A failure of leadership: Government's climate bill squanders "the opportunity of a lifetime" for a green economic recovery, says Annamie Paul

OTTAWA – Green Party Leader Annamie Paul said today that the government’s new climate legislation fails on multiple fronts as a plan to move Canada to net zero emissions and to capitalize on the once-in-a-lifetime economic opportunity of the post-pandemic recovery.

“This bill, described as the “climate accountability act” is nothing of the sort,” said Ms. Paul. “After five years in power, and a record of unfulfilled emissions reductions commitments, the government has given us more smoke and mirrors,” said Ms. Paul. “There are no targets, and no specific actions designed to put Canada on a pathway to net zero. In short, there is no plan.”

The bill sets 2030 as the first date for setting a new GHG emissions reduction target. However, this target will not be established until 9 months after royal assent. There are no plans for updating our existing target of 30% until then and there is no commitment that the new target will correspond to science.

“This is a blueprint for more delays, more inaction,” said Ms. Paul. “Where is the sense of urgency? We needed to have a plan in place already. We should have five-year targets starting in 2025 and a real plan for meeting them.”

The Green Party’s economic recovery plan calls for a 60 per cent reduction in emissions from 2005 levels by 2030 with clear enforceable targets and timelines, starting in 2025. Priority actions include:

  • A detailed Carbon Budget setting out GHG emissions allowed to keep within the 1.5 degrees C threshold.
  • A Carbon Border Adjustment – a tariff on imports from jurisdictions with weak climate policies
  • Investments in renewable energy and cleantech.
  • Deep energy retrofits of building
  • Annual increases in the carbon tax
  • A national electricity corridor allowing 100 per cent renewable energy to flow across provincial and territorial borders.

Green parliamentary leader and caucus critic for environment and climate change, Elizabeth May (MP, Saanich-Gulf Islands) said: "Having worked on the climate issue for over thirty years, watching one government after another kick the problem down the road, today is the tragic low-point. The window on holding to a livaivable climate will close, forever, before this legislation holds anyone to account."

The proposed legislation the government tabled today is an empty shell,” said Ms. Paul. “It provides little accountability while putting us out of step with our international partners such as the EU, the UK and the U.S. And worst of all, it fails to grasp the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to create the green jobs and prosperity of the 21st century. We are compromising our future competitiveness and failing to live up to our international obligations at the same time. The Green Party has a plan and people in Canada can have confidence that we will get the job done.”

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Rosie Emery

Press Secretary