Apr 08, 2022
Climate campaigners are charging that the federal budget unveiled Thursday by Canada's Liberal government fails to deliver on Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's three-year-old promise to bring about a "just transition" from fossil fuels and instead caters to polluters.
"This federal budget is stuck in the mindset of more highways and fossil fuel subsidies."
New Democratic Party (NDP) Leader Jagmeet Singh pledged his caucus will support the 2022 budget, presented by Finance Minister and Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland just days after the latest alarming report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).
Meanwhile, activists pointed to the report as evidence that Canada's new budget falls dangerously short of the actions needed by rich governments to avert the most catastrophic impacts of the climate emergency.
"Earlier this week, the world's best scientists put out another IPCC report making it clear that we need to get off of fossil fuels to tackle the climate crisis," 350.org's Katie Perfitt said Thursday. "But, today, Justin Trudeau, backed by the NDP, tabled a budget giving billions of dollars to expensive, ineffective carbon capture technology that does little more than ensure Big Oil will continue to expand fossil fuel production."
"This after he presented a climate plan that would increase tar sands production and gave the green light to the massive Bay du Nord offshore oil project," she noted.
\u201cMost infuriatingly, the only \u201cuse\u201d for captured CO2 is injecting it into depleted underground reservoirs to extract oil that would otherwise be impossible to recover \u2014 in effect nullifying any benefits from capturing the carbon in the first place.\n\nhttps://t.co/FndxLiy1q7\u201d— 350 Canada (@350 Canada) 1649372753
"If this government was serious about climate change, we wouldn't still be waiting for the Just Transition Act that Justin Trudeau promised three years and two elections ago," Perfitt added. "This budget would include billions of dollars funding that transition but instead, we're getting more handouts to Big Oil and more promises to do more on climate change at some other time."
Specifically--as Atiya Jaffar, 350 Canada's digital campaigns manager, wrote in a blog post--under the new budget, "fossil fuel companies investing in carbon capture, utilization, and storage (CCUS) would receive over $2.6 billion over the next five years and $1.5 billion annually until 2030."
"This is irresponsible and the opposite of what we need during a climate emergency," Jaffar warned, arguing that "these funds should go towards introducing a bold, ambitious Just Transition Act that retrains fossil fuel workers, creates millions of green jobs, and accelerates community-led climate solutions."
Other campaigners who have been organizing against the CCUS plan were similarly critical following Thursday's announcement.
"Minister Freeland has bowed to Big Oil lobbyists and implemented their carbon capture tax subsidy," declared Julia Levin, senior Climate and Energy Program manager at Environmental Defense. "Carbon capture is not a climate solution--it's a greenwashing strategy used to justify more fossil fuel production and get more taxpayer money into the pockets of executives and shareholders."
"By relying on future unproven techno-fixes to cut emissions, the government is gambling with our lives," Levin added. "Instead of creating yet another fossil fuel subsidy, the government should have invested in proven climate solutions, including renewable energy, efficient affordable housing, and electrification of transportation."
\u201cSo @cafreeland designed a dream budget for fossil fuel lobbyists, proven climate solutions are entirely short-changed \n\nHer #CCUS tax subsidy will use taxpayer $ for more oil & gas production\n\nFreeland's mandate was to align #budget2022 w/ climate goals - she did the opposite\u201d— Julia Levin (@Julia Levin) 1649368697
Others also highlighted the need for more transportation funding while noting that the budget recognizes the government's recent $750 million commitment to the Keep Transit Moving coalition.
"It's clear that public transit systems in Canada need long-term support. While the $750 million is welcome and needed, it covers less than two months' worth of what our struggling public transit systems need this year alone," said John Di Nino, president of Amalgamated Transit Union (ATU) Canada.
Dylan Penner, climate and social justice campaigner with the Council of Canadians, emphasized that "Trudeau has been promising a just transition for three years" without following through.
"It's time to deliver," Penner said. "Public transit is a core part of the solution to the climate crisis and can drive much of the systemic transformation that's needed. We need sustained funding and expansion for green municipal public transit and intercity public bus service, but instead, this federal budget is stuck in the mindset of more highways and fossil fuel subsidies."
\u201cThe Liberals & NDP are increasing the military budget by $8 billion. This is money that should be spent on healthcare, public education, housing & fighting climate change. Instead Canada is \ud83d\udcc8 the budget for war making & death #cdnpoli #budgetwatch22 \n\nhttps://t.co/8WJqfeLXui\u201d— Spring Magazine (@Spring Magazine) 1649361031
Canada's 2022 budget features some investments in zero-emission vehicles, renewable electricity, and initiatives to protect oceans and freshwater.
Environmental Defense executive director Tim Gray said that it "contained some hopeful measures, but above all, the federal government should be prioritizing the needs of people over oil and gas corporations. Yet this budget continues Canada's pattern of giving huge windfalls to industrial polluters with limited investment in creating the cleaner future we need and the prosperity that could flow from it."
"The world is facing mounting ecological and humanitarian crises," said Gray. "The time is now for bold, ambitious action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, protect our health from chemical pollution in our water and communities, and get rid of single-use plastics."
We're optimists who believe in the power of informed and engaged citizens to ignite and enact change to make the world a better place.
We're hundreds of thousands strong, but every single supporter counts.
Your contribution supports this new media model—free, independent, and dedicated to uncovering the truth. Stand with us in the fight for social justice, human rights, and equality. As a people-powered nonprofit news outlet, we cover the issues the corporate media never will. Join with us today!
Our work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.
We've had enough. The 1% own and operate the corporate media. They are doing everything they can to defend the status quo, squash dissent and protect the wealthy and the powerful. The Common Dreams media model is different. We cover the news that matters to the 99%. Our mission? To inform. To inspire. To ignite change for the common good. How? Nonprofit. Independent. Reader-supported. Free to read. Free to republish. Free to share. With no advertising. No paywalls. No selling of your data. Thousands of small donations fund our newsroom and allow us to continue publishing. Can you chip in? We can't do it without you. Thank you.