(Clockwise from top left) Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Liberal Party of Canada; Leader of the Official Opposition Andrew Scheer, Conservative Party of Canada; Leader Jagmeet Singh, New Democratic Party of Canada; Leader Elizabeth May, Green Party of Canada
Question 7: Do you and your party intend to make, or continue to make, addressing man-made climate change a top priority? What new initiatives do you have planned to mitigate the effects of climate change?
TRUDEAU: Climate change is a global challenge that requires a global solution, and it is absolutely a top priority for our government. Millions of people in Canada and around the world are feeling its effects in the form of catastrophic floods, uncontrollable wildfires, devastating droughts and unprecedented forced migration. We have a moral and economic imperative to act now. We are the last generation able to make sure that future generations do not pay the full—and incalculable—cost of climate change.
Our government’s national plan to fight climate change is comprised of practical and meaningful ways to reduce emissions, grow the economy and create good, middle class jobs. This includes:
Investing in renewables to power Canada on 90 per cent clean energy by 2030;
A world-class Oceans Protection Plan, and doubling the amount of protected nature in Canada;
Creating a national strategy on zero plastic waste, banning harmful single-use plastics and microbeads, and holding companies accountable for their plastic waste;
Building 1,200-plus public transit projects across the country to get people where they need to be in a faster, cleaner and cheaper way;
Putting a price on pollution so that is no longer free to pollute;
Cheaper zero-emission cars; and
Phasing out coal power by 2030.
Our ambitious plan is centred around making a clean economy affordable for everyone, because we know that growing the economy and protecting the environment go hand-in-hand. We know we have more to do, and we continue to work together with all Canadians to build a cleaner, more prosperous future for our kids and our grandkids.
SCHEER: Yes. Climate change is a real and pressing threat that requires real solutions. In June, Canada’s Conservatives unveiled A Real Plan to Protect Our Environment—the most comprehensive environment platform ever released by an opposition party. This plan offers our country the best chance of reaching our international targets, without imposing a punishing carbon tax on Canadian families. A Real Plan to Protect Our Environment puts green technology over taxes and takes the fight against climate change global. One of the most exciting measures we announced as a part of our plan is a new Green Homes Tax Credit, which offers families a tax credit of up to $3,800 for green home renovations. To read more about our plan, please visit arealplan.ca.
SINGH: The NDP will declare a climate emergency and put into law the requirement for the government to establish a plan to meet ambitious, science-based greenhouse gas emissions reduction targets that will help stabilize the global temperature rise to 1.5°C. We will revise Canada’s 2030 target to make emissions reductions in line with what the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change says is necessary to prevent catastrophic climate impacts.
In our first mandate, a New Democrat government will make new investments of over $15 billion to put in place programs to reduce emissions, mitigate the effects of climate change and create good jobs all across the country.
MAY: To combat climate change, we plan to initiate our 20-point initiative called Mission: Possible—The Green Climate Action Plan. It places Canada on something equivalent to a war footing to ensure the security of our economy, and of our children and grandchildren—our future. It includes the following:
Declare a Climate Emergency: Accept, at every level of government, that climate is not an environmental issue. It is the gravest security threat the world has ever seen.
Establish an inner-cabinet of all parties: Modelled on the war cabinets of Mackenzie King and Winston Churchill, parties will work together to ensure that climate is no longer treated like a political football. It requires all hands on deck.
Set stringent new targets: Establish our new target and file it as Canada’s Nationally Determined Contribution with the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change: 60 per cent greenhouse gas (GHG) reductions against 2005 levels by 2030; zero emissions by 2050.
Assume leadership: Attend the next climate negotiation in Chile this year and press other countries to also double their efforts.
Respect evidence: Restore funding of climate research within the Government of Canada and in the network of universities that received financial support before 2011.
Maintain carbon pricing: Revenue neutrality will be achieved through carbon fees and dividends, and we will eliminate all subsidies to fossil fuels.
Ban fracking: No exceptions. It destroys ecosystems, contaminates ground and surface water, endangers our health and it’s a major source of GHGs.
Green the grid: By 2030, remove all fossil-fuel generation from our national east-west electricity grid.
And modernize the grid: By 2030, rebuild and revamp the east-west electricity grid to ensure that renewable energy can be transmitted from one province to another.
Plug in to electric vehicles (EVs): By 2030, ensure all new cars are electric. By 2040, replace all internal-combustion engine vehicles with electric vehicles, working with carmakers to develop EVs that can replace working vehicles for Canadians in rural areas. Build a cross-country electric vehicle charging system so that drivers can cruise from St. Johns, Newfoundland and Labrador, to Prince Rupert, B.C., with seamless ease.
Get Canada back on track: Modernize VIA Rail, expand service and ensure trans-modal connections across Canada to light rail and electric buses, so that no one in rural and remote areas of Canada lacks efficient, affordable and safe public transit.
Complete a national building retrofit: Create millions of new, well-paying jobs in the trades by retrofitting every building in Canada—residential, commercial, and institutional—to be carbon neutral by 2030.
Turn off the tap to oil imports: End all imports of foreign oil. As fossil fuel use declines, use only Canadian fossil fuels and allow investment in upgraders to turn Canadian solid bitumen into gas, diesel, propane and other products for the Canadian market, providing jobs in Alberta. By 2050, shift all Canadian bitumen from fuel to feedstock for the petrochemical industry.
Switch to bio-diesel: Promote the development of local, small-scale bio-diesel production, primarily relying on used vegetable fat from restaurants. Mandate the switch to bio-diesel for agricultural, fishing and forestry equipment.
Create new partnerships for renewables: Form partnerships with Indigenous peoples, providing economic opportunities by ramping up renewables on their lands. Harness abandoned deep oil wells, wherever feasible, for geothermal energy, using workers who drilled the wells to manage the renewable energy generation.
Call for all hands on deck: Engage every municipality and community organization, as well as every school and university, to step up and plant trees, install solar panels and heat pumps, and assist in retrofitting buildings to maximize energy efficiency.
Prioritize adaptation: Invest significant resources in adaptation measures to protect Canadian resource sectors such as agriculture, fishing and forestry from the ravages of climate change. Review all infrastructure investments for adaptation to climate change. Map flood plains, tornado corridors and other areas of natural vulnerability and adjust land use plans accordingly.
Change planes: Cancel the purchase of F35s and buy more water bombers to protect communities from forest fires. Cut standing dead timber to establish firebreaks and save lives.
Curtail the “other” GHG sources: Address the fossil fuel use that falls outside the Paris Agreement—emissions from international shipping, aviation and the military.
Restore carbon sinks: Launch a global effort to restore carbon sinks, focusing on replanting forests and restoring the planet’s mangrove forests as quickly as possible.