Green government would cancel pipeline projects, move to renewable energy
Green Party of Canada leader Elizabeth May speaks in Toronto prior to a fireside chat about the climate, Tuesday, Sept. 3, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Cole Burston
MONTREAL -- Green Leader Elizabeth May says if she were prime minister, she'd create a "war cabinet" to deal with what she says is the most important issue of the upcoming election: climate change.
May says her party's climate-change plan would cancel proposed pipeline projects and transition Canada's energy infrastructure to a carbon-free power-grid system, with a goal to phase out fossil fuels by 2030 to keep from crossing a climate "tipping point."
"We're at war here," May said at an event in Montreal Thursday. "The future of our species is at stake, so we have to do things very differently if we are to survive."
May said that the Green plan would modernize Canada's electricity grid to supply renewable energy across the country and would scrap existing oil and gas projects, including a $9-billion project to pipe natural gas to an export terminal in Quebec's Saguenay region. The Green plan would see the eventual phasing-out of oil refineries, oilsands extraction and gas-powered vehicles by 2030.
"We're the only party with this policy," May said. "We must cancel the Saguenay LNG (liquefied natural gas) line. We're ready to do that.
"It is possible to stop developing the oilsands and shale gas while at the same time transforming our economy into a green economy."
Other than saying the existing electricity grid system needs "a lot of building up," May did not provide specific details on how it would be upgraded.
In general, though, Manitoba and Quebec have the potential to develop vastly more hydroelectric power but can't easily transmit it to potential consumers in places like Alberta and Ontario. Constructing the heavy-bore transmission lines that would take would be a multibillion-dollar effort.
Liberal leader Justin Trudeau has also pledged to make Canada carbon neutral, though his target date is 2050.
May cast doubt on Trudeau's promise, saying his government's $4.5-billion purchase of the Trans Mountain pipeline "blows through all the targets and makes it impossible to meet the target Mr. Trudeau announced yesterday."
The Green party's announcement came a day before hundreds of thousands of people were expected to join a march in Montreal as part of a global climate strike. Teenage environmental activist Greta Thunberg is expected to be in attendance and receive the key to the city from Montreal's Mayor Valerie Plante.
Green deputy leader Daniel Green said party members planned to join Friday's protest.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Sept. 26, 2019.