The Canada we want: How a green recovery can help us bounce back stronger

Applying a climate lens to the recovery package will help ramp up some of the best opportunities to get people back to work

This time last year, governments around the world – including Canada’s – began declaring emergencies. Nothing to do with a virus, just a planet on fire. Meanwhile, we continued to pour kerosene on the fire, while somebody was off consulting stakeholders to find the telephone number of the fire department.

The coronavirus is a whole different beast. Within 30 days of the first recorded death in Canada, on March 9 (an 83-year-old man at North Vancouver’s Lynn Valley Care Centre), the federal government rolled out direct new spending of $105 billion to deal with the immediate fallout from shutting down vast parts of the economy in an attempt to contain the virus.

Just the $71 billion emergency wage subsidy to get Canadians through the next few months was more than the entire $70 billion the federal government had earmarked to address the climate emergency over the next 10 years – an amount that many considered bountiful just a few months ago.

The difference is the new coronavirus threatens all of our families today, whereas the climate crisis is more of a distant danger  – unless you live in growing wildfire, flood, heat wave, hurricane or drought  zones.

The human tendency to procrastinate is strong, but when the bell tolls, our survival instincts kick in.

Historic job losses triggered by the pandemic, combined with collapsing oil prices, will plunge every province in Canada into recession this year, according to RBC forecasts. As the conversation starts to shift from crisis relief to economic recovery, Canada has an opportunity to recover stronger than ever.

While in the past it has been difficult to make bold moves that would allow Canada to surf the clean economy wave rather than being wiped out by it, the Overton window of what is politically viable has shifted. It’s important that our policies be grounded in the new reality. The sheer scale of expected stimulus over the next two or three years will likely cast the die of our economy for decades to come.

To view the full original article by Toby Heaps, click here: