22 Apr Where Do Canada’s Political Parties Stand on Renewable Energy?
Every time an election rolls around, pollsters consistently discover that the environment is one of Canadians’ biggest concerns, and one of the most important ways to protect the environment is by making the change to sustainable energy sources. But where, exactly, do each of the 4 major political parties stand on the issue of green energy? We did the homework so you don’t have to! Read on to find out where the Conservatives, NDP, Liberals, and Greens all stand on renewable energy…
After almost a decade in power, the Conservatives under Prime Minister Stephen Harper have either undertaken, or pledged to undertake, a number of different initiatives related to renewable energy. In particular, the Conservatives have:
- Pledged to support “economically viable clean energy projects that will assist … in the replacement of fossil fuel with renewable fuel sources”. In order to meet this standard, projects must have either national or regional significance, have a real economic or financial benefit, and genuinely reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
- Promoted the establishment of clean energy technologies in Aboriginal and Northern communities.
- Invested in clean energy-related research and development, such as carbon capture and storage technologies.
- Created the Clean Energy Dialogue with the USA in an effort to collaborate internationally to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
New Democratic Party
As the official opposition in the House of Commons, the NDP under Tom Mulcair have made renewable energy policies an integral part of their electoral platform. Mr. Mulcair has stated that “clean, renewable energies promote innovation, help create jobs and protect the environment in Canada.” If elected, the NDP plans to:
- Make Canada a “green and prosperous country” in which “no one is left behind”.
- Invest in “solar, wind, wave, and geothermal” energy sources to foster job creation and help build “a competitive advantage for Canada in environmental technologies and practices”.
- Promote the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions by establishing a revenue-generating carbon market.
- Rescind public subsidies and tax breaks afforded to the fossil fuel industry, while simultaneously protecting workers and communities dependent on that industry by “managing transitional costs and re-engineering of energy-dependent industries to help them adapt”.
The Liberal Party of Canada under Justin Trudeau has also incorporated renewable energy into its platform. At a speech to the Calgary Petroleum Club in 2013, Mr. Trudeau vowed to establish an energy industry regulatory regime which both “creates growth and protects the environment”. As part of their current platform, if elected, the Liberals would:
- Make “critical investments” in the clean energy industry.
- Support clean energy and energy-efficiency projects to “help reduce climate change causing gases, and to add high-paying, cutting edge jobs”.
Considering their name, it should come as no surprise that the Green Party of Canada under Elizabeth May has made renewable energy a major plank in their policy platform. If they were to form the next government of Canada, the Greens would:
- Create “thousands” of “green jobs” by investing in renewable energy, retrofitting buildings, and improving the public transit and freight systems.
- Cut “wasteful” subsidies to both the nuclear and fossil fuel industries.
- Establish a “carbon fee and dividend system” to encourage industries to be more efficient in their use of energy and resources.
Sources: http://www.conservative.ca/media/2012/06/ConservativePlatform2011_ENs.pdf, http://xfer.ndp.ca/2013/policybook/2013-04-17-PolicyBook_E.pdf, http://www.ndp.ca/news/new-democrats-promote-clean-energy, http://www.liberal.ca/what-we-stand-for/energy-and-the-environment/#clean-energy, http://www.greenparty.ca/en/platform/smart-economy