A message from local MP Laurel Collins

›› Laurel Collins

The COVID-19 pandemic has exposed the gaps in our health care system and our social safety net, and it has intensified the growing inequalities in our society. It has brought into sharp focus how vulnerable we all are when disaster hits. Most of all, it has showed us that we need to take better care of people and the planet.

It has brought us to a crossroads.

We can go backwards to so called “business as usual” with a housing crisis, widespread inequality, and no real action on climate change.

Or we can build for better.

There are those who are calling for us to fall back on old unsustainable industries and would see us put stimulus funds into the pockets of CEOs and shareholders instead of helping workers transition to the good, green, family supporting jobs of the future.

While the federal government has been rightly focused on the response to COVID-19, we cannot lose sight of the fact that the climate crisis is another great threat to our health and livelihoods. We have the opportunity to make immediate investments in public transit, affordable housing, energy-efficient retrofits, renewable energy projects, and electrical grid expansion. All of which will create sustainable jobs, reduce inequality, and protect the planet.

Communities have a key role to play in a just and sustainable recovery. Local initiatives like the Clean Air Project proposed by The South Island Climate Action Network (SI-CAN), which would accelerate the conversion of the Victoria Regional transit fleet to fully electric and expand service, can contribute to lowering emissions, supporting community resilience, and creating well-paying local jobs, but they need investments from the federal government to move forward.

As we move into the recovery phase, we need to recognize the historic opportunity to invest in the infrastructure we need to ensure a livable future, and we can’t afford to waste it.

Over the past several months we have seen our community come together to tackle COVID-19. Let us apply that same energy and urgency to building a just and sustainable recovery.