LETTER: Oil industry crash a chance to switch direction

The prime minister’s meeting with premiers in Vancouver this week marks a crucial decision point for Canada in fighting climate change.

The prime minister’s meeting with all provincial premiers in Vancouver this week marks a crucial decision point for Canada in reducing emissions and fighting climate change.

Unfortunately Justin Trudeau, Rachel Notley and other premiers are still talking about shoring up the fossil fuel industry and about multi-billion dollar investments in pipelines and massive LNG plants. That is clearly the wrong direction and will increase carbon emissions. Let’s face it, the oil patch’s days are numbered, and besides, it has proven to be a notoriously unreliable provider of jobs dirty, dangerous and far-away-from-home jobs at that.

The current crash in the oil industry is a perfect opportunity to switch gears and move in a clean, green direction.

Now is the time for Canadians to let our leaders know we want a new, secure future. It’s time to write letters and emails and tell them: Put Canadians to work creating our clean energy future. Here’s my letter to the prime minister and Environment and Climate Change Minister Catherine McKenna:

You are well aware of the urgency of reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

Canada’s responsibility to the planet, and the planet’s people, is to begin immediately with real changes to cut emissions and move to a clean energy future. It’s great you are proposing a national carbon tax that increases year-over-year. Absolutely one of the key strategies.

We have great hopes for your meeting in Vancouver and we are watching for real progress.

The governments of Jean Chretien, Paul Martin and Stephen Harper did nothing but stall. Instead of reducing our emissions, as they promised, they allowed them to grow more rapidly than ever. This must not continue. No longer can Canada have “business as usual” or politics as usual.

A national, escalating carbon tax is one important step in reducing emissions and making our economy reflect more of the heavy costs of fossil fuels. The tax must also be “buffered” so it does not fall most heavily on lower-income Canadians. This is the time for a real national action plan with large investments in green energy and energy conservation.

Put Canadians to work creating our clean energy future!

Good luck. We are counting on you to make Canada proud again!

Keith Wiley, Nelson

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