Taking action on climate change must be the definitive issue in the next Government of Canada. As a result, I have made some important decisions regarding how I will vote and be active.
I am voting for the Green Party of Canada and actively supporting it.
This is a huge personal decision after nearly 40 years as a Liberal and being involved in nearly every campaign federally and provincially, so let me share my thinking.
Here’s why I’m now Green.
Why it’s now time to go Green
Time is running out for our country and our world to take action to avoid the worst effects of climate change. We face a hard deadline to act decisively over the next decade and the sooner we act and greater the impact the better.
We will reach the 1.5 degree post-industrial warming increase is recognized as the point when the high risks of climate change are imminent and nearly unavoidable as early as 2030 and before 2050 if global warming continues at its current high rate of increase according to a 2018 report of the International Panel on Climate Change.
Canada must do its part to care for our world and preserve our quality of life. And quite frankly, we are not as made clear in a recent federal government report that indicates Canada’s climate is increasing twice as fast as the global average.
I have a 12 year old daughter and 10 year old son. How the next government handles fighting climate change will be pivotal to what kind of world they inherit and live in–not to mention future generations.
In short, the more MPs and votes that the Green Party gets in the fall, the more likely we are to take the quick, decisive action required.
Pragmatic governing is inadequate
I breathed a sigh of relief when the Liberal government replaced the Conservatives. I was optimistic for progressive change on several fronts including finally taking climate change seriously. As part of a grassroots collaborative effort, I helped to organize the largest consultation in the country to inform our national climate action plan.
Since then, I do not believe that enough has been done to take action. That result is largely due to the federal Liberals traditional approach to governing.
What I always loved about the Liberal Party compared to the Conservatives and the NDP was that it was a pragmatic party of the centre rather than tied to any ideology. It can take the best ideas that benefit the country from the left, the right or the centre. A focus on the art of the possible is what contributes to its electoral success especially in a country as diverse in so many ways as Canada.
When it comes to climate change in 2019 however, a pragmatic, incremental approach to change is simply inadequate. So I have trouble squaring being serious about addressing climate change with buying a pipeline.
Bold, transformational leadership required
While the Liberal government has taken some positive measures such as the recently implemented carbon tax, we need more. Much more.
At a minimum, the federal government should be providing national leadership on climate change action rather than relying on a hodge podge of provincial responses and back filling any gaps. For example, it used to take the lead on providing financial incentives to encourage people to make their homes more energy efficient and reduce our use of fossil fuels to heat our home. The infrastructure is in place so why isn’t it being used?
We require bold, transformational leadership to fight climate change. Now.
Instead we’re falling behind. Personal transportation is a huge contributor of green house gases. Six countries (Sweden, Denmark, India, the Netherlands, Ireland, and Israel) have banned the sale of gasoline powered vehicles by 2030. Three nations have earlier bans while others like the United Kingdom and France have a ban starting in 2040. I could go on.
Even if the Liberal Party runs on a platform of bold action on climate change, I am concerned about whether it will be as bold in its actions. That’s why a Green vote is strategic. Green MPs can keep the pressure on the government and ideally hold the balance of power. I think we can see up to 12 of them elected in 2019.
Green votes show where the country is headed and where a party needs to be if it wants to be re-elected in the future. And if it doesn’t, look for more Green MPs to be elected.
Vote strategically for positive reasons
I admit that there is a very real threat of a Conservative government led by Andrew Scheer. The thought of that scares me as they could drag the whole country backwards in too many ways. So normally, I would be rallying voters without any strong party allegiance to vote to stop that outcome.
But as I have emphasized, these are not normal times. I’ve seen often enough though that anti-conservative strategic voting is not enough to stop them if people decide they want change or aren’t ready for change.
There are many ridings where the conservatives are virtually guaranteed to win. So in those ridings a Green vote shows the tide of the electorate is changing and can’t be ignored.
Then there are people who voted Liberal in 2015 who won’t again or are unsure if they want to do so. At the same time, they could never vote Conservative and may even choose to stay home and not vote. By going Green, these voters can be the foundation of a green surge that elects a record number of MPs. This result is most feasible in swing ridings that often change representation. But it can also elect MPs in ridings where there has been growing Green support as we saw provincially in nearby Guelph, in PEI where the Green Party is now the official opposition and this week with the election of the second ever Green MP.
I acknowledge though that there are many ridings where the Liberals or NDP are traditionally strong and the best alternative to the Conservatives. Together, I am confident the three parties can control a majority of the seats in the next Parliament.
Mike Morrice for Kitchener Centre
While my decision had largely been made early this year, it was sealed when the Kitchener Centre Greens nominated Mike Morrice.
Mike is an exceptional person who can make a real difference. I’ve had the privilege over the years of supporting many high quality candidates such as John Milloy, John English and John Sweeney. Mike is right up there shoulder to shoulder with them.
Mike’s vocation is addressing climate change and he gets results. His vision led him to establish Sustainable Waterloo Region in 2008 as a volunteer-powered movement that established the importance of local action. In a few short years, he gathered supporters who together built it into a high profile, influential organization. He then went on to establish what is now known as Green Economy Canada to support other grassroots organizations to make a similar impact.
Mike is exactly the kind of person that we need right now on Parliament Hill to be a catalyst for bold, transformational leadership to address climate change. He dreams big and is a proponent of a made-in-Canada Green New Deal. As Mike says, “this is not about left versus right. It is about our collective interest in acting decisively to secure a bright future for generations to come.”
And Kitchener Centre is exactly the type of riding where a green surge can elect a Green MP as its history shows it shifts with the electoral tide and prefers a progressive option. If there is a surge in Green votes nationally, Mike Morrice can win.
To help him take the riding, I have joined his campaign team in a supporting role.
The #Morrice2019 Launch Party on May 16
On May 18, more than 450 people came to meet Mike and his team of committed supporters who want to bring real change to Canadian politics and support solutions to preventing the worst of climate change. More than $20,000 was raised that night to run a competitive campaign.
We were told our time is now and challenged to dream big so together we can build a future where Canada is a leader in boldly transforming our world.
More to my decision than climate change
While the focus of this post and my decision has been on the looming threat of climate change, other issues and factors have contributed to my decision. I may explore some of those in later posts.