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LETTER: Canada needs a Just Transition Act for climate action

From reader Sandra Hartline…

Here we are in a climate emergency. The signs are obvious – fires, heavy rain, floods, landslides, melting ice sheets, rising sea levels, an atmospheric heat dome last summer that resulted in the deaths of over 800 people across British Columbia.

To quote Dr. Bonnie Henry, these are stark reminders that climate change is real, and we need to take collective action together.

Our Canadian government must introduce and pass meaningful legislation addressing the interconnected climate, social and economic crises in our country. A Just Transition Act would offer solutions to the climate crisis by strengthening the economy and mobilizing for change. The proposed legislation is people-centered and calls for strengthening the economy by creating good green jobs and decent, low carbon work for all in the workforce.

Carbon emissions would be reduced by at least 60 per cent below 2005 levels by 2030, with significant contributions to nations in the global south. The fossil fuel industry would be wound down and fossil fuel subsidies ended as we transition to a decarbonized economy.

Human rights and worker rights would be protected and Indigenous rights respected, with affirmation of migrant rights and historically marginalized communities. The social safety net would be expanded through new income supports, decarbonized public housing and funding for accessible and affordable public transit across the country.

How will we pay for all this, you ask? By increasing taxes on the wealthiest and corporations, and financing through a public national bank.

Pie in the sky? A number of MPs are willing to introduce and defend a proposed Just Transition Act and help it to get passed. Petitions for public signatures are being circulated across the land. For more information, contact canadians.org.

Sandra Hartline

Nelson/West Kootenay chapter

Council of Canadians