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Hon Jonathan Wilkinson, MP Minister of the Environment and Climate Change – January 25 2021

January 25 2021
Hon Jonathan Wilkinson, MP,  Minister of the Environment and Climate Change

Dear Mr Wilkinson

Re: Expertise on climate change

We in JustEarth are keenly awaiting action on Bill C-12 and hope to see significant, needed amendments in it. However, this letter is about an ancillary issue: the need for greater expertise on climate change in the federal government. We suspect that Environment Canada suffers from the same lack of expertise as seen so tragically in the Public Health Agency of Canada.

We ask you to establish a new position, Chief Climate Scientist, akin to that of the Chief Public Health Officer, Dr Teresa Tam, someone with an international reputation who can speak on climate without partisanship. Climate change is still, regrettably, a subject arousing greatly differing responses. It is complex and evolving. A solid, respected, source on the facts would help public understanding. We would see such an expert being available to speak to caucuses, thus aiding in informed debate by MPs.

There is now a Chief Science Advisor, appointed only in 2017. The Office of the Chief Science Advisor could be the home base for the Chief Climate Scientist.

Secondly, we urge that the federal government revive the National Round Table on the Environment and the Economy. The agency was founded in 1988 in response to the UN’s Our Common Future on sustainable development. It did well under Liberal governments then was terminated in 2013 by Stephen Harper. It did excellent work in its 25 years, putting out reports such as the “Low carbon economy.” We believe that it could play a useful role again as an independent agency providing advice on climate change and the transition to a low-carbon future.

Yours sincerely

Lyn Adamson, Rita Bijons,  Yvonne Buckhingham,  Phyllis Creighton, Rose Dyson,

Surveyor Efik, Joyce Hall, Susan James, Lynn McDonald, Dorothy Goldin Rosenberg,

Frans Schryer, Ronny Yaron


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