Where do the main parties stand on energy issues?

Canada’s federal general election 2021 will take place on September 20.

CFAA does not endorse political parties, since we have to work with whichever party or parties form the government. However, in order to inform CFAA’s members of the main parties’ positions on rental housing issues, CFAA compares their positions.

This e-Newsletter compares the parties’ energy positions. Past eNewsletters discussed housing and tax issues.

Visit https://cfaa-fcapi.org/election-platform-comparison-energy/ to see more details, and CFAA’s positions on the various issues.

The Conservatives’ energy platform goal is to reduce carbon emissions by 30% of 2005 levels, by 2030 (the existing commitment under the Paris Accord). The Liberals’ goal is to reduce carbon emissions by 40-45% by the same year. The NDP goal is at least 50%.

The Liberals say they will increase the current carbon tax of $40 a tonne up to $170 a tonne by 2030. The NDP say they would rely less on carbon tax increases. That would mean the NDP would need to use a combination of regulations and incentives. They could focus regulation on industry and rental housing providers, and use incentives for homeowners.

The Conservatives speak of leaving the carbon tax at $40 per tonne, and exploring new technologies and approaches.

The Liberals promise to create a pan-Canadian electricity Grid Council, and clean electricity standard, to reach net-zero emission by 2035. That will be particularly onerous for Alberta and Saskatchewan, which burn coal to create electricity, and for Nova Scotia, which burns coal, coke and oil-based fuel. All of them emit GHGs.

The Conservatives and Liberals propose substantial funding to help with building retrofits. The Conservatives propose an “Energy Saving Performance Contracting” program to involve private sector in financing and implementing retrofits which are paid back through savings. The Liberals and the provinces have tried out such programs before.

The Conservatives and Liberals do not promise to achieve a particular level of building retrofits by any particular year, although to meet their reduction targets a substantial number of deep building retrofits would be needed. The NDP promises to target 2050 to require large scale building retrofits in all buildings in all sectors.

The problem faced by the rental housing sector is that with current retrofit and heat pump technology, the costs of retrofits are so high that achieving substantial reductions in carbon emissions is cost prohibitive, even in provinces with cheap (and clean) electricity. To achieve the desired result, while avoiding a major impact on housing costs, and thus on housing affordability, we need better, cheaper retrofit and heat capture technology, and cheaper (and sometimes cleaner) electricity. Or alternately, we need substantial incentives to make deep building retrofits.

For new buildings, the NDP promise to change the National Building Code to ensure that by 2025 every new building in Canada is net-zero. The Liberals set 2030 as the goal for all new buildings to be “net-zero energy ready”. (In practical term, that means all buildings would need to be built to take solar panels, but some may not have the solar panels installed.)

The Conservatives promise to develop a program to put in place “the building blocks required to meet Canada’s net-zero goals”, including the necessary building codes, new trades training and certifications, and piloting new technologies.

The Conservatives promise to invest $5 billion in Carbon Capture, Utilization and Storage, reducing somewhat the need to reduce carbon emissions.

The Conservatives promise to preserve 25% of Canada’s land area in a natural state through protected areas, and invest $3 billion in natural climate solutions, including land management practice and restoration of disturbed land. The Liberals made a similar promise without including a financial promise. CFAA generally agrees with more preservation.

The NDP and Liberals promise to implement a border carbon adjustment on imports from areas without a carbon price. If imports were recognized with regards to their carbon emissions impact they bring into Canada, that will show a more accurate picture of proportion of Canadian GHG emissions from the housing sector, and the rental housing sector.

Visit https://cfaa-fcapi.org/election-platform-comparison-energy/ to see more details, and CFAA’s positions on the various issues.

Remember to vote on September 20!

For information about your riding or voting place, visit https://www.elections.ca/home.aspx.