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Thank you, Jonathan, for that introduction and for your leadership as Minister of Environment and Climate Change.
And thank you, Steven, for your renowned dedication to the environmental cause and for the good ideas that move us in the right direction.
Catherine, thank you for welcoming us here in your riding at the Ornamental Gardens of Ottawa.
You continue to be a strong advocate for climate action and we’re lucky to have you on the team to bring concrete changes to our communities across the country.
Over the past 10 months, our government has been doing everything we can to fight COVID-19 and keep Canadians safe.
This is our top priority.
But that doesn’t mean it’s our only priority.
Climate change remains one of the greatest challenges of our times.
Just like with COVID-19, ignoring the risks of climate change isn’t an option.
That approach would only make the costs higher and the long-term consequences worse.
People have already seen what floods, storms, and wildfires do to homes, communities, and businesses.
Canadians know how climate change threatens our health, our economic future, and our planet.
So on this, Canadians have been very clear: they want climate action now.
A little more than a year ago, hundreds of thousands of Canadians took part in climate marches across the country.
I joined one in Montréal.
I saw how enthusiastic the young and not-so-young were about this cause, and I saw their concern about the future of our planet.
We are currently fighting a pandemic, but we still need to rise up against other existential challenges we are facing.
To borrow from COVID-19 parlance, we need to flatten the climate curve so we can avoid irreparable damage.
Scientists and researchers have made it clear: we must reach net-zero emissions by 2050.
Our government promised to legally bind Canada to its commitment of net-zero emissions by 2050.
A promise made, a promise kept.
This morning, we delivered on that promise with the tabling of Bill C-12 – The Canadian Net-Zero Emissions Accountability Act.
Bill C-12 lays out a framework of accountability and transparency that will ensure we reach this goal in a way that gives Canadians confidence.
This is a fundamental step in our strategy to build a strong, resilient economy that works for everyone.
We don’t have to choose between clean air and good jobs.
The argument that protecting the environment and growing the economy don’t go hand in hand is an old – and failed – way of seeing things.
Don’t just take it from me, take it from Mark Carney, the former Governor of the Bank of Canada, who recently said that the transition to net-zero “is creating the greatest commercial opportunity of our age.”
Over 120 countries around the world have now committed to reaching net-zero by 2050.
Our most important international partners and competitors are positioning themselves to attract investment in new clean technologies.
Canada needs to do at least that, if not more.
Major Canadian companies in everything from tech to food to energy have joined in.
Momentum is building around the world.
And we can’t miss our moment to act.
Canada is well-positioned to be a leader and provide the world with the cleanest, most cutting-edge innovations – now and for decades to come.
Low-carbon, climate-resilient projects are not just good for the planet – they’re also good for business.
Look no further than the investments we announced last month to retool the Ford Oakville plant into making electric vehicles.
Actions like this will not only help future generations raise their children in a clean environment, but will also contribute to leaving them with a more resilient and competitive economy with good jobs.
Strong climate action will always be a pillar of our government’s approach, from our plan to create over a million jobs across the country, to rebuilding a sustainable, competitive economy.
With a more competitive Canada, we’re securing a better future for our workers.
This is about growing the middle class with good, reliable jobs.
And Canadian workers and their families are going to benefit from clean growth.
Canada is a magnificent country.
But it didn’t happen by accident and it won’t continue without effort.
A Canada with fresh air and clean water should be something we all can get behind.
We depend on nature, and nature depends on us.
So let’s keep working together to build a healthy environment, and a healthy economy.
Let’s do it for our beautiful country, for our kids, and for our future.
Thank you very much.