Politics

Trudeau says mining sector has a role to play in fighting climate change

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced today that the federal government will extend the business tax deduction for zero-emission vehicles and equipment to cover mining operations, as he argued that the sector will have an important role to play in the fight against climate change.

PM announces extension of tax break for zero emissions vehicles to mining industry

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau speaks at the Prospectors and Developers Association of Canada's annual convention in Toronto on Monday, March 2, 2020. (Nathan Denette/The Canadian Press)

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced today that the federal government will extend the business tax deduction for zero-emission vehicles and equipment to cover mining operations, as he argued that the sector will have an important role to play in the fight against climate change.

Speaking in Toronto to a convention hosted by the Prospectors & Developers Association of Canada, Trudeau also said his government would be seeking input from business and industry on how to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050.

Trudeau pointed to both the recent decision by global investment giant BlackRock to focus on climate change and the climate concerns raised by Don Lindsay when the chief executive officer of Teck Resources Limited announced that the company was withdrawing its application for the Teck Frontier oilsands mine.

But the prime minister emphasized a need to find "common ground" on the way forward.

"Around the world and right here in Canada, the debate between environment and economy is becoming increasingly contentious and polarized," Trudeau said. "I think we can all agree that it's unhelpful for polarized views to define the battleground of a debate."

Opponents of the Frontier mine project said it would damage wetlands and harm Indigenous communities. (Julie Prejet/CBC)

Trudeau made the commitment to pursue net-zero emissions during last year's election campaign, promising to draft a plan to achieve it and to introduce legislation that would set out a series of interim targets.

The prime minister also has said that his government will show how Canada is to meet its 2030 target for emissions reductions. According to the latest projection, released in December, Canada is still on track to be 77 megatonnes above its 2030 target.

In explaining the decision to withdraw the application for Teck Frontier last week, Lindsay said that "global capital markets are changing rapidly and investors and customers are increasingly looking for jurisdictions to have a framework in place that reconciles resource development and climate change, in order to produce the cleanest possible products."

Trudeau argued that "a thriving mining industry and a thriving natural resource sector don't have to be impediments to fighting climate change."

"To produce high-density batteries and wind turbines, you need copper, nickel and cobalt," he said. "To build a solar panel, you need 19 metals and minerals. Canada is home to 14 of them."

The federal tax incentive will cover 100 per cent of the business cost of zero-emission vehicles that are in use before 2024. In subsequent years, the incentive will cover lower amounts. Vehicles not available for use before 2028 will not be eligible.

Heavy industry accounts for 10 per cent of all emissions in Canada and Trudeau said the new incentive should help to reduce that figure.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Aaron Wherry

Parliament Hill Bureau

Aaron Wherry has covered Parliament Hill since 2007 and has written for Maclean's, the National Post and the Globe and Mail. He is the author of Promise & Peril, a book about Justin Trudeau's years in power.

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