For Immediate Release

Green Budget Coalition Responds to Budget 2011

OTTAWA (March 24, 2011) The Green Budget Coalition (GBC), comprising 21 of Canada’s leading environmental and conservation organisations, today assessed the 2011 federal budget for its progress on the GBC’s environmental and conservation priorities, as outlined in Recommendations for Budget 2011, sent to Finance Minister Jim Flaherty in November 2010.

Issue

Green Budget Coalition Recommendation

Budget 2011
(all amounts totals except for subsidies)

Energy efficiency

  • National Green Homes Retrofit Strategy Including Low Income Support - $1.25B over 5 years to have retrofitted 15% of homes by 2015, including low-income homes
  • Creation of Green Bonds to provide easy access to capital for efficiency upgrades. Goal to create $2.5B fund over 5 yrs ($500M over 5 years).

$400M in 2011-12 for existing ecoENERGY Retrofit – Homes program. 

Conservation Plan for Canada

  • A Conservation Plan for Canada: $10M/year for two years to develop an ambitious and coordinated plan to protect Canada’s ecosystems, wildlife and wilderness heritage
  • New National Parks and National Marine Conservation Areas: $50M/year to continue current progress on protecting new sites across Canada

$5.5M over 5 years to establish Mealy Mountains National Park in Labrador.

Canada’s Freshwater Resources

  • Wastewater infrastructure $1B in existing infrastructure funding, plus $600M/yr in new funding over 5 years
  • Water efficiency labelling - $5M over 5 years
  • Cleaning up Areas of Concern in Great Lakes and Zones d’intervention prioritaire (ZIPs) - $31.1M/yr over 5 years
  • Protection from invasive species - $43M/yr over 5 years

$5M over 2 years to “improve nearshore water and ecosystem health, and better address the presence of phosphorous in the Great Lakes”.

Subsidy Reform

  • Tax Subsidies for Oil: Honour Canada’s G-20 commitment, and save over $761M annually, by removing four tax preferences from the oil industry:
    • Canadian Exploration Expense
    • Canadian Development Expense
    • Flow through shares
    • Tax depreciation rates for oil sands leases and building mines;

Reduced the preferential deduction rates for intangible capital expenses in oil sands projects, to align them with the rates in the conventional oil and gas sector, phased in over 5 years.
Will increase tax revenues by $15M & $30M in first 2 years, to about $100M/year in 2016-17.

  • Nuclear Power: Protect federal taxpayers from expensive subsidies and liabilities by:
    • Requiring nuclear reactor operators to cover the full costs and risk of reactor operation, construction, and repair;
    • Ending the federal government’s backstopping of Atomic Energy of Canada Limited (AECL);
    • Raising the minimum accident insurance to match other western nations; and removing the cap on reactor operator liability.

No action aligned with GBC recommendation.
Instead, an additional $405M was provided to AECL in 2011-12 to “cover anticipated commercial losses and support the corporation’s operations”.

  • Mineral Sustainability: Shift incentives from extraction to recycling by:
    • Eliminating the 100% accelerated capital cost allowance for primary mineral extraction (or extending it to metal recycling);
    • Ending the Mineral Exploration Tax Credit;
    •  Re-allocating $2M of Natural Resources Canada funding to metal and mineral recycling and stewardship initiative;

No action aligned with GBC recommendation.
Instead, the Mineral Exploration Tax Credit was extended for one year.  $90M net revenue reduction over 2011-13.

  • Chrysotile Asbestos: End the annual federal $250,000 contribution to the Chrysotile Institute, which promotes the use of chrysotile asbestos, a known carcinogen, internationally.

 

Ended $250,000 annual subsidy to Chrysotile Institute, starting in 2011-12.

 

 

 

Clean Air Agenda

Renew funding (averaged $642.5M over 2007-11)

$870M over 2 years to renew Clean Air Agenda, of which $400M was for home retrofits (noted above) and $252M over 2 years was for regulatory activities.

Chemicals Management Plan

Renew funding (averaged $75M/yr over 2007-11)

$200M over 2 years to renew Chemicals Management Plan.

 

The GBC also anticipates environmental and conservation impacts from the following measures:

  •  Deploying clean energy technologies in aboriginal and northern communities.
  • Helping First Nations upgrade or replace their fuel tanks to meet new environmental safety standards.
  • Renewing support for Contaminated Sites Action Plan.
  • Within the Clean Air Agenda funding:
    • Improving understanding of climate change impacts.
    • Developing transportation sector regulations and next-generation clean transportation initiatives.
  • Expanding eligibility for the accelerated capital cost allowance for equipment that generates electricity from waste heat from industrial processes.
  • Funding for:
    • Sustainable Development Technology Canada.
    • Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada “to support excellence in climate and atmospheric research at Canadian post-secondary institutions.”
  • Departmental spending freezes.
  • Strategic and Operating Review.

There were no measures related to the GBC’s recommendations for:

    • Building Canada’s solar hot water industry and mapping Canada’s geothermal potential.
    • Providing Canada’s fair share for global climate finance.
    • Investing in public transit (over and above gas tax funding).
    • Pricing greenhouse gas emissions.
    • Natural capital indicators.
    • Extending Ecogifts tax incentives.

The Green Budget Coalition’s members are Bird Studies Canada, Canadian Environmental Law Association, Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society, Centre for Integral Economics, David Suzuki Foundation, Ducks Unlimited Canada, Ecojustice Canada, Environmental Defence Canada, Équiterre, Friends of the Earth Canada, Greenpeace Canada, International Institute for Sustainable Development, MiningWatch Canada, Nature Canada, Nature Conservancy of Canada, Pembina Institute, Pollution Probe, Sierra Club Canada, Social Investment Organization, Wildlife Habitat Canada, and WWF-Canada.

The GBC submits priority recommendations for each annual federal budget.  The GBC’s full Recommendations for Budget 2011 document is available at http://www.greenbudget.ca/2011/main.html.

For more information, please contact:

General:
Andrew Van Iterson, Manager, Green Budget Coalition, 613-562-3447 ext. 243
Alison Woodley, Interim Chair, Green Budget Coalition; National Conservation Director, Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society (CPAWS); 613-569-7226 ext. 230, awoodley@cpaws.org
 
For specific recommendations:

  • Nature conservation – Alison Woodley (as above)
  • Energy – Tim Weis, Pembina Institute, 780-667-6519, timw@pembina.org
  • Freshwater & subsidy reform – Andrew Van Iterson (as above)

www.greenbudget.ca

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