Pembina reacts to New Democratic Party platform

April 10, 2011

The Pembina Institute's Clare Demerse made the following statement in response to today's release of the NDP's election platform and costing document:

"Overall, we're happy to see this platform commit to the kinds of policies that would help move clean energy to the centre of Canada's economic future. Strong action on climate change can create more jobs than 'business as usual,' so the NDP's clean energy commitments would be good news for Canadian workers and the environment.

"While the platform leaves some unanswered questions about the NDP's plans, the NDP's proposals would help to make a clean energy transformation in Canada a reality."

On renewable energy and efficiency

"Today's platform makes significant new clean energy commitments, including a proposal to establish a 'green bonds' initiative for clean energy research, a permanent home energy retrofit program, and federal support for renewable energy and green jobs training. These kinds of initiatives would help Canada compete with leading countries in the rapidly growing clean energy economy.

"On the other hand, the proposed $700 million a year home heating sales tax rebate would only have a marginal effect on reducing energy costs in the long term. The same scale of investment would be much more effective if it were targeted at low income Canadians, for whom rising energy bills are an acute concern."

On climate change

"A price on greenhouse gas pollution needs to be the centrepiece of any effective Canadian plan to tackle climate change, and is widely supported by industry. This platform meets that test by proposing a cap-and-trade system that would make polluters pay for their allowances - an important design element that strengthens the proposal. The party's costing document shows that the system would go into effect this year and begin auctioning allowances immediately.

"The platform commits to re-introduce the Climate Change Accountability Act, an important piece of legislation that NDP Members of Parliament have championed. However, the platform does not outline the party's specific approach to reducing emissions to meet or beat Canada's current 2020 target, nor does it set aside funding to tackle climate change in poorer countries.

"The platform confirms a welcome commitment the NDP announced earlier in this campaign, which is an immediate end to all fossil fuel subsidies."

On oilsands development

"The Royal Society of Canada's report on oilsands development clearly identified cumulative impact assessment as an essential - and, as currently applied, inadequate - precursor to responsible oilsands development. The NDP's commitment to developing cumulative impact assessments that would be informed by science-based monitoring is a positive step.

"The NDP also commit to developing environmental regulations to protect fishery and trans-boundary waters, and to implementing science-based monitoring and enforcement. While this is another positive step, the platform provides no details on the breadth and extent of this commitment."

On sustainable transportation

"We are pleased that the NDP platform makes meaningful commitments to help Canadians get to work more easily, decrease traffic congestion and improve air quality through transit investments and programs that encourage Canadians to use transit.

"Enacting a National Public Transit Strategy and allocating another cent of the gas tax will mean that cities can implement long-term transit plans with certainty, rather than dealing with tenuous project-by-project funding."



Clare Demerse
Cell: 613-762-7449
Twitter: @ClareDemerse
Languages: English, français
Time zone: Eastern



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