Throughout the federal election campaign, wildfires have raged in B.C. and extreme drought has threatened crops and livestock across the Prairies. A week before the election call, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change warned that global temperature rise was reaching a ‘code red’ for humanity.
So, it’s little surprise that climate change is top of mind for voters this election. The Angus Reid institute estimates that one in five Canadians say climate change is their primary concern this election and ranks in the top five concerns for every age group.
Here is where the federal parties stand on this hot-button issue:
The Liberals are pledging to fight climate change with economics. Their platform includes a $2-billion ‘Futures Fund’ for workers in Alberta, Saskatchewan and Newfoundland and Labrador to transition away from work in the oil and gas sector.
They have also pledged to create a Net-Zero Accelerator Fund that will provide $8 billion to support innovation in projects and technology to help fight climate change.
The Liberals previously introduced a carbon tax that will reach $50-per-tonne by 2022 and have pledged to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 40 to 45 per cent below 2005 levels by 2030 and get to net-zero emissions by 2050.
Conservative Party of Canada
The Conservatives say their plan will ‘secure the environment’ and hold international partners to account. The Conservatives have proposed a $20-per-tonne carbon tax and announced a ‘low-carbon savings account’ where levies on hydrocarbon fuels will be deposited so individuals can spend those funds on
They have also pledged to make Canada a leader in producing low-emissions vehicles, require 30 per cent of light-duty vehicles sold in Canada to be low-emissions by 2030 and upgrade Canada’s energy grid.
The Conservatives have pledged to meet Canada’s commitments under the Paris Climate Accord, but say they won’t do it ‘on the backs of working Canadians’. O’Toole said a Conservative government would stand up to ‘major polluters’ like China and would keep Canada’s climate action in line with actions by the U.S. and E.U. countries.
The New Democrats say they will take more aggressive action to reduce emissions than the other major parties.
The NDP will reduce emissions to 50 per cent below 2005 levels by 2030 and establish multi-year national and sectoral carbon budgets to keep emission reductions on track.
Jagmeet Singh has promised an end to fossil fuel subsidies and will instead redirect them toward low-carbon initiatives like improving public transit, retrofitting buildings, and clean energy projects. The NDP has also promised to build climate action into financial legislation like the Bank of Canada Act, the Export Development Canada Act, and the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board Act.
Green Party of Canada
The Greens are pledging to craft a Climate Change Act that would cut emissions by 60 per cent below 2005 levels by 2030 and reach net zero by 2050 with interim goals set at five-year intervals.
They are also proposing an end to investment in fossil fuel projects: no new pipelines, coal, oil or gas projects. Hydraulic fracking would be banned. The Greens promise to phase out existing fossil fuel projects between 2030 and 2035.
The Greens are promising to cancel the Trans Mountain pipeline and all fossil fuel subsidies. They would redirect that money toward upgrading Canada’s energy grid and transitioning to renewable energy.
The People’s Party of Canada
The People’s Party does not believe in human-caused climate change and claims climate science is ‘big government propaganda’.
The People’s Party promises to withdraw from the Paris Climate Accords, abolish the carbon tax and eliminate all subsidies for green technology.