Green Party leader and MP Elizabeth May, the Young Greens, and several Green Shadow Cabinet members are among the contributors to the latest Green Party of Canada newsletter. You can find contributors’ brief articles by entering ‘newsletter’ in the searchbox on Here’s my contribution.

19 December 2011 – 9:47am

Furthering GPC peace and security efforts has, for a few months, been combined with my volunteering full-time for Elizabeth in her parliamentary office. I joined Elizabeth’s Ottawa team when Parliament resumed in mid-September.

Elizabeth was one of the originators of the effort by more than 550 Order of Canada recipients that succeeded in having unanimous motions for nuclear arms control and disarmament passed in the Senate and in the House last year. Because Elizabeth was attending COP 17 in Durban, I represented her at a forum on Monday, December 5, in East Block, on how to further this effort. The organizers were Order of Canada recipients, and the other speakers were M.P.s. I delivered Elizabeth’s message that she’s keen to work with as many other parliamentarians as possible to re-activate the Canadian section of Parliamentarians for Nuclear Non-proliferation and Disarmament.

The week before, I joined Elizabeth for one of the many press conferences at which she’s spoken. This one was on M.P. Alex Atamanenko’s Private Member’s bill to establish a Canadian Department of Peace, for which she was a seconder.

A less formal activity: the Green Shadow Cabinet was represented well at the traditional All-Party Party, hosted by M.P.s and senators. On November 30, it was at the former railway station just down the street from Parliament Hill, now the Government Conference Centre. Everyone who works on The Hill was invited, and could bring one guest. I brought two: our Human Rights advocate, Joe Foster, and his guide dog, Fabray. Fabray made more new friends for the Green Party than did either Joe or I, and she dined extremely well!

Because Elizabeth spends so much time in the House, her team enables her to keep up with other parliamentary business. On her behalf, I’ve been attending meetings of the Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Development, its Subcommittee on International Human Rights, and the Standing Committee on Industry, Science and Technology. Two examples of the many issues explored, relevant to positions the Green Party has taken, are the situation in the Democratic Republic of Congo, and Canada’s role in international development.

In Ottawa, I’ve been able to meet with a number of people active in NGOs. As well, I’ve been able to stay in touch with Green volunteers in Toronto who continue their valuable efforts on our Green Shadow Cabinet’s behalf. What I perforce could not do was continue my various volunteer commitments in Toronto. Before I left, when I contacted the folks in each group to explain, absolutely everyone responded with extraordinary enthusiasm about Elizabeth’s election and my opportunity to help her.

Volunteering for Elizabeth on The Hill has been extremely rewarding. I’ve blogged a bit on my website, . I’m keen to add more. The pace is so hectic, that will be after Parliament rises for the winter holidays, and I return to my home in Toronto.
Ellen Michelson serves as Peace and Security Advocate on Green Shadow Cabinet. She is the Green Party of Canada’s candidate of record for Toronto Centre in the 2008 and 2011 general elections, and is a member-at-large on her EDA executive