Review of federal fossil fuel subsidies is nowhere seen in the priority list

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The peer review, which was launched in June 2018 as a part of a G20 commitment to eliminate all inefficient subsidies to the fossil fuel sector did not have a specific deadline. Although, it was expected to take about two years to complete.

Similar reviews which happened between the United States and China, Germany and Mexico, Italy and Indonesia took around 12 to 24 months. 

Canada promised to produce an inventory of its fossil fuel subsidies with Argentina seems to be off schedule. In fact, it might not deliver results until 2021

Julie Levin, the Climate and Energy Program Manager for Environmental Defence mentioned that the government officials don’t think that it will be finished until sometime in 2021. According to Levin the progress is just too slow and she also added that, “We have seen no evidence that the government is really making this a priority”. Levin also added that the dollar 4.5 billion purchase of the trans mountain pipeline could also be viewed as a subsidy. Further she mentioned the industry would like this spending to remain cloaked and so far it is despite government commitments about increase transparency.

A 2021 completion date would leave Canada with less than 4 years to hit Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s promise of phasing out all inefficient subsidies to the fossil fuels sector by 2025. The peer review is being seen as a critical part of the process because there is no consensus in Canada between politicians, environmental experts and energy industry about what inefficient means or what constitutes a subsidy.

Finance Canada is supposed to produce a document on tax measures but department has not stated if the document is already finished or not. Also, president of the Canada Association of Petroleum Producers, Tim Macmillan has revealed that Canada has no subsidies for producing fossil fuels. Macmillan also added that tax measures available to all companies are not subsidies and in fact the industry is most heavily taxed.

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