October 4th, 2019
My Long and strong record on the Environment and Climate Change
As one of the Members of Parliament with the longest and strongest records on the environment and climate change it has been frustrating to see so little action from both Conservative and Liberal governments in the face of the climate emergency. I have been a lifelong environmentalists. This goes back to my joining the public demonstrations on the first Earth Day and to my tour of BC high schools on the dangers of global warming and ocean plastics in 1989. A decade ago on Esquimalt Council I called for the adoption of science-based greenhouse gas reduction targets and I moved the first motion anywhere against the Kinder Morgan/TMX pipeline. In the House of Commons I have continued to argue for an immediate end to fossil fuel subsidies and a rapid transition to renewable energy sources. In 2013 I convened a series of local stakeholder roundtables which resulted in my motion in the House of Commons (M-460) which would have brought in a robust and comprehensive recovery plan for Southern Resident Killer Whale. Just before Parliament adjourned I asked the Prime Minister in Question Period to act quickly to move the commercial shipping lane off the Swiftsure Bank, the most critical piece of orca habitat.
As an MP I have twice introduced legislation to restore federal environmental protection to rivers, lakes, and streams in our riding. I have continued to oppose the Kinder Morgan Pipeline, to call for an immediate end to all fossil fuel subsidies for the oil and gas industry, and to ban all single use plastics and non-recyclable packaging. At the same time I have been an advocate for a transition that leaves non one behind by focusing on creating new jobs in renewable energy and energy retrofits and helping existing energy workers move into those jobs. In this election the NDP has put forward a plan to create more than 300,000 new quality, family-supporting jobs in all our communities and not just in remote camps.
An NDP government will declare a climate emergency and put in place legislated, science-based greenhouse gas reduction target necessary to keep global temperature rise below 1.5 degrees. How will we get there? Yes, we will have to keep carbon pricing, but with rebates for low income families and seniors and without exemptions for big polluters. But we will also need federal transition programs to move us forward as quickly as possible, financed in part by the immediate end of subsidies to fossil fuel industries. The NDP has earmarked $15b in funding for programs that will see net carbon free electricity by 2030, retrofits of all commercial buildings and residential housing by 2050, electrifying urban transit and other government fleets by 2030, expanding high frequency rail and creating new rural transportation networks, and providing new federal incentives for purchasing and building zero-emission vehicles in Canada.
In my personal life I have worked to reduce my own carbon footprint and we must all do what we can, but the challenge is so great that only collective action will get us where we have to go. I believe we can get to a net zero carbon economy by 2050. Our very survival depends on it.
I have no doubt residents of Esquimalt-Saanich-Sooke are concerned about the environment and climate change. But I have no doubt that they also care about human rights, a just international order, and building a good life for themselves and their families where access to food, housing, and health care are not just rights, but a reality for all Canadians. For that we need a broad progressive movement and that’s why I am running again in the next election. We can't win the fight on against climate change if we don't join it with the fight for social justice and reconciliation. And we have no choice but to start winning the fight against climate change now!
NDP candidate for Esquimalt-Saanich-Sooke