Canadian Press Photo of Justin Trudeau
Letter to Justin Trudeau
I begin this letter by extending my congratulations for your recent election as the next Prime Minister of Canada. But I especially want to congratulate you for restoring our pride as Canadians and starting the process of sanitization so urgently required after too many years of toxic rule by the Conservatives. I welcome the breath of fresh air which you bring to the socio-political landscape of our nation.
I must admit that I was a Trudeau skeptic at the beginning of the campaign. However, your leadership has rallied millions of Canadians who want change and who cling to the hope of a better tomorrow for our children and grandchildren.
I’m the grandfather of four grandkids much the same age as your own children. I’m a climate activist quite involved on the front line of the climate action movement. I’m a blogger and editor of my own website focused on climate change. I’ve marched in both the Quebec City (Act on Climate March) and Toronto (Jobs, Justice and the Climate March). From November 5-8, I will be a member of the Climate Welcome Committee which will be offering you climate gifts at 24 Sussex on four consecutive days. I hope you can take a few minutes to acknowledge our presence and our friendly climate message.
The most critical issue of our times is undeniably climate change. During the recent electoral campaign, you promised real action on climate change that would see an end to fossil fuel subsidies, overhaul the pipeline review process to include climate change considerations, investment in clean energy, the reversal of the Northern Gateway pipeline decision and upholding First Nations treaty rights.
I commend you for that bold stance but I view it with some trepidation. You have also expressed support for pipeline expansion and tar sands development and not taken a firm stand on a national carbon pricing strategy. Mr. Trudeau, you need to understand that climate action and tar sands expansion do not mix. It is impossible to have a credible climate action plan for Canada and continue to encourage the expansion of high-carbon energy sources.
Based on science and evidence, climate action means leaving fossil fuels in the ground, starting with high-carbon reserves like the Tar Sands. Mr Trudeau, my asks are very clear: 1) Freeze the Tar Sands expansion; 2) accelerate the transition to a renewable energy future; 3) Stop all fossil-fuel subsidies, and 4) assume our rightful place in the international climate action community.
You have said repeatedly that “governments may be able to issue permits, but only communities can grant permission.” Well, we the climate community of this country have not granted permission to the Canadian government or the fossil fuel industry to pollute our air, our water and our land.
We are at a pivotal moment in our country’s history. You have the opportunity to enter the world stage as a new and vibrant climate leader at the Paris COP21 talks. You can place Canada on the frontline of climate action and restore our reputation as a world leader in environmental stewardship. Your inclusive approach to the Paris talks is already in stark contrast with that of the Harper government. But being better than Stephen Harper will not be enough. We must strive instead to win the race to the top of climate policy.
I welcome your promise of “sunny ways” for Canada.
Rolly Montpellier is the Founder and Managing Editor of BoomerWarrior.Org. He’s a Climate Reality leader, a Blogger and a Climate Activist. He’s a member of Climate Reality Canada, Citizens’ Climate Lobby (Ottawa) and 350.Org (Ottawa), the Ethical Team (as an influencer) and Global Population Speakout.
Rolly has been published widely in both print and online publications. You can follow him on Facebook, Twitter and Linkedin.
With the Tar Sands ALREADY unprofitable at today’s oil prices, do we need to ask for more than removing the fossil fuel subsidies to kill the Tar Sands?
Also, instead of just stopping the FF subsidies, switching them to green projects and fighting GHGs would be doubly good.
David – while I agree that the Tar Sands are already on their death bed, a return to high oil prices could easily spark new interest in further development. And yes switching fossil fuel subsidies to renewables is a fantastic idea. But one cannot leave this to chance. Politicians, including new PM Trudeau, will usually follow the path of least resistance. What I’m looking for is a clear statement of intention followed by strong climate policy from Trudeau – a climate program which includes a new low-carbon energy strategy for Canada.
Thank you for your comments.
I understand that this industry is called Oil Sands NOT Tar Sands. Oil production is directly related to Oil consumption demand. How about ‘killing’ the gas guzzling automobile production industry in Ontario first? Ask yourself the question- Are you prepared to drive or self-drive an electric car or better still take Public Transit? Let’s all look at the bigger picture instead of demonizing a single industry such as the Oil Sands.
Joe – thank you for your comments.
It’s not a question of demonizing the Oil Sands to use your term. I prefer to call it the Tar Sands because it’s really tar with oil prior to processing. We will transition to a low carbon economy with renewables replacing fossil fuels during the next 4-5 decades. Our survival and the survival of millions of species depends on that transition. As you know, that’s only part of the problem. Converting to cleaner energy but continuing to exploit the resources of the planet at a faster rate than these can be replenished is also a recipe for disaster. It’s much like your bank account – when withdrawals exceed deposits for too long, bankruptcy ensues.