Toronto – July 5, 2019 – Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer recently announced his party’s climate plan, pointing out with great pleasure the length, weight, and look of the document. The plan is indeed a pretty document with many large photos and words. But regardless of how “nice” the document might look, it is missing any concrete notion of how Canada would reduce its greenhouse gas emissions.
The Conservative plan would scrap the federal carbon tax but offers no other carbon pricing in its place. The closest the plan comes to using regulation to fight climate change is a plan to impose a cap on emissions from major emitters. Laughably, the penalty for exceeding the cap would be a requirement that emitters research ways to improve their performance, something one would presume they would do anyway.
In contrast to the Conservative plan of inaction, Jagmeet Singh’s NDP have released the most comprehensive climate action plan of any federal political party. The NDP plan understands that we need to connect social issues with our climate, the environment, and the economy. It promises to spend $15 billion to help create over 300,00 jobs in industries steering the low carbon transition and recognizes the need to address a just transition for workers. In other words, the plan recognizes that there must be a place for everyone in the new green economy.
Scheer’s climate plan, meanwhile, was released without much fanfare and is at best a mixed bag of ideas – some good, some irrelevant, and most ineffective. The plan fails to link social issues with the climate and economy and there is no mention of any just transition for Canadian workers. As well, none of the plan’s 58 pages account for how Conservatives will do better than any current plans, or how they would even maintain Canada’s existing efforts to reduce emissions.
Andrew Scheer is widely perceived as one of the weakest leaders ever to helm the Conservative Party, and his climate plan does nothing to change that perception. The plan may satisfy corporations and his party base – mainly by cancelling the carbon tax – but it fails to explain how the Conservatives would cut emissions. With climate change approaching crisis levels, the Conservative climate plan is yet another example of why Scheer and his party are not fit to govern.