Senator Mary Coyle recently launched a challenge to the Senate and all Canadians with the following words, “I rise today, in a spirit of openness, and a sense of urgency, to launch a Senate Inquiry into Finding the Right Pathways and Actions for Canada and Canadians to meet our net-zero carbon and other green house gas targets in order to slow, arrest, and hopefully reverse human – caused climate change, to ensure a healthy planet, a healthy society, a healthy economy and a healthy democracy.”
On February 6, 2020, as the Senators started the 43rd Parliament and a critical new decade, Coyle said the Senate of Canada has an opportunity and a responsibility to take a leadership role in examining and influencing action on the defining issue of this century – climate change. “As Senators we are independent and less partisan, able to take the long-term perspective due to the stability of our chamber through election cycles,” said Coyle.
Coyle is concerned that as time passes, the globe comes closer to irreversible damage. She says there is a need to act now and to take bold steps in addressing this crisis.
She provided an overview of the status of climate action in Canada:
- Canada has committed itself to meet the Paris Agreement targets and Environment Minister, Jonathan Wilkinson has pledged that Canada would introduce net- zero by 2050 legislation and a transitional plan to address challenges in all sectors of Canadian life.
- Climate change is causing more extreme weather events, not only around the world, but right here at home as well. Severe weather in Canada cost $1.3 billion in insured damages last year alone.
- Our oceans are warming, floods, droughts and wildfires are increasing. The daily headlines are replete with impacts of climate change and the related tensions in our society.
Coyle recalls the December speech from the throne, Governor General Julie Payette said, “Canada’s children and grandchildren will judge this generation by its action or inaction on the defining challenge of the time, climate change.” However, Coyle would like Canada to go one step further and call attention to the fact that children across this great nation are already judging the inaction of our leaders.
“What is needed is a willingness to be bold and take decisive action in every sector and every facet of Canadian life,” says Coyle. “Action may not be easy, and our path may not be linear, but we are far past the time for debate on the merits of action versus inaction.”
Coyle welcomes senators from across Canada to rise and speak to this inquiry, and she expressed her hope “that this inquiry will be a spark joining many other sparks to create the energy (renewable of course) needed for a serious and respectful Pan Canadian conversation on solutions to climate change.”
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Office of Senator Mary Coyle
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