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NDP campaigns on killing energy subsidies; funding renewable energy projects

The NDP announced it would eliminate subsidies for oil and gas companies, replacing them with direct funding for renewable energy projects if it should form government, leader Jagmeet Singh announced today.

In Montreal, Singh said the NDP wants to end "no strings attached" subsidies to energy companies. "What we'd like to do is invest directly into remediation of oil wells. We'd like to invest directly in retrofitting some of these oil wells into geothermal plants," he said. Over the last year, Canada has spent nearly 1.9 billion in traditional energy subsidies. Three-quarters of that went to restoring abandoned oil wells in Alberta, Saskatchewan and British Columbia, which are a source of greenhouse gases.

Singh said the Liberals had promised to end subsidies to oil and gas companies but had instead increased them, though he didn't offer specific dollar amounts. "We want to make sure that instead of these vague promises or these broken promises, we are committed to immediately ending those fossil fuel subsidies," Singh said. The NDP green plan is among the strictest of Canada's main parties, aiming to cut gas emissions by 1/2 in just eight years by 2030. The NDP has also promised $500 million for Indigenous-led conservation programs, who he noted face an "impossible decision" between creating good jobs and conserving their land.

"Without any resources, it's a pretty impossible choice for Indigenous communities to make. In a lot of communities, logging is the only way to earn a good living," Singh said. "So what we want to do is create a fund so that Indigenous communities that choose to conserve their land have an opportunity to do that with resources and the tools to actually make that decision."

Singh isn't the only one to demand a toning-down of the traditional energy sector. Just last week, Green Party leader Annamie Paul called for an end to the construction of new pipelines, fracking and oil and gas exploration so Canada could reduce greenhouse gas emissions and reshape the economy.

Trudeau also noted back in April that Canada would slash greenhouse gas emissions by 40 to 45 per cent below 2005 levels by 2030. However, under the current carbon pricing regime, Canada is only set to meet 36% by 2030 - meaning there's yet-to-be revealed measures by the Liberals to close the 4-9% gap.

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