Quantcast
Environmental News for a Healthier Planet and Life

David Suzuki: 'Democracy Is as Strong as the People Who Make Its Values Come Alive'

Climate
David Suzuki: 'Democracy Is as Strong as the People Who Make Its Values Come Alive'

I’ve lived through many elections, but I don’t recall many in which emotions ran so high. In the heat of such a campaign, things get said, disagreements arise and tensions increase. Now that we’ve elected a new government, I want to commend Prime Minister-designate Justin Trudeau on his positive campaign and congratulate him on his party’s sweeping victory. I still think the new government has an opportunity to strengthen its climate change policies, but more on that later … 

We also have to thank the people from all parties who have devoted so much time, energy and money to serve the country, from the candidates, successful and not, to the volunteers, who believe enough in this country and its democratic traditions to give their all. Their families also deserve a lot of credit. Whether or not we agree with a candidate, leader or party and their policies, we can be grateful that they dedicate themselves to keeping our country strong and free. 

Most of all, I want to commend Canadians. Voter turnout jumped to more than 68 percent—not perfect, but better than in some time. Canadians sent a loud and clear message that they want to live in an open, progressive country that promotes diversity, social justice, environmental protection and respect for First Peoples. 

Those of us who work in the environmental movement look forward to a renewed relationship with our federal government. We know our elected representatives won’t always agree with us, but we’re hopeful our new leaders will give us a fair hearing and respect that we’re all trying to contribute to making Canada a positive example for the world. 

The new government has its work cut out for it. On top of initial administrative duties, dealing with trade agreements and appointing Cabinet members, it will also be expected to prepare for the UN climate summit in Paris in December. As some people know, during the lengthy campaign, I had a disagreement with Trudeau over his party’s climate policy. I still think his climate plans need to be strengthened, especially with clear and ambitious targets for reducing greenhouse gas emissions. But I’m confident the new government will take this issue seriously, and I hope it will draw on the expertise of other parties and their leaders who offered innovative proposals.

I also hope they will consult with experts from the David Suzuki Foundation and other organizations, who have been researching and proposing viable solutions for many of the environmental challenges Canada faces, including ocean health, species and habitat protection, toxins, pollution, clean energy and climate change.

No one is suggesting we should do an immediate 180-degree turn on resources and economic priorities. But it’s time to shift our thinking. Continuing to make fossil fuel extraction the country’s economic priority is a thing of the past. We can create more jobs and a stronger economy by ending fossil fuel subsidies, putting a price on carbon pollution, promoting energy conservation and encouraging the clean technology and clean energy sectors. 

We must also remember that the government is here to represent the interests of all Canadians—and not just those who voted for it. We’re the ones most affected by government policies. Corporate interests are important, but they should never outweigh the interests of citizens.

So many Canadians got engaged with this election, holding conversations, watching debates, sharing information on social media and through letters to newspapers, volunteering and, finally, voting. The government has its work cut out for it, but so do we. A democracy is as strong as the people who make its values come alive, every single day. It’s not all up to the politicians. It’s up to all of us to stay engaged, ensure our interests are looked after and work with people of all backgrounds and political stripes to make sure Canada continues to be strong, prosperous and free, with respect for diversity and the progressive values that have made Canada one of the best places on Earth to live.

There’s a lot of work ahead for all of us. But right now, I want to say how proud I am to be Canadian, to live in a country where people care enough to make it work.

YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

4 Justin Trudeau Campaign Promises That Could Make Canada a Green Powerhouse

When Will Joe Biden Announce He’s Running for President?

Oslo Becomes First Capital City in the World to Divest From Fossil Fuels

6 of Donald Trump’s Most Outrageous Tweets on Climate Change

Reindeers at their winter location in northern Sweden on Feb. 4, 2020, near Ornskoldsvik. JONATHAN NACKSTRAND / AFP via Getty Images

Sweden's reindeer have a problem. In winter, they feed on lichens buried beneath the snow. But the climate crisis is making this difficult. Warmer temperatures mean moisture sometimes falls as rain instead of snow. When the air refreezes, a layer of ice forms between the reindeer and their meal, forcing them to wander further in search of ideal conditions. And sometimes, this means crossing busy roads.

Read More Show Less

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

The Great Lakes, including Lake Michigan, experienced some of their warmest temperatures on record in the summer of 2020. Ken Ilio / Moment / Getty Images

Heatwaves are not just distinct to the land. A recent study found lakes are susceptible to temperature rise too, causing "lake heatwaves," The Independent reported.

Read More Show Less

Trending

Starfish might appear simple creatures, but the way these animals' distinctive biology evolved was, until recently, unknown. FangXiaNuo / Getty Images

By Aaron W Hunter

A chance discovery of a beautifully preserved fossil in the desert landscape of Morocco has solved one of the great mysteries of biology and paleontology: how starfish evolved their arms.

Read More Show Less
U.S. President Joe Biden sits in the Oval Office as he signs a series of orders at the White House in Washington, D.C. on January 20, 2021. Jim Watson / AFP / Getty Images

President Joe Biden officially took office Wednesday, and immediately set to work reversing some of former President Donald Trump's environmental policies.

Read More Show Less
Erik McGregor / LightRocket / Getty Images

In many schools, the study of climate change is limited to the science. But at the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities, students in one class also learn how to take climate action.

Read More Show Less