Conservative Party of Canada (CPC) leadership candidate Jean Charest has released his platform for climate change and the environment, promising to “decarbonize our economy while creating tens of thousands of jobs.”

The former Liberal premier of Quebec touted his environmental platform as a “serious plan to deal with climate change and the environment” in an effort to bring Canada’s carbon emissions to net-zero.

The platform promises to repeal the Trudeau carbon tax and replace it with a Charest carbon tax that focuses on industrial emissions rather than a general price on carbon that Charest said “(p)uts an unfair burden on … people, especially in rural Canada.”

While the current Liberal carbon tax has generated controversy over the federal government’s authority to impose such a tax, Charest has said that he would sit down with the premiers to implement plans that respect provincial jurisdiction.

Charest has announced his plan would grant tax credits and significant investments to make Canada a leader in Carbon Capture, Utilization and Storage (CCUS) intended to reduce emissions. A Charest government would also provide tax credits to Carbon Dioxide Removal (CDR) facilities that match or exceed equivalent facilities in the United States.

Saying that the “Trudeau government has made it almost impossible to build any major projects in Canada,” Charest said he would fast-track projects – including approvals of projects – that would result in emissions reductions. Charest’s plan also encourages increasing the production of liquified natural gas and building pipelines to alleviate energy concerns in Europe and Asia, and reduce reliance on Russian energy. 

In an effort to influence energy policy beyond Canadian borders, the Charest plan touts a ‘carbon tariff’ that would impose economic levies on big polluters like China. 

Charest also announced his government would negotiate with the United States to standardize North American environmental and emission regulations while simultaneously attempting to prevent an outflow of energy production and jobs in “trade-exposed industries” to countries with lower standards like China.

‘Right to Repair’ legislation would also be introduced, giving Canadians the right to repair their “(a)ppliances, vehicles, farm equipment, electronic devices, and other household items that otherwise end up as waste.”

Charest also said he would waive the harmonized sales tax (HST) on goods and services on products the government deems to help reduce emissions, including electric vehicles, high-efficiency windows and Energy-Star appliances. 

Charest has portrayed himself as a conservative with the ability to win parliamentary seats in crucial areas like the Greater Toronto Area, Quebec and other regions traditionally dominated by the Liberal Party. 

“Having a credible plan on the environment is the table stakes for any national 2022 Conservative leadership candidate who wants our party to win the next federal election,” said Jean Charest. 

“Conservatives have a proud environmental record.”

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