Unceded Algonquin Anishinaabe Territories [OTTAWA], 17 April 2020:
Today the Government of Canada signaled its readiness to embrace a just transition toward a cleaner, more resilient economy. As people across the country continue to grapple with a series of unprecedented challenges, Climate Action Network Canada welcomes the federal government’s leadership in working to balance urgent economic demands with consideration of the long-term health, wellbeing and security of people, workers and communities.
While we expect greater clarity on allocation of funds, we saw today that Prime Minister Trudeau is listening to demands to prioritize people and planetary health. $1.7B to put oil and gas workers to work on cleaning up orphaned oil and gas wells; $750M to advance industrial methane emissions reductions; investments in Community Futures programs; innovation hubs for small business – these are the kinds of measures that will help Canada rebuild better, putting us on path to a net-zero future that runs on renewable energy.
In announcing these measures, the government has also indicated its willingness to hear from landowners, farmers, and communities on the direct front lines of Canada’s energy transition in order to help prioritize investments.
While we acknowledge and appreciate what this cash infusion achieves – stimulating the economy through well-paying work, while repairing ecosystems damaged by oil and gas operations – we expect to see the federal government hold companies accountable by making enforcement of existing regulations meant to require those companies to clean up orphaned materials and restore land and waterways a condition of its support to the government of Alberta.
We will be watching how fiscal measures available through Export Development Canada (EDC) and Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC) will further support the government’s stated commitment to using COVID-relief public money to move Canada further along its path to a more sustainable and resilient net-zero economic future.
Executive Director, Climate Action Network Canada