April 2nd, 2019

Liberals Failing on Climate Change Action and Protecting our Waterways: Environment Commissioner

OTTAWA – In her Spring Reports on tax and non-tax fossil fuel subsidies, the Environment Commissioner confirmed that Justin Trudeau’s Liberal government is failing to identify and assess a complete list of fossil fuel subsidies – and is only doing weak assessments on the measures they examine. The government only looked at 23% of government departments to identify non-tax subsidies and didn’t even consider the expansion and purchase of the Trans Mountain pipeline as a potential subsidy.

New Democrats know that to effectively fight climate change, we have to throw everything we have at the problem – that means working together to set ambitious targets with measures to hold the government accountable, taking concrete action to reduce emissions and investing in building the clean energy economy we need, now.

“Fossil fuel subsidies have given an unfair advantage to the fossil fuel industry while the renewable energy industry creates jobs that are sustainable to last for decades to come. Justin Trudeau’s Liberals have promised repeatedly to phase out fossil fuel subsidies, but today the Environment Commissioner confirmed that this is just another broken promise,” said NDP Environment Critic Alexandre Boulerice (Rosemont—La Petite-Patrie). “The Liberals say they want to eliminate inefficient subsidies, but their failure to define what ‘inefficient’ means is leaving Canadians on the hook for billions of dollars every year. Canadians want a government that will show strong climate leadership, but the Liberals are failing to step up.”

The Environment Commissioner also identified serious gaps in the Liberal government’s ability to protect Canadian waters from aquatic invasive species. The Commissioner found that the government has failed to take the necessary steps to prevent invasive species from becoming established in Canada’s waterways. The federal government has also failed to clearly define jurisdictional responsibilities with the provinces, creating uncertainty about who should respond when an invasive species is detected.

“Justin Trudeau’s Liberal government likes to tout its record on protecting our water, but today’s report has confirmed that the Liberal government has no plan to keep invasive species from harming our aquatic ecosystems,” said NDP Fisheries Critic Gord Johns (Courtenay–Alberni). “And their failure to coordinate with the provinces is leaving our freshwater at an even greater risk. Canadians deserve better.”

Yesterday, a report released by Environment and Climate Change Canada found that Canada is warming at a faster rate than the rest of the world. Canadians want a government that will invest in renewable energy and ensure a sustainable future. New Democrats know that by making better choices, we can phase out fossil fuel subsidies, protect our environment and build the low-carbon economy we need now.