Dear Prime Minister Trudeau,
We are a diverse group of Canadian writers committed to climate action, and we are writing to ask you to use this key moment to strengthen the new Climate Accountability Act, Bill-C12.
This Act is crucial. If countries do not meet their planned climate targets, the future is almost unimaginable: rampant wildfires, polar ice melt, mass extinctions, drinking water drying up. This future threatens us all, especially the most vulnerable, in this country and around the globe.
While we are disappointed in Canada’s failure, under both Liberal and Conservative governments, to meet every climate target that it has set, we are heartened by the introduction of the new Climate Accountability Act, Bill C-12, currently before the Standing Committee on Environment and Sustainable Development.
As writers, we know the power of words to unlock imagination and creativity. What gets enacted now will affect the future for generations.
We also know that it is impossible to get everything right in a first draft.
Revisions are essential, both to telling a strong and vital story and to making legislation robust and giving it teeth. Because of our conviction that words matter, we believe it is crucial that Bill C-12 be as effective, transparent and accountable as possible. For examples we can look to the UK, Germany and New Zealand – all of which are hitting their ambitious greenhouse gas reduction targets, and have strong legal frameworks for accountability. Before Bill C-12 becomes law, Canada should adopt these countries’ models.
In Bill C-12, we need to create a framework that:
Sets long-term, ambitious 2030 and 2050 greenhouse gas reduction targets to hold warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius. Canada’s current target – 40 to 45% emissions reductions below 2005 levels by 2030 – is not nearly ambitious enough. It won’t help keep warming to 1.5 C and it doesn’t represent Canada’s fair share globally. Both require at least a 60% reduction in emissions by 2030.
Requires that the greenhouse gas emission targets themselves be set at five-year intervals between 2030 and 2050 -- targets that are established at least five years before the set year, and preferably as long as 12 years in advance, as in the UK, to provide sufficient time for advanced planning by both public and private sectors.
Produces 5-year impact reports tabled before Parliament, and includes other appropriate planning and reporting mechanisms to achieve carbon budgets.
Holds future governments to account, by including mechanisms to ensure that the bill, its targets, and its planning measures must be adhered to, even with changes in governments. (Again, see the UK.)
Reduces emissions domestically. We must not export our problem or use international carbon offsets or credits to achieve it.
Establishes an arm’s length expert Climate Advisory Committee to monitor measures and strategies and to offer the government advice. This should report not to the Minister of the Environment and Climate Change but to Parliament and to the public each year.
Meaningfully consults with Indigenous peoples, whose leadership is essential and crucial, and who have stewarded this land for millennia.
Above all, we want transparency: whatever the reporting mechanisms, the government must communicate to the public in plain language what your plans are for meeting your targets -- and that you’re making progress in meeting those targets.
As writers we often write into the heart of discomfort. We can chronicle a world in flames. Or tell a story of what might have happened if we had only come together. Stories to break the heart.
But these aren’t the stories we want to tell.
We have time to write a new story -- a short but real window for Canada to address the climate crisis, with urgency, accountability, and in transparent language. We can face this crisis with spirit and love – for each other, for the land and animals, for those who come after us.
Let’s write that new story together. Let’s make it heroic, smart and swift-moving – about how Canada set more ambitious, globally fair greenhouse gas emissions targets and met every one of them; how we supported innovation and green technology; how we listened to Indigenous leaders with respect, and supported their leadership in this crisis; how we created a flourishing green economy.
That’s a story we can be proud to tell future generations.
Madeleine Thien, Giller Prize and Governor General’s Winner, Do Not Say we Have Nothing.
Janie Chang, Critically acclaimed and bestselling author, The Library of Legends, Three Souls, Dragon Springs Road.
Darrel McLeod, Governor General’s Award Winner, Mamaskatch: A Cree Coming of Age, and Peyakow: Reclaiming Cree Dignity.
Catherine Bush, Critically acclaimed author of climate-themed Blaze Island, Minus Time, Claire’s Head and others, Creative Writing MFA Coordinator, University of Guelph.
Shaena Lambert, Critically acclaimed author of Petra, Oh, My Darling, Radiance and other work.
Catherine Leroux, autrice de quatre romans dont L’avenir, traductrice récipiendaire du prix du Gouverneur général.
Murray Reiss, Award-winning poet, author of Survival Rate of Butterflies in the Wild, Cemetery Compost and other work.
Claudia Casper, Philip K Dick Winner for post-climate change novel The Mercy Journals. The Reconstruction. Teacher at Simon Fraser University Writer’s Studio
Carrie Saxifrage, Acclaimed author, The Big Swim: Coming to Shore in a World Adrift.
Anne Collins, Governor General’s Award winning author of In the Sleep Room, editor and publisher.
Waubgeshig Rice is an award-winning author and journalist originally from Wasauksing First Nation.
Eden Robinson is the Haisla and Heiltsuk author of the Trickster Trilogy.
Emma Donoghue, Man Booker Finalist for the novel, Room. Novelist, Playwright, Screenwriter.
Carrianne Leung, Winner of the Danuta Gleed Literary Award for That Time I Loved You. Author of The Wondrous Woo.
Kyo Maclear, PhD Environmental Humanities, educator and author, Trillium Award winning Birds Art Life.
Canisia Lubrin, Windham-Campbell and OCM Bocas Literature Prize winner, The Dyzgraphxst, author of Voodoo Hypothesis and Code Noir.
Zsuzsi Gartner, Giller Prize short-listed author, Better Living Through Plastic Explosives, and Writers Trust Finalist, The Beguiling.
Jordan Tannahill, two-time Governor General’s Award winning playwright and author of Botticelli in the Fire, and The Listeners
Wayne Grady, novelist (The Good Father) and author, with David Suzuki, of Tree: A Life Story.
Paul Headrick, Author of That Tune Clutches My Heart and The Doctrine of Affections.
Alissa York, Award-winning author of The Naturalist, Effigy, Fauna and other works.
Joan Thomas, Governor General's Award Winner, Five Wives.
Camilla Gibb, Author.
Kathryn Mockler is the author of five poetry books and publisher of the online climate journal, Watch Your Head.
Jack Wang, award-winning author of We Two Alone.
Yung Chang, award-winning filmmaker of Up the Yangtze, China Heavyweight, The Fruit Hunters, This is Not a Movie, & Wuhan Wuhan.
Rawi Hage, novelist most recently of Beirut Hellfire Society.
Armand Garnet Ruffo, winner of the Latner Writers’ Trust Poetry Prize; author of Grey Owl: The Mystery of Archie Belaney, Norval Morrisseau: Man Changing Into Thunderbird and Treaty#.
Manjushree Thapa, Nepali-Canadian author, All Of Us in Our Own Lives, Seasons of Flight, Forget Kathmandu.
Krista Foss, critically acclaimed author of Half Life and Smoke River.
Miguel Syjuco, Winner of the Man Asian Literary Prize for Ilustrado, professor at New York University Abu Dhabi.
Michael V. Smith, UBC Associate Professor, Canadian writer, filmmaker, and performer.
Leanne Shirtliffe, author of Sloth to the Rescue, I Love Sharks Too, and other picture books for children
Danielle R. Graham, bestselling author of All We Left Behind
Sheena Kamal, critically acclaimed and bestselling author of the Nora Watts series and Fight Like A Girl
Jessica J. Lee, winner of the Hilary Weston Writers’ Trust Prize for Nonfiction and author of Two Trees Make a Forest and Turning.
Brian Payton, author of four books, including The Wind Is Not a River and Shadow of the Bear: Travels in Vanishing Wilderness. His critically-acclaimed fiction and nonfiction is published internationally.
Alex Leslie, winner of Western Canada Jewish Book Award, author of four books of fiction and poetry.
Cassidy McFadzean, award-winning poet and author of Drolleries and Hacker Packer.
Dennis E Bolen; novelist, poet, arts journalist, instructor, editor.
Kim Trainor, Finalist for the League of Canadian Poet's Raymond Souster Award for Ledi, Chair of the DCFA Climate Emergency Action Committee, Douglas College.
Maureen Moore, fiction short-listed for the Ethel Wilson Prize as well as the Lambda Rising Prize. Author of The Illumination of Alice Mallory and other work.
Brian Day, author of The Daring of Paradise and other work.
Naomi Beth Wakan, Inaugural Poet Laureate of Nanaimo and Inaugural Honorary Ambassador for the BC Federation of Writers.
Briony Penn: stories of Canadian Indigenous and Western scientists/knowledge keepers in her award-winning books: The Real Thing, The Magic Canoe and Following the Good River.
Christy Ann Conlin, Author of The Speed of Mercy, Watermark, The Memento, Heave
Kathy Page, author of Dear Evelyn, Alphabet, and other novels; Writers' Trust Prizewinner, Governor General’s Award finalist, and twice nominated for the Giller Prize.
Derek Lundy, critically acclaimed and best-selling author, The Bloody Red Hand: A Journey Through Truth, Myth and Terror in Northern Ireland, and other work
Kevin Kerr, Governor General Award Winner, Unity (1918), playwright and co-founder of Vancouver's Electric Company Theatre; Associate Professor UVIC’s Department of Writing
Kate Hilton, bestselling author of Better Luck Next Time, Just Like Family, and The Hole in the Middle.
Charlotte Gray, Award-winning non-fiction author of eleven bestsellers, including The Promise of Canada and Murdered Midas.
Bethany Gibson, fiction editor, Goose Lane Editions, creator of the climate-themed, collaborative online site, The Scales Project.
Theresa Kishkan, author of 14 books, including the forthcoming Blue Portugal and Other Essays. Mother, grandmother.
Merilyn Simonds, Canadian author of 18 books, including the novel Refuge.
Genni Gunn, Critically acclaimed author of Solitaria, Permanent Tourists and other work.
Darryl Whetter, author of the new tar-sands climate-crisis novel Our Sands (Penguin Random House) and the eco-poems Origins
Gail Anderson-Dargatz, author of the Giller Prize short-listed novels The Cure for Death by Lightning and A Recipe for Bees as well as The Spawning Grounds and other work.
Caroline Adderson, award-winning author of many books for adults and children.
Leslie Howard, Critically acclaimed and national best selling author of The Brideship Wife.
Claudia Dey, Author of Heartbreaker and Stunt.
Lana Pesch, author of Moving Parts, shortlisted for the 2016 ReLit Awards
Michael Ondaatje, Writer.
Linda Spalding, author of the Governor General’s Award winning novel The Purchase, and other works of fiction and nonfiction.
Élise Turcotte, poète et romancière, gagnante de plusieurs prix dont celui du Gouverneur Général pour La Maison étrangère et le le prix Ringuet pour son dernier roman, L’Apparition du chevreuil ( 2019)
Edem Awumey, romancier, auteur de Port-Mélo (Grand Prix littéraire de l’Afrique noire); Les Pieds sales (sélection prix Goncourt), Mina parmi les ombres (finaliste Prix du gouverneur général).
Claudia Cornwall, award winning author of BC in Flames: stories from a blazing summer.
Dionne Brand, poet, novelist, essayist.
Thea Lim, Giller Prize finalist and author of An Ocean of Minutes
Barbara Gowdy. Author of The White Bone. Member of The Order of Canada.
Katherine Ashenburg, prize-winning author of “The Dirt on Clean,” “Sofie & Cecilia” and four other books.
Peter Levitt, award-winning author of The Complete Cold Mountain, One Hundred Butterflies, Within Within and other books of poetry and translation.
Shirley Graham, poet and author of three books, most recently Shakespearean Blues.
Yvonne Blomer, City of Victoria Poet Laureate 2015-2018, author most recently of Sugar Ride: Cycling from Hanoi to Kuala Lampur and editor of Refugium: Poems for the Pacific and Sweet Water: Poems for the Watersheds.
Cynthia Flood, short-story writer, author of Red Girl Rat Boy and What Can You Do
Barbara Kyle, author of the bestselling Thornleigh Saga series of historical novels and of acclaimed thrillers.
Rami Schandall, poet and interdisciplinary artist.
Aislinn Hunter, Award-winning novelist, poet and educator. Author of eight books including the best-selling novel The Certainties.
Katherine Fawcett, award-winning author of The Swan Suit and The Little Washer of Sorrows.
Sara Cassidy, Governor General's Award finalist for Young People's Literature, Nevers, A Boy Named Queen, and other work.
Judy McFarlane, author of Writing with Grace, A Journey Beyond Down Syndrome.
Kathryn Kuitenbrouwer, bestselling author of the novels All the Broken Things, The Nettle Spinner, Perfecting, as well as the story collection, Way Up.
Audrée Wilhelmy, autrice derrière les romans Oss, Les Sangs, Le Corps des bêtes et Blanc Résine
Sue Goyette, poet and educator, author of the Griffin Poetry Prize short-listed Ocean.
David Huebert, winner of the 2016 CBC Short Story Prize, author of Peninsula Sinking, Humanimus, and Chemical Valley.
Simon Boulerice, auteur, comédien et metteur en scène
Shyam Selvadurai, novelist and screenwriter.
Casey Plett, author of Little Fish, winner of the Amazon Canada First Novel Award.
Margaret Atwood, author most recently of The Testaments and Dearly.
Dominique Fortier, auteur de sept livres dont Au péril de la mer, Prix du gouverneur général, et Les Villes de papier, prix Renaudot essai.
Louis Hamelin, auteur de trois essais et de onze livres de fiction, dont La rage (prix du Gouverneur-général) et La constellation du Lynx (prix des Libraires, prix des Collégiens et prix Ringuet).
Mélissa Verreault, nouvelliste, poète et romancière, autrice entre autres des romans Les voies de la disparition et L’angoisse du poisson rouge, finaliste au Prix des libraires du Québec
Larry Tremblay, auteur d’une trentaine de livres en tant que romancier, auteur dramatique, poète et essayiste.
Anaïs Barbeau-Lavalette, cinéaste, autrice (Je voudrais qu’on m’efface, Le Femme qui fuit) et co-fondatrice du mouvement Mères au Front.
Carleigh Baker, winner of the City of Vancouver Book Award and Writers Trust Finalist for Bad Endings.
Kevin Patterson, prize-winning novelist, author of Consumption and News from the Red Desert among other works.
Rowan Percy, Salt Spring Island writer and poet, author of Body of Silence.
Roberta Rich, writer of historical fiction, including The Midwife of Venice
Arno Kopecky: author of The Oil Man And The Sea and The Environmentalist's Dilemma
Anakana Schofield, Author of Bina, Martin John, and Malarky, Novelist and Lab Clerk at the BCCDC Covid Lab.
J.B. MacKinnon is the author of The Day the World Stops Shopping, The Once and Future World, and The 100-Mile Diet.
Eva Stachniak. Award-winning writer. Author of The Chosen Maiden, The Winter Palace, Necessary Lies and other work..
Lynn Henry, co-author of “Be Kind, Be Calm, Be Safe: Four Weeks that Shaped a Pandemic,” editor and publisher.
John Vaillant - Author: The Golden Spruce, The Tiger, The Jaguar’s Children
Jessica Westhead, author of the novels Pulpy & Midge and Worry and short story collections And Also Sharks and Things Not to Do
Diana Fitzgerald Bryden, novelist, poet, screenwriter.
Pasha Malla is the author of seven books. He lives in Hamilton, Ontario.
Gail Benick, author of Memory's Shadow and The Girl Who Was Born That Way
Christine Higdon, award-winning author of The Very Marrow of Our Bones.
Kelli Deeth, acclaimed author of The Girl Without Anyone, and The Other Side of Youth
Maria Meindl, Teacher and literary-event organizer, author of Outside the Box and The Work
Lesley Krueger, novelist and screenwriter
Barbara Lambert, Author of prize-winning fiction including a collection of short stories, 2 novellas, and two novels.
Omar El Akkad, author and journalist.
Charles Montgomery is the award-winning author of Happy City, which has been published in a dozen languages around the world.
Arjun Basu, Author of two award-nominated books.
Robin Pacific is a visual artist and writer. She has just completed her first book, Skater Girl: An Archeology of the Self.
Micheline Maylor Ph.D., critically acclaimed author of Little Wildheart, Whirr and Click, and The Bad Wife.
Deborah Campbell, Winner Hilary Weston Writers’ Trust Prize and Hubert Evans Prize, A Disappearance in Damascus.
David Bezmozgis, Giller-nominated author of The Free World, The Betrayers, Immigrant City: Stories. Creative Director of the Humber School for Writers.
Marcello Di Cintio, journalist and author of Driven: The Secret Lives of Taxi Drivers and Pay No Heed to the Rockets: Palestine in the Present Tense.
Ronald Wright, author and Massey Lecturer, A Short History of Progress.
Tara Moss, Internationally bestselling author of The War Widow, documentary host, human rights advocate and advocate for people with disabilities
Daniel Kalla, Author, Emergency Physician, and concerned dad
Leslie Shimotakahara, Canada-Japan Literary Prize winner for The Reading List, and author of critically acclaimed novels, After the Bloom and Red Oblivion
Judith Thompson, playwright, artistic director of R.A.R.E. theatre.
Patrick Crean, Editor and Publisher of Patrick Crean Editions
Carol Shaben, national bestselling author
Farzana Doctor, critically acclaimed author of four novels, Seven, All Inclusive, Six Metres of Pavement and Stealing Nasreen.
Ann Shin, Writer and award-winning documentary filmmaker based in Toronto. Author of The Last thing Exiles and director of A.rtificial I.mmortality.
Kevin Chong is an author and professor.
Bruce Grierson, author, journalist and New York Times Magazine contributor.
Margaret Webb, author of Older, Faster, Stronger, and Apples to Oysters.
Bill Gaston, Award-winning author of The World, Mount Appetite, Just Let Me Look at You, and other works, Professor Emeritus, University of Victoria.
Dede Crane, Critically-acclaimed author of One Madder Woman, Every Happy Family, and other works.
Joan Crate, author of Pale as Real Ladies; Poems for Pauline Johnson, Foreign Homes, SubUrban Legends and novels Breathing Water and Black Apple.
Lorraine Gane, author of The Way the Light Enters, The Blue Halo, and Arc of Light.
Mona Fertig, legendary poet and publisher, Vancouver Literary Landmark.
Bruce Kirkby, Author & Photographer.
Charles Foran has published novels and non-fiction. He is past president of PEN Canada.
Jillian Horton, M.D., the author of We Are All Perfectly Fine, is an internist, award-winning medical educator, writer, musician and podcaster.
Saleema Nawaz, Author of Songs for the End of the World, Bone and Bread, and Mother Superior.
pk mutch, journalist, publisher of LiisBeth.com, author "Adventures in Artisan Cheese" 2006.
Erin Robinsong, poet, recipient of the 2017 A.M. Klein prize for poetry, author of Rag Cosmology and Liquidity.
Sarah Selecky, Giller prize-shortlisted author, This Cake is For the Party and author of Radiant Shimmering Light
Anton Piatigorsky, author of Eternal Hydra, The Iron Bridge, and Al-Tounsi.
Susan Swan, author and cofounder of the Carol Shields Prize for Fiction.
Maria Mutch is the author of the recent novel, Molly Falls to Earth, as well as When We Were Birds and the Governor General’s Literary Awards finalist, Know the Night.
Angie Abdou, author, Associate Professor Athabasca University.
Betsy Warland, Author, manuscript editor and Mentor.
Andrew Nikiforuk, journalist and author of Energy of Slaves and Slickwater.
Noor Naga is an Alexandrian writer who was born in Philadelphia, raised in Dubai and studied in Toronto.
Leanne Dunic, author of One and Half of You, and To Love the Coming End, and leader of the band The Deep Cove.
Maggie Ziegler, author of The Road to Keringet, an acclaimed memoir, has also published in literary journals, news magazines and professional journals and collections.
Nicolas Dickner, écrivain, récipiendaire du prix du Gouverneur général pour Six degrés de liberté.
Cathleen With, KPU Creative Writing Instructor, Canadian writer, Winner of the BC Book Prize.
Sean Michaels, author, winner of the Giller prize.
Neil Smith, fiction writer and translator.
Catherine Graham, Critically acclaimed poet, Æther: An Out-of-Body Lyric, and novelist, Quarry.
Shani Mootoo is a Canadian photographer and an acclaimed writer of fiction and poetry; she lives in Southern Ontario.
Iman Mersal. Egyptian Canadian poet and translator. Associate professor at the University of Alberta, Canada.
Hada Lopez, autrice de quatre romans dont Bruine assassine, récipiendaire du prix Cécile Gagnon
Kerri Sakamoto, novelist
Christine Eddie, auteure de quatre romans, récipiendaire du Prix Senghor du premier roman francophone.
William Deverell, whose latest novel, Stung, is an environmental courtroom thriller.
Steven Heighton, Governor General's Award-winning author of poetry, short stories, novels, essays, songs.
Michael Nardone, poet, editor, researcher
Bryn Turnbull, critically acclaimed and bestselling author of The Woman Before Wallis
Alain Farah, écrivain et professeur de littérature, Mcgill
Charles Sagalane, écrivain et bibliothécaire de survie en chef
Sharon English, writer.
Michael Prior, award-winning poet, author of Burning Province and Model Disciple.
Atom Egoyan C.C., film and stage director.
Hélène Dorion, poète et romancière, récipiendaire du prix Athanase-David, du prix du Gouverneur général du Canada, membre de l’Académie des lettres du Québec.
Changing the Climate Story is a diverse group of Canadian writers committed to climate action: Madeleine Thien, Giller Prize and Governor General’s Winner, Do Not Say we Have Nothing; Janie Chang, Critically acclaimed and bestselling author, The Library of Legends, Three Souls, Dragon Springs Road; Darrel McLeod, Governor General’s Award Winner, Mamaskatch: A Cree Coming of Age, and Peyakow: Reclaiming Cree Dignity; Catherine Bush, Critically acclaimed author of climate-themed Blaze Island, Minus Time, Claire’s Head and others, Creative Writing MFA Coordinator, University of Guelph; Shaena Lambert, Critically acclaimed author of Petra, Oh, My Darling, Radiance and other work; Catherine Leroux, autrice de quatre romans dont L’avenir, traductrice récipiendaire du prix du Gouverneur general; Murray Reiss, Award-winning poet, author of Survival Rate of Butterflies in the Wild, Cemetery Compost and other work; Claudia Casper, Philip K Dick Winner for post-climate change novel The Mercy Journals. The Reconstruction. Teacher at Simon Fraser University Writer’s Studio; Carrie Saxifrage, Acclaimed author, The Big Swim: Coming to Shore in a World Adrift.