The leaders fanned out across the country to campaign on Tuesday. Three of the leaders chose to make promises to help Canada meet its climate change commitments.
Elizabeth May, leader of the Green Party, spent another day in the Maritimes and promised “a national transportation strategy with a goal of reaching zero-carbon public ground transportation everywhere in Canada by 2040.” The Green release said: “A Green government will enact the Via Rail Act to implement a passenger rail transportation policy, investing $600 million in 2020-21, rising to $720 million by 2023 to develop regional rail networks and strengthen rail connections between regions.” That might not be money well spent. A 2015 federal government report concluded, “The prospects for intercity passenger rail service in Canada remain uncertain at best”
And if that Green Party’s promise wasn’t enough to get the attention of small town Canada, May added the Greens want to use Canada Post to “play an integral role in providing services to underserved communities in rural and remote areas.” One role the Greens envisage is for Canada Post to provide banking services in rural Canada. Another federal study of this idea concluded: “Only 7 per cent of Canadians and 11 per cent of businesses claim that they would actually use postal banking services.”
Jagmeet Singh is making his way to his riding in Burnaby, British Columbia. He stopped in Winnipeg and put the NDP spotlight on climate change. Singh called climate change “a crisis of epic proportion.” Singh said Scheer “barely believes there is a climate crisis.” Singh says an NDP government would electrify all public transit by 2030. That is in 10 years sooner than the Green Party. Think about this. Here are just two examples. To meet that target, every kilometer of GO Transit would need to be electrified and every bus line in the GTA would need to use only electric buses. Now multiply this roll out from Charlottetown to Victoria. Certainly Singh is making an epic promise.
Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau is on the west coast. In Burnaby, he too rattled off a series of grand promises upping Canada’s climate commitments. But not before taking his shot at Canadian Conservative politicians, saying they “recoil falling back on the approach they know best neglecting our environment and pretending climate change isn’t real.” That out of the way, Trudeau promised Canada will achieve net greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. Trudeau promised a Liberal government would “legislate five-year targets along the way.” Besides a quick promise to plant trees Trudeau’s path to achieving “net zero” was very vague. Until today, the Liberal commitment was to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 80 per cent by 2050.
Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer campaigned in southwestern Ontario. The Conservative platform has yet to provide a specific target for reduction of greenhouse gas emissions. Today Scheer steered well away from the climate theme. Instead the Conservatives put the focus on small business promises. One promise is to cut government red tape. This is a perennial Conservative commitment. In the Ontario provincial election Doug Ford repeatedly committed to “cutting red tape and stifling regulations.” In Alberta’s provincial election, United Conservative Party Leader Jason Kenney called Alberta Canada’s “most over-regulated economy.” The federal Conservative campaign took the cue, saying it will cut regulations by 25 per cent. Scheer declined to name one specific regulation that would be cut.