Yesterday in Parliament, Prime Minister Stephen Harper called regulating the largest source of carbon emissions in the country, the oil and gas sector, “crazy.” Twice. In one fell swoop, the leader of our country broke three promises to Canadians and the rest of the world.
For at least seven years, the federal government has been promising to regulate carbon pollution from the oil and gas sector. Canada’s environment minister even said it on the world stage, at the UN climate conference last year in Warsaw. Promise…broken.
The Canadian government has also promised to move forward in lock-step with the U.S. on climate change. Contrary to the Prime Minister’s statement in the House, oil and gas regulations would not be “unilateral.” In 2012, the U.S. put significant limits on carbon emissions from its oil and gas sector. Canada is not following the U.S. lead on this. Promise…broken.
Canada’s environmental commissioner has said that, without regulating the fast-growing carbon pollution coming from oil and gas facilities, Canada’s 2020 Copenhagen commitment is officially out of reach. So the Prime Minister just ripped up its commitment to the global community too. Promise…broken.
It’s not crazy to ensure that all industries across Canada take responsibility for their pollution. And, as the U.S. has shown by regulating its largest source of carbon emissions—coal—it’s not crazy to ensure that the biggest polluters don’t get a free pass to pollute our shared climate.
It is crazy to continue to prop up an industry whose poor business model is all about producing one of the dirtiest and most expensive forms of oil. The Canadian government shouldn’t be giving over $3 billion in subsidies and public financing to fossil fuel companies. And it shouldn’t be letting any industry pollute as much as it wants just to keep it in business. All for an industry that is responsible for only two per cent of Canada’s GDP.