Trudeau environment and economy policy thin on details

Justin Trudeau, leader of the Liberal Party of Canada, today announced an environment and economy policy platform that appears to be designed to woo some of the green vote in October’s federal election. Among the initiatives included in the announcement:

  • Within 90 days of the December 2015 United Nations Climate Change Conference in Paris, a Canadian First Ministers meeting will be held to work together on a framework to combat climate change. Central to this will be the creation of national emissions-reduction targets. As part of the comprehensive emissions reduction agreement with provinces and territories, we will provide targeted federal funding to help them achieve these goals.
  • We will fulfill Canada’s G-20 commitment to phase out subsidies for the fossil fuel industry. The next step will be to allow for the use of the Canadian Exploration Expenses tax deduction only in cases of unsuccessful exploration. The savings will be re-directed to investments in new and clean technologies.
  • We will work with the United States and Mexico to develop an ambitious North American clean energy and environment agreement.
  • We will work with provinces, territories, Aboriginal governments, and municipalities to develop a comprehensive action plan that allows Canada to better predict, prepare for, and respond to weather related emergencies.
  • We will also provide training and the necessary resources to establish the Canadian Armed Forces as world-class leaders in responding to weather related emergencies.
  • We will invest $200 million more annually to create sector-specific strategies that support innovation and clean technologies in the forestry, fisheries, mining, energy, and agricultural sectors.
  • We will invest $100 million more per year in organizations that have been successful at supporting the emergence of clean technology firms in Canada, including Sustainable Development Technology Canada. We will also work in partnership with the private sector to enhance the availability of venture capital for new, clean technology.
  • We will work with provinces, territories, universities, and colleges to put in place a full range of support for emerging clean tech companies. We will also create Canada Research Chairs in sustainable technology.
  • We will work with the provinces to set stronger air quality standards. We will also improve monitoring and reporting of air pollutants emissions.
  • We will consult on ways to enhance the scientific research and experimental development tax credit – in conjunction with other tax measures – to generate more clean technology investment. We will start by adding electricity storage technologies and electrical car charging stations to the list of investments that are eligible for accelerated capital cost allowance.
  • We will establish the Canada Green Investment Bond to support both large- and community-scale renewable energy projects.
  • By ensuring that the federal government dramatically increases its use of clean technologies in energy, buildings, and procurement, we will help create domestic demand for clean technology firms, support Canadian entrepreneurs, and lead by example.
  • We will improve energy efficiency standards for consumer and commercial products to ensure they reflect the most up-to-date technology. We will use new financing instruments to stimulate retrofits and distributed energy systems, and make significant improvements to the energy efficiency of Canada’s industrial, commercial, and residential buildings.
  • We will provide more support for our clean technology companies to successfully export their products by training trade officials and leading trade missions focused on clean technology.
  • We will launch an immediate, public review of Canada’s environmental assessment processes. Based on this review, a Liberal government will [implement] a new, comprehensive, timely, and fair process that:

– Restores robust oversight and thorough environmental assessments – which have been gutted by this Conservative government – of areas under federal jurisdiction, while also working with provincial and territorial governments to ensure that processes are not duplicated;
– Ensures decisions are based on science, facts, and evidence, and serve the public’s interest;
– Provides ways for interested Canadians to express their views and for experts to meaningfully participate in assessment processes; and
– Requires project proponents to choose the best technologies available to reduce environmental impacts.

  • We will rapidly develop a road map to meet Canada’s international commitment to protect 17 percent of our land and inland waters by 2020.
  • We will protect our National Parks by restricting development inside the parks, and where possible, we will work with gateway communities outside the parks to grow their eco-tourism industries and create jobs. We will make the sustainable economic development of gateway communities a stronger part of the Parks Canada’s mandate.
  • We will increase the amount of Canada’s marine and coastal areas that are protected from 1.3 percent to 5 percent by 2017, and 10 percent by 2020.
  • We will [formalize] the moratorium on crude oil tanker traffic on British Columbia’s North Coast, including the Dixon Entrance, Hecate Strait, and Queen Charlotte Sound, to ensure that ecologically sensitive areas and local economies are protected from the potentially devastating impacts of a spill.
  • We will restore $1.5 million in federal funding for freshwater research and make new investments in Canada’s world-leading IISD Experimental Lakes Area.

The full document can be found at https://www.liberal.ca/files/2015/06/a-new-plan-for-canadas-environment-and-economy.pdf

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