As 2020 comes to a close I have been reflecting on what we’ve learned. It is painfully obvious that our social safety net was not up to the challenges we faced this year. Before the pandemic hit we had too many Canadians who were falling through the cracks, and the pandemic made things much worse. Greens have been calling for a Guaranteed Livable Income (GLI) for years. It was good to see MPs from other parties join in that call this year. The government is still resisting the idea, but we will continue pressing for GLI to be implemented in Canada.
The pandemic continues to expose how seniors in Canada are dangerously vulnerable, directly contradicting our image as a caring nation. COVID-19 left a trail of devastation in our long-term care homes. The military had to be deployed to help in some provinces and their reports were shocking. It's time to make long-term care about just that: care, not profit. That means bringing long term care under the Canada Health Act to ensure national standards of care for seniors. It also demands better wages and working conditions for staff, and putting an end to for-profit long-term care.
We know our best chance to keep these conversations going is to get more Green voices in Parliament. With the end of 2020, and a possible spring election just around the corner, I want to take an opportunity to ask for your support of our Green Breakthrough Fund. The Green Breakthrough Fund helps us get our ground game ready and makes sure we can run a strong campaign in 2021.
This year also showed us Canada needs to be more self-reliant when it comes to the production of critical supplies. The lack of Canadian personal protective equipment manufacturing slowed down our initial response to the pandemic. On the vaccine development front, we are living with the ramifications of the privatization of Connaught Medical Research Laboratories. Founded in 1914, Connaught was a publicly funded Canadian medical research laboratory dedicated to developing low cost vaccines and medicines for Canadians and the world. Connaught manufactured and distributed insulin at cost, and developed mass production techniques that played a crucial role in reducing deadly diseases around the world. In 1986 the Conservative government sold off Connaught to a private corporation. The pandemic has made it clear Canada needs a publicly funded not-for-profit medical research laboratory just as much today as we did 100 years ago.
Establishing this new facility should be a key pillar of bringing in universal Pharmacare, as it will reduce the price we pay for vaccines and medications. It will also ensure we do not have to spend millions or billions of dollars to buy our way into the line for vaccines and medications produced in other countries.
An important ray of hope that has come out of this year is the proof that the Canadian political system has the capacity to respond to a crisis quickly, with a massive collective effort and a Team Canada approach. The twin crises of climate change and the crash in biodiversity have seemed insurmountable due to hyper-partisanship, lack of imagination and lack of political will. Canada’s response to COVID-19 has shown us that when we unite in the face of a crisis we can do much more than was previously imagined. We cannot further delay real climate action. Even as we continue dealing with COVID-19 and as we come out of this pandemic, we must keep climate action and environmental protection as primary goals in our recovery.
At this time of year we take stock, reflect in gratitude and look toward the future. I’m proud of the work Greens have accomplished this year and am grateful for the support of our members across Canada. I’m looking forward to 2021 and to growing the positive and revolutionary impact of electing Greens. Will you join me in building our movement with a donation today?
As a Green MP, elected for the first time in May of last year, 2020 has been a precipitous learning curve. I am extremely proud of the output by our Green caucus of three. I am humbled to work with such outstanding colleagues as Elizabeth May and Jenica Atwin. Elizabeth brings her wealth of experience and knowledge and has been a tireless and generous mentor. Jenica shines with her intelligence, sensitivity, intuition, calm and grace. I continue to learn from both of them every week. I'm excited for the year ahead with Annamie Paul's strong leadership and I'm also grateful for our respective teams of dedicated staff who have been supporting us and our combined caucus as we have been punching well above our weight, in and out of the House of Commons.
Wishing you well,
Green Party of Canada