Toronto, ON – We congratulate Catherine McKenna for being appointed to the role of Minister of Environment and Climate Change and look forward to working with her to lead a new approach to integrating protection of Canada’s environment with economic success.

Minister McKenna’s diverse experience, nationally and internationally, will be particularly valuable. Her experience as legal advisor to the U.N. will allow her to navigate international files like the critical U.N. climate summit happening later this month in Paris. Her work focused on providing pro-bono legal services in the developing world has no doubt allowed her to better understand the impacts of climate change on vulnerable people around the world, and the need for bold action on reducing Canada’s carbon emissions.

With the looming Paris climate talks, the most significant global climate negotiation this decade, only a few short weeks away, she will need to hit the ground running. The outcome of the summit will have major implications for the future of our planet. Paris will be the first test of the new Minister and the new government’s dedication to tackling climate change and building a clean economy. It’s a crucial moment for Canada to arrive with a clear plan that will contribute meaningfully to forging a solution to this critical global issue.

To be a meaningful and sincere participant at international talks, we need to have a credible plan domestically. We are encouraged by the Liberal platform promise that Canada’s carbon reduction target will be consistent with economic and scientific analysis that recognize the necessity of Canada doing its part to keep average global warming to below 2 degrees Celsius. The new Minister must take a clear leadership role in working with her provincial counterparts to develop a plan to cut Canada’s emissions to meet this target.

For example, Minister McKenna must repair the environmental legislative framework dismantled by the previous government and resurrect the role of science in policy-making to restore the public’s faith in the review of energy projects.

Canada has also failed to protect citizens from toxic chemicals such as triclosan, phthalates and harmful flame retardants. Action to restrict carcinogens and hormone disrupting chemicals has been stalled for far too long. The recently adopted ‘one for one’ rule on eliminating one regulation for every new one created mocks Canadians’ desire to be protected from toxic chemicals and must be reversed.

The appointment of Minister McKenna is a positive sign that the Canadian government is committed to taking action to protect our environment and make it a key element of a new approach to economic development. We look forward to working with the Minister on this task.

About ENVIRONMENTAL DEFENCE (www.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, ncarniol@environmentaldefence.ca, 416-570-2878 (cell)