Growing the economy by protecting our environment

Tom Mulcair's speech at iVote-jeVote

Merci beaucoup, M. le Doyen Mérette.

Merci à tout le monde d’être ici aujourd’hui à l’Université d’Ottawa.

J’étais ici même il y a à peine plus d’un an dans cette même salle, avec plus de 1000 étudiants pour parler de l’importance de la participation des jeunes dans le processus démocratique.

Ça a été un beau moment pour moi, et j’ai été frappé par la richesse des conversations que nous avons eues ensemble.

Chapeau à Allan Rock et à Kevin Page pour cette initiative qui vous permettent d’échanger avec des politiciens sur des sujets qui vous touchent maintenant et les décisions qui changeront votre avenir.  

So thank you again for the opportunity to join you to discuss what I feel is one of the most important issues that will face Canada over the coming months, years and decades.

And that is how Canada moves forward to build an economy with a vibrant and growing middle class; an economy that is prosperous and sustainable for generations to come.

Today I want to share with you some of the elements that make up the NDP’s plan to build sustainable prosperity in Canada.

And there couldn't be a more exciting time to discuss such an important topic.  

Last night we saw the people of Alberta turn the page on 44 years of Conservative Party rule and embrace a new approach to ensure that middle class families have a brighter future with better health care and education, jobcreation, and a more diversified economy.

Albertans from all walks of life, from every corner of the province chose change that Premier elect Rachel Notley offered – and at the forefront of it all, were young people actively engaged in charting their future and the future of their province.

And that desire for change, particularly when it comes to issues such as building sustainable prosperity is not limited to Alberta.

Whether it’s in my home province of Quebec, in BC, Toronto or in Atlantic Canada – Canadians are looking to get Canada on the right track.

And it’s not hard to see why.

In Kyoto in 1997, the Liberal government of the day committed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to 6% below 1990 levels.

But instead of going down, greenhouse gas emissions went up on their watch by 23%.

In fact, carbon pollution went up each and every year the Liberals were in office.

In 2007, five years after the Liberal government ratified the Kyoto accord, former Prime Minister Jean Chretien’s senior advisor Eddie Goldenberg made the shocking admission that the government had no intention of fulfilling the obligations that their signature committed Canada to upholding.

In 2009, Stephen Harper made a commitment to reduce greenhouse gases by 17% from 2005 levels.

Under his watch, Canada’s greenhouse gas emissions rose – not fell – by 4% between 2009 and 2013.

Canada will not come close to meeting Stephen Harper’s weak targets.

You may have noticed the Conservatives’ recent budget made no mention of climate change.

But failing on carbon pollution is not the whole story when it comes to Stephen Harper.

Les conservateurs ont démantelé systématiquement les lois canadiennes de protection environnementale.

Et sous Stephen Harper, le Canada est devenu le seul pays au monde à s’être retiré du Protocole de Kyoto et de la Convention des Nations Unies contre la désertification.

Le Canada ne fait malheureusement pas sa part pour lutter contre les changements climatiques.

Je ne sais pas ce qui est le pire, franchement.

Signer Kyoto comme les libéraux, sans avoir la moindre intention de rencontrer ses obligations.

Ou carrément déchirer l’entente et renier sa signature.

D’une manière ou d’une autre, le résultat est le même.

Et ce sont les Canadiens qui en paient le prix.

Liberal and Conservative failure on the environment is hurting our quality of life, our health, it’s hurting our economy and it’s tarnishing our global reputation.  

And worst of all, it’s passing off a far greater burden to future generations.

As a grandfather, I don’t want to leave an unfair environmental burden onto future generations – you might remember Joe Oliver talking about passing the burden on to Stephen Harper’s granddaughter – well, I believe we have an obligation to take responsibility today.  

And with true political will and an effective plan, we can get Canada on the right track, grow the economy, protect the environment, provide energy security for generations to come and become a positive global player on climate change.

My vision for sustainable prosperity seizes new opportunities for clean energy, effectively cuts carbon pollution, reduces risks to our communities and coast lines and establishes an assessment and review process that Canadians can put their trust in. once and for all.

First – we’ll kick-start clean renewable energy production in Canada.  

If Canada is going to seize the opportunities of the 21st century— we need to be ready to tackle the realities of this new century.  

Over the next 5 years, by 2020 - global market demand in the clean-tech sector
is expected to hit an astonishing $3-trillion.
Today, employment in clean-tech is growing at a rate of 18% year-over-year.

The opportunities and the potential for Canada are enormous.

New Democrats have already announced that we will eliminate subsidies to the fossil-fuel industry and invest in clean energy instead.

Our investments in clean energy, will help create a made-in Canada solution and help create the next generation of middle-class jobs.

On doit profiter de l’occasion en or qui s’offre à nous pour nous défaire de notre dépendance aux énergies non renouvelables pour se tourner vers les énergies vertes, propres et renouvelables.

Des investissements significatifs dans l’énergie solaire, éolienne, géothermique et hydro-électrique créeraient des dizaines de milliers de nouveaux emplois pour la classe moyenne.

Mais les néo-démocrates savent bien que les ressources non renouvelables vont demeurer un ingrédient économique important pour encore plusieurs années.

C’est pour ça qu’il est si important d’utiliser nos richesses naturelles de façon responsable en diversifiant.

De façon à faire croître notre économie tout en protégeant l’environnement, tout en respectant les communautés locales, tout en respectant nos obligations envers les communautés des Premières nations.

Voilà un projet de société durable que les Canadiens veulent voir.

Second:  we will adopt a polluter pay principle.
 
A group called Clean Prosperity estimates that each Canadian taxpayer shells out more than $1,700 every year to clean up pollution that the originating companies themselves aren’t required to clean up.  If corporations don’t pay, somebody else has to.

I don’t think it’s fair to ask average Canadians to pay for someone else’s mess.

We will take federal leadership on pricing carbon through a pan-Canadian cap-and trade mechanism.

The most effective way to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions is to cap the level of emissions and over time, reduce the limit. This mechanism worked to eliminate acid rain and it will work for greenhouse gas emissions.

We will provide industry and Canadians with a stable federal mechanism that works with provinces but doesn’t abdicate Canada’s responsibility.

Plusieurs provinces ont démontré qu’elles étaient prêtes à faire leurs parts.

Mais le gouvernement du Canada a un rôle de leadership à jouer, pour aider l’industrie à s’adapter et pour s’assurer que ces entreprises puissent compter sur des règles claires.

On ne peut pas abandonner les provinces et leur demander de se débrouiller, en restant les bras croisés.

Troisièmement, un gouvernement du NPD va proposer des règles plus strictes pour le transport de matières dangereuses.

Les déraillements de trains, comme le désastre de Lac Mégantic -ou encore le déraillement et déversement à Gogoma, dans le nord de l’Ontario, démontrent toute l’importance d’avoir des mesures sévères en place.

On ne peut pas laisser l’industrie s’auto-règlementer.
 
Depuis l’arrivée des conservateurs, il y a eu 6 000 déraillements à travers le pays.

Un millier de ces trains impliquaient des matières dangereuses.

C’est évidemment beaucoup trop.

It’s time we had rail safety standards that Canadians can trust.

A second example of how dangerous Conservative policies are to our communities is the recent fuel spill that affected large parts of Vancouver’s shoreline and English Bay.

This was, in many ways, a relatively minor spill.

Yet it took 6 hours to even begin to contain the spill and a whole 12 hours to notify the City of Vancouver.

Conservatives keep promising, quote “world-class” oil spill response.

But you can’t clean up an oil spill with talking points.

This was, in fact, a world-class failure.

Imagine if this had been a major tanker or pipeline spill.

Nous savons aussi que, malgré l’augmentation du nombre de pétroliers qui circulent sur le fleuve et le golfe du Saint-Laurent, la capacité d’intervention du gouvernement fédéral en cas de déversement est tout simplement inadéquate.

L’une des plus grandes frustrations, c’est qu’il n’y a plus aucune façon de déterminer les impacts et les risques environnementaux réels d’un projet.

C’est le résultat direct du saccage des processus d’évaluation environnementale fait par les conservateurs.

C’est grave:  les Canadiens sont complètement dans le noir. Mais ce sont des préoccupations légitimes!

Canadians don’t have faith that the Harper government is prepared for a major environmental disaster and with good reason.

Even the Auditor General’s Office has warned – several times – that Canada is not ready for a major oil spill.

When the Conservatives were moving to shut down the Kitsilano Coast Guard Station, they claimed it was no longer necessary and that Vancouver had nothing to worry about.

They were – as the NDP pointed out at the time – dead wrong.

And last but not least – we will work with provinces, industry and with indigenous and other communities to revamp the environmental review process for the approval of major resource infrastructure such as pipelines.

Only through a strong project review process – with sustainability at its core – can we ensure that proposals are safe for Canadians before moving forward.

Unlike consecutive Conservative and Liberal governments, New Democrats will not just rubberstamp development projects.

Resource development can only be successful if it grows our economy and protects our environment.
An NDP government will take practical steps to do just that.

To succeed, New Democrats will overhaul and strengthen Canada’s environmental assessment regime

We will make it open, fair and transparent.

We will ensure social and environmental sustainability helps drive the success of resource projects.

An NDP government will ensure that reviews are meaningful and account for a project’s impact on our climate

And respect our new international obligation to reduce greenhouse gases.

An NDP government will prioritize a transition to a clean energy future.

This will be done in full consultation with the new Alberta NDP government, other provinces and territories and indigenous communities.

This is in addition to tougher rules to help prevent oil spills and ensure polluters pay for clean-up.

Canada’s NDP government will rebuild public trust by seeking Canadians’ input on development projects that impact them.

We will also end the Conservatives’ arbitrary limits on public participation in project reviews.

Ensuring Canada’s future success means we must also build and sustain a real nation-to-nation relationship with indigenous communities.

Canada must honour its legal duty to consult and accommodate First Nations.

We’ll remove cabinet’s ability to overrule the National Energy Board based on ideological whims.

And like Rachel Notley repeated throughout the Alberta election campaign, instead of just shipping our raw bitumin to the United States for refining, let’s work with industry to ensure more of those value added jobs stay right here in Canada.  

Our plan is one that ensures sustainable prosperity.
It will create jobs, grow Canada’s economy and protect the environment.

We will reverse the damage Stephen Harper has done.

We will protect and reassure communities with better safety standards and a robust assessment regime.

A regime that ensures economic growth and supports environmental sustainability.

And our plan ensures social and environmental sustainabilityfor generations to come – with meaningful consultations and partnerships with indigenous communities.

Whether its BC’s fisheries, mining or forest sectors, or the oil sands and gas of Alberta, Ontario’s game-changing Ring of Fire, Quebec’s mining and hydro resources or fisheries and offshore oil in Atlantic Canada.

Canada’s natural resources create tremendous economic opportunities and are major drivers of Canada’s economy.

New Democrats believe we need to diversify and strengthen our economy.

New Democrats understand that Canada’s non-renewable resources are an important part of our economy mix.

That’s why it’s critically important to develop these natural gifts responsibly.

In a way that grows our economy while protecting the environment while ensuring that development respects local communities, including our legal obligations to First Nations and indigenous communities.

That’s the sustainable approach that Canadians want to see.

We will develop new approaches and begin to think in terms of “sustainable prosperity.”

I know, New Democrats know, that it is possible to grow our economy while protecting our environment.

Conservatives will too often tell you that we have to choose between one or the other.

It is a false choice.

It is not the economy or the environment.
It is the economy and the environment.

New Democrats have already begun laying out our vision.  

To make Canada a global leader in the 21st century clean energy sector.

This fall, if elected government – we will begin rebuilding the public’s trust in resource development.

We will put in place the measures that will ensure social licence — the consent of Canadians for the development of Canada’s resources.

And we’ll do it without burdening our children or grandchildren with unsustainable environmental debt.

And I know that we can do it.

Je crois qu’un gouvernement n’a pas de plus grande responsabilité que d’assurer la sécurité du public.

Et je crois qu’un gouvernement doit aussi prendre des décisions et faire des choix qui sont dans l’intérêt à long terme des Canadiens.

Ce sont ses valeurs qui m’ont guidé tout au long de mes 35 années de service public.

Ce sont des valeurs qui m’ont guidé comme ministre québécois de l’Environnement.

J’ai fait adopter la Loi québécoise sur le développement durable.

Aujourd’hui, cette loi exige que le gouvernement examine les impacts environnementaux, sociaux et économiques d’un projet avant de lui donner le feu vert.

C’est un des réalisations dont je suis le plus fier de toute ma carrière.

Cette loi demeure la plus exhaustives de son genre dans toute l’Amérique du Nord.

Elle instaurait aussi dans la Charte québécoise des droits et libertés le droit de vivre dans un environnement sain.

Il a fallu que je me batte.

Mais aujourd’hui, il s’agit d’un outil formidable pour s’assurer que l’environnement des Québécois est protégé.

Les Canadiens devraient tous bénéficier de ce droit.

As a Cabinet Minister, I didn’t just talk about lowering carbon pollution, I lowered greenhouse emissions each and every year I was Minister.

That’s my record.  And I’m proud of it.

In just a few months from now, Canadians will be asked to decide which party, and which leader, has the best vision for Canada’s future.  

Our offer to Canadians is clear.

A government that grows our economy while protecting our environment.

A government that develops our natural resources responsibly.

A government that makes polluters pay for the pollution they create, and invests in the next generation of middle-class jobs.

I don’t need to tell you how high the stakes are, you will be the ones inheriting this planet.

The question we all must answer is: what kind of world do we want to leave behind?

Will we leave your generation with a greener world, built on a foundation of economic and environmental sustainability?

Or will we leave you to clean up the messes we’ve left behind?

Can we build a Canada where prosperity is sustained for future generations?

The answers to these questions are in the actions we take today and on October 19.

My friends, together we can make this vision a reality. I invite you be a part of it.

Thank you.