Right now, former Sierra Club of Canada executive director Elizabeth May is crisscrossing the country, talking about the environmental impact of developing Alberta's tar sands. And, along the way, she's been meeting and greeting federal Greens as part of her bid for the party leadership. But the travel expenses associated with that tour isn't being paid for by her nomination campaign, according to Ms. May. Nor is the tour cost included as part $50,000 Green leadership candidates to allowed to spend during the race.
In an interview with Public Eye, the prominent environmentalist explained "My normal life has included travelling and giving speeches and doing book tours for the past 17 years." And, because such activities aren't extraordinary but rather part of her work routine, Election Canada says her Cleaning the Air on Climate Change tour - which includes whistestops in Vancouver, Victoria, Montreal, Winnipeg, Edmonton, Saskatoon and Regina - shouldn't be considered a campaign expense.
But those tar sand talks, which are being funded by the California-based William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, are listed on the "campaign trail" section of Ms. May's Website as being "campaign events." And the Sierra Club's acting executive director Stephen Hazell says the environmental group "didn't put a penny" into the tar sands tour. The reason: "inevitably, in this tour, Elizabeth will be talking about her Green Party candidacy. It would be unrealistic for her not to talk about it." And "from my perspective, we don't want to be associated with any political party."
Asked whether she thought it was appropriate to list the tour events on campaign Website, Ms. May responded "Now that you raise it with me - and I certainly didn't draft that section - it would be much clearer if it didn't say (the Clearing the Air on Climate Change speeches are) future campaign events. Because they aren't campaign events."
"I honestly hadn't really paid any attention to the language on that site. I just forward my events (to the volunteer who runs my Website) as they get nailed down. And I know they're on the Website. But I hadn't noticed they were all described as campaign events. I'll get that changed. Those aren't campaign events. They're where I am and where people can hear me speak." The following is a complete copy of two recent versions of that event listing.
Ottawa launch: May 9
See the launch video on YouTube
Tuesday, May 23, 7:00 pm
Sandy Hill Community Centre, 20 Somerset St. East, Ottawa
Elizabeth will be signing copies of her new book
"How to Save the World in Your Spare Time".
All proceeds will be put towards the
Sierra Club of Canada National and Ottawa Group's campaign
to protect the Leitrim wetlands.
Sponsored by independent bookstore Books on Beechwood.
Wednesday, May 24th, 7:30 PM
Centurion Conference & Event Centre, 170 Colonnade Rd., Ottawa
Elizabeth May will introduce David Suzuki at a book event in Ottawa. David Suzuki is currently touring to promote his new book - David Suzuki, the Autobiography.
This event will be held at the Centurion Conference & Event Centre, 170 Colonnade Rd.
Tickets are $10 and available from Leishman Books, 722-8313.
Tuesday, May 30, 7 PM - 9 PM
Scotiabank Auditorium, FASS/McCain Building
6135 University Avenue, Halifax
Free. All Welcome.
Elizabeth May will be giving a free public lecture on climate change, the Alberta Tar Sands and her latest book "How to Save the Planet in Your Spare Time." This is her first stop of her national speaking tour entitled "Clearing the Air on Climate Change" on the environmental impacts of a rapidly expanding Athabasca Tar Sands in Alberta and the latest federal government developments related to the Kyoto Protocol.
Wednesday, May 31, 9:30 am
Fundy Room, Westin Nova Scotian, 1181 Hollis Street
Halifax Press Conference
Elizabeth May, candidate for the leadership of the Green Party of Canada, will release information on the Sydney Tar Ponds cleanup.
Nick Wright, leader of the Green Party of Nova Scotia, will provide information on the outcome of the official candidate nomination process. Wright will also be addressing the status of the 2006 provincial general election's televised leadership debate.
Members of the media and the general public are welcome to attend.
Wednesday, May 31, 7:30 pm
Rockcliffe Park Community Hall, Ottawa, GO Manor Park
Our organization has as its mission to eliminate the cosmetic use of pesticide in our community.
Heart and Gardening with Soul : Panel on Good Gardening Practices
Come and hear some Elizabeth and other distinguished panelists discuss gardening from three different but related perspectives.
Thursday, June 1, 4:30pm - 5:30 pm
Isabel Bader Theatre, Victoria College, University of Toronto
The Natural City 2006 - A conference to rethink how urban & natural environments must be integrated to promote sustainability. May 31 - June 2.
Elizabeth May is the closing session speaker with a lecture titled
"Cities: Leaders in the Struggle for Planetary Survival”"
Thursday, June 1, 6 pm - 7:30 pm
Wymilwood Cafe, Victoria College.
150 Charles St. West. South of Bloor
(Just East of Queens Park Crescent, directly across from the Royal Ontario Museum)
Elizabeth May gives her closing keynote speech at the Natural Cities
Conference, at the Isabel Bader Theatre, across the street.
Green Party of Canada supporters will get an opportunity to meet
Elizabeth for a short appearance at the Wymilwood Cafe right after the
Supporters can gather at the Wymilwood as early as 5:30 pm.
For Information call : Dan King 416-595-1782
Friday, June 2, 3pm
Regional Social Forum 2006
Scouts Canada Grounds & Facilities
531 Windermere Rd., London, Ontario
How to be an Activist
Based on her more than 30 years of campaigning, particularly for environmental issues, Elizabeth May will talk about how and why people become politically active. May will describe how we can build and sustain our movements, and avoid the all too common burnout.
Future Campaign Events
* Green Party Leadership Debate, Ottawa ON (7:00 pm)
* Cleaning the Air on Climate Change, Montreal PQ (7:30 pm)
* Green Party Leadership Debate, Montreal PQ (7:30 pm)
* K-W Members Reception and Talk, Kitchener ON (6:00 pm)
* New Brunswick Events (9:00 am)
* Clearing the Air on Climate Change, Winnipeg MB (7:30 pm)
* Green Party Leadership Debate, Calgary AB (7:00 pm)
* Clearing the Air on Climate Change, Edmonton AB (7:00 pm)
* Guelph Greens EDA Meet Up, Guelph ON (8:30 pm)
* Local event with Leeds-Grenville Green Party Association (10:00 am)
* Toronto, ON (7:00 pm)
* Toronto Pride (2:00 pm)
* Port Hope Meet Up, Port Hope ON (8:00 pm)
* Clearing the Air on Climate Change, Saskatoon SK (7:30 pm)
* Saskatchewan Events (9:00 am)
* Clearing the Air on Climate Change, Regina SK (7:30 pm)