TORONTO – Green Party of Canada Leader Annamie Paul said today that Canada should immediately begin bilateral negotiations with President-elect Biden on the creation of a North American Carbon Border Adjustment (CBA), and the repeal or radical restructure of the Canada-U.S Safe Third Country Agreement (STA) which has been found to violate Canada’s Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
“The election of President-elect Biden and Vice President-elect Harris presents an opportunity to usher in a new chapter in the vital U.S.-Canada relationship. The first 100 days will be critical in signaling a renewed commitment to tackle our most pressing shared concerns, including the climate emergency and the protection of human rights,” said Ms. Paul.
A CBA puts a carbon price on certain goods imported from countries that have weak greenhouse gas (GHG) emission reduction policies and practices, or that have policies below acceptable baselines. It prevents carbon leakage and could be the single most impactful action Canada and the U.S. could take to incentivise other countries to adopt strong GHG emissions reduction policies.
CBA would have several key advantages:
• Enhances the competitiveness of North American firms that are more energy efficient than their global competitors;
• Helps prevent the relocation of industrial production – and thus GHG emissions – to where climate policies are weaker;
• Incentivises other countries to effectively price their own carbon as a way to keep those revenues, rather than allow Canada or the U.S. to collect them;
“In the fight against the climate emergency, Canada should always be seeking to punch above its weight and show leadership in international efforts to reduce global GHG emissions,” said Ms. Paul. “Unfortunately, this leadership is something the government has thus far failed to demonstrate. Canada’s GHG emissions reductions targets are woefully inadequate, and we have no plan to get to a carbon-neutral economy by 2050.
“With a new U.S. administration that has committed to re-entering the Paris Agreement and implementing a CBA, I hope it will be an added driver for Canada to assume a leadership role in the global fight against the climate emergency.”
Ms. Paul said the Government of Canada must also immediately reopen the Safe Third Country Agreement (STA). Our Federal Court recently ruled that the STA – Canada's asylum agreement with the U.S. – violates the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms guarantee of "the right to life, liberty and security of the person.”
“It is a national shame that Canada continues to return vulnerable people back to the United States to face immediate detention, often under deplorable conditions,” said Ms. Paul. “Closing our borders to asylum seekers puts their lives at risk without making Canadians any safer and makes Canada complicit when these individuals are returned to their home countries where they risk persecution, torture or death. If President-elect Biden and the Prime Minister are truly committed to human rights, they will immediately reopen the STA to ensure that the rights of all those who enter the U.S. or Canada seeking asylum are protected.”