Monthly Archives: October 2006

My Most Effective Sunday Ever

Yesterday morning, I helped distribute flyers for Adrian Heaps who’s running for councillor in Scarborough Southwest (Ward 35). As it turns out, his son Toby and I did most of the actual running, from house to house, up and down driveways.

(Apparently, the muscles you use to run are very different from the ones you use to bike. Today I’m actually walking with a limp.)

Later that day, I made a quick-and-dirty website for The Lakeshore Local, a transit plan being proposed by Matthew Day, Etobicoke-Lakeshore (Ward 6) council candidate and a Green Party member.

I tell you this because I’m delighted to see that in today’s Globe And Mail, these two men (who I’m not sure have even met, or are aware that I’m doing double duty for them) were featured in a piece called Two off-the-beaten-track solutions for city traffic.

As far as I can tell I’m the only common link between the two candidates, and therefore the main reason they’re getting this kind of attention. Gentlemen, you’re welcome.

Garth to Stay Independent–For Now

Just found out.

Fine. Your loss, Garth. I didn’t want to go out with you anyway. You’re right, we should just stay friends. I don’t want to ruin this special thing we have. Besides, um, well, I’ve been meaning to tell you, there’s someone else. She’s really great, and I think she might be my first MP instead. So uh, no hard feelings?

“Well, there is some appeal (in joining the Green party),” Turner said.

“However right now, there is more appeal in trying to be an independent and seeing if that is going to work.”

Good, I hope it does work. I just want you to be happy, really. And hey, if being on your own isn’t what you thought it would be…I mean, if you get lonely…well, who knows how we’ll both feel in the future.

Just know that you’ll always have a special place in my heart.

(Special thanks to every girl I knew in high school for their help with this post.)

Three Updates: Garth Turner, Elizabeth May, Planet Earth

Today, three posts in one. I thought about splitting them up, but this seemed simpler. I recommend reading the whole thing, of course, but feel free to take it in pieces instead.

Garth Turner Update

According to this account by Lloyd Hilbert (via Jim Harris’ blog), there is some pretty strong support in Garth’s riding for the idea of him joining the Green Party:

At the end of the meeting he did a quick show of hands to get a judgment about what to do next.

He chose 5 options:

Stay as an Independent, Join the Liberals, Join the Greens, Negotiate a return to the Conservatives, Resign his position.

Based on a show of hands, the results were as follows:

Resign = 0
Join Liberals = 0
Go back to Conservatives = 4
Become Independent = 19
Join the Greens = 18

Those results confirm my earlier prediction. In fact, that support from his constituents to join the Green Party is even stronger than I thought it’d be. It’s a very good sign.

To an earlier commenter’s question about how I feel about the fact that Garth doesn’t support Kyoto as-is, I’m not thrilled about it but I can deal. Kyoto is important because it’s the only international framework we have for dealing with the climate crisis, and because Canada is now in the shameful position of being the only country to have signed the agreement and walked away. We have “cut and run,” as Harper would put it, from an international contract.

That being said, Garth is still willing to work seriously to reduce emissions. In terms of representation in the house, that’s better than nothing.

Elizabeth May Update

The race is on! Elizabeth has confirmed she’ll run in the by-election for London North Centre. There are some compelling reasons why she could actually win this one. There’s no doubt that it’s going to be the biggest local campaign in the Green Party of Canada’s history. We’ll be organizing buses to run from Toronto to London on weekends to flood the riding with volunteers, and several people have already committed to move to London and volunteer for the duration of the campaign. If we pull this off, and Garth comes through, we’ll have two MPs before the next general election. Everything’s happening very quickly.

Planet Earth Update

Things are happening very quickly here too, but in a much more negative way. Yesterday the WWF released more chilling evidence (as if we needed any) that we’re in serious trouble. Some highlights from their report (PDF):

  • Globally, we’re now placing a demand on the Earth’s resources that’s approximately 25% more than the Earth can provide.
  • By current projections, we’ll be using a full two-Earths worth of resources by 2050 (the same year Harper would like to get serious about the climate crisis).
  • Wildlife biodiversity has declined by a shocking 30% in the past 30 years.
  • The report predicts that “large-scale ecosystem collapse” is likely by the middle of the century.

What’s even more upsetting and baffling is that, as of right now, I can’t find this story on,, or If “large-scale ecosystem collapse” isn’t big news, someone please tell me what is. (Oh wait, I think I’ve got it. I just took a quick poll. Number of Google News articles about the WWF report: 70. Number of articles about McKay’s dog comment: 83. Number of articles about Madonna’s adoption: 729.)

Per capita, Canada is the fourth worst culprit. Interestingly, the United States is second, with the United Arab Emirates taking first place. I was in the UAE almost two years ago, and just dug this up from an (admittedly overly-pretentious) letter I wrote home about something I saw while visiting a high-school in Abu Dhabi:

A display case labeled “Did You Know…” shares some interesting facts about how wasteful and disproportionately privileged America is (produces x amount of garbage, consumes y amount of the world’s resources, throws out z percentage of the food they produce). It seems a little rich coming from a country where everyone drives an SUV, lives in a palace, eats mostly imported food, and owes their wealth to peddling dino-juice to the rest of the world. Then again, maybe I’m just bitter they forgot to mention how wasteful and privileged Canada is. We count too ya know.

I’m not particularly proud of the tone of the entry (I think I was trying to be funny), but you get the point. These students were being taught how bad the US is, when it turns out the UAE is even worse. And Canada’s not far behind. All I’m saying is, if we’re going to criticize the States, let’s make sure we’re also getting our own house in order.

Time For Action

All that is enough to be paralyzing, but think back to the first two updates. As our crisis worsens, our efforts to solve it also increase. Jared Diamond describes this phenomenon as a horse race between two animals that each continue to run faster. The most likely winner is not yet clear, but it’s not too late to affect the race.

Last night I was at Bullfrog Power’s one-year Birthday Bash. Bullfrog provides 100% renewable electricity to customers in Ontario, today. Right now! If you live in their service area and you want to take some action, becoming a customer of theirs is a good way to start.

Another great action would be donating to or otherwise helping with Elizabeth’s campaign. We need to raise $80,000 to run a full campaign, and there’s just a little more than a month before E-Day on November 27th. Jim Harris appears to be helping to direct donations and organize volunteers through the national party, so visit his blog for more information.

Lots to be done. Let’s get to work.

What’s He Gonna Do?

That’s the question everyone’s asking. And along with being quoted and linked in The Tyee, it’s also contributed to a spike in this blog’s visits over the past few days.

As you almost certainly know, I’m talking about Garth Turner, who is contemplating the opportunity to become Canada’s first Green MP after being kicked out of the Conservative caucus two days ago.

Garth has basically two options: join another party or remain independent. The fact that he says he’s “waiting for a new logo” leads me to believe that he may favour the former. If so, the NDP have said they don’t want him, which leaves the Greens or the Liberals. Of those two options, I think he’s leaning towards us. In his own words, “defecting to the Liberals would clearly be a big step for a guy with blue blood in his veins.” On the other hand, the Green Party has many former Conservatives, and we were the second choice of more Conservative voters in the last election (a full 36%) than of voters for any other party.

Therefore, my best guess is that he’ll either remain an independent or join the Greens. As for predicting anything more specific than that, I think the odds are split 50/50. What I can say is that he’s considering it seriously, and has been speaking with both Elizabeth May and the local Green Party association in Halton, where I grew up.

His decision will probably come down to what his constituents want. That’s where you can help. If you live in Halton, or know someone who does, please show up at one of Garth’s town hall meetings this weekend and let him know you think he should make history.

Saturday October 21st, 2006 at 2:30 PM
Tansley Woods Library (in Community Centre)
1996 Itabashi Way, Burlington

Sunday October 22nd, 2006 at 4:00 PM
Ella Foote Hall
6611 Panton Road, Kilbride

I realize now that as this post draws to a close I haven’t devoted any space to explaining why I think Garth should go Green. In short, it would do more to advance Canadian action on climate change than anything else that’s in his power. He’s said that “climate change is the greatest all-round threat this country faces,” and that the decision he now has to make is how he can best serve his constituents.

Greens are a diverse group already, so Garth would fit right in even when he was sticking out. And with a threat as big as the climate crisis, there’s no time to play partisan politics. I’ll work with anyone who’s willing and able to accomplish the goal.