Environment and energy hot topics in Canadian election
Canada is gearing up for an Oct. 14 election between two main candidates with similar first names but little in common policy-wise. Liberal leader Stephane Dion is campaigning for a “Green Shift” that would include a carbon tax on most fuels, excepting gasoline. Revenue would be used to cut income and business taxes as well as providing incentives for clean energy. Dion on Friday proposed a $542 million program to improve energy efficiency in Canada — “one of the less energy-efficient countries of the world” — including improved building standards and tax incentives for home retrofits. His opponent, incumbent Conservative Prime Minister Stephen Harper, isn’t touting any particular environmental platform, and vehemently opposes a carbon tax, saying that “the results for the economy will be disastrous.” Harper’s government has pledged to cut Canada’s fossil-fuel emissions 20 percent by 2020 and halve air pollution by 2015, but has been vague on specific steps.