The Trudeau government says it will launch a new fund to spur investments and jobs in green technology as it seeks a balance between the competing visions of environmental advocates and legacy industries.
In the throne speech delivered Wednesday by Governor General Julie Payette, the ruling Liberals outlined plans to spend on building retrofits, clean energy and production of electric vehicles as the next phase in the fight against climate change.
“This is where the world is going. Global consumers and investors are demanding and rewarding climate action,” the speech states.
“We can create good jobs today and a globally competitive economy not just next year, but in 2030, 2040, and beyond.”
The address briefly touched on the country’s energy sector, but primarily to highlight the Liberal goal of net zero emissions by 2050.
The government is pledging “to support manufacturing, natural resource, and energy sectors as they work to transform to meet a net zero future, creating good-paying and long-lasting jobs,” Payette said in the new Senate chamber in Ottawa.
Other measures include plans to cut the corporate tax rate in half for clean-tech companies, create thousands of jobs through support for home and building retrofits and make electric cars more affordable alongside more charging stations nationwide.
“The outline looks good, but it’s really the colouring that really matters,” said Benjamin Bergen, head of the Council of Canadian Innovators, a high-tech lobby group.
Bergen called for a commitment to back Canadian clean-tech enterprises over foreign ones.
“The one win is actually the environmental component, but the other is meeting your economic goals and […] making sure that domestic innovators are the ones that are getting the purchase orders,” he said.
The speech’s green tinge builds on the Liberal agenda to put energy companies on a more environmentally friendly path that meets the new clean-fuel standard.
Scheduled to take effect in 2022, the fuel standard requires firms to reduce the amount of greenhouse gases produced when liquid and gaseous fuels are burned by cutting emissions throughout the supply chain, from extraction to consumption.
Details on the green products fund and other investments have yet to be laid out.