This article explains how the federal Liberal government will spend more than $7 billion over the next two years on environmental protection.

Getting Started

Appropriate Subject Area(s):

Environmental studies, world issues

Key Questions to Explore:

  • How does this signal a major shift in federal government attitude towards climate change?
  • How will these monies help in the efforts to address climate change?

New Terminology:

Infrastructure, omnibus bill

Materials Needed:

Access to the Internet

Study and Discussion Activity

Introduction to lesson and task:

The last federal Conservative government led by Stephen Harper took a series of actions to weaken environmental protection. Harper’s government took to the undemocratic practice of introducing omnibus bills which included, among other things, reducing environmental protection and menacing environmental groups that dared to protest. Most noticeably, Bills C-38 and C-51 weakened environmental legislation and gave the government the ability to spy on activists under the pretence of monitoring terrorist groups. The Huffington Post explains this concern in its use of this Canadian Press article:

OTTAWA – The federal government’s assurances that its anti-terrorism bill will not be a licence to spy on activists have done little to calm the fears of aboriginal leaders, environmentalists and human rights advocates.

Several critics said Thursday they have reason to believe the legislation would be used to step up surveillance of protesters opposed to petroleum projects and other resource developments. (

With the recent federal Liberal budget, however, there was a dramatic shift in attitude and action towards efforts to protect the environment and address climate change. The budget contained more than $7 billion to address these issues over the next two years. This lesson will have the students compare the actions of the past Conservative government with the current direction being taken by Trudeau’s Liberal government in order to understand the dramatic shift that is occurring and will ask them to decide if they are in support of these changes.

Action (lesson plan and task):

Ask the students to indicate what they know concerning environmental actions outlined in the recent federal Liberal budget.

  • With this as background divide the class into groups of five or six and give them a copy of the article.
  • Allow them time to read it.
  • Once they have read the article, assign the groups the following task and allow them the remainder of class time to complete the assignment.

By using Bills C-38 and C-51 (former Conservative omnibus bills) as background material show how the new Liberal government’s budget reveals a dramatic change in attitude toward environmental protection and climate change. Once you have demonstrated this difference, decide as a group whether or not you are in support of this change. Be prepared to present both your findings and position to the class at the beginning of the next period.

Consolidation of Learning:

  • Begin the second period of the lesson by having each group give its report and respond to questions or comments from the class.
Success and Additional Learning

Success Criteria:

The students will be able to:

  • Explain how Bills C-38 and C-51 revealed the former Conservative government’s position on environmental protection and climate change.
  • Outline how the position of the current federal Liberal government under Justin Trudeau is dramatically different.
  • State whether or not they are in support of this change.

Confirming Activity

  • Once all of the groups have reported, hold a plenary session to see if there is a general consensus for or against the new direction concerning the environment established by the latest Liberal budget.