Kootenay-Columbia MP Wayne Stetski addresses a crowd at the Nelson United Church. Climate change policy is a major part of the NDP’s platform ahead of this fall’s federal election. Photo: Tyler Harper

NDP bring Green New Deal to the Kootenays

MPs Wayne Stetski and Peter Julian held climate change talks in Nelson, Cranbrook and Revelstoke

Peter Julian thinks about the year 2030 every day.

That’s the deadline international scientists have given the planet to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and keep global warming from climbing more than 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial era temperatures in order to avoid cataclysmic disaster brought about by climate change.

Julian said reminders of climate change, whether it is the recent wildfires in the Amazon, flooding in Turkey or rising temperatures in Canada, are too pervasive now to ignore.

“I think because every day there’s another example of what we’re sliding into — we’re sliding into the abyss,” he said.

Julian is the New Democratic Party’s federal house leader, an MP for New Westminster-Burnaby and one of the proponents of the party’s version of Green New Deal, which he pitched to a crowd in Nelson on Wednesday.

The Green New Deal is an American proposal released in February by Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Senator Ed Markey makes climate change the driving priority behind extensive societal changes including not just environmental law but also overhauls to sectors such as education, employment and transportation.

It’s also a template for the NDP’s made-in-Canada version.

In April, Julian put forward a motion in the House of Commons that called for Canada to create its own Green New Deal. That agreement would set out to achieve net-zero greenhouse gas emissions, create millions of green economy jobs, make investments in infrastructure and industry, guarantee access to clean water, air, healthy food and nature, and address historic and present inequalities suffered by First Nations, Metis, Inuit peoples as well as vulnerable communities.

The motion is also the backbone of the NDP’s election plan ahead of the federal election expected to be called for October 21.

Julian and Kootenay-Columbia MP Wayne Stetski held public consultation meetings in Cranbrook, Revelstoke and Nelson this week to hear feedback on the plan. Stetski, who is running for re-election, said he thought the tour was educational.

“One of the reasons this kind of an evening is so important is because I learn, and we get additional ideas. …,” said Stetski. “The Green New Deal is great, it’s an aspirational plan and we have to continue to add the details on how we’re going to get there.”

There were party faithful present at the meeting, but also plenty of skeptics.

Julian and Stetski took questions on a wide variety of topics including job transitioning for oil and gas workers, forestry and mining reform, single-use plastics, food security, water rights and animal agriculture. The pair also faced criticism for past NDP positions on Alberta’s tar sands, the party’s reluctance to work with the Green Party on strategic voting

Julian described the NDP’s plan as a working document that would be informed by meetings such as the one in the Nelson United Church.

“My experience has been from meetings that people are bringing their deepest thoughts, their experience, their professional experience and credentials, their activism, the work they do on the ground,” said Julian.

“People are really concerned. So tonight was a group of highly mobilized people.”

Julian said his eyes were opened to the climate change crisis in 2005. He was one year into his first term of office when he toured New Orleans shortly after the city was devastated by Hurricane Katrina.

In retrospect, he says, Katrina was the start of climate change being connected in mainstream media to environmental disasters.

“It comes up every day now and I think for more and more people it’s part of the daily conversation. I can’t tell you the number of times people just raise it casually, often worried, often concerned, wanting action to be taken. That’s why we’ve put together our approach to the climate emergency.”

Related:

Canada’s failure to fight climate change ‘disturbing,’ environment watchdog says

Hotter, larger fires turning Canada’s boreal forest into carbon source: research

Environment groups warned saying climate change is real could be seen as partisan



tyler.harper@nelsonstar.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

 

NDP federal house leader Peter Julian speaks to a crowd Wednesday in Nelson about the Green New Deal. Photo: Tyler Harper

Just Posted

Snowfall warning for Kootenay and Paulson passes

Up to 30 cm expected in mountain passes Saturday and Sunday.

Music at the Hangar

On Sunday November 17 at 2 p.m., the Golden Seniors Centre will… Continue reading

Moose tests positive for Chronic Wasting Disease in northwest Montana

This is the first time the disease has been detected in the species in Montana

BCTF rejects mediator’s recommendations for settlement

Negotiations between B.C. teachers and the province will continue

Kicking Horse Canyon Project Phase 4 team presents highway closure plan to Golden

By Keri Sculland With files from The Golden Star Golden residents had… Continue reading

Bye bye Bei Bei: Giant panda born in U.S. zoo heads to China

Panda heads back to China as part of cooperate breeding program

$2.9 million judgment in B.C. blueberry farm sabotage lawsuit

The new owners saw most of their farm ruined just as they took possession

B.C. to more than double sales tax on vaping products

Tax up from 7 to 20 per cent, tobacco tax up two cents

29 B.C. students in Hong Kong amid tense protests, university siege

Eight UVic and 21 UBC students still in Hong Kong

‘Midget’ no more: Sweeping division name changes coming to minor hockey in Canada

Alpha-numeric division names will be used for the 2020-2021 season and beyond

Ottawa urges CN and union to continue talks as 3,200 workers go on strike

The rail workers began their strike after failing to reach a deal by a midnight deadline

Student tells B.C. Supreme Court she wasn’t allowed to leave Indigenous smudging ceremony

Girl cross-examined Monday in Nanaimo courtroom, case continues Tuesday

Trans Mountain received $320M in government subsidies in first half 2019: report

The money included $135.8 million in direct subsidies and $183.8 million in indirect subsidies

UPDATED: Vancouver Island’s Joe gets suspended sentence in Teddy the dog cruelty case

Melissa Tooshley expected in court on Thursday in same case

Most Read