Canadian Civil society organizations are rallying behind efforts to create our own version of the Green New Deal expounded by U.S. Democrats. They are calling it The Pact for a Green New Deal. Canadian Greens applaud their commitment and enthusiasm and wholeheartedly endorse their demands for decisive action on the climate emergency, mainly because we have been describing and promoting this exact thing sometime past forever.
The Green New Deal has created a moment. Now we must seize this moment in common cause with civil society in Canada and the large number of NGOs challenging political parties to set out a Canadian Green New Deal. We must respond and support the youth from over 50 countries who have developed the People’s Platform.
Today, we launch Mission: Possible – the Green Climate Action Plan.
From Vision Green to Mission: Possible
The Green Party of Canada foundational policy book, Vision Green, sets out our vision for Canada rooted in six core values:
- Social Justice
- Ecological Wisdom
- Respect for Diversity
- Grassroots Democracy
- Peace and non-Violence
Distilling that foundation to a clear call to action, we release Mission: Possible - The Green Climate Action Plan
We commit to all Canadians that our 2019 election platform will meet and exceed the Green New Deal (U.S.) and The Pact for a Green New Deal (Canada). We call on our Canadian allies to adopt similar targets.
We pledge that even with these ambitious measures, our detailed platform will be fully costed and will be more fiscally responsible than that of the other parties. We will, in the coming weeks, submit our entire platform and budget to the Parliamentary Budget Office for independent review and verification.
What is Mission: Possible?
Mission Possible is less about the original New Deal, Franklin D. Roosevelt’s massive public works program to lift post-Depression America out of poverty, and more about Churchill’s courageous World War II campaign to defeat fascism. It places Canada on something equivalent to a war footing to ensure the security of our economy, our children and their children – our future.
It is a call for "all hands on deck."
It incorporates all the requirements for economic justice, just transition, the guarantee of meaningful work, while also respecting the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People. It recognizes that we cannot achieve climate security in the absence of equity.
It is a commitment to achieve all 17 United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to which the Government of Canada claims to have also committed. All 17 will be achieved by 2030.
A 20-step Climate Action Plan
We must, as a community of nations, ensure that global average temperature does not rise more than 1.5 degrees C over pre-Industrial Revolution levels. The October 8, 2018 report of the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change makes it clear that 2 degrees is far too dangerous. Somewhere below 2 degrees is the tipping point that plunges us into runaway global warming – a selfaccelerating, irreversible spiral of positive feedback loops leading to the loss of our hospitable biosphere and the potential extinction of most species on earth, including us. Holding to 1.5 degrees is not negotiable. It is do or die.
There is good news.
- The IPCC has determined that, with monumental effort, we can hold to 1.5 degrees;
- Nothing prevents humanity from achieving that goal – other than the lack of political courage; and
- We have already negotiated the legal framework to allow 190 countries to work together to do so.
The Paris Agreement – to which Canada and all nations on earth are legally committed – calls for holding the global average temperature increase to no more than 1.5 degrees.
The current extinction crisis is largely driven by changes created by global warming. Still, we must do more to protect all species on earth from extinction at our own hands. We need to change loggingmethods, protect marine areas and be more aggressive in planning species recovery.
Canada’s contribution is Mission: Possible
Even though Canada currently has one of the worst records on earth for reducing greenhouse gases (GHG), we can still be the global leaders we must be. We can be an example to the world – a fossil fuel dependent country that plans and successfully executes the end of our dependence on fossil fuels. We can demonstrate leadership and press other countries to do more.
If Greens are elected in sufficient numbers to either form government or exert significant influence in a minority parliament, Green MPs will:
Declare a Climate Emergency
Accept, at every level of government, that climate is not an environmental issue. It is the gravest security threat the world has ever seen.
Establish an inner cabinet of all parties
Modelled on the war cabinets of Mackenzie King and Winston Churchill, parties will work together to ensure that climate is no longer treated like a political football. It requires all hands on deck.
Set stringent new targets
Establish our new target and file it as Canada’s Nationally Determined Contribution with the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change: 60 per cent GHG reductions against 2005 levels by 2030; zero emissions by 2050.
Attend the next climate negotiation in Chile this year and press other countries to also double their efforts.
Restore funding of climate research within the Government of Canada and in the network of universities that received financial support before 2011.
Maintain carbon pricing
Revenue neutrality will be achieved through carbon fee and dividend and we will eliminate all subsidies to fossil fuels.
No exceptions. It destroys ecosystems, contaminates ground and surface water, endangers our health and it’s a major source of GHGs.
Green the grid
By 2030, remove all fossil fuel generation from our national east-west electricity grid.
And modernize the grid
By 2030, rebuild and revamp the east-west electricity grid to ensure that renewable energy can be transmitted from one province to another.
Plug in to EVs
By 2030 ensure all new cars are electric. By 2040, replace all internal combustion engine vehicles with electric vehicles, working with car makers to develop EVs that can replace working vehicles for Canadians in rural areas. Build a cross-country electric vehicle charging system so that drivers can cruise from St. John’s, NL to Prince Rupert, B.C. – with seamless ease.
Get Canada back on track
Modernize VIA Rail, expand service and ensure trans-modal connections across Canada to light rail and electric buses, so that no one in rural and remote areas of Canada lacks efficient, affordable and safe public transit.
Complete a national building retrofit
Create millions of new, well-paying jobs in the trades by retrofitting every building in Canada – residential, commercial, and institutional – to be carbon neutral by 2030.
Turn off the tap to oil imports
End all imports of foreign oil. As fossil fuel use declines, use only Canadian fossil fuels and allow investment in upgraders to turn Canadian solid bitumen into gas, diesel, propane and other products for the Canadian market, providing jobs in Alberta. By 2050, shift all Canadian bitumen from fuel to feedstock for the petrochemical industry.
Switch to bio-diesel
Promote the development of local, small scale bio-diesel production, primarily relying on used vegetable fat from restaurants. Mandate the switch to bio-diesel for agricultural, fishing and forestry equipment.
Create new partnerships for renewables
Form partnerships with Indigenous peoples, providing economic opportunities by ramping up renewables on their lands. Harness abandoned deep oil wells, wherever feasible, for geothermal energy, using workers who drilled the wells to manage the renewable energy generation.
Call for all hands on deck
Engage every municipality and community organization, as well as every school and university to step up and plant trees, install solar panels, heat pumps, assist in retrofitting buildings to maximize energy efficiency.
Invest significant resources in adaptation measures to protect Canadian resource sectors such as agriculture, fishing and forestry from the ravages of climate change. Review all infrastructure investments for adaptation to climate change. Map flood plains, tornado corridors and other areas of natural vulnerability and adjust land use plans accordingly.
Cancel the purchase of F35s and buy more water bombers to protect communities from forest fires. Cut standing dead timber to establish fire breaks and save lives.
Curtail the “other” GHG sources
Address the fossil fuel use that falls outside the Paris Agreement – emissions from international shipping, aviation and the military.
Restore carbon sinks
Launch a global effort to restore carbon sinks, focusing on replanting forests and restoring the planet’s mangrove forests as quickly as possible.
At the same time, a Greener government will strengthen our social safety net by establishing universal pharmacare and guaranteed liveable income by 2030. We will restore fairness to the tax system, support small business and address our national housing affordability crisis.
We will engage in meaningful nation-to-nation relations with Indigenous peoples and ensure that all levels of government – federal, provincial/territorial, municipal and Indigenous (FN, Métis and Inuit) – are involved in setting high-level national goals.
It is possible to build an equitable society.
It is possible to shift workers with transferable skills to well-paid jobs in the new Green economy.
It is possible to achieve reconciliation and justice with First Nations, Métis and Inuit peoples.
It is possible to stop using fossil fuels and save all life on Earth from our own greed and folly.
If only all this were possible with the old-line parties that have dominated Canadian politics for so long. But we see no sign that the Liberals, Conservatives or New Democrats understand the urgency of avoiding climate breakdown.
Still, we want to work with them.We must work with them.