Party Leaders Need to Commit to Rapid Action on Biodiversity and Climate Crises – SCCF

Press Release: For Immediate Release, August 25th, 2021

The Sierra Club Canada Foundation is calling on the leaders of Canada’s major political parties to commit to policies that will address the climate change and biodiversity crises being faced both globally and locally. 

They are also calling for Indigenous People’s free, prior, and informed consent to be a requirement for all resource projects – meaning that if an Indigenous community says no to a project, that project would not go ahead. They say that Indigenous-led conservation is a must to reach conservation targets.

“We need to urgently protect natural ecosystems in Canada and make sure we are inline with global goals on biodiversity,” states National Programs Director, Gretchen Fitzgerald. “At the same time as we work to address climate change with the urgency it requires, we have to remember the other stressors being placed on ecosystems and the need to address issues like plastic waste.”

“We need to protect 30% of our natural ecosystems by 2030, while restoring native species across the landscape. Raising the amount of protected ecosystems to 50% by 2050.”

The Foundation also wants leaders to focus on the various local impacts of climate change being felt across Canada and the need for rapid decarbonization. They’ve called upon the parties to carbon cost their platforms and say it’s just as important as economically costing those platforms.

“We are seeing the consequences of climate change in Canada in the form of wildfires and droughts but also through flooding, coastal erosion, degradation of sea ice and thawing permafrost in the North,” explains Digital Communications Coordinator, Conor Curtis. “It is absolutely imperative that we not develop further reserves of fossil fuels and move rapidly to help workers make the transition from the fossil fuel industry to other industries.”

“We are asking for people to pledge to talk to their candidates about climate change and biodiversity in this election. We are asking that when a candidate comes to your door, or calls you, that you challenge them on these issues and call on them to commit to action.”

Local issues are an important test of how serious the parties’ commitments are, added Fitzgerald, who says they will be watching for candidates to step up on these issues. 

Also among the commitments called for by the Foundation are a deadline to phase out natural gas use in Canada, and the creation and implementation of a framework biodiversity act.

The full list of the commitments brought forward by the club can be found in their recent statement:

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Quotes from Local Chapters of the Sierra Club Canada Foundation:

Prairie Region Chapter

“We are thrilled to see commitments for investments in urban national parks, particularly in Edmonton and other western cities, and urge all parties to continue this much-needed process to make way for nature and people in our urban areas,” according to Lindsay Boucher, Prairie Chapter Coordinator, in Edmonton. “At the same time, as we experience droughts and forest fires, it is vital to work together to address climate change and protect watersheds and wetlands. We will be looking for commitments to protect and restore watersheds and for a comprehensive impact assessment of the Lake Diefenbaker irrigation project.”

Atlantic Canada Chapter

“If any candidate in this election does not commit to rapid action on climate change they should not get your vote," says Tynette Deveaux of the Sierra Club’s Beyond Coal Campaign. "The IPCC's 'code red for humanity' report makes it very clear that we're on a destructive path. We can't keep talking about net-zero by 2050, or even 2030. The clock is running out for stopping some of the worst climate impacts heading our way. Candidates have to get real about climate action. We don't have time for any more broken climate promises." 

Quebec Chapter

Sierra Club Quebec will be holding an important conference for the latest news on the nuclear repository site of Chalk River, located near the Ottawa River on Saturday, Sept. 11, 2021. Actions that can be undertaken related to the federal election will be highlighted by their expert presenter on the subject, Ms Ginette Charbonneau of the Ralliement contre la pollution radioactive (Rallying against radioactive pollution). You can find out all about this event and more on their Facebook:

Ontario Chapter

“Plastic pollution in the Great Lakes is a huge issue and we need the next federal government to stand with Canadians who clearly want plastic pollution out of their waterways and landfills by quickly creating rules to regulate this pollutant - and to stand up to plastic polluters who want to get away with business as usual.” states Lucy Bain, Ontario Chapter Coordinator. “We also want all parties to commit to stop fighting for the rights of oil and gas companies, and to instead start fighting climate change. For instance, if they are serious about climate change, parties should not extend the permit on the decrepit Line 5 pipeline under the Straits of Mackinac in Lake Michigan.”

For more information and interviews please contact:

Gretchen Fitzgerald, Sierra Club Canada Foundation, 1-902-444-7096 /

Conor Curtis, Sierra Club Canada Foundation (contact by email as may be out of cell range periodically at the moment), 1-709-638-0072 /