There are definite changes expected with the election of Justin Trudeau and his Liberal party in what some describe as a “decisive victory”. John Shmuel, in his 10/20/15 “Financial Post” article, reports that economists expect the new government will affect five key areas of the economy. They are: the Loonie, the Economy, Government Bonds, Credit Rating and Renewable Energy.
In June of this year, while unveiling his “plan for Canada’s environment and economy.” Mr. Trudeau was quoted as saying, “Make no mistake, the Liberal Party will be putting a price on carbon.” Mr. Trudeau has committed to attending the UN Climate Change Summit this December. According to Conor O’Sullivan, in his 10/22/15 “Breaking Energy” article: “Trudeau represents a national and continental shift towards clean energy that will emphasize energy efficiency and reducing carbon emissions. Along with the Obama Administration’s Clean Power Plan, Trudeau’s new government could offer investment incentives to renewable energy industries and place fresh regulations on fossil fuel companies.” Additionally, the Mexican government has voiced a dedication to significantly increasing their wind energy capacity. These leaders are making for a strong North American force for renewable energy. Some of the changes about which Trudeau has spoken are outlined below.
THE ENVIRONMENT AND THE ECONOMY
Trudeau was quoted during his campaign as saying “The environment and the economy, they go together. They go together like paddles and canoes. If you don’t take care of both, you’re never going to get to where you’re going. Because you can’t have a strong economy without a healthy environment.”
Within 90 days of his visit to the UN Climate Change Summit in Paris he plans on conducting a ministers meeting on climate change. Some of the goals of this meeting will be; creating national
emissions-reduction targets and ensuring support for provinces in designing their own carbon pricing policies. Additionally, he plans to phase out subsidies for the fossil fuel industry.
The outgoing administration has been perceived as “muzzling” government scientists. Trudeau and the Liberal party are being welcomed by these scientists with an anticipation of a complete change in approach to the relationship. It is expected that Trudeau will create a new government office to safeguard science.
In addition to a change in the nature of the relationship, a change in the government’s research areas is also expected. The new government will move away from fossil fuel research and towards areas such as green energy. They will also foster the creativity that leads to cutting-edge research by establishing Canada Research Chairs in sustainable technology.
Finally, the Trudeau government trust disbursement of money to be handled via peer review following provision of the money to granting councils. This is a much more “hands off” approach than the scientists are currently experiencing.
In the Liberal party Platform they indicate; “We will make it easier and more financially rewarding for Canadian businesses to invest in creating clean jobs.” Some of their plans include: 1) Investing $100 million more each year in clean technology producers, so that they can tackle Canada’s most pressing environmental challenges, and create more opportunities for Canadian workers. 2) Delivering more support to emerging clean tech manufacturing companies, making it easier for them to conduct research and bring new products to market. 3) Investing $200 million more each year to support innovation and the use of clean technologies in our natural resource sectors, including the forestry, fisheries, mining, energy, and agricultural sectors. 4) Supporting both large and community scale renewable energy projects by allowing the new Canada Infrastructure Bank to issue Green Bonds to fund projects like electric vehicle charging stations and networks, transmission lines for renewable energy, building retrofits, and clean power storage.
The official “swearing in” of Trudeau occurs on Nov 4th. Although we know much of the Liberal party’s intentions, they obviously don’t have all the specifics in place. However, they have committed in their platform to boost investment in green infrastructure by nearly $6 billion over the next four years, and almost $20 billion over ten years. That’s no small promise.