NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh is promising to double funding for public transit projects to help municipalities make their public transit fleets fully electric by 2030.
Mr. Singh said Tuesday the impacts of the climate crisis are already hurting communities across Canada with wildfires and drought. Public transit would be an investment priority for an NDP government because transportation is one of the largest sources of carbon emissions, he said.
“We know the impacts of climate change are hurting us right now,” Mr. Singh said while standing outside a streetcar loop in Toronto’s historic Distillery District.
He pointed to Lytton, B.C., which was burned down by a wildfire in early July, as an example of the pressing need to address climate change.
Mr. Singh said that if elected in the upcoming federal election the NDP would increase the funding given to municipalities to electrify public transit from $2.2 billion to $4.4 billion.
“Our plan is to fight this climate crisis like we really want to win it,” he said.
Mr. Singh said Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau continues to break his own promises to fight climate change and Canada has become the worst emitter in the G7 under his leadership.
Mr. Trudeau’s climate promises during this campaign include plans to regulate total emissions cuts in the oil and gas sector for the first time, with a view to getting to net-zero by 2050.
“That is what we are committed to, that is what we are going to do, full stop,” said Mr. Trudeau on Tuesday. “Just so people are clear — major oil industry companies have also all committed to getting to net-zero by 2050. This is an inevitable part of that.”
The Liberals’ climate change pledges also include setting new regulations that will require half of all cars sold in Canada to be zero-emission by 2030 and 100 percent by 2035. Mr. Trudeau also said that if his party is elected it would help workers in the energy and construction industries pivot to new fields.
Mr. Singh said, however, that Trudeau had run on a green platform when he was first elected into government in 2015 but that the Liberal party had come up short on its climate-change promises since then.
“(Trudeau) sets targets and misses them. He says he’s going to end fossil-fuel subsidies, and instead of ending them he increases them,” said Singh.
The Conservatives’ climate plans, meanwhile, include a promise to return Canada to a goal of slashing greenhouse gas emissions to 30 percent below 2005 levels by 2030, rather than adopt a target recently increased by the Liberals of between 40 and 45 percent.
The Conservatives are also pitching a “personal low-carbon savings account,” in which consumers would see what they pay on fuel stored into an account that can be used for green purchases later and vowing to revive the cancelled Northern Gateway pipeline project.
NDP candidate Norm di Pasquale, who is running in the Spadina-Fort York riding, said that climate change poses a real threat in downtown Toronto.
“We’ve had flooding of Lake Ontario, I worry about the Toronto Islands in particular,” said Mr. Di Pasquale, referring to the small cluster of homes in the city’s harbour. “They’ve had to sandbag their homes and some were actually forced to leave their homes.
“The effect on Lake Ontario is one of the more pronounced here.”
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