This weekend, Canadians will celebrate the 150th anniversary of Confederation. Whether we join with tens of thousands for the concerts and fireworks on Parliament Hill, or simply enjoy a quiet beer in our backyard, all Canadians will reflect on this country and what it means to them.
And one of the things that Canadians are most proud of and which has played a crucial role in creating Canada’s history and identity over the past 150 years is our rich natural heritage. Canada is home to 20% of the world’s freshwater resources, and 28% of the world’s boreal forest which helps maintain the earth’s oxygen. Our natural resources have shaped our economic growth from the days of the fur trade to the roles of the energy, mining, forestry and agriculture industries of today. We have a diversity of ecosystem and species unrivalled by almost any country in the world. Canada’s wilderness landscape has helped shape our collective soul and have given us some of our greatest art and literature from the paintings of the Group of Seven to the music of the Tragically Hip.
Our great fortune in enjoying this natural legacy means that Canadians have an equally great responsibility to preserve it, for ourselves, for future generations, and for the world. Fortunately, Canada has a great tradition of environmental conservation. From Sir John A. Macdonald setting aside Canada’ first national park at Banff in 1885, to the active role of environmental and conservation groups, to Brian Mulroney’s championing of the Canada-U.S. Air Quality Agreement to control acid rain, Canadian governments and citizens have long played an active and leading role in efforts to preserve our natural environment.
Today, climate change is perhaps the greatest environmental threat facing the world, and Canada will likewise have to play an important role to ensure that the natural legacy of Canada is as rich for the next 150 years as it has been since 1867. Canadians for Clean Prosperity believes that the best way to achieve reductions is a revenue neutral carbon tax that puts a price on emissions while refunding revenues to citizens and businesses as tax reductions. But we know that there are challenges in many sectors in transforming a trillion-dollar economy like Canada’s, and that pricing carbon is only one part of the solution. So we are pleased, for your Canada Day long weekend reading, to release the second issue of the Environment and Economy Review. With distinguished authors including former federal cabin minister Perrin Beatty and former BC Premier Michael Harcourt, this issue talks about what a low carbon transition could look like in many sectors of the economy – from our urban environment to the automotive industry to nuclear power to cleaning oil and and gas development.
So as Canada turns 150, between face-painting and barbeques, canoe paddling and parades, we hope you can take a few minutes this weekend to think Canada’s natural heritage and how we can ensure that future generations enjoy an environmental legacy as rich as the one as we have been given.
Happy Canada Day!