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Budget 2021 is Canada’s chance to align spending with bold ambition on climate

Although some argue that more deficit spending is problematic, the reality is that holding back on investments in a green recovery will create even more problems.
By Richard Florizone, Vanessa Corkal on April 7, 2021

This op-ed was originally published by The Hill Times. Read the full article.

On April 19, the federal government will unveil Budget 2021. Given the state of the economy in the wake of COVID-19, this will be a historic moment, revealing how Canada plans to finance the myriad components of its recovery while also confronting the defining crisis of our time: climate change.

With up to $100-billion promised in stimulus, this budget is about far more than just balancing the books. It’s about whether we can step up to the immense challenges in front of us and create a sustainable future for everyone in Canada while meeting our international commitments on climate.

This is a monumental task, but anything short of bold leadership simply won’t be enough.

The good news is that there is a plethora of evidence to show that ambitious, strategic investments can put us on strong footing to boost the economy, create good jobs and get to net-zero by 2050. What remains concerning, however, is that even with game-changing announcements in the recently updated federal climate plan, Canada is still not on track to meet our targets.

This is a monumental task, but anything short of bold leadership simply won’t be enough.

Policy experts have identified key funding gaps that, together, offer a massive opportunity for Canada to step up: clean transportation, building retrofits, clean energy, nature and adaptation, sustainable agriculture, green industry and innovation, and workforce training and support.

For guidance in all of these areas, government can turn to the extensive work and recommendations already done by leading experts such as the Green Budget Coalition, the Task Force for Resilient Recovery, and Corporate Knights. Among these sources and beyond, consensus is that we need substantially higher fiscal commitments over a shorter time frame than what has been announced, otherwise recovery and climate action will be stunted.

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