NDP leader Jagmeet Singh rises during Question Period in the House of Commons, Tuesday, May 7, 2019 in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld

NDP unveils parts of climate plan in motion as the Green Party edges closer

Singh however insists today’s motion is not an attempt to beat back Green support

NDP leader Jagmeet Singh says his party will cut Canada’s emissions almost in half over the next decade as he tries to stake out a claim to the climate change agenda in the looming federal election.

The pledge is one contained in an NDP motion expected today in the House of Commons that will lay out eight broad strokes of the NDP’s climate change platform. The motion asks for Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to declare “an environment and climate emergency” as well as pledge to cut emissions more deeply, eliminate government aid to the fossil fuel industry and cancel the planned expansion of the Trans Mountain pipeline.

“We want to reflect the urgency people are feeling,” Singh said in an interview with The Canadian Press.

That urgency for him means a slow end to the Canadian oil sector, which Singh says is on its way out whether Canadians like the idea or not.

“This is the direction the world is headed,” he said.

The motion comes just one week after the Green Party earned a resounding victory in a Vancouver Island byelection which most political observers ­– Singh included – believe was a message from voters for politicians to start taking climate change more seriously.

Singh however insists today’s motion is not an attempt to beat back Green support, which would affect both NDP and Liberal fortunes in the fall.

In fact Singh insists whatever message voters were sending last week in Nanaimo-Ladysmith, it was to the governing Liberals, not the NDP, even though the NDP won the seat in 2015. The byelection was triggered when Sheila Malcolmson resigned after just three years as an MP to run provincially in British Columbia.

The Green Party’s Paul Manly now represents the riding, only the second Green MP ever elected in Canada. The NDP finished a distant third and the Liberals an even more distant fourth.

“When voters want to send a message it’s to people making the decisions,” he said. “It’s encouraging to see people sending a message on climate change.”

Last October, the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change warned drastic cuts to emissions are needed in the next decade to prevent global warming from becoming catastrophic. That report suggested Canada’s Paris climate change commitment, which would mean cutting annual greenhouse gas emissions by about 28 per cent compared to where they are now, is nowhere near enough.

Singh won’t put a specific number on his targets yet but he agrees the motion is “subtly suggesting” the NDP would aim for the UN targets, which would mean Canada has to cut emissions almost in half by 2030.

The Liberal government’s climate plan, including the carbon tax, getting rid of coal as a source of electricity and subsidizing the purchase of electric cars, still leaves Canada nearly 90 million tonnes shy of hitting the existing goal.

To slash more deeply would require more drastic action in Canada’s energy sector. Oil and gas production and refining accounts for about one-quarter of all Canada’s emissions, but also more than six per cent of the economic activity and more than half a million direct and indirect jobs.

New Alberta Premier Jason Kenney has warned of the separatist angst growing in Alberta as the energy sector has struggled in recent years, but Singh said the NDP would ensure there is a plan to transition Alberta workers to the new-age economy.

“We need thousands and thousands of people to work to fight climate change,” he said.

Mia Rabson, The Canadian Press


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Search for missing Cortes Island man approaches two-week mark

RCMP remind Cortes Islanders to check properties and outbuilding for signs of unusual activity

VIDEO: Campbell River teen’s Make-A-Wish send-off fit for a galaxy not so far away

Mattias Beck, 15, received an extra special start for Make-A-Wish trip

SD72 raises alarm on fraudulent fundraiser in Campbell River

Someone has been using a Carihi trip to Guatemala to solicit money in the community, the school district says

Campbell River filmmaker brings his new film to local festival

Damien Gillis’ Shadow Trap screens at Tidemark Tuesday, Feb. 25 as part of CRFF

PHOTOS: Supporters march in solidarity with Wet’suwet’en in Campbell River

Sunday’s event kept to sidewalks along the foreshore

Blair says RCMP have met Wet’suwet’en conditions, calls for end to blockades

The Wet’suwet’en’s hereditary chiefs oppose the Coastal GasLink project

Petition seeks to remove local police department from Lindsay Buziak murder case

American woman starts online petition in hopes of helping Buziak family

Health officials confirm sixth COVID-19 case in B.C.

Woman remains in isolation as Fraser Health officials investigate

Study says flu vaccine protected most people during unusual influenza season

Test-negative method was pioneered by the BC Centre for Disease Control in 2004

Saskatchewan and B.C. reach championship round at Scotties

British Columbia’s Corryn Brown locked up the last berth in Pool B

Resident discovers five discarded hog heads in Vancouver Island ditch

WARNING: Graphic image may be upsetting to some readers

B.C. lawyer, professor look to piloting a mental-health court

In November, Nova Scotia’s mental-health court program marked 10 years of existence

COLUMN: Not an expert on First Nations government structures? Then maybe you should calm down

Consider your knowledge about First Nations governance structures before getting really, really mad

Meet the Wet’suwet’en who want the Coastal GasLink pipeline

Supporters of the pipeline are upset only one side is being heard nationwide

Most Read