Northumberland Labour Council issues a statement on Canada’s Climate Crisis

April 4, 2022

In Canada, our climate is at a crossroad. 2021 was marked by extreme heat, fuelling one of the worst wildfire seasons on record. An atmospheric river caused deadly mudslides that destroyed hundreds of homes and took out entire highways. We have also had to navigate the escalating COVID 19 health crisis that is overwhelmed our hospitals and emergency services, and an economic crisis that is pushing more and more of our neighbours into precarity.

In 2022 there is no time to waste. For Canada to tackle the converging emergencies, we need a plan to phase out fossil fuels and a compelling justice-centered vision of the future. That requires a big, bold Just Transition that works for everyone. It is up to us to ensure our elected leaders deliver.

It has been nearly 3 years since Justin Trudeau promised the Just Transition Act and we have not seen any serious progress. Meanwhile, our communities are experiencing extreme climate impacts, and a multi-year global pandemic and the economic crisis it is fuelled.

We will demand that politicians across the political spectrum act with courage to deliver an urgent just transition plan that leaves no one behind and moves us past fossil fuels.

We need to take action to bring to life what a future “Ministry of Just Transition” could deliver in our communities. Of course, the Ministry of Just Transition does not actually exist (YET!). These actions will lift up the kind of bold government action that this moment demands and that our communities deserve. Imagine ribbon cutting ceremonies to mark the opening of a new Just Transition Ministry, a green jobs fair for workers seeking support to transition away from the fossil fuel industry, and press conferences announcing new affordable rapid transit systems.

The Northumberland Labour Council demands a Just Transition plan that considers the following:

  1. We need to make sure this is not just another excuse to hand billions of dollars over to Big Oil and other corporations, instead of directing resources to the people and communities who need them by expanding our social safety net and reducing inequality.

Both climate change and the energy transition disproportionately impact Indigenous, rural, and northern communities, as well as those already most marginalized by capitalism — like migrant workers. Those most impacted are going to need the most support, and it is the government’s job to make sure that happens.

  • Guarantees a good, green, unionized job to anyone who wants one. Protecting and strengthening worker rights and driving an inclusive workforce development are critical. Putting a jobs guarantee at the center of the just transition ensures nobody is left behind as we meet the climate crisis.
  • Align with science by moving at the pace and scale the climate emergency demands. The timeline and scale for phasing out fossil fuels needs to line up with the latest reports from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. This means a moratorium on all fossil fuel expansion, including freezing fossil fuel projects currently under construction — like the Trans Mountain pipeline.

Dan Tobin

President

Northumberland Labour Council

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