Scheer, Trudeau spar over climate pledges, as May offers cost breakdown

Neither Trudeau nor Scheer could provide detail on how their plans would bring down GHG emissions

Andrew Scheer and Justin Trudeau fought Wednesday for the high ground on who was best suited to fight the ravages of climate change, a battle that exposed the wide valley in their approaches.

The Conservative leader re-announced a tax credit for homeowners who make energy-saving renovations, such as installing new windows or better furnaces. Scheer said his plan was not only the best way for Canada to meet its greenhouse gas reduction commitments, but would adhere to the core tenet of his campaign: putting more money into the pockets of hard-working Canadians.

The Liberal leader announced a series of measures to mitigate the threats posed by repeat flooding, including employment-insurance benefits and a national plan to relocate at-risk homes from high waters. Trudeau reiterated his view that tackling climate change is the core political issue of the day — and that he is the only viable alternative for Canadian voters compared to Scheer.

Neither he nor Scheer could provide detailed analyses of how their plans would bring down greenhouse-gas emissions, or the related costs.

Green Leader Elizabeth May opened Wednesday’s campaigning by offering a detailed spending breakdown her party’s platform, pledging to balance the federal budget by 2024.

May proposed a series of new tax measures that she said would draw tens of billions into federal coffers. Among them was what she called a “very small tax on financial transactions” that she said would raise $18 billion by 2025.

May said the Greens would increase corporate taxes, close “capital gains loophole” that taxes investment income at lower rates than employment income, apply a wealth tax to Canadians with more than $20 million and eliminate fossil-fuel subsidies.

READ MORE: Trudeau promises energy bill cuts, carbon-neutrality while in Lower Mainland

Scheer has also promised Canadians a balanced budget, but has yet to explain exactly how he would produce it. Trudeau says he is committed to investing in the future of the country, and has made no apologies for running deficits to do that.

Scheer pivoted his campaign to the environment on Wednesday, after Trudeau went on the attack a day earlier and attempted to brand him as a climate-change laggard.

Scheer said his 20 per cent refundable tax credit could be worth up to $3,800 annually, as he shot back at Trudeau’s promise from the previous day to achieve zero net carbon emissions in Canada by 2050.

“The other key part of that is helping make life more affordable for Canadians,” Scheer said in Jonquiere, Que. “And when Canadians can take advantage of this homes tax credit to make renovations in their home, their own lives will become more affordable as the cost of living is reduced, because their energy consumption will go down.”

Scheer said Trudeau isn’t on track to meet Canada’s greenhouse-gas reduction targets for 2030, so there’s no point in taking his plan for 2050 seriously. He reiterated the new Conservative plan would give Canada the “best chance” to reach the 2030 targets, but his announcement carried no detailed analysis of how. The national target calls for a reduction of greenhouse-gas emissions by 30 per cent below 2005 levels by 2030.

“Canada is not the problem. We can shut down our entire economy here and within a matter of days, the production in China would replace everything that we produce here — all the emissions that we emit here.”

In Delta, B.C., Trudeau promised to develop employment-insurance benefits for people struck by natural disasters such as floods, pledged to develop a national plan to relocate Canadians whose homes are at risk of repeat flooding, and promised interest-free loans to make homes more energy-efficient.

Major flooding struck New Brunswick, Ontario and Quebec earlier this spring for the second time in three years.

Trudeau promised a national employment-insurance disaster-benefit program for people forced out of their jobs or their homes because of floods and forest fires.

“This will become a greater concern for many people. That’s why we want to give families more support,” said Trudeau.

“The Andrew Scheer Conservatives have the same do-nothing approach on the environment that Canadians remember from Stephen Harper, with a so-called plan that will do less and cost more.”

On Tuesday, Trudeau branded Scheer as backward and out of step on fighting climate change, linking him to Conservative politicians such as Doug Ford and Jason Kenney, the Ontario and Alberta premiers.

It was part of an attempt by Trudeau to reframe the election around the environment after last week’s revelations of his history dressing up in black- and brownface. He has linked himself to the rising protest of young people around the world that is gaining momentum through the bitter scolding of world leaders that teenaged climate activist Greta Thunberg levelled at the United Nations this week.

NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh, also in British Columbia, promised a “new deal” for that province Wednesday. He said an NDP government would take action and put forward funds to tackle money laundering and speculation in the housing market.

He said he would dedicate a unit of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police to fight money laundering and create a national registry to prevent companies from hiding profits they make from real estate.

People’s Party Leader Maxime Bernier also began a western tour Wednesday, his first extended trip of the campaign, with an appearance at the Surrey, B.C., board of trade. Bernier was greeted by shouting protesters and delivered a speech focused on immigration. He said he was against “mass migration” but is not anti-immigrant.

—With files from Camille Bains in Surrey

Mike Blanchfield, The Canadian Press

READ MORE: Maxime Bernier in B.C. gets applause inside, heckled outside at Surrey event

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Young deckhands backed out of fatal Arctic Fox II trip just before the fishboat departed

Inexperienced twin brothers had ‘gut feeling’ and bailed before going to open ocean

Cowichan’s Dillabaugh checks in from the NHL bubble in Toronto

Flyers’ Duncan-born goalie coach weighs in on hockey restart

37-year-old man missing from Cobble Hill area

He is described as a First Nations man, 5 foot 8 in height

Five new handyDART buses serving Cowichan

Buses to replace older vehicles being removed from the fleet

Starvation claims Great Blue Heron in Crofton

No other contributing factors found in death during a necropsy

B.C. records new COVID-19 death, 85 more cases; Horgan calls on celebrity help

This brings the total number of active confirmed cases to 531 across the province

Old-growth forest defenders in Campbell River call for B.C. forest minister’s resignation

Protestors outside North Island MLA’s office ask government to stop old-growth logging

Teachers to get 2 extra days to prepare for students’ return, now set for Sept. 10

Students will first start with orientation and learn rules of COVID-19 classroom policies

High-volume littering at Cape Scott draws ire from hiking groups

Popular Vancouver Island hiking spot not closing, but frustration about crowding grows

SFU to drop ‘Clan’ varsity team name

The ‘Clan’ name is shortened from ‘Clansmen,’ and was introduced roughly 55 years ago

New Tory leader must build a strong team in Commons and for the campaign: Scheer

Scheer marked his final day in the House of Commons today as leader of the Opposition

B.C. to hire 500 more COVID-19 contact tracers ahead of fall

Contract tracers add an ‘extra layer’ in the fight against the novel coronavirus

More than $800,000 in suspected cocaine seized from ship near Victoria

RCMP Dive Team suspects more narcotics had been stored below ship’s waterline

Feds commit $305M in additional funds for Indigenous communities during COVID-19

Money can be used to battle food insecurity and support children and mental health

Most Read