• Jules-Pierre Malartre

Federal election candidates address environmental issues - Liberals


YLJ FILE PHOTO/JAMES ARMSTRONG

Vaudreuil-Soulanges Liberal candidate Peter Schiefke outlines part of his party’s plan to mitigate environmental issues of our region.

Although the economy and job creation are usually the items on most voters’ minds when election time rolls around, the environment has increasingly become a prevalent issue with voters. Earlier this year, the environmental group Équiterre published a set of “six questions to ask candidates in your riding.” Your Local Journal used these questions as a basis for interviewing Vaudreuil-Soulanges candidates. Over the next few weeks, we will post their answers (edited to fit within allotted space). We start our series of interviews with Peter Schiefke of the Liberal Party.

Considering scientists suggest reducing GHG emissions by 80 to 100% by 2050, what should the emissions target of your government be from now until then?

The premise of our plan is that we would hold a First Ministers meeting within 90 days of the Paris conference, to work together to combat climate change and determine our national targets. Justin Trudeau believes targets must be set in consultation with the premiers of each province.

Given that Canada appears unable to meet current GHG emissions reduction targets, how do you think Canada will ever meet targets with oil production in Canada expected to reach 6 million barrels/day by 2050 (up from an estimated 2.5 million barrels/day in 2014)?

A Liberal government will take a collaborative approach with provinces to reduce emissions. This means provincial governments will have a strong ally in the Federal Government, benefiting from recently announced record investments in green technology and public transit, while also having the flexibility to design their own policies to meet these commitments, including their own carbon pricing policies.

Next December, all countries have been invited to Paris to draft a climate agreement by 2030. What commitments will your party propose at that summit?

As Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau will attend the conference in Paris, and will invite all Premiers to join him. Within 90 days of the Paris conference, he will meet with Premiers to develop a framework to combat climate change and determine our reduction targets.

Since many people and organizations agree it is the most efficient method, is your party willing to levy a carbon tax? And if so, will motorists be expected to bear the brunt of such a carbon tax, or can we expect the larger contributor, i.e. the tar sand industry, to be the one to contribute most significantly to that tax? Do you think Canada should continue to subsidize the oil industry?

Central to the framework Mr. Trudeau will develop with premiers, will be the creation of national emissions-reduction targets, informed by the best economic and scientific analysis. These targets must recognize the economic cost and catastrophic impact that a greater-than 2° C increase in average global temperatures would represent. We will ensure that provinces have adequate tools to design their own policies to meet these targets, including their own carbon pricing policies and federal funding to help them achieve these goals.

Since transportation contributes almost a third of Canadian GHG emissions, is your party willing to invest in a strategic development plan for mass transportation and electrical transportation projects, as opposed to levying a carbon tax on motorists who have to rely on long commutes in areas where public transport is not available or inadequate to get to work?

We will be full partners with the provinces already working to develop a Canadian Energy Strategy. Our primary objectives will be ensuring Canada’s energy security, bringing cleaner, renewable energy onto the electricity grid, and significantly increasing public transit systems, funded by the record investments pledged by Mr. Trudeau.

Since tar sands are the most important source of the increase in GHG emissions in Canada, will your party commit to slow down their development and oppose projects such as Énergie Est? Are the few, local jobs that the proposed pipeline is purported to create worth the dangers?

If any proposed projects, including Energy East, are to proceed, they must first be subject to rigorous environmental assessments, earn the trust of local communities, and cannot put our lands and waters at risk. Liberals have been consistent in calling for stronger environmental protections that take into consideration GHG emissions and pushing for a more substantive project review process that includes open, honest, and robust dialogue with municipalities and community groups. Only then, can a decision be made on whether to move forward with new pipeline projects.

Does your party support full hydrostatic testing on Enbridge’s 9B line, especially along the crucial legs that cross our waterways, as opposed to proposed partial testing on selected legs of the pipeline?

All assessments, such as the necessary hydrostatic testing on Enbridge’s 9B line, need to be based on science, facts, and evidence. This is currently not possible due to flawed environmental assessment processes. A Liberal government will launch an immediate, public review of Canada’s environmental assessment processes. Based on this review, a Liberal government will replace Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s changes to the now flawed environmental assessment process with a new, comprehensive, timely, and fair process that restores robust oversight and thorough environmental assessments.

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