Canada is a repeat offender. Since the Kyoto Protocol was signed – 25 years ago – Canada has met none of its global climate action commitments.
It is strange that we would now be rewarded with hosting an international conference meant to address a biodiversity crisis that stems from the same economic madness that caused the climate emergency. Yet, here we are. Will our leaders now be willing to go beyond the rhetoric to truly address them? It’s doubtful.
Our previous and current governments have become experts at breaking their promises, with disastrous consequences for much more than our country’s reputation. Let’s be clear: Prime Minister Trudeau’s failure to show face during the recent United Nations climate COP27 meeting in Egypt - which our own MP Mike Morrice attended - will hardly be compensated for by his presence this week at the biodiversity COP15 in Montréal.
The truth is that Justin Trudeau’s Liberals did far worse during the recent COP27 than not showing up. While Minister Guilbeault was in Egypt, his colleague, the natural resources minister, Jonathan Wilkinson, told the House that the “global shift to a low-carbon future can be accomplished without phasing out Canada’s oil and gas sector.” He went further, claiming that “the cause of climate change is not fossil fuels themselves, but the carbon emissions associated with producing and burning them.” Is that why the Liberals accepted bids for more oil exploration off the coast of Newfoundland while COP27 was being held?
Like other Liberal ministers, our Minister of Environment, Steven Guilbeault, likes to point out that while we could do more, we are already doing a lot and that progress is underway.
Sorry, Steven – that’s just not good enough. The lack of commitment and choice of unethical practices have resulted in Canada being ranked as the worst polluter of the G7 countries.
When your government buys a pipeline that violates Indigenous rights and threatens endangered marine species, approves deep sea drilling projects, and greenlights new exploration projects during COP27, you’ll have to excuse us for not taking you seriously anymore. That would be the equivalent of hosting an international conference on biodiversity while allowing foreign companies to violate Indigenous rights to clear-cut fragile old-growth forests in some of Canada’s most ecologically valuable territories and watering down forestry trade regulations… oh, wait.
Canada's obvious hypocrisy would be comical were it not so deadly. Our country’s twin failures to reduce our fossil fuel production and protect biomes that are critical to the planet’s ecological balance do more than put us on the wrong side of history. They perpetuate the global inequality we, and other global north nations, have benefited from for so long. And it kills Canadians, as well as people all over the world. In 2022 alone, devastating floods in Pakistan, droughts in China and Europe, heat waves and stronger hurricanes and storms have affected millions. Last year over 600 people died in the historic heat wave in B.C.
There is no doubt that we are losing precious time under the joint ‘leadership’ of the Liberals and NDP. They are as obsessed with oil as the Conservatives. While Canadians struggle with putting food on the table and paying their rent, the Trudeau-Singh alliance continues to hand out billions in subsidies to the privately-owned fossil fuel industry pillaging our natural resources.
Let’s once again be clear: the ‘net-zero by 2050’ is not enough to limit global warming to 1.5 to 2 degrees Celsius. We need to be net-negative as early as possible, and for that, we need to reduce our emissions by 60 percent by 2030, and to peak before 2025.
As COP15 is underway, the Green Party of Canada calls on the Canadian government not to stonewall or drop the ball.
It’s time to show real leadership on biodiversity, as well as climate, by committing to the phase out of fossil fuels and an ambitious plan to restore and protect large swathes of ecologically-rich Canadian territory in agreement with Indigenous Canadians.
To address the concerns raised above, the Green Party of Canada proposes a just transition plan that includes:
- The immediate cancellation of all new fossil fuel projects such as the Trans Mountain Expansion and Bay du Nord drilling project, along with a full commitment to phasing out existing projects,
- A ban on fracking;
- An immediate end to all producer fossil fuel subsidies with a greater investment in renewable energy production and decreasing inequalities;
- Support for fossil fuel industry workers to retrain and for their families as they transition to more sustainable industries, and alternative models of support for those who are unable to transition such as early retirement funds, etc;
- An ambitious conservation program designating large percentages of the Canadian territory for restoration and protection, with the consent of Indigenous Canadians and a transparent and independent oversight and tracking mechanism.
Dr. Farrukh Chishtie, Green Party of Canada Environment and Climate Change co-critic
Dr. Devyani Singh, Green Party of Canada Environment and Climate Change co-critic