Green Party of Canada response to Question 9

Question:  How will your party’s economic policies keep Calgarians working?

Answer:  A strong workforce in Calgary is absolutely necessary to the Canadian economy. We believe the economy of the future is built on clean-­tech. We will put a national price on carbon and incentivize the development of green energy infrastructure. We need to invest in an infrastructure that promotes renewable energy, and a more robust east-­west electricity grid to promote renewable energy transmission between provinces, while reducing the enormous waste in our energy systems. We will unleash an army of carpenters, electricians and contractors to take outdated and leaky public buildings – schools, universities and hospitals – and plug the leaks that increase greenhouse gases and costs.

We will create thousands of jobs manufacturing, installing, operating, and maintaining wind turbines, solar panels, public transit vehicles and infrastructure, insulation, rail stock, and other elements of a clean and efficient economy.

The Green Party will also actively encourage value­-added upgrading and manufacturing, to create more jobs and other local economic benefits. A greener economy is necessary. A greener economy is possible. We can have our jobs and our prosperity without destroying the planet on which we live. Through a carbon fee and dividend, and through incentives for green development, we will create a Canada that works. Together.

Question:  What are your party’s policies regarding the energy sector? Do you support the construction of pipelines to connect Alberta’s oil and gas to markets in other parts of Canada and for export overseas?

Answer:  Given climate realities and volatile international oil prices, expanding oil sands production is simply not on. Most of the bitumen in the Alberta oil sands must remain in the ground. We will create new jobs in Canada’s oil and gas sector by refining the product we already produce, rather than shipping it out raw for refining in other countries. In addition to increasing our refining capacity, Canada should be home to leading the global clean technology industry – an industry that has boomed in other countries like Germany, where over 1.4 million clean-­tech jobs generate over 11 percent of the country’s GDP. We need to respect the oil sands workers whose livelihoods still depend on the industry, and to support the tens of thousands of oil sands workers who have recently been laid off. Canada should provide these workers with retraining to ensure they find good, long-­term reliable jobs close to home, not jobs that are vulnerable to cycles of boom and bust and often thousands of kilometres away from their families.

Every pipeline – whether it’s Enbridge’s Northern Gateway, Kinder­-Morgan’s expansion through Burnaby Mountain to the Burrard Inlet, Energy East, or Keystone XL, are all about one thing: getting raw, unprocessed bitumen to coastlines. These pipelines and supertankers are premised on a risky economic strategy. We have already seen how Harper’s strategy of putting all our eggs in the bitumen basket has hurt our economy.

We will protect existing jobs in the industry, create new jobs by upgrading and refining existing production, and provide skills training for workers who have been laid off or who want to transition to more stable, long-­term jobs. This strategy (more Peter Lougheed and less Ralph Klein) would actually help Alberta’s economy avoid the disruptive boom and bust cycle.

Question:  Does your party support the development and adoption of a National Transportation Strategy?

Answer:  Investment in sustainable transit infrastructure is central to the Green Party’s long-­term vision to create good local jobs, and build vibrant, safe, and livable Canadian towns and cities. Employing currently available green technologies to make transportation more efficient will dramatically reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from the transport sector, which accounts for about 25% of Canada’s emissions.

Canada is the only OECD country without a National Transit Strategy. Our funding gap and inconsistent coverage is what we have to show for a lack of leadership and coordination. To facilitate federal leadership in transit, a Council of Canadian Governments – representing the provinces, territories, municipalities and Indigenous governments – would meet to draft a comprehensive strategy. The solution for our gaps in transit are multi­-jurisdictional. We need to work together to coordinate funding to build and operate transit nation­-wide.

Greens will develop a national transportation strategy – investing in local public transit and expanding VIA Rail to provide more modern, efficient, and frequent passenger rail service. We will invest $600 million in 2016­2017, building to $764 million by 2020 in VIA Rail.

Transit by rail is one of the most economically and ecologically efficient modes of transport. It’s the future of transit, yet federal investment has not kept pace with innovation. Canada’s national rail systems are in decline. In much of Canada, rail routes that once moved thousands of people are abandoned. Edmonton to Calgary, Saskatoon to Regina, Halifax to Sydney have all been axed, despite their profitability.

Green MPs will re­-invest in our national rail systems, building more train cars in Canada, increasing train speeds, phasing in high­-speed rail where feasible, and creating green transportation and energy infrastructure corridors in key regions. An improved rail system will make Canada more economically competitive, create thousands of new jobs, reduce traffic congestion, and provide a fast, inexpensive and safe mode of transport in key commuter corridors.

Question:  How will you diversify Calgary and Alberta’s economy?

Answer:  To diversify Calgary and Alberta’s economy, we will direct funds to innovators and R&D. We need to embrace the 21st century economic revolution of clean technology. More R&D and innovation will come from manufacturing and clean technology. Greens want to create a federally-­funded $1 billion per year Green Technology Commercialization Grants to accelerate emerging technologies and give Canadian entrepreneurs a head start. By facilitating increased access to early-­stage financing, the Green Technology Commercialization Grant will help our entrepreneurs compete internationally. It will help good ideas and emerging technology get to market, growing our sustainable economy and creating good local jobs and opportunities in our communities.

Question:  Good decisions are based on good data. What is your party’s position on the long-form census?

Answer:  The Green Party calls for the restoration of the long­-form census as an essential step to ensure Parliament has the necessary and accurate information to guide appropriate and effective action in the Canadian national interest. Replacing the census with the National Household Survey significantly undermines efficient governance, which depends on solid data. The damage has become all too evident after five years without the long­-form census. Researchers interested in tracking poverty, immigration and public health in Canada know less and less about Canadians as time progresses. Municipalities can no longer rely on census data to plan the provision of services such as public transit, emergency response, and affordable housing. It is essential for the government to understand the people it is serving. We need to restore the mandatory long­-form census.

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