Canada's only green-labour organization says we're in this together
HALIFAX, July 27, 2012 /CNW/ - Blue Green Canada, the country's only
national voice that brings workers and environmentalists together, said
some heavy lifting is ahead if the premiers' energy promise today will
Blue Green said while the promise of a plan that cuts emissions and
embraces efficiency and renewable energy is welcome, these can't happen
if narrow oil interests get their way. It said B.C.'s decision to not
participate in the plan is unfortunate because the province's
environment, like Ontario's and Quebec's, is threatened if powerful oil
interests continue to dominate.
"This week, we saw the hollowness of the oil industry's line," said
Gillian McEachern from Environmental Defence. "It's patently false that
questioning what the oil industry wants is anti-West. Just ask the
premier of British Columbia.
"It's also false to pretend that Canadians have to choose between jobs
and the environment. We can and should create jobs by doing what's good
for the environment," she said. McEachern noted that per dollar
invested, renewable energy creates three times the jobs as fossil fuel.
Dave Coles, national president of the Communications, Energy and
Paperworkers Union (CEP), the union representing thousands of workers
in the oil sector, agreed.
"The question isn't if Canada will use oil for some time to come. We
will. But we can be an energy superpower in more diverse ways than just
oil, and it's long past time for premiers to embrace efficiency and
renewable energy to put more Canadians to work.
"The fact is, the promise to cut emissions can't be kept if the only
energy interest premiers listen to is oil. Some intellectual honesty is
required because we can't tackle climate change while allowing oil
production to triple," Coles said.
A large manufacturing union, the United Steelworkers, said workers want
the jobs that building clean energy infrastructure will bring. But it
will take leadership from the premiers to foster them, with the federal
government openly doing the oil industry's bidding.
"Good jobs will be created if we build ways to get clean energy into
provinces that rely on coal. They'll also be created if we make
buildings more efficient and get serious about public transit," said
Ken Neumann, the Steelworkers' national director. "If the premiers are
serious about cutting emissions, they need to embrace these solutions
and do it soon."
Blue Green Canada said it will be paying close attention, and expects
provinces to have specific plans about energy efficiency, renewable
energy and ways to cut carbon pollution before energy ministers meet in
"Canadians don't want our economic and environmental priorities decided
by and for powerful oil interests. We've got to make the transition to
clean energy and the jobs it brings sooner, not later. Big oil wants
more pipelines and emissions, but premiers today committed to lower
emissions and Canadians want in on that conversation," said McEachern.
About Blue Green Canada:
Founded in 2008, Blue Green Canada brings workers and environmentalists
together to show how jobs and sustainability go hand-in-hand. The
alliance plans to ramp up efforts around a real energy strategy for
more jobs and fewer emissions this year. More information can be found
SOURCE: Blue Green Canada
For further information:
For more information or to arrange an interview, please contact:
In Halifax: Gillian McEachern, Environmental Defence, 416-629-4711 email@example.com
Roxanne Dubois, Communications, Energy and Paperworkers Union, 613-230-5200 firstname.lastname@example.org
Stephanie Kohls, Environmental Defence, 416-323-9521 ext. 232; 647-280-9521 cell email@example.com
Denis St. Pierre, United Steelworkers Union, 416-544-5990 firstname.lastname@example.org