CALGARY – Canada’s transportation sector is not getting Canadians where they need to be. It already produces over a quarter of Canada’s climate pollution, and that is growing – a major factor in Canada’s lack of progress towards the Paris climate targets. And it leaves vast sections of the country stranded with no access to reliable public transport options.
The Green Party today unveiled its plan for a National Transportation Strategy with a goal of reaching zero-carbon public ground transportation everywhere in Canada by 2040.
“Everyone in Canada, including people living in rural and remote communities, must have access to reliable transportation options at affordable rates,” said Green Party leader Elizabeth May. “Bus service is gone in western and Atlantic Canada, leaving rural and remote communities under-serviced and feeding into conditions that put marginalized people, particularly Indigenous women, at risk. The government’s failure to address this injustice is unconscionable.”
Under the Green strategy, rail will be the hub, with spokes of light rail and electric bus connections. Besides reducing pollution, this measure responds to the findings of the Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls.
“To get to zero-carbon transportation, we need to shift rapidly from gasoline-powered transportation,” said Ms. May. “A Green Party government will ban the sale of internal combustion engine passenger vehicles by 2030, exempt new and used electric and zero-emission vehicles from federal sales tax and expand charging stations for electric vehicles, including all parking lots associated with federal facilities.
The party’s passenger rail transportation policy promises: $600 million in 2020-21, rising to $720 million by 2023 to develop regional rail networks and strengthen rail connections between regions and building high-speed rail in the Toronto-Ottawa-Quebec City triangle and the Calgary-Edmonton corridor.
The Green Party platform also provides for major investments in urban transit. Federal transfers to municipalities will be institutionalized through the creation of a Municipal Fund (renaming the Gas Tax funds, which were delinked from gas tax revenue years ago) that will ensure a doubling of current funding for transit and other urban infrastructure.
Cities will benefit from a national cycling and walking infrastructure fund to help support zero emissions active transportation.
“The Green plan involves a transition that is not only possible, it’s essential if we are serious about meeting our climate commitments,” said Ms. May. “Transportation can cease being part of the problem and start being part of the solution.”
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