Heavy rain in Windsor creates flooding on Walker Rd. in the Walkerville area on August 24, 2016. (Photo by Ricardo Veneza)

Ontario NDP wants province to declare a climate emergency (POLL)

Ontario’s official opposition has introduced a motion to declare a climate emergency in the province.

The motion comes after catastrophic flooding in the Muskoka region and Ottawa in recent weeks. Areas along the shore of Lake Erie in Chatham-Kent, and Lake Erie, Lake St. Clair and the Detroit River in Windsor-Essex are also under a flood watch until Monday night.

“Climate change is no longer only about our climate future. It is an imminent emergency. It is happening now,” said NDP Leader Andrea Horwath.

Several recent reports, including one from the Intergovernmental Science Policy-Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services this week, said climate change is hastening the sixth massive extinction and changing biodiversity worldwide.

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If the Ontario legislature adopts the motion, the province will be the first Canadian province or territory to declare a climate emergency, although several cities have done so already.

Ontario NDP leader Andrea Horwath holds a discussion in Windsor with those affected by CCAC cuts in service. (Photo by Jason Viau)

Ontario NDP leader Andrea Horwath. (Photo by Jason Viau)

“Declaring a climate emergency is an opportunity for Queen’s Park to change direction, and take on the biggest challenge humankind has ever faced,” continued Horwath. “[The Ford government] has cancelled climate mitigation programs including Ontario’s participation in the cap and trade market, cancelled conservation programs, scrapped green vehicle rebates, removed electric vehicle charging stations, and eliminated a program to plant 50 million trees — but it’s not too late to change course.”

Minister of the Environment, Conservation and Parks Rod Phillips has argued his government has a plan to fight climate change with its Made in Ontario Climate Plan. The Ontario government has touted the program as one reason why it should not be subject to the federal carbon tax.

Ontario, Manitoba and Saskatchewan have taken the Trudeau government to court over the tax saying it is unconstitutional because it tramples on provincial jurisdiction. A Saskatchewan Court of Appeals judge ruled last week the carbon tax is constitutional, but courts in other provinces have yet to make their rulings.


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