Canadians are among the most environmentally conscious people in the world. Our Conservative government is dedicated to funding cost effective programs that preserve and protect our environment. Unlike many previous federal environmental initiatives, future programs will deliver "value for money" as we move forward in cleaning up and protecting our environment.
Since 2006, our Conservative government has invested more than $10 billion into green infrastructure and technologies, energy efficiency, and the production of cleaner fuels. Our record of eco-friendly investments is one we are proud of.
Our Conservative government is making it easier for Canadians to be eco-friendly. In 2007 we introduced the ecoEnergy Retrofit Home Program as a smart investment into the long-term value of a home. This tax credit supports homeowners whose renovations reduce energy consumption and, by extension, the long term cost of owning a house. By providing homeowners with grants of up to $5,000.00, this program has triggered more than $7.45 billion in economic activity. The program promotes a variety of energy efficient improvements including heating and cooling system upgrades, water conservation efforts, replacement windows and doors, hot water heating upgrades, and improved levels of insulation and air sealing. Homeowners who have taken advantage of this program have seen an average of 20% reduction in their energy bills. On June 2, 2011, Finance Minister Jim Flaherty announced the extension of this cost-saving green initiative to further promote investment in eco-friendly investments while creating jobs and growth.
Our Government has also introduced measures to develop and deploy green energy technologies and protect and enrich Canada’s unique environmental heritage. We did this by establishing the Next Generation Renewable Power Initiative, which invests $100 million over the next four years to support the development, commercialization and implementation of advanced clean energy technologies. We've also expanded eligibility for accelerated capital cost allowance for investment in clean energy generation assets.
In the 2009 budget, our Conservative Government invested $795 million over five years to the Clean Energy Fund. This will advance research, development and demonstration projects to further Canada’s leadership in clean energy technologies. This will include large-scale carbon capture and storage demonstration projects, as well as investments in renewable and alternative energy technology projects.
Our Conservative government will fulfil its commitments in the Copenhagen Accord. Canada is set to reach its ambitious target of reducing greenhouse emissions by 17 percent from 2005 levels by 2020. To achieve this, we are taking strong domestic, continental and international action. Our Conservative government has taken tough new steps to decrease greenhouse gas emissions. These steps include:
Finding the balance between the need for energy and the need to protect our environment is extremely important. Clean and renewable energy is critical as we take the next steps in reducing our carbon footprint. That is why our Minister of Natural Resources announced that our Conservative government is investing up to $63.8 million to support green energy projects across Canada. The investments in clean energy technologies will stimulate the growth of an eco-friendly energy industry, creating high-quality jobs for Canadians.
Our Conservative government’s “Retire your Ride” program, initiated in January 2009, provided $300 cash or the option of a rebate on the purchase of a new vehicle, public transit passes, bicycles, or membership in a car-sharing program to Canadians who returned their pre-1996 vehicles before March 31, 2011. This effort helped remove the worst polluting vehicles from the road and reduced smog and airborne pollution.
Three years ago, our Conservative government also launched the Turning the Corner Action Plan. This Action Plan is reducing greenhouse gases and protecting the environment by placing strict restrictions on the oil sands and essentially banning the construction of dirty-coal fired power plants. Our Conservative government is dedicated to raising awareness through this program’s educational component to assist industry in the transition.
In March of 2007, our Conservative government introduced the National Water Strategy. We understand the importance of our waterways and have invested $93 million to improve the quality of Canadian watersheds, maintain current water levels in the Great Lakes, and clean up polluted waters.
Earlier we had announced the ecoAction Community Funding Program. This program is aimed at reducing pollution, improving air and water quality and preserving our natural habitats. To achieve a more sustainable Canada, programs with measurable, positive impacts on the environment are eligible to receive a maximum of $100,000. This has been a resounding success raising environmental awareness and capacity in communities.
Working together, we can ensure that we leave to future generations of Canadians a cleaner environment and a country that leads the world in promoting sustainable growth.
For more information, please visit http://www.ec.gc.ca/default.asp?lang=en.