An Open Letter supporting implementation of the Pan-Canadian Framework on Clean Growth and Climate Change
Prime Minister Trudeau, former Premier Clark and most of Canada’s premiers signed the Pan-Canadian Framework on Clean Growth and Climate Change in December 2016. This Framework contains a policy shift that could substantially reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) pollution from transportation in Greater Victoria and across the country.
The transportation sector is the second-largest contributor of GHG pollution in Canada, representing 23% of total emissions, which is just behind the oil and gas sector. Despite this, over the past decades, successive federal and provincial governments have funded transportation infrastructure with little or no regard for climate pollution. Across the country they spent billions of public dollars every year on projects that increase greenhouse gas pollution, such as urban highway expansion. Largely as a result of this perverse spending, between 1990 and 2014 climate pollution from transportation increased 42%.
But now the Framework commits the federal and provincial governments to “shift from higher to lower-emitting types of transportation, including through investing in infrastructure. The examples include shifting from driving to transit and cycling as well as shifting freight from trucks to rail.
This shift in investment is complementary to the Victoria Transit Future Plan which states that "Major investments in expanding the road network to accommodate the private automobile do not align with local, regional and provincial planning aspirations." The Transit Future Plan instead calls for transit improvements including a network of transit-only lanes. The Framework is also consistent with the many initiatives in Greater Victoria to support active transportation, including walking and cycling.
The cliché “you can’t build your way out of congestion” is well supported by studies and experience. Roadway expansion in urban areas worsens both pollution and congestion. In a 2007 study Clark Williams-Derry of the SightLine Institute, found that “adding one mile of new highway lane will increase CO2 emissions by more than 100,000 tons over 50 years.” The effect of road expansion projects, such as the McTavish and McKenzie Interchanges, must not be ignored. However, it is not clear if the federal and provincial governments will fully implement this important policy shift without active encouragement.
The groups and individuals signing this open letter commit to actively supporting the shift of investment “from higher to lower-emitting types of transportation” in Greater Victoria. We also urge all elected representatives and political candidates to publically support full implementation of this policy shift.
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Click here for a list of Endorsing Organizations. We need your group’s endorsement! If your organization decides to endorse this open letter, please contact us at bettertransityyj [at] gmail.com and we will add you to the list!