Scheer (Finally) Unveils Environment Plan — Calls for Incentives, Not Taxes, to Reduce Emissions
Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer delivers a speech on the environment in Chelsea, Que. (Photo: Adrian Wyld/The Canadian Press)
It took over two years, but Conservative leader Andrew Scheer has finally made public his party’s plan to reduce carbon emissions and clean up the environment.
With the environment shaping up to be a key election issue, Scheer jumped out ahead of critics who have long complained that the Conservatives don’t have a viable plan to clean up our air and water.
Unveiling A Real Plan to Protect Our Environment yesterday in Gatineau, QC, Scheer claimed that his plan will use incentives rather than the punitive levies of the Liberals’ carbon-tax scheme to help Canada reach its Paris Accord agreement. The goal that Canada agreed to at the 2015 summit is to cut emissions by 30 per cent below 2005 levels.
Criticizing the Liberal environment record, Scheer said: “Not only is Canada failing to hit our targets, we are getting further and further away.” He added: “Justin Trudeau’s signature so-called environmental policy is, in reality, not an environmental policy at all. His Carbon Tax gives big polluters a pass while punishing Canadians for driving to work and heating their homes.”
The Conservative plan, said Scheer, will not tax companies that don’t hit the carbon emission targets. Instead, companies that fall short will be required to invest in green technology — “research, development and adoption of emissions-reducing technology related to their industry.” This technology will then be applied by the companies to help them reach their target.
Borrowing from past Stephen Harper-era policies, Scheer’s plan would also see a return to tax credits to incentivize home retrofits. Under this plan, people who upgrade their insulation, install a high-efficiency furnace, install better windows, doors and solar panels would be eligible for a 20 per cent refundable tax credit — up to $2,850 a year.
Scheer also said that the Conservative plan would include a Green Patent Credit, which would encourage the green-tech sector to do research and development in Canada, “making our country a destination for green innovation.” This in turn will make green tech affordable for Canadians. This would take the form of a 5 per cent tax credit for small businesses on income that is generated form green tech developed in Canada.
The new scheme also covers areas like “working with Indigenous communities, managing protected areas, cleaning up our water systems and enforcing our environmental laws,” but the main thrust is that it would get rid of the carbon tax and replace it with this new plan.
Green Party leader Elizabeth May said this new Conservative environment plan — like the Liberals’ carbon tax — is not aggressive enough in cutting carbon emissions.
In a follow-up press conference, Liberal Environment Minister Catherine McKenna said Scheer’s plan was “a return to the failed policies of the past, written by fringe oil lobbyists who want to have unlimited pipelines and to gut environmental protections and shut down public input.”