Reporters combing through the 30 ministerial mandate letters released Friday by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s office are producing a flurry of news snippets, many of them related to energy and climate change.
Some highlights from the letters:
• Environment and Climate Change Minister Catherine McKenna is to “develop a plan to combat climate change and reduce greenhouse gas emissions, consistent with our international obligations and our commitment to sustainable economic growth.” Trudeau instructs her to “establish national emissions-reduction targets, ensuring that the provinces and territories have targeted federal funding and the flexibility to design their own policies to meet these commitments, including their own carbon pricing policies.” The targets “will recognize the economic cost and catastrophic impact that a greater-than-two-degree increase in average global temperatures would represent, as well as the need for Canada to do its part to prevent that from happening.”
• McKenna will also “work in partnership with the United States and Mexico and the Ministers of Natural Resources and Foreign Affairs to develop an ambitious North American clean energy and environment agreement.”
• Natural Resources Minister Jim Carr is to “work closely with provinces and territories to: develop a Canadian Energy Strategy to protect Canada’s energy security; encourage energy conservation; and bring cleaner, renewable energy onto a smarter electricity grid.”
• Carr will work with Innovation Minister Navdeep Singh Bains to “invest in clean technology producers,” and with Finance Minister Bill Morneau to “explore opportunities to enhance existing tax measures to generate more clean technology investments, and engage with provinces and territories to make Canada the world’s most competitive tax jurisdiction for investments in the research, development, and manufacturing of clean technology.”
• Trudeau also mandates Carr to undertake a long-awaited modernization of the National Energy Board “to ensure that its composition reflects regional views and has sufficient expertise in fields such as environmental science, community development, and Indigenous traditional knowledge.”
• Infrastructure and Communities Minister Amarjeet Sohi is to develop a federal-provincial-territorial funding plan for transit, social infrastructure, green infrastructure, and climate resilience, among other priorities, as well as a Canada Infrastructure Bank to offer low-cost financing for municipal projects.
• Agriculture Minister Laurence MacAulay is mandated to “work with provinces, territories, and other willing partners, to help the sector adjust to climate change and better address water and soil conservation and development issues.”
• National Revenue Minister Diane Lebouthillier will be expected to “allow charities to do their work on behalf of Canadians free from political harassment, and modernize the rules governing the charitable and not-for-profit sectors.” Her mandate letter calls for her to clarify “the rules governing ‘political activity,’ with an understanding that charities make an important contribution to public debate and public policy.”