I am writing in response to the letter to the editor published in the Nov. 11 edition entitled “Why did Canada send so many to climate conference?“. This letter was a republication of a letter sent to our MP, Tony Baldinelli.
I, too, was taken aback when I heard that Canada had sent the largest delegation to the COP 26 in Glasgow, Scotland. Why would a country with our population send so many delegates?
I decided this was worth looking into. So, I searched on Google and found the list of all country delegations to COP 26, which can be found here: https://unfccc.int/sites/default/files/resource/PLOP_COP26.pdf
Reviewing this list of Canadian delegations I noted there were, indeed, numerous representatives from the federal government, including the prime minister, the minister of environment and climate change, and the minister of natural resources as well as senior government officials.
I confess it took me a while to figure out why our delegation would include the names of so many RCMP officers.Then it dawned on me that several members of the RCMP's International Protection Unit were there to protect the prime minister and cabinet ministers in attendance.
Members of the Surete du Quebec, also part of the delegation, were protecting the Quebec premier and members of the National Assembly who attended.
What I also observed while reviewing the list of Canada's delegation to COP 26 was the significant number of non-federal government delegates. These included the Conservative Party of Canada's shadow cabinet minister for the environment and climate change, MP Dan Albas, a Bloc Quebecois MP, the leader of the NDP, Jagmeet Singh, and representatives of the Green Party of Canada.
So much for the letter writer's hope that “… the Opposition will challenge the efficacy of this sort of gravy train …” The opposition parties in the House of Commons were in Glasgow, too.
Moreover, the non-federal government delegates included the premier of Newfoundland and Labrador, along with several of his provincial officials, the premier of Quebec, together with numerous Quebec government officials, Ontario's minister of environment, conservation and parks, David Piccini, along with Ontario officials, as well senior representatives from various other provincial and territorial governments including British Columbia, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, PEI and the NWT.
The City of Montreal and the Quebec National Assembly also sent delegates to COP 26.
Canadian media outlets were also included in Canada's delegation, including CTV, Canadian Press, Global News, the Toronto Star, and Radio-Canada. So too were several organizations representing the interests of Indigenous Canadians, including the Assembly of First Nations, the Metis National Council and the National Inuit Youth Council.
Corporate Canada was represented in Canada's delegation to COP 26, including Intact Financial Corporation, Suncor, Fortis Inc, ArcelorMittal, Bank of Montreal, Enerkem, Biothermica Carbone Inc. and Vancity Community Investment Bank. Not to be outdone by corporate Canada, labour unions attending COP 26 as part of Canada's delegation included the Canadian Labour Congress, the Ontario Secondary School Teachers' Federation and the National Union of Public and General Employees.
Reviewing the list of Canada's COP 26 delegates was an eyeopener for me.
My initial instinct to think it was a big government of Canada boondoggle evaporated quickly as I surveyed the list and saw the depth and breadth of those who attended.
We may have a relatively small population, but Canadians' interest in the impact of climate change on our country is huge.
It was certainly worth the time I spent digging in to learn the facts.
In fact, it always is.