Pallister Government’s Failure to Sign on to National Climate Accord A Lost Opportunity to be a Leader, Reduce Emissions, Create Green Jobs

The NDP is calling on the Pallister government to stop dragging its heels and sign on to the national climate change agreement before it loses out on millions in federal funding earmarked for reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

“Ottawa has made it clear that Manitoba must sign on before the end of this year or we risk losing an estimated $66 million that would help the province reduce emissions and create green jobs,” said NDP Environment Critic Rob Altemeyer. “Pallister’s negotiating games with the federal government may cost Manitoba businesses and consumers millions.”

Altemeyer noted that Ottawa has indicated if Manitoba doesn’t sign on to the accord and create its own carbon pricing policy, then the federal government will impose its own program on the province.

“Climate change is real, its impacts are real and carbon pricing is going to happen,” said Altemeyer. “The premier needs to realize this is an opportunity to help heal the planet while creating hundreds if not thousands of new green jobs in Manitoba.”

With the funds Ottawa is offering, Altemeyer suggested this province could reverse course on several recent poor decisions:

  • Funding for public transit and active transportation could be increased rather than cut;
  • Building efficiency programs could be expanded rather than thrown into confusion by removing PowerSmart from Manitoba Hydro;
  • Curbside composting services could be expanded, instead of dismantling the former Green Manitoba agency that spearheaded waste reduction efforts; and
  • Incentives for electric vehicles and buses would improve Manitoba Hydro’s bottom line, keep more money circulating in our local economy rather than paying for fossil fuel imports and help consumers save money.

“This will be a lost opportunity if the Pallister government fails to act quickly,” Altemeyer said. “Manitoba should be a leader in addressing climate change, not a laggard. We’re in a race to save the planet and the premier isn’t even at the starting gate.”