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Montreal chapter protests federal-provincial environment ministers meeting

The Council of Canadians Montreal chapter was at the protest outside the Canadian Council of the Ministers of the Environment meeting in Montreal this afternoon. National Board of Directors member and chapter activist Abdul Pirani was there on our behalf.

The Canadian Press had reported, “Canada’s environment ministers will be meeting to try to hammer out a pan-Canadian climate plan. The talks will be a strict interpretation of last March’s Vancouver Declaration, where leaders signed on to the Paris climate commitments. They also agreed to examine market mechanisms for carbon pricing.”

The Vancouver Declaration that emerged from the First Ministers’ meeting earlier this year pledged to “grow our economy while reducing emissions” and to “build on the momentum of the Paris Agreement by developing a concrete plan to achieve Canada’s international commitments.” That Declaration also saw the prime minister and the provincial and territorial premiers pledge to, “increase the level of ambition of environmental policies over time in order to drive greater greenhouse gas emissions reductions, consistent with the Paris Agreement.”

And yet since that meeting, Trudeau has approved the Woodfibre LNG project (which could produce 0.81 million tonnes of carbon pollution per year), the Pacific NorthWest LNG project (which could result in 5.3-million tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions a year, and then another 6.5-million to 8.7-million tonnes from the extraction and transportation of fracked gas), and appears about to approve the Trans Mountain pipeline (that could mean an estimated 270 million tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions over a 35-year period).

And while there had been hope given the Liberals had promised that the Harper government emission reduction target (which equates to a 14 per cent reduction below 1990 levels by 2030) would be ‘a floor not a ceiling’, the federal environment minister now says the government is only committing to meeting (this weak, non-science based) target.

Today, the Huffington Post reports, “Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced the Liberal government would impose a carbon price. The tax would begin at $10 per tonne of greenhouse gas emissions in 2018 and would rise every year by $10 until 2022 when it would be set at $50 per tonne. The provinces and territories would be free to follow the carbon pricing mechanisms they prefer, such as British Columbia’s carbon tax or Québec’s cap-and-trade system with Ontario and California.”

Council of Canadians chairperson Maude Barlow recently commented, “I worry about market solutions for structural problems.”

That’s a warranted concern given Global News now reports, “Premier Rachel Notley said her NDP government will not support the federal government’s climate change plan without serious progress on pipeline approval.”

The Council of Canadians and allies highlighted at today’s protest that it’s impossible to talk about a credible national plan to fight climate change while ignoring the reality of the approval of LNG projects and various pipeline proposals now being considered.

The Council of Canadians backs the Leap Manifesto which says that by 2050 we could have a 100% clean energy economy, that the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (which ensures the right to free, prior and informed consent) must be fully implemented, and that the federal and provincial governments should reject new infrastructure projects that lock us into increased extraction decades into the future.

To sign the Leap Manifesto, please click here.