Of particular interest to us at Sustainable Prosperity, an economic think tank with a focus on the environment, was that Jim Carr would become Canada’s new Minister of Natural Resources. Just as exciting was that Prime Minister Justin Trudeau had named Kirsty Duncan as Minister of Science.
We were also curious as to who would be the next Minister of Environment.
Turns out, there won’t be one.
Instead, Justin Trudeau named Catherine McKenna as Minister of Environment and Climate Change. This new title is more than just a name change, and is an important signal as to the importance Trudeau’s government will place on the environment in the weeks ahead of the COP21 conference in Paris.
The federal government isn’t the first to add climate change so prominently to an Environment portfolio. Two provinces have recently modified the names of their ministries of the environment.
Quebec was the first to change its moniker to ‘Developpement durable, Envrionnement et Lutte contres les changements climatiques’, with a mission statement of ‘contributing to the sustainable development of Quebec through environmental protection, biodiversity, preservation and the fight against climate change.’
In late June 2015, Ontario added climate change to the province’s Environment Minister’s portfolio. MPP Glen Murray now leads Ontario’s newly-minted Ministry of Environment and Climate Change.
Of course, adding climate change to a title or a ministry doesn’t mean that McKenna or these departments are expected to solve this global issue alone. But by adding climate change so significantly to a name, to a mandate, it shows that governments at the provincial – and now the federal – levels understand its importance.