Emergency debate in Canada: How will Parliament respond to the new IPCC report?
“We will rally and marshal every small town, every big city, every Canadian group, rotary clubs, church groups, and we will tell those naysayers who think that climate change is about a cash grab that they are in the way of our future and that they must get out of the way.”
~ Elizabeth May
The Green Party of Canada requested an emergency session to debate climate change in the Canadian Parliament. Here is what leader of the Green Party Elizabeth May had to say in the House of Commons Emergency Debate on Climate Change on 16 October 2018.
» You can read the speech on www.elizabethmaymp.ca
Face the facts
“I increasingly am drawn to thinking about the five days in May 1940 when Winston Churchill was surrounded by people, the Lord Halifaxes and the Chamberlains, who said, “Face the facts. We cannot not defend this island. The Nazis are invading. Our entire army is stranded at Dunkirk. There are 300,000 men, and we cannot get them off because there is no way.”
They sat and surrendered.
This is the moment when real political leadership steps up. This is when we need our Prime Minister to go to the negotiations in Poland, or to dispatch the Minister of Environment to the negotiations in Poland, and say, “We are stepping up. We are going to rescue everybody. We are going to be the heroes in our own story. We are going to adopt what the IPCC says we must do: 45% reductions by 2030.”
Churchill of course, surrounded by naysayers, thought up a miracle, one that is clearly undoable.
He asked, “How many civilian boats are there in Dover? We could get those civilians to cross the English channel and rescue over 300,000 men.”
Really? It was hardly plausible.
In this time and age we need to face the facts just as squarely. We need to tell Canadians that we have hope, to not despair or think it is too late. They should not turn away from the IPCC reports. They should not be afraid because we cannot breathe in British Columbia in the summer because of forest fires. They should not give up. We will rally and marshal every small town, every big city, every Canadian group, rotary clubs, church groups, and we will tell those naysayers who think that climate change is about a cash grab that they are in the way of our future and that they must get out of the way.
We also sadly must say to our own Minister of Environment that it is not true that we cannot change our target for five years. The Paris Agreement says clearly that any country can replace its own target anytime. The IPCC report has said to us as a country that our target is approximately 50% too little. We need to do twice as much. I know that is hard, but to save the lives of our children, what would we not do?
Why will we not rally around the call that we go to COP24 and say we are not going to wait five years? It is an unthinkable thing what the minister has said to us. She said we are going to wait until 2023. “Read between the lines,” is what she just said.
We must go to the next climate negotiation as leaders in the world with the target assigned us of totals we must have. Then we must stand up and challenge the others by asking where is their target, where is their goal, because we are not prepared to tell our children we are a failed species. We are not going to do that because we are responsible human beings. We are Canadian parliamentarians and together we can achieve the pathway that has been put before us by world science.
Time is not on our side. History may not be on our side, but by God, we better be on our side. We better grab this chance and make it real.”
~ Elizabeth May, Member of Parliament for Saanich—Gulf Islands, BC, Canada