OTTAWA – As Canada starts to emerge from months of pandemic lockdown, the Green Party of Canada unveils Reimagining Our Future, a bold and detailed blueprint for a just and prosperous recovery that will drive the transition to the green economy of the 21st century.
“This deadly pandemic has been challenging and heart-wrenching for millions of Canadians, and we are still not out of the woods,” said Green Party Interim Leader Jo-Ann Roberts. “On so many levels our daily lives and how we do business will be forever changed. Undoubtedly, there will be ongoing discussions and investigations as we unpack the lessons learned and plot our path forward. While this terrible crisis continues to impact Canada and the world, we cannot ignore the present and urgent threat of the climate emergency.
“Reimagining Our Future is the policy framework to propel Canada into a new and exciting future. The plan recommits us to restore resilience in the economy, while remembering the primary lesson of the pandemic – that we are all in this together. Underpinning the plan is a long overdue commitment to evidence-based policy and legislation. And, we will renegotiate societal contracts to reflect a more equitable society that respects all citizens.”
Green parliamentary leader Elizabeth May (MP, Saanich-Gulf Islands) said: "According to a recent poll by Ekos research, 73 per cent of Canadians are looking for transformative change in the post-pandemic recovery. This is a moment of enormous potential. We will not go 'back to normal' if that means normal levels of poverty, inequality, abuse of our elders and polluting industries that must be cleaned up. We must reimagine our future."
The COVID-19 pandemic has demonstrated that governments can act quickly and decisively in response to an emergency. Throughout the crisis, Canadian officials and citizens have adhered to the advice of public health officers. Reimagining Our Future advocates for a Chief Climate Science Officer to regularly update and inform Candians on the climate crisis.
Climate scientists have repeatedly warned that insufficient action on climate will lead to runaway global warming. Reimagining Our Future calls for an orderly retreat from fossil fuels to ensure Canadian workers are part of a just transition and that future public investments are consistent with climate goals.
Greens applaud the federal government's quick fiscal response to support Canadian citizens and businesses during the pandemic. However, Reimagining Our Future advocates the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) be converted to a permanent Guaranteed Livable Income (GLI).
“Canada needs a stronger safety net, one that ensures no one will fall through the cracks. A Guaranteed Livable Income is a fair system that alleviates poverty and rewards work,” said Paul Manly (MP, Nanaimo-Ladysmith). “A single, universal benefit will eliminate the enormous cost of administering the current patchwork of federal and provincial assistance programs. The Green Party has been championing the idea of a GLI for decades. The need for it has never been more clear.”
Mr. Manly also pointed out how COVID-19 had exposed the disgraceful conditions in private long-term care facilities, the lack of support for Canadians dealing with mental health issues and many other gaps in our health-care system. Reimagining Our Future calls for de-privatizing long-term care and bringing mental health under the Canada Health Act.
“"It's clear that a national strategy for long-term care is needed," said Manly. “Establishing federal standards of care will improve conditions for both seniors in care and the workers who support them. Every loophole or lax regulation that incentivizes operators to wring profit from these facilities through substandard care and substandard working conditions must be removed permanently.”
The pandemic has also highlighted the need to rethink work and education. Reimagining Our Future proposes more telecommuting and shorter working hours, both of which will benefit worker well-being and the environment. Eliminating student debt and providing free tuition is crucial as is ensuring that every Canadian has access to fast, reliable internet service.
“The last few months of lockdown measures across the nation have taught us how much we value the physical presence of our friends, family, and neighbours,” said Jenica Atwin (MP, Fredericton). “That desire for community will equip us to stand together through the economic and societal restructuring to come. I am excited by the opportunity to rethink government services and policies to put people first with a focus on well-being. With this foundation, we can create the transformative change we need.”
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