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Council of the Federation: commitment versus compliance

Montreal, July 20, 2011 – In anticipation of the Council of the Federation meeting beginning today in Vancouver, Equiterre has prepared an accountability report assessing provincial and territorial compliance with existing Council environmental and energy commitments. Although the provinces and territories have kept some of their promises, they have not kept them all. In particular, they have failed to make climate change a central and ongoing agenda item at Council meetings.

“In 2007, the Council decided to make climate change a permanent agenda item, but there is practically no mention of it in the final press releases from 2009 or 2010,” says Steven Guilbeault, deputy executive director of Equiterre. “We feel that the premiers are weakening their resolve. We’d like to see them taking climate change more seriously.”

Equiterre’s report also uncovered other problems:

  • many of the commitments lack measurability
  • there is no provision for the Council itself to report in detail on its progress to the people of Canada

“There is a lot of room for improvement, but the fact that the provinces and territories are working together is encouraging. The ecoENERGY Retrofit – Homes program is a good example of how effective this can be. When the federal government temporarily dropped the program, all the provinces and territories offered initiatives of their own to help homeowners renovate for energy efficiency,” says Steven Guilbeault.

Equiterre will watch the meeting, which ends on July 22, for any new climate change or energy commitments.

To consult our Council of the Federation progress report, please see

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Alizée Cauchon