Commentary by Richard Caron: Use tech, not taxes, to beat climate change

A commentary by the Conservative Party of Canada federal election candidate for the riding of Victoria. This is the fourth in a series of commentaries about climate change from Canada’s main political parties; they are being published daily this week. To see the others, go to timescolonist.com/opinion.

Climate change is one of the most pressing issues of our time. Canadians trusted Justin Trudeau when he said he would protect the environment and lower Canada’s emissions. Instead, all they got was a tax. Now, not only is Canada failing to hit our Paris Agreement targets, we are getting further and further away. As an environmental policy, the carbon tax is a failure of epic proportions. It makes virtually no contribution to the global fight against climate change. And it only makes life more expensive for Canadian families and small businesses.

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The Conservatives have developed A Real Plan to Protect Our Environment, which is built on three guiding principles:

1. Green technology, not taxes.

2. A cleaner and greener natural environment.

3. Taking the climate change fight global.

This plan is the most comprehensive environmental platform ever put forward by a political party in Canada. No really, you should read it. Sixty pages and 55 specific, realistic and achievable policy commitments. Under the Conservative plan, it will not be free to pollute — and unlike the Liberal scheme, there will be no sweetheart deals for anybody. Rather than simply funnelling money to the government, as the Liberal plan dictates, emitters who exceed our limits will be required to invest in technology that will lower emissions to fight climate change.

Technology. Not taxes. We will create more jobs in Canada through green technological growth while at the same time lowering global emissions.

As prime minister, Andrew Scheer will set emissions standards for major emitters that will lower greenhouse gases and drive Canadian businesses to the highest standards of green technology. Companies will be required to reduce their emissions to those limits. Those that emit more than is allowed under the Green Investment Standards will be required to invest in research, development, and adoption of emissions-reducing technology related to their industry.

Justin Trudeau’s climate scheme gives polluters a pass, a pass that he is not giving to consumers or small businesses. The government should not stand in the way and make life more difficult for the backbone of the economy. A new Conservative government will continue to celebrate small businesses as drivers of prosperity.

A Real Plan to Protect Our Environment will not only help keep good-paying jobs here in Canada, it will also create new jobs by supporting industry to replace dirtier sources of energy around the world. Canadian companies already produce some of the greenest products, energy and technology in the world. Let’s allow them to grow and represent Canada as a new destination for clean energy.

One item that I am personally very interested in is the Green Homes Tax Credit, a two-year plan that will encourage Canadians to improve their homes with emissions-reducing technologies. Canadians will be eligible to receive a 20 per cent refundable credit on their income tax for green improvements to their homes of more than $1,000 and up to $20,000. This will allow Canadians to save up to $3,800 on their green renovations each year.

At the end of the day, we should all be concerned about climate change — about the kind of planet we will leave to future generations. On Oct. 21, Victorians will make a decision about who will best represent them, and who will take their fight on climate change to Ottawa.

I am proud to represent a party that has a real plan for the environment. One that doesn’t make the consumer pay more. One that invests in technology and innovation. And one that will stand up for Canadians here at home and around the world.

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