47. Environmental Principles

In order to have a strong economy and maintain good health, Canada must have strong, coordinated and achievable environmental policies. The Conservative Party believes that responsible exploration, development, conservation and renewal of our environment are vital to our continued well-being as a nation and as individuals.

We believe that it is the responsibility of government to ensure that the sometimes competing values of preserving the environment and creating jobs are maintained in proper balance.

We believe that all environment and energy initiatives should be reviewed.

We believe that an effective international emissions reduction regime on climate change must be truly global and must include binding targets for all the world’s major emitters, including China and the United States.

We believe that Canada should create a program to heighten public awareness to the economic benefits of environmental solutions which minimize the waste of resources.

We believe that Canada should establish a program of tax credits to promote environmental solutions in the areas of transportation and entrepreneurial innovation, among others.

We believe that the federal and territorial governments should make joint investments to study and address climate change adaptation in the North.

48. Clean Air and Greenhouse Gas Reductions

The Conservative Party supports the legislated emissions caps to fight smog-causing pollutants such as nitrogen oxide, sulphur dioxide, and volatile organic compounds, and supports the initiative to cut air pollution from industry in half by 2015.

We support the mandatory renewable fuel content in gasoline requirement and support more stringent automobile fuel efficiency standards.

49. Alternative Energy and Transitional Fuels

The Conservative Party believes the government should promote alternative energy (such as wind, solar, geothermal), transitional fuels (such as biodiesel, ethanol, natural gas), and the development of hydrogen as a fuel. The expense of assuring the security of traditional fuel sources and concerns over pollution makes the use of these energy sources necessary.

We believe the government should enhance tax incentives for energy efficient measures which lead to a cleaner environment.

We believe the government should work with the provinces and territories to promote the development of ecological recycling plants, using incinerators that capture waste gas and transform it into energy.

50. Contaminated Sites

The Conservative Party supports initiatives to provide stable long-term funding for the cleanup of contaminated sites in cooperation with the provinces, territories and municipalities.

We believe the government should continue to remove roadblocks that discourage the private sector from cleaning and developing contaminated land:

i. amend the Income Tax Act to allow remediation expenses to be treated as a deductible expense;
ii. introduce legislation to terminate regulatory liability upon issuance of regulatory approval of remediation to encourage development of brownfields, reversible only in emergency and in cases of fraud;
iii. create an insurance fund for post liability insurance claims. This will permit the quantification and spreading of development risk through insurance, reinsurance and diversification of ownership; and
iv. provide economic incentives to the private sector to clean up contaminated lands.

51. Offshore Resource Development

To capture economic, social and net environmental benefits, the Conservative Party believes the government should promote exploration and development of offshore resources along all our coastal waters. This should be carried out in cooperation with the provinces and territories, affected First Nations, private industry and other relevant business, scientific and environmental groups.

We believe that companies should follow best practices and the precautionary principle to mitigate environmental risk.

We believe government should allow for arms-length regulatory processes to ensure safe and environmentally responsible practices in the exploration for and development of these natural resources.

We believe government should consider the potential of these natural resources before designating new Marine Protected Areas.

We support ensuring that accurate and complete information on the risks and benefits of such developments is made available to the public.

52. Water - Great Lakes

The Conservative Party believes the government should:

i. continue working with the United States and the provinces to address critical threats to the sustainability of our shared resource, the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence River basin;
ii. address the threats to our shared resource, including water levels, invasive species, pollution and other threats to the tourism industry and the living conditions and economic well-being of area residents;
iii. provide adequate funding to fulfill its commitment to this region, which is home to 16 million Canadians and is a crucial source of clean air, drinking water, food, shelter, health, employment and recreation, as well as Canada’s highest concentration of industry; and
iv. establish long-term outcomes; translate them into real plans for the basin; apply a consistent basin-wide approach for issues that span the entire basin; clarify responsibilities of federal and provincial governments; and recognize constitutional
authority of the provinces.

53. Illegal Oil Dumping

The Conservative Party believes in the following initiatives:

i. expanded oil-dumping detection;
ii. prohibitions to prevent ships from entering sensitive sea areas;
iii. legislation requiring ship operators to account for their ships’ waste; and
iv. incentives to dump waste at our port facilities, not in our waters.

We support increased fines for illegal oil dumping, a practice that kills hundreds of thousands of sea birds every year along Canada’s coastlines. Ship operators caught illegally dumping oil should face criminal charges and be prevented from plying Canadian waters.

54. Aquifer Mapping

The Conservative Party supports the development of a long-term plan in cooperation with the provinces and territories to create an inventory that could define significant and key aquifers and establish policy to protect the quality and sustainability of Canada’s major aquifers. With the threat of groundwater resources becoming depleted in Canada we will face increasing need to understand the extent and replenishment of aquifers.

55. Aquatic Invasive Species

The Conservative Party believes the government should in cooperation with local, provincial and international governments make mandatory the existing voluntary guidelines for ballast water management practices and enforce compliance for all ships carrying ballast water.

We believe the government should ensure all ships plying Canadian waters built after a set date have proper ballast water treatment technology and implement economic incentives. This will see ship owners and operators rewarded for improved ballast water treatment practices. Such measures will address the introduction and spread of aquatic alien invasive species that severely impair biological integrity and threaten the economies of water-dependent communities in Canada. They will also alleviate the costs for treatment, containment and control of these invasive species, which are massive and generally borne by local communities, rather than the industries that contribute to the problem.