An Open Letter to MP Eric Duncan

The Editor:

Dear Eric, I was appalled to receive the mail-out from your office last week, and I imagine that many others in SDSG felt similarly. Nowhere in the priorities you listed is there any mention of climate change! This is so thoroughly irresponsible, it is breathtaking in its denial of what the Supreme Court of Canada has recently declared an existential crisis that we in Canada face.

Eric, everyone in the riding knows you’re a nice guy and that you care about the people of the riding, but it is also your responsibility to inform your constituents about the threats to their homes and livelihoods. If they don’t understand it, it is your job to explain it to them. The Insurance Bureau of Canada, for example, announced on January 18, 2021, that “Severe weather across Canada continues to highlight the financial costs of a changing climate to insurers and taxpayers.

The noteworthy severe weather events of 2020 include the Fort McMurray flooding and Calgary hailstorms. Insured damage for severe weather events across Canada reached $2.4 billion last year, according to Catastrophe Indices and Quantification Inc. Notably, 2020 is now ranked as the fourth highest in insured losses since 1983. According to Munich Reinsurance Company, this year global losses from natural disasters hit $270 billion, significantly higher than in previous years.

Craig Stewart, Vice-President, Federal Affairs, Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC) went on to say, “Taxpayers and insurers share the cost for severe weather damage. For every dollar paid in insurance claims for damaged homes and businesses, Canadian governments and taxpayers pay out much more to repair public infrastructure that severe weather has damaged. Yet, Canada still lacks a national adaptation strategy with measurable targets and the accompanying investments needed to protect Canadian homes and businesses. Canadians continue to experience accelerating financial losses from climate change. While acknowledging the importance of a resilient recovery, the federal government lacks any national plan to protect Canadians from floods, fires, windstorms and hail.”

The inaction that is being referred to here is exactly what your mail-out is part of; if you won’t even address the issue, it is clear that you don’t intend to do anything about it. Your constituents deserve action on the threat to their homes and livelihoods, not silence.

Dr. Richard Florizone, Ph.D., President & CEO, International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD) and Chair of the Taskforce for a Resilient Recovery made it clear that “One of the known impacts of climate change is an increase in the frequency of extreme weather events and the damages they cause. In addition to reducing emissions, Canada also needs a national adaptation plan to protect and prepare Canadians for a changing climate.” If you won’t even address the issue, you are certainly not prepared to present a realistic plan for dealing with it. (The Conservative Party’s recently announced ‘plan’, which consists mainly in rolling back the already inadequate Liberal emissions targets, is less than useless.)

While 54% of Conservative supporters don’t understand or accept that climate change is happening, their insurance companies do, and your constituents are facing higher premiums and lower pay-outs. It is your responsibility to ensure that people understand what is happening so that they can plan accordingly. There are many people now who like to believe that climate change isn’t a threat, but that is untrue.

In fact, the Supreme Court summed up its decision to uphold the federal carbon tax by stating the following on its website:

Climate change is real: The Supreme Court also pointed out that all of the parties agree that global climate change is real. It’s caused by greenhouse gas emissions resulting from human activities and it poses a grave threat to the future of humanity.”

This is the highest, judicial incidence in our country making this statement, and a grave threat to the future of humanity is, of course, also a grave threat to the people of SDSG. Chief Justice Wagner described climate change as “a threat of the highest order to the country, and indeed the world” that will cause “significant environmental, economic and human harm nationally and internationally, with especially high impacts in the Canadian Arctic, in coastal regions and on Indigenous Peoples.”

The ruling added that “the undisputed existence of a threat to the future of humanity cannot be ignored.”  If the Conservative Party does not have the scientific knowledge to meet the challenge of climate change, or doesn’t have the guts to even address the issue, then move aside for a party that does understand the science and knows what to do to ensure a safe and healthy future for Canadians and our fellow inhabitants of the planet.

Patrick Burger

Bonville, Ontario
Member of the Green Party of SDSG

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