Ottawa, Ont. – The Hon. Ed Fast, Official Opposition Critic for Environment and Climate Change, has challenged the Liberal government to ensure that Canada’s economic interests aren’t sacrificed as the United Nations Conference on Climate Change (COP21) in Paris approaches. Prime Minister Trudeau is meeting with provincial and territorial leaders today to discuss, among other things, what contributions the provinces and territories will make towards achieving Canada’s greenhouse gas emission reduction goals. “The Conservative Party has always said that reducing greenhouse gas emissions must be done in a balanced way,” said Fast. “Addressing the challenges of climate change and preserving our environment for future generations must always be balanced with protecting ongoing economic growth and job creation.” Fast pointed out that the Liberal government is using the INDC (Intended Nationally Determined Contributions) targets the Conservative government set, namely a 30% reduction of GHG emissions by 2030 over 2005 levels. This is an ambitious goal that reflects Canada’s willingness to do its part in addressing global GHG emissions. “We are pleased that the Liberal government has adopted the Conservative greenhouse gas emission reduction targets,” said Fast. “At the same time, Canadians have a right to expect that any new national commitments taken in Paris are part of a larger global agreement that includes all major emitters, does not unfairly penalize Canada’s energy industry, and maintains our economic competitiveness.” Fast encouraged the Canadian delegation at COP21 to take seriously the concerns raised by some provincial and territorial governments with respect to the negative impacts COP21 commitments might have on their economies. He noted the harsh economic consequences which the decline in global oil prices has had and continues to have on the energy sector. “Now is not the time to impose further punitive measures on an industry that is currently struggling with low global prices, yet still employs hundreds of thousands of Canadians,” said Fast.