Canada election: Complete list of promises about tackling climate change

Here’s a running list of the promises regarding climate change that Justin Trudeau, Erin O’Toole, Annamie Paul, Jagmeet Singh, and Yves-Francois Blanchet have made from the time the campaign starts to election day:

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Conservative Promises

  • Aug. 29: Conservative Leader Erin O’Toole confirms his party plans to lower Canada’s current greenhouse gas emissions target to 30 per cent of 2005 levels by 2030. This is a reduction of the current target set by the Liberal government in April of a 40 to 45 per cent reduction compared to 2005 levels by 2030.
  • Aug. 16: The Conservatives release a 160-page platform that includes a promise to scrap the Liberals’ carbon tax and replace it with a carbon pricing scheme that O’Toole says is not a tax.
  • The plan would price carbon at $20 a ton initially, increasing to $50 a ton by 2030. A levy would be added to all purchases of “hydrocarbon-based” fuels, such as gasoline, and the proceeds from the levy would then be placed into a Personal Low Carbon Savings Account. Industries can expect the price on carbon to increase to as high as $170 a ton by 2030 if the Conservatives form government. This pledge is in-line with the Liberals’ plans for heavy-emitters of greenhouse gasses.
  • Conservatives promise to change the national building code to include minimum requirements for electric vehicle charging stations, plus a mandate that at least 30 per cent of all vehicles on the road by 2030 will be electric.
  • Conservatives say they’ll invest in new Liquid Natural Gas technologies and in the nation’s electricity grid to ensure renewable energy can move more easily from one region of the country to another. No specifics in terms of dollar amounts.
  • O’Toole promises to invest $5 billion in Carbon Capture, Utilization and Storage (CCUS) technologies that can be used by various industries, including forestry and mining, to capture and store carbon emissions released when burning fossil fuels.
  • Conservatives promise to protect 25 per cent of Canada’s lands and waterways. This is an increase from the promise originally made by former prime minister Stephen Harper to protect 17 per cent of lands and waters.
  • O’Toole pledges to invest $3 billion by 2030 in “natural climate solutions.” This includes funding for protecting wetlands, forests and other natural environments that help mitigate the effects of climate change, such as forest fires, droughts and flooding.

Liberal Promises

Sept. 1: The Liberal Party released its full election 2021 platform on Sept. 1, including its plan to tackle climate change and protect the environment. The platform includes details about past accomplishments, plus plans for the future. The Liberals say they will:

  • “Move forward” with applying Carbon Border Adjustments to products made in countries that don’t implement ambitious climate change policies.
  • Require oil and gas companies to reduce methane emissions by at least 75 per cent below 2012 levels by 2030.
  • Eliminate subsidies and public financing for the oil and gas industry.
  • Create a Pan-Canadian Grid Council to promote infrastructure investments, smart grids, grid integration and electricity sector innovation.
  • Continue to invest in the Net Zero Accelerator Fund, with $5 billion in new spending, plus an extra $1.75 billion of targeted support for the aerospace sector.
  • Develop an investment tax credit of up to 30 per cent for a range of clean technologies, including low carbon and net-zero technologies.
  • Complete work with provinces and territories to develop flood maps for higher-risk areas in the next three years.
  • Create a nationwide flood ready portal so that Canadians have the information they need to make decisions on where and how to build their homes and communities.
  • Finalize Canada’s National Adaptation Strategy by the end of 2022.
  • Establish 10 new national parks and 10 new national marine conservation areas in the next five years.
  • Work with First Nations, Inuit and Métis to support new Indigenous Guardians programs and work with Indigenous communities to increase the amount of terrestrial area under their protection.
  • Establish at least one new national urban park in every province and territory, with a target of establishing 15 national urban parks by 2030.
  • Continue building and connecting the TransCanada Trail, and creating new opportunities for Canadians to access it, by increasing annual funding to $13 million.
  • Negotiate an agreement with the province of British Columbia to protect more old growth forests and expand protected areas.

Aug. 30: Trudeau says his government will invest $1 billion over 10 years to restore and protect large lakes and river systems.

  • A Canada Water Agency will also be established and fully funded by the federal government if the Liberals are elected.
  • The Liberals will invest $37.5 million over six years for freshwater research at the International Institute for Sustainable Development’s Experimental Lakes Area.

Aug. 29: The Liberals aim to have a net-zero electricity grid in place by 2035.

  • The party will also end thermal coal exports by 2030 and set five-year targets, starting in 2025, for the oil and gas sector to achieve net zero by 2050.
  • Liberals will establish a $2-billion Futures Fund for Alberta, Saskatchewan and Newfoundland and Labrador.
  • A federal subsidy of $5,000 will be introduced that will go toward zero-emission vehicle purchases.
  • The Liberals also plan to build 50,000 more charging stations, and require that at least half of all passenger vehicles sold in Canada are zero emission by 2030, and all are zero emission by 2035.
  • Trudeau said his government will provide retrofit grants of up to $5,000 and interest-free loans of up to $40,000.

Aug. 28: Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau says his government will end plastic pollution by 2030, and will require all plastic packaging to be 50 per cent recycled plastic by the same date.

  • A $100-million fund will also be established to help companies scale up and commercialize solutions to reusing and recycling plastics.

Aug. 18: The Liberal Party says it will support the training of 1,000 new community-based firefighters to “ensure we have the support we need in future fire seasons” across the country.

  • The Liberals say they will work with provinces and territories to provide equipment – like Canadian-made planes to drive up provincial aerial firefighting capacity – and supply safety gear to firefighters.
  • The party says they will help Canadians make their homes “more resilient from climate change, through retrofits and upgrades” and team up with private sector to “innovate climate adaptation, including by lowering insurance premiums that would save Canadians money.”
  • The Liberals say this will build on the work that they have already been doing to fight climate change like “deploying the Canadians Armed Forces to help monitor and contain wildfires in Western Canada,” planting two billion trees to cut pollution and “make our communities more resilient to extreme weather.”
  • The party says they have advanced Canada’s “first-ever National Adaptation strategy to reduce climate change risks to Canadians” and supported climate mitigation and rehabilitation projects to protect citizens from climate-related catastrophes.
  • The Liberal Party says they have increased “the AgriRecovery funding to address additional costs faced by producers due to drought and wildfire.”

NDP Promises

Aug. 23: The NDP platform promise to help stabilize the global temperature rise to 1.5 degrees Celsius. The party will set a target of reducing Canada’s emissions by at least 50 per cent from 2005 levels by 2030.

  • The party promises to work with partners to establish “multi-year national and sectoral carbon budgets as a key guiding framework to develop Canada’s path to 2030 and beyond.” They say they will create and fund a Climate Accountability Office to offer “independent oversight of federal climate progress, to engage the public, and to make recommendations on how to achieve our goals.”
  • The New Democrats say they will not spend public funds to support oil and gas exploration, production, refining, and transportation but invest “in supporting the transition to renewable energy.”
  • As part of this, the NDP has promised to end all subsidies given to oil and gas companies and redirects the funds to renewable energy sectors instead.
  • They say they will fulfill Canada’s G-20 commitment “to eliminate these fossil fuel subsidies and redirect these funds to low carbon initiatives, and make sure that future governments can’t reverse this by putting in place legislation to ban any future oil, gas and pipeline subsidies.”
  • The party says it will work with the provinces and territories to make Canada “an innovation leader on methane reduction in such areas as real-time monitoring and leakage detection,” and ensure that provincial methane regulations are “genuinely equivalent with the federal regulations.” They say they will upsurge the ambition of those targets in the 2025-30 period.
  • The party promises to purchase from Canadian companies producing clean technology and make sure that federal buildings use renewable energy.
  • The NDP promises to move federal government vehicle fleets to electric by 2025, and opt for ones made-in-Canada “wherever possible.”
  • They say they will protect Canadian businesses that are taking action “to transition to a low-carbon future with a border carbon adjustment that will level the playing field on imports from areas without a carbon price.”
  • The party also promises to appoint a Climate Emergency Committee of Cabinet and set up a Climate Emergency Secretariat in the PMO “to ensure a whole-of-government approach to responding to the climate emergency.”
  • The NDP promise to put skilled Canadian workers “front and centre” of its action plan.
  • They say they have a plan to create “over a million new good jobs in all communities and rebuild local economies with meaningful, family-sustaining work in every part of the country” while making changes to build a “low carbon future.”
  • The party says the plan will include jobs building green infrastructure in communities across Canada. They say they are committed to ensuring that marginalized communities who are “disproportionately” impacted from climate change “benefit from the job-creation and community-building benefits of these investments.”
  • The New Democrats say they will ensure that COVID-19 recovery funding is used to upkeep net-zero objectives. They promise to make sure that large businesses receiving recovery funding agree to plan for net-zero.
  • They say individuals most impacted by the changes in the Canadian economy due to the pandemic “cannot pay the price of action on climate change.” They promise to provide “dedicated employment support,” access to “expanded EI benefits, re-training and job placement services,” and make sure that firms “retain and redeploy their workers when in transition.”
  • They say they will ensure that workers nearing retirement have the retirement security they need without penalties to their pensions if they choose to retire early.
  • The NDP promise to modernize and expand public transit across Canada within and between communities, with federal transit funding focussed on low carbon transit projects, such as zero-emissions buses and electric trains. The NDP hopes to electrify transit by 2030.
  • The NDP says they will help build fare-free transit for the provinces and municipalities that need it most and will develop a public inter-city bus system to replace the now-defunct Greyhound bus system.
  • The party will support the creation of a high-frequency rail corridor between Quebec and Windsor, will expand rail service options in other regions and will restore the Ontario Northlander to provide transportation to Northern Ontario.
  • The NDP says they will make sure more zero-emissions vehicles (ZEV) will be built in Canada and extend federal incentives for them, such as waiving federal sales tax on ZEV purchases or growing incentives up to $15,000 per family for made-in-Canada vehicles.
  • The NDP says they will expand the use of ZEVs in the public sector and will expand Canada’s charging infrastructure, as well as cover the cost of installing a plug-in charger and create a research and development centre for ZEVs.
  • The party also says it will also promote the use of electric bikes and will help integrate them into transportation networks.
  • The NDP will aim to power Canada with net-zero electricity by 2030, with a move to 100 per cent non-emitting electricity by 2040. To achieve this goal, the party says it will create a new Canadian Climate Bank to boost investment in renewable energy and low carbon technology, scale Canada’s clean energy industry and help provinces inter-connect power grids.
  • The NDP promises to overhaul the process for reviewing major projects to “ensure adequate time for public consultation” and to provide funding so Indigenous communities can participate in the process.
  • The NDP hopes to create a “Canadian Environmental Bill of Rights” that will guarantee clean water, land and air for all communities. The party says it will also strengthen the Canadian Environmental Protection Act to better protect from toxic substances in everyday products like cosmetics.
  • The NDP says they will also strengthen the federal environmental impact assessment process for new coal mines and mine expansion projects, would “immediately” ban single-use plastics and will hold companies responsible for the “entire lifecycle” of their plastic products and packaging. It will also improve the standards for what products can be labelled as recyclable.
  • The export of plastic waste would also be banned under an NDP government.
  • The NDP promises to protect 30 per cent of the land, freshwater and oceans by 2030, as well as expand urban national parks and restore urban biodiversity. The party would launch a 10-year “nature plan” to reverse species loss, and would also curb the import and domestic trade of wild animals.
  • The party would expand marine protected areas, reduce threats to ocean ecosystems and enact a national freshwater strategy.
  • The NDP says it will get “tough” on polluters and force big oil companies to clean up inactive wells, and would develop a national food waste strategy.
  • To include Indigenous peoples in climate change action, the NDP would make sure they have a seat at “high-level decision-making tables.”
  • Finally, the party promises to create an Office of Environmental Justice focussed on the “disproportionate impact” of pollution on low-income, racialized communities.

Sept. 1: The NDP promises to commit an additional $3 billion over four years to help municipalities respond to disasters and build climate resilience infrastructure.

Sept. 3: Singh says he will subject infrastructure projects to Quebec’s environmental assessment procedure.

Green Party Promises

Sept. 7: The Green Party released its platform, which focuses on green initiatives the party says will take Canada to “net negative” by 2050. The party pledges to:

  • Reduce greenhouse gas emissions so that Canada takes out more CO2 from the atmosphere each year than it puts in by 2050.
  • End the practice of leasing federal land to oil and gas companies.
  • Require all federal investment funds to divest holdings of companies involved in the fossil fuel sector.
  • Replace every high-paying fossil fuel sector job with a high-paying green sector job through wage insurance, retraining programs and early retirement plans.
  • Accelerate the federal government’s carbon tax beginning in 2022 and up to 2030, by $25 per ton each year (That’s up from an increase of $15 a year per ton under the current plan).
  • Proceed with regulations to ban non-essential, single-use plastics before the end of 2021 and expand the list of items to be banned.
  • Ensure 100 per cent of Canadian electricity is generated by renewable sources by 2030.
  • Establish a “buy back” program for existing fossil fuel powered vehicles to encourage the transition to zero emission vehicles.
  • Ban all new nuclear energy development in Canada.
  • Create an “Office of Environmental Justice” within Environment and Climate Change Canada.
  • Create an independent panel of scientific advisers to advise the government on climate change.
  • Protect 50 per cent of Canada’s land and fresh water by 2050.
  • Work with Indigenous and provincial governments to phase out open net-pen finfish aquaculture in Pacific waters by 2025 and all Canadian waters by 2030.
  • Increase annual funding for scientific research, which the party says will drive green innovation, by $7.5 billion a year.
  • Re-establish the Prairie Farm Rehabilitation Administration measures to support adaptation to drought conditions.

Aug. 16: Green Leader Annamie Paul kicked off her party’s election campaign calling for an end to the building of new pipelines, fracking and gas exploration. The Green Party hasn’t released a full platform yet, but the party’s platform for the 2019 federal election and otBanher statements on its website contain detailed plans for tackling climate change.

  • Paul and the Green Party also haven’t released a full platform yet, but the party’s platform for the 2019 federal election and other statements on its website contain detailed plans for tackling climate change.
  • The Green Party is promising to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 60 per cent compared to 2005 levels by 2030.
  • Paul opposes the Trans Mountain Pipeline and the Green Party has pledged to reject any new coal, oil or gas projects. Existing fossil fuel projects would be allowed to continue operating under reduced capacity, with the aim of being phased out completely by 2035.
  • The Green Party will ban the sale of combustion engine vehicles by 2030 and will exempt all zero-emission vehicles from federal sales tax.
  • The Green Party promises to invest at least $1.2 billion in Canada’s rail system the first two years its in office. The party will also build high-speed rail links between Quebec City and Toronto, and between Calgary and Edmonton.
  • The party will revamp the Canada Infrastructure Bank to focus on climate-related projects.

Bloc Québécois Promises

Aug. 22: The Bloc Quebecois platform included several promises related to climate change and the environment:

  • The party says it will modify the net-zero emissions law to include clear reduction targets, and end all federal subsidies for fossil fuels.
  • Yves-François Blanchet says the Bloc will also demand a climate test for every new federal policy, and move 100 per cent of the federal vehicle fleet to net-zero emission vehicles.
  • The party says it will introduce new net-zero emission law to force automakers to carry a minimum amount of EVs in their fleet to make them accessible to consumers.
  • A Bloc government will put an end to the Trans Mountain pipeline and oppose any future oil sands project. The party will also reject every new project related to the transportation of oil across provinces.
  • Any new nuclear projects, including new reactors, will be rejected under a Bloc government.

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