A country that loves extracting fossil fuels has begun to clean up its tax rebates for the destructive oil and gas industry. Canada spent over $15 BILLION on subsidies for the oil and gas sector in 2021 alone, which isn’t just bad it’s literally funding the destruction of the planet. Thankfully the government has figured out that destroying the land for short term profit isn’t a good idea when the industry profiting kills everything it touches.
Starting this year the Canadian government will begin the long process of cutting tax loopholes and subsidies for oil and gas, which generate billions in profits. Why fund an industry that is insanely profitable that harms people and the planet?
Burning fossil fuels is one of the main drivers of climate change, so ending public spending that supports the industry is crucial. Ending fossil fuel subsidies frees up those funds to support thingslike renewable energy and electrification. Clean energy is of paramount importance as the world is under pressure to slash greenhouse gas emissions more than 40 per cent by the end of the decade.
“Moving forward, every subsidy that the government would want to grant to the oil and gas sector would have to go through this filter — any department of the federal government, whether it’s finance, international trade, natural resources — to ensure that we do not give federal dollars to support the production of oil and gas or coal,” said Guilbeault. “This is a fundamental shift from what we’ve done in this country for decades.”
The people who make decisions to continue us on a path of climate catastrophe have names and addresses. We need to shame people who are actively engage in profiteering off of killing every living thing on the planet, and that’s exactly what Environmental Defence has started to do. They have created a list of the Canada’s climate villains – those in positions of power that delay climate action and/or encouraging more environmental destruction. The good news about this is that Canadians who care about the climate are upping their game to call out those that are profiting from our demise. The more climate action we take the better – we only have one planet so let’s not burn it down!
Canada’s climate villains:
Canada’s Oil and Gas industry has long been the biggest barrier to climate action. Despite the harmful impacts that people in Canada and around the world are suffering daily from the warming climate and lack of action, the oil and gas industry continues to spew pollution and rake in record profits and receive billions in government subsidies. We are done taking the blame as individuals. The time to expose the true climate villains is now!
Efficient of solar panels continues to increase and the costs of installing them keep going down, meaning that there’s never been a better time than now to install solar panels. One of the great things about solar is how scalable it is, you can install a small system on a townhouse to a massive system on fields of land. It all comes down to budget. If you’re in Canada you can make use of the Canada Greener Homes program to get up to $5,000 towards the cost of your solar panels. The faster people move to renewable energy sources the better the chance we have at averting climate catastrophe.
What solar capacity do you need, or can you afford?
The average home in Ontario uses 8,250 kWh of electricity annually (this average will increase over time as buildings are electrified); roughly 10 kW of solar energy capacity would be required to meet that demand. Most homes will be able to fit somewhere between 5 kW and 10 kW so you’ll need to assess your own roof. SolarShare’s Operations & Maintenance Coordinator, Bob Ross, estimates that when accounting for building permits, fees and solar panels, a 5 kW system will cost approximately $18,000, and 10 kW around $28,000. Check outthis calculatorto estimate your potential savings from installing solar panels.
Canada’s reputation has a good place to launder money may soon come to an end. A good step to preventing organized crime from using the Canadian economy to “clean” their money is tabled in parliament. The beneficial ownership registry will require companies to declare who or what organization benefits from a subsidiary or otherwise owned business. Such a registry exists in other countries and helps law enforcement and cornered organizations better track what companies are up to.
Canada’s announcement for a publicly accessible registry brings it in line with G7/G20 and Five Eyes’ strategies to advance national security goals and surpasses the new Financial Action Task Force standard on beneficial ownership registries. These registries have become more urgent as transnational criminal networks and foreign state actors seek to exploit liberal democracies to hide dirty money. Currently, 108 countries have made commitments to publicly accessible registries, and Canada can begin next steps in ensuring that all registry data is secure and useful to all FINTRAC reporting entities and law enforcement.
“Tax dodging and money laundering cost the public billions every year,” said Dr. DT Cochrane, economist with Canadians for Tax Fairness. “A publicly accessible registry will significantly improve tax compliance and enforcement for all levels of government.”
Neighbourhoods in Canada are trying to change the world by focussing on their own street. Across the country there are streets of houses proving that a transition from using fossil fuels to heat and power a home is possible in a country that loves to subsidize the oil and gas industry. And yes, going green saves money too.
The Pocket Change Project provides not only an example of how to convert your neighbourhood but information on how to do it. It may seem like a daunting task to go for fully electric in a place that guzzles gas for homes, but it’s doable and with the guides from Pocket Change it’s easy.
If you’re fortunate enough to own a home then you should you do your part and cut out gas.
When it comes to reducing household emissions, Dowsett is clear-eyed about where he thinks the responsibility lies.
“We who are the affluent ones are the ones who create an outsized carbon problem; people who are less affluent do not,” he said. “I think it’s very disingenuous of us to try and impose austerity on people who are not the problem. We are the problem. We need to change,” he said, before adding with a laugh, “rant over.”
Other Pocket residents echo this sentiment. “I believe that people who are privileged enough have a responsibility to do this,” said Lori Zucchiatti O’Neill. “A lot of people can’t afford to do this, but we can afford to do this. So it’s like, full steam ahead.”