By Cam Fenton, Canada Strategy & Communications Manager at 350.org
Later this week, Andrew Scheer will roll out his party’s climate platform for the 2019 election. We have no idea what’s in it, but before he drops this latest piece of his party agenda for the country, let’s count down some of Scheer’s greatest hits, as it were, when it comes to climate inaction.
- That time he had secret meetings with the same fossil fuel executives who created climate denial. A few months ago, it surfaced that Andrew Scheer had been having secret meetings with fossil fuel CEO’s at an expensive Ottawa fundraiser. But, these weren’t just and fossil fuel CEO’s, they included Rich Kruger, the CEO of Imperial Oil, otherwise known as Exxon Mobil’s Canadian subsidiary. That’s the same Exxon Mobil that knew about climate change forty years ago, and told Imperial Oil about it in 1978, and then financed climate denial to protect their profits.
- When he, and his deputy party leader, refused to acknowledge the links between climate change and extreme weather. A couple weeks ago, deputy Conservative Party leader Lisa Raitt tweeted out an article arguing against the scientific facts that extreme weather is being made worse and more common by climate change. When Scheer was asked if he believed in the connection, he ducked the question and instead railed against Justin Trudea’s carbon tax. Credit where it’s due, Raitt eventually deleted the tweet and offered some contrition for her error, but the jury is still out on whether Andrew Scheer actually believes there’s a link between the two “100 year floods” that hit Ottawa over the past 3 years, and climate change.
- When a member of his caucus told children that climate change isn’t real (and all the other times that Conservative parties have denied climate change). It’s no secret that there are a lot of Conservative politicians and political operatives in Canada who deny climate change. Whether it’s Jason Kenney welcoming them into the Alberta United Conservative Party or Doug Ford appointing one — a former federal cabinet minister to boot — to oversee Ontario’s electricity system, it’s a party that makes no secret of its opinions about science. But, perhaps the best example of this is Conservative MP for Red Deer-Lacombe, Blaine Calkins. Last December, Calkins explained to a bunch of grade 7 and 8 students — who are going to live with the brunt of climate change — that the jury was still out on whether carbon dioxide was causing climate change. It’s not.
- When Scheer hinted he might turn his back on the Paris commitments. It’s unclear if Andrew Scheer might follow Donald Trump and either pull Canada out of, or at least abandon our commitment to the Paris Climate Agreement. He’s refused to commit to meeting the targets when asked about it, and the Conservative Party has hinted it’s “undecided” on Paris. Remember that it was Harper’s Conservatives that started the trend of bailing on international climate agreements with Kyoto back in 2011. And, even if Scheer stays in, his cross country energy and pipeline corridor will guarantee that Canada has no chance of meeting our Paris targets.
- All the times he’s turned his back on the people most impacted by climate change and a transition. Whether it’s been his attacks on migrants or his party’s fight against implementing the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, Scheer has made attacking the communities and people most impacted by climate change a cornerstone of his political agenda. On top of that, he’s shunned workers, effectively ignoring the existence of unions and workers on Labour Day. All this points to someone who simply doesn’t care much about the people and communities impacted by climate change and fossil fuels.
Let’s be honest, there’s a lot more we could have put on this list, and no matter what Scheer releases later this week, we know that he’s going to put the interests of big oil and his corporate buddies ahead of the rest of ours. At the end of the day, he’s still standing shoulder to shoulder with Kenney, Ford and the rest of the fossil fueled “resistance”.
We know that Scheer’s climate plan is going to be a lot of hot air, and that’s why we need to keep pushing for a climate debate ahead of this fall’s federal election, to force Scheer to defend his plan in front of millions of voters. Click here to add your to the petition calling for a climate debate.