Four former prime ministers call for climate change action

Joe Clark, Kim Campbell, Paul Martin and John Turner put the heat on Stephen Harper


Ottawa (11 Sep. 2008) - Four former prime ministers have jumped into the Oct. 14 federal election campaign by joining a coalition of Canadians demanding urgent action on climate change.

The former national leaders include two Conservatives, Joe Clark and Kim Campbell, and two Liberals, Paul Martin and John Turner. Two others, Liberal Jean Chrétien and Conservative Brian Mulroney, are not part of the group.

The coalition also includes about 60 business people, academics and environmentalists. Calling themselves Canadians for Climate Leadership, they released a document this week entitled Time To Get Serious on Climate Change.

Although the group is non-partisan, all of its members are clearly dissatisfied with the environmental record of Prime Minister Stephen Harper and his Conservative government on what many consider the most pressing issue facing the planet.

Clark expressed concern at a "lack of decisive action by Ottawa on climate change" while Campbell echoed similar sentiments. "When it comes to tackling climate change, there has been a persistent void at the highest political levels in this country," she said.

The announcement has been in the works for a number of months. The group also plans to launch a public campaign called PowerUP Canada on Wednesday, calling for strong domestic legislation coupled with international agreements to reduce emissions.

Despite years of talk and promises to reduce greenhouse gases, Canada's emissions have increased more than 20% since 1990. "Avoiding the worst risks requires reducing emissions more than half, perhaps more than 80%, by the year 2050," says the group.

"Achieving such huge cuts, even over several decades, will mean transforming the world energy system to use climate-safe technologies that eliminate or greatly reduce emissions."

The statement has been signed by more than 70 prominent Canadians, including authors Margaret Atwood, Naomi Klein and Michael Ondaatje; David Turpin, president of the University of Victoria; Stephen Bronfman, president and CEO of Claridge Inc.; Kashmir Dhaliwal, president of the Khalsa Diwan Society of Vancouver and one of North America's largest Sihk Temples; Dr. Joseph Wong, founder of the Chinese Canadian National Council; Katherine Giroux-Bougard, chair of the Canadian Federation of Students and Avrim Lazar, president of the Forest Products Association of Canada.


The National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE) is one of Canada's largest labour organizations with over 340,000 members. Our mission is to improve the lives of working families and to build a stronger Canada by ensuring that our common wealth is used for the common good. NUPGE

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