By Andrei Miler
With the Federal election right around the corner, political leaders are taking cheap jabs at their opponents, Canadians are hurrying to decide their favourite candidate, and many are preoccupied with the American election campaign. Amidst the media coverage of senate scandals, the Duffy trial, and debates about the Canadian response to the refugee crisis, we listen to the candidates’ opinions on Canada’s major issues, their proposals, and what they plan to do to improve Canada. They present views on Canada’s economy, infrastructure, transportation, health care, and education. Despite the fact that voters consider the environment and climate change the number two priority behind the economy, last and certainly least is the environment. Although, environmental activists such as David Suzuki and Al Gore have shaped the general population’s appreciation of environmental issues, current approaches to environmental issues are still not enough. With the federal election imminent, I thought I’d share the leaders’ take on Canada’s environment challenges.
The Green Party
The Green Party, under the command of Elizabeth May, has by far the most drastic environmental platform. The Green Party promises to reduce carbon emissions by 38% by the year 2025, with the ultimate goal of an 83% reduction in emissions by 2050. The Green Party also plans to slowly stop investing in the Alberta Tar Sands and to increase investment in renewable energy and clean tech sectors.
The Conservatives’ promise to approve the oil sands pipeline, move to a low-carbon economy by 2050, and eliminate use of fossil fuels by the end of the century. Sounds contradictory, doesn’t it?
The NDP, unlike the Conservatives, plans to continue opposing the oil sands pipeline, to introduce a market price on carbon emissions, and to redirect one billion dollars from fossil fuel funds to investment in the clean energy sector. Thomas Mulcair, those are some big promises to fulfill. Can you keep them?
According to John McKay (Liberal MP, Scarborough-Guildwood), the Liberals claim they will bring real change to Canada’s Environment and Climate. Justin Trudeau vowed that a Liberal government would mean cleaner technology and renewable energy. The Liberals would invest $200 million more in annual funding to promote clean technology and another $100 million with companies who have a proven track record in supporting the commercialization of clean energy. Sounds promising, right?
Trudeau has also promised that he would work with the provinces to establish a plan for reducing Canada’s collective carbon footprint and for completing a robust species-at-risk recovery program. We can hope it will actually happen. Trudeau also claims that, if elected, Liberals will work to protect 10 per cent of Canada’s marine and coastal areas, and strengthen the protection of the Great Lakes, St. Lawrence River and Lake Winnipeg.
According to Trudeau, the Liberals have laid out a vision to fight carbon emission while creating clean jobs in the future. In contrast, the Conservatives still don’t take climate change seriously. Stephen Harper has refused to take action on pollution, slashed environmental protections, and allowed other countries to take the lead on creating clean jobs. There’s the cheap jab at Mr. Harper. He claims “Harper just doesn’t get it.” The Liberals, on the other hand, do.
On October 19th, Canadians will head to the poll. Consider asking your parents (or if you’re eligible, ask yourself), whether or not they have thought about the environmental platforms the parties have proposed. Future generations will be affected by the decisions made by politicians.
Here’s a nice review (from The National Post) of the parties’ platforms: Everything you need to know about the parties’ platforms, from taxes and terrorism to the environment