Cambridge – Local Candidates on Environmental Policy
By: Amanda Smith, M.P.S.
Responses compiled by Amanda Smith, M.P.S.
With Election Day quickly approaching on October 21st, it’s important to understand where your local candidates stand on the issues that are important to you. When it comes to the topic of climate change, you deserve to know what actions they vow to take. We’ve reached out to every candidate in each of the five local ridings asking them one core question on climate action:
“What federal policies/actions (such as carbon pricing, electric vehicle incentives, etc.) do you think have the greatest impact in enabling greenhouse gas emission reductions?
Would you work to implement those policies and actions?”
We’ve compiled their verbatim responses to this question into a series of blog posts so you can understand exactly where they stand.
Responses from the Cambridge candidates are listed below in alphabetical order by Party name. Click on a Party name to jump directly to their response:
Conservative Party – Sunny Attwal
Candidate did not respond.
Green Party – Michele Braniff
“On May 8, 2019, the Green Party of Canada announced Mission Possible, a 20 step climate action plan that starts with declaring a climate emergency. The second step is for an inner cabinet of all parties to provide government leadership to deal with the declared emergency (like the successful World War II non-partisan cabinets in Canada and England). Climate change is an enduring and complex problem which requires long term planning and full collaboration across party lines. Mission Possible was designed to be a non-partisan blue print for climate action. If sufficient Green Party members are elected to the House of Commons to form or influence a minority government, the Green Party Mission Possible is ready for all-party collaboration to achieve Canadian non-partisan government leadership so that Canada can meet our commitments from the Paris Accord. Remember that Mike Schreiner (Green MPP facing a Conservative majority government) was successful in securing unanimous support at Queen’s Park for Bill 71, Paris Galt Morraine Conservation Act. The Green Party is committed to the environment and to doing politics more collaboratively and effectively.
As a Green Party Member of Parliament, I would advocate, rally support and negotiate support for immediate climate action. Mission Possible is a fully costed, comprehensive pan and each of the 20 steps meets the criteria of a SMART goal: specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and time-limited. Mission Possible is an action plan which Canadians can afford, and it offers complete and comprehensive accountability; it will be easy to report and check on progress so that Canadians can see how well we are doing on achieving the goals for the 20 steps on schedule.
Mission Possible meets or exceeds the standards set by the “people’s platform” of the Canadian Green New Deal. Highlights of the 20 steps include:
- setting stringent new targets of 60% 2005 levels by 2030 and zero by 2050
- maintaining carbon pricing
- ban fracking
- green up and modernize the grid
- plug into electric vehicles by ensuring cross-country charging stations for full implementation by 2040
- getting back on track with VIA rail, light rail and electric buses
- banning oil imports
Mission Possible is collaborative, across party lines in Ottawa and includes new partnerships for renewables with Indigenous Peoples and partnerships with municipalities, schools and universities for tree planting, solar panels, heat pumps and retro-fitting of buildings. Mission Possible is also compassionate for people and jobs and includes transition planning to support workers in the non-renewable energy sector. The plan prioritizes adaptation to protect agriculture, fishing, and forestry from climate change. Climate Action requires collaborative government leadership and a comprehensive plan and the Green Party has a blueprint for both!”
Liberal Party – Bryan May
“The Liberal plan for the environment combines a number of key measures to incentivize a transition away from fossil fuels, disincentive pollution and produce revenue to heal it, build resilience to the effects of climate change we’re already seeing (floods, wildfires), and preserve Canadian wildlife.
Putting a price on pollution, creating an electric vehicle incentive, doubling the amount of protected wildlife and coastal areas in Canada, investing in clean growth and renewables, working with provincial and municipal partners to create green building standards, and banning products like single-use plastics, are all policies that we’ve advanced in the past four years and that we’re going to continue to pursue if re-elected.
Recently, we announced that we would be planting a net additional two billion trees in Canada. Wildlife preservation and revitalization is not only important to keep Canada’s ecosystem healthy, but also to increase our carbon sink capacity to reduce emissions.
Incentivizing lifestyle and business changes, disincentiving destructive business practices, improving the resilience of our homes and communities to the effects of climate change, and preserving and revitalizing Canadian wilderness are the key aspects of our plan to halt the effects of climate change. If re-elected, I will continue to pursue and support policies that reduce emissions and preserve Canada’s environment.”
NDP – Scott Hamilton
“New Democrats acknowledge the reality of the Climate Crisis. It’s caused by human activity, and there is very little time to make the deep systemic changes required to meet this challenge effectively and head-on. The NDP has a clear plan that takes decisive action to protect our planetary and ecological systems, deliver clean air and water, and reduce the greenhouse gas emissions that threaten our climate, our health, our economy, and the future of our planet.
In our first mandate, a New Democrat government will make new investments of over $15 billion to put in place programs to reduce emissions and create good jobs all across the country. This will include:
- $350 million to support Indigenous rights and environmental protection efforts: (additional major investments in clean water, housing, and education are part of our plan);
- $400 million to drive federal leadership on emissions reductions;
- $1.5 billion to support workers, industries, research, and innovation;
- $2.5 billion to create good jobs helping communities adapt to climate change and reduce emissions, including though energy efficient retrofits;
- $6.5 billion in making transit and transportation cleaner, more affordable, and more convenient for Canadians;
- $3.5 billion to spur the transition to renewable energy, in addition to funds leveraged through
- the Canadian Climate Bank; and $400 million to support conservation, waste reduction, and protection of lands and water.
We will :
- adopt science based GHG emissions reduction targets for 2030 that are in line with stabilizing global temperatures at 1.5 degrees Celsius- and be accountable for meeting them
- utilize carbon pricing to reduce carbon emissions, as one tool among many, with no exemptions for big polluters
- Eliminate fossil fuel subsidies immediately and get Canada powered by net 100% carbon free electricity by 2030
- Create at least 300,000 good jobs building the clean energy future in the next 4 years, including building zero-emissions electric vehicles here at home
- Save $900 per year on home energy costs with energy efficient upgrades
- Boost clean tech research and manufacturing with Buy Canadian procurement
- Make all new buildings in Canada net-zero ready by 2030, and complete energy efficiency retrofits on all existing housing stock in Canada by 2050
- Get more zero-emissions vehicles on the road, with charging stations all across Canada; electrify our transit fleets by 2030, and work towards fare-free transit with interested municipalities
New Democrats envision a future with good jobs for all in green industries, whether manufacturing electric vehicles, or retrofitting/building green homes and buildings, or bringing new sources of sustainable energy on line. Where we power our cities and homes through green wind and solar sources, electric-powered public transit is accessible to all, in an economy where all have a fair share and a stake in the outcome. Every choice we make and action we take determines whether we maintain global temperature rise below 1.5 degrees Celcius and a livable planet for future generations, or not.
We’re all in this together.”
People’s Party – David Haskell
“Technological advancement is the key to reducing CO2 in the atmosphere. Most people don’t realize that the Western nation to most significantly decrease its output of CO2 (a partial cause, though not the greatest cause, of global warming) has been the United States. The US has no carbon tax and has not signed the Paris Accord on reducing CO2 emissions. What happened? All of the reductions in the US came about because of technological advances.
What about a carbon tax? As the majority of economists studying climate change readily admit, a carbon tax will only work if all countries of the world, especially the biggest emitters, China, India, and the US, adopted the measure (and this won’t happen).
Further, they insist that for the tax to be effective in changing behaviour and reducing carbon intensive activities the tax must be in the $300 per tonne range. In Canada the tax is just $20 per tonne of carbon. The tax in Canada is too low to have an effect. However, if raised to the level needed to have environmental impact, it would cause a recession in the economy, lead to massive business failure, and personal hardship for the poorest Canadians (who could not afford to drive to work or heat their homes). In France where the tax was raised slightly above the Canadian levels riots broke out and the Yellow Vest movement launched. The government of France cut the tax.
My views, and the views of my party about Climate Change and CO2 align with some of the best academic opinion. It is not popular with those promoting climate alarmism but it is highly credible research.
Canadians are not getting both sides of the story on global warming. I would encourage readers of my answer to search out the YouTube videos of Climate Economist Dr. Bjorn Lomborg at the Copenhagen Consensus Centre. Also, please watch the videos of Prof. Richard Lindzen (especially his appearance on TVO’s The Agenda or his five minute piece on Prager University). Dr. Lindzen is a world authority on global warming and climate. He is an atmospheric physicist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), has published more than 200 scientific papers and books on climate. Importantly, he was a lead author of Chapter 7, “Physical Climate Processes and Feedbacks,” of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s (IPCC) Third Assessment Report on Climate Change. The IPCC is the United Nations body charged with monitoring climate change.
You may have heard that the PPC is not in favour of extreme measures to correct global warming and that part is correct. What you likely haven’t heard is that we do have very important priorities for the environment. The difference between our priorities and those of the other parties is that we can actually accomplish our priorities! While respecting the taxpayer! As a government we will immediately implement practical solutions to make Canada’s air, water and soil cleaner, including bringing clean drinking water to remote First Nations communities.”
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