Throne Speech details plans of a green recovery amid COVID-19

2020’s Throne Speech stated that climate action, renewable energy, and protecting nature will be part of Canada’s COVID-19 recovery plan.

Governor General Julie Payette’s 2020 Throne Speech was delivered amid climbing Canadian COVID-19 cases, record-breaking wildfires in the U.S. West Coast, and an abnormally active Atlantic hurricane season.

The speech, which outlined the federal government's intentions for this session of Parliament, noted that climate action will not only be part of Canada’s COVID-19 recovery plan, but "it will be a cornerstone of our plan to support and create a million jobs across the country." Payette continued, "this is where the world is going. Global consumers and investors are demanding and rewarding climate action.”

The speech explained that thousands of jobs will be created to retrofit homes and buildings so energy costs can be reduced, investments will be made to reduce the impact of climate-related disasters such as flooding and wildfires, more sustainable transit options will be developed, and new initiatives will help zero-emission vehicles become more affordable.

Ottawa will continue working with the energy and agriculture sectors to reduce carbon emissions and expand renewables. Payette stated that the Government intends on making Canada “a world leader in clean technology” and will be “the most competitive jurisdiction in the world for clean technology companies.”

Nickel and copper were some of the domestic natural resources that can be utilized to achieve these goals and were described as being part of Canada’s “competitive edge.”

Canada’s dense forests are another important natural resource that helps absorb significant amounts of carbon from the atmosphere, and Payette said that more commitments will be made to protect nature. Urban parks will be expanded, a quarter of Canada’s land and oceans will be protected in five years, and two billion trees will be planted to increase the amount of carbon capture.

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The speech confirmed that the federal price on carbon pollution will continue and Payette simply stated, “it cannot be free to pollute.” In 2019 the Government announced the plan to ban single use plastics in Canada, and Payette said that they will be banned next year and more efforts will be made to ensure that a greater volume of discarded plastic gets recycled.

While the speech largely focused on the COVID-19 pandemic, the Government made it clear that existing climate promises will be accompanied by new commitments to protect the environment, reduce carbon emissions, stimulate the economy, and recover from the pandemic with green solutions.

Thumbnail courtesy: Guillaume Jaillet/Unsplash