Climate Change is a Moral Issue

I participated on a panel on policy issues related to climate change as a moral issue at the United Church of Canada offices, Toronto on April 16.   I talked about the policy issues in Canada which are obstacles to us addressing climate change as a moral issue:  the high defence and military budget and the constant message on the need for economic growth at all costs.  I also talked about how there could be policy initiatives to help us better address climate change:  focus on conservation; alternative energy sources; alternative ways of doing things; change in

With the Liberal Party's think tank over - Michael Ignatieff says that Canada should focus on learning, focus on caring and focus on regaining Canada's influence in the world.   He says we need a national strategy that includes a pan-Canadian learning plan; focus on prevention; and global leadership.    Could this not be a real federal Sustainable Development strategy - a strategy that does try to address in an integrated way social, environmental, economic, foreign policy issues?   What is our vision of a sustainable Canada?  &nbs

Sustainable Development Advisory Council

This Council is to be set up according to the Federal Sustainable Development Act.   According to a telephone conversation with Environment Canada, the Council has been established - but is not yet public - still waiting for sign off from the Minister of the Environment.

A Federal Sustainable Development Strategy for Canada

Have just scrolled through the consultation document.   And the first thing that struck me is that this is consultation document for an environmental sustainability strategy - not a sustainable development strategy for Canada.   The difference?  In my view and environmental sustainability strategy is that - with a focus on the environment.   A sustainable development strategy, however, attempts to integrate economic, environmental and social issues.   We need policies that will consider environmental, social and economic consequences together - r

Earth Hour

So what did you do for Earth Hour?   Gordon and I - in the dark - considered what are the next steps we can take to reduce our carbon footprint.   We already do the cold wash; don't put the dishwasher on unless it is full; turn down the thermostat at night; don't use air conditioning; have a solar panel for hot water; do not have a car - walk and use public transit.   Two things we did come up with:  1)  sign up for Bullfrog power; and 2)  cut back on the numbers of newspapers and magazines that are coming into the house.  

Canada at 150

The Liberal Party's conference for 'thinkers' in Montreal is trying to engage Canadians across the country.  You can log in from your computer at and follow the dialogue.    As some of the commentators have said - same old 'experts' telling us what we have heard before.   Two interesting points, however:  1) will the people who log in through the internet feel that their views are heard too?  2)  how will all of this influence policy development in Canada?

A Federal Sustainable Development Strategy for Canada

The Consultation paper on a Federal Sustainable Development Strategy for Canada can be downloaded from   It includes a message from the Minister of the Environment and invites input from Canadians.  The document states that the Federal Sustainable Development Strategy includes environmental sustainability as an integral part of the Government's decision-making processes.  The document states that the Strategy will replace the individual department strategies for sustainable development which key federal departments an

Erosion of participatory democracy in Canada

We are seeing an erosion of many public institutions and programs which Canadians have grown to rely on interms of promoting the public interest.   The office of the science advisor was eliminated - as was the position of science advisor - and now we are learning more about how government scientists are not free to speak out on the science on issues such as climate change.    Are we like the frog in the slowly boiling water - we do not notice until it is too late?

Canada's Sustainable Development Act

The Canadian Government has released its consultation document on the implementation of the Sustainable Development Act passed in the summer of 2008.    The document can be accessed from Environment Canada's website - - and you have till July 12 to make comments.   I would like to convene a small group of people from different sectors to see if we can prepare comments together.

Emotion and Reason

Spent a couple of hours on Thursday evening at Massey College lecture co-sponsored by the new U of T school of public policy.   Heard from a psychologist and a political scientist - and Bob Rae - on the role of emotion in policy making.   Bob Rae had many good comments.  One of them was that you can't make good policy without emotion.    The discussion marked the beginning of a two day workshop on emotion and public policy.   I hope they got more into discussion about the need to develop new ways of making policy - beyoond the usual argument

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