What Canadian Conservative government falling means for energy and climate? We'll be watching

Prime Minister Stephen Harper's minority Conservative government fell today as a result of a non-confidence vote in Parliament. The Conservatives were defeated by a 156 to 145 vote. Under the Canadian Parliamentary system, this means we’ll see an election in early May. Although the Conservatives are still ahead in the polls, the opposition parties have been talking for a while about forming a coalition government. This could mean a coalition of Liberals, New Democrats and the Bloc Quebecois as the new federal government in Canada.

Hopefully, whoever takes over next in Canada will be a bigger proponent of clean energy and fighting climate change than the Harper government has been. The Harper government has been a vocal proponent of tar sands oil expansion – pushing this dirty fuel in the United States and in Europe. In fact, the Harper government has been instrumental in undermining clean energy efforts at home and abroad all to promote the tar sands oil industry. A fresh approach in Canada gives the country a chance to get back to its green roots and to listen to its provincial governments such as Ontario, Quebec, Manitoba and British Columbia who have been developing innovative ways to promote clean energy and fight climate change. A fresh approach also provides an opportunity to lessen Canada’s dependence on the oil and gas sector and its heavy control over the Canadian dollar leading many to fear “Dutch disease.”

Clean energy and fighting climate change are critical issues now and in the coming decades. Hopefully, Canada can step forward as a leader on both in the future.