by Daniel J. Graeber
Vancouver, British Columbia (UPI) Mar 4, 2016
Canadian leaders outlined pledges for a nation-wide commitment to transforming the economy to one more focused on low-carbon opportunities.
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau stood by provincial leaders in issuing the Vancouver Declaration on Clean Growth and Climate Change.
"We are moving toward a pan-Canadian framework for clean growth and climate change that will meet or exceed Canada's international emissions targets, and will transition our country to a stronger, more resilient, low-carbon economy," they said in a joint statement
Trudeau embraced a low-carbon agenda when he ascended to the office of prime minister last year. The former Liberal Party leader said from the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, earlier this year the country could push a low-carbon agenda without compromising economic growth opportunities.
Canada's economy relies heavily on the energy sector and nearly all of its oil and gas exports target a U.S. market less dependent on foreign reserves because of the shale boom. Lower export revenue and even lower crude oil prices are hurting exporting economies like Canada's.
Responding to the strains of a weak energy market, the oil-rich province of Alberta signed a letter of intent with the Bank of Canada to help diversify the regional economy.
Alberta said it expects to linger in recession. The economy, measured in real gross domestic product, should shrink by 1.1 percent in 2016, after a 1.5 percent decline for full-year 2015. The total revenue forecast for the fiscal year of $31.2 billion is $478 million lower than estimated in the budget last year.
"This [letter of intent] is good news for small and medium-sized businesses that will allow more flexible support for entrepreneurs across the province, enabling greater economic diversity and growth," provincial Minister for Economic Development Navdeep Bains said in a statement.
Trudeau met earlier this week with leaders from Canadian First Nations to discuss collaborative ways to lower greenhouse gas emissions through a low-carbon future. Through the Vancouver Declaration, Canadian leaders vowed to back a greener infrastructure, lower emissions and double investments in clean energy over the next five years.
"We took stock of the economy and discussed real challenges facing Canadians as well as longer-term opportunities," leader said. "We have a shared objective to promote jobs and growth, address urgent economic needs, and support long-term growth in transitioning to a low-carbon economy."
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