Real Change: A new plan for Canada’s environment and economy

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Thank you. What a great introduction. Wade has been a staunch environmentalist for his entire life. He’s spent decades protecting the natural environment here in B.C. and across Canada. And we’re thrilled to have his support.

It’s great to be here. Actually, it’s great to be back here. I used to come here as a kid – my grandma used to bring me here to this very spot, for sailing lessons. I was about the same age as some of the kids here today. And when we’d get home, I’d tell my grandfather, Jimmy Sinclair, about my day. He used to say: “Justin, you’re a natural,” but I later realized he never said a natural “what,” exactly.

I was thinking on the way over here about my family, about our relationship with the outdoors – with Canada’s natural beauty. My dad taught us Trudeau boys how to paddle a canoe almost as soon as we could walk.

And like many Canadians, I’ve spent many summer nights out under the stars, beside a campfire, getting eaten alive. My dad was never a fan of bug spray.

I’ve always believed that when it comes to our environment, we Canadians get it. We appreciate its beauty, understand its dangers and know its value.

Canadians get that our wealth comes from our land and water, so we treat them with respect. That’s why we’re so disappointed in the Harper Conservatives.

In the last decade, as every other country in the world moved forward into clean tech, into building a stronger, more sustainable economy, Harper took us backwards.

By denying climate change, he denied Canadians opportunity: the opportunity to strengthen our economy; to take advantage of the ingenuity and talent of our people; and to take the lead in the race to create new, high-tech, clean jobs.

No country was better positioned to take advantage of those new opportunities in the global economy than Canada. No country in the world had stronger assets and weaker leadership. No government got it more wrong than Harper’s. A Liberal government will make it right.

Today, I’m here to announce our plan for real change for our environment, our economy, and our future. We need to take real action on climate change.

It is time Canada put a price on carbon pollution. We’ll work with the provinces within 90 days of the Paris UN climate change conference to establish a framework for reducing Canada’s collective carbon footprint.

We’ll invest in clean technologies. We’ll look to the future and develop a Canadian energy strategy that delivers security and energy conservation while investing millions in new clean tech.

To create more clean jobs and investment overall, we’ll enhance tax measures that help all companies innovate, grow, and create jobs.

We’ll attend the Paris UN climate change conference with the Premiers.

To clean up the mess in our own backyard, we’ll put some teeth back into the environmental review process, the one gutted by Harper.

To make sure even more Canadian families get to enjoy our country’s natural beauty, we’ll make admission to National Parks free in 2017, the 150th anniversary of Confederation.

We’ll pay for this by cutting the lavish Canada 150 advertising budget, because our country’s beauty speaks for itself.

Finally, we’ll protect our wildlife and our water by increasing the amount of protected marine and coastal areas to 5 per cent by 2017 and 10 per cent by 2020.

These are just the highlights. You can find the rest of our plan for real environmental and economic change at realchange.ca.

And those two things, the environment and the economy, they go together like paddles and canoes. Unless you have both, you won’t get to where you are going, because you can’t have a strong economy without a healthy environment.

If we want to leave both to our children and grandchildren – if we want them to inherit clean air to breathe, clean water to drink, and sail on, and a strong, vibrant, high-tech economy with good jobs – we’ve got to do them both together.

The world has changed in the last 10 years. Stephen Harper doesn’t get it.

Now and in the future, the path to economic growth and good middle class jobs is through strong environmental policy. We’ve got to act now.

We can create clean jobs, grow our economy, and protect our environment by working together. Not just different leadership, better leadership. Not just a new team, a stronger team. Because real change means a new plan for Canada.

Thank you.

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