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Jonathan Wilkinson: North Vancouver MP reflects on nearly a decade of public service

Wilkinson shares updates on the various initiatives he has spearheaded to address climate change and enhance affordability
Minister Wilkinson announces funding to Come By Chance to help convert the oil refinery into a biofuel production facility. Photo via Jonathan Wilkinson MP

It may have seemed like just another casual outing at the time, but it was both formative and fortuitous for one of Metro Vancouver’s leading environmental advocates.

The year is 2014 and Jonathan Wilkinson is having lunch with a friend, bemoaning Canada’s standing on the world stage with respect to climate change.

“He said to me, ‘That’s all well and good – but you’ve said this 10 times to me before, so what are you going to do about it?’ That provoked me to think about running for office,” Wilkinson recalls.

It was a pivotal moment that Wilkinson took to heart. He left behind 20 years in the private sector running clean technology companies and was elected MP for North Vancouver one year later.

Wilkinson’s responsibilities since then have largely focused on his passion for the planet – now the Minister of Energy and Natural Resources, Wilkinson’s previous posts have included heading up the environment and climate change and fisheries ministries.

“I am somebody who comes from the business community and I’m very concerned about building an economy that will be strong and prosperous,” Wilkinson says. “But I’m also a social progressive and I believe that we should build a society that is fair, that provides equality of opportunity for the next generations of Canadians, and enables people to pursue their dreams.”

With Wilkinson’s political career approaching the 10-year mark, he’s now taking stock of some of the milestones he and his Liberal Party colleagues have achieved over the last decade.


Launched in 2017, the National Housing Strategy is a 10-year plan with more than $80 billion worth of investments intended to expand supply and ensure access to affordable housing for all. And just this spring, the government launched the next phase of Canada’s Housing Plan, which aims to provide nearly four million new homes by 2031.

Folks in Metro Vancouver know better than anyone that there is a need for more housing, especially affordable homes. Wilkinson has been advocating to bring funding to the doorstep of North Vancouver residents, and work is underway. An $18-million agreement with the City of North Vancouver was reached just weeks ago to spur the construction of more than 3,100 homes on the North Shore alone.

“This will help us to really address the pressures in the housing market that we see today,” Wilkinson says.

Minister Wilkinson announces funding for the city of North Vancouver through the Housing Accelerator Fund, 2024. Photo via Jonathan Wilkinson MP


Wilkinson and his colleagues have focused much of their work on the structural affordability challenges facing many: introducing $10-a-day child care, a school food program for Canadian children across the country, access to dental and pharmacare, and increased disability benefits.

"Long-term, structural affordability is important, to ensure that we’re creating a society that enables folks to live fulfilling lives,” Wilkinson says. 

Since 2015, close to one million Canadians, including hundreds of thousands of children, have been lifted out of poverty due to measures like the Canada Child Benefit. As a father of two, Wilkinson is proud of this progress and ready to do more to give young Canadians as many opportunities as possible.

Climate change

During his time as Minister of Environment and Climate Change, Wilkinson led the charge to introduce Canada’s first climate plan. One of his proudest achievements, the plan demonstrates for the first time in Canadian history how we will collectively meet – and exceed – the established targets.

There’s more work to be done, but Wilkinson is proud of our progress thus far. In May 2024, data confirmed that pollution in 2022 was at the lowest level in 25 years, and Canada is on track to beat the 2026 greenhouse gas emissions target.

“My youngest daughter is a climate activist at the University of Toronto – she pushes me every day and says, ‘Dad, you need to do more,’” Wilkinson says. “She’s the reason I got [into politics] and I’m glad I did.”