Want a concrete climate plan? You’ll have to wait a decade
Jeremy (JeremyAppel1025) back for another round of the day’s bleak news, but it’s Friday, so at least we have that, right?
Today we’ve got: incredibly flimsy climate legislation from the federal Liberals; a former Supreme Court justice calling out the RCMP’s “toxic” culture; a bizarre exemption from COVID gathering restrictions in Quebec; members of Turtle Island’s largest First Nations reserve speaking out against coal mining on their land.
And without further adieu:
Feds Legislate Climate Targets With No Enforcement Mechanism … Starting In 2030
The federal government has announced it will mandate climate change targets starting in a decade. In case that isn’t half-assed enough for you, not to worry — there are no penalties for governments failing to meet the targets.
The ostensible purpose of the legislation is to ensure Canada meets its commitment to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to net zero by 2050, with the government required to report to parliament on its progress every five years beginning in 2030.
As noted in the Globe and Mail, the 10-year delay means the problem is likely going to be pawned off on another government. The current government is on pace to miss its 2020 target by 100 megatonnes of emissions, as well as its 2030 target of 30 per cent below 2005 levels.
Environmentalists are skeptical, with Andrew Gage, a staff lawyer at West Coast Environment Law, stating, “To be effective, the legislation will need to prioritize immediate climate action by setting a 2025 target, and ensure that all the targets we set are as ambitious as possible.”
Recently-minted Green Party leader Annamie Paul agrees the bill doesn’t go nearly far enough, saying, “After five years in power, and a record of unfulfilled emissions reductions commitments, the government has given us more smoke and mirrors. There is only talk of accountability about a plan that will be developed at some future date.”
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says the only means of enforcement will be at the ballot box, boldly presuming that lack of serious climate action would be anathema to voters. Looking at Trudeau’s political career, we can see this isn’t necessarily the case.
- Michel Bastarache, a former Supreme Court justice, released his long-anticipated report on decades of sexual harassment in the RCMP yesterday, which says the rot in the force runs deep and may be beyond repair.
- The report calls for the federal government to establish an independent commission to look into the future of the RCMP as a national police force.
- “What I learned led me to conclude that a toxic culture prevails in the RCMP. This culture encourages, or at least tolerates, misogynistic, racist and homophobic attitudes among many members of the RCMP.” — Bastarache
- Context: The RCMP had to pay a more than $125 million settlement in 2016 to more than 2,300 female officers who had been sexually harassed on the job since September 1974.
- Let’s make a deal. You can visit your loved ones for Christmas, just don’t get COVID-19 before or after. This is the official position of Quebec Premier Francois Legault’s right-wing government.
- Quebeckers will be permitted to have holiday gatherings of up to 10 people from December 24 to 27 if they agree to quarantine for a week before and after. And if you’re not Christian, tough shit. No holidays for you.
ICYMI: Blood Tribe Members Protest Open-pit Coal Mine Approved On Their Southern Alberta Land
An $800-million open-pit coal mine in southern Alberta’s Crowsnest Pass unanimously approved by the leadership of Treaty 7 nations is raising concern from some members of the Kainai First Nation, also known as the Blood Tribe.
Tribe member Calf Robe told APTN there was no consultation of Blood Tribe members, nor to her knowledge any of the other southern Alberta bands constituted as Treaty 7.
The Grassy Mountain project, which is owned by a subsidiary of Australian coal mining company Riversdale Resources, is expected to bring 500 jobs to the surrounding communities, 385 of which are long-term full-time positions, and has a lifespan of 23 years. That is, of course, assuming the planet is around for that long.
The five bands of Treaty 7 as well as the National Coalition of Chiefs and the Métis Nation of Alberta Region 3, signed a letter of support for the project, which is proudly posted on Riversdale’s website.
Robe is organizing with Niitsitapi Water Protectors to stop the project.
“This Grassy Mountain Coal Project will cause irreversible damage to our traditional territories, including the mountains, rivers and natural landscapes […] These mountains that our people have occupied since time immemorial will be gone and will never be able to be replaced.” — Robe
That’s it for today’s Passage Daily. Check back on Monday for more analysis of the day’s news from the Passage perspective you know and love.