i have always been pleased and proud to drive a hybrid car, but never more so than when i had to play chauffeur to the honourable stephane dion earlier this week. the passionate environmentalist and architect of the 2008 green shift was in town to spend the day with the candidate, promoting and endorsing the strength of grant’s green credentials. as you may have seen in the news, their first stop was a media announcement about grant’s green artillery, a “verdant” squad of experts from various environmental sectors who are on board throughout the campaign to support and advise on his eco-initiatives. (a full list of the green team, and video of the announcement, is available here.)
in honour of family day, m. dion picked up a stick (borrowed from my brother at the 11th hour the night before… who knew the former liberal leader shoots right?) and dug into the corners with our boys and a bunch of their neighbourhood pals. blessedly no one slashed the candidate.
from there m. dion and grant hit the streets, fraternizing with folks in the community out enjoying the first sunny day in a long while. grant was blown away by how warmly they were received. i know i was personally honoured to meet m. dion (and to clean the lego and dog hair out of my car for his benefit).
the environment has been my passion for as long as i can remember. it’s woven so intrinsically into the way grant and i live our lives, we can’t help but view every action through a ‘how does this affect the earth?’ kind of filter. hence the hybrid.
so i found the circumstances for grant’s green-day activities somewhat poignant. grant spent the day in a sweater and blazer, stephane dion wore a light fleece. on the 19th of flippin’ february. one of the ball hockey players was in shorts for heaven’s sake (where was that child’s mother? …okay, it was my son miles). if we ever doubted that global warming was real, this winterless season is devastating proof.
i like to imagine (especially when i’m talking with my kids) that electing a passionate climate change activist like grant to federal office will bring back winter, but it’s probably too late for that. but boy do i know he’d do everything in his power to mitigate any further damage.
and then i think about what that might look like for us here in toronto-danforth; what would it be like to have a vocal, passionate and experienced environmentalist as our federal representative?
maybe there would be fewer kids with asthma, because there’d be stricter emissions standards for the smoke stacks at the bottom of logan, which currently emit noxious chemical pollutants.
maybe there would be a process to test and clean the soil in our yards for lead before planting vegetable gardens.
maybe more of us could afford to run our houses on alternative energy because of government programs to help retrofit our homes for energy efficiency. maybe there would be subsidies for things like geothermal heating and cooling, so all our household energy bills would be more manageable as weather patterns grow more unpredictable.
maybe we could pick up baby shampoo or sunscreen or any other product at the drugstore and know that the ingredients it contained were safe, because our government caught up to europe in implementing stricter standards regarding chemicals in household items.
maybe there would be more support for independent farmers in ontario, to make it easier and more affordable for everyone to buy local, to buy organic, to eat safe and healthy food from close to home.
i get so hopeful when i think about this stuff.
with every door he knocks on, every speech he gives, every liberal minister he ushers into the front seat of our car, grant is giving me hope.
Award-winning broadcaster and bestselling author Gillian Deacon is one of Canada’s best-known environmental advocates. She is the author of two national bestsellers, ‘There’s Lead in Your Lipstick: Toxins in Our Everyday Body Care and How to Avoid Them’ (Penguin 2011) and ‘Green for Life’ (Penguin 2008). Gill is also well-known for her work on television, on CBC’s The Gill Deacon Show, and Discovery Channel’s Daily Planet.
Gill lives in Toronto-Danforth with her husband Grant Gordon and their three sons. She will be a regular contributor to grantgordon.ca, giving us a peek behind the scenes during the political campaign.
You can follow her on Twitter at @gilldeacon