Analysis (Impartial)

New Democratic Party leader Jagmeet Sing on Friday announced a “new deal for climate action and jobs”, effectively solidifying a three-way race between his party, Justin Trudeau’s Liberals and the Green Party for title of climate champion.

The NDP, who often claim to be the original champions of the environment, have sensed an incoming Green threat that aims to knock it off of third place in the House of Commons, according to polls that show an increasing excitement for the Greens as the NDP experience wavering.

CBC poll aggregator

On the Green side of climate policy, Elizabeth May announced that she is aiming to cut Canada’s greenhouse gas emissions by 60 per cent below 2005 levels by 2030, though she gave little detail on how her plan would work.

Singh did not say in his announcement that the NDP were committing to a specific target year, but they say they would set one that is “in line with stabilizing the global temperature increase at 1.5 degrees Celsius” — a reduction between 40 per cent and 50 per cent below 2005 levels by 2030.

The single largest headline from the Singh announcement was that an NDP federal government would ban single-use plastics by 2022 across the country.

Framed against the Liberal administration’s plan, which has dominated headlines with words like “regulation” and “restrictions” and “taxes”, Singh’s plan puts an emphasis on “investment and jobs” — though, to factcheck, that is not to say that the Liberals are not investing.

The current federal framework includes promises to increase energy efficiency and retrofit buildings. The NDP set a target to retrofit all housing stock in Canada by 2050 and launch a “climate bank” to “spur investment in the low carbon economy.”

When it comes to the big question of carbon tax, all three parties are on board. The NDP want to keep it as it is, though with some changes to the so-called “output-based pricing system” for big corporations involved in global trade — making changes to roll back “the breaks” given to big polluters.

Though a solution may be more complication than the NDP proposal as the two-part industrial system involves both a levy and a subsidy, with the subsidy tied to the said industry’s average emissions intensity — with the Liberals setting the subsidy at 80 or 90 per cent of the average, according to the Ecofiscal Commission.

Though the NDP do not want to eliminate this system, they want to bring down the subsidy’s to 70 per cent so that, in theory, companies are punished more for their impact on the climate.

The New Democrats and Conservatives have both criticized the government for the subsidies, what they call special treatment of the big polluters.

There is more to be unpacked from the NDP climate plan: A commitment to promote and help establish transit with no cost to riders with willing partners, work with provinces on individual climate targets and “use the powers of the federal government” to make that the provinces meet emissions reductions targets ahead of 2030 and 2050.

The Conservatives have yet to lay out their comprehensive climate policy ahead of the fall federal election, though that does not appear to have harmed their standing in the polls where they lead the ruling Liberals by at least 5 per cent in most polls.

The People’s Party of Canada, ex-Conservative Maxime Bernier’s offshoot party, will “do nothing” on climate change and instead leave the door open to each of the provinces and territories to come up with their own plans, though local candidate Mark Paralovos may have his own take.

The PPC and Conservatives would both repeal the climate tax.

Locally, the Liberals are represented by incumbent MP Lloyd Longfield, the Green Party by candidate Steve Dyck, and the PPC have Paralovos. The Conservatives choose their candidate shortly and the NDP are still at the vetting stage.

The Guelph Post has reached out to the local New Democrats for comment in regards to the local battleground for climate policy support and the response will be reported.