OPEN LETTER TO FINANCE MINISTER JIM FLAHERTY
Dear Mr. Flaherty:
Many Canadians were surprised – despite last summer’s disastrous floods in Calgary and Toronto, the crippling ice storm in Ontario and Quebec in late December – that your 2014 budget didn’t contain a single reference to climate change. Ironically, however, about $300 million of new money in your budget is for dealing with floods, droughts, fires and other extreme weather events, which are increasing because of – yes, climate change.
The sky-high dollar figures reported by insurance organizations around the world – and here in Canada – for escalating disaster claims clearly show that extreme weather and climate change are major financial game-changers, and getting more costly every year.
You have stated that one of your key goals as our Finance Minister is to avoid saddling future generations with debt, and that is a great ambition. Given the high costs of disaster relief and restoration, conservative wisdom surely says we must do all we can to prevent costly disasters, and work as quickly as we can to phase out fossil fuels, a key driver of climate-related catastrophes.
One clear way to a low carbon, green future for everyone, especially our kids and all generations to come, is a revenue neutral ‘carbon fee and dividend’ that compensates all Canadians equally, and especially rewards those who use the least fossil fuels by conserving energy and shifting to renewables.
We all want what is best for our children and grandchildren. Mr. Flaherty, you have three sons, and as a devoted parent, I am sure you are earnest about doing everything you can to keep them out of harm’s way, so they have the same kind of chances you had to succeed as Canadian citizens.
Please, let’s not let climate disasters destroy their dreams.