Canada has a new prime minister. The book (forthcoming November 2015) references the October 19th, 2015 election without daring to make any guesses. However, we can now say Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. The Liberal Party of Canada won a majority government. For election coverage, see CBC, Globe and Mail, and National Post (if you want international coverage, check out the New York Times and the Guardian). The Liberal Party won 184 seats. There are 338 seats total so the Liberal Party has a clear majority of seats (but only 39.5% of the popular vote in an election where 69% of the population voted). The Conservative Party won 99 seats (and form the official opposition) while the New Democratic Party won 44 seats, the Bloc Quebecois won 10 seats, and the Green Party won 1 seat (leader Elizabeth May held her seat).
I hope he is ready.
(Photo credit: Hill Times)
Mr. Trudeau did not campaign on environmental issues. However, he did make a few promises (albeit somewhat vague promises):
- He will attend the UN Climate Summit in Paris this December.
- He will take the provincial Premiers with him to Paris to negotiate Canada’s national commitments (because the provinces are ultimately the ones that have to implement GHG emission reduction policy).
- He intends on creating a national standard for a price on carbon, but expects the provinces to decide exactly how they want to reduce GHG emissions (through some kind of tax (revenue neutral like BC or revenue creating like Quebec) or through cap and trade. Or, presumably, through some other method).
- 20 billion dollar investment in clean energy
- He plans to work with provinces to create and attract clean energy investments
- Increase Marine Protected Areas
- Invest in (scientific?) research
- Increase funding for national parks
- Work with the US and Mexico on a clean energy agreement (not sure how this jives with NAFTA and the recent Trans-Pacific Partnership).
Those are essentially the environmental commitments that Mr. Trudeau made while campaigning. Clearly there are a lot of details to work out.
I do not anticipate much in the way of new environmental laws in Canada (at least not byway of the federal legislative branch). However, I think the laws we have in place, such as the Species at Risk Act, are not going to be dismantled or threatened by a Liberal government (the way they might have been under a Conservative Party government).
In the coming weeks I will continue to update the book with regards to new cabinet ministers and new environmental commitments (or old commitments that come into clearer focus). Stay tuned!