Federal Budget Fails People and Planet, Opens Arctic for Drilling

Ottawa – The Green Party of Canada had made a strong case that Budget 2023 must focus on people and the planet. This budget misses the mark and fails to position Canada as a climate leader by funding future development for offshore oil and gas development in the Arctic while ignoring the average Canadians’ basic needs.

“For low-income Canadians, this budget is a let down,” said Mike Morrice, Green MP for Kitchener Centre. “This NDP-supported government missed its chance to provide Canadians with dedicated mental health funds, deliver on the Canada Disability Benefit, or any new investment in affordable housing outside of a badly needed Indigenous Housing Strategy. Instead of providing a CERB amnesty to low-income Canadians faced with demands for repayment, they are now offering a one-time only Grocery rebate that won’t help families feed themselves for more than a week with today’s prices.”

On climate, this “last chance budget” falls woefully short of the ambition needed to transition our economy away from fossil fuels and extractives to meet the timelines expressed in the latest IPCC report. “Sadly, the government’s Clean Energy announcements disguise new supports to fossil fuels as ‘green measures’, notably in funding fossil-sourced hydrogen, if ‘abated’. You cannot greenwash your way out of the climate emergency. Even worse are the new financial supports for offshore oil and gas development in the Arctic,” said Green Party of Canada Leader, Elizabeth May. “It’s clear who the big winners of this budget are: private sector businesses like SNC-Lavalin and its partners in SMRs, Big Oil and big money. We are in a climate emergency and the Liberals still act on climate with one hand while appeasing the oilpatch with the other with over $3.3 billion of new fossil fuel subsidies.

“Meanwhile, as the planet burns, this government is failing to invest in protecting our communities,” May said. “In this budget the only future natural disasters mentioned is floods. There is no mention of how Canadians will prepare for droughts, heat domes, fires, tornadoes, or hurricanes. The new Green Shipping Corridor Programme holds the promise of reducing the constant environmental damage on the west coast from freighter anchorages and is welcome.”

“It is very welcome news that a robust, interconnected, and decarbonized electricity grid – one of our key demands for our last five budget submissions – is now discussed in this budget. But at this stage it is a merely a welcome opening of a conversation,” said Jonathan Pedneault, Deputy Leader of the Green Party of Canada. “The same might be said of the government’s small investments in VIA Rail beyond the Windsor-Quebec Corridor. We were shocked by the massive reduction in promised funding to the long-awaited Canada Water Agency.”

This government needs to increase its revenue streams to respond to the needs of Canadians and help communities face the climate emergency. “Although the new measures that go after the wealthiest and corporations promise $8.5 billion in additional revenue over 5 years, the government missed the chance to bring in an excess profits tax on Big Oil, the banking sector, and the grocery chains,” said Luc Joli-Coeur, Green Party of Canada Finance Critic. “Fossil Fuel profits of about $66.5 billion this year are particularly galling. They stem from war profiteering and fuel the climate crisis and inflation. Big Oil shouldn’t benefit from disaster.”