What to Expect From a Liberal Government on Clean Tech

Justin Tredeau on TV

By Maura Forrest

October 22, 2015

Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau swept to victory during Monday’s federal election, leading his party to an unexpected majority government.

Climate change and renewable energy were among the major issues during this year’s election campaign. Now that the Liberal Party has been elected, it remains to be seen whether they will follow through on the commitments they’ve made. But when it comes to climate and clean technology, what exactly have those commitments been?

So far, Trudeau has been vague on specific greenhouse-gas emissions targets. Instead, the Liberals promise to attend the Paris climate conference beginning in late November, and to begin establishing a “pan-Canadian framework” for fighting climate change within the following 90 days.

The Liberal Party has said the provinces and territories will develop their own strategies for meeting national emissions targets, including carbon-pricing policies.

With respect to renewable energy production, Trudeau has yet to set out firm targets. But he has pledged to develop a clean energy and environment agreement with the United States and Mexico, and to help the provinces create a Canadian energy strategy.

The Liberal Party also promises to phase out subsidies to the fossil-fuel industry, and to invest $100 million a year in organizations that fund clean technology, like Sustainable Development Technology Canada.

Also noteworthy is the party’s plan to create green investment bonds, which would allow the government to offer more affordable loan guarantees to the private sector for clean energy projects.

In terms of energy efficiency, Trudeau has promised to improve efficiency standards of consumer and commercial products. Again, however, no specific targets have been laid out. The Liberal Party does plan to spend nearly $20 billion on public transit over the next 10 years, as part of its infrastructure budget.

Now that the election has come and gone, it remains to be seen how quickly Trudeau will release more detailed plans, and whether he will live up to all of his campaign commitments.