The 2021 federal election is an opportunity for Canadians to elect the federal government they believe can chart a path toward a sustainable future for this country.
In advance of the upcoming leaders’ debates, the Bloc Québécois, the Conservative Party, the Green Party, the Liberal Party, and the NDP have all released their policy platforms. The platforms outline some big and exciting ideas — and draw attention to the differences between what each party is putting on offer.
Ecojustice is a registered charity, which means we must be non-partisan in our commentary. While we cannot advocate for or against any political party or candidate, we continue to advocate strongly for better environmental laws and policies that will build a safer, healthier, and more sustainable future for everyone in Canada.
Ecojustice is calling on all parties to outline actionable, enforceable steps to fight the climate crisis, reduce pollution, and better protect the air, land, and water we depend on for our survival and well-being. We encourage you to ask your local candidates where they stand on these issues too.
To inform your own assessment of the party platforms, here’s a summary of how Ecojustice’s top issues align with what the parties have promised in their platforms.
In June 2021, the Government of Canada passed the Canadian Net-Zero Emissions Accountability Act, into law.
This law requires the federal government to set a legally-binding emissions reduction targets and establish plans to achieve those targets. Canada must hit its first target by 2030, making the next eight years crucial for climate progress.
To avoid climate catastrophe, Canada needs to transition away from fossil fuel extraction and exports while supporting sustainable job creation in communities across Canada.
This means eliminating the export of thermal coal from Canada, including working with the United States to phase out the millions of tonnes of U.S. coal currently exported from Canadian ports. We need also need a plan to phase out the export of other fossil fuels and bring a complete end to federal funding for the oil, gas and coal industry.
The Canadian Environmental Protection Act (CEPA) is one of Canada’s most important environmental laws. It is intended to protect people in Canada from toxic pollution and chemicals. But this law hasn’t been updated in more than 20 years and is not strong enough to protect Canadians from 21st century hazards.
During the last Parliament, the federal government introduced Bill C-28, legislation that finally introduced reforms to CEPA. Among these reforms was language explicitly recognizing your right to a healthy environment — a first for Canadian federal law. However, Bill C-28 did not pass before the election was called.
In the face of the climate, pollution and biodiversity crises, the federal government must protect all people in Canada adequately and equitably from environmental harm. This is especially true for people who are Black, Indigenous or who face other structural barriers due to their socio-economic status. These people tend to bear the worst consequences of poor environmental policies.
The world faces an escalating biodiversity crisis, and Canada has a big role to play in preserving and protecting natural spaces. Of the estimated 80,000 known species in Canada, scientists have enough information on almost 30,000 species to know that at least 20 per cent are at-risk to some degree.
Indigenous communities have sustained biodiversity in Canada since time immemorial. The federal government must respect, recognize, and integrate their traditional knowledge and support Indigenous-led land use planning and the establishment of Indigenous Protected and Conserved Areas (IPCAs).