Chilliwack-Hope federal election candidates, top row left to right, Mark Strahl (Conservative), Kelly Velonis (Liberal), DJ Pohl (NDP), bottom row left to right, Arthur Green (Green Party), and Rob Bogunovic (People's Party of Canada). (Submitted)

Third question from Chilliwack Healthier Community zeroes in on climate crisis

The Chilliwack Progress is providing answers from all five federal candidates in a series

The third and final question in the Federal Election 2021 series from Chilliwack Healthier Community zeroes in on the climate crisis.

The question answered by all five candidates: If elected MP for Chilliwack-Hope, what strategies and programs do you propose that will create immediate and long-lasting positive change to the climate crisis?

And here are the candidates’ answers summarized, with their full and complete responses available by scrolling to the bottom.

Robert Bogunovic, candidate for People’s Party of Canada (PPC) starts out dismissing the topic stating that other parties, the media and lobby groups are “acting hysterically” on climate change.

CO2 is beneficial to agriculture, and the earth is “greening,” because its concentration in our atmosphere has increased, Bogunovic said. “CO2 is not a pollutant, and it is essential for life.”

The PPC would withdraw from the Paris Accord, and abolish the federal carbon tax, he said.

“Fossil fuels are essential to agricultural production and the transporting of food, and reckless efforts to rush a reduction in their use could actually cause the sorts of famines climate alarmists have long been prophesying,” Bogunovic said.

He’s more concerned about China.

“We are told we cannot delay action, that we must impose extreme counter measures today, yet China’s CO2 emissions already exceed Canada’s, the United States’, and Western Europe’s combined, and their emissions won’t peak until 2030 – and we keep letting China buy up all our coal, but not our oil.”

Art Green, candidate for the Green Party of Canada (GPC) said deterring society from burning fossil fuels is key, and he stressed time is running out.

“It’s paramount that we begin to mitigate climate action immediately to make certain that our average global temperature doesn’t rise past 1.5 degrees,” Green said.

The Greens would cancel Trans Mountain pipeline and B.C. LNG projects.

“Our plan is extremely aggressive and will reduce our GHG emissions by 60 per cent by 2030.”

The way to deter fossil fuel consumption is to create a carbon tax that is sustainable and pays for the capture of it, Green said.

“We also need to electrify our transportation systems, so we would maintain our federal incentives on purchases of electric vehicles, and speed up the ban on gas powered vehicles by 2030. We would also immediately begin expansion of EV charging stations.”

But they’d ban fracking, and cut oil and gas subsidies, reinvest in clean energy.

“It’s imperative that we begin to make these changes as our time is running out.”

DJ Pohl, candidate for the New Democratic Party (NDP) said she and the NDP are committed to real action on climate change.

B.C. was devastated this past summer when a massive fire ripped through the village of Lytton and again suffered heat domes.

“These are stark reminders that the climate crisis is here,” Pohl said.

“We will expand upon Canada’s net-zero laws and commit to reducing emissions by at least 50 per cent from our 2005 levels by 2030.

“To achieve this, we will eliminate fossil fuel subsidies; put in place carbon budgets; continue carbon pricing; align federal corporations and the Bank of Canada to focus on climate priorities; and implement a framework of corporate accountability.

She’s been an advocate for climate action and environmental justice for years fighting against pipeline expansion, fracking, old growth logging, open-pen fish farms.

Mark Strahl, candidate for Conservative Party of Canada (CPC) emphasized that climate change is already affecting ecosystems and communities.

“Canada must not ignore the reality of climate change,” Strahl said. “We will fight climate change and protect the environment, but we won’t do it on the backs of hardworking Canadians or by hurting our economy.”

Canada must do its part to reduce its emissions, he said, live up to its commitments and ensure that Canada is positioned to succeed as climate action factors in with international trade.

“However, since Canada only produces less than two per cent of global emissions, we have to accept the fact that even if we reach net zero by 2050 we will still have to deal with the effects of climate change.”

The Conservative Party will build resiliency and better prepare Canada for the impacts of a changing climate by establishing a “a national disaster resilience advisor” to the Privy Council Office. They would also draft a national action plan on floods, including establishing a residential high-risk flood insurance program to ensure all Canadians are financially protected while avoiding future government bailouts.

Kelly Velonis, candidate for Liberal Party of Canada (LPC) said the Liberals would cut pollution, spur clean energy innovation and create jobs.

“We are in a climate crisis and need to continue to ensure to protect our environment and oceans from any further destruction.”

Running for office in 2019, Velonis worked with Waterwealth Project and applied to have the pipeline rerouted to protect the aquifer and community and, worked to ban open-net fish farming.

“I will continue this important work to ensure our communities are protected.”

Liberals pledge to create cleaner communities with cleaner air.

They’ll put $5,000 toward zero-emission vehicle purchases, building 50,000 more zero-emission vehicle-chargers, requiring half of all passenger vehicles sold in Canada to be zero emission by 2030, and all zero emission by 2035, charting a path toward net-zero buildings across the country, which will help Canadians save on their energy costs.

“We will build a net-zero electricity grid by 2035, ensure we drive down emissions from oil and gas to meet our shared goal of net-zero emissions by 2050, and continue to phase-out coal by ending thermal coal exports by 2030.”

* * *

This is Question #3, the final in the series: If elected MP for Chilliwack-Hope, what strategies and programs do you propose that will create immediate and long-lasting positive change to the climate crisis?

And the following are the federal election candidates’ full answers:

Robert Bogunovic – People’s Party of Canada (PPC)

In defiance of common-sense, the other parties, the media, and numerous lobbying entities all seem to think that acting hysterically on an issue like climate change will result in better decisions being made. Massive media and big tech censorship, and the politicizing of science, has led to a lot of confusion regarding climate change. Fossil fuels are essential to agricultural production and the transporting of food, and reckless efforts to rush a reduction in their use could actually cause the sorts of famines climate alarmists have long been prophesying. There are a lot of uncertainties regarding climate change, but the devastating consequences associated with so many of the measures proposed to fight it are easy to predict – as is the inevitable failure of most such measures. We are told we cannot delay action, that we must impose extreme counter measures today, yet China’s CO2 emissions already exceed Canada’s, the United States’, and Western Europe’s combined, and their emissions won’t peak until 2030 – and we keep letting China buy up all our coal, but not our oil. The PPC will approach this concern with calm rationality, carefully considering the costs and benefits of our actions. We will give careful consideration to the likely consequences, both negative and positive, of a slightly warmer world with more CO2. We will assess just what level of climate crisis we can reasonably anticipate, and what measures would most effectively mitigate any emerging problems.

CO2 is beneficial to agriculture, and the earth is “greening” because its concentration in our atmosphere has increased. CO2 is not a pollutant, and it is essential for life. Climate is complex, and many of the most adverse effects upon our global climate are likely the consequences of rainforest deforestation, yet that is rarely acknowledged these days.

The PPC will withdraw from the Paris Accord – a useless initiative that imposes unrealistic targets on us while asking nothing of China. We will abolish the federal carbon tax, and we will empower provinces to plot their own approaches to addressing climate concerns. We will have a wholistic approach, implementing practical solutions to make Canada’s air, water and soil cleaner, and bringing clean drinking water remote communities – because they have waited long enough. Subsidies for big oil will end, but so will subsidies for green tech. The PPC will foster a business climate that awards and protects innovators as they develop new means to generate energy that is both affordable and safe. Most important of all, we will work tirelessly to reduce the federal deficit and get Canadians out of debt, because the future needs fiscal flexibility to face whatever the future may bring.

Art Green – Green Party of Canada

It’s paramount that we begin to mitigate climate action immediately to make certain that our average global temperature doesn’t rise past 1.5 degrees. Our plan is extremely aggressive and will reduce our GHG emissions by 60% by 2030.

It’s imperative that we do everything possible to deter people from burning fossil fuels. The best and most successful known measure for this is to create a carbon tax to a price that is sustainable and pays for the capture of it.

We also need to electrify our transportation systems, so we would maintain our federal incentives on purchases of electric vehicles, and speed up the ban on gas powered vehicles by 2030. We would also immediately begin expansion of EV charging stations.

We’d also implement a ban on fracking, and remove all the subsidies for oil and gas production, and reinvest them into clean energy projects, including the petrochemical industry for production of light weight components and accessories for EV and clean and renewable energy production.

We’d also replace all or any lost jobs in the oil sector, and replace them with high paying green sector jobs, as we convert to clean and renewables.

We’d also cancel the TMX and BC’s LNG project in northwestern BC, which will lower BC’s carbon emissions by 35%.

We’d also create building code amendments to maximize energy efficiency in new buildings, including minimum solar battery capabilities to supplement existing power grids and creating effective electrical storage for outages and emergencies.

We’d also create a diversified national energy grid of solar, wind, geothermal, and run of the river to coincide with our existing hydro electric system.

It’s imperative that we begin to make these changes as our time is running out. It also represents an opportunity of transitioning and creating the greatest economic catalyst that the world will ever see.

DJ Pohl – New Democratic Party (NDP)

To address the climate emergency in a lasting way, strategies and programs are needed to tackle the three largest sources of emissions: industry, buildings, and transportation. This work must also be done in the right way centering around communities and workers and with respect to Indigenous rights and title. While we develop and implement programs and strategies to mitigate, we must also initiate adaptation measures to ensure our communities are resilient against climate related emergencies. To achieve this, we need to elect officials with the political will and leadership to immediately tackle the climate crisis before it is too late.

BC experienced another devastating summer with wildfires including the fire that devastated the village of Lytton as well as heat domes. These are stark reminders that the climate crisis is here, and that its effects are catastrophically impacting lives and peoples’ livelihoods. Consecutive Liberal and Conservative governments have continuously failed to meaningfully tackle the climate crisis. Justin Trudeau has missed every single climate target that has been set and has presided over the worst GHG reduction effort in the G7.

The NDP, and I as your MP, are committed to real action on climate change. We will expand upon Canada’s net-zero laws and commit to reducing emissions by at least 50% from our 2005 levels by 2030. To achieve this, we will eliminate fossil fuel subsidies; put in place carbon budgets; continue carbon pricing; align federal corporations and the Bank of Canada to focus on climate priorities; and implement a framework of corporate accountability. We will also establish independent federal oversight by creating a Climate Accountability Office as well as adopt a whole-of-government approach to the climate emergency. We will create over a million new good jobs by investing in clean energy, building green infrastructure, and requiring the use of Canadian-made steel, aluminum, wood products for infrastructure projects, ensuring that no workers or communities are left behind.

The NDP will invest and expand public transit by developing a public inter-city bus systems and rail services. We will scale up low carbon transit projects like zero-emission vehicles and aim to electrify transit and other municipal fleets by 2030. We will also expand active transportation to help Canadians who want to walk or bike in their communities. To achieve emissions reductions in buildings, New Democrats will set a target to retrofit all buildings to net-zero by 2050 and ensure new builds meet net-zero standards right away.

I have been fighting for climate and environmental justice for years. In the community and through the labour movement I have fought against pipeline expansion, fracking, old growth logging, open water fish farms and many more. I have fought for stronger accountability on climate especially in my role appointed to the Climate Solutions Advisory Council to the Premier.

Through the mentioned programs and more, New Democrats will create immediate and long-lasting change needed to address the climate crisis, and I will be wholly committed to those actions as your next Member of Parliament.

Mark Strahl – Conservative

Canada must not ignore the reality of climate change. It is already affecting our ecosystems, hurting our communities, and damaging our infrastructure. We will fight climate change and protect the environment, but we won’t do it on the backs of hardworking Canadians or by hurting our economy.

It is critical that Canada do its part to reduce its emissions, both to live up to our international commitments and to ensure that Canada is well positioned to succeed in a world where climate action will be an important consideration in international trade. However, since Canada only produces less than 2% of global emissions, we have to accept the fact that even if we reach net zero by 2050 we will still have to deal with the effects of climate change.

Climate change increases the risks of fires, droughts, flooding, and extreme weather events. Canada is already demonstrably feeling the impact of this. Insurance payouts due to environmental events – particularly flooding – have dramatically increased in the last 12 years. As a result, homes are becoming harder to insure, costs for insurance are going up, and maximum payouts are going down.

Canada’s Conservatives will build resiliency and better prepare Canada for the impacts of a changing climate by:

Appointing a national disaster resilience advisor to the Privy Council Office.

o This office would be analogous to the National Security and Intelligence Advisor established after 9/11 and would advise Cabinet and the Prime Minister’s Office, helping ensure that the government is prepared for future risks.

Implementing a national action plan on floods, including establishing a residential high risk flood insurance program to ensure all Canadians are financially protected while avoiding future government bailouts.

Devising and implementing a national climate adaptation strategy that is:

o Based on measurable targets;

o Addresses existing provincial concerns on flood readiness while leveraging private sector solutions to reduce government exposure and spending; and

o Addresses wildfire and drought exposure in collaboration with farmers, ranchers, and foresters.

Incorporating a mitigation and adaptation lens to the government’s infrastructure investments.

o Communities must be able to identify risks and be able to plan to address them. An adaptation lens can include designing infrastructure to be resilient to extreme weather events, but it also might include designing other infrastructure to protect against known hazards. In either case, this will help communities be prepared in the event of an emergency.

Working with provinces and territories to develop a natural infrastructure plan that includes:

o The development of a national standard to assess the value of natural infrastructure;

o A requirement that public sector accounting practices be updated to include a proper valuation of existing natural infrastructure;

o Requirements to incorporate retention of natural infrastructure into community design; and

o Incentives for farmers and landowners to protect and restore natural infrastructure.

Investing in technology that can improve the early detection of wildfires and better predict their behaviour.

The Conservative Party plan will our environment, secure jobs, and our future.

Kelly Velonis – Liberal

We are in a climate crisis and need to continue to ensure to protect our environment and oceans from any further destruction. The Liberal government is focused on solutions that cut pollution, protect our environment, spur world-leading clean innovation, and create jobs in every province and territory.

During my campaign in 2019, I worked with Waterwealth Project and applied to have the pipeline rerouted to protect our aquifer and community. I worked to ban open-net fish farming. I will continue this important work to ensure our communities are protected.

We will create new jobs for Canadians by making Canada a world leader in batteries to power the clean economy, helping industries adopt clean technologies to cut pollution, and supporting all workers to ensure no one is left behind.

We will create cleaner communities with cleaner air, by providing $5,000 toward zero emission vehicle purchases for over half a million Canadians, building 50,000 more zero emission vehicle chargers, requiring half of all passenger vehicles sold in Canada to be zero emission by 2030 and all zero emission by 2035, charting a path toward net-zero buildings across the country, which will help Canadians save on their energy costs.

We will build a net-zero electricity grid by 2035, ensure we drive down emissions from oil and gas to meet our shared goal of net-zero emissions by 2050, and continue to phase-out coal by ending thermal coal exports by 2030.

Make sure the oil and gas sector reduce emissions at a pace and scale needed to achieve net-zero by 2050, with 5-year targets to stay on track to achieving this shared goal. Driving down pollution starts with ensuring that pollution from the oil and gas sector doesn’t go up from current levels.

Set 2025 and 2030 milestones based on the advice of the Net-Zero Advisory Body to ensure reduction levels are ambitious and achievable and that the oil and gas sector makes a meaningful contribution to meeting the nation’s 2030 climate goals.

Fortunately, Canada’s largest oil and gas companies are already committed to achieving net-zero emissions by 2050. These actions will incentivize clean innovation and the adoption of clean technologies, including carbon capture, utilization, and storage.

Ban thermal coal exports from and through Canada no later than 2030.

Accelerate our G20 commitment to eliminate fossil fuel subsidies from 2025 to 2023.

Develop a plan to phase-out public financing of the fossil fuel sector, including from Crown corporations, consistent with our commitment to reach net-zero emissions by 2050.

We experienced a devasting wildfire season this year and moving forward to protect all Canadians from wildfires, a re-elected Liberal government will dedicate $500 million to:

Train 1,000 new community-based firefighters to ensure we are ready for future fire seasons.

Work with provinces and territories to provide firefighters with the equipment they need to fight fires and stay safe, like Canadian-made planes to increase provincial aerial firefighting capacity.

Support and expand Indigenous-led fire crews and build capacity to better incorporate Indigenous traditional knowledge strategies in fire management.

RELATED: Question 2 from CHC

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Canada Election 2021