Thursday, October 17th 2019, 12:50 pm - The environment has been a top-of-mind issue for candidates running in the 2019 federal election. We break down the political parties' plans for Canada's environment.
Whether it's carbon taxes, planting more trees, reducing greenhouse gas emissions or eliminating single-use plastics, there's no shortage of ideas to help the environment, brought forward by Canada's political parties for the upcoming federal election.
The environment has been one of the hot topics for federal candidates vying to become Canada's next prime minister on Monday, Oct. 21. So you may be wondering how each party views the issue and what it will do about it should it get voted into power.
We have compiled the environmental reforms promised in the platforms of five of Canada's political parties running in next week's election and have put them together in a list below.
LIBERAL PARTY OF CANADA
As part of its platform, the Liberals have made several promises on various environmental issues. These include:
- Achieve net-zero emissions by 2050 by strengthening existing rules to cut emissions from Canada’s biggest polluters, including oil and gas
- Protecting 25 per cent of Canada’s land and 25 per cent of Canada’s oceans by 2025
- Banning single-use plastics by 2021
- Planting two billion trees in the next 10 years to help clean Canada's air, part of a $3-billion commitment to better conserve and restore forests, grasslands, agricultural lands, wetlands and coastal areas
- Creating the Canada Water Agency, which will work collaboratively with the provinces and territories, Indigenous communities, local authorities, scientists and others to help keep Canada's water safe, clean and well-managed
- Installing up to 5,000 charging stations for electric vehicles
- Mandating that federal buildings be powered completely by clean electricity by 2022
- Moving forward with a new $5-billion Clean Power Fund to support the electrification of Canadian industries, including the resource and manufacturing sectors
Additional environmental initiatives from the Liberals' platform can be found here.
CONSERVATIVE PARTY OF CANADA
The Conservatives' platform includes a wide-range of environmental committments. Among them are the following:
- Setting emissions standards for major emitters that will lower greenhouse gases and require companies to invest in research, development and adoption of green technology, if they're emissions exceed what is permitted under the Green Investment Standards
- Creating a two-year Green Homes Tax Credit (GHTC) for homeowners to help pay for energy-saving renovation
- Establishing a Green Patent Credit that will reduce the tax rate to 5 per cent on income generated from green technology developed and patented in Canada
- Creating a single online hub for green technology innovators that will help them identify where they can find talent, information and resources from the private and public sectors
- Negotiating regulatory changes that would increase the efficiency of transportation of goods at Canada’s borders
- Pursuing opportunities to connect regions and communities with clean power
- Fostering the adoption of smart-grid technology and strategic interconnection of electricity grids, as well as the adoption of renewable power technologies
For more on the Conservatives' plans for the environment, click here.
NEW DEMOCRATIC PARTY (NDP)
The NDP has included a number of environmental proposals in its platform, such as:
- Declaring a climate emergency and putting in place science-based greenhouse gas reductions targets that will help stabilize the global temperature rise to 1.5°C
- Setting a target to power Canada with net carbon-free electricity by 2030 and move to 100 per cent non-emitting electricity by 2050
- Planning to launch a Canadian Climate Bank to help boost investment in renewable energy, energy efficiency and low-carbon technology across the country
- Requiring Canadian companies produce clean technology
- Ensuring federal buildings use renewable energy and move the vehicle fleets of the federal government to electric by 2025, choosing made-in-Canada wherever possible
- Directing some of the federal transit funds to low-carbon transit projects, such as zero-emissions buses and electric trains, with the goal of electrifying transit and other municipal fleets by 2030
- Making it easier for Canadian auto manufacturers to produce more zero-emission vehicles (ZEV) in Canada, targeting to have all new cars sold emission-free by 2040
- Waiving the federal sales tax on ZEV purchases and increase these incentives up to $15,000 per family for made-in-Canada vehicles
For more on the NDP's proposed environmental targets, click here.
GREEN PARTY OF CANADA
The Green party has outlined its proposals for preserving Canada's environment. Its plan includes the following:
- Cutting 60 per cent of carbon emissions by 2030
- Working with Indigenous leadership and other parties to solve the climate crisis
- Cancelling the Trans Mountain pipeline
- Makinge electric vehicles affordable and expanding charging stations
- Renewing the National Forest Strategy
- Transitioning fossil fuel workers to the renewable energy sector
- Setting legal emissions limits for industries that decline over time, with penalties for exceeding those limits
- Maintaining a broad-based, revenue-neutral carbon fee on all sources of carbon dioxide pollution. Revenues from the carbon fee would be returned to Canadians as a dividend
Additional measures announced in the Green party's platform can be found here.
The Bloc Quebecois has designated some of its platform to the environment, most of which focuses on taxation and regulation. Here is what the party is proposing:
- That Ottawa impose a carbon tax in provinces where greenhouse gas emissions per capita are higher than average
- That the proceeds of this tax be paid to provinces where emissions are lower than medium, creating a form of green equalization that taxes polluters and rewards good players
- Introducing legislation to set greenhouse gas reduction targets consistent with the objectives of the Paris Agreement, compelling the government to take the necessary measures to achieve them
- Rejecting the Energy East project
- Ending fossil fuel subsidies
- Introducing a zero-emission bill, which will require every manufacturer to sell a minimum of zero-emission cars based on the number of gasoline cars sold
- Introducing new green measures including new support for commercial buildings that would cover both energy retrofits and the electrification of energy systems
More proposals detailed in the Bloc Quebecois' platform (in French) can be found here.
ENVIRONMENTAL GROUPS POLL POLITICAL PARTIES
A survey representing the collective priorities of more than a dozen of Canada's enviornmental groups was sent to the country's six main political parties in July 2019.
The parties were given 10 questions to answer, including if they would immediately legislate a climate plan that will reduce Canada’s emissions, aligned with keeping warming below 1.5°C.
Full responses to each question can be found here.