Response from Elizabeth May: Dear Tom

Elizabeth May

Dear Tom,

I was dismayed by your fundraising email to your supporters (“Elizabeth May’s climate conference hypocrisy,” November 4, 2014). 

It is true that the Green Party sent an email to our supporters asking for people to stand up for climate action as I head to COP20 in Lima Peru. It is not true to say, as your email claims, that we “attacked” the NDP for failing to send any MPs to the climate negotiations for the last number of years.

What we said is, “climate change is not a priority for them.”  

I am never very comfortable with partisanship. But I would never sign off on anything less than factual. Nor anything personal or unfair.

I have been asking the other opposition parties to send MPs to the annual talks (the Conferences of the Parties under the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change).  Ever since Stephen Harper decided to exclude opposition parties from the official delegation, he has succeeded in reducing attention to what Canada does there.  

Initially, I was sure the larger, better funded parties would not allow Harper to keep them from attending the negotiations. And in fact, in Durban at COP 17, NDP MP Lauren Liu was there. I helped her organize her credentials when she was a last minute substitute for Megan Leslie. Since then, the NDP has not sent anyone.  I am not attacking you when I say so. These are the facts.

When I am the only opposition MP, there is less media attention from Canada and as I am the only opposition party MP to attend, that means the Liberals and New Democrats are losing the thread of the complexity of the negotiations.  I think it is tragic to see that neither one of you have kept up with the talks. The critical final meeting will be next year in Paris at COP21, but for Paris to succeed, a lot of heavy lifting needs to happen in Lima at COP20 next month.

That you saw the statement of this reality as an attack is unfortunate.  But you went farther and called me a hypocrite. 

The quote you used (calling it evidence of “her past comments disparaging international environmental negotiations”) was not in reference to any negotiations.  It was an explanation for why I was not going to go to Johannesburg for Rio plus 10.  There were no negotiations at Rio plus 10. It was an event, but not a negotiation.

I apologize if you thought it was unfair to ask for support as I head to Lima. 

Would you like to reconsider and send an MP to work with me?   

With best wishes,

Elizabeth May, O.C.
Member of Parliament for Saanich-Gulf Islands
Leader of the Green Party of Canada