Last month’s landmark Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report, in which the UN secretary general called a code red for humanity, should have placed climate change as a major issue in this election.
Last month’s landmark Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report, in which the UN secretary general called a code red for humanity, should have placed climate change as a major issue in this election. Drawing on more than 14,000 scientific studies, the report found “global warming is dangerously close to spiraling out of control” and “humans are unequivocally to blame.” Canada’s greenhouse emissions are slightly less than all of Africa’s combined. With a population three percent of Africa’s, it should be clear where the blame lies.
Unsurprisingly, it’s not a reality any of the parties were willing to talk about. Explaining to Canadians that we are using a disproportionate amount of the earth’s resources and carbon budget is not a popular idea, despite climate change polling as a leading issue.
Since climate change emerged as an important issue over three decades ago, Canada has alternated between a Liberal and Conservative government. Conservatives have done everything they can to downplay the severity of the issue and delay action. At a policy convention earlier this year, 54% of their delegates voted against including “climate change is real” and “the party is willing to act” in their policy book.
Meanwhile the Liberals, with major corporate backing and a slick PR machine, have convinced many Canadians they are best placed to lead on this issue. Buying the trans-mountain pipeline and ongoing and increased fossil fuel subsidies will apparently help pave the way to a green future.
Another urgent issue evaded by the leading parties is the obscene increase in wealth for Canada’s richest during this pandemic. As millions of Canadians have struggled with economic precarity, Canada’s billionaires saw their net worth increase by 78 billion. Yet three major parties – the Bloc, Liberals and Conservatives – all voted against a modest 1% wealth tax on individuals worth more than $20 million, as proposed by the NDP.
The unwillingness of the major parties to take on corporate power and the influence these corporations exert on our political process has placed our already limited democracy on life support. Polls have shown Canadians are more likely to support bold transformative climate action if it’s linked to tackling inequality, economic insecurity, poverty and job creation.
It’s time for Canadians to see through the corporate propaganda that will no doubt emerge to convince us to trust in the system and parties that have led us down this path.