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MPs Discussed Environmental Aspects of Omnibus Budget Bill C-59

June 14, 2015

This week in the House of Commons MP’s discussed environmental aspects of Bill C-59, An Act to implement certain provisions of the budget tabled in Parliament on April 21, 2015 and other measures. Opposition MPs criticized the Government for under-investing in renewable energy technology. The Government defended its budget through emphasizing the need to balance economic growth and environmental protection.

Mr. Nathan Cullen (Skeena—Bulkley Valley, NDP) pressed the Government to make further investments in the clean energy sector:

I am wondering what my friend’s assessment is. There has been a global surge in clean tech investments, outpacing investments in carbon energy, globally speaking, and many of the provinces and cities have moved forward in Canada. Yet the lack of leadership, the lack of thoughtfulness about this pressing environmental concern, is only surpassed by the ignorance toward the economic opportunities that exist for Canadians to retrofit their homes, to move to and from work in more environmentally friendly ways, and to go to work at places that are more conscious of our impact on the planet.

My question is of a financial nature, yet wedded within the ecological questions that we all must ask ourselves. The Prime Minister has now committed that he thinks carbon is a problem and he is going to do something about it—or not him, but 85 years from now someone is going to do something about it.

I am wondering about my friend’s assessment of Canada’s performance to this point in getting onboard that light rail train of opportunity that is expressed by the clean tech sector globally.

Ms. Elizabeth May (Saanich—Gulf Islands, GP) also questioned the Government’s record on clean energy investment:

Mr. Speaker, my assessment is that we have missed that train. That train is out of the station.

The member has raised a very important point. Last year, 2014, was the first year ever, in terms of global finance, that the investments in clean tech and renewables outpaced investments in fossil fuels.

This particular administration has misjudged the marketplace and failed to diversify. The “putting your eggs in the bitumen basket” strategy has created the economic uncertainties that the finance minister used as the excuse for delaying his budget.

I do not think we were ever as dependent on bitumen as the propaganda would want us to believe. The oil sands, while important, contribute only 2% to our GDP. Small business in Canada contributes 30%.

While I do applaud the fact that the Prime Minister has finally accepted a communique that uses the word “decarbonization”, I lament the fact that Canada’s recalcitrance and objections at the summit in Germany led to the G7 weakening its timetable to get us to where the world needs to be in a post-fossil economy.

Mr. Colin Carrie (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Environment, CPC) defended the Government’s budget:

Our budget sets out the measures we are taking to address climate change and protect our environment. Our government has reduced emissions, lowered taxes for middle-class families and balanced the budget.

The Liberals and the NDP want to increase taxes for middle-class families, put Canada back into the red and implement a job-killing carbon tax.


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