Tell big polluters to pay up
Flash flooding, raging wildfires, deadly heat waves: weather disasters like this are hurting people across Canada and will only get worse with climate change. Faced…Take action
“I see this as their chance for a do-over…That the election has turned into a teaching moment for this liberal government. Watch for all the ways in which they try to fix what they heard was wrong with the first one.”– Susan Delaware, Ottawa columnist and bureau chief with the Star, on CBC’s Here and Now, November 20, 2019
They certainly heard from all of you the day after Justin Trudeau was re-elected Prime Minister. Thousands of you made phone calls, sent emails and left social media messages for Justin Trudeau during our SPAM-A-THON. Together we sent a strong message to the now minority Liberal Government: declaring a Climate Emergency and then approving the expansion of a pipeline the very next day isn’t good enough. Acknowledging that we are in a Climate Emergency is merely the first step; the second step is to act like it.
With COP25 just around the corner, we need Canada to assert strong climate leadership. We need the Trudeau government and his freshly anointed Cabinet to demonstrate a Climate Emergency response plan that responds to the scale of the crisis. A plan that:
1) Is aligned with the best available science, so will eliminate all carbon emissions before 2050 to avoid the worst effects of climate change.
2) Has targets for 2025 and 2030 consistent with getting there, and independent reporting on whether we are on track.
3) Ensures everyone in my community has a good job, because the big changes we need to make to solve the climate crisis can also address its twin scourge of growing inequality.
4) Takes back the power and stop letting Big Oil companies influence government decisions. Your policies must be for the people, not the millionaires. This begins with an end to subsidies to fossil fuels and the expansion of fossil fuel infrastructure, including the cancellation of the Transmountain expansion pipeline.
5) Stops putting extractive industries interests before Indigenous rights. The government should implement free, prior and informed consent for all indigenous communities coast to coast to coast.
If they are seeing their re-election as a chance for a ‘do-over’, an opportunity to listen to those who raised concerns over their last term in office, as Susan Delaware has suggested, then let’s give them something to listen to.
The global climate strike that saw nearly a million Canadians take to the streets to demand action has not gone unnoticed. People like you who continue to raise your voices across Canada is keeping the Climate Emergency at the centre of the cultural conversation.
But we still have a lot of work ahead of us. Something to watch out for: the federal government has indicated that it is willing to water down even further its new environmental assessment act to try to appease oil and gas interests.
One would have thought that Stephen Guilbeault, with his background in environmental activism and his anti-pipeline stance, would have been a no-brainer for the role of Environment Minister. We’re in a Climate Emergency, after all. Wouldn’t it be best to have an environmentalist at the helm of such a key position? But Justin Trudeau appointed him as the Minister of Heritage instead (leaving the environmental community rolling their eyes).
So let’s keep the pressure on: tell Justin Trudeau you want to see strong climate leadership from Canada at COP25. We need tangible, meaningful action on the Climate Emergency.
We need to keep our eye on the ball – or in this case, the pale blue dot. We have no time to waste, and everything to lose if we don’t act now.