In Canada, the Conservative party seems to hate actually conserving anything that isn’t their own party. In Ontario, the party has loosened laws around how much damage companies can do to nature, cut emission targets, heck they’ve basically got rid of any piece of policy that actually works (including road safety issues). One thing the Conservative party is actually good at (since good governance isn’t their strength) is getting sued. This week a bunch of kids have sued the government because of the removal of the carbon tax and other anti-environmental policies. The suit is backed by EcoJustice and has a good chance of making a difference to make the world better (unlike the Conservatives).
“I just want to live a normal life in the future; I shouldn’t have to be doing this, but adults aren’t doing a good job,” she told CBC News.
“I’m afraid that so many species that I love will go extinct,” added Zoe Keary-Matzner, 13, from Toronto. “And that children in the future won’t be able to enjoy nature the same way I do.”
The applicants, ranging from age 12 to 24, are represented by Stockwoods LLP and Ecojustice, a group that specializes in public interest lawsuits in the name of environmental protection.
Their challenge is part of a growing trend in which young people across the globe are suing governments over perceived inaction on climate change.
The current “conservative” government in Ontario hates the environment so much that they keep producing policies to increase Canada’s carbon output. Indeed, they’ve made it mandatory for gas stations to post stickers fighting a federal carbon tax. There are legal challenges underway already to this sticky waste of money by free speech advocates. While the courts might be slow the Ontario Green Party is moving fast – they’ve published stickers outlining how not taking climate action will cost us.
Gas station companies that fail to post the government’s sticker on the pumps could face fines of up to $10,000 a day, under new legislation the Progressive Conservatives call the Federal Carbon Tax Transparency Act.
Green Leader Mike Schreiner said his stickers will be offered free to gas stations who want to display them alongside what he calls “the propaganda stickers being forced on them by Ford.”
The Green Party sticker lists bullet points on the potential effects of climate change “if we don’t act now,” including worsening extreme weather events and an annual cost of $91 billion by 2050.
British Columbia shows carbon pricing works while another province looks uselessly backwards.
The regressive and antidemocratic Ontario “conservative” government is set to sue the Canadian government for protecting the environment. The argument by the Conservatives is basically that an economy allowed to inefficiently consume non-renewable resources is good and that sustainable policy (carbon pricing) is bad. Yes, it’s as ludicrous as it sounds.
Hopefully this wasteful battle between governments ends in the environment’s favour. If Ontario just followed British Columbia’s lead this wouldn’t be an issue and arguably the economy would be in better shape. In B.C. the carbon pricing has reduced emissions while making a more energy efficient economy. Sustainable businesses are seeing growth in B.C. that they wouldn’t see elsewhere.
“This carbon tax is a model for the world that well-designed carbon pricing can be good for the environment and the economy. In the 11 years since B.C. brought in its carbon tax, it’s outpaced the rest of Canada both on emission reduction and GDP growth,” said Stewart Elgie, a professor of law and economics at the University of Ottawa.
In the meantime, numerous researchers have tried to determine the impact of the tax. According to a2015 paper, B.C.’s emissions had dropped by between five and 15 per cent since the tax was implemented, and it had a “negligible impact” on the overall economy.
Elgie, of the University of Ottawa, was part of awide-ranging 2013 studythat showed a 19 per cent drop in B.C.’s per capita fuel consumption in the first four years of the tax, while the province’s economy slightly outperformed the rest of the country.
Ontario Premier Doug Ford was elected earlier this year and already started implementing his plan to increase inequality in the province. Obviously, this is a bad a plan. One of the things Ford cancelled thus far was the basic income pilot program which was praised around the world, and before the study showed results Ford axed. As a response to this stupidity, CEOs have responded by demanding that the basic income pilot continue and that the concept of basic income needs support. The good thing here is that CEOs are openly supporting basic income despite the “pro-business” Ontario government stopping the basic income test.
Here’s part of the open letter from CEOs to Doug Ford:
As Canadian business leaders, we urge the Ontario government to continue the Ontario basic income pilot. We see a guaranteed basic income as a business-friendly approach to address the increasing financial precarity of our citizens and revitalize the economy.
It is urgent that we let this pilot run because we see basic income as part of a solution that could help Canadians stay competitive in the face of:
Accelerating technological job displacement due to advances in automation, software, and AI1
Globalization of jobs which has gone beyond manufacturing and textiles to entry and mid-level information work2
The ongoing transition of work to part time, contract, and gig-work3
Winner takes all markets where companies such as Amazon are absorbing greater shares of economic activity4
These global trends are causing structural changes to the economy that are depressing wages,5 reducing the number of middle class jobs available to Canadians, and affecting a decline in entrepreneurship.6
Helmi Ansari started a successful business and understands what’s it like to worry about paying the bills – and knows that when you’re stressed about paying bills you’re not focussed at the job at hand. This is why he pays all of his employees a living wage. A living wage is usually higher than minimum wage (min. wage is basically your boss saying they wouldn’t pay you anything but the law says they must) and scales based on location and cost of living from year to year. Indeed, Ansari says he owes the success of his company to his committed employees.
He’s such a believer in living wage that he founded the Better Way Alliance to pressure the government and other companies to pay a living wage. The alliance has quite a few member companies already, including a business school and a brewery!
The message from this group of leaders is simple: being good is good for the bottom line.
“If our staff is focused on how they’re going to put food on the table and how they’re going to pay the hydro bill, they are not going to be really engaged in the business,” Ansari says.
His company, which employs a dozen people, became the first multi-site business in Ontario to pay a living wage — the hourly sum a worker needs to earn to support a family above the poverty line, given the actual costs of living in a specific area. Ansari pays all his Cambridge staff and contractors over $16.05 an hour, while the minimum rate for his Guelph employees is $16.50.
Ontario’s minimum wage is currently set at $11.40, a figure workers’ rights and anti-poverty activists like the Fight for $15 Coalition say is too low to keep families afloat. The Star has also profiled the impact of precarious work on issues like mental health.