Mono resident advises federal government on energy policy

January 26, 2018   ·   0 Comments

By Jasen Obermeyer

A Mono resident took part in a special, first-ever “Citizen’s Dialogue” that saw citizens across the country come together to advise the federal government on ways to handle and improve its energy policy.

The lucky resident was Janet Sinclair, who was randomly selected as part of a questionnaire process that began last summer.

The Citizen’s Dialogue was funded by Natural Resources Canada under minister Jim Carr, as part of the ministry’s public consultation process called Generation Energy.

The process was designed and facilitated by Simon Fraser University’s Morris J. Wosk Centre for Dialogue.

Ms. Sinclair, and roughly 150 others from across the country, took part in five two-day Regional Dialogue discussions in September, with hers taking place in Toronto.

She was then one of 35 others who took part in the Pan Canadian Dialogue in Winnipeg, for three days in October.

“We took the work from the regional conferences, and over those days turned it into a report and recommendations to the federal government for what we would like to see for Canada’s future,” said Ms. Sinclair.

She told the Citizen that her panel emphasized the importance of citizen participation. “We can’t have a democracy, especially a healthy democracy, unless we have engaged citizens.”

She said her panel recommended that the federal government, in partnership with other levels of government, produce an energy plan for Canada’ future, and need to transition to low carbon-green energy “as soon as possible.”

According to the government of Canada’s website, the government plans to reduce greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) by 80 per cent by 2050, relative to 2005 levels.

She explained there was a four-plan focus outlined: a transition plan that would focus especially on the communities most affected by the changes; investment in infrastructure; incentives for clean technology and clean energy; and, regulations.

Ms. Sinclair described the experience as life-changing, and realized the current distrust with our democratic processes and politicians. “We have to be committed to finding and voting for people we trust, to be intelligent and honest.”

She said the biggest thing she gained was becoming a more engaged citizen, as she learned a lot on the different “effects there are across the country in the way energy is produced, used, and regulated.”

Ms. Sinclair added she was “impressed by the level of consensus (my panel) quickly reached” regarding the need for a quick transition to low carbon, renewable energy sources.

“All agreed that education and communication would be determining factors in our success,” she said. “Significant resources should flow to the communities that will be most affected by the changes.”

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