Day 4: Climate Change
I know I’ve said this about pretty much every issue we’ve covered over the past three days but this one is really big. We’ve all heard it. Time is running out to fix the damage we’ve done to the planet. The next government will be instrumental in deciding how our country handles the climate crisis. In every debate, question period, and public event, candidates have been consistently asked about how they will help our environment. While many talk a big game with ideas and proposals, we must pick someone who can put plans into action.
Past actions have certainly worked against Justin Trudeau and the Liberal party when it comes to how they’ve treated the environment. In 2015, Trudeau pledged to restore a “gutted” environment. Many were excited by his Earth-conscious ideas and promises surrounding climate change. However, when Trudeau approved the Trans Mountain Pipeline, people felt betrayed. This has made voters wary about trusting the Liberal party, especially when it comes to environmental promises. So what are the Liberals planning in spite of all of this? In this year’s election the party has pledged to cut corporate taxes in half for companies that develop zero-emissions technology. The key to their environmental platform and the point that Trudeau has repeated numerous times during this campaign is that they plan to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050. The platform lays out ways to ensure that this goal is met, such as appointing a group of scientists to come up with a plan and setting legally binding milestones and goals to meet. The party will also plant two billion trees over 10 years to improve natural ecosystems and help clean our air. The party also details other environmental programs in its official platform.
According to CBC the Conservatives say they are committed to meeting the Paris Agreement target but would get rid of the carbon tax. Historically, the Conservative party has not been the strongest on climate change actions. This continues to be the case when looking at their proposals compared to that of the other parties. They do say, however, that “the party wants to sign agreements allowing Canada to get credit for helping achieve emissions reductions internationally and launch a green-tech patent tax credit for businesses.” Conservatives are known for focusing on business-centred solutions, including here in their climate change proposals.
In their platform, the NDP does not hold back in their criticism of the way that the Liberal party has approached climate change in the past. While they offer a similar proposal to the Liberals in their plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, the NDP’s major focus is on stabilizing the global temperature rise to 1.5 degrees Celsius. They plan to do this, as well as a number of other initiatives, by creating an independent Climate Accountability Office which will regularly audit Canada’s progress. They will also continue carbon pricing, as well as pledge to make the federal government entirely eco-friendly. This includes using all-electric vehicles and employing environmentally friendly companies to partner with.
The Green party is in its element when it comes to climate change policy. A few of its main promises regarding the environment include banning the practice of fracking, stopping imports of foreign oils and fossil fuels and — its most publicized promise — to reduce emissions to 60 per cent below 2005 levels by 2030. The Greens also plan to hit net-zero emissions by 2050, just like the Liberal party has promised. There is so much that the Green party wants to do about climate change should they get elected. I couldn’t possibly come close to listing every piece of their climate change plan here but please, I encourage you to read their official platform for even more detailed information.
Come back tomorrow for our last round of election dissection when we discuss jobs.