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Get Started Now on Deeper Emissions Cuts, Climate Organizations Urge Federal Parties

The four federal parties that went out to voters this fall with strong climate policies had better get started on implementing those policies right now, a coalition of Canadian climate organizations asserted Friday.

“To the Liberals, NDP, Greens, and Bloc, get started now on the policies and solutions you agreed on in the election,” Climate Action Network-Canada Executive Director Catherine Abreu told a news conference Friday that featured representatives from Unifor, Leadnow, Greenpeace, and 350.org.

“Those of us who voted for you will not accept you backing down now that your climate credentials have put you in power,” she added. “Maintaining your credibility means immediately implementing the ambitious climate policies and solutions your parties promised.”

“In this minority [government] context, we need to see our leaders work together and actually co-operate to put climate at the top of the political agenda,” said Leadnow Co-Executive Director Logan McIntosh, beginning with a promise to bring the country’s greenhouse gas emissions to net zero before 2050. “The second step is to create mechanism like legislation and criteria to assess government progress on climate action that keep governments accountable,” she added.

Abreu “addressed anxieties in Western Canada about oil and gas production, saying any transition plan should take those into account,” CTV News reports. “However, the group stood firm that any enhanced production of fossil fuel infrastructure would be a step in the wrong direction—something provincial politicians in the West view as the only solution to economic disparity.”

On the other side of the country, Newfoundland and Labrador Premier Dwight Ball is declaring clean energy a top priority and reaching out to Quebec to address the “transmission bottlenecks” in the region’s electricity grid as he prepares to take over the chair of the Council of Atlantic Premiers in January.

“He said his province’s resources could play a role in getting Eastern Canada onto 100% renewable energy, but says the mistakes of the Muskrat Falls project must not be repeated,” the Toronto Star reports. “The beleaguered hydroelectric dam on Labrador’s lower Churchill River is now years behind schedule and estimated to cost C$12.7 billion—more than double the initial projection and equivalent to about a third of the province’s debt.”

The project has also led to serious concerns about toxic mercury contamination and basic safety issues affecting downstream Indigenous communities.

“Ball said surplus power from Muskrat Falls or power from the proposed Gull Island dam could be part of a regional energy solution, but only if there is a mutually beneficial relationship between his province and the customer,” the Star states.

“Muskrat Falls was a forced customer—that being the ratepayers,” he said. “This will not be forced on any other province like it’s been forced on Newfoundlanders and Labradorians.”