Federal Election Q&A

Kootenay Columbia Candidates explain how each would be an environmental steward to address climate change.

  • Sep. 24, 2015 8:00 a.m.

Given that Kootenay-Columbia is a lake and river-filled region with extreme weather events, how will you be an environmental steward and address the uncertainties of climate change?

Bill Green:

The best way to address the uncertainties of climate change is to avoid causing more climate change. Canadian governments have so far failed to meet this challenge.

The Green Party’s bold climate action plan starts with goals informed by science. To avoid catastrophic climate change, we must begin to reduce greenhouse gas emissions dramatically, starting now.

Our plan to achieve this is built around carbon pricing – a predictable carbon price levied on industry at the point of extraction. All carbon fee revenue will be re-distributed as a dividend, rewarding those who strive toward a low-carbon footprint.

Leading international energy companies are urging governments to establish carbon pricing systems. The Globe and Mail ranked the Green plan as the most economically efficient.

We are experiencing the effects of climate change even now and more severe effects are unavoidable. We must be prepared. The Green Party will invest $6.4 billion per year in green municipal infrastructure to support community resilience in the face of extreme weather events.

Don Johnston:

Canadians want immediate leadership on the environment and that’s our promise. Our commitment to bring all Premiers to the 2015 Paris Environmental Conference and investing $6 billion more in green infrastructure in our first four years is step one.

If you’re asking what I can do locally to mitigate problems it could range from water level negotiations for the Columbia Basin Treaty, reinstating the Federal Kootenay Lake Fishery office, or supporting wildfire programs. Climate change itself requires comprehensive environment policies and are one of the strongest reasons to choose a Liberal candidate.

Our RealChange.ca website details plans to invest in green infrastructure projects like local water and wastewater facilities, climate resilient infrastructure, and energy efficient buildings. Liberals will provide support for community-scale renewable energy projects, and work with the provinces to develop a Canadian Energy Strategy that brings cleaner, renewable energy – like solar and wind – onto the electricity grid.

Wayne Stetski:

As the former Regional Manager for the Kootenays responsible for Fish and Wildlife, Ecosystems and BC Parks, I know the importance of healthy lakes and rivers to our environment, and our quality of life.  The Harper Conservatives have gutted environmental legislation, 50 years in the making, and that is why internationally recognized environmental scientists like Dr. David Schindler are speaking out, asking voters to vote together to protect the environment.

Tom Mulcair is a recognized leader in the development of environmental legislation. As Minister of Environment in Quebec, he brought in the most progressive environmental legislation anywhere in North America. That’s the kind of environmental record I am happy to support.

David Wilks:

Our government will continue to work with other countries from around the world to establish a fair and effective international climate agreement that includes meaningful and transparent commitments from all major emitters.  Within Canada we have implemented a sector by sector approach and to date have regulated the transportation and electricity sectors.  We have taken action to limit the growth of emissions on hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs).  We have implemented strict new rules on emissions for coal fired electricity plants and are the first country in the world to ban construction of traditional coal plants.  I will work with local and regional partners such as the Columbia Basin Trust and support their Environment Strategic Plan which includes 5 goals, Water, Ecosystems, Reduce greenhouse gas emissions, Environmental Education and Stewardship and Environmental capacity building to strengthen communities.

Christine Yahn:

With climate change humans need to develop the ability to adapt in a way that works with nature’s shifting and evolving cycles as opposed to fighting against it. There are many things we can do on an international and national level to reduce pollution through green incentives and holding polluters accountable by removing policy that protects them and sending them through the judicial system. However on a local level I would implement permaculture and agriforestry practices to harmonize with changes to climate and ecology. Planting along the lakes and rivers to reduce erosion, planting diversity in the forests to reduce the monoculture of pine trees to reduce issues like pine beetle damage…when you have a variety of flora and fauna pests are far less of an issue. Working with partnerships with biologists, entomologists,and other specialists to develop plans and programs to create sustainable systems in our ecosystem. Food security will become a pressing issue with climate changes and we seriously need to work hard to create a local food system. I see this through supporting our farmers, making land available to our young farmers who are the next generation of food security. The average age of our farmers is 65 years old and we have a surge of youth who are interested but do not have the land. I would work to build green houses, community gardens, green spaces and food forests with communities.

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