Ed Whittingham, executive director of the Pembina Institute, made the following statement in response to the results of the 2011 federal election:
"The Pembina Institute congratulates Conservative Leader Stephen Harper for winning his first majority government and Jack Layton in his new role as Leader of the Official Opposition. As a national non-partisan think tank, the Pembina Institute works with all governments and political parties to help move Canada toward a clean energy future that delivers economic prosperity, environmental protection and climate security.
"Mr. Harper's actions on climate change and clean energy to date have been inadequate relative to the need and the opportunity. To become a leader in the fast-growing clean energy economy, Canada must implement much stronger policies than the Conservative government has introduced so far or proposed in its campaign platform.
"In the months to come, we'll be looking to Mr. Harper's government to strengthen Canada's environmental performance. This means taking serious action to cut greenhouse gas pollution in line with his government's 2020 target, adopting a more active federal role to ensure responsible development and environmental protection in the oilsands, delivering effective support for energy efficiency and renewable energy, and developing a long-term plan for investing in sustainable transportation.
"We are ready and willing to help Mr. Harper's government design and implement these crucial policies."
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The Pembina Institute looks to the new federal government to take leadership in the following areas:
- Putting policies in place to attach a price, or put a limit, on greenhouse gas pollution is a crucial next step in reducing Canada's emissions. While all the other parties supported some form of carbon pricing, the Conservative Party proposes to reduce emissions through sector-by-sector regulations. If the new government wants to get on track to meet Canada's 2020 target, it will require much stronger and more rapid regulatory efforts than we have seen from Mr. Harper's government to date.
- The federal government must take a much more active role in responsible environmental management in the oilsands, Canada's fastest-growing source of greenhouse gas pollution. Mr. Harper's government will need to implement a robust water and air quality monitoring program and use that information to set binding caps on air, water and greenhouse gas pollution. In addition, the federal government should require industry to phase out tailings ponds within a decade, and move quickly to phase out fossil fuel subsidies.
Renewable energy and efficiency
- A one-year investment in home energy efficiency upgrades, as the Conservative government proposed in its 2011 budget, provides little stability to the businesses providing these services. There are significant job-creation opportunities in the fast-growing clean energy sector. To tap into them, the Harper government needs to provide predictable, long-term funding for clean energy and energy efficiency in Canada. Many of Canada's peer countries are making significant investments in clean energy, and we risk being left far behind.
- Canada remains the only OECD and G8 country without a long-term federal transit plan or a long-term, predictable federal transit investment policy. That needs to change as one step in moving Canada toward achieving a more sustainable transportation system.