The Green Party’s Elizabeth May on Friday applauded Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s commitment to bring in legislation on the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, but she warned her party will not have confidence in his government if it does not strengthen climate targets.
Ms. May, who stepped down as leader of the national party last week but continues to be the manager of the Greens’ three-person parliamentary caucus, said on Friday that she was pleased to hear Mr. Trudeau make the commitment to the UNDRIP bill during a meeting on Parliament Hill.
“It is one of our top priorities," Ms. May said.
A spokesperson for Mr. Trudeau confirmed on Friday that the Liberals intend to table government legislation on the declaration.
In the last Parliament, a bill put forward by former NDP MP Romeo Saganash on ensuring the laws of Canada are in harmony with the declaration died on the Order Paper in the Senate.
In a Friday interview, Mr. Saganash said the Trudeau government needs to put forward their planned legislation right away. “I’ll believe it when I see it,” he said, adding it must be a “cornerstone” in the fight against climate change.
“They know where to go from here; if not, I can help them.”
Mr. Trudeau has spent the week meeting with all leaders in Ottawa as he looks ahead at his minority Parliament and tries to find common ground. The Prime Minister is poised to announce his cabinet on Wednesday.
Canadians expect all parliamentarians to work together to serve them, Mr. Trudeau said on Friday while sitting with Ms. May in his office, but he conceded there would be disagreements on the level of climate ambition she has pushed them on.
Ms. May said on Friday that she sees her party working with the Liberals on issues including pharmacare, adding it will vote for individual laws. But she warned the Greens would vote against the Throne Speech and the budget until it sees further action on the climate file.
“We could never vote confidence in a government that was pursuing pipelines and increasing greenhouse gases,” she said. “We can’t vote confidence in a government that has a plan for disaster."
She also said she spoke to the Prime Minister about how the climate emergency could affect the lives of his three children.
“It’s not about politics,” she added. “It is about science.”
Ms. May said she is also urging Mr. Trudeau to attend the upcoming United Nations Climate Change Conference, known as COP25, in Madrid.
“I’m hoping the Prime Minister might find a way to organize the business of the House such that he can attend in person and push for higher levels of ambition from other countries, which of course requires that Canada do more ourselves,” she said.
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