In 1900, at the World Exhibition in Paris, Rudolph Diesel unveiled his new engine that ran on peanut oil. In 2006, the fossil fuels that run our vehicle engines in Canada are responsible for nearly 25 per cent of all greenhouse gas emissions. After 100 years of combustion engines, many people still believe that it costs less to fuel a vehicle with fossil fuels than by other methods. But the Green Party looks at the full cost of using fossil fuels and makes a parallel to cigarette smoking. When an individual smokes a cigarette they are placing a future cost on society. When we add the health and environmental costs of driving a vehicle that runs on fossil fuels - the smog alerts, the asthma, the cancer rates, the oil spills - they quickly pile up. Add the cost of instability in the oil industry and it's a wonder why we have continued to pursue oil. Fossil fuels are creating an ecological and an economic shock. Canadians felt that shock last summer when gas prices rose astronomically. With oil reaching peak production, prices will continue to rise - creating fertile ground for inflation and recessions. The federal government's solution is to subsidize exploration and production with $1.4 billion of taxpayer dollars every year. However, subsidies should be used when governments believe that an investment is worthwhile. It's why we subsidize daycares, education and health services. So, why are we subsidizing industries that are pulling in multi-billion dollar profits while they continue to pollute Canada? We can shift gears. Shift to clean renewable fuels, expand public transport and build healthy communities using "smart growth" strategies that won't leave us breathless. Green Party MPs will work to:
  • Support pedestrian, cycle and car-sharing infrastructure in towns and cities.
  • Work with provinces and municipalities to make a massive re-investment in Canada's public transportation infrastructure.
  • Make transit passes tax-deductible to encourage workers and businesses to use public transport and make employee parking a taxable benefit.
  • Provide fiscal stability for municipal light rail and subway investments by signing a ten-year funding contract with our cities.
  • Improve our rail infrastructure and intermodal connections, increasing joint federal-municipal light rail investments, as well as improving VIA rail service across Canada.
  • Work with Canada's railway companies to improve Canada's rail infrastructure and to restore VIA rail service to all major regional cities.
  • Create a national clean freight initiative that uses both regulatory means and financial incentives to improve fleet efficiency and safety.
  • Enforce a mandatory target of 25 per cent better fuel efficiency for the automobile industry and increase standards over the next 5 years.
  • Employ incentives to increase the percentage of ethanol content in gasoline and the availability of other biofuels.