We need a comprehensive plan that rises to the scale of the challenges and opportunities of this moment, says Annamie Paul
OTTAWA – Responding to today’s Fall Economic Statement 2020 (FES), Green Party Leader Annamie Paul noted that the FES stopped short of presenting a comprehensive plan for the path forward on completing the social safety net and launching a green recovery plan that would accelerate progress towards a net-zero carbon economy.
“The FES includes welcome elements,” said Ms. Paul. “We are particularly pleased to see the government adopt Carbon Border Adjustments, which I proposed in the spring and which will protect Canadian businesses. There are also enhanced investments in the infrastructure, projects and those sectors which will move us toward net-zero by helping to reduce Canada’s greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.
“However, a piecemeal approach is no substitute for a robust green economic recovery plan. Such a plan would include: a 60 per cent reduction in emissions from 2005 levels by 2030 with enforceable targets and timelines starting in 2025; a Carbon Budget setting out the maximum GHG emissions permissible to keep with the 1.5 degrees threshold; annual incremental increases in the carbon tax; and a 100 per cent renewable energy national electricity corridor. So while the government acknowledged in the FES that many of its international peers have already announced their own green recovery plans, it has yet to produce one for Canada.
“And even as we recognize that the airline sector is struggling and needs support, the government must keep in mind that the object of any bailout should be the workers and not the corporations. Furthermore, any support should be conditional upon the sector agreeing to meet targets consistent with the goal of cutting GHG emissions, and on agreeing to a detailed implementation plan that includes enforcement mechanisms.”
Ms. Paul said that the Green Party is happy to see the government reiterate its commitment to a national pharmacare plan. However, the social safety net commitments in the FES are insufficient and lack a sense of urgency.
“There is no mention of the government convening with the provinces, territories and other stakeholders to reform long-term care (LTC) and to bring it under the Canada Health Act,” she said. “Given that LTC facilities remain the epicentre of COVID-19 deaths, this should be a top priority. There is also no mention of working with these same partners to introduce a Guaranteed Livable Income, and without one there will always be people that fall through the cracks.
“There is no national mental health care strategy. And, given that we already know what needs to be done to bring in universal childcare, rather than creating yet another secretariat to provide policy analysis, the government should be sitting down with partners to establish the foundational elements of such a plan without delay.
“Obviously there’s a lot to unpack here and we will be commenting further. We remain committed to cross-party cooperation and will support any government initiative that benefits people in Canada. However, we are aware that many of the commitments in today’s FES are not new. People in Canada need to have confidence that their political leadership will follow through, and can offer both a compelling vision and a coherent plan to complete our social safety and achieve net zero as quickly as possible. That is the fitting tribute to the sacrifice and loss of these past months of pandemic.
“The Green Party of Canada has a plan that is as ambitious as the scale of the challenges and opportunities of this moment; one that demonstrates confidence in Canada’s ingenuity and is unafraid to engage every possible technology, resource and innovation. With a Green government, people in Canada can have confidence that Canada will rise to this occasion.”
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