• James Armstrong

Local Green Party candidate committed to immediate action on climate crisis


PHOTO COURTESY OF CAMERON STIFF

Vaudreuil-Soulanges Green Party candidate Cameron Stiff advocates declaring a climate crisis state of emergency.

There is no doubt in the mind of Vaudreuil-Soulanges Green Party of Canada candidate Cameron Stiff that climate change worldwide is in crisis mode.

“We are at a point in global history where we have to make tough choices,” Stiff told The Journal in an interview on Monday, August 20. “We have all the technologies we need to stop consuming petroleum-based products.”

His motivation to stand as a candidate in the upcoming federal election comes from his many years of experience working on environmental issues such as the development of sustainable and healthy food systems, waste management, and community development. For Stiff, this is the critical time to take political action.

“I had high hopes when Justin Trudeau was elected,” said Stiff recounting a story about meeting the current Prime Minister several years before his election. “We had been lobbying him to support Jack Layton’s bill on climate change. He told us he wasn’t in a position to do anything about climate change, at the time, and wasn’t willing to vote against party lines,” said Stiff. “He promised us that when he was in a position to do something about climate change, he would.”

From Stiff’s point of view, Trudeau has not kept his promise. “Investing $4.5 to $5 billion into a pipeline is definitely not climate leadership.”

Climate change is real

He pointed out that tens of thousands scientists around the globe have agreed that climate change is real and accelerating. Climate change denial, in Stiff’s view is similar to arguing the sky isn’t blue.

“There is an industry that has been making enormous profits from petroleum. We know that oil companies have funded climate science denial for decades,” he said. “It’s almost criminal that we are continuing to have these conversations. It’s like debating what to have for dinner while the house is on fire,” he said.

Drastic change required

Mission Possible is the Green Party action plan to rapidly move toward a post-carbon, prosperous, and safe world.

“The first step is to declare a climate emergency to stop debating and skirting around it,” said Stiff. “We need to deal with this right now at every level of government to drastically reduce our greenhouse gas emissions.”

The plan has 20 points including the end to all subsidies to the fossil fuel industries. “One of the Liberal Party promises was to end subsidies to the fossil industry,” he noted. What happened, according to Stiff, was the government failed to accurately identify all the subsidies to the industry. “If you don’t know how you are subsidizing them, you can’t stop the subsidy,” he said.

Developing a different economy

“The economic philosophy we have employed for decades is flawed,” said Stiff. “It paints a rosy simplistic picture when the economy grows that is extremely simplistic.” He said we should be consulting ecological economists to evaluate the genuine progress indicators that are more in depth than current systems.

Background

Although he isn’t currently a resident of Vaudreuil-Soulanges, Stiff does have connections to the region through his work as President of the Board of Directors for the Hudson Food Collective, a local non-profit organization dedicated to developing regenerative and resilient community food systems.

A Torontonian by birth, Stiff moved to Montreal in 2003 to pursue his studies at Concordia University where he earned a degree in Sociology and is currently working towards an Environmental Science Master’s Degree. His deep commitment to environmental protection and sustainable development are reflected in his career that has included working with the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, developing sustainable initiatives within his local community and supporting campus sustainability organizations across the country.

In addition to his studies, he is employed as the Director of Finance and Development for Compost Montreal, a social and environmental purpose business based in Saint-Henri in the South-West Borough of Montreal.

Working in the riding

“I spend a lot of time in the riding because of the Hudson Food Collective,” said Stiff who is fluently bilingual. “It’s a place that appeals to me a lot, the sense of community and connectivity. It has a very special place in my heart.”

Food and a fair deal for farmers are also important issues for the Green Party. Stiff is planning on visiting local farmers to see first-hand what is happening.

“More farmers are transitioning to organic farming. We need an increase in government support for that,” he said.

Further information about the Green Party of Canada is available at www.greenparty.ca and the Vaudreuil-Soulanges candidate may be contacted at cameron.stiff@greenparty.ca.

Stiff said he will be attending up-coming community events across region.

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