August 8, 2002
The Right Hon. Jean Chrétien, M.P., C.P.,
Prime Minister of Canada,
House of Commons,
Dear Prime Minister Chretien,
On behalf of the National Council of Women of Canada (NCWC), whose many thousands of members are representative of significant and diverse constituencies across the country, may I take this opportunity to commend you for your interest in combating global warming, and urge you to move quickly to ensure that Canada ratifies the Kyoto Protocol.
This prompt action will reflect the desire of the vast majority of Canadians, many provinces, and at least one territory - Nunavut - that Canada be a leader in finding and ensuring a solution to this world-wide environmental challenge. NCWC recognizes that while the phenomenon of Global Warming has happened many times throughout the eons of time nevertheless at present, human actions appear to be exacerbating and speeding up the natural process.
Many times over the past several years, NCWC has urged the government to ratify the Kyoto Protocol, the latest being a March 5th letter (enclosed) to the Honourable David Anderson. In his response of June 26th 2002, the Minister of Environment acknowledged that " climate change has serious environmental, economic and health implications for Canada and Canadians" and also agreed with our assessment that there are many opportunities to be found in "energy efficiency, clean air, transportation agriculture and forestry".
Nevertheless, the Minister appeared to focus unduly on the current "growth of the economy" and the need for "an affordable" plan, that "takes into account the degree of integration between our economy and that of the U.S.". NCWC's view is that we cannot afford to wait! The immediate and ongoing costs of implementing the Kyoto Protocol will be negligible compared to the probable overwhelming economic disturbances precipitated by global warming and pollution in the future.
The Minister also emphasized the need for further consultation with the provinces and territories; and a slowly evolving process, featuring "broader consultation with the Canadian public, as well as another round of stakeholder meetings." Council will continue to give input through the public consultation process, and our provincial affiliates will share their expertise and interest with their respective Provincial governments (see the enclosed brief to the Province of Ontario's Alternative Fuel Source Committee, from the Provincial Council of Women of Ontario.) Canadians have one of the highest greenhouse gas emission rates per capita of any developed country and therefore should be taking action both individually and collectively, lead by the government to lower this statistic.
The ratification of the Kyoto Protocol will enhance this important dialogue and send a strong signal that Canada is intent on finding strong, lasting solutions. As well, since many other countries have already ratified the Protocol, Canada's ratification will ensure the plan will move ahead and not stagnate in never-ending self interested consultations.
NCWC urges you as Prime Minister of this environmentally aware and concerned electorate, to act now in the interest of present and future Canadians and other citizens of an interrelated and dependent world, a world whose very survival as a viable planet sustaining life as we know it could hang in the balance if the human contribution to global warming goes unchecked.
National Council of Women of Canada (founded in 1893) is a federation of organizations and individuals working together to improve conditions of life for women and their families in the communities where they live. NCWC is a member of the International Council of Women, holds Consultative Status with the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations, and is a participating member of the Organization of America States (OAS/CIM).
With best wishes,
National Council of Women of Canada
c.c Hon. John Manley
Hon. Bill Graham
Hon. Don Boudria
Hon. David Anderson
Hon. David Collenette
Hon. Allan Rock
Hon. Robert Nault
Hon. Anne McLellan
Hon. Jean Augustine