To Hon. Jonathan Wilkinson, re Climate Change Accountability Act

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Toronto, Dec. 4, 2020

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TO: the Hon. Jonathan Wilkinson, Minister of Environment and Climate Change

RE: the Climate Change Accountability Act

Dear Minister Wilkinson:

Thank you for your reply of October 22. We are pleased to hear of the commitment to an increased target for 2030 and initiatives to create thousands of jobs in retrofits, to plant two billion trees and facilitate the growth of zero-emission vehicles. Your proposals to preserve 13, 000 jobs at the motor plant in Oshawa and contribute to the conversion of the Ford Motor plant in Oakville to electric vehicles are excellent.

Regarding small modular reactors, Just Earth agrees with the Canadian Environmental Law Association and 25 other environmental groups across Canada that SMRs are a “dirty, dangerous distraction.” Expert opinion states that, compared to renewables, they are more expensive and create six-times fewer jobs. Mr. Wilkinson, we hope you will take the wise course of not funding further development of small nuclear reactors.

Regarding climate accountability, we were pleased to hear your recent announcement regarding five-year “legally binding” targets, but we agree with 20 other environmental organizations that more is needed; namely, an Act that includes all five pillars of the New Canadian Accountability Act, proposed by six organizations, including five-year impact reports, planning and reporting requirements, and an arm’s-length expert climate advisory committee. Also the 5- year accountability targets should commence in 2025. We fully support your intention to tie net zero by 2050 to a post-COVID economic recovery.

We are concerned by Mr. Trudeau’s assertion that accountability rests with voters. In Canada, power see-saws between the Liberals and Conservatives. Other parties to which voters might turn are severely disadvantaged by the electoral system. The Green vote is rendered close to impotent in the 335 individual, winner-take-all races that comprise our first-past-the-post federal elections.

The Climate Change Performance Index puts Canada in 55th place behind the UK, Sweden and Denmark which all have Climate Acts. Canada needs to catch up to the leaders in action on climate change.

We look forward to your quick reply to our urgent call for a comprehensive Climate Change Accountability Act.

Your truly,

Lynn McDonald, Lyn Adamson, Rose Dyson, Peter Shepherd, Dorothy Goldin Rosenberg, Ronny Yaron, Joyce Hall, Frans Shryer, for Just Earth