Waterloo – Local Candidates on Environmental Policy
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 Waterloo candidates are listed below in alphabetical order by Party name. Click on a Party name to jump directly to their response:
Conservative Party – Jerry Zhang
Candidate did not respond.
Green Party – Kirsten Wright
“There is really not much mystery about what works or what is in our platform. I am running because I want to implement those policies.
Carbon pricing works, as economist have shown, is a necessary part of any solution, and it is part of our policy. Because a carbon fee alone would hurt families and reduce economic activity, we call for a carbon dividend and a dividend returning all the revenue to people equally. We need to apply this fee to all all sources of carbon dioxide pollution. The fee must rise over time. Because of the dividend this is almost completely painless for almost all Canadians
We will set legal emissions limits and a carbon fee to ensure that CO2 emissions decline by 60% by 2030.
We know the fossil fuel industry is a dead end for Canada. It actually inhibits our development. We will immediately end all subsidies for fossil fuels, drive the development of a national electricity grid, and take steps to prevent new fossil fuel production and the creation of fossil fuel infrastructure. The relatively few workers involved in extracting fossil fuels are needed to shut down orphaned oil and gas wells that are threatening to bankrupt prairie governments. Fossil fuel workers are needed turn these provincial liabilities into income-generating renewable energy sources, ideally in partnership with First Nations.
Workers form the fossil fuel industry are also needed in Ontario where we have labour shortages today. They are needed to retrofit our housing stock so we can save all the money we waste on natural gas or heating oil. Retrofitting alone will create over 4 million jobs. Our labour market policies support our plan to build a Green economy. We will work with provinces to revise the national building code so that all new buildings meet net-zero emission standards by 2030. We will develop programs to support retrofitting families in retrofitting older buildings
We will phase out all sales of internal combustion engines by 2030. This is relatively easy, because electric vehicles will soon be cheaper than ICUs. They are already better in any ways.
We will promote cheap, zero-emission public transit, and invest $600 million in 2020-21 to develop regional rail networks and strengthen rail connections between regions. The amount will rise to $720 million by 2023. We will build those long overdue high-speed rail lines in the Toronto-Ottawa-Quebec City and Calgary-Edmonton corridors.
We will accelerate agriculture’s transition to regenerative agriculture that increases carbon storage in soils.
And of course, we will energetically support new renewable energy generation, energy storage for grids, charging stations for vehicles,
Our actions and our rising national carbon fee will let us pressure other governments. We will push for carbon prices for traded goods and lead an international effort to implement bring international shipping and aviation into the Paris framework. We will work for an international tax for aviation and shipping fuels earmarked for the Global Climate Fund.
The Green Party is the only federal party with an inspiring vision for a Canada built on a clean economy, and we’re the only party with a comprehensive suite of policies and approaches to make it happen. From aggressively retrofitting existing buildings to make them more efficient, accelerating our transition to renewable energy, or re-investing in efficient rail infrastructure, we have a whole slate of policies and actions that we will work to implement.
The shift to a post-fossil fuel economy presents the single biggest business opportunity in human history, and we can take advantage of it while improving how we live or how we get around, opening up new investment opportunities, and making our country cleaner and greener for future generations.“
Liberal Party – Bardish Chagger
“Having represented the Riding of Waterloo over the past four years as Member of Parliament, it’s clear that Canadians want action against climate change and its harmful impacts today and on future generations. In 2015, we ran on a commitment to put a price on pollution because it is both the smart and right thing to do – especially for our children and grandchildren.
This price on pollution signals to big businesses and consumers alike that it is no longer free to pollute in Canada. It’s time to innovate, invest, and transition to the green economy. We also brought forward the Climate Action Incentive which puts money back into the pockets of Canadians, not businesses, to make sure transitioning to cleaner choices is more affordable.
Canada is warming twice as fast as the global average, which means we must work with all Canadians to fight climate change, cut pollution, and protect our environment. Over the past four years, we invested in clean technologies to help build a healthier environment for our children and grandchildren, while creating new jobs and opportunities for Canadians to provide for their families.
On zero-emission vehicles (ZEVs), our Liberal government invested in the further deployment of ZEVs by providing $62.5 million through Budget 2016 for infrastructure and demonstration projects. Budget 2017 commits an additional $120 million to deploy and demonstrate charging and refuelling infrastructure. Investments like this will make it easier for Canadian zero-emission vehicle drivers to travel farther, enabling them to do their part to address our climate change challenge.
Recognizing that we’ve made progress, we continue to work with environmentalists, economists, academics, Canadians, and so forth as we have a lot more work to do. In our costed platform, we are committed to building on our comprehensive plan for the environment. Our new commitments include:
- Setting five-year, legally-binding milestones to achieve net-zero emissions
- Planting an additional two billion trees over the next ten years
- Introducing a Just Transition Act to give workers the ability to succeed in a clean economy
- Cutting corporate taxes in half for companies that develop and manufacture zero-emissions technologies
- Incentivizing choices for Canadians to make their homes more energy efficient
Liberals know that if you don’t have a plan for the environment, you can’t have a plan for the economy. The cost of inaction is huge, and that’s why we are acting now to incentivize Canadians to reduce their carbon footprint and make greener choices. In this election, Canadians have an important choice to make: will we put at risk the progress we’ve made, or will we continue to move forward? I hope we choose to protect our environment and lead in the green economy.
Our government brought back the long-form census, unmuzzled scientists, and returned to evidence-based decision making. I encourage you to check out the progress we’ve made and our plan to keep making greater progress, for the better at www.chooseforward.ca.
Thank you again for participating in the democratic process. We need to choose action over inaction.”
NDP – Lori Campbell
“As the NDP candidate for Waterloo, I believe that not only do governments have to put a price on carbon, but they need to roll out additional environmental programs and incentives to lower our greenhouse gas emissions in line with the Paris Agreement targets.
New Democrats have long championed action on climate change. We’re proud of Jack Layton’s trailblazing Climate Change Accountability Act as well as NDP MP Linda Duncan’s important work on an Environmental Bills of Rights.
It’s time to fight like our future depends on it. That’s why I am proud to champion the NDP’s bold plan to address the climate crisis. Our plan will take on big polluters, create thousands of new jobs, and protect our planet for future generations.
Here are some highlights from our plan. An NDP-led government will:
- revise Canada’s 2030 GHG target to make emissions reductions in line with what science says is necessary to prevent catastrophic climate change
- work with Indigenous people as full and equal partners in the fight against climate change
- immediately end oil and gas company subsidies
- ensure all new buildings in Canada are net-zero ready by 2030 and complete energy efficiency retrofits on all existing housing stock in Canada by 2050
- expand access to training and re-training for a just transition to the new job market
- create an independent Climate Accountability Office to do regular audits of progress towards our climate goals
- create a Canadian Climate Bank to spur investment in the low carbon economy
- move towards free public transit, bring back critical rural and northern transit routes, and invest in higher frequency, higher speed rail
- provide easier access to buy and charge zero emissions vehicles by providing a rebate on the purchase of electric vehicles
- ban single-use plastics
- protect at least 30% of our land, freshwater, and oceans by 2030
Personally, as a Cree-Metis woman, my obligation to care for our world goes beyond my political affiliation. I am proud to be a caretaker of our land and will bring that philosophy to Ottawa as your MP for Waterloo.”
People’s Party – Erika Traub
Candidate did not respond.
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