Media Releases

Climate and energy transition must be at heart of federal budget

VICTORIA — Merran Smith, executive director at Clean Energy Canada, made the following statement regarding the start of consultations for the next federal budget: 

“It’s encouraging that climate action is taking a front seat as budget consultations get underway this week.

“Three-quarters of Canadians say the transition to clean energy will benefit Canada, according to a recent poll. Canadians want a strong climate and energy transition plan—and every budget must make that plan a reality.

“That means climate is at the heart of every budget. After all, climate change poses risks to both the economy and the country’s financial system. But climate solutions also create new economic opportunities, and Canadians want and deserve a sustainable economy.

“What would we like to see in 2020? Legally accountable climate targets. Climate solutions that Canadians can see and feel—like electric buses and more energy efficient homes. Action plans for carbon-intensive industries—like steel or oil and gas—so they can successfully navigate the transition to clean energy. And finally, support for all workers, so they can transition to secure careers as markets shift.

“In a minority parliament, climate action and a responsible energy transition is where parties—and Canadians—find common ground. We hope our elected officials remember that. As wildfires engulf Australia as they recently did in Western Canada, it’s yet another stark reminder that the crisis of our lifetimes transcends political divides. We look forward to seeing a budget that reflects this.”

KEY FACTS

  • Three-quarters (75%) of Canadians say the transition to clean energy is a global trend and beneficial for Canada in the long-term, while 71% say it is certain or likely to happen, including 63% in Alberta. Even among Albertans, 54% say it will benefit Canada and half (49%) say it will benefit Alberta.
  • Canadians generally (68%) prefer to see Ottawa offer help for Alberta’s workers to build new areas of economic opportunity, compared to 32% who would rather see Ottawa do more to protect and grow Alberta’s oil sector. In Alberta, opinion is evenly split.
  • Two-thirds (67%) of Canadian voters want the new Liberal government to either “enact the climate change policies they campaigned on” (37%) or to “enact stronger climate change policies than they campaigned on—to do more at a faster pace on this issue” (30%).
  • The desire for stronger action is popular across party lines. Even one-third (33%) of Liberal voters want stronger climate policies than what was in the party’s platform, and majorities of Bloc (51%), Green (64%) or NDP (49%) voters share this sentiment.
  • 78% of Canadians say they support large-scale job programs in clean energy.
  • Canada’s clean energy sector employed 298,000 Canadians as of 2017 and is set to employ well over half-a-million in a decade. 

RESOURCES

Poll | Energy transition a widely accepted concept; Canadians want governments to work on it, not against it

Exit poll |Climate Change in the 2019 Canadian Federal Election

Report | The Fast Lane