Support for biofuel subsidies collapsing in Canadian parliament

The single most expensive environmental initiative put forward by Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper (Conservative) was a biofuels initiative that is now seeing significant new opposition. The CDN$2.2 billion (about a $1 trillion at current exchange rates) was intended to provide incentives for biofuel development north of the border. However, recent spikes in food prices and criticism of using food crops to make transportation fuel has caused some who previously supported the plan to switch sides.
Opposition International Development critic (Liberal) Keith Martin went as far as calling for a moratorium on biofuel subsidies until the problems are better understood. NDP members of parliament also opposed the plan while the Bloc Quebecouis officially supports it. However, Bloc environment critic Bernard Bigras is opposed to the use of corn ethanol. Conservative Environment Minister John Baird is arguing in favor of the legislation and says that $500 million of the total is set aside for research into next-generation biofuels such as cellulosic ethanol. The legislation looks likely to pass regardless of the new opposition, although an amendment to the bill calls for a review of the environmental and economic impact of the 5 percent ethanol target one year after the law passes.

[Source: Globe and Mail]

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