I’m running for Parliament in Canada’s October 19th election as a candidate for the Animal Alliance/Environment Voters Party – AA/EV – for the Toronto-Danforth riding. Though the AA/EV is one of Canada’s tiniest political parties, I represent billions more beings than my fellow candidates. These beings include not just the thousands of voters and residents of Toronto-Danforth but also Canada’s billions of animals: our wildlife; the dogs, cats, rabbits, ferrets, birds and other creatures we live with as companions; the unlucky members of those same species imprisoned in facilities that torment them in the name of science; and the billions of cows, pigs, chickens, turkeys, lambs, goats and fish condemned to factory farms where they endure brief, wretched lives that end in terror in slaughterhouses.
I also advocate for the well-being of the environment whose destruction humanity – and other political parties – seem bent on permitting, by failing even to acknowledge – much less address – the biggest contributor of all, the factory farming that continues to gobble up Canadian family farms.
They do not protest against how the effluvia from factory farming pollutes neighbouring land and the waterways it seeps into. Nor, when discussing health care, do they express alarm that before slaughter, the tormented and sick animals are given antibiotics – 80% of antibiotics are used for animals, only 20% in human health care – and so everyone who eats their flesh is also exposed to antibiotics, leading to the widespread resistance to these once wondrous drugs that threatens to leave us unprotected against diseases that were once easily manageable. Nor do they cry out against the hormones given those animals to boost and hasten their growth and slaughter and that, in the humans who eat them, are linked to breast and testicular cancer, among others. Nor do they worry about the pesticides the animals ingest in their feed that is grown with many carcinogenic chemical pesticides.
Yet in an upcoming television All-Candidates debate on Rogers TV, we are each allowed exactly one minute to introduce our programs. How is that possible? A one-minute speech is no more than 140 words, and I’ve taken nearly triple that already.
And then last Sunday in church, reciting the Apostle’s Creed, I had an epiphany. That creed, (King James version) which encapsulates the core of Christianity and even wraps it in a bit of narrative, is 110 words! If Christianity can be expressed so succinctly, so can the world-view that has driven me to enter the political arena.
My creed: I believe in a world where humans respect, protect and enhance the environment they depend on and share with animals and plant life, and where progress is measured not as macroeconomic units of growth but always in terms of justice, equity and sustainability. Humans are inextricably linked by biology and ecology to non-human life, and when humans harm other life forms, they harm us all, not just physically and emotionally but also ethically and spiritually.
Our best science shows that the economic course that humanity is currently pursuing will—left unchecked and unreformed—result in drastically altered ecosystems and catastrophic events far worse than we are already witnessing and enduring around the world.
I believe in Canadian sovereignty and mourn its sacrifice at the altar of globalism via the TPP and previous cross-border deals, increasingly crafted in secrecy from voters but not from special interests, including lobbyists.
(And, if I speak as fast as the speed of light, I can also include) I believe Bill C51’s acceptable features are far outweighed by its potential to silence dissent, invade privacy and crush ethical whistle-blowers and animal advocates like myself as “terrorists.”
It’s (barely) do-able. Perhaps, in the capable hands of the folks who produced the Book of Common Prayer version of the Apostles’ Creed, mine could be reduced to one minute, articulated without rushing. Until that happens, I’ll zip along as fluently as I can, and rely on answering questions – I’ll have 30 seconds for each! – to elaborate on my world vision.
Thank you for speed reading for the most crucial of causes: animals and the environment.