Our take on what we heard in today’s Throne Speech and how it lines up with this Government’s actions.
Today marked the opening of the 43rd Parliament. All of our newly elected MPs took their seats in the House of Commons, they elected a new Speaker of the House, and the Governor-General, Julie Payette, delivered her Throne Speech.
The Throne Speech is a road map meant to communicate the new Parliament’s governing priorities to people across the country. We heard many things in today’s Throne Speech but as we know from 4 years of a Liberal government, their words mean little if they’re not followed up with action.
Here’s our take on what we heard today and how it lines up with the actions this government’s taking:
Climate change is (apparently) a top priority: In speaking to the mandate that Canadians delivered to the newly-elected government, Julie Payette listed climate change first. “Canada’s children and grandchildren will judge this Parliament by their action or inaction on the defining issue of our time — climate change,” she noted, adding that a “clear majority of Canadians voted for ambitious climate action now.” This is a massive victory. And it’s all thanks to land defenders, grassroots organizers, and people like you who have fought tirelessly to demand action on the climate emergency.
Ambitious climate targets that don’t line up with Trudeau’s pipeline push: According to the speech, the government will strive to achieve zero carbon emissions by 2050. That’s an admirable and ambitious target. But the reality is that we are nowhere close to meeting it — especially as construction moves forward on the TransMountain pipeline.
They still think that climate action shouldn’t get in the way of economic growth: The Throne Speech asserted that climate action cannot interfere with status quo economic growth plans. This is the Trudeau government’s classic defence in support of fossil fuel expansion. But we know that ambitious climate action simply can not coexist with the uninhibited growth of the fossil fuel industry.
Superficial commitments to Indigenous rights: The Throne Speech stated commitments to reconciliation, improving services for Indigenous communities, and completing the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls (MMIWG). Again, these commitments are admirable but only if the government follows through. Currently, these promises sound hollow considering that the Trudeau government is fighting Indigenous communities in court to defend the approval of the TransMountain pipeline. They’re also dragging Indigenous children through another long and drawn-out court battle.
Green New Deal nowhere to be found: We were disappointed to see that even though the climate was front and center, the Throne Speech didn’t map out an ambitious response plan. Achieving the government’s stated commitment to zero emissions by 2050 means championing a Green New Deal that seeks leadership from Indigenous peoples, creates millions of good jobs, and enshrines justice and dignity for all.
Clearly, leaders in Ottawa have heard our demands for ambitious and urgent action on the climate crisis. And there’s a strong indication that Trudeau’s minority government is committed to working collaboratively across party lines to tackle the climate emergency.
But we’re also hearing a lot of the broken promises we heard back in 2015. And that’s got us worried. The good news is that with a minority government, we have an opportunity to win the kind of ambitious, cross-partisan action we know we deserve.
Our movement has accomplished so much this year and it’s paying off in a big way. The centrality of climate in today’s Throne Speech is a tribute to everything we’ve achieved together. It’s clear that politicians are following our lead. So let’s make sure we don’t slow down. Next week, Our Time hubs across the country will visit their MP’s office to deliver mandate letters calling on newly elected leaders to govern for a Green New Deal. Help us back their efforts by digitally delivering a mandate letter to your MP.