto’s Ontario Institute for Studies in Education.

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Contact:

Nicholas Gall
Communications Coordinator
Green Party of Canada
(613) 614 4916
nicholas.gall@greenparty.ca

Liberal candidate in #TrinSpa chooses pizza over climate - @Toronto350 #climatechange #cdnpoli

Torture now an accepted way of doing business in Canada?

Fri, 06/13/2014 - 15:43

The media has reported that the Conservative government has secretly ordered the Canadian military to share information with allies, even in cases where there is a serious risk that sharing this information could lead to individuals being tortured.

“The use of torture can never be justified in a modern society that maintains that it supports the many statements agreed at the United Nations with respect to human rights and the rule of law,” argued Elizabeth May, Leader of the Green Party of Canada.

“Like most Canadians, the Green Party places a high value on the rights and dignity of the individual. Torture is not acceptable; information should never be provided to a foreign country where there is a credible risk that it will cause or contribute to the use of torture.”

The well-known Canadian figure Maher Arar is an example of how the sharing of false information can lead to false arrest and torture.  He was detained in New York in September 2002 and deported soon after by U.S. authorities, and ended up in a Syrian prison where he was tortured and forced to give false confessions. Justice Dennis O’Connor concluded that faulty information the RCMP passed on to the Americans very likely led to the Ottawa telecommunications engineer’s traumatic detention.

How pervasive this new policy is can be demonstrated by the fact that no less than 5 government agencies are now involved in sharing information, regardless of the risk.

”Can any Canadians feel secure if respect for national and international laws are dismissed by the government?” queried Joe Foster, Green Party of Canada Human Rights Critic.

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Contact: 

Nicholas Gall
Communications Coordinator
Green Party of Canada
(613) 614 4916
nicholas.gall@greenparty.ca

Torture now an accepted way of doing business in Canada?

Elizabeth May congratulates Mike Schreiner and Ontario Greens on a hard-fought campaign

Fri, 06/13/2014 - 13:27

OTTAWA – Elizabeth May, Leader of the Green Party of Canada and MP for Saanich–Gulf Islands, today congratulates Mike Schreiner, Leader of the Ontario Greens, and all the other Green candidates on a principled and hard-fought campaign in the Ontario election. 

“The Ontario Greens were a much-needed voice of optimism in the midst of a bitterly cynical election,” said May. “Throughout this election, the Greens were the only party willing to get past the hyper-partisanship and mud-slinging and talk about real issues, like climate change and democratic reform."

May conveyed particular thanks to Mike Schreiner, Leader of the Green Party of Ontario, who ran in the riding of Guelph.

“Mike brought forward original and innovative policies, he campaigned with honesty and integrity, and he gave Ontario voters a meaningful opportunity to voice their dissatisfaction with politics as usual,” said May. “I am so thankful for all his hard work and dedication.” 

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Contact:

Nicholas Gall
Communications Coordinator
Green Party of Canada
(613) 614 4916
nicholas.gall@greenparty.ca

Green Leader @ElizabethMay congratulates @MikeSchreiner and @OntarioGreens on a hard-fought campaign

Elizabeth May’s Act to create a Federal Framework on Lyme Disease passes House of Commons

Wed, 06/11/2014 - 23:14

OTTAWA – Elizabeth May’s Private Members Bill, C-442, An Act respecting a Federal Framework on Lyme Disease, has passed through 3rd reading with the unanimous consent of the House of Commons. Bill C-442 will now be referred to the Senate, where it will be sponsored by Senator Janis Johnson and taken up in the fall.

First introduced in June 2012, Bill C-442 will establish a framework for collaboration between the federal, provincial and territorial Health Ministers and the medical community, along with patients and their experts, in order to promote greater awareness and prevention of Lyme disease, to address the challenges of timely diagnosis and treatment, and to push for further research.

“I am immensely thankful for the support of my colleagues on all sides of the House in helping us to pass this bill,” said the Leader of the Green Party of Canada and MP for Saanich–Gulf Islands. “Today marks an important step toward better diagnosis and treatment for Lyme disease sufferers in Canada. Lyme disease is a growing problem in this country, and we urgently need health ministers, medical experts and patient advocates working together to find solutions.”

Although it is rare for Private Member’s Bills to clear the House of Commons, Bill C-442 has received support from all parties in the House, in addition to the Canadian Medical Association, the College of Family Physicians of Canada, and the Canadian Lyme Disease Foundation.

Lyme disease is an infectious disease that is carried and transmitted by ticks. During the Health Committee’s study of Bill C-442, the Public Health Agency of Canada provided expert testimony forecasting a possible 10,000 new incidences of Lyme disease in Canada each year by 2020.

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Contact:

Nicholas Gall
Communications Coordinator
Green Party of Canada
(613) 614 4916
nicholas.gall@greenparty.ca

BREAKING: @ElizabethMay’s Act to create a Federal Framework on Lyme Disease passes House of Commons

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