A local mayor in my constituency, made the statement, “The Federal Conservative Government has no interest in climate change and doing anything about it. They don’t pay attention to the science.”
Nothing could be further from the truth. In the budget, money was allotted to continue our responsible, environmental strategy. Environmental protection goes hand-in-hand with our economic future.
The budget supported clean technologies by providing $325 million to Sustainable Development Technology Canada to demonstrate new, clean technologies that create efficiencies for businesses and economic growth. An additional $20 million was provided to continue conserving ecologically sensitive land. We also included a broadening of the use of the accelerated capital cost allowance for investments in a broader range of biogas production equipment and equipment to treat gases from waste.
Protection of fish and fish habitat has been a priority. In the budget we allocated $10 million for projects by local groups in B.C. and across Canada to improve the conservation of fisheries. To add to this, we listened to the Pacific Salmon Foundation and dedicated all funds collected through the sale of the ‘Salmon Conservation Stamp’ to the foundation to continue their good work with communities to protect salmon habitat in our province.
If you recall, your government designated the first-ever marine park in the Scott Islands area. In budget 2013-14, we allocated $4 million to continue marine conservation measures that will better protect this area and the ocean around it.
Your government has signed on with the Copenhagen Accord. We are committed to reduce greenhouse gases (GHG) by 17 per cent in 2020. We are well over half way there. This is significant because, at the same time, our economy has grown, making this achievement even more significant. We were the first government in Canadian history to reduce greenhouse gases.
Since 2006, your government has spent $17 billion to support and protect the environment. This $17 billion supported the eco-energy initiatives targeting renewable energy, energy science and technology, and energy efficiency. Our clean air regulatory agenda will reduce GHGs, and the eco-energy retrofit program for homeowners, made homes more energy efficient. And finally, the budget added $50 million to protect Canada’s species at risk. It also allocated money to enhance oil and gas pipeline safety and tanker safety.
Yes, Prime Minister Stephen Harper does have a plan for protecting the environment!
-Colin Mayes is the MP for Okanagan-Shuswap.