October 11, 2004

Federal Throne Speech pledges more support for wind power, new Great Lakes programs

A quadrupling of the federal government's wind power production incentive program, along with a pledge to introduce the next generation of environmental programs for the Great Lakes and the St Lawrence River were among the environment-related commitments outlined in the October 5 Throne Speech presented by Prime Minister Paul Martin's minority Liberal government.

A five-point economic strategy sketched out in the speech will be built on a foundation of sustainability, according to the government's plan. In addition to working with its partners to incorporate sustainable development systematically into decision-making, the government is pledging to work with the private sector to improve the commercialization of the best new environmental technologies. Ottawa intends to direct funds from the sale of its last remaining shares in Petro-Canada to provide major investments supporting the development and deployment of these technologies.

In addition to enhancing support for windpower production in Canada, the government intends to increase its focus on energy efficiency and energy research and development, engaging stakeholders in developing comprehensive approaches to promoting greater energy efficiency and increasing the production and use of clean, renewable forms of energy.

The government will also work to get its own house in order, consolidating federal environmental assessments and working with the provinces and territories toward a unified and more effective EA process for Canada. A green procurement policy for government purchasing will be implemented by 2006, and legislation will be introduced to strengthen the ecological integrity of Canada's national parks.

Another environmental initiative will be further advancement of the federal Oceans Action Plan. Activities will include maximizing the use and development of oceans technology, establishing a network of marine protected areas, implementing integrated management plans, and enhancing the enforcement of regulations governing oceans and fisheries, including rules dealing with straddling stocks.

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