Archive | October 2015

Elizabeth May as Environment Minister is just plain nuts

By Jim Brown

Sometimes it just boggles the mind how of “out of touch” many so-called progressives can be. Petitions to make Elizabeth May Environment Minister in Justin Trudeau’s cabinet? Anyone who wants this should give their head a shake and keep shaking it until that nutty idea is dislodged. May is one of the best champions for the environment right now in Canada. She knows the file like the back of her hand and is fearless in her advocacy for a better world. If she became one of a couple dozen cabinet ministers her voice would become muted at best. She would have to clear nearly everything she says publicly through the Liberal party machinery and it wouldn’t be long before many of her supporters started accusing her of selling out her convictions for a plum appointment.

She could not “go off” and tell the world Canada needs to improve its shoddy record fighting climate change. May would have to take into account all the competing demands facing cabinet, from Albertans who believe a robust oil industry and pipelines are the key to their province’s prosperity to Ontarians who want to boost industrial development. Don’t forget grain producers in western Canada or spud growers in PEI who will fight tooth and nail to keep their allotment of pesticides and herbicides, not to mention chemical fertilizers. Justin Trudeau and his Liberals aren’t exactly going to tell them to jump in a lake when many of his party’s seats were won in rural ridings. Or how about the powerful mining lobby, responsible for much of Canada’s economic prosperity? And how are her calls to drastically slash important fisheries going to go over in Atlantic Canada? Let’s not even talk about genetically modified crops.

In a Trudeau cabinet the environment and sustainable harvesting practices would slide down the list to maybe sixth, perhaps even lower in the government’s priorities, as it always has.

It might actually be a smart PR move for Trudeau to offer May the environment portfolio, and if she were to accept it an important critic’s voice would be all but silenced.

I’m convinced Elizabeth May would reject the government’s poisoned chalice. As Green Party Leader, unaffiliated with the Trudeau government, she can continue poking and prodding the government of the day to do better and her voice would be just as strong as it ever was. Why would she give that up?

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Large turnout, but voter suppression tactics kept it from going higher

By Jim Brown

Wow, a 68 per cent turnout, much higher than the 61 per cent total for the 2011 election. But at the same time I have to sympathize with the hundreds of thousands of Canadians who were disenfranchised through no fault of their own by a vindictive, spiteful, mean-spirited former government, determined to suppress voting by people who would tend to vote progressive – the young, ex-pats, those without primary residences, First Nations peoples. They didn’t get a chance to share in the celebration, the joy of casting a ballot to rid this country of the Harper Conservatives. Just imagine what the turnout would have been if vouching had been allowed and other unreasonable restrictions hadn’t been imposed. I am so glad to see the Harper government gone and one thing would have made me even happier – to see the front man for the Harper government’s voting reforms gone, too. Unfortunately, Pierre Poilievre the so-called Minister of Democratic Reform, was re-elected. But I’m sure his constituents will soon regret their decision.