The Green Medium is an Emerald Award-winning, youth-run blog that seeks to innovate how we discuss and inform ourselves on environmental concerns.

Election Day

With the Federal Election here, I’d like to believe that everyone has brushed up on the platforms of all Canadian political parties. When looking into environmental policy I stumbled upon an article with an interesting opinion: Stephen Harper is the Environment’s best friend. For the past eight years, Harper has cut down every tree in the yard when it comes to environmental law. But what documents protecting Canadian land actually sat in parliament  pre- Harper? What environmental policy existed before the Conservatives took over Parliament Hill?

In 2005, before the conservative party was elected in 2006, Canada ranked 28 out of 30 countries in the race of environmental policy. So yes, Canada has been bad at playing this environmental game for a while. Canada is making bad moves like more recently withdrawing from the Kyoto agreement because of our inability to meet carbon emission goals. Nonetheless, previous prime ministers Jean Chrétien and Paul Martin implemented from what I can find, no environmental policy too. Jean Chrétien of the Liberal party signed the Kyoto Protocol attempting to unify our country in combatting climate change in 2002. Yet, reducing carbon emissions is a heavy task for any government and his government lacked the heavier legislation to enforce it. How do you inspire sustainable action in a country that breeds oil and gas? How will you allow the economy to stay afloat when choking the energy industry that we all lean on? This issue is deeper than what is right for the environment because it will cause radical change in our country’s mechanics. Canada’s liberties on the industrial sector made it difficult to enforce such laws on energy production. This realistically limited the environmental action Canada could take as our economy was not, an presently is not, in a position to allow for the protection of Mother Nature. I think this is a crucial problem in Canada- the basis of our economy does not allow for change in social or environmental areas. This is not what people want to hear, but for environmental policy to change I also believe that our government has to support economic transitioning. So more recently, Harper rid of the Fisheries Act that kept our waters safe. But this was the elimination of already weak legislation to begin with. Today, Canada is in need of forceful environmental policy that roots itself in respect of the Canadian economy. I am not confident that any political party presents itself as ready to take on this issue. However, now that Canadian environmental policy has been brought to its knees, it resembles the appearance of opportunity.

Collectively, we are entering a time of environmental urgency. The last decade of missing environmental protection will not be tolerated by Canadians or the globe any longer. Currently, our federal government is entering a time of uncertainty. This may trigger the opportunity to create a strong, powerful, environmental structure at the federal level that our country has lacked beyond the Harper decade. It leaves any party with the responsibility to take over the reigns and redefine what environmental law means to Canadians.

happy Election Day friends. 

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