NDP launches "Greener Transportation Strategy"

OTTAWA — The NDP launched its 'Greener Transportation Strategy' in Ottawa today. This set of realistic proposals to help conserve energy, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, attract green investment and create jobs is the third plank in the NDP's 5-point Green Agenda for Canada.

"While the clock keeps ticking on the Conservative government's long-promised 'made in Canada' solution to deal with climate change," said NDP Environment Critic Nathan Cullen (Skeena–Bulkley Valley), "the NDP is taking action and will continue to put forward concrete, productive ideas that allow our industries and our environmental policies to work together for the good of all Canadians."

The third component of the Agenda is a 'Greener Transportation Strategy' which includes the following proposals:

1. Invest in Canadian production of green cars to ensure our auto industry remains viable in a world craving more green cars. Government incentives would be provided to manufacturers who develop and manufacture here in Canada cars with low or zero greenhouse gas emissions.

2. Create a vehicle purchasing consortium for governments at all levels in order to create a market for greener vehicle production resulting in lower costs to consumers who also want to purchase green vehicles.

3. Offer a significant GST rebate on the purchase of alternative fuel vehicles, with the rebate increasing with the vehicle's fuel efficiency. GST-exempt purchasers should receive the cash equivalent discount. This would reward people who make better environmental purchases.

4. Provide incentives to businesses and corporations to green their transportation fleets by increasing fuel efficiency and reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

5. Provide federal government support for pedestrian and cycling infrastructure in communities as part of a commitment to sustainable transport. In addition to reducing greenhouse gas emissions, improving pedestrian and cycling infrastructure will help Canadians be more active resulting in further health benefits.

6. Bring in mandatory vehicle emission standards, for all vehicles sold in Canada. This initiative would see Canada join with California and the New England states whose standards have achieved an average of 25 per cent reduction to light-duty vehicle emissions.

7. Increase support for rail transport as a more energy efficient means of moving freight and people. Incentives would be provided to rail companies to improve their rolling stock and infrastructure. Via Rail would be provided with increased funding so as to provide a practical alternative to other transportation use, particularly single occupant cars.

"Within seven years, our 'Greener Transportation Strategy' would reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 5.5 megatonnes," said NDP Industry Critic Brian Masse (Windsor West). "It will create thousands of jobs in the auto sector and save businesses and Canadians millions of dollars through lower energy and transportation costs. Using today's dollars this strategy would cost $400 million per year."

"The NDP is providing both the Canadian auto industry and consumers with real solutions to help combat climate change," said NDP Public Works Critic and former CAW Chief Negotiator Peggy Nash (Parkdale–High Park). "We're suggesting real investment in the production of green cars and tax incentives for consumers so that Canada's automotive industry can compete in the global market."