Liberals returns to B.C. to pledge carbon-neutrality, tax cut for clean-tech firms

After kicking off his re-election campaign in Vancouver two weeks ago, Trudeau was in Burnaby South — a riding held by NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh — to announce a re-elected Liberal government would cut corporate taxes in half for companies that produce zero-emission technologies as part of a plan to make Canada carbon-neutral by 2050.

Trudeau has previously spoken of British Columbia as a kind of philosophical ally, one of the few remaining provinces led by a left-leaning government committed to fighting climate change when most other provinces have swung to the right.

But the province is also where his government has encountered the fiercest opposition to the Trans Mountain pipeline, which Trudeau’s government purchased to ensure a way to get Alberta oilsands crude to the B.C. coast.

On Tuesday, Trudeau said he believes the province’s voters understand that the federal government’s decision to buy the pipeline, and the project to twin it, isn’t out of step with his commitment to make the country a net-zero emitter of greenhouse gases.

“Canadians, particularly here in British Columbia, understand we need to grow the economy and protect the environment at the same time,” he said.

In fact, he argued the pipeline is part of the path forward to addressing climate change, by “opening up new markets to bring in new profits to invest in a greener future, in that transition towards a net-zero economy,” he said. “That’s what the path is.”

Trudeau has promised that any profits the government makes from owning or selling the Trans Mountain pipeline — it paid $4.5 billion to buy it — will be plowed into pro-environment measures.