Speaking Notes for the
Speech delivered by the Honourable
John Baird, Minister of the Environment
Check Against Delivery
Thank you. I am pleased to be here today for the launch of the International Polar Year and for the confirmation of Canada’s New Government’s investment of $150 million in support of important research projects and initiatives that will generate results for the environment, the security and quality of life of Northerners and all Canadians.
In the next several months, scientists and researchers from right across Canada and from more than 60 countries around the world will work together on one of the largest internationally-coordinated scientific research efforts in more than 50 years.
Climate change and its impact will be one of the main focuses of this important research. And our efforts here in Canada will centre on the North where the effects of climate change are the most urgent and the most imperative.
Changes in the North serve as an important signal to all Canadians. What goes on in the Yukon, the Western Arctic or in Nunavut, for example, has significant implications for all Canadians.
These studies as part of the International Polar Year will provide us with a better understanding of climate and the long-range movement of both smog and pollution. They will leave a legacy, a snapshot for future investigators and decision makers to use as a benchmark in which to measure future change. They will also support the government efforts to conserve and to protect the environment. And they will support further actions to protect our water, our land and, most importantly, the quality of life and health of our people.
The International Polar Year provides an extraordinary opportunity. These projects will build our scientific capacity and our human capacity in the North and elsewhere and they will reinforce Canada’s commitment and our government’s commitment to tackling air pollution.
Today’s announcement is just one of many initiatives the federal government is taking to address climate change. We’ve introduced Canada’s first-ever Clean Air Act. We’ve invested more than $1.5 billion in new funding for the Canada ecoTrust for Clean Air and Climate Change to work cooperatively with provinces and territories in their effort to reduce greenhouse gases and air pollutants. This Government has also initiated and instituted an ecoEnergy program designed to help Canadians become more energy efficient, a tax credit for public transit users and a commitment for five percent renewable content for Canadian motor vehicles. But that’s not all.
Over the next few months our Government will continue to move forward with real and meaningful solutions and real actions to address what matters most to Canadians. Soon we will be introducing regulations that will limit the emissions that contribute to climate change and to smog and pollution. These will be world-leading regulations for greenhouse gases and air pollution. With these short-term targets our Government is taking an important leadership role and achieving real results right here in Canada for today and for a cleaner tomorrow.
I want to wish all of those working so hard, particularly the scientists, the best in their work and look forward to seeing the exciting results of the great research that will be accomplished.
Thank you very much.
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