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Montreal Simon: Now Can We Call The Cons TEAM FART?

As you may have heard, Michelle Rempel has blown a fuse again, and has caused another unseemly fuss, or in this case stink, in the House of Commons.By accusing the government of treating Alberta "like a fart in the room."And then launching herself at the Green leader Elizabeth May like a bat out of . . . → Read More: Montreal Simon: Now Can We Call The Cons TEAM FART?

A Different Point of View....: Why are our environmental groups supporting weak climate targets?

Canada is far behind many other countries when it comes to meeting its carbon reduction targets. We have an “inadequate” ranking on the international mechanism tracking carbon emitters, says Climate Action Tracker.  Many other countries/regions, such as Norway, the European Union, the United States and China, are well ahead of us.

Meanwhile, the federal government’s . . . → Read More: A Different Point of View….: Why are our environmental groups supporting weak climate targets?

A Different Point of View....: Environmental Groups failing by not lobbying Ottawa over climate change

Canada is far behind many other countries when it comes to meeting its carbon reduction targets. We have an “inadequate” ranking on the international mechanism tracking carbon emitters, says Climate Action Tracker.  Many other countries/regions, such as Norway, the European Union, the United States and China, are well ahead of us.

Meanwhile, the federal government’s . . . → Read More: A Different Point of View….: Environmental Groups failing by not lobbying Ottawa over climate change

A Different Point of View....: Environmental Groups failing by not lobbying Ottawa over climate change

Canada is far behind many other countries when it comes to meeting its carbon reduction targets. We have an “inadequate” ranking on the international mechanism tracking carbon emitters, says Climate Action Tracker.  Many other countries/regions, such as Norway, the European Union, the United States and China, are well ahead of us.

Meanwhile, the federal government’s . . . → Read More: A Different Point of View….: Environmental Groups failing by not lobbying Ottawa over climate change

Cowichan Conversations: The NDP and the Green Party seem to be reading off the same song sheet

The NDP delegates supported the ‘Leap Manifesto’ at their convention but rejected Tom Mulcair as the leader. He left the stage went behind the curtain and then shortly re-emerged with the news that he Read more… . . . → Read More: Cowichan Conversations: The NDP and the Green Party seem to be reading off the same song sheet

Politics and its Discontents: BDS, May And Israel’s Occupation

The title for this post I took from the online flurry of letters that brought out the usual voices in The Star. I will reproduce a number below that both support and demonize the movement to sanction Israel for its depraved mistreatment of Palestinians in the occupied territories. I remain convinced that words will accomplish nothing in this long and ongoing heartache. Only strong and principled action has a chance of success. For that reason alone, no concerted effort to label people like me and others who support the cause as anti-Semitic will have any effect whatsoever.

Re: May shouldn’t run away from boycott, Opinion Aug. 22

Thank you very much for your publishing Linda McQuaig’s powerful piece. As a Jewish-Canadian, I am deeply concerned about our collective failure to hold Israel accountable for its war crimes, human rights violations and ongoing military occupation of Palestine. Support for Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS) is not only growing among campuses, church and union groups, it is also increasing in our Jewish communities.

Why have we been silent? Why have we not understood that it is not anti-Semitic to criticize Israel. It is, in fact, pro-human rights and taking the collective wisdom of our peoples’ histories of being persecuted. Tragically, we know the impact of global silence in the face of state terror.

Those of use who care deeply about Palestinian human rights were thrilled to see the Green Party take a courageous stand in support of BDS. I am very hopeful that Elizabeth May will support this position. This is not a radical position. It is simply taking a very obvious, peaceful stance against violence.

Unfortunately, people who publicly criticize Israel (including journalists and Jewish people) are subject to violent threats and accusations of anti-Semitism.

Much gratitude to Linda McQuaig for her excellent commentary and her courage to speak out about such an important issue. And thanks to the Star for printing this. Although you will likely receive pushback from pro-Israel folks, please know you that you are giving voice to a position supported by many of us.

Alisa Gayle, Toronto

Canada needs a principled position that respects Canadian values of human rights and the rule of international law. If BDS is one efficient way to lead to that end, then there is a well-justified reason to support this movement.

Dr. Nabil Tabbara, professor, Schulich School of Medicine and Dentistry, University of Western Ontario

The problem with Ms McQuaig and her fellow travelers’ support of BDS is that it singles out Israel, not just in the region but amongst the nations of the world, and does nothing to move along the peace process. To say that the solution to the 100-year conflict lies solely on one side can only be rationalized by someone wearing blinders.

Ms May’s thoughtful rejection of supporting this movement should be praised. Ms McQuaig is the one to be admonished for her stance.

Morris Sosnovitch, Toronto

I agree with writer Linda McQuaig. The leader of the Green Party should not only stay but work as hard as ever that her party does not become the hijacked home base of the anti-Israel bashing club that singularly focuses on Israel and excludes all others.

The solidarity with Palestine is all well and fine except that there is only silence for the people of Sudan and Syria who we see slaughtered daily on a scale that is horrific and cruel.

The military occupation over Palestinian lands will end when there is trust and a true commitment in place to build peace based on a two-state solution by both sides. Peace will never flow by punishing and demonizing one side in a complicated two-sided conflict.

Elizabeth May needs to stay to fight for the soul of her party. She needs to ensure that the Green Party remains committed to real principles and not false narratives.

Martin Gladstone, Toronto

Linda McQuaig’s article presents several incorrect statements and a false narrative. BDS is not a “peaceful way to protest” Israel’s perceived misteps – it is an odious attempt to delegitimize the State of Israel. Palestinians live under Israeli occupation because Jordan refused to stay out of the Six Day War, forcing Israel’s hand to take the West Bank from Jordanian occupation. And the author fails to state that West Bank Palestinian Arabs enjoy far more rights than anywhere else in the Middle East.

David E. Bronfman, Toronto

I see the Star has stooped to a new low. This article exposes your proclivity to show your anti-Israel bias. To defend the BDS movement is exactly the same as calling for the destruction of the State of Israel, the only country of almost 200 in the world that is censured for destruction.

Marek Machtinger, Thornhill

The suggestion that the BDS movement is anti-Semitic is rooted in a narrative created by those who support the 49-year-long illegal occupation of Palestine. The ongoing violations by Israel of international human rights and humanitarian laws, the Fourth Geneva Convention and UN Security Council and General Assembly resolutions are why the majority of Green Party members and others support BDS.

The desperate situation in Palestine has been thoroughly documented by reputable human rights agencies such as Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International and Defence for Children International.

This year the Israeli government has significantly reduced the water supply to Palestinians. In addition, in comparison to 2015, the Israelis have increased the rates of arrests of Palestinian children and youth and increased their destruction of Palestinian homes leaving Palestinian children homeless.

Those in the media have the responsibility to read the evidence regarding the situation in Palestine compiled by internationally credible non-governmental agencies before they accuse the BDS movement of anti-Semitism.

Rev. Steve Berube, co-chair, United Network for a Just Peace in Palestine and Israel

. . . → Read More: Politics and its Discontents: BDS, May And Israel’s Occupation

Politics and its Discontents: BDS, May And Israel’s Occupation

The title for this post I took from the online flurry of letters that brought out the usual voices in The Star. I will reproduce a number below that both support and demonize the movement to sanction Israel for its depraved mistreatment of Palestinians… . . . → Read More: Politics and its Discontents: BDS, May And Israel’s Occupation

Northern Reflections: That’s What Leadership Is About

Elizabeth May has announced that she will stay on as leader of the Green Party. That will make Linda McQuaig happy. She had advised May to stay put. But she’s also advising May not to walk away from the BDS resolution which the party passed at its recent convention:

Whether you agree with the boycott strategy or not, it is a peaceful way to protest a serious violation of human rights: the fact that millions of Palestinians have been living under Israeli military occupation in the West Bank and Gaza for almost 50 years, with Israel effectively annexing their land.
Some commentators have suggested that it’s OK to criticize Israel, but a boycott goes too far.
In the end, words will not change things. Action is required — the kind of action which Brian Mulroney took against South Africa’s apartheid regime: 
Back in the 1980s, it was divisive when Prime Minister Brian Mulroney imposed sanctions against the white-minority regime in South Africa.
Today, everyone agrees that Mulroney’s stance was laudable. But at the time it was highly controversial, with Mulroney acting in defiance of business leaders, members of his own cabinet and caucus, as well as British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher and U.S. President Ronald Reagan. 
Some are uncomfortable comparing Israel to South Africa. Not so Desmond Tutu:
Archbishop Desmond Tutu considers the comparison valid. In a 2010 letter to students urging the University of California to divest from Israel, Tutu wrote: “[D]espite what detractors may allege, you are doing the right thing. You are doing the moral thing…I have been in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, and I have witnessed the racially segregated roads and housing that reminded me so much of the conditions we experienced in South Africa under the racist system of Apartheid.”
May is in a difficult position. But that’s what leadership is about. 
Image: Patrick Doyle/Canadian Press

. . . → Read More: Northern Reflections: That’s What Leadership Is About

Northern Reflections: That’s What Leadership Is About

Elizabeth May has announced that she will stay on as leader of the Green Party. That will make Linda McQuaig happy. She had advised May to stay put. But she’s also advising May not to walk away from the BDS resolution which the party passed at its rece… . . . → Read More: Northern Reflections: That’s What Leadership Is About

Babel-on-the-Bay: Elizabeth May, please step forward.

It has always been our opinion that Green Party Leader Elizabeth May is far smarter than anyone else in the Green Party. And she has certainly carried all those folks on her back for far too long. It is time now for Elizabeth to take on a real challenge. Surely it is obvious to her […] . . . → Read More: Babel-on-the-Bay: Elizabeth May, please step forward.

Northern Reflections: Whither Liz?

Ever since the Green Party adopted a resolution to support the BDS movement, there has been lots of speculation about Elizabeth May’s future. Gerry Caplan has suggested that she should consider running for the leadership of the New Democratic Party. But Susan Delacourt suggests she may join the Liberal fold:

No leader wants to be seen walking away from a party in anger, of course — and May is a smart politician. It doesn’t strengthen her negotiating hand to present herself as a leader at odds with her own people. But she is. She called herself “broken-hearted” in the interview with Cochrane.

Working with the Liberals wouldn’t be a huge stretch for May. In 2007, she and then-leader Stéphane Dion announced a red-Green pact, the terms of which barred the Liberals from running a candidate in the Nova Scotia riding where May was vying for a seat, while the Greens agreed to do the same in Dion’s Montreal-area riding. The two were natural allies on the environmental front in particular; the Green Party and Dion’s ‘Green Shift’ covered a lot of common ground.

And May appears to be on very good terms with Justin Trudeau:

When Trudeau was an opposition backbencher, his assigned seat in the Commons was right at the back of the Liberal ranks, close to May’s desk. The two could often be seen chatting.

In the days before he became Liberal leader, she went so far as to tell a reporter that Trudeau was much easier to work with than Thomas Mulcair or the New Democrats.

“Over the last two years, I found Justin Trudeau to be collaborative and friendly,” May told the Georgia Strait in April 2013. She contrasted her experience working with Trudeau to her more strained, “discouraging” relations with the NDP leader.

However, with proportional representation on the radar, she no doubt would like to see the Greens benefit from the change.

May has said that she will take a walk in the snow — something which admittedly is hard to do at this time of year. When she emerges, she says, she will have reached a decision. You can bet that nobody but May knows what that decision will be.

Image: cbc.ca . . . → Read More: Northern Reflections: Whither Liz?

Northern Reflections: Whither Liz?

Ever since the Green Party adopted a resolution to support the BDS movement, there has been lots of speculation about Elizabeth May’s future. Gerry Caplan has suggested that she should consider running for the leadership of the New Democratic Party. Bu… . . . → Read More: Northern Reflections: Whither Liz?

Left Over: Green Party ReGrowth?

Elizabeth May could quit as Green Party leader this month ‘Broken-hearted’ May says boycott Israel policy has her on verge of stepping down as leader By David Cochrane, CBC News Posted: Aug 12, 2016 5:00 AM ET Last Updated: Aug 12, … Continue reading . . . → Read More: Left Over: Green Party ReGrowth?

Cowichan Conversations: Green Party In Disarray-Elizabeth May Walk

There is a great deal of debate and discussion taking place following the Green Party convention where the membership joined with other human rights forces worldwide in opposition to the ongoing seizure of Palestinian lands. Read more… . . . → Read More: Cowichan Conversations: Green Party In Disarray-Elizabeth May Walk

Song of the Watermelon: An Open Letter to Elizabeth May Regarding BDS

Dear Elizabeth May, Please don’t resign over Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions. Far from being “polarizing, ineffective and unhelpful,” the BDS movement seeks to employ moderate, non-violent means (i.e. boycotts and other economic measures) to pressure Israel to end its decades-long … Continue reading . . . → Read More: Song of the Watermelon: An Open Letter to Elizabeth May Regarding BDS

Cowichan Conversations: Luke Cross At The Elizabeth May-Chief Don Tom, Dr. Eion Finn Meeting

See the entire meeting here – in 3 parts https://www.facebook.com/ennvi/ . . . → Read More: Cowichan Conversations: Luke Cross At The Elizabeth May-Chief Don Tom, Dr. Eion Finn Meeting

Politics and its Discontents: Elizabeth May Goes Where Trudeau Fears To Tread

Some would say that to link the terrible losses in Fort McMurray to climate change is insensitive and political. Of course, they would be wrong, since climate change is not an ideological issue, however much the deniers try to frame it. It is a fact.Wh… . . . → Read More: Politics and its Discontents: Elizabeth May Goes Where Trudeau Fears To Tread

A Different Point of View....: Climate controls ‘slip slidin’ away’ following weak Paris agreement

 “World agrees to historic climate accord” 
The Toronto Star.
“Nearly 200 countries agree to historic pact in Paris
to reduce emissions and fight climate change”

The Vancouver Sun.
 “Climate deal: World praises France’s diplomacy, showing it’s still a master of the art”
The Winnipeg Free Press.

With these headlines appearing in newspapers across the country, Canadians must have been relieved that they don’t need to worry about climate change nearly as much now that everything has been worked out in Paris.

Unfortunately, this assumption couldn’t be further from the truth.

The politicians meeting in Paris, faced with the possibility of total failure, were extremely excited to reach any kind of an agreement. As politicians will do, they convinced themselves and the compliant mainstream media that the accord all 195 countries signed was an amazing break through document.

The agreement is jam-packed with lofty language and idealistic goals. However, it is totally lacking in legally binding mechanism that will hold governments to emission limits that will stop global warming from reaching devastatingly high levels.

May & Klein have strongly different opinions

Even so, there are strong differences of opinion among environmental leaders concerning the value of the pact.

Green Party leader Elizabeth May is not concerned that the temperature goals in the agreement are not binding.

“It’s an historic and potentially life-saving agreement,” May writes in her blog.  . . . . “it may save the lives of millions.  It may lead to the survival of many small nations close to sea level.  It may give our grandchildren a far more stable climate and thus a more prosperous and healthy society.”

Two of the world’s leading climate activists disagree strongly with May.

Responding to the cheering going on in the meeting room when the deal was signed, Bill McKibben, co-founder of 350.org commented: “All the serious people in there in suits are playing fantasy games.”

Activist and author Naomi Klein said the agreed upon targets are far too weak. “They don’t lead us to 1.5 degrees Celsius or 2 degrees. They lead us to warming of 3 to 4 degrees Celsius, which is beyond catastrophic.”


This year global warming, compared to the pre-industrial age temperature, is expected to reach 1 degree Celsius. Scientists say that warming must be kept to 1.5 degrees if hundreds of islands are to be saved. If countries do not improve on the promises they made in Paris global warming could reach 3.5 degrees by 2100 or earlier.

In Paris, rich countries, instead of stepping forward and coming up with firm commitments to fight warming, abdicated their responsibility to powerful multi-national corporations.

Corporations were involved in just about every aspect of COP21, including helping to pay for the summit. Meanwhile, a few select non-governmental organizations were permitted only to look over the draft of the agreement at the end of each day. Organizers kept thousands of protestors away from the delegates.

Most of the actions that can come out of the agreement are left to the marketplace, and activities many will be carried out by the same corporations that have polluted the planet.

Incidentally, it was no surprise that none of the words “fossil fuels”, “oil” or “coal” appear in the agreement.

Carbon trading, which allow companies to make huge profits but that are slow to reduce emissions, are looked upon favourably. Because no action was taken against fracking, the practice, which produces highly damaging methane gas, will increase.

Financial institutions are already making large profits from financing many activities related to global warming. The most common funding is for clean energy solutions, underwriting green bonds and structuring catastrophe-linked securities to help clients manage climate change risks.

It is a bitter irony that the banks financed corporations as they destroyed our climate, and now they’ll provide the financing for many of the same companies to try to clean it up.

Rich North betrays developing nations

The lack of substantial outcomes from Paris for countries with the least ability to defend themselves from global warming has caused rifts that may not be overcome for years.

Helen Szoke, of Oxfam Australia, denounced the agreement as “a frayed lifeline to the world’s poorest and most vulnerable people.”

Small Island Developing States (SIDS) in the Pacific Region contribute just 0.3 per cent   of global greenhouse gas emissions. Yet residents of many islands have had to leave their homes, and dozens of islands will disappear under water if strong actions to slow emissions in the developed world are not taken.

There was a lot of fancy talk in Paris about transporting millions of tonnes of earth to restore the most threatened islands, but residents aren’t holding their breath.

The strongest condemnation of the Paris agreement came from Kumi Naidoo, the executive director of Greenpeace, one of the world’s most influential environmental groups.

It’s “climate apartheid,” says Naidoo.

“Most of the people in the countries that emitted the most carbon are white and most people in the countries who are paying first and the most are people of colour,” says Naidoo. “There is no doubt in my mind that subliminal racism is at play in these negotiations.”

Environmentalists must pick up the slack

So with governments failing to move ahead the cause of a cleaner environment in any meaningful way, what can be done to pick up the slack?

The world’s many climate change groups need to organize a huge lobby movement – one that can match the power of the fossil fuel industry. The tobacco industry was not brought under some control until it was banned from lobbying governments, and the same needs to happen with the fossil fuel industry.

Across the globe, NGOs, civil society and all kinds of organizations need to work together lobbying all levels of government. It seems they may be the only segments of society – for now at least – willing to fight for climate justice.

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Contact Nick Fillmore at fillmore0274@rogers.com

. . . → Read More: A Different Point of View….: Climate controls ‘slip slidin’ away’ following weak Paris agreement

A Different Point of View....: Climate controls ‘slip slidin’ away’ following weak Paris agreement

 “World agrees to historic climate accord” The Toronto Star.“Nearly 200 countries agree to historic pact in Paris to reduce emissions and fight climate change” The Vancouver Sun. “Climate deal: World praises France’s diplomacy,… . . . → Read More: A Different Point of View….: Climate controls ‘slip slidin’ away’ following weak Paris agreement

Accidental Deliberations: On decision points

I’ve previously challenged any attempt to pressure Thomas Mulcair to abandon the NDP’s leadership. And I’ll take a moment do so the same in response to Scott Gilmore’s admonition to Elizabeth May.

As in the case of every party, the Greens should have every reason to evaluate whether they’re achieving their goals. But there’s . . . → Read More: Accidental Deliberations: On decision points

LeDaro: LeDaro 2015-10-20 11:45:00

Finally, Stephen Harper is gone – an end to a decade-long nightmare for our country. His politics of control, fear, and division finally caught up to him. We got our country back, an end to scapegoating religious minorities, an end to the war on science, and hopefully the return to a sane foreign policy.

  . . . → Read More: LeDaro: LeDaro 2015-10-20 11:45:00

Song of the Watermelon: Six Ways That the Greens Are Canada’s Most Progressive Party

In the midst of a campaign dominated by horse races and attack ads, by fear and scandal and appeals to our basest political instincts, it is easy to forget that elections are meant above all to be about policy. Which party offers the kindest, most equitable, and most sustainable vision for the country?

The . . . → Read More: Song of the Watermelon: Six Ways That the Greens Are Canada’s Most Progressive Party

Susan on the Soapbox: A Pop Quiz for Canadian Citizens

Lost in the hoopla over whether Ms Ishaq can take the Oath of Citizenship while wearing a niqab is the fact that she actually passed the citizenship test.

Which made Ms Soapbox wonder: how many Canadians, veiled or unveiled, could pass the citizenship test if they were asked to take one.*

So pop quiz!

Yes, . . . → Read More: Susan on the Soapbox: A Pop Quiz for Canadian Citizens

Facing Autism in New Brunswick: The Environment Is Of Vital Importance – Next Time Include Elizabeth May

This blog is focused on autism disorders, very closely related conditions including intellectual disability and epilepsy.  It is about my son and the joy he brings me each day despite his serious disorders and challenges.  Occasionally it is just a celebration via pictures of the pleasure I experience each day that I live . . . → Read More: Facing Autism in New Brunswick: The Environment Is Of Vital Importance – Next Time Include Elizabeth May

Facing Autism in New Brunswick: The Environment Is Of Vital Importance – Next Time Include Elizabeth May

This blog is focused on autism disorders, very closely related conditions including intellectual disability and epilepsy.  It is about my son and the joy he brings me each day despite his serious disorders and challenges.  Occasionally it is … . . . → Read More: Facing Autism in New Brunswick: The Environment Is Of Vital Importance – Next Time Include Elizabeth May