Greens encouraged by some aspects of Speech from the Throne but caution stronger climate action will be needed

September 24, 2020

OTTAWA – The Green Party of Canada expressed cautious optimism about yesterday’s Speech from the Throne. Its continued support for Canadians struggling with the effects of the pandemic were encouraging. However, the science on the climate crisis makes it clear that we need more than vague promises to exceed the current weak targets for 2030. Canada must live up to its international commitments and the Green Party will keep pressing for stronger climate action.

“The Liberals made a lot of promises today,” said Green Party Interim Leader Jo-Ann Roberts. “Many of their proposals are surprisingly similar to those outlined in the Green Party’s recovery plan Reimagining Our Future. Obviously the pandemic is foremost on people’s minds, so we welcome initiatives that reinforce caring for people and our planet.

“We support ideas like funding for housing and supporting local food supply. Long before the pandemic we were advocating for national standards for long-term care, and we have been calling for investments in early learning and childcare,” said Paul Manly (MP Nanaimo-Ladysmith) “But I believe the government missed a historic opportunity to implement a Guaranteed Livable Income. Communities and lives continue to be ravaged by the opioid crisis, but the commitments in the throne speech to address that crisis are much too weak. And I am very disappointed to hear nothing addressing the catastrophic collapse of salmon fisheries on the West Coast, as well as getting fish farms out of salmon migration routes.”

Green parliamentary leader Elizabeth May (MP, Saanich-Gulf Islands) stressed the long overdue action on Indigenous reconciliation. She also welcomed the announcement of a Canada Water Agency. “This is such an important move, so glad to see it finally announced today,” said Ms. May. “Also very happy to hear that Canada will increase international development assistance. In addition to the pandemic, the climate crisis is already devastating populations in vulnerable countries and there will soon be millions more climate refugees needing help.”

MP for Fredericton, Jenica Atwin expressed some trepidation: “Many of these commitments, to legislate net-zero by 2050, to modernize the Official Languages Act, or to enshrine the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People for example, are repeat promises from the 2019 Liberal platform and from last year’s Throne speech,” said Atwin. I am ready to start seeing some action come out of the anti-racism secretariat, to see real dollars behind commitments on mental health and wellness, and to finally see meaningful steps toward developing legislation to enshrine UNDRIP. Words are no longer enough.”

The Green caucus have said they will continue to study the document before giving their unqualified support to the Government’s plan going forward but have indicated it appears to be a step in the right direction.

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