Open Letter to Chrystia Freeland: End all fossil fuel subsidies!

Please see below the open letter that we delivered to Chrystia Freeland on March 3rd, 2023 calling for an end to fossil fuel subsidies. Please consider sending an email to your MP and Chrystia Freeland and feel free to use this as a template!

Download the open letter:

Ottawa, March 3, 2023

Dear Minister Freeland:                                                      

In the coming 2023 federal budget, we must finally end subsidies to fossil fuel corporations operating in Canada or abroad for the following reasons:

1. Fossil fuel companies made record profits in 2022. While spiking prices mean that ordinary Canadians are struggling to put food on the table and pay rent, oil and gas companies like Cenovus, Suncor, Imperial Oil and Enbridge had their most lucrative year ever due to the coordinated rise in oil prices around the world. The 2022 Canadian oil industry’s after tax cash flow is estimated at $140 billion. The budget should include a windfall tax rather than subsidies to these companies that are gushing dividends to their shareholders and buying back shares. 

2. Polluters must be made to pay for the damage they cause. It is dangerous to continue to massively subsidize these polluters and to fund controversial and unproven abatement technology. The federal government has sent over $1.5 billion to the Alberta oil and gas sector (budget 2020) and $8 billion on large emitters’ decarbonization projects (budget 2021). We need a just transition for workers, not corporate hand-outs.

3. The world needs to reduce fossil fuel production by approximately 6% per year to 2030 in order to avoid surpassing 1.5°C of global warming. Canada is the fourth largest oil producing country in the world, as measured by barrels produced in a day. Canadians understand very well that the climate emergency is worsened by expanding and subsidizing fossil fuel extraction. It is like pouring fuel on the fire. It is notably important to put an end to these emissions as those who contribute the least to the climate crisis face the worst impacts. 

 4. Canada ranks last among OECD countries for phasing out subsidies for fossil fuels. Past Canadian budgets have seen huge subsidy boosts to new fossil extraction, such as Newfoundland and Labrador’s offshore wells and the Montney gas fields in BC. This is unacceptable in a climate crisis and must stop.

5. Fossil fuel subsidies counteract any climate action the government takes. The carbon tax that Canadians pay incentivizes us to consume fewer fossil fuels, yet at the same time you are subsidizing producers to produce more fossil fuels. This is totally counterproductive and wasteful of taxpayers’ money. Canadians are also smart enough to understand that Canadian fossil fuels exported and burned elsewhere equally damage the stability of the climate.

6. Phasing out subsidies is critical for environmental justice. The fossil fuel industry often violates Indigenous rights and sovereignty. This is exemplified by the Coastal Gaslink pipeline being built through unceded Wet’suwet’en territory and the associated colonial violence that has been borne out on Land Defenders. Climate justice requires an energy system that respects Indigenous sovereignty, human rights, and the right to a healthy environment.  

7. Canadians have no tolerance for corporate hand-outs to fossil fuel companies while they struggle to pay high gas prices with absolutely no break from those same oil companies when they pay at the pump. 

Thank you for giving consideration to the equity, justice and climate impact of budget 2023.


Fridays for Future Ottawa –

Backgrounder Sources

BP dives into Canada’s offshore eyeing up billions of barrels of oil | Canada’s National Observer: News & Analysis

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