Statement by Linda Duncan on Earth Day

NDP MP Linda Duncan (Edmonton Strathcona) made the following statement for Earth Day, April 22:

On Earth Day, Canadians will be joining people worldwide in calling for action to preserve our planet.

For Canada to do its fair share in the fight against climate change and many other threats to our environment, we need urgent and ambitious leadership from our federal government.

Despite committing to deep reductions under the Paris Climate Agreement, the government continues to stick with Stephen Harpers’ climate change targets as our national benchmark, reductions that do not meet our international commitment to reduce greenhouse gases. They have yet to produce a complete plan or timeline to meet even these low thresholds. Environment Canada has projected that Canada is set to miss its reduction target for greenhouse gas emissions by 2030, exceeding by least 30 per cent more emissions than promised.

At the same time two years into their mandate the Liberals have failed to deliver on their election promise to restore the federal environmental laws eviscerated through Stephen Harper’s omnibus bills. Those included promises to strengthen our environmental assessment process, Fisheries Act and Navigable Waters Protection Act. Action is needed to restore the rights to indigenous peoples and potentially impacted communities to have a voice in decisions that impact our health and environment. The Canadian Environmental Bill of Rights I have thrice tabled could protect those rights.

Now the government has announced a delay in implementing a number of promised measures. They will delay by a further three years issuing methane control regulations, rules that simply played catch up with U.S., rules already in place. Their budget, while promising spending on a cleaner energy future delays, actually spending for years, including to help indigenous and northern communities switch from diesel and the $1.2 billion dollars to support efforts by the provinces under the Pan-Canadian Framework on Clean Growth and Climate Change. Despite its popularity, the eco-energy retrofit program has not been restored.

I and my New Democrat colleagues will continue to call on the Liberal government to follow through on their climate change commitments. Our message is clear: we need ambitious targets, credible measures to deliver them and transparency in reporting on actions taken. Climate change won’t wait. We are already suffering the effects. It’s time for action.

But it is not just climate change that needs action. We also need deeper investment to protect our precious water ways and threatened species. I encourage you to speak out and demand action to protect our environment.