Prime Minister's keynote address at the GLOBE Forum 2022
It is always so great to be back in Vancouver. I spent a lot of time here in B.C.—from summers with my grandparents, to paddling along the coast, to years as a schoolteacher here—so being here always feels like coming home.
Let me first start by acknowledging that we’re on the traditional Coast Salish territory of the Musqueam, Squamish, and Tsleil-Waututh Peoples. I also want to thank Chief Sparrow, Councillor Williams and Chief Thomas for the welcome.
And thank you, Steven, for that introduction and for everything you do to make big things happen on climate. Steven, your leadership and your vision have led us here today.
Thank you, my friend.
I want to start today with words about Ukraine.
People ask me how this will end, and I can tell you that’s not what Ukrainians are asking. They’re talking about how this must end: a full withdrawal of Russian troops and peace, democracy, freedom, and sovereignty restored.
The people of Ukraine and their president Volodymyr Zelenskyy are showing incredible resolve. They’re fighting not just for their country, but for all of us, as they defend democracy against dictatorship. And that’s why it’s so important that Canada and our allies around the world remain steadfast in our support of Ukraine with military, economic, and humanitarian aid, by providing a safe haven for people fleeing war, as Canadians always do.
We must remain resolved to punish this criminal invasion with catastrophic sanctions on Putin and his inner circle, to make them pay for as long as it takes. If Putin thinks we don’t have the staying power to see this through, he’s dead wrong.
Yes, there will be challenges and, yes, there will be pain.
Yes, many people in democracies like ours will face higher energy and food prices. But others in the world may face outright shortages and famine, while Ukrainians themselves fight for their lives and pay with their lives. Let us remember that.
Just yesterday I spoke once again with President Zelenskyy. Last week, I was with our allies at the NATO summit. And I’ve taken time with Ukrainian businesses and community gatherings, from Toronto to Montréal, and later today here in Vancouver, and what I’m hearing everywhere is that Canadians want to do their part.
For the coming months, Canada can help put food on the table and keep the lights on. And for the coming years, we can get into high gear to be ready for the future that is upon us. The leaders I spoke with in Europe over the past few weeks are clear; they don’t just want to end their dependence on Russian oil and gas: they want to accelerate the energy transformation to clean and green power. And Canadians have a big role in that work.
So, that’s the context of where our world is today. That’s the context as I speak to you about fighting climate change, about protecting our planet, and, just as importantly, about securing success for Canadians in the greener future.
We don’t have to choose between a strong economy and a healthy environment. That’s what I said six years ago when I was here at this forum. At the time, a lot of people—especially in this room—agreed. But, honestly, fighting climate change was too often seen as simply a social responsibility. It wasn’t seen as a core component of economic or business plans.
Now things have changed. This is largely because we realized that climate action and the economy go hand in hand.
In the last 6 years, Canada has proven to the world that you can take meaningful climate action while building a strong, growing economy, and as always, B.C. is ahead of the curve.
We put a… yeah, you can applaud for B.C. on that one!
We put a price on pollution right across the country, and then fought for it all the way to the Supreme Court. The result? Not as some Conservative politicians foretold: the end of the Canadian economy as we know it; in fact, quite the opposite. The price on pollution continues to mean more money in the pockets of Canadians and less pollution in our air. And for businesses, it means it’s easier to invest in their own low-carbon future.
We pledged to support clean Canadian innovation, and then looked to projects that would create good jobs and clean growth in every part of this country. And the numbers? The numbers speak for themselves. In the last month alone, we announced 2,500 new jobs coming to Windsor, thanks to an LGES Stellantis facility to make electric vehicle batteries. Now, even a few years ago, this kind of multibillion-dollar deal would have seemed like a moonshot.
Today, it’s Canada’s new future for workers and a new face for global investors.
We’ve successfully issued Canada’s first-ever green bonds worth $5 billion, with the private sector snapping up the chance to invest in clean tech in Canada. And we’ve continued to build on our historic commitment to public transit with hundreds of millions more for projects that will cut pollution, create jobs, and make lives easier… and those are just announcements made in the last month.
That’s all good, but we also need to take measures to protect the environment, apart from the everything else. While we’re creating jobs and putting more money back into people’s pockets, we’re also protecting more nature than ever before.
When we signed the Paris Agreement six years ago, only about 1% of Canada’s marine areas were protected. Today, nearly 14% of these areas are protected, and we have preserved wildlife habitat areas equal to half the size of Manitoba.
Let’s be clear: you can grow the economy while taking climate action.
In fact, as all of you here at GLOBE have known and led on for over three decades, protecting the environment actually unlocks economic opportunity.
Of course, there are still those who would take us backward. There are still politicians who insist that climate action should wait for another time, another place.
But what other time?
If we don’t do this now, it’ll be too late.
And what other place?
There is no plan B, because there’s no planet B.
The question is not whether we keep going on climate action, the question is:
How much more we can do and how quickly?
Because if the last six years have shown that climate action is the path forward, they’ve also shown that we must now set our ambition even higher. It cannot be business as usual when devastating floods wash out highways and farms. It cannot be business as usual when communities are destroyed by wildfires. Lives and livelihoods are on the line because, let there be no doubt, there is a cost if we do not meet this moment.
Regular Canadians will pay the price; our children will pay the price.
And not just the price of crisis, but the price of lost potential, too.
This year, global economic activity on clean tech is expected to be in the trillions, not millions, not billions… trillions.
Canada’s competitors are taking action. In fact, as our European allies have told me, Putin’s illegal invasion of Ukraine is only accelerating their search for renewable energy. The world is transitioning to clean energy. Canada cannot afford to miss out. We must seize this opportunity for clean air, for a strong economy; and that’s what we’re going to talk about today.
This morning, our government is unveiling Canada’s Emissions Reduction Plan, our boldest and most detailed plan to date.
It’s an ambitious and responsible plan. This historic plan will allow us to reduce our emissions by 40% by 2030, compared with 2005 levels, and to meet our carbon-neutral goals by 2050. We will achieve this by going sector by sector, by reducing emissions and by increasing opportunities across the country and the economy.
This morning, our government is releasing Canada’s Emissions Reduction Plan.
This is our boldest and most specific step yet. It’s ambitious and it’s achievable.
It’s ambitious because it will get us to 40% lower emissions by 2030, compared to 2005, and keep us on track to net-zero by 2050. It’s achievable because it goes sector-by-sector, cutting emissions and creating opportunity across the country and the economy.
So, let’s start with what sectors put the most emissions in our air: oil and gas and transportation. This plan will set a clear projected contribution on emissions reductions from the oil and gas sector, down by a little over 30% from 2005 levels, and a little over 40% relative to current levels. We’re laying down a clear, reasonable contribution for the sector to make so we can drive work forward on our commitment to cap and cut emissions.
If there’s any oil and gas sector in the world that can do it, it’s Canada.
And if there’s any workforce in the world that can drive this shift, it’s Canadians.
In terms of clean innovation, we’ve been there before. Just think of aluminum and steel. There was a time when the world thought it was impossible to produce aluminum without producing significant amounts of pollution at the same time. But Canada has already been producing cleaner aluminum for years. Then came the ELYSIS project in Quebec, marking the creation of the world’s first carbon-free aluminum production process, while also creating jobs.
There was a time when the world thought that steel was synonymous with giant smokestacks. But now in Ontario, Dofasco and Algoma are abandoning their coal-based steel-making process for electric arc furnaces. These furnaces are powered by renewable energies like hydroelectricity. In addition to being green, this change will increase the competitiveness of Canadian steel on the global market and ensure a bright future for workers and their families.
I have confidence in Canadian industry, in Canadian workers, and the Canada we can build together. That goes for oil and gas, as much as for any other sector. Canadian workers and engineers are the best in the world. And when it comes to a day on the job, a hydrogen production facility using carbon capture won’t look very different than work at a refinery.
The commitment is there. Industries are already pushing forward on their own. And yes, the money is there, too. With record profits, this is the moment for the oil and gas sector to invest in a sustainable future that will be good for business, good for communities, and good for our future.
Big oil lobbyists have had their time on the field. Now it’s over to the workers and engineers who will build solutions for their sector, for their communities, and for their kids.
Obviously, if we aspire to a clean industrial future, we must also aim to drive clean vehicles. The demand is there, all over the world. In fact, every week, the number of electric vehicles sold equals the total number sold in all of 2012. Our government has already invested in the Canada’s manufacturing sector. I am thinking in particular of the Ford plant in Oakville, which creates jobs, and the new battery manufacturing facility in Bécancour.
Our government is also investing in people’s daily lives.
We are installing charging stations and we created an incentive program to make electric vehicles more affordable for the middle class. And we are now setting an even more ambitious mandatory sales target for electric vehicles.
This Emissions Reduction Plan lays out a new mandatory sales target for electric vehicles. At least 20% of all new personal vehicles sold in Canada will be zero-emission by 2026, because if you want to make the switch and you go to the dealership, you shouldn’t have to be on a wait list. By 2030, at least 60% of all new personal cars sold will be ZEVs, and by 2035, every single new personal car sold in Canada will be zero-emissions.
Now, so far I’ve talked about cutting emissions, because that’s what we need to do to fight climate change. And cutting pollution matters, but so does creating opportunity. Everyone deserves a great career where they feel proud of their work and where they can provide for their family. Here in B.C., you show the way forward with job-creating projects like the plant down the road in Richmond. They use carbon capture to keep emissions out of the air and store them in cement permanently.
This plan will build on the momentum like that to create good middle-class jobs right across the country. And in places where the changing global market means changes to the local economy, we’ll have people’s backs. We’re committed to creating a new Futures Fund for Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Newfoundland and Labrador to ensure no one is left behind.
When Amazon invested $700 million in a solar farm in Alberta, they chose Alberta specifically because of access to renewable energy. When the industry association representing offshore oil and gas in Newfoundland and Labrador announced this month a shift to include renewables, they did it because they know there’s room to grow.
Industry believes in these communities, and as a government we do too.
In fact, we’ve already seen how our investments deliver results. I think of the first-ever geothermal power facility we’re supporting in Saskatchewan; a project that will create jobs while powering homes with green energy. For so many more communities, this is the bright future.
We can and we will build by working together.
Now this is just a fraction of what’s in the plan.
I could talk about our commitment to protect old-growth forests, or to expand our infinite investments in clean energy projects with Indigenous communities. But here’s the bottom line:
This plan isn’t just a plan to protect against climate change: it’s a plan to build a better future. And it means real results for real people, right now. Clean air for our kids and healthy lakes and forests for generations to come. Affordable electric vehicles in driveways and lower monthly heating bills for families. Good jobs for workers, and a strong economy for everyone.
Clean air, lower monthly bills, good jobs for the middle class, a strong economy for generations to come.
These are our objectives. This is the future that our plan will help us build.
I started my speech today by talking about the war in Ukraine.
And I know some people will say a war is no time for climate action, for looking to clean solutions to build a competitive economy. Well, the same people said the pandemic was no time for climate action. We didn’t let them stop us then either. Responsible leadership demanded that we tackle the crisis at hand and build for the future.
So, to those people I say this:
This is no time for excuses. It is the time for even bolder climate action because it is always the right time to face a crisis head-on, it is always the right time to have workers’ backs, and it is always the right time to build a good future for all Canadians.
We don’t have to choose between economic growth and a healthy environment. We don’t have to choose between ambitious goals and achievable goals. If we work together, we will continue to build a promising future for everyone.
When you walk out of this room, you walk out to be inspired by the gorgeous mountains of the north shore. And right across the country, Canada’s geography inspires and humbles us all. It humbles us because we can’t help but feel how much bigger it is than any one of us, but it inspires us because it reminds us that we are the stewards that will ensure it remains for future generations.
That is our shared responsibility.
That is the challenge before us, and that is the challenge I know we will rise to meet.
Thank you very much, my friends.