As most people know and are very excited about, Justin Trudeau has recently been elected as the new Prime Minister of Canada. He has many plans to repair our Parliamentary Democracy and how our country works, and one of those ideas is the stance Canada has on environmental issues. Trudeau has unveiled many environmental promises in Vancouver, such as including hundreds of millions of dollars in clean technology investment and a continued focus on climate change. This is definitely an improvement over Stephen Harper’s obsession with tar sands expansion, which created a lot of greenhouse gas emissions. It gutted every major water law and promoted oil pipelines such as Energy East, which would threaten more than 1,000 waterways including the St Lawrence river.
Trudeau has also said that he will invite all of the premiers to be at the United Nation’s Climate Change Conference in Paris, which would be one of his first major international forays. Within 90 days of the conference, a first ministers meeting about climate change will be held to think of a plan that includes the creation of national emissions-reduction targets and ensures provinces have support in designing their own carbon pricing policies. “In 2015, pretending that we have to choose between the economy and the environment is as harmful as it is wrong,” said Trudeau earlier this year. So far, Justin Trudeau has shown more care and respect for the issues that are surrounding our environment than the previous government. Stephen Harper would favor the economy, business, and the rich, rather than showing care for the environment that surrounds us. The Conservatives are so obsessed with family values, yet they don’t care about the environment that will affect their children and the rest of their family line.
Although, even with a resounding win, it may provide very difficult for Trudeau to enact a strong environmental and energy policy at the federal level in Canada. Control over Canadian energy and environmental policy rests in a large way with the country’s powerful provincial leaders. Indeed, the country precisely leaves authority over natural resource management to the provinces. And many Canadians still remember an ill-fated and unlucky attempt in the 1980’s by the federal government to take a larger share of the profits from energy resources in individual provinces. That program was lead by none other than Pierre Trudeau, Justin Trudeau’s father.
Trudeau appears keen on completing a carbon pricing scheme that would set targets for emissions reductions at the federal level and allow for provinces to create programs independently to meet some goals. Before being elected, Trudeau said, “For 10 years, we have had a government that has done nothing to understand that the world has changed, that you cannot build a strong economy without protecting and preserving our environment.” It will be beneficial to the country to finally have a leader that not only acknowledges the fact that climate change is a real and serious problem, but a leader that wants to change it. Even by just showing up to the United Nation’s Conference, Trudeau will be a more effective leader environment-wise than Harper.
The Liberals are promising to restore $25-million in funding to Parks Canada, while offering an entry that doesn’t require pay into all of Canada’s national parks in 2017. In later years, the parks would be free for children and new immigrants within a year of obtaining their citizenship. The Liberal government would also create “green bonds,” which could be used by the private sector to develop alternatives to fossil-fuel energy sources.
Canada has a long way to go, especially after Harper’s mistakes, but with Trudeau as our leader we can make positive advances forward toward a better future. The United Nation’s Climate Change Conference in Paris will be held from November 30 to December 11 of this year and Justin Trudeau will be providing honest and wise advice on how to help the dying environment.