NDP Environmental Critic's Letter to CARP members

Dear CARP Members,

For the first time ever, the House of Commons includes Canadians from across seven decades, meaning that Parliament will truly be a place of intergenerational partnership. This new dynamic in Ottawa means that, with the insight, experience and support of older Canadians, young Canadians now have an opportunity to help set policies and make laws that are forward-looking, particularly with respect to our environment and the race to prevent catastrophic climate change?

Without a doubt, a healthy and ecologically balanced planet is the most important gift we can give to future generations of Canadians. To do this, we have the duty and the obligation to act as the stewards of the lands we live on, the air we breathe and the water we drink and navigate, by ensuring that we understand the environmental consequences of the actions we take.

As stewards we can better our environment and establish the economy of the future through the development of renewable energy sources, like wind and solar power, as well as improved energy efficiency technologies and public transit. We can do this through investment in knowledge-based industry and entrepreneurship, providing the capital and the leadership needed to improve both our economic and environmental outcomes.

New Democrats are committed to the ensuring that a healthy and ecologically balanced environment is passed on to future generations of Canadians.

During the last Parliament, New Democrats proposed two major pieces of environmental legislation, both of which were directly related to protecting the environment, and our planet, for future generations. The first bill was the Climate Change Act, which passed the House of Commons, but was defeated in the Senate by the Conservatives before any debate or study had taken place. This bill would have established science-based mid-term and long-term targets for the reduction of green-house gases produced by non-renewable energy sources, which, in addition to polluting the air, water and earth, are causing the climate change occurring around the planet.

New Democrats also tabled the Environmental Bill of Rights, which reached third reading in the House before the 2011 federal election. If passed, this bill would have established a federal duty to protect the environment under its jurisdiction, and legislated the right of present and future generations of Canadians to a healthy and ecologically balanced environment, as well as created the mechanisms for public participation in environmental decision-making.

Canadians from across the country are united in their efforts to ensure that future generations are not hampered by the health problems caused by pollution and that the security of the nation is not compromised by catastrophic climate change that will leave no country on the planet unaffected by floods, famine, population displacement and border disputes.

There is a lot of work to be done to prevent these consequences, but by rallying our community around positive, forward-thinking change, we can achieve a progressive and just balance between economic development and environmental protection. Older Canadians have a significant part to play by acting as role models for conservation and smart investment, and supporters of young people taking action towards environmental justice. The solutions will come from all generations, and success means passing on a planet to our grandchildren and great-grandchildren that we have cherished, protected, and conserved for the collective benefit of all.

Warm regards,
Megan Leslie, MP

Keywords: environment, plans