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Guelph chapter writes Ontaro premier ahead of first ministers climate conference

Leap Year 2016

The Council of Canadians Guelph chapter, as part of the Guelph Wellington Social Justice Coalition, has written Ontario premier Kathleen Wynne (and prime minister Justin Trudeau) in advance of the March 3 federal-provincial first ministers conference in Vancouver on climate change.

Their letter states: “Our coalition strongly feels the goal of limiting the rise in global temperature to 1.5° Celsius is of the utmost importance. In accordance with this goal, we would like to see the following in a national plan:


  • Keep it in the ground – Put a moratorium on any new exploration of fossil fuel resources.

  • Polluter pay principle – As a first world country Canada needs to admit its historical emissions responsibility and provide a comprehensive commitment towards repairing climate damage.

  • Buy less, buy local – Canadians need education and support to move to sustainable and resilient practices with respect to food, energy and water. Governments at all levels must support this transitioning to ‘green’ economic choices that encourage conservation, local production and healthier consumption choices.

  • Green jobs – Invest in green technology and production. Canada needs to invest in renewable energy and the greening of food production which has already proved to sustain good paying, long-term green jobs equal to or better than any long term fossil fuel commitment. Germany’s shift to non-fossil fuel production created some 400,000 new jobs.

  • Water Security – Federal and Provincial governments must work in collaboration with First Nations and public interest groups to develop a National Water Protection Plan as part of the Canadian Climate Plan. This plan will outline policy and lead to legislation with enforceable standards that recognizes water as a human right and a public trust.

  • Annual progress report – That the federal and all provincial governments provide an annual progress report to Canadians on the progress of the climate change plan.

The first ministers meeting will be occurring close to International Leap Day on Monday Feb. 29. Naomi Klein recently wrote in The Guardian, “The gap between where we are and where we need to be is so great, and the time so short, that small steps simply will not cut it.” That’s why we need to leap. She adds, “On leap day later this month, there will be meetings, teach-ins and other events across the country, all of them pushing our new government to adopt a holistic approach to the twin crises of climate change and inequality.”

The time is now for bold action on the climate and we, along with the Guelph chapter and the Guelph Wellington Social Justice Coalition, expect that “leap” from the first ministers when they meet in Vancouver early next month.

For more information on the Feb. 29 day of action, which includes about a dozen Council of Canadians chapters so far, please click here.

Further reading
Barlow welcomes chapter activism in support of the Leap Manifesto (Sept. 18, 2015)