Stop Billion Dollar Giveaways to Oil and Gas: Cullen and Layton

NDP shows oil and gas subsidies top $2.5 billion per year, divert funds from renewables

–With UN climate change talks beginning in Cancun next week, New Democrat Leader Jack Layton joined Nathan Cullen (Skeena-Bulkley Valley) in saying the Conservative government needs to finally get serious about fighting climate change. To start, the government can honour their G20 promise to stop subsidizing profitable oil and gas companies. 

Layton and Cullen released new research from the NDP today, which pegs oil and gas subsidies at over $2.5 billion a year.

“Canada is walking into the Cancun climate change meetings empty-handed, now that unelected Conservative senators have killed the NDP’s climate change bill,” said Layton. “By ending federal subsidies to oil and gas industries, we can save Canadians $2.5 billion per year  and show the world that we’re serious about developing a clean energy economy.”

While Canada promised to eliminate these inefficient fossil fuel subsidies at the 2009 Pittsburgh G20 meeting, the government has refused to honour this commitment. While the Harper Conservatives insist their climate change plan will mirror the American plan, the Obama administration has already moved on eliminating tax breaks to the oil industry, worth $36 billion.

New Democrat Energy and Natural Resources critic Nathan Cullen says Canada desperately needs to shift to a green energy economy, but the fossil fuel subsidies keep greener alternatives at a competitive disadvantage.

“This government’s irresponsible support for the fossil fuel industry is leaving Canada behind – and costing us billions,” said Cullen. “There are a lot of Canadians still hurting from this recession, and given the choice, I really don’t think they would agree to donate to the world’s most profitable oil and gas companies – a gift that works out to $75 a piece from every single Canadian.”

“From an economic perspective, eliminating oil and gas subsidies just makes sense,” added New Democrat Finance Critic Thomas Mulcair. “Since 2004, Canada’s fossil fuel industry has nearly doubled its revenues – it simply doesn’t need tax-payer funded handouts. And even worse, those subsidies only drive up our Loonie, over-price our exports, and discourage development of the green energy sector.”