British Columbians have been gifted with vast clean energy opportunities including hydro, wind, and solar.
We have an enviable system of hydro power built by generations before us who had the vision to plan not just for their needs, but for our future. Without them, we would be burning fossil fuels to generate our electricity today.
And now, we are called on as a generation to tackle climate change by shaping a low-carbon future.
We must build on a previous generation’s vision by electrifying our economy with clean hydro power to realize this goal. 61 per cent of B.C.’s greenhouse gas emissions come from Metro Vancouver, a third of which comes from transportation.
Your government is committed to an ambitious emissions-free target for all new non-commercial vehicles registered in Metro Vancouver by 2035, advancing the previous goal of 2050 by 15 years.
This is an ambitious target, and BC Hydro’s supply of clean power cannot meet this capacity today.
That is why this historic transition requires plentiful, reliable and affordable clean electricity – born in British Columbia.
More sources of renewable energy like wind, solar, and geothermal will help. But they will not be enough.
Site C gives us the opportunity for an abundance of clean energy, allowing us to meet our obligation to transition our economy from carbon to fight climate change.
With the confidence of this house, your government will invest an additional $50 million over the next five years to fund a significant expansion of vehicle charging infrastructure throughout the province, making British Columbia number one in Canada.
Further, your government will also direct BC Hydro to immediately begin consultations with private sector clean energy producers, First Nations, and communities to support community power opportunities including wind, solar, and geothermal.
Your government will also work with the governments of Alberta and Canada for a strengthened clean electricity intertie between British Columbia and Alberta to displace thermal coal with clean hydro power across the Rocky Mountains.
Climate Change, Carbon Tax and PST Reduction
British Columbia is a leader in the fight against climate change. Despite opposition at the time, we were the first jurisdiction in North America to put a price on carbon. Our carbon tax framework has been recognized by global institutions as one of the best in the world.
Canada has been clear in its desire to see all provinces implement a $50 per tonne carbon tax by 2022, outlined in the Pan-Canadian Framework on Clean Growth and Climate Change. Your government will meet this goal by raising the carbon tax by $5 per tonne per year starting in 2019, up to a total of $50 per tonne by 2022.
A made-in-B.C. approach will stand firm on the principle of revenue neutrality. For all future carbon tax increases, the provincial sales tax will be reduced by a corresponding amount.
Your government will take the advice of the climate leadership team to protect workers and businesses in energy intensive trade exposed industries by ensuring new costs from the carbon tax are offset by other taxes, so companies with strong ties to B.C. have good reasons to innovate and reduce their emissions.
Your government will also increase forest salvage and move toward the goal of banning slash burning, ensuring this creates new economic opportunities in our forest towns without hurting workers.
Strengthened Environmental Protection and Wildlife Management
Your government has heard the call for more frontline resources to protect our environment and wildlife, and will:
- increase funding to hire more conservation officers across B.C.; and
- implement a wildlife management plan that ensures sustainable populations and protects our biodiversity.
In addition, your government will move to protect the health and safety of B.C.’s unique environment by reviewing our system of professional reliance to ensure public confidence is maintained.
Your government will also ensure that direct payments it secured from the federally regulated Trans Mountain pipeline expansion project are dedicated to environmental protection and restoration.
Enhancing BC Parks
Visiting our provincial parks is the quintessential, affordable, B.C. family vacation.
British Columbia has assembled the third-largest parks system in North America. These are places for us to celebrate, places for families to reconnect, and places for the world to discover.
Your government created and funded a bold BC Parks Future vision. With the confidence of this House, your government will add $50 million over five years to B.C.’s parks budget. This will create more campsites, raise the standard of our park facilities, and create a youth rangers program that will add staff in our parks between May and September.
We are blessed to have such magnificent places to preserve and share that unite all British Columbians wherever they live.