TORONTO – “First Nations in Ontario and Canada must be fully and completely involved in the world-wide battle against climate change,” said Regional Chief Day in reaction to the official signing of the COP21 Paris Climate Treaty at the United Nations today. “The Paris Climate Treaty must work within our own Inherent and Treaty Rights in protecting and preserving our lands and waters. First Nations, and Indigenous Peoples around the world, are the first to suffer from global warming. Now we must be the first on the front lines to save our planet.”
Today, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau committed billions of dollars to reduce greenhouse gases (GHG) through green energy investments, as well as a further $2.65 billion to help developing countries participate in climate change commitments. To quote UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon: “Let us never forget — climate action is not a burden. Indeed, it offers many benefits. It can help us eradicate poverty, create green jobs, defeat hunger, prevent instability and improve the lives of girls and women.”
Prime Minister Trudeau has previously stated that “Treaties are unfinished business.” Therefore, we need to take a Nation to Nation approach on efforts to combat and mitigate the impacts to Indigenous peoples in Canada. In Ontario, there are commitments made by the Province, under the Political Accord, to work with us on their Climate Action Plan.
“In order to meet Canada’s commitment of reducing GHG emissions by 30 per cent over the next 15 years, First Nations must also receive the same fulsome investments that Canada has now committed to developing countries,” added Regional Chief Day. “We must also be fully involved in the current discussions on a pan-Canadian framework on climate change. Climate Change is a reality for First Nations right now — the federal commitment on Climate Change Strategies requires Indigenous partners to be at the tables designed to formulate a comprehensive approach to this subject.
Once our Peoples are able to participate in the policy, planning, and implementation stages, together, we will meet Canada’s commitments while building a better future for all our children.”