Climate change presents the greatest challenge we have ever faced. It also presents some of the greatest opportunities for growth and innovation. My plan, A New Deal for a Green Economy, is a national program of investment that will grow the Canadian economy, grow clean energy sources, and ensure workers and communities no longer face recurring devastation from resource booms and busts.
A green transition not only has the potential to provide us with the technologies and emerging industries to save our environment, it will also create the good jobs and prosperity to sustain Canadians for decades to come. A just, green transition means working with all partners, and bringing workers and industry to the table to ensure the reduction of carbon intensive energy projects is done fairly without impacting communities disproportionately.
An economy predominantly based on a single sector is a vulnerable economy, as we have seen from the long downturn in oil prices. Certain natural resources will continue to have a role during the transition, but the emphasis must be on new, clean energy projects. There is no contradiction between jobs and the environment if we begin to lessen the ties between our prosperity to the extraction and burning of fossil fuels. Research shows that Canada can create 700,000 new jobs in construction and operation of renewable energy infrastructure required to power our economy with wind, water and solar energy by 2050. This says nothing of the abundance of low-carbon jobs that can also be part of the transition and diversification. With principled leadership and a bold climate plan, we can and will begin to prosper in the new energy economy.
If we are to safeguard a future for our children, we must make fighting climate change the battle of our generation. Together we can create hundreds of thousands of jobs and invest in communities by tackling this challenge.
As leader of Canada’s NDP, I will create two new separate public institutions: a crown corporation called Green Canada and a public investment bank that will work together to implement the transition away from fossil fuels and towards a diversified green economy. The bank will fund projects, while Green Canada will bring many to life. We must invest in green technology, in housing, in retooling the manufacturing sector, in public transit and more.
There are good reasons to increase public investment: interest rates are at near-record lows while business investment and productivity are weak. The investment bank will issue government-backed, public debt to finance investment projects and partner with provinces and municipalities to leverage more public financing. It will replace Trudeau’s privatization bank, which is mostly using private money and will funnel money from public projects to wealthy investors. A 100% public bank means we don’t overpay for the investment we need and the benefits flow to all equally.
Under my leadership, the Government of Canada, Green Canada and the public investment bank will:
Create Jobs and Support Industry
Green Canada Advisory Boards (GCAB) that will bring workers, Indigenous leaders, industry and climate change experts to the table together. These advisory boards will be managed by the Green Canada corporation, with economic development investments funded through the public investment bank. By having all stakeholders working with the federal government and in partnership with provinces, territories, First Nation, Metis and Inuit communities we can implement good, just policy that supports workers and communities during industry transitions.
Create opportunities for workers in sunset industries by giving them financial support to upskill and the opportunity to help us build a low-carbon future. We can’t tackle climate change without skilled tradespeople. And we will need all hands on deck to mitigate the effects of climate change that are already locked in. Workers in existing carbon-intensive industries are critical to the cleaning up and reclamation of industrial sites. Through the Green Canada Advisory Boards workers and industry will come to the table with Indigenous leaders and Climate Change experts to ensure carbon intensive energy project phase outs are done in a sustainable, non-exploitative way. Workers will be able to remain in their respective industries during the cleanup process, such as in the work to reclaim orphaned wells or cleanup of abandoned mines, while upskilling to growth industries that will need skilled, trained workers.
Implement a Youth Green Job Guarantee. The new clean energy economy will need workers and young people face disproportionately high unemployment rates. The Youth Green Job Guarantee would be coordinated by Green Canada and would help young people transition into the labour market, cutting down on precarious work. An initial program would provide applicants with a six-month period of good quality public or social employment or apprenticeship geared towards the new green economy. It is a start on the road back to a robust full employment economy that delivers for workers. A variant of this has already been implemented in the EU and has been met with success.
Retool fabrication shops and factories to produce components for clean energy projects and other carbon pollution solutions. We need to upgrade our manufacturing capacity to rapidly transition Canada to renewable energy and to help mitigate climate change around the world.
Create a national retrofit strategy. We need a massive expansion of the clean energy retrofit sector. This means upgrading existing buildings, making them lower carbon, more comfortable and more energy efficient with a national retrofit program and mandatory home energy labelling. This program would lower energy bills and create thousands of jobs for tradespeople across the country. Buildings account for a large amount of Canada’s greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and many of them have yet to be retrofitted. Not only will this strategy reduce our GHGs but it will also create thousands of new jobs from home energy auditors to those actually retrofitting commercial or residential buildings.
Build affordable housing that is comfortable, safe and green, by targeting new investments in cooperative, social and co-housing to communities in core housing need, especially northern, Indigenous and dense urban communities. By building and retrofitting green homes in communities across the country, we can tackle our housing crisis, create jobs and cut emissions at the same time. An NDP government under my leadership would invest $10 billion annually to build 40,000 units of green public housing across the country, creating more than 150,000 homes in its first mandate.
Work with First Nation, Métis and Inuit communities in transitioning to clean energy through our commitments under the United Nations Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP). Green Canada will provide First Nation communities with the independence and resources they need to utilize their own clean energy opportunities. As well, Indigenous partnerships in our Green Canada Advisory Boards will ensure Indigenous communities always have a seat at the table in partnership with workers, industry and climate change experts.
Energize off grid communities with community and Indigenous-owned clean energy projects. Many remote and Indigenous communities rely on diesel generation for electricity, leaving people vulnerable to price shocks and supply interruptions. We can cut carbon pollution and empower communities by investing in community-owned renewable electricity generation.
Safely and Securely Phase out fossil fuels for home heating by helping homeowners switch to renewable fuels and lowering electricity costs with accessible, and affordable sources of less carbon intensive energy sources.
Invest in Innovation and Technology
Accelerate pollution-fighting technology by funding open-source research into solutions for the climate change challenges we face and invest in public sector clean energy innovation. Every scenario for avoiding runaway climate change includes a technological breakthrough we don’t have yet. The public sector has an important role to play in fostering innovation. Green Canada will partner with our public universities to fund and carry out basic and applied research in renewable energy and energy efficiency at dedicated new research institutes. The rewards of research breakthroughs will be shared by all of us: selected successful research will be the basis for new manufacturing projects run directly by Green Canada. In time, this crown corporation will grow into a complex green technology actor, reinvesting funds into research, taking on strategic production tasks that aid in meeting climate goals and providing the federal government with streams of revenues for other needs.
Green the global internet. Cloud data storage accounts for 2 per cent of all global emissions, tied with international air travel. We will make Canada a clean cloud storage leader by strengthening our privacy laws and working with provinces to develop cloud storage facilities powered by clean energy.
Invest in Green Transportation
Making Canada an active transportation leader by giving communities grants to build sidewalks, all ages and abilities cycling facilities, and other active transportation projects. This would create jobs and make our communities healthier while helping us cut carbon emissions.
Electrifying Canada’s transportation network and getting gas and diesel fueled vehicles off the road by building quick charging stations in partnership with communities. Transportation emissions account for just over 25 per cent of Canada’s greenhouse gas emissions. If we are to truly limit our carbon emissions and lead on climate change, we must ensure a greener transportation network. Internationally, many countries are putting in place targets now to phase out internal combustion vehicles in the next 25 years, leading up to 2040. Under my leadership, an NDP government will prioritize phasing out the sale of gas and diesel fuel vehicles by 2040, and support low income households with interest free loans to purchase electric vehicles leading up to 2040. To support fewer vehicles on our roads in urban centres, the public investment bank will fund municipal public transit and transportation electrification projects as well as a public network of electric car charging stations across the country, making use of federal government land and buildings as well as partnering with existing public corporations, in particular Canada Post. Canada’s cities and towns desperately need funds to electrify and expand public transit. My plan supports communities in making these changes.
Canada can and should be an international leader when it comes to our response to Climate Change, and the causes of Climate Change. Our response to this crisis can be a catalyst to reshape our role on the world stage – taking Canada from global laggard on Climate Change to a global leader and solution innovator.
International Climate Change leadership means advancing more aggressive international targets, and leading domestically with our New Deal for a Green Economy and Natural Resource policies. When we start leading with bold, principled policy on an international stage, Canada will lead in in the reduction of the greenhouse gases that contribute to rapid climate change.
It is time for Canada to become an international climate leader in the fight against climate change, and help build a better world for all of Earth’s citizens. Canada’s climate leadership starts here.
As leader of Canada’s NDP I commit to:
Ensure that we lead through action under the Paris Climate Accord by reducing our greenhouse gas emissions to 30% below 2005 levels by 2025. As part of the Paris Climate Accord, Canada has already committed to reducing our greenhouse gas emissions to 30% below 2005 levels, or by 523 megatons by 2030. But we cannot be content with a status quo that isn’t working. Canada should be a climate leader internationally. Our wealth of natural resources are critical to our well being – whether it be our fresh water reserves or our vast forests. Under my leadership, we will go beyond Harper’s commitment and ensure we are not just meeting global targets but leading in future international climate change policy. This necessary reduction of greenhouse gas emissions will be accomplished through the implementation of measures under my New Deal for a Green Economy plan – a plan that outlines specific and measurable actions that not only reduce carbon emissions, but supports communities with investments and economic stimulus.
Adopt a carbon budget that is scientifically-based and ethically sound. Principled leadership relies on sound data and ensures no one community is disproportionately affected. I will work to implement a Canadian carbon budget, based on scientific evidence, that tracks Canada’s remaining fair share of emittable greenhouse gases and monitors increases that would contribute to global warming rising two degrees over pre-industrial levels.
Address the disproportionately gendered impact of climate change. Women and girls across the globe are disproportionately affected by endemic poverty and, like much of world’s poor, are reliant on agricultural subsistence for their survival. As the effects of climate change become more pronounced – an increasing intensity of fires, drought, hurricanes, floods, and famine – those who rely on the natural environment for their livelihoods are suffering the greatest share of the consequences. Women and girls, in particular, are at increased vulnerability due to widespread political marginalization which prevents them from accessing the resources they need to cope. As leader of Canada’s NDP, I will fight to make sure that we do more to aid those who are most affected by climate change, particularly women and girls, by ensuring that they have the tools and support they need to mitigate the negative impact of a changing environment.
Amp up our contributions to the Green Climate Fund and give grants, not loans to support developing countries decarbonize their economies. Canada must also make good on its commitment to helping those most vulnerable prepare for unavoidable climate impacts and build their low-carbon futures. Contributing our fair share to the United Nations adaptation fund is paramount. At present, Canada has pledged to contribute $2.65 billion to the GCF. What wasn’t mentioned is that almost half of that is in the form of loans. Under my leadership, Canada’s NDP would assist developing countries in decarbonizing their economies more rapidly through sharing technology and best practices, as well as providing developing nations financial support. This differs from offsets used in the past, which have largely been exploitative and have not yielded results. This way Canada can ensure it does its fair share to meet our Paris commitment, while helping our neighbours. More loans to already struggling nations means more debt burden that will stifle their development, and that isn’t what a helping hand should look like.
Reform Environmental Impact Assessment processes so that all new federal infrastructure projects are developed ensuring that they are compatible with our Paris commitments. We will work with provinces and territories to ensure joint funded projects meet the same environmental standards. Conducting a Strategic Environmental Assessment on the cumulative climate impacts of new infrastructure could make this possible.
Promote the development and use of safe, clean, and sustainable public energy sources. In order to meet our international commitments and become an international climate leader, we must not only reduce our reliance on fossil fuels through the development and promotion of less carbon-intensive energy sources such as wind, solar, tidal, and hydro electricity at home, but also make it an intrinsic part of our foreign policy by assisting other states, particularly in the global south, to develop their own sustainable public energy infrastructure.
Climate change is a reality that challenges resource development, land stewardship and conservation in communities across the country. Whether it’s the shifting climate in the North – with greater melt and shorter cold periods, wildfires in our forests, unpredictable drought and flood seasons or changing growing seasons, climate change is impacting our communities. And it has permanently affected our ability to sustainably develop our natural resources. That is why we have to act now to mitigate the damage climate change has done, and support communities in making necessary changes locally and nationally.
Through collaboration with workers, climate change and resource development experts, provincial governments, community leaders and industry, Canada can be a leader in managing our natural resources sustainably and responsibly. This work needs federal leadership, and a federal partner.
Environmental justice will not happen in silos. It is complicated, and it requires all partners to be at the table to ensure the development and protection of natural resources is managed responsibly, with the communities affected at the table.
As Leader of Canada’s NDP, I commit to:
Creating four industry-specific Green Canada Advisory Boards (GCAB) for forestry, agriculture, fishing and energy to bring all stakeholders to the table to develop best practices to be implemented by Green Canada and ensure industry, workers and experts are working collaboratively to support a just transition to a green economy and sustainable resource development.
Each advisory board will be an equal partner in directing Green Canada, our crown corporation responsible for the implementation of the measures outlined throughout our Environmental Justice platform. Each advisory board will have workers, climate scientists, Indigenous partners, UNDRIP experts and industry – to work in partnership with federal government departments and agencies as well as provincial and territorial governments.
The GCABs will work with small businesses, community owned operations and community organizations to mitigate the impact of climate change in key sectors to ensure development and land use meets the goals of UNDRIP and engages in resource profit sharing with the Indigenous communities impacted by resource development. This support will include economic development funding to develop and implement best practices and process that achieve these standards.
The GCABs will work across all sectors to develop best practices for implementation in all federal government departments, and will play a key role in guiding economic investment in communities. Economic development will provide funding to small businesses and community centered organizations implementing changes in resource development processes that meet the industry specific GCAB. This fund would invest in projects and long term work that integrate UNDRIP, climate science, land stewardship and community economic development.
There are already success stories coming out of this intersectional approach here in our country. Success stories, such as the work done by “Canada Pathway to Target 1” – a joint commitment from federal, provincial and territorial deputy ministers for parks to meet our commitment to conserve 17 per cent of our country’s land and inland water by 2020.
Partnerships like this are critical to working together to mitigate the impact that climate change is already having. Our land and our waters do not stop at provincial boundaries – which is why the federal government needs to be a partner – working with provinces, territories, First Nation, Metis and Inuit communities and supporting their own efforts to conserve and develop.
I am committed to a platform of Environmental Justice that brings workers, industry, and experts to the table. Together, we can find solutions that lift us all up and protect our precious natural world.