Canadian Green Party leader Elizabeth May is calling on Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to set up an all-party “war cabinet” to address the “ultimate existential threat” of climate change.
The MPs who participated in such a body would be expected to put “partisanship and political considerations” aside, The Hill Times reports, recognizing that “time is of essence and that climate change is the fundamental security threat to our future.”
May said she was seeking a meeting with Trudeau to discuss the idea.
“It takes a very different kind of mindset to respond to a crisis this fundamental, where we’re distracted by day-to-day politics,” she explained. “We’re not paying attention to the biggest threat that’s in front of us.”
For a war cabinet or all-party committee to succeed, “it should be representative of Parliament: so New Democrats, Liberals, Conservatives, but preferably those who understand climate issues,” she added. “We could put together a solid effort that’s non-partisan.”
So far, the three other parties May wants to interact with seem to be deflecting the idea. Trudeau press secretary Matt Pascuzzo “did not say clearly if the prime minister would consider either of the two ideas” May had proposed, writes reporter Abbas Rana. MP Mark Gerretsen (L, Kingston and the Islands), was more specific in his reply, but said he’d need to hear more details of what she has in mind.
“I would like to hear more about that proposal,” he said. “I’m certainly of the mindset that this does not need to be a partisan issue, we’re well beyond that. The science is real. We’re seeing it all around us and we need to start doing something to have meaningful change on our climate agenda, not just in Canada or individual provinces but globally.”
MP Nathan Cullen (NDP, Skeena-Bulkley Valley) said his party would participate “if the government agreed in advance to give the committee power to come up with binding targets and concrete actions,” but would not support another “process body” that substituted consultation for real action, Rana notes.
“We would only see virtue in sitting down at an all-party table if that table had the power to actually legislate targets and actions rather than just being another advisory group of the government,” Cullen said.
MP Michael Cooper (CPC-St. Albert) called the proposal impractical. Climate change “is an important issue, but the economy is an important issue, getting our energy to markets is an important issue, there’re a number of issues that we have to tackle,” he said. “We need to tackle them together.”