The housing shortage, mill shutdowns and highway safety, were the main topics at the federal candidates debate this week but the theme that prevailed through the night was the climate crisis.
Revelstoke got a chance to meet the seven candidates running to be the Member of Parliament for the Kootenay-Columbia riding on Sept. 24 at the Community Centre, which was organized by the Revelstoke Review.
Moderator Jean-Marc La Flamme asked the candidates five questions, covering topics submitted by the public as well.
The candidates got to address the climate change directly with the second question of the night: What actions will you and your party be taking to address the climate crisis?
Candidate Rick Stewart was the only candidate who said he would not fight climate change or reduce carbon emissions.
“The People’s Party of Canada does not believe that carbon is the driver of climate change,” Stewart said.
If elected he said the party would withdraw from the Paris Climate Accord, stop subsidies for green technology, eliminate the carbon tax and ensure the pipelines get built.
“Taking our economy into the hinterlands while we spend money to do something that the private sector isn’t willing to do, this green technology,” Stewart said. “I think we need to have our eyes wide open as where we are going and what our future is going to look like.”
Liberal Party candidate Robin Goldsbury answered first, listing the projects that the Liberals have implemented since being elected in 2015: taxing pollution, investing in green infrastructure, purchasing an electric ferry for Kootenay Lake, creating a marine protection plan and a nature legacy plan as well as stopping the use of coal as fuel by 2030.
“I have a long list of projects the Liberals have started, and there is so much more left to do, it has only been four years,” she said.
Wayne Stetski of the NDP said that his party plans on reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 50 per cent in the next 10 years.
The NDP will be introducing a carbon tax and working with the Canadian Labour Congress to renovate homes and offices to be more efficient, changing to geothermal, solar and wind energy as well as building electric vehicles in Canada.
The work that needs to be done to reduce emissions will create jobs, Stetski said.
Terry Tiessen of the Libertarian Party would like to see a hands-off government approach. The Libertarian Party would not be implementing or supporting a carbon tax.
“We believe that Canadians are smart, we believe that they have ingenuity, that if we gave them half a chance to get out there and solve these problems, left more money in their pockets more money in the house to shop responsibly, buy electric cars, eat organically, shop locally,” he said. “Canadians are responsible enough to make these choices themselves, we don’t need a government to force these things on us.”
Tiessen said he would like to see start-up companies supported through the removal of red tape and a level playing field for all businesses.
Rob Morrison and the Conservatives want to see the energy sector back to work and the money generated from that be directed towards science and research that will tell us how to use fossil fuels more efficiently and investments in alternative fuel sources, rather than using taxes for the same purpose.
Morrison said the Conservatives plan is funded, “it is a plan where science comes into politics, politics doesn’t come into science.”
Green Party candidate Abbra Brynne, said that their target is 60 per cent greenhouse gas emissions by 2030 and zero emissions by 2050.
“Aiming for zero emissions by 2050 and not doing something more immediately is a real problem because we are going to miss the boat, we are going to miss our chance to be able to look our children in the eye and say we did everything we can,” she said.
The party calls their climate action plan Mission Possible–it is not mission easy, but a comprehensive plan, aggressive, courageous, detailed, Brynne said.
It would see Canada transition to a greener economy, bring everyone along for the ride and ensure that we have a liveable planet in the future, Brynne said.
Animal Protection Party
Trev Miller said his party wants to see the money currently used to subsidize and bail out the egg, dairy and chicken agribusinesses be used to fight the climate crisis.
“If we could instead reinvest subsidies propping up outdated and disastrous agribusiness Canada has the opportunity to be a global leader in research, production and manufacturing of sustainable products,” he said.
The Animal Protection Party would rapidly address issues based on science and best practices, Miller said, as well as imposing tarrifes on other countries that are not implementing regulations as aggressive as ours.
“The problem is that we look at the environment as a place where we can go to print money.”
The Federal Election is coming up on Oct. 21. Register to vote at elections.ca
For more information about the Federal Election see revelstokereview.com/federal-election