Where the Greens stand on a Green New Deal

Top Line: The Green Party nails it when it comes to understanding and setting plans based on climate science, but they have some work to do to integrate their plan with ambitious, visionary ideas to tackle inequality and injustice.

Photo Credit: Claire Foran

Listening to the science

The Green Party’s Mission Possible climate platform lines up directly with the latest science from the IPCC. Their targets of 60% GHG reductions against 2005 levels by 2030 and zero emissions by 2050 are the strongest when measured against the 2018 IPCC report.

The Greens have also taken a strong stance against fracking, calling for a national ban on the practice and have opposed a number of massive new fossil fuel projects – including the TransMountain Pipeline. They are in support of ending all fossil fuel subsidies.

The biggest weakness of the Green Party’s plan is that they haven’t fully explained how their plan to transition Canada to only using domestically extracted fossil fuels squares with the timeline we have to get off of fossil fuels. Some have argued this won’t be possible without subsidizing domestic fossil fuels, and building new refineries and fossil fuel transport infrastructure. While Elizabeth May has rejected these arguments, the Green Party’s plan could use some more detail on how this will work.

 

Creating millions of good jobs

In early August, the Green Party rolled out their Just Transition Plan to fill in the blanks around the promised economic transition pathways in their Mission Possible climate plan. The crux of their plan is to accept and adopt the 10 recommendations of the federal coal Just Transition Task Force, and to extend them to cover the entire fossil fuel sector.

Mission Possible doesn’t include a specific goal for job creation, but promises to create jobs through investing in retraining and apprenticeship programs for fossil fuel workers. Some of the programs include building renewable energy, cleaning up orphaned oil wells, creating a national building retrofit program, and forming renewable energy development partnerships with Indigenous Peoples.

Like the NDP plan, the Green Party’s transition plan offers a good place to start, and a solid floor to build from. But, it could go further in committing to the scaled economic transformation and job creation program that polling on the Green New Deal has shown to be quite popular.

 

Dignity, justice & equity for all

The Green Party considers social justice to be one of the six pillars of their Mission Possible climate platform. But, nothing in their climate plan directly addresses inequality and injustice.

In their broader platform, the Greens promise to champion pharmacare and a Guaranteed Liveable Income program as the cornerstones of a poverty alleviation strategy. They also promise a National Housing Strategy to provide every Canadian with a place to call home, with specific considerations for Indigenous Peoples.

The Greens have also promised to abolish tuition, cancel some existing student debt and create a Community and Environment Service Corps to support youth employment.

The Green platform doesn’t address issues related to migration or raising the minimum wage (the Greens argue their Guaranteed Liveable Income program is a better approach), and they remain committed to ending our first past the post voting system.

 

Respecting Indigenous rights & sovereignty

Only one of the 20 points in the Green Party’s Mission Possible climate platform addresses Indigenous rights, pledging to “form partnerships with Indigenous peoples, providing economic opportunities by ramping up renewables on their lands”. Their broader platform promises to “end colonialism and oppression of Indigenous Peoples.”

The Greens pledge to “fully conform to the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, implement the calls to action of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission and the calls of the report from the Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women”.

They also promise to “create an inclusive policy and governance body – the Council of Canadian Governments” where Indigenous nations have a seat alongside federal, municipal, provincial and territorial governments to make recommendations and decisions in support of their climate plan. And they promise to end boil water advisories, remove a federal cap on Indigenous post-secondary education funding, consult with Indigenous communities on a potential repeal of the Indian Act, and ensure that all treaty and land claim negotiations respect and honour the inherent sovereignty and title of Indigenous Peoples.

This post is part of a 4-part series that looks at how party platforms stack up against a Green New Deal. To see our four pillars of a Green New Deal and analysis of party platforms, click here.

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