Systemic Racism (June 21, 2020)

Good Sunday Morning!

Happy Solstice! Happy Indigenous Peoples Day! Happy Fathers’ Day!! Happy Longest Day of the Year!

It is my first full day home after a long shift in Ottawa, from June 1-18. The COVID-19 pandemic has been nearly over-shadowed these last few months by issues of racism and police violence. It is almost one month since the killing of George Floyd, an unarmed, handcuffed, innocent black man by the Minnesota police. The anger and cries for justice in the face of anti-Black racism have not lost momentum. On the contrary, Black Lives Matters protests have spread the message globally that racism must end.

For any Canadians who felt these issues did not touch us, the recent killings of indigenous people in New Brunswick are a wake-up call. Chantel Moore, a young Tla-o-qui-aht woman, had only recently moved from her home on Vancouver Island to be closer to her own mother and small daughter when she was killed by Edmundston, NB police. Seven days later, Rodney Levi, a local Mi’kmaq First Nation father of three, was killed by RCMP. I happen to know people who knew both Rodney and Chantel. What they seemed to have in common, in addition to being shot by police, is that both were well-loved. Their deaths are unexplained, shocking and unacceptable.

The video of the brutal attack on Chief Alan Adams, also released this week, further undermine any confidence in the RCMP and its treatment of indigenous people and people of colour.

On Wednesday, I held a press conference on Parliament Hill to repeat our call for a full inquiry into the RCMP as an institution, as well as into the systemic racism in police forces and the RCMP in particular. Watch video of entire press conference here: Greens call for inquiry into the RCMP.

We must ensure zero tolerance for racism from the RCMP and from local forces. In that press conference, I revealed further evidence of the degree to which the RCMP is racist as an institution. Detailed ATI revealed that the RCMP dishonestly rigged the bidding process for their new Communications Centre in Nova Scotia to deny the Millbrook First Nation a fair chance at winning the contract. This one example speaks volumes to me. For any entity to pull such a transparent bit of “cooking the books” means they believe they are unaccountable and above the law. This cannot be allowed to go uninvestigated. (see details of this contract here: Greens demand full inquiry into RCMP ) Most media focused on the uproar over Jagmeet Singh being ejected from the House. I think the focus must stay on the real issue.

As we try to navigate issues of diversity and race across Canada, the Green Party leadership race is also trying to level the playing field to ensure support for intersectional equity-seeking candidates. I have to apologise to those of you who received a fund-raising letter from the Annamie Paul campaign. I deeply regret the long time lag between assisting Annamie and the other candidates for whom assistance is planned. I know it created the impression that the letter from me was an endorsement. It is not. I am not endorsing Annamie Paul, nor will I endorse anyone in this race. My commitments to Annamie’s team are now complete.

Within the next few days, I expect that the party will allow me to write all our members a fund-raising email to assist other candidates. I am committed to do any fundraising events with the intersectional equity-seeking candidates upon their request.
We are working through difficult issues.  We are innovating. We are “walking the talk”; of truly supporting candidates from equity-seeking backgrounds. We have made mistakes. We will likely make more.  There is no “add water and stir”; handbook for taking a party that is overwhelmingly white and actually leveling the playing field of politics.  Politics has for generations been primarily the domain of straight white men.  That is changing, but it is a slow change. It leaves many people still looking in at a parliament where it is hard to find people who share their life experiences. This must change.

The leadership race is challenged by taking place in a pandemic. Events have to be on line. We are so grateful to Fair Vote Canada for hosting the first virtual event of the campaign – the first of several debates. This debate will focus on Electoral reform and the need for proportional representation. The benefits of fair voting are never far from my mind. I focused on PR as part of my speech this week in the House. response to the supplementary estimates. Please register at this link and tune in ( for the first of the debates between and among the ten candidates for leadership. I will co-host with my immediate  predecessor, Jim Harris. We are both excited and positive about the strong field of diverse candidates. One of these ten candidates will be the tenth leader of the Green Party of Canada and take us to new heights in the next election!

Also never far from my mind is the worsening climate emergency. Wednesday, June 17th was the one year anniversary of the passage of the House of Commons motion that we are in a climate emergency. Watch my five minutes of questioning of Environment Minister Jonathan Wilkinson. I contrast the government’s response to the COVID19 emergency and the pressing climate emergency. Elizabeth May: When will the government take the climate crisis as seriously as it is taking the COVID-19 pandemic?

Stay well and safe.

Much love to all,


E-petitions open for signature
 e-2447 Open competition for research funding (closes June 23)
 e-2450 Legalize the transportation of CBD products across the Canadian border (closes June 26)
 e-2624 Include long-term care in the public health system (closes July 3)
 e-2416 Mandatory labelling of food containing GMOs (closes July 4)
 e-2655 Extend work permit timit limit for international students (closes July 10)
 e-2471 Grant the RCMP Funding for Body Cameras (closes July 16)
 e-2534 Amend the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act (closes August 14)
 e-2565 Request that Israel immediately lift the blockade on Gaza (closes September 4)
 e-2583 Implement a Guaranteed Livable Income (closes 19 August)

 e-2615 Divest CPP from fossil fuel investments (closes October 3)

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