Kitchener-Conestoga – 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 Kitchener-Conestoga candidates are listed below in alphabetical order by Party name. Click on a Party name to jump directly to their response:
Conservative Party – Harold Albrecht
“We should all be concerned about climate change – about the kind of planet we will leave to future generations. A Real Plan to Protect. Our Environment is built on three guiding principles:
- Green technology, not taxes.
- A cleaner and greener natural environment.
- Taking the climate change fight global.
We can actually create more jobs in Canada through technological growth while at the same time lowering global emissions.
A Conservative Government will introduce the Green Homes Tax Credit, a two-year plan that will encourage Canadians to improve their homes with emissions-reducing technologies.
We will also:
- Export our environmental excellence and take the climate change flight global.
- Reinforce the protection against pests and invasive species that are threatening our habitats.
- Reinstate constructive consultations on protected areas with stakeholders and Indigenous groups that were cancelled by the Trudeau Liberals.
- Reinstate funding for wetland, watershed, and fisheries conservation also revoked by the Liberals.
- Reconvene the Hunting and Angling Advisory Panel the Liberals disbanded, so that those with the greatest interest in protecting species and habitats can share their expertise in how it will be done.
- Take real action on reducing plastic waste by harmonizing recycling standards across provinces and working with industry to cut down on excessive packaging.
- Protect our waterways against wastewater dumping and work with municipalities to end their practice of dumping billions of liters of raw sewage into our waterways.”
Green Party – Stephanie Goertz
“As producing and burning fossil fuels is the largest source of emissions, we need to keep fossil fuels in the ground, and retool society to run on non-polluting, renewable energy sources. In order to transition to a ‘zero emissions’ world, we will establish a cross-party inner cabinet to deal with climate change to limit the destructive impact of partisan politics which has thwarted strong climate action for two decades. Its mandate would be to ensure that Canada does its part to limit global warming to a level civilization can survive, and mitigate the impacts of climate change on Canadians.
Green Party MP’s will
- Maximize emissions reductions in all transportation through the use of sustainably produced biofuels, made from waste wood by-products and used vegetable oils, where electric and fuel cells not viable, as is the case for fishing, mining and forestry equipment.
- Develop a Green Freight Transport program to address greenhouse gas emissions and pollution in partnership with the freight industry, shipping companies and delivery businesses. Fund the re-rout-ing of tracks for freight and rail yards away from populated areas and strengthen Canada’s rail safety rules, giving regulators the tools they need to protect neighbourhoods from train shipments of hazardous materials.
- Change the national building code to require new construction to meet net-zero emission standards by 2030 and work with the provinces to enact it.
- Reject any new pipelines, or coal, oil or gas drilling or mining, including offshore wells, will be approved. Existing oil and gas operations will continue on a declining basis, with bitumen production phased out between 2030 and 2035. Hydraulic fracturing (fracking) operations will be banned outright due to impacts on groundwater quality, methane release and seismic activity.
- Implement a major ramp-up of renewable electricity. By 2030, 100 percent of Canada’s electricity will come from renewable sources. This includes getting remote and northern communities off diesel generators.
- To enable renewable electricity to flow across provincial and territorial boundaries, implement a national electrical grid strategy, including building connections between eastern Manitoba and western Ontario, and upgrading connections between New Brunswick and Nova Scotia. This will be paid for with money now allocated for expanding the Trans Mountain pipeline ($1.6 billion announced in December 2018, towards an estimated $10-13 billion), and create thousands of jobs nation-wide.
- Launch a massive energy efficiency retrofits of residential, commercial and institutional buildings. To make a renewable energy transition possible, we have to eliminate energy waste. According to trade union research, this will create over four million jobs.
A Green government will pass into law a Climate Change Act requiring a 60 percent cut in climate-changing emissions below 2005 levels by 2030, reaching net zero in 2050.
Interim targets would be set at five-year intervals beginning with 2025. To achieve this, the government of Canada must utilize every tool in the federal toolkit, including regulations, public spending, and pollution pricing.“
Liberal Party – Tim Louis
“As a father of two, my wife Brenda and I are continually thinking about our children’s’ future, and the planet we will leave behind for both of them. There is no issue more critical to our future than fighting climate change, and I will be a champion in Kitchener–Conestoga if elected.
Our Liberal team has a strong plan to both protect the environment and grow the economy. The Liberal government has and will continue to take action to reduce emissions and adapt to climate change across all sectors—including industry, construction, transportation and agriculture.
This means using clean electricity to power our homes, building resilient green infrastructure, protecting our clean drinking water sources, and expanding protected areas and parks with new conservation measures such as species protection and tree planting.
Over the last four years, the Liberal government has made significant progress on protecting our environment and tackling climate change by:
- Putting a price on pollution, to fight climate change while putting money back in the pockets of millions of Canadian families;
- Launching the Oceans Protection Plan, the single-largest investment in Canadian history to protect our oceans;
- Taking real action to ban harmful single-use plastics by 2021;
- Investing in better public transit in communities across Canada;
- Supporting renewable energy and investing in energy-efficient buildings;
- Declaring a national climate emergency;
- Phasing out coal.
Unfortunately, Conservative politicians want Canada to go back to the Stephen Harper years of inaction when polluting our environment was free. We have to do better –– the next generation is counting on each of us. Canadians want a government that takes climate change and protecting our environment very seriously. We have been working with all Canadians to make sure our children and our grandchildren inherit cleaner air, a healthy environment, and a more prosperous future.
I know there is still much more work to do and, if elected as your Member of Parliament for Kitchener–Conestoga, I am committed to championing the environment and fighting climate change for not just my two children, but for all future generations.”
NDP – Raini de Wet
Candidate did not respond.
People’s Party – Koltyn Wallar
“We have seen that carbon taxes and “carbon pricing” in British Columbia, which they have had for the past eleven years, have been wholly ineffective at reducing GHG emissions. Electric vehicle incentives hardly fix the problem as well; GHG emissions still result from the production of the lithium batteries required in electric vehicles.
The current GHG emission reduction targets for the Waterloo Region are unrealistic and would require a complete re-ordering of society and the economy to achieve them. There is no policy the federal government should introduce or pitch that would target the Waterloo Region; that would mean overstepping the boundaries of jurisdiction.
Moreover, raising the carbon tax, as would be necessary even to come close to currently accepted reduction targets, would put immense strain on our economy.
When the 2007 IPCC report admits that “future climate states cannot be predicted”, it’s worth it to take pause. The margins of error are so wide on climate models that we cannot accurately predict the climate’s state twenty years from now. Additionally, this means that we cannot accurately gauge the positive or negative changes of present-day policies. That is important to keep in mind: we cannot know now what effect various carbon taxes and green subsidies will have.
Therefore, the People’s Party of Canada is skeptical of traditional “green” policies. A People’s Party government would let private businesses and organizations develop profitable and efficient solutions. The free market is a powerful maker of change; when unleashed, it is the most exceptional agent of innovation in the world. We would also respect the concept of Confederation; if provinces wished to implement carbon taxes, a People’s Party government would not interfere.
The PPC stance is a principled one. It rejects climate alarmism, ineffective policies, and inaccurate computer models. It promotes the ability of private businesses and organizations, and that of private individuals, to make the changes and choices they see fit.”
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