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Sudbury letter: Tories missing the boat

Sudbury Star

Sophia Mathur, 11, middle, was joined by a group of adults at Memorial Park in Sudbury, Ont., as she went on strike from school for the day on Friday November 2, 2018 to draw attention to the fact that adults are not doing enough to protect the climate and her future. John Lappa/Sudbury Star

Re: ‘PCs make mistake cutting watchdogs,’ Nov. 19.

Yes, the government has made a huge mistake canceling the watchdogs.

More than 1,000 people are missing from the Camp Fire in California. My heart is breaking and my mind is reeling. I live in a city embedded in a forest.

The latest report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) says we have 12 years to reduce fossil fuel use before we unleash extreme heat, droughts, flood, and all the violence and poverty that will accompany catastrophic climate change.

The good news is, with the right policies, Ontario could be poised to capture the $26 trillion clean-tech opportunity about to open with the right policies.

Political stripes aside, I don’t think this current government has the necessary background and knowledge to capture this opportunity, as well as protect us. The government of Ontario in their fall statement said, “The government contends that the federal carbon tax is as unconstitutional as it is unethical and unfair.”

That is just not true.

The latest IPCC report says carbon pricing is key to averting disaster. They are not alone in their assertions. The Pembina Institute in Canada and the Nobel Prize Winner in Economics, William D. Nordhaus at Yale University, has been studying this solution for decades.

Corporate decision-making does not happen in a vacuum. Corporations operate within a set of rules defined by the state and shaped by elected officials. Without a properly functioning oversight and transparency, Ontario is at risk of joining the ranks of Russia, USA and Saudi Arabia in their level of commitment to the climate crisis. Is this what we want: to be in the ranks of Trump, Putin, and Saudi Royalty?

We don’t know the fate of the Environment Commissioner’s Office under the Ford government. Dianne Saxe, our Environment Commissioner, is among the best legal minds in Canada on the environment. And, only Ontario and New Zealand have a type of environmental legislation with similar participatory rights requiring public consultation. We might just lose all these protections.

As the late Gord Downie said, “This is our air and our water, these things belong to us. Every license to pollute, every environmental impact, must be considered carefully and publicly. These are our environmental rights, rights as important as any others, rights that must be respected.”

What can the reader do? Be like Gord Downie. Get involved with local environmental groups. Join with others and build the political will for liveable world.

Democracy is the solution to the climate crisis.

Cathy Orlando

Citizens’ Climate Lobby


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