Letter from Elizabeth May to Prime Minister Trudeau

The Right Honourable Justin Trudeau
Prime Minister of Canada
Langevin Block, 80 Wellington St.
Ottawa, ON

October 24, 2019

Dear Prime Minister,

Many thanks for taking the time to speak with me on October 22, 2019.

In thinking about how we can maximize progress in the coming 43rd session of Canada’s Parliament, I wanted to share some thoughts with you, copying the other leaders.

As you know, none of the Green Members of Parliament will vote confidence in any government that leaves the current Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) under the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) as it is.  The current target (30% below 2005 levels by 2030) is inconsistent with the advice of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). 

It is urgent that Canada “ratchet up” our NDC under the terms of the Paris Agreement to make our very best efforts to hold global average temperature increase to no more than 1.5 degrees C. To have any useful role in pressing other nations to do more, we must ratchet up in advance of the 25th Conference of the Parties (December 2 - 13, 2019), to be held in Santiago, Chile.  That change does not require Parliament to be sitting.  It can be made by the executive, as was the current target in May 2015. 

To improve humanity’s chances of survival, it is critical that Canada assume a leadership role, first ramping up our own ambition and then pushing for more ambition overall in global negotiations. The work of attributing the appropriate level of ambition by sector, or region, within Canada can take place after COP25.  There is no doubt this is the single most important issue we are facing.  Ideally, you would establish an internal cabinet, including all leaders, to ensure actions are collaborative and well-informed by science.

As we begin the parliamentary session, we should find areas of common ground where the votes line up naturally to make real progress.  I suggest that banning single-use plastics is one of those areas of agreement.

So also, a critical goal is bringing in Pharmacare. The Liberal, Green and NDP platforms all called for Pharmacare.  Can we (Liberal, NDP and Green) agree to make it universal and effective, as recommended by the Hoskins Report?  Can we commit to making it a priority to be accomplished in 2020?

We have wide consensus on the need to ramp up mental health care, addressing the opioid crisis, support for seniors and ways to make housing more affordable.

We also overlap on reducing cell phone charges.

The Liberals, NDP and Greens spoke of real reconciliation and adopting the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP).  Greens and New Democrats called for accepting the report on the Inquiry of Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls. The Liberal platform spoke of reviewing the recommendations.  Can we propose an immediate committee on the MMIWG Inquiry to make the report of the inquiry a priority area, by consensus?

More difficult, but a key priority for Greens, is the need to pursue electoral reform. We have a proposal that we believe meets the concerns you expressed in February of 2017.  That would be a system of Single Transferable Vote, with ranked ballots.  STV would achieve proportionality without allowing any party to gain seats based on a certain threshold of the national vote.  And the voting can be by ranked ballots. Do you see any scope to pursue this in the minority parliament?

I also think our democracy will be better served by amending the Elections Act to ensure that “Truth in Advertising” is required in political ads – whether from Third Parties or Political parties. The last set of amendments to the Elections Act, C-76 in the last parliament, created powers to act to remove “fake news” from foreign interests, but failed to protect our elections from domestically sourced untruths. 

Similarly, I request that we all, as leaders in Parliament, commit to respecting our Standing Orders to ensure our members do not heckle or act disrespectfully toward the Speaker or toward one another.

Greens believe it is important that we try to compromise where compromise is possible and work together so that the 43rd parliament can be as productive as the Liberal Minority of former Prime Minister Lester B. Pearson.

Many thanks for your consideration of these proposals.

Please feel free to contact me about other areas of possible agreement.


Elizabeth May, O.C.
Green Party of Canada

cc: the Hon Andrew Scheer - Leader of the Conservative Party
Mr. Yves-Francois Blanchet - Leader of the Bloc Québécois
Mr. Jagmeet Singh - Leader of the NDP


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For more information or to arrange an interview:

Rosie Emery
Press Secretary