Toronto, ON — We congratulate Justin Trudeau on being elected the next prime minister of Canada.

This is a critical moment for environmental issues in Canada. There is an urgent need for Canada to step up and be a climate leader. We are just one month away from the Paris Climate Summit, the most significant global climate negotiation this decade. The outcome of the summit could have major implications for the future of our planet.

We were encouraged by Mr. Trudeau’s statement that he will work with the provinces to develop a pan-Canadian framework to address climate change. We were heartened to see in the Liberal platform a promise that Canada’s carbon reduction target will be informed by the best economic and scientific analysis and recognize the necessity of Canada doing its part to limit average global warming to 2 degrees Celsius.

However, Canada should not show up in Paris unprepared. If Canada is to be a climate leader, we urge the new government to announce clear, strong climate pollution targets before the Paris negotiations begin. To do this, the new Prime Minister should immediately schedule a meeting with Canada’s Premiers to develop this target.

Canada’s mangled regulatory system for reviewing major energy projects is putting Canadians at risk. Massive energy proposals like the Energy East and the Kinder Morgan pipelines are being reviewed under a regulatory process which fails to protect our water, our climate, and First Nations constitutional rights. We were encouraged by Mr. Trudeau’s promise to reform Canada’s regulatory system to account for the climate impacts of pipeline projects. A first step should be stopping the flawed reviews of these projects, and repairing our regulatory system before we can move forward.

Canada has also been falling behind in protecting citizens from toxic chemicals, such as triclosan, phthalates and harmful flame retardants. New rules to restrict carcinogens and hormone disrupting chemicals have been stalled for far too long. The recently adopted ‘one for one’ rule on eliminating one regulation for every new one created that imposes an administrative burden on business doesn’t make sense when it comes to protecting Canadians from toxic chemicals, and all but guarantees Canada will be stuck with a one-step-forward, one-step-back approach unless something changes.

Lastly, it’s important for a healthy democracy that charities be strong participants in public policy discussions. We look forward to working with the new government to implement their election commitment to immediately protect the charitable sector and introduce legislative change that enshrines these protections in law.

By taking quick action on these problems, Canada’s new government has the chance to protect the environment and improve the quality of life of all Canadians. We look forward to working with them.

ABOUT ENVIRONMENTAL DEFENCE (environmentaldefence.ca): Environmental Defence is Canada’s most effective environmental action organization. We challenge, and inspire change in government, business and people to ensure a greener, healthier and prosperous life for all.

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For more information, or media requests, please contact:
Naomi Carniol, Environmental Defence, 416-570-2878 (cell); ncarniol@environmentaldefence.ca