Five candidates took part in Monday’s debate at the Nelson United Church that focused on climate change. Photo: Tyler Harper

Kootenay-Columbia candidates debate climate change

Candidates had little original to say during the two-hour event

Kootenay-Columbia candidates would rather voters check online for their parties’ climate change policies — it turns out they don’t have much original to say about it.

A climate change debate at Nelson United Church on Monday night failed to elicit any original ideas from candidates, nor did they address local issues related to the environment.

Local topics such as wildfire mitigation, water conservation, flood and landslide risk, caribou repopulation and dwindling salmon stocks were ignored by candidates during the event.

The ongoing Columbia River Treaty negotiations? Just one candidate mentioned the talks, and only then briefly in their closing statement.

Instead, what the audience heard over two hours was five candidates going on about their party’s policies with little personal insight. Three candidates directed the audience to their websites for more information — Liberal candidate Robin Goldsbury mentioned her own site three times.

The event, organized by the Citizens’ Climate Lobby, the West Kootenay EcoSociety, the Mir Centre for Peace and Fridays for Future, got off to an awkward start.

Wayne Stetski of the NDP, Abra Brynne of the Green Party candidate and Goldsbury each had seats at a table. Rick Stewart of the People’s Party and Trev Miller of the Animal Protection Party arrived without previously notifying organizers, which led to the audience being asked to vote if Miller and Stewart should take part.

The audience voted them in, and the pair sat at chairs on either end of the table despite moderator Katherine Oldfield’s reluctance to admit them.

Conservative Party candidate Rob Morrison told organizers he was ill and could not attend. Morrison has yet to attend any election forums in Nelson.

On the opening question about a proposed end to $3.3 billion in annual fossil fuel subsidies, Stetski, Goldsbury and Brynne talked up the importance of investing in education and job transitioning for employees of the oil and gas industry.

Little also separated Stetski, Brynne and Goldsbury on the next question about the need for a non-partisan approach (they all agree working together is a good idea).

There were finally some different answers on a question about how to bring about 100 per cent renewable energy at the community level.

Stetski and Brynne spoke on the need to invest in electric vehicle infrastructure, while Brynne got a rare reaction from the crowd with a suggestion to expand passenger rail in Canada. Goldsbury meanwhile defended the Liberal record, without specifying which part of that record she was defending.

A third question asked for three ways parties can reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 80 per cent by 2030, but the candidates all ignored the requested number of answers. Brynne referred the audience to the Greens’ 20-step plan (without saying what it was), Stetski said the NDP is focused on a 50 per cent reduction, and Goldsbury again referred the audience to her website.

Several questions submitted by the audience were also asked on topics such as transportation, greenhouse gas emissions and climate justice for Indigenous nations, the latter of which elicited the only negative reaction of the evening from the crowd when Stewart said he prefers to treat First Nations people the same as all other Canadians.

Miller made a point of walking back and forth in front of the candidates whenever he had the microphone and largely stuck to points on animal rights advocacy.

Stewart’s party opposes the Paris Accord and does not acknowledge the planet is facing an environmental crisis.

Student debate

Stetski, Brynne and Goldsbury also took part in a debate Tuesday morning at Trafalgar Middle School.

The trio took questions from students on topics including mental health services, how candidates got their start in politics, Justin Trudeau’s blackface scandal, wildfire mitigation and First Nations’ access to clean drinking water.

Trafalgar and Hume School students took part, and all questions were asked by students.

Related:

Candidates talk food security at Cranbrook forum

Candidates pitch visions, plans at Cranbrook election forum

Candidates field questions at Indigenous issues debate

VIDEO: Kootenay-Columbia candidates stop talking, start listening at reverse forum



tyler.harper@nelsonstar.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

 

L-R: Katherine Oldfield moderated the debate, which included candidates Trev Miller, Abra Brynne, Robin Goldsbury, Wayne Stetski and Rick Stewart. Photo: Tyler Harper

Green Party candidate Abra Brynne speaks to students Tuesday morning at Trafalgar Middle School. Photo: Tyler Harper

A student questions candidates for their thoughts on Justin Trudeau’s blackface scandal. Photo: Tyler Harper

Liberal candidate Robin Goldsbury takes a selfie with a Trafalgar student. Photo: Tyler Harper

Just Posted

Columbia Basin Trust shuffles board, new leaders at the table

The Trust is governed by a 12-member Board of Directors

BREAKING: Golden Rockets part ways with head coach

It’s not clear why Jeremy Blumes was let go from the team

Golden’s unsung heroes help keep traffic flowing along Highway 1

At the height of winter, highway closures on Highway 1 can prove… Continue reading

VIDEO: Canada’s first presumptive case of coronavirus officially confirmed

Both patient and wife arrived on a China Southern Airlines flight after having been to Wuhan

Swapping grape varieties can help winemakers adapt to climate change: UBC study

Report says 56% of wine-grape-growing regions would be lost if global climate warms by 2 C

Alberta premier wants feds to approve Teck mine for benefit of First Nations

Kenney: ‘Surely [reconciliation] means saying yes to economic development for First Nations people’

Police search for man who went missing from Vernon hotel

Jay Rosenberger, 38, was last seen Friday

NDP suggests easing secondary housing rules for B.C. farmland

Lana Popham proposes guest homes not just for relatives

After four sexual assaults in the same B.C. park, RCMP ask women not to walk alone

Four sexual assaults took place in Glen Park over two months

BC Place lights up in purple and yellow to honour Kobe Bryant

Kobe Bryant, his 13-year-old daughter and seven others were killed in a helicopter crash

Whistleblower says Iranian-Americans questioned at Peace Arch crossing were targeted

Immigration lawyer says response from Customs Border Protection is a ‘total cover up’

Most Read