The News Mirror is offering federal election candidates space to offer their viewpoints on five issues: the economy, environment, taxes security and childcare. This week’s topic is the Environment.
Randall Garrison, New Democrats
Canadians don’t have to choose between a strong economy and a clean environment. Unfortunately, in the last 10 years, the Stephen Harper government has dismantled the laws protecting our air, land and water – which affects our health, economy, and future development. The NDP has a plan to build sustainable prosperity by kick-starting clean and renewable energy production, and making big polluters pay with a cap-and-trade system for carbon.
We are committed to rebuilding Canada’s gutted environmental assessment rules and restoring our international reputation on climate change. Locally I will make sure that federal government implements an action plan for the recovery of the endangered southern resident killer whales. I will also re-introduce my bills that would restore protection to watersheds in our riding including the Sooke and Goldstream rivers – protection that Stephen Harper unilaterally demolished.
In this election, we have a chance to elect a truly progressive government that will take action on climate change seriously. We are just one election away from sending a prime minister to Paris who goes not only with aggressive GHG reduction targets and a plan, but that will be a leader on climate change. This election is our opportunity to elect a NDP government that will repair our reputation on an international level.
Shari Lukens, Conservatives
Our Conservative government is delivering a plan that is helping create jobs and economic growth, and also protecting Canada’s environment.
Since coming to office, the government has placed a high priority on protecting our environment. We have made record investments in targeted actions to improve water quality, reduce air pollutants and conserve important ecosystems that support fish and wildlife.
Since 2006, an area of more than 220,000 square kilometres has been added to the network of federal protected areas, including the world’s first protected area extending from the mountain tops to the sea floor (Gwaii Haanas National Marine Conservation Area Reserve and Haida Heritage Site).
It was the Conservatives that launched the National Conservation Plan, a $252-million investment in programs to restore ecosystems, secure ecologically sensitive lands and strengthen marine and coastal conservation.
We will not force a carbon pricing scheme on Canadians that will kill jobs and raise the cost of everything. I encourage on-the-ground action and partnerships with those who know best, leading to tangible results that make a difference for those who truly love these lands.
David Merner, Liberals
Climate change is a serious threat to the future of our planet and Canadians know it.
As a father of four, the environmental legacy my daughters inherit is critically important. A Liberal government will address climate change by working the provinces on a framework to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and to price carbon. We’ll also cut fossil fuel subsidies.
We will increase Canada’s protected marine and coastal areas from 1.3 per cent to five per cent by 2017, and 10 per cent by 2020. We will restore the $40 million Harper cut from ocean science and monitoring and unmuzzle government scientists, including our fisheries experts.
As to pipelines – and tanker traffic – it’s clear that Harper has completely undermined public confidence in federal environmental assessments. We stand against the Northern Gateway pipeline and for the northern tanker ban. A federal Liberal government will rebuild Canadians’ confidence in federal environmental assessments and bring in legislation to make sure that the impact of pipeline projects on global warming considered by the National Energy Board.
Frances Litman, Greens
Our coastline – with its vital tourism and fishing industries – is at risk from new fossil fuel infrastructure and additional oil tankers. The Green Party says a clear “no” to more pipelines, “no” to more risky tankers carrying bitumen.
Instead, we will invest in clean and renewable energy sources. The clean energy industry creates three times more jobs for Canadians than the fossil fuel industry, with jobs that are local and well-paid.
Immediate, decisive action is crucial if we are to avert the most devastating consequences of climate change. The Green Party is ready to fully participate in this fall’s UN climate talks in Paris, where Canada needs to once again become a world leader in climate action. At home, Greens propose a carbon fee and dividend that places a price on carbon pollution while returning the revenues from this to all Canadians. The B.C. carbon tax has shown this to be an effective way to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
We need to return science to decision making, and focus on maintaining clean air, clean water, and healthy ecosystems.