Budget ignores opportunities to create new jobs and compete in clean energy economy
OTTAWA, ON — Tim Weis, director of renewable energy and efficiency policy for the Pembina Institute, made the following statement about today's federal budget:
"It's encouraging to see the government continue the ecoENERGY home retrofit program for one more year, since helping homeowners use less energy will reduce greenhouse gas pollution and save Canadians money.
"In this budget, the government also provided crucial funding to support the development of long-awaited climate and clean air regulations at Environment Canada.
"It is disappointing, however, that this budget ignores opportunities to position Canada to create jobs and compete effectively in the rapidly growing global clean energy market.
"In addition to ongoing and targeted support — beyond a single year — for renewable energy and efficiency, the federal government needs to put a price on greenhouse gas pollution (or, at a minimum, impose strong regulations) to curb the growth of greenhouse gas pollution from sectors such as the oilsands.
"Research shows that supporting clean energy, increasing energy efficiency and implementing comprehensive climate policies could create more jobs than continuing with business as usual. From a government that prides itself on job creation and sound economic management, it's unfortunate that Minister Flaherty's budget speech failed to recognize the job-creation potential of carbon pricing and other climate policies.
"The government could have chosen today to kick-start Canada's clean energy transformation by phasing out federal subsidies for oil companies, in line with a G20 commitment in 2009. While this budget includes a minor subsidy adjustment, it leaves more than $1 billion in tax breaks for oil companies on the table. A leaked memo from officials at the Department of Finance last year confirmed such support is no longer necessary.
"The budget is silent on Canada's 2011 contribution to supporting climate action in poorer countries. Even if the government does announce this support later in the year, its omission from today's budget likely means the funding would not meet the crucial test of being new and additional to Canada's aid budget."
Director, Renewable energy and efficiency policy
The Pembina Institute outlined its expectations for the federal budget in the blog post, "Budget 2011: A checklist for clean energy success".