With the announcement of a new supply-and-confidence agreement between Canada’s Federal Liberals and New Democrats, the country’s cleantech sector can expect continued stability — as well as — increased funding and potentially new incentives.
The arrangement, which will see the NDP vote alongside the government in the next four budgets in exchange for action on its priorities, is set to expire in 2025. Under the agreement, both parties agree to cooperate in several areas, including climate change, healthcare, Indigenous reconciliation, affordability, and economic policy. While details are light, the government has committed to funding a new Clean Jobs Training Centre and phasing out fossil fuel subsidies (starting in 2022).
These policies will make hydrocarbons less profitable while increasing the social capital available to cleantech businesses across Canada.
According to Brandon Tozzo, a professor at Trent University in an email to pvbuzz, [the agreement] “is ultimately about self-interest. The Liberals weren’t rewarded with a majority last year and the NDP didn’t make substantial electoral gains. The government is likely trying to prevent another election in the near future and both the NDP and the Liberals get to forward a progressive agenda. [And] by 2025 – assuming the agreement lasts that long – I think the Liberals [will be] hoping for a better political climate and to show the returns on these programs.”
Asked to comment on the arrangement, Liberal MP Julie Dzerowicz, speaking to pvbuzz, clearly supported the agreement. “For anyone who knows me, I’m someone who likes to get stuff done. Climate is something that we’ve run out of time to address and take urgent action on … We have a better chance through this agreement with the NDP to achieve net-zero by 2050, to be more aggressive in supporting the cleantech sector, and to transition Canada to a decarbonized economy as quickly as possible.”
With the supply-and-confidence agreement staving off an election – for the time being – Canada’s rising price on carbon has been reaffirmed.
Former Environment and Climate Change Minister Catherine Mckenna took to Twitter to hail the importance of this – especially as it relates to attracting future cleantech investment. And combined with the phasing out of hydrocarbon subsidies, this will act as an important signal to private markets that sustainability is key to future profitability.
It will also boost Canada’s economic recovery as renewable energy becomes even more profitable relative to fossil fuels in the coming years.
Not everyone is happy with the agreement, however.
Shortly after the news broke, Candice Bergen, interim Conservative Party leader, issued a statement saying the deal “is nothing more than a callous attempt by Trudeau to hold on to power” … and that “a federal government with a more leftist bent could imperil Canadian jobs in the natural resources sector.”
Amita Kuttner, interim leader of the Green Party of Canada, offered their support for the cooperative nature of the agreement. “To the extent that it signals a willingness for political parties to put aside partisan bickering and work together to achieve important policy objectives, [this agreement] is a welcome development.”
But they also criticized the deal on the grounds that it was ‘unambitious.’ “We applaud the spirit of collaboration but the goals could have been so much more impressive.”
While it remains to be seen what new policies will be implemented, this supply-and-confidence agreement will clearly be beneficial to the cleantech industry and the climate. If used to its full potential to usher in transformative policy, the agreement could revolutionize Canada’s economy – and could be a defining moment for Justin Trudeau’s government.