Recently, councils for the City of Greater Sudbury and Municipality of West Nipissing unanimously declared climate emergencies in their communities.
It is evident with recent weather events that our beautiful landscape, homes and livelihoods are in jeopardy because of the harmful effects of climate change.
We are seeing impacts firsthand this spring locally with devastating floods in areas such as West Nipissing, French River, St. Charles and Killarney. Also, summer 2018’s ravaging fires known as Parry Sound 33, quickly made its way across the Nickel Belt boundary. The cause and effects of such occurrences cause deep and long-lasting scars to those living in the path of destruction. We know the risks are too great to ignore and that we must act now.
Climate change and global warming are not fictitious tales; it is a very sad but true reality.
In April, Environment and Climate Change Canada released a comprehensive assessment of the impacts of our changing climate in Canada. The report’s main finding is that Canada is warming at twice the global average. We cannot turn a blind eye. This is not a battle we can eliminate alone. We need to work together at a local, provincial, federal and global level. The future of our health, survival of many species, natural environment, economy and future generations are counting on us all.
I commend each and every person, man, woman and child, who has taken it upon themselves to do their part to help protect the environment. In particular, I would like to recognize the efforts of advocacy groups such as Citizens Climate Lobby, Laurentian University Climate Strike organizers and all other groups and people who have used their voices to draw attention to such an important cause and have relentlessly pushed for concrete action to be taken.
Climate change is not just a local issue, it is a national issue. Our federal government also recognizes the paramount importance of taking remedial action, and, in doing so, created the very first ministry dedicated to climate change.
Our Ministry of Environment and Climate Change has a comprehensive 50-point plan outlining best practices and measures for adapting a green life and economy. We’ve put a price on pollution and launched the Climate Action Incentive, we’ve made historic investments in the clean technology sector, we’ve expanded public transit systems, we’ve doubled the amount of nature we protect, and we’ve invested in energy efficiency tools that save families and businesses money.
And, most recently, I am very happy to share, Minister Catherine McKenna announced $15 million over four years to Forest Ontario’s 50 million trees program.
As we continue to implement changes, we also assure that Canadian families have the resources to adapt. This tax season, Canadians took advantage of their Climate Act Incentive rebate, providing $307 to a family of four in Ontario. Our plan helps the planet and puts money back in the pocket of Canadians.
The climate emergency declaration in Greater Sudbury and West Nipissing is a common trend occurring in municipalities across Canada, and a monumental step in the right direction. We should all be proud of our communities for having the foresight and courage to empower themselves and take action; I encourage other communities in Nickel Belt and across Northern Ontario to consider doing the same.
There is certainly more work to be done but, our government’s priorities are clear and when all levels of government collaborate there is truly a sense of hope. We are stronger when we have a united vision and mission. I look forward to seeing the positive effects from the combined efforts and measures put in place to protect our green future.
MP Marc Serré