March 2, 2016 marked a turning point for federal-provincial cooperation on climate policy in Canada.
Federal and provincial leaders, First Nations, Inuit, and Métis representatives, and a wide range of civil society organizations are gathering in Vancouver to discuss the future of climate change policy in Canada.
A key piece of this gathering is Thursday’s historic First Ministers’ meeting to begin work on a pan-Canadian framework for addressing climate change.
People of faith are calling for policy that will achieve climate justice in Canada.
CPJ presented signatures on our Call for Climate Action to Catherine McKenna, Minister of Environment and Climate Change. This followed an engaging discussion on the process and the players involved in developing Canada's climate action plan over the next six months. Minister McKenna was grateful for the support, acknowledged the urgency of the situation, and welcomes the collaboration of people of faith across the country in efforts to support bold and ambitious action to address climate change.
Pictured (l to r): Geneviève Gallant (CPJ Board Member and Ottawa Animator for the Canadian Catholic Organization for Development and Peace), Catherine McKenna (Minister of the Environment and Climate Change), Karri Munn-Venn (Senior Policy Analyst, CPJ), Rev. David Sherwin (Presbytery Minister at the Ottawa Presbytery, United Church of Canada), and Miriam Mahaffy (Policy Intern, CPJ). Photo credit: Jim McIntyre.
In September 2015, leaders of Canadian faith communities issued “On Promoting Climate Justice and Ending Poverty in Canada”. This call for federal action on climate and poverty is rooted in a need for “a spiritual and moral, even ecological transformation.” It is supported by 65 Canadian churches and faith-based organizations, including the Canadian Council of Churches, which represents over 85% of Canadian Christians.
Building on this call for action from faith leaders, Citizens for Public Justice coordinated a petition from people of faith to the government of Canada. The petition states:
Action is urgently needed: Canada has endorsed a 1.5 °C limit on global warming, but the efforts and ambitions of the federal government have been vastly inadequate to achieve even a 2 °C goal. When the Paris Agreement opens for signatures on April 22, Canada must be prepared with an ambitious GHG emission reduction target and a concrete climate action plan that clearly establishes the federal leadership role and defines expectations for federal, provincial, and territorial action.
We call on the federal government to develop an ambitious Canadian GHG emission reduction target, and support a binding international climate agreement with fair and clear targets to keep global average temperature well below a 2°C increase from pre-industrial levels.
CPJ will deliver any further petitions received after the First Ministers' Meeting in mid-March.