The work of a federal political leader is never done

Elizabeth May

It has been a long time since I wrote something for wide-spread indiscriminate public consumption. I think it was the morning after the by-election, November 28... a day in which I did 22 interviews with reporters, local and national, and then flew to Edmonton, over-nighting at the airport hotel, and on to Inuvik the next day. As punishing schedules go, I think flying to Inuvik right after the by-election to be cross-examined by Alberta government lawyers at the National Energy Board hearings into the Mackenzie gas pipeline, must set some sort of record for masochism. I didn't really have any choice. The Sierra Club of Canada climate evidence was all attached to my personal affidavit, sworn more than 18 months ago when I was Executive Director. A sworn affidavit is not the sort of thing you can pass along to others. I had to be there myself to ensure all the evidence would remain on the record.

The part the Alberta government hated was the strands of evidence that the major buyer for Beaufort Sea natural gas would be the Athabasca region and the energy-glutton known as tar sands production. Everyone knows that is the largest energy market in the region, with Liberal leader Stephane Dion suggesting that nuclear reactors in northern Alberta may be needed to meet energy demand. It is one of those "inconvenient truths" that no one wants to acknowledge. Alberta's lawyer wanted to somehow dissuade me from the various reports cited in my affidavit to support the rather logical "one and one makes two" analysis that gets Mackenzie gas to the tar sands.

Before the dust could even settle around the historic London North Centre result, and before I could get back from Inuvik, Canada was watching the Liberal convention. I watched bits of the Thursday night tribute to Paul Martin from a Green Party potluck party in Inuvik -- with some 15 Green supporters! (in Inuvik!!!). By the time Dion managed to win top spot, I was back in Toronto for a speech I had to deliver the next day in Niagara Falls. Watching that sea of green at the Liberal convention -- placards, scarves, hats! ---- it was easy to see our London results had had an impact. As political columnists Chantal Hebert and Susan Dalacourt had reminded the Liberals (in case they missed it), Green concerns now have traction in elections.

This week I have managed to get back to the Question Period routine (reminding security guards and starting at square one to get media access after my absence in the by-election), had successful Green Party fundraisers in Kingston, Ontario and in Montreal, and am now, after a glorious reunion with friends from my home parish St Bartholomews this morning, on the train headed for an event in Toronto. I am beginning to feel the real physical limits of exhaustion and can hardly wait for some time off over the holidays.

On the home front, there's home made bread again, laundry is done, and the house is beginning to look as though it might be habitable with a bit more house work.... .(ok, a lot more house work)....the work of the single mother, federal political leader is never done...