MEDIA RELEASE: Citizen Lobbyists Cautiously Optimistic Canada’s Low Carbon Transition is Underway – Took a Pledge to Make Sure Progress Continues Past Election 2019 –

Citizen Lobbyists Cautiously Optimistic That Canada’s Low Carbon Transition is Underway
– Took a Pledge to Make Sure Progress Continues Past Election 2019 –

Media Release: Wednesday, December 7, 2016
Contact: Cathy Orlando, cathy@citizensclimatelobby.org 705-929-4043

SUDBURY, ON: From November 26-29, 2016, 53 Citizens’ Climate Lobby volunteers lobbied on Parliament Hill for improvements to Canada’s national carbon pricing policy and experienced their most productive week of lobbying to date in their six-year history in Canada. They lobbied 40 Members of Parliament (MP) and one senator in face-to-face meetings, as well as the staff of six parliamentarians. Included among the volunteers were three US citizens and three First Nations.

For over six years, Citizens’ Climate Lobby (CCL) volunteers across Canada have been communicating about climate change and carbon pricing with their federal and provincial parliamentarians. In 2015, their attentions were more focused provincially. The last time CCL did a major federal lobbying push was in 2014. They officially recorded 55 face-to-face meetings that year. To date in 2016, CCL volunteers from across Canada have documented 157 face-to-face meetings with federal parliamentarians specifically to discuss Canada’s national carbon pricing policy. Thus, 2016 will be their biggest year of lobbying federal parliamentarians too.

Prior to lobbying, volunteers spent two days learning more about climate change and the political realities of creating change. The conference was live-streamed and can be viewed on Citizens’ Climate Lobby Canada’s YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/user/CCLCan

Conference speakers included:

  • Their host, Ottawa City Councillor David Chernushenko welcomed attendees to Ottawa, highlighted some of the main climate protection efforts in Ottawa and  described the difficult balance of holding close to the perfect of what needs to get done and the political reality of getting re-elected.
  • The Honourable Mary Polak, Environment Minister for the Province of British Columbia, rightly and proudly described the success of  BC’s carbon pricing policy and the accolades it has received internationally.
  • Renee Lertzman, Saturday’s keynote speaker, who helped the volunteers bring emotional intelligence to the tough communications surrounding carbon pricing. One new CCL volunteer after the training said, “I now know that I need to listen carefully and not give politicians all the climate change information that is in my head.”
  • Glen Hodgson was Sunday’s keynote speaker. He is the newly appointed Senior Fellow and former Vice President and Chief Economist at the Conference Board of Canada. He reinforced why a national and revenue-neutral carbon price is best for Canada.

Conference attendees and those watching virtually also dove deeply into the wonky world of border tax adjustments with an expert panel, unravelled Canada’s subsidies to the fossil fuel industry, received the latest on the carbon pricing developments at the international level and learned together about some of the connections of climate change to everything.

While lobbying on Parliament Hill, Parliamentarians from all parties showed interest in learning more about carbon pricing, border tax adjustments and fossil fuel subsidies. Especially compared to lobbying efforts federally in 2014, it seems that Canada’s transition to a low-carbon economy is well underway.

Marshall Saunders, Founder of Citizens’ Climate Lobby sent the volunteers the following message prior to lobbying, “Congratulations on passing the first national carbon fee in the hemisphere. It’s historic. Don’t tell anybody but you may have begun to turn the world upside down.”

Cathy Orlando, National Director of Citizens’ Climate Lobby Canada was cautiously optimistic. She declared, “How magnificent it is that in 2017 Canada will not only be celebrating its 150th anniversary and 100 years since the Battle of Vimy Ridge, history will also record 2017 as the year Canada passed into law the first national carbon price in North America.”

On Monday, October 3, 2016, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced that Canada will establish a floor price on carbon pollution of $10 a tonne in 2018, rising to $50 a tonne by 2022.  Canada has turned a corner on climate action. The reality is Canada’s current GHG targets are woefully inadequate and the current carbon pricing plan needs improvements and more details.  While CCL was on Parliament Hill, the government of Canada approved two pipelines, adding to the concern that climate change is not being taken seriously by the government.

Volunteers at the conference acknowledged that Canada’s climate targets are currently inadequate and that there is a grave risk of losing the political resolve on the gains Canada has made to secure a healthy climate in the lead-up to next federal election in 2019. Thus, they made the following pledge:

“I want to live in a democracy where all politicians of all political stripes can get elected for pro-environmental policies, not in spite of them. Thus, in my riding, I pledge to generate the political will for a livable world. Specifically, I pledge to do my best to keep the discussions around climate change and carbon pricing factual, respectful and non-partisan in my local media, while doing community outreach and communicating with local leaders. All politics is local after all.”

Citizens’ Climate Lobby (CCL) Canada is a non-profit, non-partisan, grassroots advocacy organisation with a twin focus: to create the political will for a livable planet and to empower people to claim their political and personal power. They have been lobbying for a national and revenue-neutral carbon price since September 2010 in Canada. They work very closely with their sister CCL group in the USA.
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WANT TO SEE MORE PICTURES: View the conference photo album on Facebook.