An editorial by Mel Rothenburger.
IF WE TAKE THE POLITICS out of reaction to Justin Trudeau’s announcement that he’ll ban single-use plastics by 2021 if he’s re-elected, there’s much to be excited about.
Some critics say it should happen sooner. Some say it’s an empty pre-election promise. Others say it’s worthless because it’s devoid of details.
Au crontraire. If Trudeau had come out with a comprehensive plan outlining exactly what will be banned and when, he’d have been accused of dictatorial politics. It will take time to consult with the various stakeholders and gain consensus.
As long as obstructionists don’t gain too much leverage, it’s the right way to go.
The federal initiative is more a case of the feds giving a push to a bandwagon that’s already slowly moving forward than it is of creating one. Public opinion, which until only recently was ambivalent on the matter, is rapidly shifting to something of a groundswell on the side of a ban. Even businesses, which might be expected to resist it, are getting onside.
A growing number of municipalities are already creating their own bylaws but the involvement of the federal government will bring consistency and immediacy to solving what has become a truly frightening environmental problem.
Local governments are trying to figure out which plastics to ban and how to enforce such a ban, a situation that would gradually create a hodgepodge of regulation across the country.
They’ll be happy to get this contentious issue off their plates and leave it to Ottawa. That should not, however, deter Kamloops City council from moving forward with its own ban as an interim measure in case the federal bad gets derailed.
Nevertheless, Monday’s announcement is good news for the environment.
Mel Rothenburger is a former mayor of Kamloops and newspaper editor. He publishes the ArmchairMayor.ca opinion website, and is a director on the Thompson-Nicola Regional District board. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.