Throne Speech

2021 Throne Speech fails the climate test

Dylan Penner
1 week ago

The absence of a commitment to a just transition in today’s Throne Speech is a failure of leadership.

This past summer a heat dome killed hundreds. Wildfires destroyed an entire town in moments. A bomb cyclone became the biggest storm the Pacific Northwest has ever seen. Now B.C. is underwater, with Vancouver cut off by road and rail from the rest of Canada. We’re seeing two so-called “100 year storms” just a week apart – one in B.C. last week and the other this week in Newfoundland and Labrador.

The climate emergency is here in full force. Today. We need a rapid just transition to a fossil fuel-free future. Now, not in 2050. But the federal government is still far from rising to the challenge.

The 2021 Speech from the Throne, which is intended to outline the government’s vision for the new session of Parliament, is long on fluff and short on detail. It talks vaguely about the climate crisis but makes no mention of whether the government will keep its 2019 promise of delivering just transition legislation.

What’s in the Throne Speech?

The Liberal government highlights the need for “bolder climate action,” “good, green jobs,” and making sure that “no worker or region will be left behind.” However, the Throne Speech makes no mention of when or if the government will finally follow through on its promised Just Transition Act to deliver these goals. This is unacceptable.

The government also promises to “cap and cut oil and gas sector emissions” but stays silent on its pledge to end fossil fuel subsidies. It commits to public transit investments but fails to mention whether it will address the transit justice movement’s key demands, including emergency operational funding and public intercity bus service.

To deliver these already meagre promises in the Throne Speech, the government says it plans “to tap into global capital and attract investors.” But paving the way for corporations to profit from the crisis with more privatization will make the situation worse. Instead, we need to create new public institutions to transform our economy and expand public ownership of the services we need to decarbonize.

The Throne Speech also declares that “this is the moment to move faster on the path to reconciliation.” Meanwhile, the RCMP are clearing Wet’suwet’en people off their land for Coastal GasLink, a pipeline the federal government is supporting.

So what now?

Our communities are underwater, but Justin Trudeau’s government has yet to get the message that we’re in a climate emergency. Now’s the time to amp up the pressure and flood Parliament with waves of support for a just transition.

The total absence of any sense of urgency to deal with the climate emergency only underscores the fact that change is up to us.

Together, we need to remind the Prime Minister and our MPs that they work for us, not Big Oil CEOs.

You can help ensure the federal government tables just transition legislation in the first 100 days of this new Parliament.

Here’s how you can join the action:

Click here to read more about our campaign to flood parliament with waves of support for a just transition.