Nova Scotia Senator Mary Coyle is urging her Red Chamber colleagues to launch an inquiry into the pathways for Canada to meet a net-zero target for carbon and other greenhouse gases.
“As we start this 43rd Parliament and this critical new decade, we, the Senate of Canada, have a tremendous opportunity to take a leadership role in examining and influencing action on the defining issue of this century—climate change,” Coyle said yesterday [speech begins around 16:50].
“We represent our respective regions, and we have a duty to serve the public good of all Canadians,” she added. And “as Senators we are independent and less partisan, able to take the long-term perspective due to the stability of our chamber through election cycles.”
In a prepared statement distributed before she spoke, Coyle, a member of the Independent Senators Group, underscored the need to “slow, arrest, and hopefully reverse human-caused climate change, to ensure a healthy planet, a healthy society, a healthy economy, and a healthy democracy.” Citing Canada’s commitments under the 2015 Paris Agreement and Environment Minister Jonathan Wilkinson’s promise to legislate a net-zero target by 2050, she warned that “as time passes, we inch closer and closer to irreversible damage. There is a need to act now and to take bold steps in addressing this crisis.”
In her live remarks, Coyle cited a recent speech by former governor general David Johnston, reminding parliamentarians of their “shared responsibility as builders of trust in our democratic institutions. He referred to trust as the glue and grease in our society. In that vein, he reminded us that a large majority of Canadians voted in the recent federal election for strong action on climate change.”
Her prepared statement invited other senators to pronounce themselves on an inquiry that “will be a spark joining many other sparks to create the energy (renewable, of course) needed for a serious and respectful pan-Canadian conversation on solutions to climate change”.