Thursday, February 16, 2012


VICTORIA, Thursday, February 16, 2012 – As NDP leadership candidate Brian Topp begins a five day swing through British Columbia today, he released an ambitious and detailed blueprint for a cleaner, greener and more prosperous country, which will place the environment at the heart of the economy.

This policy recognizes that prosperity, equality and environmental protection are inextricably linked, and lays out a number of measures that will protect and restore our environment while building a sustainable and forward-looking economy.

“The false choice between ‘protecting the environment’ and ‘creating jobs’ so often perpetuated by the Conservatives and Liberals is hopelessly outdated,” writes Topp, “The successful economies of the future will include clean and green technologies that both protect the environment and create new, good jobs. Our government can put in place forward-looking
policies that support the development of green industries while protecting the environment.”

Topp’s eight-point plan to reduce carbon emissions while stimulating the economy will:

  1. Put a limit on carbon pollution. Work with the provinces and territories to set a hard target of 80% below 1990 levels by the year 2050. Set benchmark targets in the meantime.
  2. Stop shelling out subsidies to big oil companies and end Stephen Harper’s $760 million tax giveaway.
  3. Establish a strong cap and trade system that makes the polluters pay and set an accurate price for carbon that works in conjunction with similar systems in the European Union, California and Australia.
  4. Create a home and industrial retrofit program that reduces household and small business energy consumption. Give families a break on their energy bill while working with green industry to reduce emissions.
  5. Have the federal government work with the provinces to phase out carbon-intense fuels, like coal, in favour of green energies like solar, thermal and wind.
  6. Develop a sustained federal partnership to expand public transportation in Canada; reduce the carbon intensity in transportation fuels.
  7. As that public transportation comes online, develop a sustained federal, provincial and municipal partnership to get fossil-fueled cars out of our cities.
  8. Forge a pan-Canadian strategy to limit the environmental impacts of the oil sands. That includes the creation of a green investment fund, ending continental oil pipeline projects, like Keystone XL, and phasing out toxic tailing ponds.

“There is no disputing that our planet’s climate is changing rapidly, due to excessive
production of carbon worldwide” Topp continued “The reality is this issue isn’t going to go away. Action will be required, from us and from all industrialized countries. Delaying action will only serve to make it more difficult to make the changes needed down the road. I believe when we form the next government we must act quickly and decisively to tackle this problem.”

Topp’s environmental policies would make Canada a leader on the world stage, as well as here in North America. In addition to this eight-point plan, a Brian Topp government would:

  • Stop interfering in other countries’ attempts to shift to low-carbon economies and stop obstructing international climate change accords. Work constructively with the international community while setting an example of sustainability here in Canada.
  • End the asbestos trade. Push to have it listed as a hazardous substance in the U.N. and ensure the job security of those workers by transitioning them to more sustainable industries.
  • Invest $200 million in protecting and cleaning up the Great Lakes.
  • Ban oil tankers off Canada’s northwest Pacific coast.
  • Require chemical companies to scientifically prove that their products are safe. Employ federal regulation to ensure that children are not exposed to hazardous chemicals.

Throughout this leadership contest Topp has consistently released detailed and comprehensive policy papers, laying out a clear, bold vision for a more social democratic and progressive country. Topp’s plan is the clearest and most complete environmental policy released to date in the NDP Leadership contest.

Topp said that as the leadership race enters its final weeks, NDP members have a clear choice about the future of their party.

“I am offering a hopeful and optimistic message about creating a more equal Canada rooted in strong social democratic values,” said Topp.   “We don’t have to become Liberals to win.  As New Democrats we can create greener and more equal Canada.  As New Democrats, we can get the job done.”

Topp has received the endorsement of New Democrats in every part of the country including Ed Broadbent, Roy Romanow, Lorne Calvert and Libby Davies because they believe that Brian Topp’s bold ideas and progressive vision are our best route defeat Stephen Harper and offer Canadians positive change.