Thursday, November 5, 2015

Dion to Lead Canada's New Environment, Climate Change and Energy Cabinet Committee

The inclusion of Stephane Dion to head a new cabinet committee indicates that climate action is more than just an empty campaign promise for Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and the Liberal Party. Canada's new environment, climate change and energy committee signals a radical shift in Canadian politics. The inclusion of energy in the committee's title speaks to the interrelationship between energy, climate,  the environment and energy. It definitively puts an end to Conservative rule defined by the fossil fuel powered leadership of Stephen Harper. It is also a repudiation of a decade of failed climate leadership.

Under the Conservatives Canada has cynically made a host of emissions reduction promises that they could not possibly live up to. The involvement of Dion ushers in a new era of climate integrity that has been sorely missing in Canada's national government.

As quoted by Desmog, Merran Smith of Clean Energy Canada said, establishing that committee "sends a clear signal that the new federal government understands that environmental protection and economic prosperity must go hand-in-hand, and is committed to taking an integrated approach to managing our natural resources, fighting climate change and growing our clean energy sector."

Dion's visionary leadership at the helm of this new committee signals the dawn of a new day in Canada. The selection of Dion as chairman of this new committee is a clear sign that the new government has put climate action at the forefront of their policy agenda. On November 4, Dion called the climate issue, “the most important of the century:"

Dion is a Montreal MP and a titan in Canadian climate and environmental politics. He was formally the Liberal environment minister and a visionary party leader. When he was leading the Liberal Party in the federal election of 2008 he advanced a policy platform that was the most progressive pro-environment platform in Canadian history. His comprehensive plan was called Green Shift and it included things like carbon taxes. While Canadians rejected Dion's vision seven years ago, he has been redeemed by the march of time.

Dion will also be Canada’s foreign affairs minister and this will consolidate his power and ensure that climate policy is integral to Canada’s foreign policy. Dion was the first MP sworn into the 42nd Parliament. "We have a country that is blessed to the point that we may protect our national interest while fighting for democracy, freedom, security and sustainability," Dion told reporters after the new government’s first cabinet meeting.

Dion has a number of capable and well informed ministers on the committee. This includes the new Science Minister Kirsty Duncan, a former University of Windsor climatology professor who served on the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

Other ministers that will sit on the committee are new Natural Resources Minister, the new Fisheries, Oceans and Coast Guard minister as well as the ministers responsible for agriculture, infrastructure, First Nations and economic development.

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