Elizabeth May in Yk: Canada needs ‘war cabinet’ to fight climate change

Hundreds pack United Church to hear Elizabeth May's plan for climate response

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Green Party leader Elizabeth May is calling for nothing less than a unified national response to climate change akin to the actions taken by Britain against Nazi Germany during the Second World War.

Green Party of Canada leader Elizabeth May told Yellowknifers that the current climate crisis poses an existential threat and must be responded to by all national parties in a non-partisan way. Simon Whitehouse/NNSL photo

Yellowknife residents poured into Northern United Place Wednesday evening to hear May promote her party’s Mission Possible climate action plan in preparation of the fall federal election.

The plan lays out 20 points which propose to transform the national economy over the next decade – including the introduction of a national fossil-fuel free electric grid to power communities and a series of cross-country electric vehicle charge stations from coast to coast to coast.

The ultimate goal is to eliminate fossil fuel use in the coming decades and ensure that Canada contributes to the limiting of global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius as agreed to in the 2015 Paris Climate Agreement, she said.

Several times throughout the evening she used analogies to World War II emergency wartime preparation where an existential threat was dealt with collaboratively and across political party lines.

“We have to confront the climate crisis as seriously as we can, which for me means we have to adopt lessons from history,” May said after criticizing the federal government’s response to the issue.

“My first call for making a Mission Possible, is that after the election, we form the equivalent of what happened in the Second World War where Winston Churchill had a war cabinet and his political enemies sat at a cabinet table.

“Some issues are so important that you don’t want partisan issues to get in the way.”

May, with her husband John Kidder – brother of the late Yellowknife-born actress Margot Kidder – have been on a cross-country tour of 25 municipalities since the beginning of the year, which the party calls the Community Matters tour.

She explained that the party has been aiming to reach communities in every region of the country to help inform the party’s election platform, which has yet to be released, and to hear from Canadians leading up to the election.

Linda Bussey, organizer of the event, estimated there were more than 300 people who attended. Both the lower and upper balcony at Northern United Place were filled with attendees.

Among them were several progressive figures in the North, including MLAs Julie Green (Yellowknife Centre) and Kevin O’Reilly (Frame Lake), labour leaders Jack Bourassa, regional vice-president of the Public Service Alliance of Canada, and David Bob, president of the Northern Territories Federation of Labour, and local Green Party NWT nominees Paul Falvo and William Gagnon.

Also present were Conservative NWT riding candidate Yanik D’Aigle and territorial election candidates Robert Hawkins and Rylund Johnson.

For about two hours May took questions from audience members, ranging in topics from her opposition to the 2011 bombing of Libya, to her vision on how to get NWT communities off of diesel fuel to the promotion of green jobs and local agriculture.

Jiah Dzentu, left, mingles with May following the Green Party of Canada leader’s presentation at the Northern United Place, July 3,
Simon Whitehouse/NNSL photo

More to come…….