The wonderful route that takes passengers from Montreal to Halifax began operation in 1904 and is called "The Ocean". It brought Canadian soldiers to Halifax to ship out in the wars and it brought newly arrived immigrants from Pier 21 to Montreal and points west. For many of our grandparents, their first glimpses of Canada were from the train window looking at the forests through which we now travel. Today they are bright orange and red and yellow in a glorious fall sunshine .
We had a nice group of Green Party supporters at the Moncton train station, at a whistle stop of about 15 minutes, but, amazingly the media nearly outnumbered the supporters. Next stop is Truro, where when the Green Party is government we should be able to transfer to the Cape Breton bound passenger train. That is the route I used to take, but now there is no passenger train to go home and my brother and sister in law will be waiting to drive us home.
Friday in Question Period was a real FIRST for the Green Party. We had a question asked of the government which the MP doing the asking acknowledged was due to Green Party research! Green Party media relations contact, and a major help in my leadership campaign, Camille Labchuk was sitting with me in the Diplomatic Gallery as the MPs made their way in. We have a bird's eye view, looking down at the MPs at their desks. I can see who is reading newspapers, covertly working on a Blackberry, signing correspondence or chatting to a neighbour while the cameras zoom in on the MP recognized by the Speaker. Members' Statements precedes Question Period and I watched as one of my oldest friends, the brilliant John Godfrey, Liberal from Toronto, made his way to his desk. "Jaunty" is the word for John in motion. In one hand his briefcase, in the other, his bike helmet. I first met him in 1981, when I was at Dalhousie Law School and he was President of Kings College. One of my classmates, Peter Dalgliesh was a long-time friend of John's and pulled both of us into the Ethiopia Airlift Campaign. John and Peter actually spent the Christmas of 1981 (or maybe 82) in Ethiopia after delivering a planeload of food relief from Nova Scotians.
John Godfrey had been Minister for Communities in the Martin Government and delivered the New Deal for Cities as a "green" initiative. Now, in Opposition, he is a member of the Environment Committee, so he had been witness to Ambrose's testimony on Thursday. When he rose to ask a question, it was clear he was going to put it to the Minister (to whom he directed the Question even though she was not in the House that day) that the Institute for Policy Studies was angered by Ambrose's misuse of its research. I was really pleased when he also credited the source of his information as my phone call to Daphne Wysham. Generous of him. We also got a fair bit of press coverage of the misuse of IPS research as we circulated Daphne Wysham's comments and her contact information to the media. Minister of Fisheries, Loyola Hearne gave a non-answer.
I do not expect Minister Ambrose to apologize for misusing IPS research. I do not expect her to recognize the benefits of helping developing countries move to clean and renewable energy. Still, it was the first Green Party question asked in the House. By a Liberal. Thanks John.