In mid-March, we began this seven-part series on the upcoming federal Budget with a self-evident statement, “COVID-19 has shown us that people’s health and wellbeing must be prioritized.” Events of the last weeks have underlined this truth with devastating clarity. Even as a disastrous third wave destroys lives and families, overwhelmingly in working class and racialized communities, access to vaccinations has been grossly uneven, favouring the affluent.
On the brink of Monday’s Budget, the need for strong social infrastructure, and a resilient, sustainable economy that supports a livable future in the midst of ongoing and coming crises, has never been greater.
Canada’s use and export of fossil fuels contributes disproportionately to the costs and damages caused by GHG emissions. Extracting and exporting resources has made the country wealthy. At the same time, countries that have benefited the least from extractive economies are experiencing impacts, like food insecurity and forced migration, first and most. Canada needs to do its fair share to redress both social and ecological harms, contributing to an equitable and just transition globally.
Throne Speech Promises Interim Report - November 12, 2020
We've been tracking actions the federal government has taken (or failed to take) since the throne speech on September 23rd! See a small section of the report below. Click here for the full Interim Report!
*Promises that were made are highlighted in green.
*Suggested actions not explicitly mentioned in speech are highlighted in Red.
1) Health and Wellbeing - Puts people's health and wellbeing first. No exceptions.
a) Protects the Environment
|Action||Pass √ Fail X||Notes|
X - G20 energy communiqué sign-on.
√ - Signed Leaders Pledge for Nature.
X - Haven’t met current pledges yet.
X - Haven’t shown effective national leadership.
Shift away from harmful industry.
X - Need to move economy, global trade, and subsidies away from destructive practises.
Respect Indigenous land stewardship, sovereignty, laws, values.
X - Indigenous land rights violations.
X - Need to centre Indigenous Land Stewardship.
Use nature-based solutions(plant trees).
X - Tree-planting delayed.
N1 - Initiated by Saudi Arabia, the G20 energy communiqué includes fossil fuel bailouts, doesn’t mention Fossil Fuel subsidies, and endorses a “circular economy” strategy that depends a lot on unproven carbon capture methods, distracting from what is actually needed: a reduction of emissions.
N2 - Next UN General Assembly High Level Week in September 2021, will review progress and reaffirm.
N3 - “To address and alleviate human rights questions, social justice issues, and conservation challenges, the Global Safety Net calls for better protection for Indigenous communities….” (1) Yet, from coast to coast, we see Indigenous communities trying to protect land and water subjected to rights violations.
N4 - “Environmentalism and Indigenous rights must go hand in hand. Those who have stewarded these lands for thousands of years hold the knowledge and relationships key to carrying forward the legacy of thriving ecosystems.” “....sovereignty claims are inextricably linked to the health and sustainability of the lands and waters they care for.” (2)
- Countries Miss All 20 Targets Under UN Biodiversity Convention
- Indigenous Stewardship is true Conservation: We Need to Move Beyond Eco-Colonialism - Maia Wikler, October 30, 2020, raventrust.com
N5 - No trees planted and no money allotted to the tree-planting program in 2019.
Click here for the full Interim Report!
On Wednesday, September 23rd, our government delivered its highly anticipated Throne Speech to unveil post-pandemic recovery plans. You can find the throne speech here.
This moment in history is an unprecedented chance to #BuildBackBetter and insist on a #JustRecoveryforAll and a livable future.
This means acting on the climate crisis and no longer funding destructive industry. It means helping workers and communities during a Just Transition to a circular economy of care. It means acting for racial justice and insisting that people and planet are no longer harmed and devalued. We must have a greener, healthier and equitable future! The time is now.
As part of the week for climate action, spearheaded by Fridays for Future Toronto (FFFTO) and culminating in the Global Day of Climate Action, Toronto350 has weighed in on how the Throne Speech stacks up next to a Green & Just Recovery, and issued the Report Card below.
A grade of "A" would meet expectations and far exceed them, "B" meets the expectations, "C" meets some but falls short and an "F doesn't meet any.
See an excerpt from our Report Card Comments below.
1) Put people's HEALTH & WELLBEING first. No exceptions.
• Protects the Environment: GRADE C
The Climate Crisis is a health crisis! As the throne speech reinforced, “Canadians [know] climate change threatens our health, way of life, and planet. They want climate action now, and that is what the Government will continue to deliver.” So far though, the Government actually hasn’t delivered enough climate action and commitments fall short of what is needed to protect the environment.
Some of the commitments in the speech, following the acknowledgment “of the importance of nature” include:
- expand urban green spaces
- meet prior commitment to protect a quarter of the country’s lands and waters
- use nature-based solutions to address the climate crisis (i.e. fulfill program to plant 2 billion trees)
While these are important steps for ensuring an intact ecosystem and protecting peoples’ health and wellbeing, we need significant action to protect biodiversity and create nature-based carbon sinks like those represented by the Boreal Forest and agroecology. The speech doesn’t fully address industrial practises that harm nature. It also does not acknowledge Indigenous land stewardship....
For more comments and Watch Party Asides see Report Card Comments!
Stay tuned for:
- Additional Responses
- Video Response: Parent-Teacher Interview
- Printable posters to share in your neighbourhood
- Social media graphics & posts
Click here for more on TO350’s Grading Touchstones framed by the Just Recovery Principles.