By Louise Comeau
October 20, 2015
Election night in Canada saw the country win on two fronts: we knocked it out of the ballpark with a stinging rebuke of the Harper Conservative government and swept in a majority Liberal government. And, the Blue Jays beat Kansas City 11 to 8. Go Canada Go!
While we celebrate a new day, we also need to proceed cautiously: Is it really time to proudly display our Canadian flag at the UN climate negotiations? Liberals are pragmatic which means they like process, but you can’t always count on process to lead to tangible results: remember Canada failed to meet its Rio and Kyoto commitments under previous governments, including the Liberals. On the optimistic side, Mr. Trudeau has made some good and important commitments in the Party’s election platform, including:
- Promising that Canada will do its fair share to keep the world below 2°Degrees C and to being in Paris in December with the premiers.
- A commitment to engage provincial and territorial premiers in a domestic process before setting a national target and to doing so within 90 days of returning from Paris. Provincial engagement will include working on a Canadian energy strategy. The national effort will include a national approach to carbon pricing (details to be worked out).
- Phasing out fossil fuel subsidies over the “medium term”.
- Work with the US and Mexico on a North American clean energy and environmental agreement.
- Investments in green infrastructure, a Low-Carbon Economy Trust with $2billion CND over the term of the government’s mandate (no more than five years)
- Redirect infrastructure investments through the Building Canada Fund toward transit, green infrastructure and social infrastructure.
- Create a Canada Infrastructure Bank that will issue green bonds to advance renewable energy investments, other investments/regulations through government procurement and consumer conservation/energy efficiency.
- $300 million in clean tech and innovation investments.
- Reform the National Energy Board and ensure that environmental assessments include an analysis of upstream impacts and greenhouse gas emissions from projects under review.
Sounds great, doesn’t it? Not so fast. This Government also wants to get oil to market, build new pipelines and sees no conflict between oil sands development and greenhouse gas reductions. Climate Action Network-Réseau action climat Canada will proudly raise the Canadian flag when our new government enshrines in domestic law a 2025 and 2030 target in keeping with 100% renewable energy by 2050 and agrees to pay its fair share in international finance. The process should start with a meeting of First Ministers BEFORE we leave for Paris.