The debates are over, and not one question was asked about energy, greenhouse gas policy, or oil sands. If you want to read what I would have asked each of the leaders, read on…
To Prime Minister Stephen Harper, Leader of the Conservative Party of Canada:
In your platform, you re-iterated your commitment to Canada’s goal of reducing GHG emissions to 17% below our 2005 levels, by 2020 and stated that your climate change plan is working. Environment Canada estimated earlier this year that all the current measures implemented or planned by both the federal and provincial governments would leave Canada 178 Mt short of your goal. Earlier this year, then-Environment Minister Peter Kent said that, “significant work remains (to meet our targets),” and that, “(the Conservative Government) intends to continue to develop performance standards for other major sectors of the economy.”
The only concrete new actions proposed in the Conservative platform are the provision of a loan guarantee to the Lower Churchill Falls hydroelectric project, expected to reduce GHG emissions by 4.5 Mt, along with an extension of the ecoEnergy Retrofit Credit which will likely lead to less than 1Mt of emissions reductions, and an un-budgeted commitment to finance economically viable clean energy projects.
I would like to know how a Conservative government plans to reach our targets. In particular, what additional regulations will be imposed on industrial sectors of the Canadian economy including oil sands under a Conservative government?
To Michael Ignatieff, Leader of the Liberal Party of Canada
Your platform clearly identifies a priority on cleaner oilsands production. You have committed to a cap-and-trade program for GHG emissions reductions and an immediate cancellation of the Accelerated Capital Cost Allowance program, with permit auction and increased tax revenues slated to be re-invested in improving the environmental performance of the industry. At the same time, your party platform supports a moratorium on tanker traffic off BC’s Northern Coast. Do you believe that, with cleaner oil sands production in place, continued near-exclusive reliance on the US market represents the best way to maximize the value of a resource which you have previously stated that, “we will be developing for a century?” If not, how would a Liberal government support the diversification of markets for oil sands products?
To Jack Layton, Leader of the New Democratic Party of Canada
Your platform describes $2 billion in revenues from the, “cancellation of fossil fuel subsidies,” and yet you have provided no detail on which programs would be cancelled in order to recoup this amount of revenue. Tax incentives offered by the federal government have been evaluated at approximately $1 billion by the IISD, and at significantly less than this by Jack Mintz. Would you please elaborate on which measures you plan to cancel, the revenue you expect to recover from each action, and how you expect the cancellation of those programs to affect oil and gas exploration and development in Canada and whether you expect any change in associated corporate and personal income tax revenues.