It would seem that prime minister-elect Justin Trudeau and his Liberal majority government are off to a good start when it comes to keeping their election promises. He has invited NDP party leader Thomas Mulcair, Green Party leader Elizabeth May and all of the provincial premiers to attend the 2015 United Nations Climate Change Conference being held Nov. 30 to Dec. 11 in Paris. Inclusiveness is certainly a nice alternative to secretiveness.
The new (Liberal) federal government also seems to be indicating they are more willing to work with the provinces when it comes to issues such as emissions-reduction plans. And, while the new federal government has not yet had a chance to put forward a formal, specific environmental action plan, they have put forward plans to establish a new climate change framework (by February 2016) that includes “the phasing out of fossil fuel subsidies,” as well as investment in climate resilience, clean technology and low-carbon infrastructure.”
They have also stated that they plan to set aside some $2 billion for emissions-reducing projects through a new Low Carbon Economy Trust.
This new federal government is also promising to undo some of the damage done by the previous Conservative government to Canada’s environmental laws and environmental assessment process which were brought in to sidestep the need for environmental assessment of proposed projects like oil and gas pipelines.
The new federal government is promising a “revamped review process which promises to be evidence-based and allow for more meaningful participation by the public” as well as plans to incorporate “more science” into (federal) environmental assessments including the “consideration of climate change and environmental impacts” of things such as oil sands and pipeline projects. Under the previous Conservative government the environmental impact of oil sands projects were considered “outside the relevant scope” of pipeline reviews.
While prime minister-elect Trudeau has publicly voiced his support for both the Kinder Morgan and Keystone XL pipeline projects, he has also acknowledged that “even though it is the federal government that grants permits, it is ultimately the communities that grant permission.”
Again, inclusiveness is certainly a nice alternative to secretiveness.
The previous Conservative government worked hard to weaken, undermine and when possible eliminate many of Canada’s strongest and most important environmental laws, including the Fisheries Act and the Navigable Waters Act. The new Liberal government has promised to review changes to both of these acts and to reinstate what was altered and/or removed where possible.
They have also promised to reinstate some $40 million in funding for the Department of Fisheries and Oceans. And they are promising a moratorium on crude oil tanker traffic along B.C.’s northern coast. A new version of the Species at Risk Act is apparently also part of the new government’s overall plan for the environment.
It is too soon to know all that the new federal government has in its plans for the environment, just as it is too soon to know what plans they will ultimately carry out. But it is nevertheless, refreshing to know that their plans, at least on the surface, are respectful of both the land and the people that live on this planet of ours. Only time will tell.
But again, inclusiveness is certainly a nice alternative to secretiveness.