Posts tagged ‘Elizabeth May’

April 21, 2012

Canada to End Shark Fin Trade?

With support from all parties, Elizabeth May‘s bill could stop the trade of sharkfins in Canada. Here is the newsrelease from Wild Aid:

Green Party Leader Introduces Bill to End Shark Fin Trade in Canada

Victoria, British Columbia (April 19, 2012) – After working closely with
conservation group WildAid for the past 6 months, Canadian MP and Green Party Leader
Elizabeth May announced legislation on Wednesday that, if fully implemented, will amend
the Fish Inspection Act and Consumer Packaging and Labeling Act in the hopes of ending
the shark fin trade Canada.

“Elizabeth May’s bill is another key step in the growing campaign to address the global
shark fin trade,” said Rob Sinclair, Executive Director of WildAid Canada. “Her action
could effectively lead to end of the shark fin trade in Canada, which would be the first
federal shark fin ban in the western world.”

Should it pass, May’s bill will require shark products to include written documentation of
the species and country of origin, as well as a label showing that mercury contamination
may make the product unfit for human consumption.

Shark fin soup is a key reason why one-third of the world’s open-ocean shark species are
now threatened with extinction. Fins from up to 73 million sharks are used every year to
make shark fin soup and related food products.

While the practice of shark finning is prohibited by regulation in Canada and the U.S.,
current federal laws banning shark finning do not address the issue of the international
shark fin trade. Therefore, fins are being sold to North America from countries with few or
even no shark protection in place.

Over four million Canadians now live in jurisdictions that have banned shark fin. The
Canadian cities of Toronto, Mississauga, London, Oakville, Pickering, Newmarket and
Brantford have all ended the practice. U.S. state bans have passed recently in California,
Hawaii, Washington and Oregon and bans have been started in seven other states.

About WildAid:
WildAid is the only organization to focus on reducing the demand for wildlife products
with the strong and simple message: when the buying stops, the killing can too. WildAid
works with Asian and Western celebrities and business leaders to dissuade people from
purchasing wildlife products via public service announcements and educational initiatives.
For more information, please visit

January 10, 2012

Has Harper’s Conservative Government been Hijacked by Foreign Oil Interests?

Recently, Natural Resources Minister Joe Oliver, wrote an open letter claiming that  “...foreign special interest groups (sounds like Assad?) are opposing the Northern Gateway pipeline. He is singing the tune of the absurd Ethical Oil group (who won’t reveal who they are supported by), not mentioning that Enbridge’s initial supporter for the pipeline was the Chinese company Sinopec; and that the oil will be shipped to a country whose human rights record can only be considered as unethical. As usual the Conservatives are displaying new and massive levels of hypocrisy.

Let Elizabeth May have a word: here is her Open Letter to Joe…

Dear Joe,

Your letter caught my attention.  I respect you and like you a lot as a colleague in the House.  Unfortunately, I think your role as Minister of Natural Resources has been hijacked by the PMO spin machine.  The PMO is, in turn, hijacked by the foreign oil lobby. You are, as Minister of Natural Resources, in a decision-making, judge-like role.  You should not have signed such a hyperbolic rant.

I have reproduced a short section of your letter. The idea that First Nations, conservation groups, and individuals opposed to the Northern Gateway pipeline are opposed to all forestry, mining, hydro-electric and gas is not supported by the facts.  I am one of those opposed to the Northern Gateway pipeline.  I do not oppose all development; neither does the Green Party; neither do environmental NGOS; neither do First Nations.

I oppose the Northern Gateway pipeline for a number of reasons, beginning with the fact that the project requires over-turning the current moratorium on oil tanker traffic on the British Columbia coastline. The federal-provincial oil tanker moratorium has been in place for decades.  As former Industry Canada deputy minister Harry Swain pointed out in today’s Globe and Mail, moving oil tankers through 300 km of perilous navigation in highly energetic tidal conditions is a bad choice. In December 2010, the government’s own Commissioner for the Environment, within the Office of the Auditor General, reported that Canada lacked the tools to respond to an oil spill.  These are legitimate concerns.

Furthermore, running a pipeline through British Columbia’s northern wilderness, particularly globally significant areas such as the Great Bear Rainforest, is a bad idea.  Nearly 1200 kilometers of pipeline through wilderness and First Nations territory is not something that can be fast-tracked.

Most fundamentally, shipping unprocessed bitumen crude out of Canada has been attacked by the biggest of Canada’s energy labour unions, the Communications, Energy and Paperworkers Union of Canada, as a bad idea. The CEP estimates it means exporting 40,000 jobs out of Canada (figure based on jobs lost through the Keystone Pipeline). They prefer refining the crude here in Canada.  (The CEP is also not a group to which your allegation that opponents of Gateway also oppose all forestry, mining, oil, gas, etc is anything but absurd.)

The repeated attacks on environmental review by your government merit mention.  The federal law for environmental review was first introduced under the Mulroney government.  Your government has dealt repeated blows to the process, both through legislative changes, shoved through in the 2010 omnibus budget bill, and through budget cuts.  In today’s letter, you essentially ridicule the process through a misleading example.  Your citation of “a temporary ice arena on a frozen pond in Banff” requiring federal review was clearly intended to create the impression that the scope of federal review had reached absurd levels.  You neglected to mention that the arena was within the National Park. That is the only reason the federal government was involved.  It was required by the National Parks Act. The fact that the arena approval took only two months shows the system works quite well.

Perhaps most disturbing in the letter is the description of opposition to the Northern Gateway pipeline as coming from “environmental and other radical groups.”  Nowhere in your letter do you mention First Nations.  (I notice you mention “Aboriginal communities,” but First Nations require the appropriate respect that they represent a level of government, not merely individuals within communities.)

The federal government has a constitutional responsibility to respect First Nations sovereignty and protect their interests.  It is a nation to nation relationship.  To denigrate their opposition to the project by lumping it in with what you describe (twice) as “radical” groups is as unhelpful to those relationships as it is inaccurate.

“Radical” is defined as “relating to or affecting the fundamental nature of something; far-reaching or thorough.”  (Merriam Webster).

By that definition, it is not First Nations, conservation groups or individual opponents that are radical.  They seek to protect the fundamental nature of the wilderness of northern British Columbia, the ecological health of British Columbia coastal eco-systems, and the integrity of impartial environmental review.  It is your government that is radical by proposing quite radical alteration of those values.

Your government has failed to present an energy strategy to Canada.  We have no energy policy.  We are still importing more than half of the oil we use.  Further, we have no plan to reduce dependency on fossil fuels, even as we sign on to global statements about the need to keep greenhouse gases from rising above 450 ppm in the atmosphere to keep global average temperatures from exceeding a growth of 2 degrees C.  The climate crisis imperils our future – including our economic future – in fundamental ways which your government ignores.

By characterizing this issue as environmental radicals versus Canada’s future prosperity you have done a grave disservice to the development of sensible public policy.  There are other ways to diversify Canada’s energy markets.  There are other routes, other projects, and most fundamentally other forms of energy.

I urge you to protect your good name and refuse to sign such unworthy and inaccurate missives in the future.


Elizabeth May, O.C.

Member of Parliament
Saanich-Gulf Islands

Green Party of Canada

March 30, 2011

Elizabeth May Denied Participation

From the Green Party:

The Old Boys’ Club is at it again. Elizabeth May has been denied entry into the televised leaders’ debates.

Instead of speaking up to defend true democracy, other party leaders seem relieved—perhaps due to the glowing reviews Elizabeth received after her first appearance in the 2008 debates.

What kind of democracy excludes a party with the support of one million of its citizens?

What kind of democracy allows a handful of TV executives to decide that a party that only runs candidates in one province has more right to be in a national leaders’ debate than a party with candidates in every riding?

In the last election, your voices won Elizabeth her rightful place in the debates. We can’t believe that we have to ask you to rally on her behalf yet again. But we do.

Here’s what you can do:

With your help, Elizabeth will show Canadians why Greens belong in the House of Commons. And why there’s no debate that she belongs in the debates.


March 26, 2011

Canadian Election – Get Out of the Rut

Take sides.

Harper and his Conservative minority government are found to be contemptible.

Harper says, “You win some, you lose some“.

So…deceiving Canadians is OK?

Ignatief ‘s Liberals are old-school and foundering.

Layton is tough, but can he lead a country?

I know the Green Party can’t win. However, the more seats they get the higher their profile will become. Elizabeth May needs a seat in Parliament so that Canadians can see her raise the level of debate.

And it all depends on those on the Saanich-Gulf Islands.

Ditch Conservative incumbent Gary Lunn. Stand up for someone with honor.

Democracy ain’t great in a two-party state. Voting strategically means no hope for other parties.

Vote Green.


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