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NWT chapter calls for Liberal MP to hold town hall on climate strategy

Liberal MP Michael McLeod.

The Council of Canadians NWT chapter is calling on Northwest Territories Liberal MP Michael McLeod to engage with his constituents on a national climate strategy and other key issues of concern.

In an open letter to allies and supporters, chapter activist Lois Little says, “[We are] noticing a trend with the current Federal Government that seems to be more political spin than real action and engagement. In particular, we’re being told that MPs will be hosting town halls and/or engaging us in consultations on the Trans-Pacific Partnership corporate rights agreement; the national climate strategy; Canada Post; and electoral reform.”

She highlights, “This is all well and good but if the NWT MP isn’t taking leadership on these and other issues, will northerners voices really be heard? Currently, we are not seeing any leadership from the NWT MP on these issues. We are not seeing a schedule of town hall meetings or consultations.”

Little then notes, “We ask you to consider sending an email to asking for his schedule of town hall/consultation meetings with northerners on these important issues. We also ask you to demand town halls in the NWT on the national climate strategy.”

The Council of Canadians supports the People’s Climate Plan initiative which says, “The Trudeau government plans to put forward a new national climate strategy for Canada before the end of 2016. We already know that oil lobbyists are gearing up to try and weaken any attempts to take bold action, and it’s up to us to make sure the voices of the people are heard first. That’s why, as Members of Parliament hold nation-wide public consultations on a national climate strategy this spring, we’ll be there every step of of the way, showing up and speaking up in support of a way forward that works for our communities and the planet.”

On April 28, Council of Canadians energy and climate justice campaigner Andrea Harden-Donahue attended one such consultation in Ottawa hosted by federal environment minister Catherine McKenna.

That town hall was an opportunity for Harden-Donahue and about 300 other Ottawa Centre residents to call on their MP to back a bold climate strategy that’s justice-based, that respects the UN Declaration on the rights of Indigenous peoples, that aligns with climate science, and that commits Canada to a 100% renewable energy economy.

But Harden-Donahue comments, “Will MPs be coordinating town halls like McKenna’s across the country? This is a bit vague and [McKenna’s town hall] didn’t clear it up. The [Environment Canada] website set up for this effort encourages people to coordinate their own townhalls, and then feed the conclusions into the online portal where individuals and groups are also encouraged to send in their opinions. While I certainly think people are capable of organizing town hall events, I also think it is critical that MPs step up and play this coordinating role and are present, listening and learning from their constituents.”

She adds, “Now is a good time to be in touch with your Liberal MP asking when they will be coordinating a town hall on climate change in your riding!”

This is what the NWT chapter has done and we look forward to MP Michael McLeod’s response.