“Budget 2021: A great step where we need to leap” according to Honourable Rosa Galvez, Independent Senator and recipient of Clean50 Award

Monday, April 19, 2021

The Honourable Rosa Galvez, independent Senator and recipient of the 2021 Clean50 award, made the following statements in reaction to the Budget 2021 introduced this afternoon:

“The budget is a great step forward despite the fact that it comes at a moment where the country needs the courage to take a giant leap forward to recover from the impact of COVID-19. This budget sets us on the path to achieve a total reduction of 36% over 2005 levels, but we must do more as it pales in comparison to the 55% reduction committed for by the EU and to U.S. President Joe Biden’s impending stimulus plan. Despite progress towards more ambitious emissions reductions by 2030, our contribution still falls short of our fair share.”

Climate Disclosure

“I welcome the introduction of mandatory Climate-related Financial Disclosures standards for Canada’s Crown corporations, therefore fixing important transparency issues around fossil fuel funding by Export Development Canada, for example. This initial step should evolve in the direction set by France and New Zealand which are legislating mandatory disclosure in the markets, not just for crown corporations.”

Building a Clean Technology Economy

“I welcome the desire to reform and add new tax breaks in order to incentivize clean technology developments. Building on promising proposals in budget 2021 such as removing certain fossil fuel items from eligibility, I hope great attention will be given to the devil in the details of implementation of the various tax and direct funding measures proposed.”

Hydrogen & Carbon Capture, Utilization, and Storage (CCUS)

The budget mentions hydrogen forty times, sometimes specifically “green” hydrogen, but also seemingly leaves the door open to incentivizing grey hydrogen. These details matter considering almost all hydrogen currently produced in Canada is from fossil fuels. Other countries, such as Germany and the recent joint statement by U.S. and China, are increasingly clear that only hydrogen produced from renewables is deserving of support. Having green strings will be essential to ensure we are not simply propping up the fossil fuel industry at the expense of the climate under the mantel of greenwashing.

“The budget also bets on expensive technologies such as CCUS which risk furthering our dependencies on the fossil fuels that are responsible for climate change. We will have to carefully investigate how the various announced funds will be disbursed in practice. Indeed, over a third of Natural Resources Canada’s investments in research, development, and demonstration projects in energy innovation for a clean economy over the last decade went to projects associated with the fossil fuel supply chain such as CCUS. There are huge opportunity costs to picking false solutions to relaunch our economy.”

Fiscal Inequality

“Beyond the positive steps to further tax justice - taxing digital giants and new taxes on luxury goods and on real estate held by non-Canadians - I look forward to more specific policies to address the growing wealth inequality that tends to worsen in times of crisis. For example, since the March 2020 COVID-19 lockdown, the total wealth of Canadian billionaires have increased their wealth by $78 billion.

Wealth and excess corporate profit taxes are broadly supported by Canadians across the political spectrum, leading pollsters to talk of a striking cross-partisan national consensus on a tax increase. Hopefully the next election will be an opportunity to see strong political will on this pressing issue.

I welcome the Liberals’ commitment to addressing tax fairness in this budget. More must be done to increases taxes on the richest 1% and finally address the tax loopholes and tax havens through which we lose billions in tax revenues every year - billions which could help pay for a clean and just recovery. My office estimates, based on Parliamentary Budget Officer report on wealth distribution, that a 10% tax on the 13,800 households with wealth above $20 million would yield $56.1 billion in revenue in its first year.”

Guaranteed Livable Income

“I celebrate the federal government’s wishes to follow the Quebec model on child care, but I am disappointed the government did not seize the opportunity to establish a permanent guaranteed livable income. This initiative was called for by more than 50 Senators under the leadership of Senators Kim Pate and Frances Lankin, who had asked for this measure early in the crisis and were eventually backed by the Standing Senate Committee on National Finance in its interim report on the COVID-19 economic response.”

Comparison to White Paper

“I am happy that the budget includes several policies that were proposed in my White Paper on a Clean and Just Recovery from the COVID-19 Pandemic published in November 2020. Namely, the budget allocates money for energy efficiency retrofits and building codes, the largest investment in nature conservation in history, professional training, low-carbon procurement and waste management.”

For more information please contact
Karine Péloffy | Parliamentary Affairs Advisor | Office of Senator Rosa Galvez
343-548-1495 | Karine.Peloffy@sen.parl.gc.ca

Related Links
Learn more about Senator Rosa Galvez at rosagalvez.ca
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