• Jules-Pierre Malartre

Federal election candidates address environmental issues - Part 3


Vaudreuil-Soulanges Green Party candidate Jennifer Kaszel shares her views on the sensitive environmental issues that concern 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.

We continue our series of interviews with Jennifer Kaszel of the Green Party.

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

The Green party will take a leading role in the upcoming UN Climate Change Conference in Paris and call for a virtual elimination of fossil fuel. Canada’s GHG target by mid-century will be set for an 80 per cent reduction below 1990 levels.

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 recent Council for Canadians report recommended that 85 per cent of tar sands must stay in the ground to limit climate change to 2 degrees Celsius. We need a green policy action plan.

Often overlooked, the livestock industry is also terribly polluting, cruel and causes more environmental damage than we imagine. According to authors Goodland and Anhang, "51 per cent of all worldwide greenhouse gas emissions come from livestock and their by-products." We cannot continue to expand these destructive and irresponsible industries.

Since many people and organisations 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?

The Green party is the only party that is willing to levy a carbon tax system. GHG emissions from coal are much higher than from gasoline used in cars. The money raised by a carbon tax will be used to reduce other taxes, like income and payroll. The Green party is against subsidizing the oil industry. We support investments in the renewable energy sector to boost green infrastructures.

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 advocate a “smart growth” transportation system with electric powered railways commuting through high-density nodes that will make cities more livable and people-friendly. To help workers over long commutes, we will make employer-provided transit passes tax-free.

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?

The Green Party is the only party in Canada opposed to any pipeline plan that would expand tar sands production. The jobs created for the proposed pipeline are limited to trained specialists and would otherwise be brought in from elsewhere. Once the pipeline is built, there will be no local jobs left. Factory farming in Canada is also a huge source of GHG emissions. The United Nations has estimated that the livestock industry is causing 18% of our world's GHG emissions while the entire transportation system is causing 13%. By expanding these industries, we are not looking at a sustainable future.

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?

The Green Party is against the existence of Enbridge’s 9B line in principle and its potential damaging effects to the environment, drinking water, and all communities along its route. Bituminous crude oil is toxic and dangerous if exposed to our soil and atmosphere and is difficult to clean up.

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