Saturday, December 7, 2019

Climate and Environmental Action Promised in Liberal Throne Speech

Liberal Prime Minister Justin Trudeau campaigned on a pledge to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050 and if the throne speech is any indication it would appear that he intends to make good on that promise.  Combating climate change was a significant part of Governor General Julie Payette's throne speech on December 5th, 2019.

The Liberals have made the following five commitments:

  • Make energy efficient homes more affordable
  • Incentivize the purchase of zero-emission vehicles
  • Support the development of clean technology businesses
  • Make clean, affordable power available in every Canadian community
  • Plant two billion trees
The Liberals have pledged to more than double protected areas in Canada by 2020. The speech echoed campaign pledges to protect 25 percent of Canada’s land and 25 percent of the country’s ocean mass.  This far exceeds the Aichi 2020 targets of 10 percent marine protections and 17 percent terrestrial protections. In 2010 only 8.5 percent of Canada's land was protected, as of 2019 that number exceeds 11 percent.  Only around 8 percent of Canada's marine habitat is currently protected. Canada has 39 national parks, 8 reserves, 4 marine conservation areas and 37 Wetlands of International Importance.  The speech also reiterated the Liberal pledge to further reduce plastic pollution. 

Trudeau said that he has been given a mandate to fight climate change.  Although he is honoring that mandate this is not what Conservative leader Andrew Scheer wanted to hear. Scheer said he was "disappointed" and "insulted" that the throne speech did not address western anger. Predictably Scheer wants to see more federal government support for Alberta's oil industry. Although the throne speech expressed support for workers in the resource sector (including oil and gas), Scheer would have liked the Liberals to have repealed the environmental safeguards in Bill C 69 or set up a national energy corridor.  Bloc Québécois leader Yves-François Blanchet suggested that unlike Scheer he was pleased by the absence of any mention of oil in the throne speech. The Bloc is opposed to new pipelines including both the Energy East and the Trans Mountain expansion.

Liberal Minority Government Good for Climate Action

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