Message from Elizabeth May
Canadians are a resilient, engaged and caring people. Together, nothing is impossible. We cannot risk being divided by those who seek political advantage through fear-based rhetoric. If we are divided as a people, we may lose the greatest opportunity ever before any society, for our economy, our health and progress.
This is a pivotal point in history…
When confronted with an overwhelming challenge, it is human nature to want to avoid thinking about it. We seem to be aware only of the threat – and not the opportunity. It is easier to ignore a looming threat, like the climate emergency, than to face up to the challenge.
The problem is that we cannot pretend the climate threat away. And by ignoring it, we only drive a deep sense of concern deeper below the surface. It makes us worried and anxious.
The antidote to worry starts with facing facts. Then confidence in our future grows as we marshal all our resources to meet – and beat – that challenge.
History helps. It helps build confidence to see the times when humanity has responded to a threat – and avoided its worst impact.
What can we learn from the Second World War?
A historical example of success at the level of effort required to confront the climate crisis was that of the Allies taking on fascism and Hitler’s ruthless expansionistic regime. What the Allied efforts in the Second World War can tell us is the following:
Giving up is not an option. Political courage is needed. Incremental actions cannot meet the challenge.
For five days in May 1940, Prime Minister Winston Churchill was surrounded by military advisors, senior civil servants and Cabinet members demanding that he negotiate terms of surrender with Hitler.
The facts were very bleak. The details were not shared with the British public but citizens knew that much was amiss. The British government prepared a daily report on public morale. In May 1940, “fatalism (was) on the rise… and women, in particular, have stopped listening to the wireless.”
The entire British army was pinned down on a beach in northern France, at Dunkirk. France had just surrendered. England’s coastline was essentially defenceless. Gun turrets along the coast were under construction – hoping to fool German aircraft pilots by using telephone poles instead of guns.
The US government refused to engage.
Churchill was told there was no hope.
Then he thought of something. How many civilian vessels are there in Dover? Just across the English Channel were 861 civilian boats – fishing boats, ferries, vessels of all kinds.
And this is why the Dunkirk story matters – it was not possible, but it happened. Those 861 boats rescued over 300,000 men. Sadly, 243 of these boats were sunk by German fire, but still the entire British army and tens of thousands of French soldiers were rescued. An evacuation against all odds inspired a nation on the verge of surrender to oppose Hitler – and win.
Such leadership has a phenomenal impact on morale. C.S. Lewis, theologian and author of the Narnia Chronicles, wrote in his diary, “I find that everyone I meet feels so much more encouraged now that things are so much worse.”
Facing facts and organizing ourselves to confront a challenge is how we will build a robust and resilient society in the face of a changing climate – in Canada and around the world.
In the spirit of Dunkirk, we can ask ourselves, “What can I do with my little boat? Where and how do I pitch in?”
As in all efforts to tackle big threats and long odds, we need all hands on deck!
One of the most important things you can do is vote for the kind of unwavering leadership that the climate emergency requires. Now is the time to elect a parliament that is not going to back down, compromise or waffle. We are offering you the slate of candidates and the platform that will get us where we need to go.
By electing a strong caucus of Green members of parliament, you will give Canada the best possible chance to rise to the challenge. And I firmly believe that once we have shaken off the dead hand of the fossil fuel lobby, we can play an effective role in pushing global action.
This is not a one-issue platform. It sets out a deep commitment and action plan to genuine truth, justice and reconciliation with Indigenous Peoples. The platform speaks to our immediate anxieties about affordability – in housing, prescription drugs and education. It outlines how Canada can function better as a federation through greater cooperation. But underscoring it all is a call to be inspired, to answer the call of species without voices, of children without votes.
With your help, we can be the heroes in our own story.
Green Party of Canada
“The era of procrastination, of half-measures, of soothing, and baffling expedients of delays is coming to a close. In its place, we are coming to a period of consequences.”