Green Party leader stresses climate action, pandemic collaboration, and the need for new pandemic benefits in conversation with Prime Minister

OTTAWA  – During her meeting with Prime Minister Trudeau today, Green Party Leader Annamie Paul stressed the need for ambitious climate action, cross-partisan pandemic cooperation and new support benefits to protect vulnerable groups from the devastating third wave of COVID-19. 

“During my discussion with Prime Minister Trudeau, I shared our expectations regarding his government’s climate plans, as well as our concerns regarding the fast-rising cases of COVID-19 and the people that are still left without adequate supports,” said Ms. Paul.

“The Green Party has been very clear: Canada needs a post-pandemic Green Recovery. It is how we will simultaneously create the jobs we need now; secure our economic future; and do our fair share to combat the climate emergency. President Biden’s Earth Day virtual Leaders Summit on the Climate is a key opportunity for Canada to show global leadership by committing to an upgraded national target of achieving a 60 per cent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions (GHGs) from 2005 levels by 2030.  

“Canada has never met its GHG emissions reduction targets, which continue to rise year-on-year. The Green Party has proposed Canada open discussions with President Biden on the creation of a Canada/U.S. Carbon Border Adjustment to incentivize other countries to adopt strong GHG reduction policies while protecting the competitiveness of our businesses. The upcoming Summit is the perfect moment for Canada to announce its intention to initiate these discussions with the United States.

“Regarding the pandemic, I reiterated to the Prime Minister the urgent need for an intergovernmental rapid response task force, led by health experts, to coordinate all aspects of the pandemic that would benefit from a national strategy. This is a health crisis that risks spiralling out of control, and we need the federal government to take the lead as a convenor to prevent this from happening. 

“At the start of the pandemic, Parliament committed to working collaboratively to ensure every person in Canada would be protected to the very end – whenever we spotted a new hole, we would fill it. We still have holes that need filling if we want to keep that promise, and we need new benefits included in the 2021 budget:  

  • A National Residential Tenant Support Benefit (RTSB) to address the looming national crisis of evictions due to accumulated rent arrears brought on by loss of income during the pandemic; and 
  • A reinstatement of the Canada Emergency Student Benefit (CESB) for the summer of 2021, recognising that students face a dismal summer job market and high unemployment.  

"Over the past year, the people of Canada have proven that we have what it takes to face down the pandemic and the climate emergency, and that we are stronger together. This moment calls for bold, ambitious solutions, combined cross-party collaboration, to get the job done.”

Ms. Paul brought up the Basic Income pilot in Prince Edward Island and urged the Prime Minister to support it.

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For more information or to arrange an interview:

Rosie Emery

Press Secretary