Liberal MP will discuss climate change and electoral reform with members of the Central Nova riding
Central Nova MP Sean Fraser will be hosting a town hall style session with residents of the Antigonish County to deliberate the issues of electoral reform and climate change. As part of a larger initiative, Fraser will be doing this on behalf of the Minister of Environment Catherine McKenna and Minister of Democratic Institutions Maryam Monsef who are apart of PM Justin Trudeau’s current cabinet and looking to engage the public on these two important issues. The Liberal government brought attention to both issues during their campaign in 2015, making promises to address climate change and to decide on reforming the first-past-the-post system. They did not specify any alternative to the current electoral system during their campaign, and as a result, the federal government is now looking to Canadians for input.
Mary Coyle, the Executive Director of the Frank McKenna Centre, stated that many other members of parliament are doing this in their own ridings across Nova Scotia to help gather hopeful useful information. However, according to Fraser, he sees the Antigonish consultation as a special opportunity given the student population in the riding and encourages those who are able to come and participate in the consultation. Coyle, who also stressed the importance of StFX’s involvement, said, “As a predominantly rural riding, which happens to also be the home of a very important educational institution, we have a perspective to offer to the consultation that you might not hear in downtown Toronto, or you might not hear in downtown Calgary.” Coyle mentioned the participation of several StFX faculty whose expertise in their respective fields might prove useful. Political Science professor Jim Bickerton will be in attendance to give an intro on the existing electoral system and its potential alternatives to give participants a background of what Sean Fraser and others are looking for.
After the discussion on electoral reform, Dr. Lisa Kellman of the StFX environmental science department will then introduce the climate change topic and will clear up any fog surrounding the subject. There will also be a discussion linking climate change to future policy decisions that potentially could be made in the future.
This is in accord with the signing of the Paris Climate Agreement in late 2015, an United Nations project aiming to mitigate any further warming of the global temperatures. The Paris Agreement came after numerous unsuccessful attempts at international consensus regarding climate change. The Kyoto Protocol, from which Canada withdrew in 2011, was particularly ineffective. As a result, the new government is looking again to tackle these persistent climate problems and hopes that Canadians will share their views on what to do and how to do it.
Coyle claims that climate change is one of the biggest questions facing us today, while Sean Fraser describes it, along with electoral reform, as a “Pan-Canadian” issue, drawing on the fact that they affect Canadians regardless of personal beliefs and backgrounds. Coyle believes that the community will help significantly with any collection of information due to its uniqueness. “It’s not just the expertise at the university but it’s the expertise in the community as well that I think is something really special here, on a topic that is of paramount importance,” said Coyle.
The two-part consultation will be live streamed and moderated by Mary Coyle. It will be held in Desmond Hall in the Coady Institute on July 19th from 6pm-9pm. All are encouraged to attend and contribute to the discussion.