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Are the Federal Parties Energy-Smart?

Earlier this year we changed our vision to better reflect the end-state of what we are working toward:

 

“Our vision: Canada is a nation of Smart Energy Communities.”

Our vision may be local, but the federal election has very important implications for the municipalities, utilities & energy service providers, builders and developers, solution providers, and other community leaders that are working to make Canada energy-smart.

Think about where energy is used – over half of all energy use and GHG emissions are associated with how we move around our communities using our transportation systems, where we spend most of our time inside buildings and the products that are developed by our local industries.

Players at the local level truly understand the impacts of climate change and their vulnerabilities. They are the best positioned to recognize their energy needs and priorities, and strategize how to best integrate local, renewable, and conventional energy sources to efficiently, cleanly, quickly, and affordably meet their energy needs. 

“Communities in Canada are on the front lines, but all too often they don’t have the financial resources, the human resources, or even the authority to address these energy issues.”

Our communities need federal support. The challenge of the next federal government will be to assist our communities by providing them with tailored tools and resources so that they can guide Canada on its energy transition.

The QUEST team has read the platforms from the six main political parties for you and recorded the excerpts that are relevant to Smart Energy Communities. What follows is a non-partisan summary of what the parties have promised in terms of community energy, climate adaptation and resilience, buildings, sustainable transportation, and the energy transition. The parties are listed in alphabetical order: the Bloc Quebecois, Conservative Party of Canada, Green Party of Canada, Liberal Party of Canada, the New Democratic Party, and the People’s Party of Canada.

Scroll to the bottom and you will also find links to other summaries from the energy and environmental sector that will help educate and inform as you get ready to go to the polls on October 21!

Énergie communautaire

Bloc Quebecois

No direct references to ‘community energy’ found, but the following actions may have an impact:

  • The right to environmental sovereignty will give the right to the Québec government to accept or oppose federal projects related to land-use planning and environmental protection.
  • Replacement the coming years of the current fiscal equalization model with a “green equalization” funded by a Canada-wide a carbon tax, and redistributed among provinces based on GHG emissions reductions performances.
  • Adoption of federal reduction targets to comply with the objectives of the Paris Agreement.
  • Opposition to TransCanada and East Energy pipelines.
  • Ending subventions to energy fossils.
  • Opposition to increase freight rail capacity in Québec to transport dangerous goods and oil.

(Source)

Conservative Party of Canada

No direct references to ‘community energy’ found, but the following actions may have an impact:

  • Pursue opportunities to connect regions and communities with clean power.
  • A Real Plan to Protect Our Environment will support the strategic interconnection of electricity grids. This can be on a project by project basis to connect regions with cleaner power sources, or it can be through the creation of a national energy corridor that facilitates the transmission of clean electricity.
  • Foster the adoption of smart grid technology and strategic interconnection of electricity grids.
  • Foster the adoption of renewable power technologies.
  • While we will support the continued greening of Canada’s energy mix, we will always be mindful of the impact on the cost of living for Canadians.
  • Set emissions standards for major emitters that will lower greenhouse gases and drive Canadian businesses to the highest standards of green Technology.
  • Technology developed in Canada to reduce emissions can be exported to the world. Not only will we support these initiatives with the Canadian Clean plan, but we will introduce tax measures to support our green industries.

(Source)

 

Green Party of Canada

No direct references to ‘community energy’ found, but the following actions may have an impact:

  • Keep fossil fuels in the ground.
  • No new pipelines, or coal, oil or gas drilling or mining, including offshore wells, will be approved.
  • Hydraulic fracturing (fracking) operations will be banned outright.
  • Implement a major ramp-up of renewable electricity. By 2030, 100 percent of Canada’s electricity will come from renewable sources. This includes getting remote and northern communities off diesel generators.
  • To enable renewable electricity to flow across provincial and territorial boundaries, implement a national electrical grid strategy, including building connections between eastern Manitoba and western Ontario, and upgrading connections between New Brunswick and Nova Scotia.
  • Work with provincial governments to determine which orphaned oil and gas wells are geologically suited to produce geothermal energy. This will turn provincial liabilities into potential income-generating renewable energy, ideally in partnership with First Nations. Those with weaker geothermal energy potential may be used in district energy, including for greenhouses.
  • Direct fossil fuel subsidies to the Canadian Grid Strategy and renewable energy transition.

(Source)

Liberal Party of Canada

  • Ensure energy workers and communities can shape their own futures by introducing a Just Transition Act, giving workers access to the training, support, and new opportunities needed to succeed in the clean economy. 

(Source)

New Democratic Party

  • Our communities are where we can feel the impacts of climate change – and one of the best places that we can invest to reduce emissions, save money, and make life better for everyone.
  • An important part of our plan will include making sure that physical, digital, and social infrastructure investments contribute to emissions reductions and support all regions and communities, especially those already experiencing the impacts of climate change, with the good, family-sustaining jobs they bring.
  • Strong communities are sustainable communities, and many Indigenous communities have been at the forefront of the move towards renewable energy. We will work with them to protect infrastructure from climate change and increase the use of renewable energy. New Democrats will help expand community-owned renewable energy projects – and support efforts to transition remote communities away from polluting diesel and harmful fumes, towards reliable and clean energy alternatives.
  • New Democrats will set a target to power Canada with net carbon-free electricity by 2030, and move to 100% non-emitting electricity by 2050. To drive this progress, we will establish a new Canadian Climate Bank. This bank will help boost investment in renewable energy, energy efficiency, and low carbon technology across the country.
  • We’ll support investments in innovative community-owned and operated clean energy projects to keep jobs and expertise local, and work in partnership with Indigenous and northern communities to move off diesel, improving energy security and cutting emissions and air pollution.

(Source)

People’s Party of Canada

No direct references to ‘community energy’ found, but the following actions may have an impact:

  • Prioritize implementing practical solutions to make Canada’s air, water and soil cleaner, including bringing clean drinking water to remote First Nations communities.
  • Given the uncertainties over the scientific basis of global warming, and the certainties about the huge costs of measures designed to fight it, there is no compelling reason to jeopardize our prosperity with more government interventions.

(Source)

Climate Resilience and Adaptation

Bloc Quebecois

  • No direct reference to adaptation. The platform focuses mainly on mitigation of GHG.

(Source)

Conservative Party of Canada

  • Incorporate a mitigation and adaptation lens to the government’s investment in infrastructure. Enhanced or constructed wetlands and other natural features can provide low-cost protection against floods, drought, and water quality issues while also providing values like recreation, fish and wildlife habitat, and carbon sequestration.
  • Pursue natural infrastructure projects that leverage the resilience of our natural landscapes.
  • Direct the Canadian Forest Service to investigate the use of technology that can improve the early detection of wildfires and/or better predict fire behaviour, specifically targeting high-risk areas close to communities.
  • Collaborate with Indigenous peoples on undertaking mitigation and adaptation projects. 
  • Create a National Energy Corridor to carry Canadian energy and resources from coast to coast.

(Source)

 

Green Party of Canada

  • Direct the Canada Infrastructure Bank, revamped to exclude private profit in infrastructure, to invest in climate-proofing essential infrastructure, prioritizing upgrades to drinking water and waste water systems to protect against flooding, droughts and contamination.
  • Using the existing Green Infrastructure Fund, launch a national program to restore natural buffer zones along waterways, and carbon sinks through ecologically sound tree-planting and soil re-building.
  • Invoke federal powers for peace, order and good government to develop non-commercial aspects of forest management, such as massive tree planting, creating fire breaks and fire suppression, for climate change adaptation.
  • Renew the abandoned process of a National Forest Strategy, with the focus on restoring ecologically sound and climate resilient forests, and restoring forests as carbon sinks, in partnership with Indigenous Peoples. Orient federal forest science towards this goal.
  • Increase forest fire preparedness, including buying water bombers and ensuring they can be deployed rapidly in high-risk zones.

(Source)

Liberal Party of Canada

  • Protect homeowners who are at high risk of flooding and don’t have adequate insurance
  • protection, by creating a low-cost national flood insurance program
  • Help Canadians better understand the risks they face when they buy a home, by working with provinces and territories to complete all flood maps in Canada
  • Develop a national action plan to assist homeowners with potential relocation for those at the highest risk of repeat flooding.
  • Move forward with a new Employment Insurance Disaster Assistance Benefit, to be developed in consultation with experts, workers, and employers.
  • Move forward with an additional $1 billion investment over the next decade in the Disaster Mitigation and Adaptation Fund.

(Source)

New Democratic Party

  • Work with provinces, municipalities and Indigenous government to make sure that Canadian communities have the resources they need to cope safely with extreme weather events
  • Expand federal funding to respond to disasters, and support communities in proactively adapting their infrastructure to withstand floods, forest fires and other extreme weather events.

(Source)

People’s Party of Canada

  • Invest in adaptation strategies if problems arise as a result of any natural climate change.

(Source)

Buildings

Bloc Quebecois

  • Reintroduction of the Eco-energy program for residential buildings and new fiscal incentives for commercial buildings to cover projects related to energy retrofit and electrification of heating.

(Source)

Conservative Party of Canada

  • Create a two-year Green Homes Tax Credit for home renovation.
  • Establish a retrofit code for those who wish to undertake an environmental retrofit.
  • Ensure the legal supports required to develop a market for Energy Savings Performance Contracting (ESPC) are in place to drive building renovation in the long term.
  • Establish a voluntary net-zero ready building standard.
  • Encourage the greater use of wood and low-carbon cement in construction projects. 

    (Source)

Green Party of Canada

  • Launch a massive energy efficiency retrofit of residential, commercial and institutional buildings.
  • Finance building retrofits and installation of renewable energy technologies such as solar and heat pumps through direct grants, zero-interest loans and repayments based on energy/cost savings.
  • Change the national building code to require new construction to meet net-zero emission standards by 2030 and work with the provinces to enact it.

(Source)

Liberal Party of Canada

  • Help retrofit 1.5 million homes to help Canadians make their homes more energy efficient, and better protect them from climate-related risks
  • Give interested homeowners and landlords a free energy audit
  • Help homeowners and landlords pay for retrofits by giving them an interest-free loan of up to $40,000
  • Help people buy newly built homes that are certified zero-emissions by giving them a Net Zero  homes Grant of up to $5,000; and $40k interest free loan for green renovations
  • Invest $100 million in skills training, to ensure there are enough qualified workers to keep up with energy audits, retrofits, and net-zero home construction.
  • Make Energy Star certification mandatory for all new home appliances starting in 2022.
  • National competition to create four $100-million long-term funds to help attract private capital that can be used for deep retrofits of large buildings, such as office towers.

(Source)

New Democratic Party

  • Begin by working in partnership with the provinces and territories to fund energy efficient retrofits on social housing units and government buildings, expanding outwards from there. We will set a target of retrofitting all housing stock in Canada by 2050, providing low-interest loans repayable through energy savings to pay for home upgrades like insulation, windows, heat pumps, and other renewable technologies.
  • Improve the National Building Code to ensure that by 2030 every new building built in Canada is net-zero energy ready. Energy efficiency and sustainable building practices will be at the core of our national housing strategy, leveraging the power of federal investments to create good jobs all across the country delivering the affordable housing Canadians need.

(Source)

People’s Party of Canada

  • No direct references to buildings’ found, but the following actions may have an impact:
    • Given the uncertainties over the scientific basis of global warming, and the certainties about the huge costs of measures designed to fight it, there is no compelling reason to jeopardize our prosperity with more government interventions.

(Source)

Sustainable Transportation

Bloc Quebecois

  • Promotion of EVs through sales incentives and by obliging car makers to sell a certain amount of electric cars depending on the total number of fossil-fuel cars they sell 
  • Funding dedicated to infrastructure transferred without conditions and at once to the Quebec government (except when related to seaport).

(Source)

Conservative Party of Canada

  • Work to reduce emissions in the transportation sector by closing the gap between conventional and zero-emission vehicles and removing barriers that slow down the transition that is already occurring. To do this, we will work with provinces and territories, auto manufacturers, business leaders and industry experts to develop faster charging electric vehicle batteries, increase the  distances that can be travelled on a single charge, deal with the environmental challenges of recycling used batteries, and deploy the necessary charging or refuelling infrastructure to accommodate a changing fleet.

(Source)

Green Party of Canada

  • Develop a national transportation strategy with a goal of reaching zero-carbon public ground transportation everywhere in Canada by 2040. Rail will be the hub, with spokes of light rail and electric bus connections. This includes service to rural and remote communities, since everyone in Canada must have access to reliable transportation options at affordable rates. Besides reducing pollution, this measure responds to the findings of the Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls. To get there, Canada needs regulations to shift from gasoline-powered transportation.
  • Ban the sale of internal combustion engine passenger vehicles by 2030.
  • Exempt new and used electric and zero-emission vehicles from federal sales tax.
  • Expand charging stations for electric vehicles, including all parking lots associated with federal facilities.
  • Maximize emissions reductions in all transportation through the use of sustainably produced biofuels, made from waste wood by-products and used vegetable oils, where electric and fuel cells not viable, as is the case for fishing, mining and forestry equipment.
  • Enact the Via Rail Act to implement a passenger rail transportation policy. Invest $500 million in 2020-21, rising to $720 million by 2023 to develop regional rail networks and strengthen rail connections between regions. This will include building several sections of 10 km of track to avoid bottlenecks where heavy freight pushes passenger rail to the siding.
  • Build high-speed rail in the Toronto-Ottawa-Quebec City triangle and the Calgary-Edmonton corridor.
  • Require all passenger ferries to convert to electric or hybrid systems by 2030.
  • Create a national cycling and walking infrastructure fund to help support zero emissions active transportation.
  • Develop a Green Freight Transport program to address greenhouse gas emissions and pollution in partnership with the freight industry, shipping companies and delivery businesses. Fund the re-routing of tracks for freight and rail yards away from populated areas and strengthen Canada’s rail safety rules, giving regulators the tools they need to protect neighbourhoods from train shipments of hazardous materials.
  • Lead an international effort to bring international shipping and aviation into the Paris framework. Introduce an international tax for aviation and shipping fuels earmarked for the Global Climate Fund

(Source)

Liberal Party of Canada

  • To give cities the predictable transit funding they need to plan for the future, we will move forward with making the federal commitment to fund public transit permanent, and will make sure that it keeps up with the rising cost of construction over time. This will mean an additional $3 billion more per year in stable, predictable funding for our cities’ transit needs, on top of transfers through the federal Gas Tax Fund. (source)
  • To make using zero-emission vehicles easier, we will move forward – in partnership with industry and communities – to install up to 5,000 charging stations along the Trans Canada Highway and other major road networks, and in Canada’s urban and rural areas. 
  • Provide a 10 percent rebate on a used zero-emission vehicle up to a maximum value of $2,000.
  • Require that new federal investments in public transit are used to support zero-emission buses and rail systems starting in 2023, and will work with municipalities to address any exceptional circumstances.
  • Move forward with a new fund to help more school boards and municipalities purchase 5,000 zero-emissions school and transit buses over the next five years.
  • Explore measures to support the conversion of business fleets, such as those used by taxi and courier companies, and industrial vehicles, like mining trucks.

(Source)

 

New Democratic Party

  • A New Democrat government will modernize and expand public transit in communities across Canada, and ensure that federal transit funding flows with an emphasis on scaling up low carbon transit projects like zero-emissions buses and electric trains, with the goal of electrifying transit and other municipal fleets by 2030.
  • Working with provinces and municipalities that identify it as a priority, we will help build a path towards fare-free transit to ease commutes, help people make ends meet, and lower emissions. At the same time, Canadians living in rural areas need affordable, convenient transit options that they can rely on, too. 
  • We’ll re-establish rural bus routes abandoned by Greyhound and expand bus service in rural regions. 
  • A New Democrat government will also support creating high-frequency rail along the Quebec-Windsor corridor, and expand rail service options other regions in partnership with the provinces and territories. By working to restore the Ontario Northlander and grow passenger rail service, we will help provide a crucial transportation link for communities and businesses alike in Northern Ontario.
  • We know that Canadians want to do their part to reduce emissions when they travel – that’s why our plan will make it easier to get and use a zero-emissions vehicle (ZEV), and make sure that more ZEVs are built right here at home.
  • Our vision includes making it possible for Canadian auto manufacturers to produce more ZEVs in Canada, safeguarding good jobs and strengthening our auto sector, while building towards ZEVs being 100% of new car sales by 2040. We will create a centre of excellence for research and development of ZEVs, and support Canadian manufacturing of batteries, energy storage solutions, and alternative fuels like biofuels made from waste.
  • A New Democrat government will extend federal incentives for ZEVs and provide a break for working families by waiving the federal sales tax on ZEV purchases, and grow these incentives up to $15,000 per family for made-in-Canada vehicles. To make ZEV use easier for Canadians in all regions, we’ll expand charging networks for ZEVs across the country, and help homeowners cover the cost of installing a plug-in charger. Better commutes include promoting smart community planning and active transportation like walking and cycling, helping Canadians make choices that are healthier and more affordable for everyone.

(Source)

People’s Party of Canada

  • No direct references to sustainable transportation, but the following actions may have an impact:
    • Given the uncertainties over the scientific basis of global warming, and the certainties about the huge costs of measures designed to fight it, there is no compelling reason to jeopardize our prosperity with more government interventions.

(Source)

Canada’s Energy Transition

Bloc Quebecois

  • Affirm that the energy transition is “tailored” to Quebec, as in the province the combat against climate change goes hand in hand with prosperity.

(Source)

Conservative Party of Canada

  • Focus on green technology, not taxes.
  • Develop a Green Investment Standards Certification program that outlines eligible investments.
  • Establish a Green Patent Credit that will reduce the tax rate to 5% on income that is generated from green technology developed and patented in Canada.
  • Create a Green Technology and Innovation Fund.
  • Create a Go-To Green Hub for Innovators.

(Source)

Green Party of Canada

  • Inevitably, jobs in fossil fuel sectors will disappear. The Green Party is committed to a “just transition” of workers from these sectors into new ones. This will include measures such as income protection, jobs guarantees, retraining and resettlement. The detailed programs would be developed in partnership with workers and their unions.
  • A Green government will create a just transition framework for oil, gas and coal sector workers that reflects the unique conditions of each province. This would be modelled on the recommendations of the Task Force on Just Transition for Canadian Coal Power Workers and Communities, which we would implement in full. They are (adapted to all three sectors).

(Source)

Liberal Party of Canada

  • We will invest every dollar we earn from the Trans Mountain Expansion Project in Canada’s clean energy transition. It is estimated that additional federal corporate income tax revenues resulting from the Trans Mountain Expansion Project could generate $500 million per year once the project has been completed. This money, as well as any profit from the sale of the pipeline, will be invested in natural climate solutions and clean energy projects that will power our homes, businesses, and communities for generations to come.
  • Ensure energy workers and communities can shape their own futures by introducing a Just Transition Act, giving workers access to the training, support, and new opportunities needed to succeed in the clean economy. 

(Source)

New Democratic Party

  • New Democrats will set a target to power Canada with net carbon-free electricity by 2030, and move to 100% non-emitting electricity by 2050. To drive this progress, we will establish a new Canadian Climate Bank. This bank will help boost investment in renewable energy, energy efficiency, and low carbon technology across the country. It will also provide support for interested provinces to interconnect power grids and introduce smart grid technology, to bolster Canada’s energy security and distribute clean power across the country. The Climate Bank will also support made-in-Canada manufacturing of renewable energy components and technologies and help scale up Canada’s clean energy industry.

(Source)

People’s Party of Canada

  • No direct references to ‘energy transition’’ found, but the following actions may have an impact:
    • Withdraw from the Paris Accord and abandon unrealistic greenhouse gas emission reduction targets.
    • Abolish the Liberal government’s carbon tax and leave it to provincial governments to adopt programs to reduce emissions if they want to.
    • Abolish subsidies for green technology and let private players develop profitable and efficient alternatives.
    • Given the uncertainties over the scientific basis of global warming, and the certainties about the huge costs of measures designed to fight it, there is no compelling reason to jeopardize our prosperity with more government interventions.

(Source)

    More Canadian Energy Policy and Election Coverage

    Interested in reading more energy policy analysis and election coverage? Here are some links to some of the best national research and analysis that we have seen:

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    FCM Platform

    FCM just released its election platform, Building better lives: Our Municipal vision for the 2019 federal election.

    \

    Party Survey by Ten Leading National Environmental Organizations

    The survey represents the collective priorities of the 14 environmental organizations and outlines required actions to address the environmental protection, economic justice and human rights issues facing Canadians.

    \

    CGA Open Letter to Energy Ministers – The True Cost of Electrification for Canadians

    This Canadian Gas Association (CGA) letter to energy ministers begs the question “what are the implications of electrification for our economy, for our energy reliability and environmental performance, and for the affordability of energy for Canadians?”

    \

    Business Coalition for a Clean Economy letter to federal party leaders

    More than 40 business leaders have sent the following open letter to the federal party leaders on a strong climate plan.

    \

    Canadian Associations Call For a National Clean Fuel Strategy

    Canadian associations call for a national ‘Clean Fuel Strategy’ to leverage innovation and sustainable resources to secure investment in the production and use of clean fuels.

    \

    Introduction to Pembina’s Blog Series – In this blog series, Pembina is presenting what they believe Canadians should consider when they look at party platforms in this critical election.

    Blog: A Canada that creates healthy, livable communities.

    Blog: A Canada that promotes clean innovation while creating jobs.

    Cheryl Ratchford

    Cheryl Ratchford

    Directeur des politiques et des communications

    Cheryl oversees the development, management, and delivery of QUEST’s communications, marketing, and advocacy programs. She is based in Rothesay, New Brunswick.

    Aïda Nciri

    Aïda Nciri

    Chef principal, Projets et services consultatifs

    Aïda manages and delivers projects advancing Smart Energy Communities across Canada. She is based in Calgary, Alberta.

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