OTTAWA, ON – Yesterday, the Liberal government passed a Private Member’s Motion introduced by Halifax MP Andy Fillmore that imposes greenhouse gas emission screens on infrastructure projects and prioritizes infrastructure funding for projects that mitigate climate change. Conservative Critic for Infrastructure and Communities, Dianne Watts, is concerned that future infrastructure project proposals, as well as projects that have already been announced, will now be severely delayed until an implementation plan can be developed.
“With this motion, communities now have to wait for the Liberal government to develop an implementation plan for analyzing greenhouse gas emissions before receiving infrastructure funding,” said MP Watts. “The motion was so vague on what this ‘implementation plan’ will look like, who is going to develop it, what obligations it puts on communities, or even what is deemed to be an acceptable amount of greenhouse gas emissions that the Official Opposition could not offer its support.”
“The motion also emphasizes that infrastructure funding will be prioritized for projects that mitigate climate change,” added MP Watts. “That means communities in the North that need new roads and highways, or even the just-approved LNG project in BC, could potentially be shoved aside for other projects that meet the Liberals’ new ‘climate change’ criteria. This is concerning because these are critical pieces of infrastructure that communities need and they could now be taken off the table.”
The original motion required a greenhouse gas emissions screen for all infrastructure projects exceeding a $500,000 threshold. An amendment was introduced by the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Natural Resources that removed this $500,000 threshold and instead required that an implementation plan be developed. This plan will then include an “appropriate threshold” that will dictate which projects get screened for emissions. No one knows what this threshold will be. Unfortunately, this amendment also passed.
“There is no doubt that mitigating climate change is a priority for everyone, but a lot of municipalities already have climate change mitigation and greenhouse gas reduction plans in place,” said MP Watts. “This new additional screening process is only going to add more red tape to project proposals, and will severely impact small communities who may not have the resources to submit these additional costly applications.”
For more information:
Office of Dianne Watts, MP (South Surrey – White Rock)