Tell Trudeau's cabinet that you support a Green and Just Recovery from COVID-19
Dear <<First Name>>
Prime Minister Trudeau says he has prorogued Parliament because COVID-19 has provided “our chance to build a more resilient Canada, a Canada that is healthier and safer, greener and more competitive, a Canada that is more welcoming and more fair.” He has even replaced his Finance Minister with one who is more amenable to such a Just Recovery.
This coincides with a scientific report reported in Vox last week saying that the effects of pollution on health (such as child asthma and heart disease) from the burning of fossil fuels are twice as bad as previously thought, and that the USA (and presumably Canada) could pay for the transition from fossil fuels from the savings on health care alone. Moreover, the health effects are immediate and caused by local pollution whereas climate change is mostly in the future and caused by distributed CO2.
This combination gives us a unique opportunity to contact cabinet members to push them to approve an aggressive “green and just” economic program from COVID -19. Please write to the cabinet ministers below.
A draft letter is included below to make this easier for you. Please modify at least the subject or the first line or two to personalize it. Send a copy to your own MP as well. Find their email address here on the Canadian Government web site.
Important cabinet ministers to contact are the following:
Subject: Canada needs a strong plan for a green and just economic recovery, paid for by health savings
I strongly support Prime Minister Trudeau’s justification for proroguing Parliament because COVID-19 has provided, in his words, “our chance to build a more resilient Canada, a Canada that is healthier and safer, greener and more competitive, a Canada that is more welcoming and more fair.” Your government’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic has already proven that Canada can respond quickly and aggressively to crises. A proper recovery plan from you will address several intersecting problems: creating more good jobs to drive an economic recovery, dramatically reducing the health problems and costs accompanying the burning of fossil fuels, and reducing societal inequalities including systemic racism.
Every serious plan proposed globally for an economic recovery from COVID -19, such as the UK plan and Joe Biden’s proposed plan, includes green job creation with the most important being energy retrofits for buildings and more renewable energy, with funding for the required training to upgrade marginally employed workers. These are also crucial requirements for reducing the climate crisis and reducing the numbers of people who are socially and racially marginalized. It is these same people who have born the brunt of COVID -19 (and pollution-induced diseases), and will experience the worst extreme weather damage from climate change. Moreover, Alberta will also benefit from the transition from oil with a diversity of good jobs. It is the province in Canada most endowed with alternative energy sources--solar, wind, geothermal and hydrogen from oil.
A recent study by Professor Drew Shindell of Duke University (and a lead author on both recent IPCC reports) has shown that the health effects from air pollution from fossil fuels is much worse than we thought, but that the savings from health costs alone would pay for the transition away from fossil fuels. Similar results are expected for Canada. These health benefits are both local and immediate, which means that they do not depend on all countries being on board as with the reduction of carbon emissions. Strong incentives for purchase of electric vehicles and charging infrastructure are also essential to reduce harmful emissions.
This is one of the rare times that a country can win on all counts with an appropriate policy: an aggressive plan to move towards a green and just economy, with the transition being paid for by health savings. As Mr. Trudeau has said, “This is our moment to change our future for the better. We can't afford to miss it, because this window of opportunity won't be open for long."