On Earth Day or most any day in Nanaimo-Ladysmith, it’s a beautiful day outside. We can appreciate our environment and we can leave it at that, or we can try to look more closely.
There will be a lot of good reasons to go vote in this riding’s federal byelection – problems to solve, opportunities to embrace, good reasons why we could use a voice in the House of Commons. We hope that an urgency for climate action will be one of the reasons people will go vote.
Sometimes when we start talking about global temperature targets 10, 20, 30 years down the road, they can seem like a long way off. There are other things on our mind that might feel more pressing now at income tax time. But the good news is that there are politicians across all party lines whom we can elect to help to make those long-term decisions about Canada’s role in ensuring environmental sustainability.
We don’t wholly know all parties’ platforms, and we won’t know by May 6, as especially in a general election year, plans will probably be announced and timed to generate attention leading up to Oct. 21.
We’ve seen the Liberals’ work on the file for four years now and can judge whether the pipeline purchase, oceans protection plan, international commitments and nationwide carbon tax strike a balance and bring the right urgency.
The Green Party wants Canada to be a world leader on emissions reduction targets, and wants a transition away from fossil fuels through legislation and de-incentivization such as removal of subsidies.
The NDP recently announced it favours large-scale building retrofits to reduce energy demands and past policy has called for a carbon market that presses industry to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
The Conservatives say Canada can meet Paris agreement targets without a carbon tax, and have suggested that a Canadian resource sector that is successful has shown it will be a leader in environmental and social responsibility.
Most parties will talk about a clean, green economy, but that can come with a lot of different meanings and timelines.
The byelection will fall exactly two weeks after Earth Day. Climate action or lack of action will be among the many choices we get to make when we cast our vote.