A “pan-Canadian cap and trade mechanism,” a “kickstart” for clean energy production, tougher rail safety standards, and implementation of the polluter-pay principle were elements of a new environment policy framework unveiled Wednesday by New Democratic Party leader Thomas Mulcair, less than 24 hours after his party stormed to power in the provincial election in Alberta.
“Our vision of sustainable prosperity seizes new opportunities for clean energy, effectively cuts carbon pollution, reduces risks to our communities and coastlines, and establishes an assessment and review process that Canadians can put their trust in once and for all,” Mulcair said, standing in front of a green wall at the University of Ottawa.
He described a cap and trade system as “the most cost effective way to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions.”
Mulcair promised to revamp Canada’s environmental review process for energy megaprojects in consultation with provinces, industry, First Nations, and other communities.
“I don’t know if you’ve ever had a chance to catch the little slip of tongue that you’ll sometimes hear from Conservative ministers,” he said. “They’ll refer not to an environmental assessment process. They’ll talk about an environmental approval process, as if the result were a foregone conclusion, which is, I guess, what they’re striving for.
“Only through a strong project review process with sustainability at its core can we ensure that proposals are safe for Canadians before we move forward.”