Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and provincial and territorial leaders committed to creating a national climate strategy for Canada. This commitment is enshrined in the March 2016 Vancouver Declaration. Over the next several months, public consultation related to the a national climate change strategy will take place.
The consultation process started with Ottawa Centre MP and Minister of the Environment and Climate Change Catherine McKenna when she had her consultation on 28 April 2016! Ottawa South also held a climate change consultation since then. The consultations in Ottawa Centre and Ottawa South are now done and both went incredibly well. The people of Ottawa Centre and South were clear in their opposition to Tar Sands expansion, the Energy East Pipeline, and the need to develop a sustainable economy. Minister McKenna was very receptive at the Ottawa Centre consultation. MP David McGuinty and MPP John Fraser listened to and spoke with the people, committing themselves to advancing environmentally friendly options for the future.
To date, we have had climate change consultations in every riding in the Ottawa area except three: Orleans and Vanier where the planning process has already begun, and Carleton where MP Pierre Poilievre is unlikely to host or attend such an event. For the former two ridings, you can expect updates as we move forward. For the latter, we encourage you to contact MP Poilievre and impress upon him that this is a process that Carleton should be able to take part in as well. Climate change issues should - and do - transcend party lines.
This is an historic opportunity at an opportune time to influence and shape a serious change in how Ottawa and Canada produce and consume energy. We are all capable of creating change in our communities, but the government plays a huge role in this change as well.
On May 25th at the Ottawa South Climate Consultation, MP David McGuinty put it best:
“The Federal Government is the largest employer in Canada. It’s the largest landlord in Canada. The biggest player in procurement and consulting services. Multiply that to include provincial governments, and it is clear that government certainly can take charge and influence the market to advance a sustainable economy while people do it themselves at home as well.”
As we move forward in the consultation process, it is important to make sure that our elected representatives know that fossil fuels and climate change are topics that must be covered in any climate change consultation process. Here are some talking points in response to the topics the government has chosen to be covered at these consultations:
- How and where to reduce emissions.
- Canada can do that by not building high-carbon infrastructure, including oil pipelines, LNG terminals, and fossil fuel-fired power plants, and instead seizing the economic opportunities in the clean energy economy and creating one million clean, safe, rewarding jobs.
- Ideas for new technology and job creation.
- The federal government can maximize opportunities in the clean energy economy by phasing out fossil fuels over time, making investments in clean energy, and giving incentives for the private and community sector to also make those investments and develop alternative energy projects in communities.
- How to put a price on carbon.
- A minimum carbon price must apply to all polluting sectors in all provinces across Canada.
- That price has to be high enough to reflect the social and environmental costs of developing dirty energy projects, and must rise over time so that carbon emissions drop quickly enough for Canada to meet its Paris commitments to limit warming to 1.5 degrees and ensure a safe climate and future.
- Preparing for the impacts of climate change.
- The impacts of climate change are being increasingly felt across Canada: storms, flooding and intense weather events; insect infestations and fires in Canada’s forests; degraded ecosystems and impacts on Indigenous cultures that depend on them; and many more.
- General ideas on climate change reduction
- Reject all new pipelines in Canada, including the Energy East Pipeline which will run through Ottawa.
The next climate change consultation in Ottawa will be in the ridings of Orleans and Vanier. The Vanier consultation will 11 July from 6-7:30pm and the Orleans consultation will be at 7pm on 20 July! Keep up to date on these consultations by checking our website and following us on Facebook and Twitter. Make sure to get out there and have your voices heard! We encourage everyone to get involved in creating this change with Ecology Ottawa as we continue to plan consultations, events, and outreach with the goal of making Ottawa the green capital of Canada!