Week one of the federal campaign was all about affordability and the economy. Week two is making room for the environment and climate change. With the approach of demonstrations across Canada on Friday the parties are making their environmental pitch to voters.
Three parties, the Green, Liberal and NDP, say they will spend billions and billions of your money to meet or exceed Canada’s commitments to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The Bloc Quebecois position is not as dramatic but it supports more regulations to reduce carbon emissions and opposes the Keystone pipeline extension into eastern Canada.
The Conservatives takes a much less radical spending position.
Conservative leader, Andrew Scheer, was in Quebec Wednesday unveiling part of what the party labels “a real plan for the environment.” Scheer made yet another tax credit pledge. The Conservatives propose a two year program to provide a tax credit for home green renovations. Scheer says the renovation credit could be as much as $3800 a year on renovations costing $20,000. Scheer said reducing emissions is important but again and again turned an initiative on the environment into a pocket book issue. Scheer kept repeating his party’s campaign mantra that Canadians will have more money in their pocket if they vote Conservative. A reporter asked Scheer if Canadians will have to pay to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Scheer answered; “our campaign is to make life more affordable for Canadians.” Quebeckers do not support an eastern pipeline and Scheer had to be careful to shade his answers on a pipeline that he supports building.
By taking a different position on climate change the Bloc may draw votes away from the Conservatives. The Bloc is becoming a factor in this election campaign. After winning just 10 seats in 2015 its new leader Yves-Francois Blanchet has retooled the party. Expectations now have the Bloc making gains in Quebec. The Bloc has the potential to take seats from the NDP, the Liberals and the Conservatives. If this election stays close, close enough that it is a minority Parliament, the Bloc might have a say in who gets to govern Canada on October 22.
The Green Party released its budgeted platform on Wednesday. Yes, you are right. The Green Party released its platform last week in Toronto. But the party needs media attention. So today in Halifax it did it all again putting a few new numbers against its promises. It worked. The TV news channels carried her event in Halifax live. By now every Canadian voter knows the Green Party has an aggressive plan to reduce Canada’s greenhouse gas emissions. Those policies and the cost are, of course, in the plan. Party leader, Elizabeth May, recognizes that her party needs to show Canadians it is more than a one issue party. So the Green platform promises a slew of social programs including pharmacare and universal free tuition and a balanced budget by 2024. A Green Party release to supporters today revealed a new Green Party TV ad. It opens with Elizabeth May saying, “People think the Greens are a one issue party.” It then lets Green candidates rattle off the issues they care about. It will be interesting to see if the Greens have the money to buy TV time for the ad or if it is used more on line.