FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
16 September 2020
VANCOUVER — As Justin Trudeau’s minority government struggles to define its post-pandemic recovery strategy, Greenpeace Canada is offering the Liberals a draft (at no charge) of what should be in next week’s Speech from the Throne.
“The toxic wildfire smoke drifting across the border from the U.S. illustrates the danger of ignoring green goals, even in the short-term,” said Greenpeace Canada Communications Officer Jesse Firempong. “Both immediate and long-term economic stimulus must make life better for all Canadians while reducing our vulnerability to future crises. Our Throne Speech gives the Prime Minister and Finance Minister a handy tool to turn their promise of a green and equitable recovery into action.”
Over the last six months, Greenpeace Canada staff and volunteers have been meeting with federal MPs and mobilizing public support for a green and just recovery. The Speech from the Throne is a key moment because it lays out the government’s legislative agenda and budgetary priorities. For a sense of the scale of action required, Joe Biden’s Plan for Climate Change and Environmental Justice commits US$2 trillion over 4 years.
Greenpeace Canada’s Throne Speech includes the following proposals:
1. Taking care-mongering to the national policy level by transforming social safety nets:
- A living wage and a universal basic income for those in need.
- A national childcare program to reduce barriers to women’s workforce participation.
- A national pharmacare program so that no Canadian goes broke staying healthy.
- Filling gaps in employment protection programs, from conditions for care home workers to nationally legislated paid sick leave minimums for all workers.
2. Safeguarding the environment through full decarbonization, protection of natural ecosystems, investments in a circular economy and regenerative agriculture;
- Expanding electric transportation, transit, cycling and walking infrastructure.
- Banning the sale of gas-powered vehicles by 2030 and assisting automakers to transition jobs to electric vehicles production.
- And supporting jobs in energy efficiency and low-carbon housing for low-income, racialized and Indigenous communities.
- Investing in nature-based jobs that rebuild vital, degraded ecosystems.
- Safeguarding food security through community-based farming and regenerative agriculture.
- And taking steps to end the current take-make-waste consumption model by implementing a comprehensive ban on single-use plastics and supporting zero-waste innovation.
3. Justice for women, Indigenous Peoples and racialized communities through measures that will address and help eliminate gender inequality, systemic racism and social injustice;
- Address the “she-cession” with steps to ensure equal pay and safe employment conditions in the care and clerical sectors where women (and especially for racialized and migrant women) are overrepresented.
- Act in good faith to respect Indigenous rights and law, working in a nation-to-nation partnership.
- Respect the need to urgently work to end systemic racism, including by reducing the budget of the RCMP and investing in mental health funding for racialized communities.
- Outline a clear path to citizenship and ensure employment conditions for migrant workers across Canada.
4. How we would we pay for it
- Implement a wealth tax and ban the use of tax havens.
- End fossil fuels subsidies and cancel construction of the Trans Mountain Expansion pipeline.
- Make big polluters pay their fair share to address climate change.
“Throughout the pandemic, we have seen what it means for a government to treat a crisis like a crisis,” said Firempong. “Greenpeace’s proposed Speech from the Throne sets a bar for what it would mean to take our climate change and equity crises equally seriously.”
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Our policy recommendations package, which has been shared with MPs.
Laura Bergamo, Communications Officer, Greenpeace Canada
+1 (438) 928-5237; [email protected]