Law firm Gowling Lafleur Henderson has published a detailed analysis of last week’s election win as regards the environment and energy policy.
With regard to energy and renewables, and climate change in specific, the analysts had this to say:
Mr. Trudeau has promised to “provide national leadership” and work with the provinces to take action on climate change. In the short term, he plans to attend the Conference of the Parties in Paris this December, and within 90 days establish a cross-country framework on climate change. A specific action item is the creation of a Low Carbon Economy Trust, which would provide funding to projects that materially reduce emissions. The Liberals have pledged 2 billion dollars in funds to this Trust.
This approach recognizes that the provinces hold significant power to shape climate initiatives. While the Liberals have promised a Pan-Canadian approach and a Canadian Energy Strategy, the new government has not promised that all measures adopted will be consistent across Canada. However, the federal government does have the jurisdiction to implement certain changes related to emissions. For instance, in the medium-term, Mr. Trudeau has promised to phase out subsidies for the fossil fuel industry, in keeping with G20 commitments. He will also work with the USA and Mexico to develop a North American clean energy agreement.14
The Liberals are also focused on creating more jobs, specifically in the clean technology sector. The Liberals plan to invest 100 million additional dollars in clean technology producers, and 200 million more each year to support the use of these technologies in Canada’s natural resource industries. Another aspect of their approach is to establish the Canadian Infrastructure Bank, which will provide low cost financing to new projects, with a specific interest in supporting renewable energy through the issuance of Green Bonds. These financing instruments are intended to “level the playing field” with fossil fuel energy sources.15
The Liberals, in short, have promised to kick-start a green economy, one with more jobs and funding for clean technology, and greater integration of these techs into Canadian industry. The federal government has promised to “lead by example” and increase the government’s use of these technologies such as through expanding the federal fleet of electric vehicles.16
Our hope is that they closely examine the Ontario experience, and determine that blindly following ideology without cost-benefit or impact analysis as Ontario has (despite advice from two Auditors General) is perhaps not the wisest course of action.