OTTAWA – As Canada gradually emerges from the COVID-19 pandemic and moves to map out its economic recovery plan, the Green Party of Canada caucus has submitted a list of priorities for stimulus spending to Minister of Finance, Bill Morneau.
“There’s no question that the government’s spending during this crisis protected Canadians from economic catastrophe,” said Green parliamentary leader Elizabeth May (MP, Saanich-Gulf Islands). “However, as we move into the economic recovery phase we urge the government to create a stimulus spending plan that targets the climate emergency. Decisions we make in the next 18 months will set an irrevocable course that leads us either to climate stability or to an unlivable world within the lifetime of our children.”
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) warned in an October 2018 Special Report that failure to reduce global emissions of carbon dioxide by 45 per cent against 2010 levels, would close the window on keeping the global average temperature to 1.5.degrees C.
Green Party Interim Leader Jo-Ann Roberts noted that economic recovery from the pandemic is Canada’s opportunity to transition to the green economy of the 21st century.
“The immediate threats posed by COVID-19 are indisputable, unlike the advancing threats of the climate emergency, which actually poses much larger risks but over a longer timeline,” said Ms. Roberts. “For six months now, the entire world has been focused on responding to the pandemic. Meanwhile, the global average temperature continues to rise, and will do so until we take concrete action to mitigate it. This is not a political target, it’s a reality of atmospheric chemistry and physics. When the window closes on 1.5 degrees C, it can’t be reopened. Can we in good conscience take that risk?
“The Green Party developed Reimagining Our Future in response to a strong call from Canadians not to “bounce back” but rather, bounce forward. We hope that the minister will seriously consider the suggestions outlined by the Green caucus. This is a pivotal moment in history and we would be remiss not to act accordingly.”
Ms. May concluded that the imperative of climate action requires that Finance Canada adopt a climate lens. “Just as dealing with COVID-19 brought Finance Canada into close alignment with public health goals, so too must the next phase be aligned with climate science.”
Top priorities for stimulus spending include:
- No investments to assist fossil fuels or fossil fuel infrastructure; instead funds should be directed towards a revamped electricity grid;
- Investing in a national energy corridor for renewable generated electricity and substantial investments in renewable electricity generation;
- Investing in public infrastructure to support transition to electric vehicles both for personal use and public transit;
- Upgrade built infrastructure to energy efficiency for carbon and carbon negative buildings.
*Pre-Budget submission letter to Minister Morneau attached
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