Transitioning to a Green Economy
Many people, including those in other political parties, are now talking about the need to transition to a green economy. Like many other policy innovations, the idea originates with the Green Party. Economy and ecology have the same Greek root: Eco means home or household. Economics refers to household management – the responsible care and sustenance of its members. Ecology is the study of our collective home, the Earth. Greens understand that managing the human household depends on careful stewardship of the Earth household.
Green parties were started four decades ago by concerned citizens who recognized that the economies of wealthy countries are unsustainable. They depend on ever-expanding extraction of natural resources, non-renewable and polluting energy sources, and unlimited consumerism. On a finite planet, this strategy, which worked well for much of the 20th century, leads eventually to a dead end.
Now we have entered the “period of consequences.” The climate emergency, mass extinctions, the plastic waste crisis, the growing gap between rich and poor, an unravelling social safety net, widespread anxiety and depression – these are the by-products of a growth economy that is out of sync with nature and people.
From their beginnings, Green parties have proposed an alternative – a “green economy” that respects nature’s limits, provides everyone with a dignified, high quality of life, embraces diversity, and responsibly stewards public finances. Economic policy flows out of social and environmental policy. In other words, Greens are committed to providing a good living for all within our financial and ecological means.
Here are the key elements of a green economy:
- Measures well-being, rather than gross domestic product, as a sign of progress.
- Embeds “conserver society” values rather than consumer society values.
- Powered by renewable energy.
- Designed around closed-loop production systems.
- Organized for zero waste generation.
- Organized for local food security.
- Guarantees everyone a livable income.
- Provides affordable housing for everyone.
- Provides universal comprehensive health care and education.
- Protects minorities from discrimination.
- Ensures gender equality.
- Builds community resilience and self-reliance.
- Ensures fair taxation and fiscal stewardship.
With these as guideposts, a Green government would have the following priorities:
- Fairly transition fossil fuel workers to the renewable energy sector
- Implement a Guaranteed Livable Income
- Eliminate tuition fees and forgive federal student debt
- Close tax havens and loopholes, eliminate fossil fuel subsidies, raise taxes on large corporations
- Implement corporate tax on e-commerce companies like Netflix
- Mandate more affordable cell phone and internet plans
- Support equity and inclusion in scientific and engineering communities
The World of Work
The world of work is changing rapidly. Union membership, and therefore protection of workers, is at an all-time low. In the growing gig economy, more and more Canadians are engaged in precarious work without benefits or security. The growth of artificial intelligence (AI) technologies will accelerate workplace automation and eliminate many jobs. And the climate crisis necessitates a rapid transition away from the fossil-fuel dependent economic sectors towards a renewable energy economy (see Mission: Possible). We are overdue to modernize our Employment Insurance program to better meet the needs of today, including through portability of benefits.
While such structural adjustments are disruptive and stressful for workers and their families, new opportunities abound in the green economy. In 2017, 268,000 people were already employed in the clean energy sector in Canada.  This does not include the 436,000 jobs in the energy efficiency sector and we have not yet begun a serious national retrofit of buildings and industries or a serious transition away from fossil fuels.  Projections put future jobs in energy efficiency retrofits alone at four million. In comparison, 62,000 people worked in the oil and gas sector nationally in 2018. 
This shift is already happening in the Millennial generation. In the UK, the number of university graduates going into oil and gas exploration has fallen by 61 per cent since 2014. 
Responsible leadership looks to where the puck is headed, not where it is now. In the face of such change, the Green Party has three priorities:
- Protecting workers whose incomes and work lives are being and will be disrupted, by AI and the transition away from fossil fuels.
- Enabling the creation of new jobs in the green economy.
- Facilitating the transition of workers from shrinking sectors into those jobs.
A Just and Fair Transition to a Green Economy
Inevitably, jobs in fossil fuel sectors will disappear. The Green Party is committed to a “just transition” of workers from these sectors into new ones. This will include measures such as income protection, jobs guarantees, retraining and resettlement. The detailed programs would be developed in partnership with workers and their unions.
A Green government will create a just transition framework for oil, gas and coal sector workers that reflects the unique conditions of each province. This would be modelled on the recommendations of the Task Force on Just Transition for Canadian Coal Power Workers and Communities, which we would implement in full. They are (adapted to all three sectors):
Embed just transition principles in planning, legislative, regulatory and advisory processes to ensure ongoing and concrete
actions throughout the fossil-fuel phase-out transition, including:
- Meeting directly with affected communities to learn about their local priorities, and to connect them with federal programs that could support their goals.
- Establishing a dedicated, comprehensive, inclusive and flexible just transition funding program for affected communities.
- Developing and implementing a just transition plan for workers in fossil fuel sectors, championed by a lead minister who oversees and reports on progress.
- Integrating provisions for just transition in federal environmental and labour legislation and regulations, as well as relevant inter-governmental agreements.
- Establishing a targeted, long-term research fund for studying the impact of the sector phase-out and the transition to a low-carbon economy.
- Ensure locally available supports, including funding the establishment and operation of locally-driven transition centres in affected communities.
- Identify and fund local infrastructure projects in affected communities.
- Provide a pathway to retirement by creating a pension bridging program for workers who will retire earlier than planned due to the phase out.
Transition workers to sustainable employment by:
- Creating a detailed and publicly available inventory with labour market information pertaining to oil, coal and gas workers, such as skills profiles, demographics, locations, and current and potential employers.
- Creating a comprehensive funding program for workers staying in the labour market to address their needs across the stages of securing a new job, including income support, education and skills building, re-employment, and mobility.
- Investing in comprehensive retraining and apprenticeship programs for industrial trades workers for jobs in the transition to a zero-carbon economy, especially the renewable and energy efficiency sectors.
Creating New Jobs in the Green Economy
The fossil fuel industry has benefited from tens of billions of dollars in public subsidies over the past 50 years. A Green government will phase out those subsidies and invest the money in green economic sectors.
- Establish a Canadian Sustainable Generations Fund to make critical investments in trades, apprenticeships and education required for the transition to a green economy. These investments in skills training will complement targeted national infrastructure investments in energy efficiency, renewable energy production, digital upgrades, clean-tech manufacturing and emerging technologies, tourism, the creative economy, and the care economy.
- Establish a National Community Benefit Strategy that leverages public procurement to maximize opportunities for social hiring and procurement, including Indigenous procurement, youth employment and demand-driven skills development programs.
- Enhance the federal Youth Employment and Skills Strategy by creating a Community and Environment Service Corps. This will provide $1 billion annually to municipalities to hire Canadian youth.
Responding to Automation Disruption
Labour market analysts are projecting a massive disruption due to automation. Technological change will always outpace society’s ability to adapt, leaving workers vulnerable to losing their jobs and unable to adjust to the new reality. A Green government will prepare for such change.
- Work with provinces, territories and Indigenous Peoples to establish a Guaranteed Livable Income to provide basic income security for all, including displaced workers. (See Ending Poverty).
- Study the impacts of adopting a shorter work week, which would distribute paid work among more people.
- Eliminate post-secondary education tuition to help workers train for new employment.
Ensuring Justice in the Workplace
The struggle for fair treatment and good working conditions requires constant vigilance.
- Respect the unionized employees of the federal public service and the bargaining process by rejecting back-to-work legislation as a bargaining tool.
- Ban unpaid internships in private sector workplaces. The exception is work-study or experiential learning placements associated with for-credit courses at post-secondary institutions.
- Fully implement federal pay equity rules.
- Establish a federal Ombudsman to provide impartial and non-departmental help to harassed and demoralized employees. Within the federal civil service, workers are still bullied by supervisors and redress is illusory.
In a Green economy, everyone contributes their fair share to the collective wellbeing. Today, the growing gap between rich and poor indicates that something is wrong. The burden of taxation is not fairly distributed. A Green government will undertake root-and-branch tax reform
- Establish an arm’s length Federal Tax Commission to analyze the tax system for fairness and accessibility, based on the principle of progressive taxation. The last Tax Commission was in the 1960s, so reform is long overdue. This will include recommending an appropriate way to tax cryptocurrencies.
- Close tax loopholes that benefit the wealthy. The stock option loophole is one of the most expensive and unfair tax loopholes. Executives with stock options as part of their remuneration package only pay half the rate of income tax on this portion of their income. The capital gains loophole allows people and corporations to only add half of their capital gains to their taxable income, while those with only employment income pay taxes on their entire income. Over 90 per cent of the value of this tax break goes to the richest 10 per cent, and about 85 per cent goes to the top one per cent.
- End offshore tax dodging by taxing funds hidden in offshore havens and requiring companies to prove that their foreign affiliates are actual functioning businesses for tax purposes. Provide adequate funding to the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) to collect tax revenue hiding in offshore tax havens. Several Auditors General have recommended that the CRA should focus on people who hide vast wealth, rather than conduct random audits of ordinary Canadians.
- Apply a corporate tax on transnational e-commerce companies doing business in Canada by requiring the foreign vendor to register, collect and remit taxes where the product or service is consumed. The e-commerce sector – giants like Netflix, Facebook, Amazon, Google, and Uber command a significant share of the Canadian market but pay virtually no tax.
- Impose a financial transactions tax of 0.5 per cent in the finance sector as France has done since 2012.
- Eliminate all fossil fuel subsidies, including payments and tax write-offs, valued at several billion dollars annually. These include the accelerated capital cost allowance on liquefied natural gas (LNG) and tax write-offs for oil and gas wells, coal mining exploration and development, flow-through share deductions for coal, oil and gas projects, and oil and gas properties. Despite a promise 10 years ago to eliminate subsidies to fossil fuel companies, these subsidies have actually expanded for fracking and LNG development.
- Increase the federal corporate tax rate from 15 to 21 per cent to bring it into line with the federal rate in the United States, our biggest trading partner. Mark Carney, former Governor of the Bank of Canada, said corporations are holding “hundreds of billions of dollars in their bank accounts,” rather than reinvesting in the economy. This dead money needs to be mobilized for the transition to a green, renewable economy.
- Maintain the current level of taxation for small business.
- Charge a five per cent surtax on commercial bank profits. Commercial banks accumulate huge profits – $43.15 billion for the five largest banks in 2018 alone.  . Credit unions, caisses populaires and co-ops will be exempt.
- Prohibit Canadian businesses from deducting the cost of advertising on foreign-owned sites such as Google and Facebook which now account for 80 per cent of all spending on advertising Canada.
- Eliminate the 50 per cent corporate meals and entertainment expense deduction, which includes season tickets and private boxes at sporting events.
- Increase the tax credit for volunteer firefighters and search and rescue volunteers.
- Apply a one per cent tax on net (family) wealth above $20 million.
Fair and sustainable trade
Much of the global increase in climate-changing pollution over the past few decades is linked to a massive increase in international trade. While this has created jobs in developing countries, poor working conditions and low wages reflect the global competition for foreign investment. A Green government will work to restructure global trade relations to address climate change and social justice imperatives.
- Revamp national trade policy to align with national and international climate change plans. This includes reducing the distances over which food is shipped by increasing domestic and local food production.
- Protect supply management and ensure that products which are banned in Canada are not imported in food from other countries, for example bovine growth hormone in milk products.
- Facilitate a global effort to reform the World Trade Organization. Building on General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) article XX, which was always intended to insulate legislated domestic conservation efforts from trade disciplines,  revamp the World Trade Organization to the World Trade and Climate Organization to ensure that trade is consistent with a global carbon budget. Tariffs will be assigned based on the carbon intensity of imported products.
- Renegotiate Canada’s trade and investment agreements to remove the Investor State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) provisions that give foreign corporations extraordinary powers to challenge the laws and policies of democratically elected governments, and include binding labour, health, safety and environmental standards.
We have fostered a multicultural democracy that welcomes diversity as an asset, not a threat. Newcomers are a source of incredible skills and potential for our country. We have been enriched as peoples and cultures from all around the world have come to Canada to build their lives here. Other than the Indigenous Peoples of Turtle Island, we are all immigrants or descendants of immigrants. Immigrants come in search of greater freedoms and opportunities to build fulfilling lives for themselves and their families. Refugees and asylum seekers arrive having fled unimaginable situations in their home countries, and they seek the same things we all aspire to: safety, dignity and community.
Canada must review its immigration policy, especially with the demographic imbalance escalating to the point where younger generations will be required to bear the burden of supporting our aging population. We need to attract immigrants and establish a system that is fair. Recent immigrants make almost 40 per cent less than workers born in Canada. Fees for citizenship jumped more than 400 per cent in 2014-15. Too many people, many of them children, are held in immigration detention. An unacceptable number of them die there. Almost 500 people are in immigration detention at any given time and in 2018 an estimated 7,300 migrants, 155 of them children, were detained. At least 17 people have died in immigration detention since 2000.
A Green government will make sure that all migrants are supported in achieving their hopes and ambitions as new Canadians.
- Ensure professionals being considered for immigration have the licensing requirements for their professions clearly explained before entry.
- Work with professional associations to create a robust system for evaluating the education and training credentials of immigrants against Canadian standards, with the goal of expediting accreditation and expanding professional opportunities for immigrants.
- Lead a national discussion to define the term “environmental refugee,” advocate for its inclusion as a refugee category in Canada and accept an appropriate share of the world’s environmental refugees into Canada.
- Allocate much greater funding for training in official languages (ESL and FSL) for new immigrants through earmarked transfers to the provinces for primary and secondary public school and free night school programs.
- Work with municipalities and provinces to improve the integration of new Canadians into the multicultural fabric of our country.
- Support multicultural communities by assisting cultural organizations to obtain charitable status.
- Eliminate the Temporary Foreign Workers Program and address labour shortages by increasing immigration, working with employers to establish paths to permanent residency.
- Establish a program to process the estimated 200,000 people living in Canada without official status, providing a pathway to permanent residency for those who qualify.
- Reintroduce legislation to establish a Civilian Complaints and Review Commission for the Canada Border Services Agency.
- Terminate Canada’s Safe Third Country Agreement with the United States.
- Regulate the immigration consulting industry to ensure universally fair, legal and accessible services to help people navigate the immigration system.
- Increase penalties for immigration consultants convicted of human smuggling and devote more resources to investigation and enforcement.
- Amend the Anti-Terrorism Act and the Public Safety Act to require that, after a reasonable period, formal charges be brought against all those detained.
- Investigate allegations by the United Nations Human Rights Committee of Canadian officials cooperating with foreign agencies known to use torture.
- Ensure the “lost Canadians” quietly being denied citizenship through archaic laws are protected and that their citizenship is restored. Although some significant progress has been made, some are still “lost.”
- Implement the recommendation of the Standing Committee on Citizenship and Immigration to grant permanent resident status immediately to those who have refused or left military service in a war not sanctioned by the United Nations.
- Improve the pathway for international students and foreign workers to Canadian permanent residency and citizenship.
- Speed up family reunification, especially reuniting children with their parents.
- Increase funding of multicultural associations providing immigrant support programs including language programs.
Re-imagining Canada Post
Canada Post is one of the few national institutions that survived the privatization blitz of the 1980s and 1990s. As such, it retains an important physical presence and, in many communities, stands as the only remaining symbol of a national identity. While its current mandate is narrow, as a self-sustaining public corporation it can be re-imagined as a critical piece of the Green economy.
Canada Post’s extensive physical infrastructure can be used to offer a range of services to communities, building self-reliance and helping to cut greenhouse gas emissions. In diversifying services, as recommended by the Canadian Union of Postal Workers, Canada Post can become more profitable while offering support to rural communities where private sector activities such as banking are being withdrawn. A Green government will start by strengthening Canada Post’s existing mandate, and then branch out.
- Reverse the most recent cuts to home postal delivery, a move promised by the Liberals but not delivered.
- Upgrade the Canada Post fleet to electric vehicles.
- Reduce pollution and congestion due to the explosion of package delivery from on-line shopping by establishing “last mile” delivery by Canada Post using zero-emission vehicles in urban centres.
- Increase pay to rural and suburban postal workers, who are predominantly women and are underpaid compared to mostly male, urban counterparts.
Beyond postal service improvements, the Green Party supports a new vision for Canada Post that will be of particular benefit in rural and remote communities where services such as commercial banking have been shrinking. Canada Post is uniquely positioned to:
- Train mail carriers to check on people with mobility issues or who live alone, particularly during heat waves, storms and other emergencies.
- Establish banking services and public high-speed internet access in post offices, particularly in under-serviced rural and remote communities without banks and libraries.
- Where space is available, allow community meetings to be held in post offices.
- Provide charging stations for electric vehicles in post office parking lots.
Food and food security
Over the last five decades, agriculture has shifted from family-owned mixed farms to industrial production systems – crop monocultures and intensive livestock operations supported by inputs of chemical fertilizers, pesticides, pharmaceuticals and genetically engineered seeds. Crops and livestock are produced for quantity and export, not quality and nutrition.
It is this system that present and past governments have supported. As a result, transnational corporations now control most of our food supply and agriculture has become a major cause of land degradation and pollution. Factory farms crowd chickens, turkeys, cows and pigs into inhumane and unhygienic conditions, causing extreme water and air pollution while creating the risk of food contamination and serious health threats. Estimates of the amount of food waste produced by this industrial system range from 30 to 50 per cent while the demand for food banks in wealthy countries grows and global malnutrition remains stubbornly high. Farmers increasingly rely on off-farm income to survive.
Globally, industrial agriculture contributes nearly a quarter of all climate-changing gases; in Canada, the figure is about eight per cent. Eroded and degraded soil requires heavy use of fertilizers, leading to fertilizer-fueled algal blooms, some deadly, choking lakes and coastal zones. Chemicals to control insects and weeds are killing pollinators, contaminating food and endangering farm workers. Deforestation, land engineering and irrigation to expand agriculture are driving unprecedented species extinctions.
Shifting to mostly local, organic production systems for both crops and livestock will reduce climate-changing pollution while increasing the soil’s ability to store carbon and retain productivity in the face of climate change. It will also reduce air pollution and algal blooms in waterways, protect pollinators and workers, increase food safety and create humane conditions for farm animals. And it will restructure food markets to provide farm families with a fair share of the consumer food dollar.
In June 2019, the government of Canada released a new Canada Food Guide. The Green Party supports most of these objectives and measures as far as they go although we remain concerned that it discourages consumption of Canadian milk products, a relatively inexpensive source of calcium and protein. We support the focus on increasing access to healthy food including a national school lunch program, a Buy Canada program, increasing food security for northern communities and reducing food waste.
The policy says nothing, however, about the need to move away from industrial agriculture to address the serious environmental, health and animal welfare problems this model of food production creates. A Green government will “green” the Canada Food Policy.
- Establish climate change emission targets for all components of the food system, including nitrogen fertilizer use, livestock production and transportation.
- Fund research and extend support for farmers shifting from conventional to organic and regenerative farming systems which work with nature, not against it, to produce food.
- Adopt animal welfare legislation to prevent inhumane treatment of farm animals including in intensive factory farming operations. This will set minimum standards of treatment and have a timetable for phasing out intensive factory farming and other inhumane animal husbandry practices. It will set standards for distances live animals can be transported, and conditions for animals in slaughterhouses and auctions.
- Invest $2.5 million per year into a land and quota trust program and farming apprenticeship programs to expand local small-scale agriculture and help new farmers get started.
- Protect the right of farmers to save their own seed and promote heritage seed banks and seed exchange programs.
- Set a target to replace a third of Canada’s food imports with domestic production, increasing regional food self-reliance and returning 15 billion food dollars back into our economy.
- Support rooftop and community gardens and urban food production systems to increase access to local food.
- Assist in re-establishing the infrastructure for local food production in canneries, slaughterhouses and other value-added food processing.
- Protect supply management systems while allowing production for local markets outside this system.
- Reinstate the Canada Land Inventory program to provide a comprehensive record of existing and potential agricultural land.
- Provide effective fiscal incentives to other levels of government to preserve farmlands under their jurisdictions.
- Renew the national Environmental Farm Plan Program to help farmers protect wildlife habitat areas and marginal lands, maintain water quality in streams, lakes and aquifers, and retain and improve soil quality, increase carbon sequestration and decrease water requirements.
- Restore the Prairie Farm Rehabilitation measures for adaptation to drought conditions.
- Restructure Canada’s Business Risk Management Programs to help farmers cope with climate risk, with the focus on disaster assistance.
- Dedicate $5 million per year to develop a food waste strategy.
Food from the Sea
Seafood is an important part of a healthy diet and integral to the culture of coastal communities, especially Indigenous communities. Yet it is increasingly difficult to procure a fish for dinner that has come from a healthy stock fished by sustainable methods. Canadians should have access to seafood from sustainably managed fisheries, caught, landed and processed in Canada.
As with agriculture, corporate-industrial fisheries have inflicted great environmental damage, threatening the viability of the industry itself and undermining inshore fisheries. Many commercial fish populations are depleted, some to near extinction, due to overfishing. Trawling gear has destroyed fish habitat, and trap and long lines create extreme entanglement hazards for whales, sea turtles, seabirds and other species. Salmon aquaculture has undermined the viability of wild salmon populations, created pollution problems and introduced toxic chemicals into coastal waters.
Unlike agriculture, however, the fix is not straightforward. Despite the 27-year moratorium on cod fishing off Newfoundland, the commercial fishery remains closed. Now, ocean acidification, increased water temperatures and decreased oxygen levels associated with climate change are fundamentally altering marine ecosystems and threatening all fisheries, even those that are sustainably managed. Unless climate change is arrested, the ocean’s ability to produce food for human populations may be permanently compromised. In the face of this threat, we must do everything possible to minimize the stresses that we can control, giving the ocean its best chance to adapt to changing conditions. (See Rescuing the Oceans).
We must also ensure that coastal communities historically dependent on marine harvesting for their livelihoods are actively involved in fisheries management and derive the greatest possible benefit from those fisheries. While the Atlantic inshore fishery has protections against corporate control, in British Columbia fishing licences and quotas can be owned by investors and fish processing companies. This means Canadian fish can be processed in other countries such as China. A Green government will apply fair and consistent fisheries policies to all fishers, whether in the Atlantic, Arctic or the Pacific.
- Fully implement the co-management provisions of the Oceans Act.
- Protect independent harvesters and coastal communities by entrenching owner-operator and fleet separation policies in the Fisheries Act; and implement the 20 recommendations of the Standing Committee on Fisheries and Oceans report, West Coast Fisheries: Sharing Risks and Benefits. 20
- Increase funding for research on fish stocks to improve management and protect endangered species in the face of rapidly changing ecosystems.
- By 2025, move all open-net pen finfish aquaculture facilities into closed containment systems on land. As with land farmers transitioning from conventional production, provide financial and extension support to fish pen workers to make this transition.
- Remove Fisheries and Oceans Canada’s mandate to promote salmon aquaculture and shift regulation of aquaculture to Agriculture and Agrifood Canada, thereby eliminating DFO’s conflicting roles of aquaculture promotion and wild salmon protection.
Redirecting Federal Natural Resources Priorities
A few decades ago, Natural Resources Canada (NRCan) was called the Department of Energy, Mines and Resources. It conducted robust analysis of those sectors and substantial research and policy innovation in forestry.
Under Stephen Harper, the Canadian Forest Service (CFS) was devastated. The Pacific Forest Research Centre was closed and budgets of other CFS science centres were cut. Programs like Model Forests and annual State of the Forests reports were cancelled. Changes to legislation and policy priorities were crafted to fast-track pipeline approvals. The level of scrutiny of the mining industry, and research and policy attention to alternative energy sources, shrank.
Today, NRCan is little more than the Department of Oil and Gas. Rather than taking the lead on a national energy strategy that will get us to a carbon-free energy system by 2050, departmental resources are concentrated on expanding the very sectors that must be phased out.
A Green government will:
- Re-deploy the financial, physical and intellectual resources of NRCan towards achieving the goals of Mission: Possible.
- Collaborate with provinces, territories, Indigenous Peoples and the public to develop a Pan-Canadian Energy Strategy that gets us to a carbon-free energy system by 2050; phases out bitumen production for fuels by 2030-35; prioritizes Canadian jobs and supply; reduces energy demand across all sectors by 50 per cent; and ensures energy security for Canadians throughout this transition.
- Support the transition of the mining sector to an innovation hub for greener technologies, commercialized and attractive to export markets, including $40 million for the proposed Sudbury-based mining innovation cluster.
- Collaborate with provinces, territories, Indigenous Peoples and the public to renew the abandoned process of developing a National Forest Strategy which recognizes the role of forests in carbon sequestration and the imperative of retaining and restoring the ecological integrity of forest ecosystems in building resilience in the face of climate change. Increased funds would be dedicated to research and the expansion of tree nurseries in support of these objectives.
Science and Innovation
The Harper government muzzled scientists and cut funding for key research, including funding for clean water and northern science on climate change. The current Liberal government has talked about funding science and climate change research but has fallen well short of what is needed. Scientific research is the foundation of innovation, and enabling a green future requires switching to an innovation economy. A Green government will make Canada a leader in this space.
- Invest in scientific research and implement the full funding recommendations from Canada’s Fundamental Science Review.
- Enhance funding for the granting councils, including the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC), the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada and the Canadian Institutes for Health Research.
- Restore and augment Climate Change and Atmospheric Research (CCAR) funding to NSERC and ensure ongoing funding for the Polar Environment Atmospheric Research Laboratory, which the Liberals failed to restore after the funding ran out.
- Commit to full implementation of Scientific Integrity Policies for all government departments.
- Establish a portal where all government science, including the evidence the government uses to make decisions, is available to Canadians in a comprehensible form.
- Adopt policies similar to Europe’s “Plan S” to ensure that scientific publications based on publicly-funded research are available in open access journals or on the portal.
- Supports NSERC’s Framework on Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion in scientific research, and commit to strengthening Canadian scientific and engineering communities to include the full participation of equity-seeking groups, including women, visible minorities, Indigenous Peoples, people with diverse gender identities and people with disabilities.
Arts, Culture and Media in a Green Economy
Few sectors have such a small ecological footprint but deliver such multi-faceted benefits to communities and our national identity as the arts and culture. A Green government will ensure that they are integral to the green economy.
- Increase funding to all of Canada’s arts and culture organizations including the Canada Council for the Arts, the National Film Board and Telefilm Canada.
- Review tax incentives for film production to ensure all parts of Canada are competitive and attractive to the industry, with incentives rising when Canadian artistic and technical talent are employed.
- Implement a federal income tax credit for restoration expenditures to encourage private involvement in preserving Canada’s built heritage.
- Establish charitable tax credits for the private donation of easements on heritage properties to charitable organizations or local governments.
A vibrant, diverse media sector is a prerequisite for a healthy democracy. Traditional media are withering and disappearing from small markets due to a combination of digital and on-line competition and corporate concentration of ownership.
A Green government will:
- Reform anti-trust laws to enable the break-up of media conglomerates.
- Close the loophole that exempts social media platforms from collecting taxes on advertising and ensure all government advertising is placed in Canadian publications.
- Invest an additional $300 million per year in CBC and Radio Canada until the per-capita level of funding is equal to that of the BBC. 
- Reform the governance structure of CBC/Radio Canada to remove the potential for political interference in board appointments.
- Ensure that Netflix and other foreign internet broadcasters are subject to Canadian Content (CanCon) regulations, similar to those imposed on Canadian broadcasters.
- Invest $400 million per year to establish a universal broadband strategy to give Canadians across the country and in remote areas access to reliable internet.
A year into the legalization of cannabis, the flaws in the regulatory framework for cannabis production and sale are evident and a reform agenda is emerging.
Although one of the goals of legalization was to undermine the black market, since October 2018 the percentage of Canadians obtaining cannabis from illegal sources has not dropped below 38 per cent.  Contributing to this is an approach to legalization that treats the production of cannabis as uniquely dangerous. Security requirements mean growers must use more energy and water and deal with diseases and pests that thrive in greenhouses, increasing costs and hobbling their ability to meet production expectations. CBD (cannabidiol), used medicinally to reduce pain and anxiety, is not available to many who have prescriptions, increasing the illegal market for cannabis.
A Green government will:
- Lower the federally set price for cannabis to make it competitive with illegal supplies.
- Eliminate requirements for excess plastic packaging on legal cannabis.
- Remove federal excise duties and sales tax on medicinal cannabis products.
- Allow outdoor production and impose organic production standards.
- Exempt CBD from the restrictions of the Prescriptions List, allowing hemp growers to produce it as a natural health product. This would strengthen the hemp industry and increase supply so those who use it for medicinal purposes do not have to purchase it illegally.
Managing Technological Change
Closing the Digital Divide
To a great extent, the Green economy is a digital economy. To participate fully, individuals and communities across the country need access to reliable, affordable, high-speed internet. Such infrastructure is as essential today as power and telephone lines were early last century.
Currently there is a digital divide separating those with such access and those without. The Green Party supports the government’s Connectivity Strategy but has concerns about the introduction of 5G technology and which companies should be involved in delivering this next generation of connectivity. We are also concerned that the regulatory structure governing cellular and internet service results in Canadians paying much higher fees than people in other countries.
A Green government will:
- Strike a parliamentary committee to examine the implications of introducing 5G technology, including security issues and impacts on weather forecasting, and make recommendations on how and if Canada should proceed.
- Guard against threats to net neutrality.
Artificial intelligence (AI) and other emerging technologies have the potential to do a lot of good for our society and environment but regulation is needed to ensure that these advances benefit everyone. A Green government will make Canada the global leader in AI development and regulation. We must plan for the fact that AI and automation are putting many Canadians out of work. Our regulations will spell out ethics- and safety-centered legal criteria as well as detailing significant issues relating to law, liability, research and innovation, environmental impacts, intellectual property rights, the flow of data, privacy, safety and security, and public education.
- Strike a parliamentary committee to examine the range of issues related to the development of AI. Recommendations would form the basis of a legislative and regulatory framework to govern the ethical, environmental, social and economic implications of widespread dispersion of AI technologies.
- Bring in a Guaranteed Liveable Income to reduce anxiety as the world of work is disrupted in ways we cannot predict.
- Eliminate tuition to increase education and trade level skills to adapt to change.
- Institute a tax for large corporations that is the equivalent to the income tax paid by employees who have been laid off due to AI. Small businesses will be exempt.
- Use this tax revenue to fund educational and transition programs for laid-off workers, including trade schools.
- Track automation in different sectors and non-automatable jobs. Fund job creation, emphasizing a secure future in meaningful work.
- Ban autonomous weapons and fight for a global pact to make them illegal.
Consumerism is the centrepiece of the “grey” economy. GDP growth depends on ever-expanding mass consumption, which in turn drives increased extraction of raw materials, manufacture of largely disposable consumer goods and production of massive volumes of waste at every point in the commodity chain. This linear consumption-production-waste system, the driver of global warming, depends on disposability – a throwaway culture. It also depends on easy credit, which in turn enriches the financial sector and undermines individual and family financial stability.
A Green economy is built on durability. Products are built to last and to be repaired. It also protects citizens from the predatory business practices of credit card and telecom corporations and banks. Setting product and service standards for consumer protection are well within the purview of government. A Green government will drop the hands-off approach. It’s time to intervene.
- Enact Right to Repair legislation that requires producers to provide consumers or repair shops with replacement parts, software and tools for diagnosing, maintaining or repairing their products, for a fair price, and to reset any electronic security that may disable the device during diagnosis, maintenance or repair.
- Limit credit card interest rates to a maximum of 10 percentage points above the Bank of Canada prime rate.
- Limit ATM fees to $1 per transaction and prohibit financial institutions from charging their own customers ATM fees.
- Amend CRTC regulations to increase competition in the provision of cellular and internet services to consumers and decouple payments for cell phones from cell services.
- Enact provisions to protect consumers and investors from fraud and theft in the cryptocurrency spheres, and direct Revenue Canada and law enforcement agencies to develop practical methods for preventing the use of cryptocurrencies for money laundering and funding terrorism.
- 14. These numbers come from the following report: https://cleanenergycanada.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/05/2019-03-13-Clean-Energy-Economy-FINAL-REPORT.pdf. The report actually says the total number of clean energy jobs is 298K, broken down as 60K in supply, 47K in electricity grid and storage infrastructure, 20K in buildings (design, technology), and 171K in transportation, mostly public transit. However, the report includes nuclear power, which is not a clean source of electricity, given its emissions of ionizing radiation to air and water and production of highly dangerous radioactive waste. Estimates for jobs in the nuclear energy sector range from 20K to 40K, for an average of 30K. Our numbers, then, subtract 30K from the clean energy supply sector jobs to arrive at our number of 268K in 2017.
- 15. https://ohe.efficiencycanada.org/?utm_source=energymix&utm_medium=website&utm_campaign=ohe
- 16. https://www.nrcan.gc.ca/energy-and-economy/20062#L6.
- 17. https://theenergymix.com/2019/08/16/fossils-face-crisis-attracting-millennial-work-force/
18. 2018 bank profits:
- Royal Bank of Canada: $12.4 billion
- Toronto Dominion Bank: $11.3 billion
- Bank of Nova Scotia: $8.7 billion
- Bank of Montreal: $5.45 billion
- Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce: $5.3 billion
- 19. WTO members may adopt policy measures that are inconsistent with GATT disciplines, but necessary to protect human, animal or plant life or health. See “WTO rules and environmental policies: introduction.” World Trade Organization. Available: https://www.wto.org/english/tratop_e/envir_e/envt_rules_intro_e.htm. [Accessed August 23, 2019].
- 20. Canada. Parliament. West Coast Fisheries: Sharing Risks and Benefits. 42nd Parliament, 1st Session (May 2019). Available: https://www.ourcommons.ca/Content/Committee/421/FOPO/Reports/RP10387715/foporp21/foporp21-e.pdf.
- 21. In late 2016, CBC/Radio Canada requested $400 million in additional funding in order to move to an ad-free model like the BCC in the United Kingdom. Per capita funding in the United Kingdom for its public broadcaster is more than three times the rate than in Canada. Additional investments would create thousands more new jobs and add hundreds of millions to the GDP. See http://future.cbc.ca/recommendations.html.
- 22. Statistics Canada. National Cannabis Survey, first quarter 2019. Last updated May 2, 2019. https://www150.statcan.gc.ca/n1/daily-quotidien/190502/dq190502a-eng.htm. (accessed August 16, 2019). The national surveys from the fourth quarter of 2018 and second quarter of 2019 show higher precentages of purchases from illegal sources, at 43% and 42% respectively.