What Trudeau’s Win Means for Canada’s Climate Policy
Trudeau's Liberal Party did not win a majority of seats in Canada's House of Commons, but it did win enough seats to form a government, The New York Times reported. According to the most recent live results from CBC News, Trudeau's Liberals control 157 seats, the opposition Conservative Party controls 121, the Bloc Québécois controls 32, the New Democratic Party (NDP) controls 24, and the Green Party controls three.
"Thank you, Canada, for putting your trust in our team and for having faith in us to move this country in the right direction," Trudeau tweeted after the election was called. "Regardless of how you cast your vote, our team will work hard for all Canadians."
Thank you, Canada, for putting your trust in our team and for having faith in us to move this country in the right direction. Regardless of how you cast your vote, our team will work hard for all Canadians.— Justin Trudeau (@JustinTrudeau) October 22, 2019
Trudeau will not choose permanent coalition partners, but will reach out to smaller parties to pass individual pieces of legislation, The Guardian explained. This will likely make the left-wing NDP an important ally on issues like health care and climate policy. Ahead of the election, Pembina Institute Director of Policy Isabelle Turcotte told Climate Home News that such a scenario could "see the potential for some pretty big moves on climate."
Immediately after the election, Greenpeace Canada moved to activate that potential by asking Canadians to spam Trudeau by phone, email and social media and demand he announce a "climate emergency response plan" within 48 hours. That plan would include zeroing out emissions before 2050, setting interim targets for 2025 and 2030, providing good jobs to all Canadians, ending fossil fuel subsidies and projects like the Trans Mountain Pipeline expansion and putting indigenous rights before the interests of extractive industries.
.@JustinTrudeau, congrats on being re-elected Prime Minister. Now let’s get to work!— Greenpeace Canada (@GreenpeaceCA) October 22, 2019
We’re in a ⚠️#ClimateEmergency⚠️and you need to #ActLikeIt! We need an ambitious climate response plan...for yesterday.
You have 48 hrs to respond: https://t.co/SaOcLGLctF #elxn43 pic.twitter.com/jFKRHEDdeY
During his first term, Trudeau had a mixed record on environmental issues, as The Guardian explained. He instituted a carbon tax, but also purchased the Trans Mountain Pipeline and approved its expansion one day after Canada declared a climate emergency.
However, his pre-election platform upped his climate ambition and called for net zero emissions by 2050, with legally-binding five-year targets along the way. The Conservative Party, on the other hand, wanted to repeal the carbon tax and focus on funding technological solutions with green bonds.
Climate was a top-three issue for nearly 30 percent of Canadians this election, Global News reported. Despite this, the Green Party did not see a major uptick in votes, though it did have its best election yet.
University of British Columbia political science professor Kathryn Harrison said this was probably because the Liberal Party and the NDP also campaigned on climate.
"I think in part they stole the Greens' thunder," Harrison told Global News.
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With more than 1.7 million confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the United States and more than 100,000 deaths from the virus, physicians face unprecedented challenges in their efforts to keep Americans safe.
They also encounter what some call an "infodemic," an outbreak of misinformation that's making it more difficult to treat patients.
When Leaders and Doctors Spread Misinformation<p>When people in charge of towns, cities, states, and countries spread misinformation, the potential for belief in misinformation to result in policies can have harmful effects.</p><p><a href="https://www.northwell.edu/find-care/find-a-doctor?q=Bruce+E.+Hirsch%2C+MD&insurance=&location=&query_type=provider&physician_partners=false&default_view=list&gender=&language=&sort=relevancy" target="_blank">Dr. Bruce E. Hirsch</a>, attending physician and assistant professor in the infectious disease division of Northwell Health in Manhasset, New York, says an example of this is when President Trump informed the public he was taking hydroxychloroquine as a preventive measure.</p><p>"To approach this enormous challenge, we need some intellectual honesty and clarity, and to disregard expertise and to make decisions and model decisions based on hunches is inviting us to handle challenges on the basis of rumor and uninformed opinion. The magnitude of that error is epic," Hirsch told Healthline.</p><p>Stukus agrees, noting that the harm of this proclamation is documented.</p><p>"Early on when the president touted the benefits of hydroxychloroquine and azithromycin, people started to hoard this medicine, and state boards had to shut it down because they were getting so many prescriptions for this unproven therapy that it was not available for those who truly needed it, such as those who have lupus and autoimmune conditions," Stukus said.</p><p>He adds that calls to poison control centers increased after the president suggested using disinfectant to prevent contracting the new coronavirus.</p>
Listen to Science, Even When it Changes<p>When recommendations change or evidence flip-flops, skepticism may arise. However, Stukus says change is the beauty of science.</p><p>"That shows us that we can evolve, and if the evidence shows that our prior thoughts were incorrect, we need to be able to change our recommendations and advice based upon the best quality of evidence at the time," he said.</p><p>Pierre agrees.</p><p>"Science is an iterative process, whereby we arrive at facts and truth through repeated and controlled observations. That means that it's inherently self-correcting as we revise conclusions based on ongoing research. Scientific facts aren't immutable dogma chiseled on a tablet. They change based on the best available evidence we have at a given point in time," he said.</p><p>Because research of COVID-19 has only been underway for 6 months, information is evolving rapidly, and new information may contradict old.</p><p>"There's still much we don't know about exactly how [COVID-19] spreads, what effects it has on the body, or how to best treat it. That means that the best available evidence is preliminary, but that doesn't mean that we should ignore it or turn to other sources of information or opinion as if they're just as valid," Pierre said.</p><p>He explains that conspiracy theories based on mistrust lead to vulnerability to misinformation.</p><p>If people mistrust science because it sometimes "changes its mind," Pierre said, "that shouldn't be used to embrace other opinions based on no evidence at all, which are typically selected based on confirmation bias: what we want to believe rather than what the objective evidence supports."</p>
Where to Find the Best Information<p>Stukus says to start with the <a href="https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-nCoV/index.html" target="_blank">CDC</a> and <a href="https://www.nih.gov/health-information/coronavirus" target="_blank">NIH</a>. Then check with your local health officials, because COVID-19 guidelines may vary depending on where you live.</p><p>If you can't find information you need or have questions specifically related to you, call your primary care doctor.</p><p>"Your personal doctor should always be a resource for individual specific questions because they know best how to apply all the nuances retaining to your health, and how to incorporate all the other general [COVID-19] recommendations," Stukus said.</p><p><a href="https://www.eehealth.org/find-a-doctor/b/boyd-laura-b/" target="_blank">Dr. Laura Boyd</a>, primary care physician at Edward-Elmhurst Health Center in Elmhurst, Illinois, says her clinic receives a lot of calls about COVID-19.</p><p>"Most doctors' offices are receiving calls and answering questions, and doing phone or video visits to help clarify and/or order testing over the phone based on patients' symptoms. It is always best to call your doctor's office first instead of worrying about symptoms and waiting too long to seek treatment," she told Healthline.</p><p>If your primary care doctor has limited testing, she suggests looking on your state's public health website for available testing sites.</p><p>With a lot of unknowns related to this virus and disease, Boyd says many patients are feeling overwhelmed and anxious for a treatment.</p><p>"Unfortunately, there is no specific medication recommended for COVID for outpatient. There are a lot of ongoing studies with various drugs going on within the hospital setting. Patients should always contact their doctors about their specific symptoms as they can treat the symptoms that go along with COVID, but there is no cure," Boyd said.</p><p>While we wait for treatment and a vaccine, Hirsch, who treats patients hospitalized for COVID-19 complications on a daily basis, says everyone can do their part by washing hands, wearing a mask, and staying 6 feet apart.</p><p>"As an infectious disease doctor working in the hospital, I see the damage of the pandemic and the worst cases of what's happening. We are trying to get the best possible outcome and confronting this overwhelming biologic reality of this terrible epidemic the best we can," Hirsch said.</p><p>Everyone at home can help in the fight too, he adds.</p><p>"Follow information that is science- and evidence-based, and avoid that which is not," he said.</p>
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