A lot of Canada's current crises were caused in part by past governments failing to think beyond election cycles. So how can we make governments think more long term and consider the impact of their decisions on future generations? To find out, we spoke with Jerry DeMarco, the Commissioner of the Environment and Sustainable Development in Canada’s Office of the Auditor General.
Our conversation touched on:
- How his office holds the federal government to account on its sustainable development promises
- How Canada went from leader to laggard on climate action
- Comparing sustainable development and generational fairness
- How Canada and other countries can embed long-term thinking in government decisions
Commissioner DeMarco has been interested in intergenerational equity for much of his 25-year career as a leading expert on environmental law. Before joining the OAG, he served as Commissioner of the Environment and Assistant Auditor General at the Office of the Auditor General of Ontario.
“It’s kind of ironic that the institution that's protecting the public commons is often the one that's actually discounting the future at our own expense.”
“When we didn't have the technology to create multi-decade or multi-century messes for others to clean up, then there wasn't necessarily a need to have institutions that could deal with that. But now that we do have that ability to create these long-term problems, we need to harness our ingenuity to figure out new ways of addressing them.”
- Commissioner of the Environment and Sustainable Development Reports to Parliament
- Our push for a federal Generational Fairness Task Force
- Our interview with Wales Future Generations Commissioner
- Network of Institutions for Future Generations
- United Nations Summit of the Future