Our Dreams Do Not Fit On Your Ballots

It’s been a 30+ hours of traveling, and my family and I are now together in Paris to start a three week vacation (and yes, I know, air travel has a HUGE carbon footprint.  Fill free to weigh in with your opinions on the fact that a climate activist like me has made the decision to fly. Put it out there, I can take it!). 

This morning at 8:00 a.m. Paris time our Air Canada captain made the announcement that Canada now had a Conservative majority government. I felt like I’d been punched in the stomach, and couldn’t stop the tears from flowing.  What does this mean for my daughters’ future?  The stability and prosperity of the next generation of Canadians is now more imperiled than ever, for Stephen Harper is a man who believes that the “economy trumps everything”. Harper, it seems, resides on a planet where the economy is completely unrelated to clean air, clean water, and a stable ecosystem and climate.  Stephen Harper doesn’t live on the same planet as the rest of us.  We are going to be sent further down a path of environmental “overshoot” if we continue to use up and contaminate more of the planet’s resources than we can possibly replace. Just like the financial meltdown of 2009, caused by Wall Street’s overshoot of the global financial markets, an environmental meltdown is coming that will be caused by the global overshoot of our environmental resources.

When I was finally able to get connected (the wifi in our hotel is very spotty, and fades in and out), I reached out to my Facebook community of climate activists and earth warriors, as I often do these days when I need encouragement. I found solace and inspiration in these words from Mike Hudema, a Greenpeace activist who focuses particularly on the issue of the Alberta tar sands.  Thank you, Mike.  I am still deeply disturbed by the fact that a man who received less than 40% of the popular vote, and whose vision of Canada is to put taxpayer’s money into building bigger prisons and fighter jets, not building a better society for Canadians, is now the Prime Minister of our country for the next four years. However, I will be able to sleep better tonight (despite my jet lag and my sorrow) because of Mike’s message of hope and solidarity:

“The play is the same: artists, choose your weapons. Activists, find your handholds. Warriors of love – find each other. This changes nothing. This was already happening. This is the battle we were already fighting.” ~Mike Smith

“Our dreams do not fit on your ballots.”

Well if you’re like me you’re reeling a little from yesterday’s election results. While we should celebrate a historic number of women MP’s elected, the election of the first ever Green MP, and the surge of the NDP the reality of a Conservative majority is more than troubling. Many of my friends have already called or texted in tears thinking about what a Harper government will do to the fight for women’s rights, Indigenous sovereignty, environmental justice, arts, poverty…the list goes on and on.

While yesterday’s voting results are very troubling we need to remember that our fight was never about or to be realized by the election of any political party. The slogan ‘Our dreams will never fit on their ballots’ needs to be remembered. We were fighting for justice before yesterday and we will fight for justice after yesterday. This is the battle we were already fighting and it is a battle we must keep fighting. 

We are fighting for a new world, for a different system. On occasion I can see her through the cracks, can, as Arundhati Roy said ‘hear her breathing’. Around the world people are moving, they are taking to the streets, overthrowing governments and pushing for change. Now is not the time to mourn but to organize. 

As the Federal government does not reflect our values we shall take to our own communities and work together block by block to ensure that they do. We shall get to know our neighbours and find common ground. We shall no longer be scared by the fences that we have built around us.

We shall work with other communities doing the same thing and together we shall change things in the only way that change could ever be made – from the bottom up.

We shall fight, we shall dance, and we shall love.

We are the ones we’ve been waiting for.

“It has to start somewhere. It has to start sometime. What better place than here, what better time than now?” ~Rage Against the Machine

More links:

Greenpeace Canada: Tar Sands Campaign

0 thoughts on “Our Dreams Do Not Fit On Your Ballots”

  1. Thanks for offering up some comfort, Christine. I have been in the same funk but will pull out and keep going. Enjoy some sun and a real change of pace.

  2. Well, first of all, about that damn plane ride….I mean if you could jump into a frozen lake, surely to heaven you could have swum across the Atlantic?

    Christine, as I have posted elsewhere, I have a statistic or two which might possibly encourage you. Yes, we are stuck with the world’s leading climate ignoramus. But he’s going to be so busy blowing his own horn for some time to get down to any further damaging work (I hope!)

    The stats: Only slightly over 60% of the eligible voters turned out. This is exactly what Harper wanted, knowing that he had about 40% of a 60% turnout last time. Nothing has changed. Now if you take that 40% and relate it to the 100% who SHOULD have voted, he got 25% of all the eligible voters. I would hardly call that a resounding endorsement of his policies, would you?

    The NDP, using the same formula, (which is a mix of pablum and kool-aid) got about 20%, the Liberals around 12% and the others shared the balance. I’m sure you know Duceppe is gone and the bloc basically wiped out.

    Harper deliberately went out of his way to make the election as boring as possible so people would stay home. If that isn’t an example of high quality leadership, I don’t know what is.

    Before Elizabeth actually got elected (she’s in the next riding down from me) I watched a LOT of her interviews. The lady definitely has her head screwed on straight and she’s a good speaker. Unlike hitman, she doesn’t mumble and stumble, and she actually smiles – something quite foreign to Harper except when he wears that sickening grin.

    If you haven’t heard about some of the NDP’s newly minted M.P.’s yet, you’re going to love it.

    They have a 19 year old kid who obviously had no chance of winning…who knew? They have a cute little babe of a bartender at university who still needs French lessons (In Quebec yet!). They have a cage fighter…maybe he can keep bigmouth Baird in line. Jack-O is going to have his hands full with that lot for awhile. In fact, I hear he hasn’t even met some of them!

    It seems quite likely that this NDP bunch is going to be a one term wonder, it’s just too bad it is for 4 years.

    Michael has stepped down I’m sorry to say…he’s a good man. But how does one fight off Harper’s wasteful squandering of $26 million in a smear campaign against him? Harper needs to do a little time in one of his new jails for that one.

    The liberals will be holding meetings shortly to elect a new leader. I know Justin Trudeau’s name is being bandied about a lot, but several people would like to see him get a little more experience under his belt. I don’t know, maybe a 4 year scrap with Harper is just what he needs to hone his skills.

    Enjoy the holidays, and make sure to bring us back some nice photos!

    • Watch those remarks about age, and a “cute babe of a bartender”… this is not about gender or age. We have more important issues to pursue. Pat W

  3. hi Christine, about flying to Paris, well, again, you know my motto.. “wanna save the planet? stay home and play with your kids”, Dirty , stinky, smelly, obnoxious Paris has nothing on the beautiful and sane east coast of Canada.. but hey, kids need to see the world so that they may inform themselves as adults.. by all means, go to Paris or any where else, but not for a two week love in, one should travel and stay for as long as the authorities allow while taking in the lifestyle.. that is traveling as a learning experience and not a stimuli fest..

    as for the election results, well, fear won out again.. but it is my job to monitor the economy, and in my opinion, all signals point to a world that is in for a great shock of economic upheaval.. Artificial stimulus, and US Quantitative easing has guided us through a unwarranted recovery which will have to be reckoned with.. To skip the painful details and get to the point, the world is in an economic mess and soon the proverbial brown stuff will hit the fan.. I hope i am wrong, but if that happens, the Conservatives will have nothing to hide behind and they too will get turfed by the disgruntled and fearful.

    Having said that, i lament at our future and at our reactionary ways both in our lifestyles and our electoral habits. We lack courageous visionaries and admirable models in our society and i fear the worse. Personally i have little faith that we will avoid catastrophe, not environmental but social and militarily, again all fear based.. I would encourage all to take more personal responsibility while giving less to our over payed, under worked, self interested mental lightweights on the hill, no matter what their colours are.. Even Liz, i think is in it for the fame, the exposure , the inflated pay check and golden handshake afforded to all the clowns on the hill.

    that is my opinion, and i do hope i am wrong.. enjoy sipping lattes by la tour!

  4. I too, was deeply saddened and frustrated. I felt powerless, that this machine of government will march on and on and on… What can we do to change it? What can we do to stop it? I could not wrap my head around it, so I just went to bed before the election coverage was even over.

    But a new day brings new hope, as your post describes. The resolve must strengthen, the message must deepen, the love for our planet and all its people must prevail. I will press on with my own efforts, despite this set back.

    I cannot give up hope.

    Enjoy Paris!

  5. This is not the “end of the world” but rather a new dimension to the struggle already in progress. Pat

  6. Just push in the direction you want change to happen. It may only be an incremental amount but just keep on. Over time you will see the effect.
    “Keep on pushin'”

  7. Thanks for sharing your thoughts and analysis of the election, I’ve had little chance to review the details. Soldiering on I guess is what our only option is. Sometimes it just would be nice if the Universe met us halfway…


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