Thanks for the call yesterday, Jordan. I forgot to mention that the reason I had asked Cass to cancel my membership was because of the Q-Anon nonsense that Jen Roach was promoting while she was secretary during the last US presidential election: I could no longer be associated with her, or with any organization that would have her as a member of its executive council.
The reason I am interested in becoming involved again is because I believe the Green Party of Alberta has an important role to play. However, I am concerned that our candidates will not be taken seriously if we continue to promote the idea that we are a party that has a chance of winning any seats. I think we all know that if we don’t want a UCP candidate to win, we have to make sure the NDP candidate wins. As much as I support the values of the Green Party, and despise the hypocrisy and populism of Rachel Notley’s NDP, they have the money, the experience, the support, and the people to beat UCP candidates. We don’t. We simply have no chance of convincing NDP voters to vote Green as long as they are afraid of losing to a UCP candidate.
We CAN ask that every NDP supporter demand more of their NDP candidate on climate action DURING the campaign period: this is where we can have the most influence on future provincial policies. We can help make climate action the most important issue to voters in the next provincial election, just as the GPC helped make climate action the defining issue of the 2019 federal elections (FYI, my wife Beth and I ran the campaign for Safi Khan in Edmonton-Griesbach in 2019. She was the campaign manager, I was in charge of signs. We then also helped Ashley Salvadore get elected to Edmonton city council last year).
We can ask Green/NDP supporters to demand the NDP present a realistic, detailed plan to get Alberta’s GHG’s to zero ASAP, and certainly no later than 2050. We can promote the idea that if an Albertan voter is no longer in denial about the climate emergency, they should vote for a party that is no longer in denial: the NDP’s policies (“product to tidewater”) show us that they have yet to confront their own eco-grief and accept the realities of the climate emergency. The IPCC says we have less than a decade to get halfway there, and at present, there is NO plan at the provincial level.
In Edmonton, we have a toothless, unenforceable “Energy Transition Plan” that has no hard deadlines; no plan laid out to end the use of fossil fuel. Let’s stick to a basic script: time’s up. Leave it in the ground. Land back. EVERY decision through a climate lens. Pick the low-hanging fruit first. Don’t “reduce” fossil fuel use, ELIMINATE it.
We can no longer promote efficiency measures; we must demand bans on the use of fossil fuel with short timelines that match the urgency of the emergency. Start with a ban on gas-powered blowers, as is being proposed in Calgary. California has just banned the installation of gas in new buildings, effective 2030.
And most importantly, we must remind everyone that the goal of net zero by 2050 is an arbitrary date we set that has no basis in science any more: we should have already eliminated 100% of our GHG’s if we had wanted to keep global average temperatures to rise less than 1.5 degrees. Now it is too late. we simply have a moral obligation to stop making the problem worse ASAP: to minimize the global ecological disaster, and the resulting human suffering that our way of life has created.
You are of course correct when you point out that if we were to change our electoral system to a more representative system, Green candidates would have a better chance. But we haven’t got any more time to make sure that the candidates that win in the next election are committed to rational, science-based climate action, based on the ICPP reports and following the lead of the federal government.
Our role, simply, should be to publicly push the NDP to acknowledge their climate denial. We are running candidates not because we think they can beat NDP candidates, but because of our deep concern that those NDP candidates have not yet been capable of emotionally confronting their own climate anxiety, eco-grief, and science denial. As a result, their platform is only supportable by those still in denial. We need strong Green candidates to challenge the NDP to do better.
Every candidate, NDP or Green, should have by now read both Michael Mann’s “The New Climate War”, and Seth Klein’s “A Good War: Mobilizing Canada for the Climate Emergency”. Those who have couldn’t possibly run for the Alberta NDP with their present policies of further investments in fossil fuel infrastructure.
We can even offer to co-operate with the NDP: we can vet their candidates, and offer not to run against those who put climate action first in their campaign.
I hope these ideas resonate with you. I appreciate the longer-term vision you have for Alberta that includes electoral reform and elected Green MLA’s, but please remember that we don’t need to win to have an influence: what we need is action on the climate emergency. In Alberta in 2023, we need climate science to win.