Climate Justice Saskatoon sends letter to Minister for Climate Change

CJS and Sheri Benson, MP Climate Change Town Hall

Environment and Climate Change Canada
Climate Policy Office
14 th Floor, Fontaine Building
200 Sarcre-Coeur Building
Gatineau QC K1A 0H3

August 22, 2016

Dear Minister McKenna,

Climate Justice Saskatoon in collaboration with Sheri Benson, Member of Parliament for Saskatoon West and SEIU West hosted a Climate Change Town Hall on May 25, 2016.

More than 160 Saskatoon residents showed up to have their voice heard. The evening began with an opening prayer from an Indigenous grandmother who reminded us that “everything that is spoken here is said with love for the future generations.”

After a brief presentation on climate change by Climate Justice Saskatoon, the participants broke into many small groups to discuss suggestions for tackling climate change. Each group had 2 minutes to present their ideas; a difficult challenge as the groups came up with pages of concerns and great ideas. You will find enclosed some of the many suggestions from the participants on how we can create a better future for Canada.

Some clear priorities came out of the discussions and we call on the Government of Canada to: implement the UNDRIP as well as provide funding for First Nations to transition to renewable energy sources; build no new pipelines and rapidly phase out of coal; provide funding for retraining industry workers; end fossil fuel subsidies and implement carbon pricing; not sign any trade deals that inhibit climate action (ex. TPP, CETA, etc).

We look forward to your response.


Climate Justice Saskatoon on behalf of concerned citizens of Saskatoon


Saskatoon Climate Change Town Hall - Public Consultation Portion

May 25 th , 2016

What have been your own experiences with the impacts of climate change?

  • Shouldn’t have to be born with privilege to have access to clean energy 

What are the solutions to reducing greenhouse gases that you would like to see governments, businesses, and communities implement?

  • Agriculture
    • Less focus on the beef industry and more on pulse crops and vegetable crops (a plant based diet has less of a carbon foot print than a meat diet)
    • Reduce dependence on imported crops; invest in locally grown crops
  • Transit and Transportation
    • Make electric cars more affordable; rebates; begin building charging stations
    • Better Bike systems; more bike lanes; warm up stations for winter walkers and bikers
    • Better public transit; Address zoning regulations for transit systems; make it more affordable
    • Decentralize services, processing and production activities so there is less transportation
    • Sending goods by rail opposed to truck transportation; need to innovate to reduce emissions
    • Electrifying railways to reduce emissions and create jobs
    • Make biofuel more accessible
  • Businesses
    • No more non-recyclable bags/cups (e.g. enforce this upon Tim Hortons, etc.)
    • Cut down on unnecessary waste (packaging)
    • Reduce water use for Mining,  Oil  &  Gas drilling
  • Government
    • Stronger and more concise legislation; consolidation of governing bodies
    • Urban Design -Orientation of Streets so houses receive greatest Light of Day (Brantford ON as model); Build UP not out. 
    • Update the way we build houses, stepping up building codes to net zero, include passive solar, high insulation. Provide subsidies to offset new costs association with more onerous standards
    • Retrofitting for heat conditioning in winter; plan upgrading of older homes
    • Incentives, lower energy bills, lower energy usage
    • Restrict size of city
    • Increase tree cover in cities to reduce “heat island” effect.
    • Remove subsidies to fossil fuels and funnel to renewable energy development
    • Hold polluters accountable by fining them appropriately
    • National regulation for venting, flaring, and leaks in oil field
    • Ensure Federal buildings are LEED certified & Federal vehicles are electric / or hybrid
    • Set Progressive year by year pollution targets
    • Change electricity grid to distributed, not centralized, system
    • Educate public on climate change
    • Ensure that regulatory or assessment bodies (such as NSC etc.) do not have conflicts of interest among members and that they take the environment and indigenous land rights seriously.
    • Give CBC a stronger environmental mandate for programs coverage and documentaries.
    • Stop all plans to lower corporate taxes! If corporations want to leave the country because they have to pay taxes – let the door hit them on the way out!
    • Important that at the next Ministers’ meeting that something concrete results.  No Premier is doing as much as they need to be doing.
    • Organized rotating “brown outs” for awareness (Earth Day)
    • Stop sell-off of PFRA community pastures
    • Coal-fired power plant phase-out in Canada by 2025
  • Carbon Pricing
    • No Loopholes
    • Increase tax as time goes on (make it very expensive for the industry)
    • Establish aggressive incentives for electricity generation from renewable resources (solar, wind etc.) for individuals, communities, and companies
    • Capital funding from the government for the development of green energy
    • Support conservation of greenhouse gas emissions
    • Provincial tax ($ stays in province)
    • Use the tax to support renewable energy
    • Population currently doesn’t see the real price of carbon (for groceries transportation, etc.)

What are your ideas to both grow the economy and jobs while reducing emissions?

  • Create Plans to transfer oil and gas knowledge to renewables e.g Training. Job outlines, how this will grow the economy. Show proof, numbers, facts, statistics
  • Continue to frame conversations around green jobs and looking after the environment not jobs OR the environment.
  • Tax equality
    • Make corporations and the rich pay their taxes
    • No more bailouts
    • Put increased corporate and rich taxes into local economies
    • Transparency of where our money goes
    • Relevant policies for the current populations (updating laws – quit wrestling with 100 year old laws)
    • Education funding – no more cuts – we need to invest in real education with important values and emphasize the planet

What are some ideas to promote innovation and new technologies in the effort to reduce greenhouse gas emissions?

  • Solar street lamps
  • Community based energy generation
  • Start with multifaceted solutions – bio-mass, solar, wind, geothermal, not just oil and gas.
  • Begin with local power stations – not necessarily mega-projects or only one provider.
  • Environmentally, good” Best Practices” should be incentivized ie – if one chooses an alternative method of transportation, public transit, walking, biking instead of the car, that should be rewarded financially with a tax break or an annual bonus of some kind.
  • Incentives for private use of green technology
  • Research in efficiency housing, for old character housing, for job creation in research and buildings
  • Investment / subsidies for green technologies.
  • Cross boundary energy transfers within Canada
  • Invest/support environmental research and the free flow of scientific information, including government research, to the public

What can Canada do to better adapt to impacts of climate change and support affected communities, including Indigenous communities?

  • Education
    • Educate the public on being adaptable to climate change and measuring the success/failure of this adaptation
    • Educate the public school systems on renewable energy, bring parents in as well (assembly meetings)
    • Educate children,  they need to know what will happen with their futures
    • Promote living simply; we have to look at ourselves & start with ourselves.
    • Invest in Adult re-training
    • Continue community discussions
  • Clear brush around Northern Cities
  • Create clean tech in northern communities ie: in-stream turbines, solar, geo-thermal
  • Bring discussion & solution finding down to grass roots  & Indigenous Peoples
  • Landscape design to manage stormwater – to be draught tolerant and in extreme cases t accommodate flood waters seasonally.
  • Permaculture – sustainable agriculture, rain harvest, compost etc.
  • Rethink zoning to allow for tiny houses, garden suites, laneway suites and rental units.
  • Recognize the rights of Indigenous Peoples:  honour treaties; focus on Indigenous Knowledge and skills; consultation process to be “real” therefore fewer projects would be legitimate.
  • Focus/highlight communities in Canada that are forced to be resilient due to climate change already:  First Nations communities, Northern ecosystems, Arctic Canada, rural communities.
  • Conservation areas and being strategic about protecting important species and ecosystems to create more resilience to stressors