• Nick Zacharias

Schiefke to tackle climate change


PHOTO COURTESY PETER SCHIFKE’S OFFICE

As the new Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Environment and Climate Change, Peter Schiefke (left) begins his second term as the Member of Parliament for Vaudreuil-Soulanges with a new challenge ahead and will be working on what has become a high profile portfolio for the Liberal government.

Vaudreuil-Soulanges Member of Parliament Peter Schiefke has been appointed by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau as the new Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Environment and Climate Change.

“It’s an honour and a privilege to be able to take on this important portfolio” said Schiefke by phone at the end of a long day that saw him meeting constituents (and giving out coffee and hot chocolate) at the train station in Vaudreuil-Dorion during the morning commuter rush, then heading off to Ottawa for six hours of briefings on the Environment and Climate Change portfolio before finally heading back home.

Schiefke, who has served over the past four years as the Parliamentary Secretary to the Prime Minister for Youth and to the Minister of Border Security and Organized Crime, received a call from Justin Trudeau with the news. Said Schiefke, “The prime minister called me about two weeks ago as he was leaving the NATO summit, and told me ‘I think this is something that’s right up your alley.’”

Indeed Schiefke should be right at home in this portfolio, with 10 years of experience in the field of environmental sciences and as a former manager and director with Al Gore’s Climate Reality Project.

“It feels great, and I have a lot of background and knowledge to bring so I can get up to speed quickly on this incredibly important portfolio” said Schiefke, “and I’m really looking forward to working closely with (Environment Minister) Jonathan Wilkinson, who is an incredibly intelligent guy who brings so much to the table.”

Schiefke’s solid background has already served him well as he was asked to jump right in during his first week while the environment minister was away at the United Nations climate change conference in Madrid. “It’s an absolutely massive portfolio that touches on so many different elements” said Schiefke, explaining how the job will mean involvement with multiple ministries, including health, agriculture, intergovernmental affairs, infrastructure and more, as they look at everything across the country from an environmental perspective in the interest of combatting climate change, reducing greenhouse emissions and protecting our native species and natural areas.

So enormous is the task ahead, that as secretary he will be receiving his own mandate letter from Prime Minister Trudeau in the coming days (normally mandate letters are issued to various cabinet ministers at the beginning of their new terms) to orient him and set goals and direction for the high profile and high visibility work to come.

“I am honoured by the Prime Minister’s continued confidence,” said Schiefke. “I’m really looking forward to receiving that letter and sinking my teeth into this portfolio that is so key for Canada as a country.”

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