TORONTO (Pakistan Point News / Sputnik - 26th September, 2020) The next generation of Canadian environmental activists are not impressed with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's new proposals to create a green economy, Climate Strike Canada spokesperson Cooper price told Sputnik.
On Wednesday, Trudeau in his Throne Speech outlined "green" COVID-19 economic recovery plans, including funding energy-efficient buildings and zero-emission vehicle production, among other initiatives.
"We came into this Throne Speech with very specific demands - to invest in people, not corporations, to dismantle racism and colonialism, and to treat the climate emergency like the emergency that it is. Instead, the government made no effort to listen to the voices of millions of youth and failed in every way to meet these demands. I do not see this speech as a sign of progress, just empty words," Price said. "The Throne Speech did nothing but maintain the status quo."
"With a crisis as severe as climate change, half measures are meaningless. We are demanding more and we are not going back to a normal where those demands are ignored," Price said.
Price did acknowledge that parts of Trudeau's appealed to him, including a pledge to implement the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People (UNDRIP), something that the prime minister promised to do within the first year of his renewed mandate last December.
Activists also remain wary that traditional corporate forces can exploit the recovery.
Climate Strike organizer Lilah Williamson said that climate change is already having a profound effect on her life.
"Last week, where I live, in Vancouver, was rated the worst air quality of anywhere in the world," Williamson said. "If my day to day is already being impacted because of the climate emergency, I don't even want to imagine what my future will look like 20 or 30 years down the road if we don't do everything we possibly can to stop this crisis now."
Ahead of the speech, a think tank tied to Trudeau outlined a plan calling for $42 billion in funding for the next five years to overhaul the economy, almost half of which will go to energy-efficient buildings. Nearly $9 billion will be allocated to expand the country's clean energy sectors and $5 billion toward zero-emission vehicle (ZEV) production, according to the document.
However, these figures pale in comparison with what some countries already invest in clean energy initiatives alone. China spent $83 billion on green energy projects in 2019, while the United States spent $55 billion and Japan invested $16 billion, according to German market and consumer research platform Statista.
On August 19, Trudeau announced that he asked Governor General Julie Payette to prorogue parliament until September 23. While the official opposition Conservative Party accused Trudeau of shutting down parliament in order to cover-up the WE Charity scandal, the Prime Minister countered, saying that the break would give him and newly minted Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland time to craft a long-term coronavirus economic recovery plan.
In May, polls showed the Liberal Party ahead by as many as 11 points nationally, boosted by majority support for the Federal government's response to the pandemic. However, in the aftermath of the WE Charity scandal, pollsters had Canada's preeminent political parties - the Liberals and Conservatives - locked in a virtual deadlock ahead of the throne speech.