Unceded Algonquin Anishinaabe Territories [OTTAWA], 23 September 2020:
Today the Government of Canada delivered the most progressive speech from the throne heard in a generation. The promises made acknowledged the inequalities and vulnerabilities that have been laid bare by the COVID-19 pandemic and spoke to the scale of action needed to confront them. Of course, we’ve heard similar promises before from this government. It is the policy and investment decisions made in the coming months that will determine whether the spirit articulated in this historic speech is turned into meaningful action.
We welcome the news that the government will immediately release its plans for exceeding Canada’s 2030 climate goal, as well as move forward legislation to reach zero emissions by 2050. We look forward to details on how this plan and legislation will work to hold current and future governments accountable for our climate commitments so we never miss another target. No climate plan can be successful without the active inclusion and participation of indigenous communities and cities, many of which are already climate leaders.
Today, the Government affixed a timeline to the implementation of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. Also among today’s promises, the government reaffirmed its commitment to ban single-use plastics and conserve 25% of Canada’s terrestrial and ocean ecosystems, and pledged to invest in clean public and personal transportation, support a nationwide childcare program,invest in measures to tackle extreme wealth inequality, address racism, homelessness, poverty and health concerns. These are all elements essential to a Feminist, Green and Just Recovery.
But building resilient communities that take care of people and the planet requires a transformational approach. Industrial planning is key to putting Canada on a path towards a prosperous zero emission future. Canada must diversify our economy away from fossil fuels while safeguarding workers and communities. That means actively identifying and investing in the sectors that will be the source of Canadian jobs and prosperity for decades to come. Even the best climate policies will fail if Canadian governments aren’t bold enough to build the clean economy we need.
Today’s Speech from the Throne, mostly notably, reflects the tremendous collaborative effort put forth by people and communities around the country who have cared for one another, rallied to protect those most vulnerable to the impacts of this pandemic, and who have joined forces to call on our leaders to commit to bold and visionary action. In this time of crisis, we are prepared to rise, together.
Executive Director, Climate Action Network Canada