On May 2, Green Leader Elizabeth May told the press about her new Private Member’s Bill called An Act to Amend the Canada Elections Act (local endorsement of candidate).
'On this day, two years ago, I was elected as Saanich-Gulf Islands’ Member of Parliament. In two years, I have seen the noxious effect of party discipline on our democracy,’ said May.
The Bill amends the Canada Elections Act to require that, where a political party has an electoral district association in a riding, a prospective candidate for the riding must have their nomination papers signed by the chief executive officer and by one board member of the electoral district association in order to stand as that party’s candidate.
Elizabeth May, leader of the Green Party, views pets as part of the family.
Her daughter wanted a puppy for her 8th birthday. Not just any puppy, but a puppy that wouldn´t grow too big. She would take care of it. This was going to be her dog, just like her mother had her own dog, Ruey. So the hunt for a small breed dog was undertaken. Not an easy task, as it seemed every available small breed puppy was snapped up as soon as the litter was advertised. It was the little girl´s grandmother who found a breeder with a litter of Shih Tzu puppies before an advertisement was posted. While celebrating her birthday with relatives in the United Kingdom, the little girl learned she would get a puppy upon returning home to the Maritimes. Soon Elizabeth May and her daughter were driving out to Berwick, Nova Scotia so Victoria-Cate could select her puppy from the litter. Didn´t matter which puppy she selected, Victoria-Cate had decided Spunky was going to be the name, as a tribute to her favorite Beanie Baby character.
Elizabeth May had decided, before bringing the pup home, to implement some rules to ensure Spunky´s primary bond would develop with Victoria-Cate. And, as we all know, great plans sometimes go awry. Much to May´s sorrow, Ruey, the dog she had found abandoned at the side of a road 16 years before, died between visiting the Shih Tzu litter and the time they brought Spunky home. As a result Spunky became the centre of their attention and over the years has evolved into May´s dog, particularly now that Victoria-Cate is away at university.
Canadian Foreign Minister John Baird has had his initial meeting with newly anointed Secretary of State John Kerry and delivered his country’s official message: Canada wants the Keystone XL pipeline to be built. Canadian Green Party Leader and Member of Parliament (MP) Elizabeth May, however, brought a different perspective with her on a trip to D.C. that coincided with Baird’s. Heartened by President Barack Obama’s firm language on climate change and on creating renewable energy sources, May met with U.S. political leaders and delivered a different message: Many Canadians do not want the $7 billion, 1,700-mile pipeline to go through, inasmuch as it means more development in the Alberta oil sands.
In an interview with ICTMN, May, whose district is the Sannich Gulf–Islands of British Columbia, briefed ICTMN on her February 6 and 7 meetings with congressional and senate leaders and outlined the reasoning of Canadians who oppose Keystone XL.
Q: What did you accomplish in Washington?
A: I had a series of meetings with congressional leaders on climate, leaders in the House and the Senate, including Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) and the Senator from New Mexico. I asked them what they thought of President Barack Obama's inauguration address, how much they are expecting from him in the future, and how they see the Keystone XL pipeline within the mix of issues.
It was the friendliest showdown Green Party Leader Elizabeth May and Immigration Minister Jason Kenney have ever had.
The two Parliamentarians, accustomed to squaring off across the aisle in the House, instead took turns at the podium last week at the Rideau Club to argue their pick for Canada's greatest Prime Minister, the debate topic for the third annual Macdonald-Laurier Institute Soirée.
Both of them picked conservative prime ministers as their favourites. Mr. Kenney argued that Canada's 13th PM, John Diefenbaker, is the tops, while Ms. May argued for a classic, John A. Macdonald, Canada's first.
Gerrymandering is possible in the electoral boundaries redistribution, but also highly difficult, and if it is happening, it's "very dangerous," say government and opposition MPs.
"It would be possible, but it would require collusion on the part of the people appointed to the commission," said Green Party Leader Elizabeth May (Saanich-Gulf Islands, B.C.). "Certainly, my experience with the British Columbia commission, where I've certainly paid more attention, is that couldn't happen there. I'm doubtful it could happen in Saskatchewan."
Ms. May said the calls in and of themselves are "neither illegal nor particularly wrong" as the commission's job is to listen to the public.
"If you did have people showing up at the hearings and asking for different boundaries, that's the commissioner's job, to listen to the public's concerns. So if there was political posturing to say, Get out there and tell them you want to move into this riding so we can tilt it enough to have the conservatives benefit,' that's not, unless those calls are paid for by taxpayers dollars; that's not illegal, that's just you know, stirring up your troops to say, We want the boundaries here instead of there,' " she told The Hill Times.
KN: Green party leader Elizabeth May was in Washington the day that new Secretary of State, John Kerry and our Foreign Affairs minister, John Baird held that key meeting on the pipeline decision. Ms May thanks for joining us. How do you read the tea leaves there -does the pledge by new US Sec State to provide his answer to keystone in the near term- do you think that means this pipeline is heading for approval ?
EMay: I think it’s too soon to say – I’ve been talking to members of the Senate and the Congress here in Washington during my visit over the last number of days and there’s a lot of increased enthusiasm about what President Obama said in his inauguration address about the need for the US to seize leadership on the climate issue, to embrace clean tech, to do much much more to bring down green house gases. And John Kerry was, before being appointed Secretary of State, a prominent critic of the XL pipeline. So I think we’re a long way from knowing which way this is going to go.
KN: So you’re saying Secretary of State, Kerry, can’t stay true to himself and approve this pipeline.
EMay: Well, that’s a good way of putting it- I mean John Kerry has been on his own for years, I’ve seen him in climate negotiations when he had no other reason to be there except that he was concerned and committed. He showed up in Copenhagen, he showed up in Bali. This is a man who understands the climate issue and now he’s led by a President who’s says the United States is going to take the lead because we owe it to our children we owe it to our grandchildren and the United States is not going to stand by and watch other countries seize the technologies that get us past fossil fuels. I don’t see John Kerry being at all happy with the prospect of approving Keystone XL – particularly when we know there will be, next weekend, a large demonstration in Washington DC, opposing the Keystone pipeline. It is not going to be a decision that will sit well with John Kerry if he ends up feeling that he needs to approve it.
KN: But you know – I’ve been reading a couple of recent quotes from the Washington Post e.g. who recently in an editorial said “ignore the activists who have brazenly chosen to make Keystone XL a line- in-the -sand issue” and then there’s a publication Nature-which I think we can both agree is a pretty substantive magazine with scientific peer reviewed findings and it says “The administration should face down critics of the project, ensure that environmental standards are met and then approve it.” Now those are progressive publications. Doesn’t that give Obama some political cover?
EMay: It gets hard to do that when Canada doesn’t have a real climate plan. If Canada was coming – I go back to when Mulroney was the architect of an acid rain plan that worked and the approach was come to the US with clean hands, show the US that we’re taking the appropriate steps in Canada and then asking them to do the same.
In this case what Stephen Harper’s done is to destroy most of our environmental laws, cancel our commitments under Kyoto, behave as a rogue nation in world, and actually have no domestic plan to meet even the weak target that Stephen Harper has set. So how then do we tell Barack Obama- Accept our bitumen crude- We’re going to be good actors on climate. We don’t have credibility to say that which actually undermines the case that the keystone XL pipeline should be approved.
KN: Alright Elizabeth May – thanks for being with us.
Re: "May slams Mulcair's order for NDP MPs not to respond to her electoral cooperation letter," (The Hill Times Online, Jan. 22). The story drew a few incorrect inferences from what I had said in an interview. The headline was a bit inflammatory as well. I am trying to instill a spirit of cooperation and respect in the opposition lobby, and indeed, across the aisle to all of Parliament.
Firstly, it is a shame that the issue became public. If we are going to find a way to cooperate in one election only in order to get rid of the first-past-the-post system, then building trust is needed. That is why my suggestion was in a hard copy personal letter that was marked as "personal and confidential."
It is true that I was shocked that NDP MPs were told not to even reply. I would never have suggested that they should all have accepted my idea, but certainly grown-ups might be allowed to write their own letter in response. I felt this was especially the case for relationships that extend over decades.
Every other comment was (as your reporter correctly stated) a generic comment about the system in which most MPs find themselves. Being instructed on a daily basis when to speak, when to be silent, what to say, and how to vote on every issue is stultifying to real democracy. Each MP serves in the House of Commons as the representative of our constituents, not of the political party to which we belong. If we could break free of the strictures of partisan control, we would have a much healthier democracy.
Green Party Leader Elizabeth May Saanich-Gulf Islands, B.C.