Question Period: Budget 2023

By: The Hon. Andrew Cardozo

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Hon. Andrew Cardozo: My question is for the Government Representative, and it is regarding the budget tabled this week.

Observers are calling this a watershed budget, as it has provided significant support to green technology, taking the Canadian industry up to a new level, in part to keep up with the major incentives provided by the Inflation Reduction Act in the United States and other similar measures in Europe and other countries. There’s a great deal that Canadians can do to advance this industry for domestic purposes and build our international competitiveness in green technology.

Can you outline, Senator Gold, what the government is doing to build this Canadian industry, create jobs and fight climate change?

Hon. Marc Gold (Government Representative in the Senate): Thank you for the question.

The global economy is undergoing what might be fairly described as the greatest transformation since the Industrial Revolution, and Canada, as a leading country, cannot allow itself to be left behind. Our friends and partners — notably chief amongst them, the United States — are investing heavily to build cleaner economies and the net-zero industries of tomorrow. That’s why the measures in this budget put a strong accent on helping Canadian businesses in Canada with their efforts to invest in the clean economy with clear and predictable investment tax credits, low-cost strategic financing and targeted investments and programming designed to respond to the specific needs of the different sectors or projects that have national economic significance, to list some of them.

As I mentioned, there is a suite of new investment tax credits designed to attract and accelerate investments in clean electricity, clean technology manufacturing and clean hydrogen — projects already under way by businesses and supported by governments in many of our provinces, from labour requirements to investment tax credits, to ensure government support for businesses to be able to grow and provide workers with good wages and opportunities for apprenticeship. There is $3 billion over 13 years to support clean electricity programs. There is a clean electricity focus for the Canada Infrastructure Bank, with investments of at least $20 billion to support the building of major clean electricity and clean growth infrastructure projects. And, of course, there is the standing up of the Canada Growth Fund to partner with the Public Sector Pension Investment Board to attract the private capital needed to invest in Canada’s clean economy.

These measures are designed to make sure that we, as a country, do not fall behind our partners and the world as the world undergoes this transformative change. Budget 2023 is the Government of Canada’s response to that to help our Canadian businesses and our economy succeed as we go through these changes.

Senator Cardozo: Senator Gold, you talk about the transformative changes that are taking place in the economy with the environment and with climate change. At the same time, we have soaring inflation, and we have concerns about a recession.

Is this the time to make these investments, or can they not be put off for a few years, as some would argue?

Senator Gold: It’s the position of the government that this is precisely the time to make these investments. First of all, the world will not wait. Climate change doesn’t wait; capital markets don’t wait; our partners aren’t waiting and Canadian businesses don’t want to wait. The workers who depend on good, solid jobs, whether it’s in the current energy sector, in agriculture — in every sector — have the right to have their governments support them as the world changes around them so that they and their children can continue to have a prosperous, nourishing and meaningful work experience.

Happily and fortunately — and I am repeating myself —

Senator Plett: Yes, you are.

Senator Gold: Well, it’s important to repeat facts in the face of repeated claims that aren’t factual, colleagues.

The fact is, our economy is strong and able to absorb these investments. Yes, it increases spending, but it’s not reckless spending. It’s intelligent, focused, targeted and purposeful spending. The fact that our economy is doing as well as it is is a function of the spending and investments of this government over the past number of years. Now is the time, because the world won’t wait.

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