This year will be remembered as a monumental year for the Saskatchewan Green Party. We were all encouraged that for the first time, the issue of climate change became the foremost issue for most Canadians. We were disappointed at the failure of our governments to meet our international agreements, indeed some Premiers seem to be in denial of the crisis the world faces.
In Saskatchewan, we are witnessing change in our politics, as a new Leader will assume the leadership of the Saskatchewan Green Party at the end of February 2020.
There is an infusion of youth into the climate debate around the world and here in Saskatchewan.
Our provincial government has failed to take positive action on climate change and CO2 emissions. We continue to have the highest per capita emissions in Canada. The government is relying on expensive geoscience mega projects to transition our province. These projects are years in the future and ignore proven sustainable solutions like solar, wind, geothermal, and hydroelectric. Even transitionary sources like natural gas and biomass could be used for the short term as an immediate alternative. The essential retrofitting of our housing and businesses is a practical tool that must be encouraged.
For the next few years taxes on pollution will be required to mitigate climate change and change human behaviours. 2018 Nobel Prize Winner in Economics, William Nordhaus, estimates that carbon levies will reduce GDP by around one percent per annum to 2100. This represents about a third of the estimated growth of the future economy while protecting the earth from far costlier effects of climate change. Until shown a more effective and less expensive alternative, the only short term way to begin the transition to a net zero carbon society will be through carbon levies on pollution. Canadian and American economists and chambers of commerce also agree with this assessment.
Workers have the right to expect government to transition them in a changing world. Everyone will be affected by automation and artificial intelligence in the future. The Green Party is committed to a liveable income for all Canadians. The current commitments to fossil fuel workers to transition to a new sustainable future are totally inadequate. Everyone in society must bear some responsibility to those who are most negatively affected by the transition.
The Green Party is committed to electoral reform to ensure all political voices are heard in our elected assemblies. We are committed to working with other progressive voices to build a better future.
As I end my tenure as Interim Leader , I thank my predecessor Shawn Setyo and all previous Saskatchewan Green Party Leaders for their service. It has been a great honour to serve the wonderful people in this province. I’m confident that the incoming Saskatchewan Green Party leader will provide positive change to Saskatchewan.