Meeting with MP Carolyn Bennett

A small group of her constituents, organized by JustEarth, and including members of Science for Peace, went to a private meeting with Carolyn Bennett, 2 July, on climate change. Jean Moffat, speaking for the group, outlined its key concern as the lack of action of the present and past Canadian Governments to address climate change and ensure that Canada live up to its Kyoto commitments, and to turn that past failure into leadership in the next round of negotiations at Copenhagen this year. She thanked Carolyn on behalf of the whole group for signing the KYOTOplus petition that concerned citizens have been trying to get Liberal Party members to sign, and asked Carolyn to persuade other Liberal members to sign on. Carolyn’s response was gratifying, and indicated that she shared the group’s deep concerns.

Other questions discussed included: international action (fulfilling Kyoto obligations, action to protect rainforests); Michael Ignatieff ’s recent statements on the tar sands, support for this to be framed within an environmental context; the challenge of articulating a coherent policy, given specialist silos within the public service and within caucus; Michael Ignatieff ’s articulation of the goal for Canada to be “the healthiest country in the world” by 2017 (May 2009 Liberal Convention); federal “subsidies” to oil companies in contrast to minimal support for other energy sources; the need for evidence-based (as opposed to ideological) policy development; incentives for environmentally positive energy alternatives; and research as a federal role in renewable energy.

In answer to one of the questions, Carolyn stated that, yes, achieving the goal of making Canada the healthiest country would indeed involve poverty reduction or elimination, and that the health objective had been agreed at the Liberal Convention in May.

The meeting promised to give rise to further contact with Carolyn, and was overall most encouraging, especially on climate change. But some of us came away wondering how the public could hold a Liberal Government, should one be elected soon enough, to the promise of making Canada the world’s healthiest country by 2017, devoutly to be wished as this is.

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