For those who are unaware, the Toronto Pride Parade was on 3 July this year. Usually the parade is pretty uneventful for the erudite. It can be a fun and colourful event (and has some significance when it’s your first), but it’s pretty repetitive (especially the one in Toronto). Same floats, same corporations pretending to care, same organisations, etc. This year, however, something pretty significant happened during pride. No, I’m not talking about Prime Minister Trudeau’s participation in the parade (I couldn’t care less about that in all honesty). Nor I am talking about the 34 years too late apology by the police for the Toronto bathhouse raids in the 80s (what about reparation?). I’m talking about the Black Lives Matter (BLM) protest during the parade. The group, composed largely of black queer people – supported by other people of colour and indigenous people (POCIP) – stopped the parade for 25 min to make demands to Pride Toronto. The demands were mostly more inclusion of POCIP in pride. One, however, shocked a great many people: the removal of the police as participants in pride events. The executive director of pride accepted the demands, only to backtrack in part the next day. We will see how things progress, but I doubt BLM will simply give up (thankfully).
This past year brought a lot of change and sometime stagnation in environmental law. For someone who tries to wear the mantle of environmental law scholar I should have been stimulated or at least productive in my writing and my comments. And I must say I have been in a way through my more “official academic” writing. However my public silence except for the occasional twitter comment has a reason beside my overcharged schedule. I haven’t participated to the public debate mainly because I have nothing good to add and my mental health requires it. I try to stay optimistic as much as possible about our future, but one cannot ignore the facts: the dire situation we are in and our stagnation. There is little I can do or say that will change the will of the public, the government or the international community. Therefore, out of self-preservation, I stay silent in order not to plunge into pessimism and depressive thoughts. But I am a stubborn academic and I am opinionated; in the end expressing my anger and dissatisfaction is probably more constructive, if only for myself.
It was one of those days where time flies by like a bumblebee; nonchalantly. The temperature was finally starting to look like spring. As usual my workload was nearly unmanageable, but my coworkers were taking care of the surplus work I had. Feeling less stress than the average day, I felt compel to accept a lunch (averaging 2 hours in length) offer from my mother. We ate, of course, and I even drank a beer, oh frivolous me. We talked politic on that beautiful Thursday as we always do. The topic of the day was the never-ending student strike and the inability of the complaisant and ineffective Québec government to deal effectively with the problem it created in the first place. We were blissfully unaware of the content of the so called special law that the National Assembly was going to pass. Life was relatively good. The next day … not so much.
It has been a while since I wanted to write this post. As work and graduate applications kept my mind away from this blog, the situation that inspired this post evolved, evolved further, ended and restarted. In the end, I’m glad I waited as the developments made this topic much more interesting. That topic is the involvement of Canada in the Durban Conference negotiations and its Canadian climax: the repudiation of the Kyoto Protocol.
After what can be considered many failed attempts to agree on the next step to implement the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) (basically the replacement of Kyoto after its end), the State Parties to the UNFCCC met in Durban, South Africa, at the 17th conference of the parties (COP17), hoping that some agreement could be reached over the pressing issue of climate change. The Copenhagen Conference resulted in what many considered a sad failure. However, it seemed that the international community had matured sufficiently to reach something concrete in Durban. Sadly, that statement does not apply to Canada, who seems to have regressed in it international maturity level since 2006.
I was thinking about writing a blog on Bill C-10, the omnibus criminal law bill of the conservative subtly named Safe Streets and Communities Act (I don’t know why, but it doesn’t make me feel safer at all…). However, with my schedule it is sometimes hard to read all the material and draft a post. Thankfully, I came across what Elizabeth May, leader of the Green Party, said in the House of Commons, and I thought it summarized what I thought perfectly and in an eloquent manner. So here is the 2 minutes she got in the House (she was the last one to speak) as the debate was cut short by a radical and usually last resort parliamentary procedure on September 28, 2011.