Elizabeth May’s speech on BC’s climate catastrophe

Elizabeth May (Saanich—Gulf Islands)
2021-11-24 18:31

Mr. Speaker, I am truly honoured to be the first member to rise this evening to speak to such a crucial issue.

I first want to acknowledge that we are gathering today on the unceded territory of the Algonquin Anishinabe people.

To me, it is clear that we are in the midst of a climate emergency. I just participated in the 26th United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change in Glasgow. This was my 12th time participating, and the situation is graver now than it was the first time.

I am desperately concerned that the climate emergency is outpacing any government’s actions to take control of the situation, and I want to address this issue while cognizant of the time. I take to heart the remarks from earlier today by my friend and colleague the hon. member for Abbotsford, who also wanted an emergency debate. We want to focus on what has just happened in our home province of British Columbia. However, there is a context here, and any action we take now that ignores the root causes of what just happened invites worse to come. We need to take account of root causes and we need to take appropriate actions.

With the Speaker’s indulgence, my intention is to start with the global, move to the national and then focus most of my remarks on the provincial and the local and what we do now. I hope we can approach this issue tonight, all of us members of Parliament from five different parties, in a way that reflects the best of us in recognizing that we have more in common than in difference.
I am looking across the way right now to my friend from Mission—Matsqui—Fraser Canyon, who referenced earlier today that it was in his riding that Lytton burned to the ground in 15 minutes earlier this summer. I do not think we can only look at the floods that just happened. A lot of events have taken place and hit the same communities, particularly the same first nations communities, over and over again within the period of time during which the House was adjourned, from the end of June until reconvening on Monday.

We have to recognize that we are in a climate emergency, as the House did on June 17, 2019. Some of us were in our seats then. Through a motion from the former minister of environment, Catherine McKenna, the House voted that we were indeed in a climate emergency and had to take account of that. However, nothing has changed. We do not act as though we are in an emergency.
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the large scientific body also known as IPCC, has released unequivocal research. It presented a report on 1.5°C in October 2018. The news was so terrible that the IPCC called for immediate action. Three years have now passed, and the situation is even worse than it was in October 2018.

We were told by the Intergovernmental Panel On Climate Change in their emergency report on 1.5°C, which is the target of the Paris Agreement, that we are at desperate risk of missing it. It is not a political target. The reason the IPCC was asked to produce the report they produced was to inform policy-makers, politicians and government leaders around the world about the difference between a 2°C global average temperature increase and 1.5°C. I will not go through all the details of the report. I cannot in the time available. However, as one of the government leaders, the Prime Minister of Barbados, just said a few days ago in Glasgow, 2°C is a death sentence for us; only at 1.5°C do we survive.

Link to full transcipt: https://www.ourcommons.ca/Publication…