Why oil-loving Ottawa must end its financing of fossil fuels

(Toronto Star, Ottawa, 17 January 2022) By Karen Hamilton, director of ECA Watch member Above Ground, a project of MakeWay Charitable Society that works to ensure companies based in Canada or supported by the Canadian state respect human rights and the environment wherever they operate. Fossil fuel subsidies will likely figure prominently in climate policy debates when Parliament resumes sitting later this month, with particular focus on how Ottawa will fulfil its recent pledge to end fossil fuel subsidies by 2023, two years earlier than originally promised. Equally deserving of public attention is the government’s commitment to phase out public financing of fossil fuels. This support, which the government does not consider a subsidy, has led to Canada being singled out on the world stage as one of the biggest boosters of fossil fuels. At last count, this support totalled $13.6 billion a year on average. Most of Canada’s fossil finance comes from Export Development Canada (EDC), which provides loans, insurance and other forms of support to companies in Canada and abroad. EDC has recently issued billions in loans for controversial projects such as the Trans Mountain and Coastal GasLink pipelines.