Barred from flying on her doctor’s orders, the Leader of the Green Party of Canada is taking the long way from British Columbia, where she lives, to the nation’s capital.
MPs usually fly into Ottawa for political business, but Elizabeth May was scheduled on Friday to begin a train ride from Vancouver.
She’s heading to Ottawa because she wants to finish her application for security clearance to examine documents on the foreign-interference file. “There’s no virtual option for completing my security clearance,” May said in an interview on Friday.
The trip will take four days to Toronto, followed by a second train ride to Ottawa. May will be travelling with her husband, John Kidder.
May, 69, last month suffered a hemorrhagic stroke – bleeding into the tissues of her brain – while in her Vancouver Island riding of Saanich-Gulf Islands. She has been advised that she has to have an MRI before she can fly again, but will have to wait six to eight weeks for the procedure.
May said she plans to return to B.C. by train later in August. When the House of Commons reopens next month, she will be participating in proceedings virtually.
May is used to long train rides. She and her husband travelled across the country during their honeymoon in 2019. She said it’s hard to express how fantastic it is to see the scenery of Canada unfold while travelling by train. “We’re going to be seeing meteor showers – tomorrow night is the peak,” she said.
May is mindful of aircraft emissions, saying she reluctantly flies for work, but avoids short-hop flights and flights on vacation.
She had her first stint as Green Party Leader from 2006 to 2019. She regained the role last fall, with Jonathan Pedneault of Quebec serving as deputy leader. She is one of only two Green Party MPs in the House of Commons, alongside Mike Morrice of Kitchener Centre.
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THIS AND THAT
Summer break – Both the House of Commons and the Senate are on breaks. The House sits again on Sept. 18. The Senate sits again on Sept. 19.
Deputy Prime Minister’s day - Chrystia Freeland, in Ottawa, held private meetings.
Ministers on the road - Government House Leader Karina Gould, in Burlington, Ont., on behalf of Housing Minister Sean Fraser, made an announcement. Immigration Minister Marc Miller, in Montreal, held an announcement on a new tax-free first home savings account. Energy and Natural Resources Minister Jonathan Wilkinson and Emergency Preparedness Minister Harjit Sajjan, in North Vancouver, made a wildfire funding announcement.
Chrétien in Gros Morne - Former prime minister Jean Chrétien will be at the town of Rocky Harbour in Gros Morne National Park in Newfoundland and Labrador this coming Sunday to mark the 50th anniversary of the park. As parks minister, Chrétien signed the federal-provincial agreement that established the park, considered a world heritage site. Also attending: Rural Economic Development Minister Gudie Hutchings.
PRIME MINISTER'S DAY
The Prime Minister is on vacation in British Columbia.
No schedules released for party leaders.
There’s no new episode of The Globe and Mail podcast on Fridays in July and August, but recent episodes are available here.
The Globe and Mail Editorial Board on how the Vision Zero journey to safer city streets is taking too long: “A surge in pedestrian deaths on the streets of Toronto in 2016 shook the city. Drivers killed an average of almost one person every week. The carnage stoked a dawning realization at city hall that the deaths were not random accidents; that the city’s streets were in fact designed in a way that made them inevitable. Toronto responded in 2017 with Vision Zero. The idea that there should be no traffic fatalities on city streets began in Scandinavia in the late 1990s. Toronto’s initial effort was too little – deaths remained elevated – and so the city bolstered its policies in 2019. They are finally making a difference. The city is still far from the finish line of zero, but there have been major gains.”
Campbell Clark (The Globe and Mail) on how the buck stops nowhere as Doug Ford dispenses with ministerial responsibility: “Opposition parties call so often for cabinet ministers to resign that Canadians can be forgiven for thinking there isn’t always a compelling reason. But this time, in Premier Doug Ford’s Ontario, it couldn’t be clearer. After what we learned this week, Housing Minister Steve Clark must be fired if anything like ministerial responsibility is to survive in Mr. Ford’s government.”
Andrew Coyne (The Globe and Mail) on whether the clash for the soul of American conservatism come to Canada: “The conservative consensus is over,” blares the headline on a recent post on The Hub, the lively conservative website edited by Stephen Harper’s former policy adviser, Sean Speer. That is, it is over in the United States, writes Mr. Speer, who is in fact the author of the piece. For whatever reason, the internal divisions that have beset the American conservative movement have not been as much observed in Canada, at least in the 20 years since the reunification of the Conservative Party. But sooner or later, whatever happens in the United States tends to be repeated in Canada. Canadian conservatives, Mr. Speer argues, should brace themselves for the same definitional fight.”
Tony Keller (The Globe and Mail) on Doug Ford trying to gaslight voters about what he did in the Greenbelt: “Here’s my summary of Mr. Ford’s pitch: Folks, I admit that what happened – which by the way, I had nothing to do with – was wrong. The buck stops with me. And so we have to do better, and change. Change everything. Everything except the results. The results are exactly what we wanted. So, are we all good? Can we move on now? Moving on meant that Mr. Ford devoted his news conference to talking about how Ontario urgently needs housing, housing and more housing. Which is true, and beside the point: “According to the Ford government’s Housing Affordability Task Force, the Housing Ministry, and the Chief Planners of the three affected regions, the removal of Greenbelt lands was not needed to meet the government’s housing goals,” the Auditor-General wrote.”
Charlotte Gray (Contributed to The Globe and Mail) on how Canadian writers can’t afford to write non-fiction anymore – and that’s a problem for all of us: “Today, in the words of author and lawyer Mark Bourrie, “it’s horrible out there.” Bourrie has written several well-received books on Canadian history, including the Charles Taylor Prize winner Bush Runner: The Adventures of Pierre-Esprit Radisson, which required months of intense research in libraries and archives plus travel to significant sites. He would like to write more. “But I can only support myself because I practise law.” Bush Runner outsold most books of Canadian history published in the past few years, yet total sales were about 25,000 – a fraction of Berton’s.
J.D.M. Stewart (Contributed to The Globe and Mail) on what kind of privacy a prime minister can realistically expect: “A person close to former prime minister Kim Campbell once told me that the only place a PM gets any privacy is when they go to the bathroom. Even as far back as the days of Wilfrid Laurier, prime ministers have craved some semblance of a life that is not completely open to the public. In Laurier’s genteel time – the turn of the 20th century – he was concerned about a magazine that wanted to know the name of a book he was reading. He turned them down: “I do not want my daily life to become public.” We live in a much less circumspect world now, where many of us choose to share things far more intimate than the books we are reading. And this applies to the country’s leaders, too.”
Erin O’Toole (Contributed to The Globe and Mail) on ESG investing being a powerful tool for the West, but we need to focus on the S and the G: “The idea of investing based on environment, social and governance, or ESG, factors is having a crisis, becoming embedded in culture wars in the United States. In June, respected institutional investor Larry Fink, the chief executive officer of BlackRock, vowed to stop using the ESG term in their investment strategy after its politicization led to capital flight. BlackRock was getting “cancelled” because of ESG, and it wasn’t worth their effort to fight back against voices claiming ESG was evil. Weeks later, Elon Musk joined the cancellation chorus when he declared ESG to be “communism rebranded.” It’s a sentiment that’s already spreading across the Western world. But rather than Western democracies fighting amongst ourselves about ESG, we could be leveraging its measures to advance our broader geopolitical interests, such as rebalancing global trade in our favour.”