We would like to congratulate the Prime Minister on the release of comprehensive Cabinet Minister mandate letters that reflect the commitments made during the recent federal election campaign. Canadians voted for environmental leadership, and these Ministerial priorities reflect that. We look forward to engaging with the government on reaching these commitments, and advising Canada on the measures that will be necessary in order to meet them.
Tackling the climate crisis must be an overriding priority for all governments. We are therefore pleased to see the commitment to exceed Canada’s 2030 emissions reduction goal and to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050. The commitment to setting legally-binding, five-year emissions-reduction milestones is a much-needed step towards reaching these targets.
We are also happy to see the commitment to advance legislation to support the future and livelihood of workers and their communities in the transition to a low-carbon global economy. Canada’s transition to a low-carbon economy will create new opportunities, and the government has a responsibility to ensure that the transition is a just transition.
Canadians will be pleased to see the commitment to ban harmful single use plastic products, and to make businesses responsible for collecting and recycling their own plastic waste. The government should take this opportunity to speed up the process of identifying plastics as toxic, which would help meet their commitment of banning harmful single use plastics as early as 2021.
For the first time in 20 years, the federal government has committed to reforming the country’s cornerstone pollution prevention law, the Canadian Environmental Protection Act. Strengthening the country’s key toxics law will have massive public health and environmental benefits.
The commitment to develop further protections for the Great Lakes, which comprise 20% of the world’s freshwater, is more welcome news. The Great Lakes are under severe and increasing threat from harmful algae blooms, invasive species, and impacts from climate change.
We anticipate working constructively with all political parties on implementing these commitments in order to safeguard the health and well-being of Canadians, and our natural world.
ENVIRONMENTAL DEFENCE (www.environmentaldefence.ca): Environmental Defence is a leading Canadian advocacy organization that works with government, industry and individuals to defend clean water, a safe climate and healthy communities.
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