While the Canadian Council of Ministers of the Environment meet today, the Saskatchewan NDP is calling on the Sask. Party and the recycled Environment Minister to keep Saskatchewan’s interests front of mind and avoid alienating themselves from the rest of the country.
“There’s no question that we have to continue to develop and export our natural resources. They drive the economy and create jobs in Saskatchewan and all across Canada,” said Saskatchewan NDP Environment Critic Cathy Sproule. “But we have to be responsible and ensure that it’s done in a way that is as sustainable as possible.”
Sproule noted that Sask. Party should finally implement the Green Technology Fund. The Fund was a Sask. Party initiative in 2009, supported by the NDP, and passed into legislation. Under the Fund, the province’s heaviest emitters of carbon would contribute to a fund that would be reinvested into sustainable energy projects in Saskatchewan.
“After nearly a decade of economic and environmental mismanagement, we’re at point where we cannot afford to let the Sask. Party continue to fail to protect the air we breathe, the water we drink, and the land we grow our food on,” said Sproule. “The Carbon Capture boondoggle is not the answer but the Green Tech Fund would be a great first step. It makes the province’s biggest polluters pay for the pollution they cause and provides resources to invest in sustainable energy, diversify the economy, and create jobs.”
The Sask. Party’s refusal to genuinely engage in these important discussions will have increasingly negative impacts on the Saskatchewan economy. According to a Conference Board of Canada report, had the Technology fund been put in place when it was proposed in 2009, it would have resulted in the investment of $1.3 billion between 2010 and 2014 and the creation of 8,568 jobs. As we know, this fund and these jobs were never created, and the Sask. Party has failed to transition into any green economy initiatives.
“The Sask. Party’s only refrain on climate change has been to brag about their carbon capture project that has run way over budget and fails to position our energy sector in a responsible way,” said Sproule. “The Sask. Party’s refusal to engage in a serious way with the rest of the provinces to address climate change is not only embarrassing, it’s irresponsible. Instead of standing up for Saskatchewan, the Sask. Party is opening the door to let Ottawa impose their own misguided carbon tax on the people of Saskatchewan.”