The House

The House: Rising waters across Canada

This week on The House, we talk to Climate Change Ambassador Patricia Fuller about how to prevent flooding in an era of climate change and natural disasters. We speak to the Japanese ambassador ahead of bilateral meetings between Japan and Canada's prime ministers and finally, we talk about the Green Party's federal chances after a strong provincial showing in P.E.I.
A flooded home in Constance Bay, Ontario this week. (David Richard/Radio-Canada)

Canada's climate change ambassador says it's time for governments to take environmental factors into account in all their policies in the wake of severe flooding across eastern Canada.

Parts of Ontario, Quebec and New Brunswick are under water as the spring melt overflowed the banks of major waterways. 

Cities across those regions have declared states of emergency, and the provincial and federal governments are monitoring the situations closely.

"I think what it comes down to is that in all the decisions that communities make, that all levels of government make, we have to take into account the impacts of climate change," Patricia Fuller told CBC Radio's The House.  

Fuller's job is to advise environment and foreign affairs ministers how to further Canada's climate change priorities on the global frontier. 

Communities across the country have been dealing with flooding all week and Canadian Forces have arrived to assist around the National Capital Region. Patricia Fuller tells us about the federal government's climate change adaptation plans. 8:09

The environment has been a large focus of international meetings in the past years, including G7 and G20 summits, as well as environment forums held across the world. 

Back at home, natural disasters like wildfires, tornadoes and flooding have plagued the country. Fuller says it's another indication that we need to heed the warning from scientists.

"They have clearly been indicating now for some time that these types of events will be more frequent as climate change advances."

As flood plain maps are updated and governments refine their emergency response plans, many experts are indicating it's time to move past mitigating these environmental events and begin planning ahead for them. 

"We have to mitigate climate change so that we don't see even more extreme climate impacts. But it's also equally important to build resilience to these types of events," Fuller said.

It's time to move Canada-Japan relations past the status quo, ambassador says

Japanese Ambassador Kimihiro Ishikane, in an interview with CBC News, on April 24, 2019, said his country is looking for closer defence cooperation with Canada in the areas of information-sharing, peacekeeping, humanitarian and disaster relief. (Andrew Lee/CBC News)

The Japanese prime minister's visit to Canada is about moving the bilateral relationship beyond the status quo, the ambassador says.

Kimihiro Ishikane told The House the two countries haven't fully capitalized on their relationship for far too long, including working together beyond trade and the G7 and G20 meetings.

"I think those two prime ministers will have a discussion in-depth to make that G20 meeting a successful one, that's the approach to number one, but number two is to elevate better relations between Japan and Canada," he said.

This weekend Justin Trudeau is meeting with Japanese Prime Minister Shinz? Abe. What does he want from Canada as he prepares to host the G20 Summit in June? Chris Hall talks to Japan's ambassador to Canada and asks him whether enough attention is being paid to the Japanese-Canadian relationship. 8:55

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is currently touring Europe and North America, and will be in Canada to meet with Justin Trudeau this weekend.

Though the two countries have strengthened ties in recent years, including the signing of a new free trade deal and Canada contributing ships to help patrol the seas surrounding Japan, the ambassador has long held that more should be done between Japan and Canada.

"I think, given the challenges we are facing here again, we do not have the luxury of being content with the status quo as it is. I think Canada and Japan, given their respective capacity or capability or potential, we deserve much more."

Japan is hosting the G20 summit this summer, which Canada will attend.

After gains in P.E.I., Greens turn attention to the national stage

Green Leader Peter Bevan-Baker makes a point at the provincial leaders debate at the Harbourfront Theatre in Summerside, P.E.I. on Tuesday, April 16, 2019. (Andrew Vaughan/The Canadian Press)

The Green Party deputy leader says the team was watching Prince Edward Island's provincial election to test out their federal hopes for October.

"We're certainly testing the messaging," Jo-Ann Roberts said in an interview with The House.

The P.E.I. Greens, led by Peter Bevan-Baker, will potentially form the Island's official opposition after snatching eight seats.

They had been leading in several polls, but the election was won by the Progressive Conservatives under Dennis King.

It's far from a poor showing. This is the best result the Greens have had anywhere across the country, and the P.E.I. seats won match the combined total of Green legislators in B.C., Ontario and New Brunswick.

Roberts says it's time her party is looked at as having a broader platform than just dealing with environmental issues. She says the Greens are slowly proving they have plans for things like trade and social issues as well.

After a strong showing in P.E.I.'s provincial election, what's next for the Green Party as they gear up for October's federal race? We ask Green Party deputy leader Jo-Ann Roberts. 6:30

"I think we have to be seen as having that long term vision," she said, pointing to Bevan-Baker's work.

"But I also think we're also going to be seen as the party that has a solid vision of what moving on the climate front is all about."

She also said she's optimistic about the party's chances in the October federal election, especially in B.C. and Atlantic Canada.

"I honestly can say we're concentrating on ridings where we think we can win and we're looking for strength from our volunteers in areas where we know there's growth."


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