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ELECTION: Local candidates tackle question of climate change

Simcoe North candidates asked to weigh in on recent scientific report that warns of a 'code red for humanity' if nothing is done

Editor's note: Ahead of the Sept. 20 federal election, OrilliaMatters contacted the five candidates in Simcoe North, asking each to answer, in 200 words or less, five key questions. In Part 4 of our 5-part series, candidates weigh in on climate change. Tomorrow, the candidates will be asked about the housing crisis. For more information about the local election race, visit our CanadaVotes 2021 page.

Question: Recently, a major scientific report warned of increasingly extreme heat waves, droughts and flooding, and a key temperature limit being broken in just over a decade. Scientists say it’s "a code red for humanity." What tangible ways will your party address climate change in the short- and long-term.

Answer from Green Party candidate Krystal Brooks:
I recognize that we are in a climate emergency and we need strong climate action to reduce harmful emissions and ensure the integrity of ecosystems through preserving biodiversity and the resilience of all life supporting systems, both living and non- living.

Acknowledging Indigenous peoples as the caretakers of the land and it’s vital resources is an important part of allowing space for climate action.

There is no reliable scale that will accurately measure the  future consequences of green methods we enact today.

We have policies ready to be put in place that have not been attempted and I believe that these are viable. Until we, Canadians, have made every attempt to combat climate change, we have not done enough.

Instead of counterfeiting Green Party policy as other parties in leadership have, I believe it’s time to make space for the Green Party to implement our own policies.

For the sake of our future generations, we need to act now and the Green Party is the only party appropriately situated to offer solutions to improve this crisis. If climate change was the only election issue, the Green Party would already be exhausting every effort to improve the climate emergency.

Answer from People's Party of Canada (PPC) candidate Stephen Makk:
We are skeptical of the recent IPCC report because of its UN-based origin, political agendas, and alarmist stance. We are skeptical of warnings about impending catastrophe, because previous ones have not turned out to be true.

The PPC would withdraw from the Paris Accord, which we consider an economic suicide pact, and would stop worrying about who can set the showiest target, when the major emitter countries such as China continue to increase emissions.

We already have a low carbon solution where Canada is a leader: safe nuclear power. We are “carbon tax deniers” because we see carbon taxes as just “taxes on everything” that will dampen economic prosperity, including growth needed to invest in better energy technologies.  

Canadians, personally and individually, can take action right now, to care for the environment. Waiting for government to deal with it means we might be waiting a very long time. PPC would invest in resilient infrastructure to mitigate and adapt to any climate change. 

With warming, Canada may actually gain a relative advantage compared to other countries. PPC is concerned that climate alarmism is crowding out other important environmental concerns such as clean water, clean air, clean land, healthy biospheres, and sustainable development.

Answer from Liberal candidate Cynthia Wesley-Esquimaux:

I believe we (humanity) now have no choice but to ensure climate change and extreme weather events, and global warming are on every agenda of every member of parliament everywhere in the world.

I am the perfect champion for this discussion having spent years working with climate activists, water champions, and Indigenous peoples who have been sounding the alarm virtually forever.

I believe very strongly that each of us has a responsibility to speak up loudly and do everything we can to ensure everyone understands that to ensure a sound and safe future for humanity.

Through this pandemic it appears the “rich got richer and the poor just got poorer”, we cannot allow big corporations to benefit for the sake of paying dividends and allow the environment to collapse.

We see devastation in the demise of species, birds being affected by air quality, and water wars looming on the horizon, it’s time to say stop the environmental destruction, make corporations pay for their own cleanups, and then let’s begin the necessary work together to protect and build a future for all.

Answer from Conservative candidate Adam Chambers:

Simcoe North is one of the most ecologically diverse areas in the country (for example Great Lakes, waterways, Canadian Shield, farmland, wetlands).  It is important we protect and conserve our global and local environment for future generations. 

The Conservative Party is serious about the environment. We have released a comprehensive plan for the environment that includes committing to lower emissions, reducing pollutants and plastic uses, encouraging local production of low-emission vehicles and pushing big polluters like China to commit to protecting the environment.

We will also promote several local initiatives to conserve our environment such as protecting our parks and restoring the Lake Simcoe Clean-Up Fund that was cancelled by the Liberal government in 2017.

Answer from NDP candidate Janet-Lynne Durnford:
The climate crisis is an urgent priority and an existential threat.

An NDP government will set a target of retrofitting all buildings in Canada by 2050. Families in Simcoe North will be able to make energy efficient improvements to their homes through low-interest loans that will help them to save $900+ per year on home energy costs.

We will invest in research into the development of zero-emissions vehicles. 

We will set a target to power Canada with net-zero electricity by 2030, and move to 100% non-emitting electricity by 2040. 

We’ll support investments in innovative community-owned and operated clean energy projects to keep jobs and expertise local. New Democrats believe in giving Canadians a stronger voice in energy decisions that impact their communities.

We will overhaul the process for reviewing major projects to ensure adequate time for public consultation, and provide core funding to support Indigenous communities participating in these processes.

As your MP, I will work with community groups to ensure the preservation of water from Alliston Aquifer - some of the cleanest water in the world - against the continued threat of aggregate mining. I will advocate for the preservation of local shorelines against the encroachment of development.


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