Politics

NDP government would ban single-use plastics by 2022: Singh

The NDP says it would ban single-use plastics across Canada within three years if it wins this fall's election.

Party's climate plan pledges to spend $15 billion and create some 300,000 jobs

NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh presents the party's plan to fight climate change as deputy leader Alexandre Boulerice looks on in Montreal on Friday, May 31, 2019. (Paul Chiasson/Canadian Press)

The NDP says it would ban single-use plastics across Canada within three years if it wins this fall's election.

The tight deadline is part of the party's environmental platform, released earlier today. It pledges to spend $15 billion and create some 300,000 jobs while exceeding emission targets set under the Paris accord to fight climate change.

"To reduce waste in our landfills and communities, a New Democrat government will ban single-use plastics across Canada by 2022, and develop strong, enforceable extended producer responsibility legislation that holds companies responsible for the entire lifecycle of their plastics products and packaging," says the platform document.

Canada has come under fire internationally for exporting contaminated recycling to developing countries. Sixty-nine containers of rotting garbage and contaminated recycling shipped to the Philippines in 2013 and 2014 are now on their way back to Vancouver, at a cost to Canadian taxpayers of $1.14 million.

The international dispute is shining a bright light on the global recycling industry, which sends millions of tonnes of plastics meant for recycling to landfills around the world.

The NDP's 22-page plan says a New Democrat government would help municipalities update their waste management and recycling programs by setting up a new "Canadian Climate Bank." Three billion dollars would be set aside to encourage investments in climate-friendly projects and clean technologies.

The NDP's plan is titled "Power to Change: A new deal for climate action and good jobs" — a nod to the 'Green New Deal' environmental plan being pushed by some U.S. Democrats.

"I have been inspired by people trying to bring a 'green new deal' to reality. Canadians need and want a new deal," NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh said in a speech in Montreal on Friday.

Plan would 'crush jobs': McKenna

"People feel like they are working harder and falling further behind," Singh added. "Young people, who are leading the movement to fight this climate emergency, are angry about past governments and past generations who have let them down."

His party's plan also promises to:

  • Electrify Canada's transit fleets by 2030.
  • Work toward fare-free transit with municipalities.
  • Make all new buildings in Canada "net-zero ready" by 2030.
  • Immediately eliminate fossil fuel subsidies and get Canada powered by net carbon-free electricity by 2030.

Environment Minister Catherine McKenna said the NDP's plan would hurt the economy.

"The NDP plan has some good ideas that we're already doing, but it would crush jobs and hurt workers," she said before question period on Friday.

"We've already seen Jagmeet Singh. He flip-flops. Now he's against the [British Columbia liquefied natural gas development], an LNG project that is the largest foreign direct investment in Canada's history, creating 10,000 jobs.

"On the other hand, you have the Conservative Party. They've just announced they want unlimited pipelines, unlimited tankers and they want to eliminate rules to protect the environment. Their plan was written by oil lobbyists and their economic ideas come right out of the 1950s."

The Green Party of Canada released its climate plan two weeks ago, promising to double Canada's emissions reduction targets.

Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer has said his party will release its climate plan before the House of Commons rises for the summer next month.


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With files from the CBC's David Thurton and the Canadian Press

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