The passion, commitment and urgency expressed by many in the local Student Climate Strikes, the Community Clean Ups (way to go JCI), and the many concerned voices in the forums and debates I’ve attended, is loud. There is a Climate Crisis. The science is clear! We, in the Kootenay Columbia are on the front lines. Fires and evacuation notices, floods and mud-slides are testimony to our changing climate, and issues we need to address. (Scroll down for Robin’s perspectives on Mitigating Front Line Climate Change problems, and her points on the Mountain Caribou.)
There is an extraordinarily compelling case to be made for the Liberal Government’s climate plan. Pollution is no longer free. Nobel Laureate winning economists have clearly shown that Carbon Pricing is the most effective way to address polluters. Ten percent of the proceeds from Carbon Pricing are earmarked to improve and adopt green technologies. The rest of the funds are going back to everyday Canadians.
The charge on fossil fuels has received the lion’s share of media attention. Many are not aware of the clean technology initiatives that are on the way or have been in the works for a while. The Liberal plan has “specific and identifiable” substance:
• Net 0 emissions by 2050
• Regulating Oil & Gas Emissions: Reducing methane emissions in the oil and gas sector by 40-45% by 2025
• Phasing out coal-fired electricity by 2030. (This is not the metallurgical coal mined in the Elk Valley and used for steel production)
• Banning Single Use Plastics
• Protecting the Ocean: We’ve made historic investments through the Oceans Protection Plan, established new marine protected areas on the BC coast, and implemented whale initiatives and dollars earmarked to address threats to Southern Resident Killer Whale population
• Planting Trees: We’re planting 2 billion trees over the next 10 years
• Cutting Taxes in half for Clean Technology Development and manufacture of products with zero emissions
• Energy Efficient Retrofitting: We’re making it easier for homeowners and landlords to cut their energy bills with an interest-free loan up to $40,000
• National Flood Insurance Program: We plan on protecting families in need with a new national flood insurance program (I’d like to see fire insurance added) and a new EI Disaster Assistance Benefit
• Conserving & Protecting Oceans & Lands: We have doubled the amount of nature we protect and want 25 percent of Canada’s oceans protected by 2025 and 30 percent by 2030.
• Learn to Camp Program: We will be expanding the successful Learn to Camp program so every young Canadian, by grade 8, is taught the skills to enjoy camping and explore the great outdoors.
And there is more. The Liberals have already embarked on a $72 billion investment into greening Canada (from the Dept of Finance):
• Green Infrastructure: $26.9 billion is slated for green infrastructure over the next 12 years. This includes initiatives like solar power in our local community halls and seniors centres.
• Green Transportation: $28.7 billion for public transportation greening over 10 years. This includes the electric ready ferry for Kootenay Lake and support for buying electric vehicles
• Carbon Economy Fund: The Low Carbon Economy Fund started in 2017
• Oceans Protection Plan: Mentioned above, $1.5 billion over 5 years that started in 2018
• Our Nature Legacy: $1.3 billion over the next five years that started in 2018 that includes funding a $16 million feasibility study and plan from our local First Nations
• Clean Technology Funding: $2.3 billion earmarked for clean technology initiatives that started in 2017. That’s solar, geothermal, hydro and the carbon capture plant in Squamish, to name a few
• Energy Efficiency: $1 billion in energy efficiency initiatives through the Federation of Canadian Municipalities through investments in green infrastructure and the development of a Pan-Canadian Framework on Climate Change.
• National Energy Board Recommendations: We have earmarked money to follow through on additional recommendations by our National Energy Board who have consulted with thousands across Canada
We are taking bold action for our climate crisis. We must more to do. I want an earth where my children and grandchildren thrive. The urgency is clear.
MITIGATING WILDFIRES, FLOODS & MUDSLIDES
Mitigating the effects of climate change in the Kootenay Columbia is one of Robin’s top priorities. Wildfires, floods and mudslides are top of mind for all levels of government – federal, provincial and local. We must ensure we are getting the federal dollars to help our local initiatives. This means bringing people together from all levels of government and locally concerned individuals, and ensuring they have the resources, insight and capability to get the federal funds that are available.
That’s money to help with Fire Smart programs. That’s money to help with clearing debris and reducing wildfire risk. That’s better strategy for managing our forests. That’s increasing public awareness of activities they can do. That’s finding innovative solutions like the water cannon proposed by the people of Edgewater.
The Liberal Party has committed to a National Flood Insurance Program to those affected by unpredictable water levels. They have also committed to an EI Disaster Assistance benefit to help people who are lose their jobs because of front line climate issues. Robin will also champion a National Wildfire Insurance Program to those affected by the increasing number of wildfires expected in our region due to climate change.
MOUNTAIN CARIBOU & AT RISK SPECIES
Managing endangered and at risk species like the mountain caribou affect our local businesses, outdoor enthusiasts, environmentalists and those of us who live, work and play in the areas affected. All of these voices need to be heard.
Culling high level predators like wolves, an idea promoted by local hunters, has increased our caribou population by almost 50 percent. The ideas coming from local hunters, wildlife enthusiasts, businesses and environmentalists need to be heard before Ottawa issues a hammer-down decision that will affect many thousands. The government recently committed dollars to gather the Indigenous perspective on the mountain caribou as well.
Robin is committed to host reverse forums, town-hall style meetings in all affected areas. Stakeholders will have an opportunity to explain what they believe is the best course of action, and outline how they will be affected. Follow up in the form of letters and conversations will be gathered. This information will be presented to the federal committees and ministries involved.
In government, not everyone receives the outcome they desire. The job of our MP is to ensure our voices are heard by the right people, properly presented, and negative impacts addressed.