It’s not often that scientists use terms like “biological annihilation” to speak of humanity’s impact on the natural world. It’s not usual to hear them warn of a “frightening assault on the foundations of human civilization.” Yet here we are, ten thousand years after the dawning of agriculture first gave birth to human settlements, with the civilizational experiment on Earth racing towards an existential cliff. And here we are, in an election campaign that must be anything but one more like the rest — and again, we find the three main parties feet first in their preferred electoralist pantomimes, reprising their divisive and manipulative identity plays as a storm batters the theatre walls.
Across Canada, city governments who are finally pushing ahead with pro-transit(ion) policies are facing resistance from citizens and businesses unwilling to adapt to the tradeoffs required of our climate imperatives.
The CAQ's "Traffic Reduction Plan" is more a plan to win an election than a serious transportation plan, and it was delivered with an ethical insouciance that should set alarm bells ringing.
The grim reality of Canada's fossil fuel financing, which places us first in the G7, flies in the face of the Trudeau government's rhetoric around climate change.
Last week Montreal’s city government led by Valérie Plante hailed a “paradigm shift” as Projet Montréal unveiled their long-awaited vision for a transformed downtown core around Ste-Catherine Street, the city’s main commercial artery. For the paradigm shift to become a reality, the reimagining of Montreal’s most emblematic thoroughfare — to be reborn as a pedestrian-first promenade — must usher in a new way of thinking about how we share our streets in Montreal. On that score, the Plante administration’s push to recast Ste-Catherine Street as the spine of a greener and more people-friendly downtown raises hopes that Montreal might finally join the global movement to reconquer our city spaces from cars.
Justin Trudeau’s Liberals were elected on a promise of heeding the climate science. Yet in the two years since returning from Paris, they have adopted Stephen Harper’s weak reduction target, released a climate plan that by the government’s own estimates fails to achieve even those targets, and then undermined their efforts by launching full throttle into massive expansion of the oil and gas sector, Canada’s single largest emitter. Humanity is losing the battle against climate change, and Canada’s hypocrisy and incoherence places our country front and centre in the collective failure.
About Shawn Katz
Shawn Katz is a writer and educator from Montreal, Canada. He is the author of Generation Rising: The Time of the Quebec Student Spring (Fernwood Publishing, 2015) and a contributor to The Rise of Cities (Black Rose Books, 2017)