January 31, 2009 – Canada’s recent budget garnered mixed reviews across the country, but nowhere is it receiving as much negative attention as on the environmental file.
Canada’s federal government allocated over $1 billion toward research in green energy technologies, but they failed to provide enough incentives for an already-existing green technology market, including renewable projects such as wind, solar and geothermal energy. In fact, Canada’s green stimulus package falls short exactly where Obama’s economic plan succeeds: Immediate and substantial stimulus spending for renewable energy projects and green infrastructure.
No doubt Harper’s strategy is to (as always) play it safe and please vulnerable Canadians worried about their jobs in traditional industries, such as auto manufacturing and non-renewable energy production.
But Harper and his advisors are missing something here: In today’s uncertain economy the safe bet would be to retrain these workers for a renewable future, to cozy up to the invigorated and inspired United States, which will soon enough be innovating green technology and the resulting green economy like no other nation.
There is every reason to believe the green economic revolution should start right now, given Obama’s proven commitment and an already-burgeoning market in Europe. This is why the UN has created its Green Economy Initiative.
Sadly, this budget was a missed opportunity for Canada to be well-positioned once this economy takes off.
See below for budget perspectives from environmental groups throughout Canada:
For analysis regarding Canada’s lack of investment in green energy, see the Pembina Institute’s media release: Dark Days for Green Energy in Canada
- For a full overview of Canada’s budget from an environmental perspective, visit the David Suzuki Foundation for their media release: 2009 Federal Budget Analysis
- From Sierra Club Canada: Few Green Jobs, Little Green Infrastructure, No Green Energy