A letter from Green Party candidate Clive Doucet to the people of Cape Breton—Canso
Dear residents of Cape Breton—Canso,
Climate change is the problem but old party politics are digging us deeper. We’ve got disaster after disaster right across the continent. Wildfires from Alberta to California are torching the west. Snow when there should be sun and sun when there should be snow. Hurricane force winds storming up the east coast regular as clock work from the over-heated Caribbean, while the old party leaders are spending their time blaming each other. It’s fiddling while Rome burns.
The next four years are not going to be easy for anyone. Climate heating is going to get worse. The ocean is warming and the cold water fish stocks are not coming back. But, if we transition to a sustainable economy by making better use of resources and using new technology like solar, it will help ensure there are jobs in Cape Breton—Canso for decades to come. So we can live and work here and keep our families together.
The Guaranteed Basic Annual Income will help ensure everyone has enough to cover their basic costs. Before a pilot project in Ontario was cancelled by the Doug Ford Conservatives, recipients of the Guaranteed Basic Annual Income reported the stress they felt just to get by each day had gone. Their self-esteem improved. They could finally take a breath and begin to plan for their future. Canada is a rich country. We should all have the chance to participate without fear of paying for the basics.
It must be done, but we need to start with a new vision and a new commitment to creating a Cape Breton and a Canada that will work in this century, not spend all our time fighting about how to hang on to an old world that no longer exists.
I’m asking you straight up. Let’s give Elizabeth May a real caucus so she can get to work in Ottawa for Canada, and I can work with her for Cape Breton. Send me to Ottawa to be part of the team. You won’t be disappointed. We will defend Cape Breton like it hasn’t been for many, many years.
Clive Doucet, Green Party candidate
Green Party Leader Elizabeth May visits Cape Breton-Canso
Clive Doucet: Back To Fear Based Politics
Green Party of Canada candidate Clive Doucet challenges Cape Breton--Canso voters to think hard about who they are voting for this year, and why.
What is old is new again. If Justin Trudeau had wanted to avoid winning elections on fear based politics he could have kept his promise to make this election based on a proportional vote, so each party received its fair share of the electorate’s intentions; but he didn’t. After gaining office, he discarded it and is now back with the 2015 winning formula: Vote for what you don’t want.
Tommy Douglas changed Canada with National Health Care. Something our neighbours to the south are still struggling to achieve. Tommy didn’t get elected on what people feared but what people wanted. We need to have the same confidence today to vote for what we want.
In this election, I’ve been telling people up and down the island: "Fear is a losing strategy. Cape Breton and Canada will end up with a government we don’t want. Vote for the party that will ask the tough questions in Parliament."
Why did Cape Breton receive $200,000 out of $12 million in Federal equalization payments to Nova Scotia? Without so much as a peep from the old parties. Why is P.E.I.’s population increasing but Cape Breton’s declining? Why are new economy jobs happening in P.E.I. and Green MLA’s being elected there but not in Nova Scotia? What is the logic behind sponsoring a moose cull in the National Park to protect the boreal forest there but allowing the rest of the highlands to be clear cut? What is the environmental and economic impact of that clear cut? Why is there a sponsored federal moose cull in the Park but seals are allowed to dominate the Gulf’s ecosystem when the cod, their principal prey is on the edge of extinction in the Gulf? Where is the logic here? What are we doing to protect the crab fishery from the threatened American consumer boycott? Everyone is concerned about Health Care, so why has the federal share of Health Care costs been permitted to decline? Why aren’t the tough questions being asked?
There are answers and there are solutions, but we can’t move towards them based on fear and avoidance of the tough questions. A new, strong Green caucus with Elizabeth May can deliver them. A return to one of the old parties will send the message to Ottawa that "while the world has changed, it’s politics as usual in Cape Breton".
Don't Sell Nova Scotia
I awoke to Anne Murray on the radio singing: “Please don’t sell Nova Scotia. There’ll be nowhere to go when you’ve lost it at the track.” It struck more than a chord because that’s the way it’s started to feel about the whole planet.
Unfortunately, the problem is not knowledge. The Goddard Institute (NASA) scientists predicted decades ago the central and southern parts of North America were drying out and on the East Coast, with ocean warming there would be more frequent, more violent storms.
The change has been as NASA scientists predicted. It’s just accelerating faster than expected. In April, in Grand Etang there were 8 ‘suetes’ and the kids ran out of storm days at school. In the spring a heat wave (45) roasted northern France and then moved west and north over Greenland to continue the unprecedented melting. This matters because the Arctic ice cap cools the planet because it reflects heat back into space. Without it, the permafrost melts and methane is released etc. etc. and another heating cycle is unleashed; but this is not news. We know all this!
It’s not knowledge that’s the problem. It’s politics. Strangely, as the environmental crisis deepens, our traditional parties both in the States and Canada are dissolving into mutual recriminations with each side blaming the other. Instead of charting a clear way forward, they are doing the opposite.
When one party gets elected, the first job of the successful party is to ‘undo’ whatever the previous party has accomplished. We’re seeing this right now, in Ontario. The problem here is the climate crisis isn’t a partisan issue and can’t be solved by partisan politics. The climate crisis needs coherence and a shared vision of how to move ahead. Unfortunately, we have been unable to change our politics fast enough to battle the climate crisis. In Canada, we have two Green Members of Parliament; that isn’t enough.
To move forward, Canada’s Parliament needs a strong Green caucus with members from across Canada but especially, those regions hardest hit, West and East coasts.
The lobster and crab are the last commercial species left in Maritime Canada. They are the key to maintaining our public tax base and our maritime communities. Everyone needs the lobster and crab fisheries to grow and prosper, but the climate crisis is threatening that future; same story for hurricane force storms.
I have come to believe that shuttling between the old parties is not going to solve the two greatest problems Cape Bretoners face – jobs and the climate crisis, but changing is hard. We have long memories in Cape Breton. My grandfather and father remembered that Prime Minister McKenzie-King visited Cheticamp in the days when the only way to get to the village was by train to Inverness and then a long, hard ride up a gravel version of Route 19. They remembered and have always voted Liberal. I hear the same story from supporters of the Conservative side of the House.
For the coming election, the Greens look to make record gains. We are expecting new members of Parliament from both B.C., Atlantic and Central Canada. We need to join this new Green caucus because I’m convinced it will be good for us, for jobs (e.g, burying the wires and providing better sewer and water services require work.)
I’m running for the Greens because I am convinced changing whose at bat in Ottawa won’t change anything for us in Cape Breton. The blame game will just shift gears, but what if Cape Breton-Canso sends a Green Party Member of Parliament to Ottawa? I know that city very well and it will be like a rocket going off. The message will be clear.
On my last visit to Ottawa, my daughter, Emma sat me down for and said, “Dad, you should run for the Greens.” I was astonished. My only daughter had made it clear that five elections was enough; retirement sounded good, but to my surprise she had changed her mind.
“Dad, you’ve been fighting for a more sustainable environment all your life. This election matters. You were green before there were Greens. I want to hear your political voice again.”
So dear daughter, I’ve done what you wanted and I’m glad that I did. It’s good to be back in the fray.
Clive Doucet was an Ottawa City Politician for four terms and is an author. His latest book is “Grandfather’s House: Returning to Cape Breton” (Nimbus). It is a sequel to the much loved “My Grandfather’s Cape Breton”. He has written many other books: “Urban Meltdown: Cities, Climate Change and Politics as Usual” was short listed for the Shaughnessy-Cohen award for political writing.