Our house is on fire: and it’s time we acted like it. Luckily, a new generation of political first responders is stepping up—and that’s what I’m writing to you about today.
Canada is warming at twice the global rate. Smoke season in B.C. now overlaps with flood season in Ontario and Quebec. Our body politic is also in crisis, with the rise of extreme right-wing racism and climate change denial—as the leadership vacuum created by the federal Liberals is filled with cynical fear merchants and worse.
So why are so many of us feeling more hope than we have in many years? Because people are waking up. Students are walking out of class in the millions around the world. Direct action demanding more ambition on climate has shut down major cities like London, England. And here in North America we have the rise of the Green New Deal—an audacious call for solutions that would actually solve our interconnected crises of inequality, racism, and climate breakdown.
This new sense of possibility, and new appetite for transformative change, is arriving just in time—but we all need to get out of our comfort zones, get involved, and do whatever we can to help move the centre and push our political class to embrace solutions at the scale and speed this moment requires.
I rarely get involved in electoral politics, especially nomination races. And I’m writing you now in a personal capacity, not representing any organization. But I believe it’s critical to get some people inside the political bubble who have strong ties to outside social movements, can hear the alarm bells ringing, and forthrightly reject incrementalism in favour of transformative politics.
I believe Paul Taylor has those qualities, and more.
He knows the meaning of poverty and hunger, carries them with him from childhood. He knows what racism, white supremacy, and homophobia look like—and has been a champion in the fight against them. He understands the foundational priority of Indigenous leadership in the climate fight, and has articulated his vision of an inclusive Green New Deal that I find really exciting.
In the United States, where momentum for the Green New Deal is strongest, it is thanks to a handful of insurgent Democrats—like Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez—who were prepared to defy their party establishment, work hand-in-hand with social movements, and go well beyond what mainstream Democrats were offering in terms of radicalism and ambition.
We don’t have an AOC here in Canada (yet!) But we do have a number of candidates who have deep connections to movements, and who are prepared to embrace radical (by which I mean effective and common sense) solutions to the many deep crises we face—some that go well beyond what their federal parties are offering. I believe they represent the best hope for this last election in which the window for transformative climate action is still open.
And Paul is one of those beacons of hope. I think Paul would make an excellent Member of Parliament for Parkdale-High Park, but to do so he has to win the NDP nomination. On June 23, you have the opportunity to choose a candidate who really gets it on all the critical issues of our time, and has the courage to crack open the political status quo and build power behind the ideas we need—like a Green New Deal that truly merits the name.
I urge you to support Paul in his electoral debut by voting for him to be the NDP candidate for Parkdale–High Park at the nomination meeting on Sunday.
We need a champion on the inside, and Paul can be that for all of us.
In solidarity and hope,