OTTAWA - Greens reacted to Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland’s Fall Economic Statement with a mixture of relief and disappointment - relief at what is not there and disappointment at missed opportunities for what could have been there.
“First, the relief” said Interim Leader Dr. Amita Kuttner. “The oil and gas lobby’s attempt to get even bigger government subsidies for fake climate solutions like carbon capture has been deflected, at least for now. In fact, there seems to be a growing recognition in Finance Canada that climate change is not some separate environmental issue; climate change is driving higher costs.”
Green Deputy Leader and economist Luc Joli-Coeur added, “The Fall Economic Statement is all about inflation, without fully acknowledging that what we are now experiencing, driving up costs, is not classic demand-driven inflation. What we are experiencing is primarily supply-driven inflation. Rising costs due to extreme weather events, break-downs in supply chains and food price spikes due to droughts reflect increases in real costs. Russia’s war on Ukraine has increased energy costs in real life. These problems are not responsive to the usual tools to fight demand-driven inflation – such as Bank of Canada rate hikes.”
Greens regretted the many opportunities missed in the fall economic statement. As one example, despite many calls to do so, the government has not created a windfall tax on excess profits in the billions of the oil and gas sector.
“Knowing that Canadians are suffering now, the need for additional revenue to assist those most in need of help should have been a greater focus,” said Green MP Mike Morrice (Kitchener Centre). “It’s past time we cancel the tens of billions of dollars in subsidies to fossil fuels, and instead invest in deep energy retrofits across the country. It’s past time we prioritize homes as places people live rather than commodities for corporate investors to profit from, by removing tax exemptions enjoyed by these investors. And it’s past time for emergency assistance for Canadians with disabilities living in legislated poverty.”
“I am challenged on a daily basis to imagine how leaders who claim to understand the climate crisis are prepared to subsidize expansion of fossil fuels, and even take on public debt to build dangerous infrastructure like the TransMountain pipeline expansion,” said MP for Saanich-Gulf Islands, Elizabeth May. “With every day that goes by, the magnitude of the risks of climate breakdown increase. Increasingly, Canadians are paying for billions of dollars of damage due to the climate crisis, from fires, floods and single events like Hurricane Fiona. We need to accept this is a moment of reckoning and cancel any and all new fossil fuel investments and bank on the future instead.”
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Fabrice Lachance Nové