Conservatives: Prime Minister Stephen Harper made a series of pledges in September to support the Conservative’s National Conservation plan, including the creation of a wildlife conservation and enhancement program to the habitat for species which are “harvested by hunters and trappers."
In British Columbia, he announced that a Conservative government will help restore and enhance the salmon habitat and marine environment,by investing $15 million to restore and conserve key British Columbian estuaries, and to preserve the lower Harrison River’s salmon ecosystem. He also pledged to establish a National Marine Conservation Area Reserve in the southern strait of Georgia to protect the area’s marine life.
NDP: New Democrat Leader Tom Mulcair has pledged to kickstart renewable energy production and drive down climate-changing emissions. He also said he will make “big polluters” pay to clean up their mess and strengthen the laws to protect Canada’s lakes and rivers. However, since August Mulcair has yet to make an announcement specific to the environment, with specific plans to tackle these plans. As part of his party’s platform, he has pledged to end fossil fuel subsidies, which he says will save the country about $240 million per year, by tightening the rules around the use of Canadian Exploration Expenses. (which is the cost incurred by the taxpayer for the purpose of determining the existence, location, extent, or quality of a mineral resource, or petroleum or natural gas).
Liberals: Liberal leader Justin Trudeau has committed if elected to attend the Paris climate conference, and work on a “framework” for combating climate; he also has pledged to establish national emissions reduction targets as well as phase out subsidies for the fossil fuel industry.
As part of their infrastructure plan, $20 billion over 10 years will go to their various "green infrastructure" pledges, including local water and wastewater facilities, climate resilient infrastructure, clean energy, and clean-up of contaminated sites.
They have also pledged to “modernize” the National Energy Board, conduct a “wholesale review” of the Harper government’s changes to the Fisheries Act and the elimination of the Navigable Waters Act.
As for water conservation, the Liberals say they will develop a “road map” to meet the country’s commitment to protect 17 per cent of land and inland waters by 2020. He will also invest $50 million annually to advance the development of Canada’s park system, national wildlife area and bird sanctuaries.
He will also increase “science spending” in National Parks by $25 million annually to identify ecological stresses.
Trudeau also says he will increase the amount of protected marine and coastal areas from 1.3 per cent to 5 per cent by 2017, and 10 per cent by 2020. He will also restore $40 million in funding to the federal government's ocean science monitoring programs and restore $1.5 million in federal funding for freshwater research.
As well, $200 million annually has been pledged to create “sector-specific strategies” that support innovation and clean technologies in forestry, fisheries, mining, energy, and agricultural sectors. They also announced a plan to invest $100 million annually in clean technology producers, so that they can tackle Canada’s most pressing environmental challenges, whether in our air, in our water, or on our land
Their plan is to move to the virtual elimination of fossil fuel use in Canada by mid-century.
Green Party: Elizabeth May and the Green Party are strong opponents against the Energy East pipeline and have committed to stand up against “all new raw bitumen export schemes.”
She has pledged to protect the existing jobs in the oil industry and create new jobs by upgrading and refining existing resource production. The party pledged to provide training for laid off workers from the oil sands, so they find “good, long-term reliable jobs.”
The party will also partner with the provinces to price carbon and implement a Carbon Fee and Dividend Plan (a system to price CO2 emissions in order to provide incentives to shift away from fossil fuels). It pay the funds it generates to every Canadian over age 18 in the form of an annual carbon dividend.
As well, the party also has pledged to phase out coal-fired electricity and transition to a “decarbonized economy.”
Along with the NDP and Liberals, the Green Party has also pledged to eliminate all fossil fuel subsidies.
She wants to halt the country’s reliance on Liquefied Natural Gas development by repealing the tax break for LNG investments and adopting the international shipping safety standards set by Society of International Gas Tanker and Terminal Operators.
The party has also pledged to end thermal coal exports and work with the provinces to phase-out coal fired generation plants. May also pledged to attend the Paris conference and lead negotiations on climate crisis with the rest of the world.
-- Kristin Annable