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Elizabeth May, enough with the political posturing. Time for answers.

February 9, 2019

Elizabeth May House of Commons Ottawa, ON K1A 0A6

Dear Elizabeth May,

I watched your recent interview on CTV Question Period. Congratulations to the Green Party of Canada for achieving record-breaking fundraising in 2018 - $1.7 million is impressive.

In my younger days I used to support the Green Party of Canada when the goals were pragmatic protection of the environment and the economy; however, it appears the Green Party’s policies are no longer grounded in reality. I get it; boring, prudent policies don’t sell memberships or generate political funds quite like sensationalistic, doomsday predictions, such as the need to get off fossil fuels in 12 years to avoid catastrophe. 12 YEARS PEOPLE!!

Because I have a genuine concern for the environment, I would like to better understand some of the statements you made on CTV Question period. First, please explain what you mean by taking “real action on the environment”. That’s a fairly abstract statement; what does it mean to you and your Party?

You have consistently been critical of the TransMountain Pipeline expansion, going as far as to say that it will never get built because it defies all the evidence, including economic evidence, to keep pursuing it. Could you please elaborate on what you mean? I am interested in reading factual, peer-reviewed evidence on this important matter.

I think we are both in agreement that the Liberals made a poor decision when they purchased the pipeline from a private, American-based company using tax-payer money. We may, however, diverge on the reasons why we think it was a poor decision.

You went on to question why Kinder Morgan pulled out of the project. Surely as an experienced, awarded politician you are aware that they withdrew due to regulatory uncertainty and continued civil disobedience that negatively impacted the project’s economics. And that the uncertainty was in part caused by the actions of obstructionist groups supported and endorsed by the Green Party of Canada. Actions that included getting yourself arrested for breaking the law by violating a court-ordered injunction by protesting at the main gate of the TransMountain pipeline terminal.

I’d like to address another statement you made on the show. Big, multi-national corporations are not pulling out of the oil sands because they don’t want “unburnable carbon”; they’re pulling out due to regulatory uncertainty and an undesirable business climate in Canada – these are the underlying causes, the inability to “burn carbon”, as you say, is merely a symptom due to poor government policy. These companies are concerned about owning stranded assets because Canada ranked 43 out of 80 jurisdictions on the Policy Perception Index when the Fraser Institute surveyed the attractiveness of jurisdictions for oil and gas investment. Compare that to nine out of the ten top jurisdictions being located in the USA.

Desirability to do business in Canada is decreasing, not the desirability to invest in oil and gas infrastructure, as you implied on the show. As a public figure, I encourage you not to spread false information. In fact, I would go so far as to say that I believe it is your duty to refute misinformation and disinformation rather than spreading it.

You claimed you are not gloating about companies leaving the oil sands even though they are taking investment and good-paying jobs with them. Shading over your insensitive attitude by claiming to be worried about the future for your kids and grandkids is hubris-filled BS, and the public can see through it.

You said that your Party will ensure a “just transition” off fossil fuels. What does this look like for average workers who have bills to pay? I know you believe that if we did an energy-efficiency retrofit of all of the buildings in Canada, 4 million good-paying jobs would be created. What does this project look like? Please be specific. What types of jobs would be created? How long will those jobs last? Does Canada currently have the skilled labour force to fill all of the required positions? How much will this cost and who will pay for it? And once the retrofitting is complete, what will we have accomplished?

You claimed that tens of thousands of jobs have left the oil sands due to modernization and automation. To some degree I believe you to be correct because the companies involved in the oil sands are innovative and continuously strive for improvement. You went on to say that the oil sands and fossil fuels are the past, and we need to build a future that creates jobs in industries that don’t kill our children’s future. Could you please provide specifics around how this will be accomplished if your Party were to form government?

The Green Party of Canada has a lot of ideas but seems to be short on tangible, practicable, pragmatic action plans. It appears the Party has become a group of radicals who have limited vision of the reality many average, working Canadians face each day. I am an Albertan who gets up every morning to work in the Canadian oil and gas sector so I can pay my bills and contribute my share to society. It seems that you and the Party have nothing but contempt for people like me to the point that you have resorted to name-calling, spreading disinformation and breaking the law in the name of “virtue-signaling” and self-righteous causes.

Being skeptical of doomsday predictions, such as the need to get off fossil fuels in twelve years or the earth is doomed to implode, does not make me a flat-earth believer, or a quack, or a bigot, or a Holocaust denier, or a “climate denier” – that climate exists is irrefutable. Many of us are just trying to wade through the vast amounts of information on the subject to understand the causes of climate-change and mankind’s contribution to it so that we can support environmental plans that will have a meaningful long-term impact, not just a short-term politically popular impact.

The system for resource infrastructure approvals is undoubtedly broken, but I believe it can be fixed through cooperation, willingness and respectful dialogue. I look forward to hearing from you so I can get clarity on some of your statements and assertions.

Thank you for your public service.

Deidra Garyk

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