Thank you, Mr. Chair. Hello, everyone. Thank you for the opportunity to discuss the significant investments we are making within NRCan’s main estimates.
I’d like to acknowledge that I am joining you today from the traditional, ancestral and unceded territories of the Squamish, the Musqueam and the Tsleil-Waututh nations.
I look forward to speaking with you about how these estimates are supporting our efforts to build a prosperous and competitive low-carbon economy.
Before I do so, I want to just say that my thoughts are with all of the families and communities affected by the wildfires in Alberta and across western Canada. We are, of course, following the situation extremely closely and, as a government, we will continue to provide federal assistance wherever and however best we can.
Right now, global financial markets are demanding and rewarding low-carbon products. This is because, in recent years, governments like this one have been taking serious climate action to steer markets in that direction. And because, I believe, more and more people are acutely aware of the scientific reality and existential threat of climate change.
This is presenting a generational economic opportunity for those who act boldly to build the economy of tomorrow. We’re fortunate that Canada is well placed to seize this opportunity.
In Canada, there is a choice. We can double down on this trajectory, making a plan for the future that grows the economy and protects the planet for future generations, or we can bury our head in the sand, hoping for the best and letting the world pass us by. This government chooses the former, and we choose to play to Canada's strengths.
Canada's natural resources give us significant advantages in being able to provide the world with clean energy, while creating good jobs here at home. We have a highly trained workforce and are increasing the diversity and strength of our natural resource sectors.
Our economy supports innovation, and our government is promoting the inclusion of indigenous knowledge and expertise, as well as economic participation.
We have an abundance of critical minerals and hydrogen, which the world will be increasingly demanding, as Canada and the rest of the world develop more and more in the way of clean energy and clean technologies.
We offer an outstanding level of stability to investors and allies. Our banking, regulatory, political and legal systems are stable. We have trade agreements with many of the major economies in the world. We develop and meet high environmental, social and governance standards.
The proposed investments that you see here are the next steps in the agenda. They are focused on growing clean energy and clean technologies, which this government has been working on for years.
Having access to clean, affordable and reliable electricity is imperative when it comes to achieving our legislated target of making Canada net zero by 2050. That is why Canada is committed to having a net-zero grid by 2035.
To that end, you'll see there are two main items in these estimates that support the modernization of our electrical grid, namely, the smart renewables and electrification pathways program, as well as the electricity predevelopment program.
To many other countries, our grid is already enviably clean, but we are determined to do even more to protect our environment, while providing affordable, reliable and clean power to all Canadians. Building out the grid and increasing its percentage of clean energy, as well as transitioning to electric vehicles, will allow Canada's municipalities to reduce emissions from vehicles, waste and buildings.
Investments to reduce buildings’ emissions appear again in the estimates through the complementary measures to the 2030 Emissions Reduction Plan; our goals are clean air and a strong economy. These investments will help us continue to lower the emissions from homes, schools, hospitals, office buildings and industrial buildings, which is key to getting to net-zero by 2050.
Home energy evaluations and funding from the Canada greener homes grant for energy-efficient retrofits are also in the estimates, as are investments to recruit, train and mentor energy advisers to carry out the evaluations.
Continued support in this area will allow us to carry on our efforts to make our homes more resistant to the effects of climate change. And as global inflation continues to affect hard-working Canadians, these renovations will make their home heating bills more predictable and affordable.
I would also like to touch on our two-billion trees program in the estimates, which achieved 97% of its first-year target in terms of planting, and through which, in just the past six months, we have signed seven agreements in principle with seven provinces and territories. Six of those have signed specific planting commitments underneath the agreements in principle, and we're working with others to expand that collaboration.
We have negotiated multi-year agreements that will see 260 million more seedlings planted across Canada over the program's lifespan, and that's just the beginning. We'll soon be able to provide the total planting numbers for the second year of the program. We have surpassed our federal and urban land planting goals. We are confident we will reach the two-billion target in the next decade, with the provinces, territories, non-profit organizations, businesses, and indigenous governments and organizations.
As you can see, the investments we're proposing in the main estimates have a common goal, no matter the topic: greener homes, energy innovation, critical minerals, zero-emission vehicles, forestry or building out the grid. By making these strategic investments, we are supporting the capacity of Canadians to create new opportunities in the low-carbon economy. We are supporting indigenous participation in the natural resources sector and supporting indigenous leadership in a prosperous net-zero future. We're enabling a clean, reliable, secure and affordable supply of energy for everyone.
I certainly look forward to our conversation and to our questions and answers today.
With that, Mr. Chair, I'm happy to hand it back to you.