Climate Advocates Meet with their Provincial Parliamentarians to Discuss the Urgent Need for Cooperation on Carbon Pricing and Climate Accountability Laws
by Cathy Orlando, Program Director at Citizens’ Climate International
On Friday, April 30, 2021, Citizens’ Climate Lobby Canada held a unique event: an online pan-Canadian conference and lobbying event with provincial parliamentarians. CCL volunteers identified that there was an urgent need for harmonization of carbon pricing policies across Canada and addressed it.
Our politicians have over 100,000 bosses and they need our help. Here is proof: Canada has declared a climate emergency. Yet, recent changes in government in five provinces, Quebec, Ontario, Manitoba, Alberta and British Columbia, have coincided with increases in GHGs soon after being elected.
Participating provincial parliamentarians included Amanda Simard (ON), Jamie West (ON), Jessica Bell (ON), Chris Glover (ON), Suze Morrison (ON), Peter Tabuns (ON), Rima Berns-McGown (ON), Joel Harden (ON), Mike Schreiner (ON), Shannon Martin (MB), Marlin Schmidt (AB), Sonia Furstenau (BC), Bruce Banman, (BC), Mike Starchuk (BC), Pam Alexis (BC), Trevor Halford (BC), Ellis Ross (BC) and Jinny Sims (BC) as well as the staff of Jill Andrews (ON), Brad Michaleski (MB), Grace Lore (BC) and Bob D’Eith (BC).
In total, 108 participants from Newfoundland to Vancouver Island, including 18 provincial parliamentarians and 4 staffers from Ontario, Manitoba, Alberta, and British Columbia met on a Zoom call to hear from guest speakers. Then they went into breakout rooms to discuss the urgent need for harmonization of provincial carbon pricing policies.
“The pandemic has strengthened, not weakened, the justification of a carbon tax,” argued Canadian philosopher and carbon pricing expert Dr. Kian Mintz-Woo. “We want signals that will build Canada back better post-pandemic. If we have carbon pricing already in existence, then we will have the incentives for the new businesses and new products to generate more green production.”
Dr. Mintz-Woo also rebutted three more arguments against carbon pricing: (1) that they do not change behaviour, (2) that they generate unfair burdens and increase inequality, and (3) that fundamental, systemic change is needed instead of carbon taxes.
Sarah Lazarovic, Vice President of Clean Prosperity, presented Fair Path Forward’s carbon tax rebate calculator. This calculator allows you to calculate your rebate over the next 11 years. The cumulative rebate is over $10,000 for a household of two adults in Ontario and over $16,000 in Alberta. You can calculate your rebate here: https://fairpathforward.ca/rebate-calculator/
Sarah Van Exan and Eseohe Ojo at GreenPAC introduced the initiative, Every Day Advocates (EDA). EDA is building off their 100 Debates event during the federal election in 2019. EDA will drive accountability and progress on the environment through town halls and other tactics. Many of our volunteers are Every Day Advocates and are gearing up to conduct town halls with local politicians this spring. Read more about the EDA here: https://www.everydayadvocates.ca/
The plenary session ended with Sophia Mathur, a 14-year-old plaintiff in the lawsuit against the Ford government for weakening Ontario’s climate targets. She said, “I should be planning my future, not protecting it.” She also asked everyone to let the following sink in, “Yesterday, the Supreme Court of Germany ruled that Germany’s climate laws are unconstitutional because they violate the human rights of children.”
The words of the event were captured by a graphic artist, Erica Bota from ThinkLink. She drew caricatures of our guest speakers and captured important statistics such as “⅔ of Canadians don’t know they receive a rebate”.
After the plenary, politicians and volunteers went into breakout rooms to discuss paths forward for harmonization of provincial carbon pricing policies based on Citizens’ Climate Lobby recommendations:
Cooperate in Reducing GHG Emissions
- We recommend that all provinces and territories cooperate with the federal government to set and achieve GHG emissions reduction targets that will meet the Paris Agreement objective of holding global average temperature increase to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels.
- Overall the provinces must harmonize provincial climate accountability legislation across the federation.
Enhance Carbon Pricing
- We support the federal government’s announced intention to gradually increase the federal carbon price to $170/tonne by 2030.
- We recommend that the vast majority of collected funds be equitably returned to citizens and that there be transparency in how these funds are distributed.
- We support economy-wide carbon pricing.
- We must receive our rebates quarterly through a dividend cheque or a direct deposit.
Prepare for Border Carbon Adjustments (BCA)s:
- We recommend that Canada’s carbon pricing policies be harmonized in terms of the price of carbon pollution, coverage (GHG emissions and sources of emissions) and transparency.
Resources for this event, including the video, can be found at: https://canada.citizensclimatelobby.org/creating-a-balanced-future/