The federal government’s Speech from the Throne will lay out an “ambitious green agenda” that sets the stage for a “long-term recovery” from the COVID-19 pandemic, leads the way on Canada’s shift to renewable energy and response to the climate crisis, and looks out for people working in industries affected by the transition, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau told Global News Wednesday.
Earlier in the day, the PM conducted a virtual meeting with business leaders in British Columbia, “focusing on green economic recovery efforts as the country continues to grapple with fallout from the novel coronavirus pandemic,” Global reports.
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“We know the world is going towards greater energy efficiency. We know the world is going towards lower carbon. We know that the world is moving towards more renewable energy,” Trudeau said. “This is the way the world is going,” and Canada can seize the moment of opportunity created by the pandemic.
“We have an opportunity to go green. We have an opportunity to be fairer, to reduce barriers for women’s participation (and) Indigenous participation in the work force,” he told Global’s Sophie Lui. “There are so many things that we can look at as an opportunity through this tragedy of COVID to do bigger things.”
The current dynamics in Parliament mean that “parliamentarians can decide, because we’re in a minority situation, whether this government has the support to move forward on this new agenda that, quite frankly, nobody ran an election on a year ago because we didn’t know about COVID,” Trudeau added.
Global News has the full interview with Trudeau here
In a media interview earlier in the week, Innovation Minister Navdeep Bains said Ottawa is planning to use lessons learned from the pandemic to kick-start the economy.
“Canada’s success in turning on a dime to manufacture all the masks, respirators, ventilators, and pandemic gear Canadians need is an experience that can be replicated in other areas and turned into a national recovery strategy,” the Hamilton Spectator writes. “Bains said it showed how companies and government investments could combine to deliver domestically-sourced products, and put Canadian companies in a good position to supply not only domestic, but also global markets, while also creating jobs.”
After the government issued a COVID-19 “call to action” in March, the Spec says more than 6,000 Canadian companies stepped up with offers of expertise and capacity, and more than 1,000 “retooled or scaled up” to produce critical personal protective equipment. Six months later, half the dollar value of the PPE supplies Ottawa is purchasing is made-in-Canada, Bains told the paper. At the beginning of the pandemic, 100% of those supplies had to be sourced from other countries.
Building on the pandemic experience, he said the government is looking at how to “de-risk” business investments in equipment, research and development, and technology, citing battery storage as an area where Canada could become a “manufacturing powerhouse”.
“This is an example where the opportunity exists because that’s where consumer trends are going, and that’s where investments are being made by the large automotive companies,” he said. “If we look at our ability to pivot so quickly in this made-in-Canada (strategy) with regards to PPE, we can also do so, for example, when it comes to creating sustainable value for battery materials, and become a world leader in EV battery manufacturing.”