Another election came and went. In many ways it seems like not much was accomplished – or not much changed. Yet I’m ready to greet Canada’s 44th Parliament with higher hopes for ambitious climate action than ever before.
At a time where multiple crises are converging globally, this was a crucial election for Canadians. We are in a climate emergency. And Canadians voted accordingly.
Canadians voted for climate action and environmental protection
While no party won a majority mandate this week, the environment did. Canadians voted for more ambitious and urgent climate action: Millions of Canadians cast ballots for parties that put forward strong policies to confront the climate emergency and advance environmental protection.
A Parliament of Climate Champions
The federal parties must now put aside their differences and work together to do what is needed to tackle the environmental crisis we face. An unprecedented amount of serious climate and environmental policy was put on the table this election period. If all of the ambitious climate proposals from all of the parties were implemented, Canada would be well on its way to doing its fair share to avoid catastrophic levels of global warming.
With a Parliament composed of climate champions from across all of the parties, it shouldn’t be hard to pass new and ambitious climate initiatives. But it means that we need all party leaders to step up, put party politics aside and work together, across party lines, to protect our communities and our planet.
No more delays
As the polls show, a majority of Canadians know there is no time to waste. We need a government that can deliver at the scale and pace required by science. Canada’s new government will need to get to work as soon as possible to make good on the promises made during the election. During the first months of this new administration, Canadians expect to see the rapid and bold action their communities require.
Environmental Priorities for this Parliament
The election is not the end of the road, it is only the beginning. It is up to us to hold our newly elected representatives to account.
We call on the new government to work quickly to implement the important promises that were made during the election campaign, including:
- Bringing a swift end to fossil fuel subsidies and supports, including public finance provided through crown corporations such as Export Development Canada.
- Ending the export of Canadian and American thermal coal through our ports.
- Establishing a cap on greenhouse gas emissions from the oil and gas sector that ensures no expansions to the sector, and aligns with a plan to wind down production of oil and gas over the next two decades.
- Ensuring Canada’s transition to a decarbonized economy is based upon a just transition for workers and communities.
- Developing a strategy to address environmental justice by examining the link between race, socio-economic status, and exposure to environmental risk.
- Immediately implementing the promised bans on single-use plastics.
- Prioritizing freshwater by working with all stakeholders to modernize the 50-year-old Canada Water Act.
- Bringing forward a strong bill to modernize the Canadian Environmental Protection Act to better protect Canadians from toxic chemicals.
Canada has a history of achievements under minority governments, including the adoption of healthcare and universal pension plans. Tackling the climate and ecological crises should become part of that list.