The Canadian government has subsidized “dirty and dangerous” energy sources in Canada for decades, and an environmental group says funding continues at the expense of low-impact renewable energy options.
OTTAWA, Canada – “Canada is lagging behind most other countries in developing new markets based on clean, renewable energy sources,” says Brenda Morehouse of a new group, EcoAction.ca. “As a result, Canadians are being denied access to cleaner air and exciting new economic development activities.” Federal statistics indicate that more than $40 billion in direct federal spending was provided to fossil fuels between 1970 and 1999, while another $3 billion was provided in federal loans to fossil fuel companies in non-repaid loans since 1970. Total federal subsidies to the nuclear industry since 1953 amount to $16.6 billion in Canada, with last year’s subsidy amounting to $156 million. By comparison, total average federal funding for renewable energy is $12 million, says Morehouse. “This is clearly not a level playing field,” she adds. Development of Canada’s low-impact renewable energy capabilities will have “substantial benefits for the environment, the economy and our health.” For every million dollars invested, an average of 36.3 jobs are created in the energy efficiency sector, 12.2 jobs in the renewable energy sector, and only 7.3 jobs in the development of conventional energy, she explains. Air pollution from fossil fuel use kills 16,000 Canadians prematurely each year and results in illness, absenteeism and asthma attacks which cost the economy billions of dollars. EcoAction.ca has been created to use Internet tools to increase democracy and make environmental action easier for citizens. It is part of the Pembina Institute and offers ‘2-click’ email actions to communicate with government officials in energy.