Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland delivers the federal budget in the House of Commons as Prime Minister Justin Trudeau looks on in Ottawa on Monday April 19, 2021. The federal government unveiled spending plans to manage the remainder of the COVID-19 crisis and chart an economic course for a post-pandemic Canada. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick

Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland delivers the federal budget in the House of Commons as Prime Minister Justin Trudeau looks on in Ottawa on Monday April 19, 2021. The federal government unveiled spending plans to manage the remainder of the COVID-19 crisis and chart an economic course for a post-pandemic Canada. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick

Federal Budget 2021: Liberals focus on clean technology for climate spending

Government says funds will be spread out over seven years and is on top of the $3 billion announced

Pushing the private sector to develop clean technology — and heavy emitters to adopt it — is where billions in new money will flow from the Liberals’ 2021 budget pledge to tackle climate change.

Around $17 billion is promised to be spent in the years ahead to promote a “green” recovery out of the COVID-19 pandemic and create jobs.

Included in that is $5 billion more into a fund meant to be spent on projects used by industry to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions.

The government says that will be spread out over seven years and is on top of the $3 billion announced when the Liberals unveiled their plan reach to net-zero emissions by 2050.

Another measure targeting heavy emitters is a new tax incentive to encourage companies to adopt technology that traps carbon dioxide into the ground from fuel combustion instead of seeing it released into the atmosphere.

The government says it will soon begin consultations on designing a tax credit for capital spent on carbon capture and storage technology in hopes of increasing how many million tonnes Canada traps annually.

Making the country a hub for clean technology is among the priorities Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has outlined in his approach to climate. The Liberals also want to adopt policies that make Canada go over and above its international commitment to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 30 per cent below 2005 levels.

A political scientist who focuses on budget polices and public finances says the new spending plan fails to offer solutions to the pressures facing Ottawa, like how to reconcile the environment with the economy.

“I don’t see a big ambitious program that will lead us to zero emissions with strict targets,” said Genevieve Tellier of the University of Ottawa.

She added a lot of the new climate spending comes in form of grants, so it’s being left up to private businesses to come to government with ideas.

“It’s not a very aggressive, proactive environmental budget.”

Tellier says there’s not much for Saskatchewan and Alberta by way of providing a road map or more support for transitioning away from fossil fuels.

She also suggests the budget is not likely to woo potential voters who want to see more action on climate change if the minority Parliament heads into an election.

Overall, Tellier says climate change has taken a back seat to recovering the economy from the pandemic, although the government has placed a green lens on programs like housing.

Building off of what was promised in fall economic statement and in hopes of reducing people’s energy bills, Ottawa promised to send around $4 billion over five years to the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp. to offer interest-free loans of up to $40,000 for households to do green retrofits.

Other climate initiatives include a 50 per cent 10-year reduction on corporate and small business income tax rates for companies manufacturing zero-emissions technologies, such as solar panels and electric buses.

It will also establish the first federal green bond with an issuance target of $5 billion. The goal is to attract investors to finance ways to fight climate change, like through green infrastructure.

Getting more electric vehicles on the road is a priority for the Liberals under its net-zero emissions plan and the budget promises $56 million over five years to work with countries like the United States on bringing in standards for zero-emission vehicle charging and refuelling stations.

Although the government says reducing emissions will help all Canadians, a gender-based analysis in the budget says men will likely benefit from growth in the clean energy sector because they make up most of its workforce, same with the new climate spending on science and research.

It also says employees in manufacturing tend to be men, and those who are middle-aged high-income earners have been the early adopters of zero-emission vehicles, according to data.

Monday’s budget also promises $2.3 billion in funding to federal departments like Parks Canada and Fisheries and Oceans to conserve up to one million square kilometres more land and inland waters to meet the country’s 2025 conservation targets

Stephanie Taylor, The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Want to support local journalism? Make a donation here.

2021 Federal BudgetCoronavirusfederal government

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

NEW CUTLINE Payphone use is declining dramatically. (Black Press Files)

One of the last remaining street payphones in Kelowna. (Photo: Mackenzie Britton/Capital News)
Last call approaches for payphones?

Mobile phones diminishing need

James Taylor, a Saanich resident and member of the Curve Lake First Nation, walked all over Greater Victoria on May 5 in honour of Red Dress Day and the National Day of Awareness for Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls. (Devon Bidal/News staff)
Indigenous man walks Greater Victoria to honour missing and murdered women and girls

James Taylor, of the Curve Lake First Nation, marks Red Dress Day with healing walk, songs

Victoria police is asking for the public’s assistance in identifying this suspect after they allegedly robbed a Douglas Street bank on Tuesday. (Photo courtesy of VicPD)
Police seek identity of suspect who alllegedly robbed Victoria bank

Officers were called to a bank in the 1000-block of Douglas Street just after 5:30 p.m. on Tuesday

A man who allegedly spat at and yelled racial slurs at an Asian family was arrested for hate-motivated assault Tuesday. (Black Press Media file photo)
Man arrested for allegedly spitting, yelling anti-Asian racial slurs at a mother and kids

The man was arrested for hate-motivated assault near Quadra Elementary School Tuesday

Victoria police said Wednesday that they continue to look for Belinda Ann Cameron, who was last seen on May 5, 2005. (Photo courtesy of VicPD)
Victoria police still looking for Belinda Cameron who was last seen 16 years ago

Cameron was reported missing on June 4, 2005, and her case is deemed suspicious

Jose Marchand prepares Pfizer COVID-19 vaccination doses at a mobile clinic for members of First Nations and their partners, in Montreal, Friday, April 30, 2021. The National Advisory Committee on Immunization is coming under fire after contradicting the advice Canadians have been receiving for weeks to take the first vaccine against COVID-19 that they’re offered. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
Trudeau says he is glad he got AstraZeneca, vaccines are only way out of pandemic

‘The most important thing is to get vaccinated with the first vaccine offered to you’

B.C.’s provincial health officer, Dr. Bonnie Henry. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Dip in COVID-19 cases with 572 newly announced in B.C.

No new deaths have been reported but hospitalized patients are up to 481, with 161 being treated in intensive care

Protesters attempt to stop clear-cutting of old-growth trees in Fairy Creek near Port Renfrew. (Will O���Connell photo)
Clash between loggers, activists halts forestry operations over Fairy Creek

Forest license holders asking for independent investigation into incident

The courthouse in Nanaimo, B.C. (News Bulletin file)
Island man sentenced in Nanaimo after causing a dog unnecessary pain and suffering

Kiefer Tyson Giroux, 26, of Nanoose Bay, given six-month sentence

Following a one-year pause due to the pandemic, the Snowbirds were back in the skies over the Comox Valley Wednesday (May 5) morning. Photo by Erin Haluschak
Video: Snowbirds hold first training session in Comox Valley in more than 2 years

The team will conduct their training from May 4 to 26 in the area

Solar panels on a parking garage at the University of B.C. will be used to separate water into oxygen and hydrogen, the latter captured to supply a vehicle filling station. (UBC video)
UBC parkade project to use solar energy for hydrogen vehicles

Demonstration project gets $5.6M in low-carbon fuel credits

FILE – A student arrives at school as teachers dressed in red participate in a solidarity march to raise awareness about cases of COVID-19 at Ecole Woodward Hill Elementary School, in Surrey, B.C., on Tuesday, February 23, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. ‘should be able to’ offer 1st dose of COVID vaccine to kids 12+ by end of June: Henry

Health Canada authorized the vaccine for younger teens this morning

A woman in the Harrison Mills area was attacked by a cougar on Tuesday, May 4. B.C. Conservation Officers killed two male cougars in the area; the attack was determined to be predatory in nature. (File photo)
2 cougars killed following attack on woman in Agassiz area

Attack victim remains in hospital in stable condition

Most Read