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In their own words: What issues would you address in Prince Rupert specifically to tackle climate change?

The Skeena-Bulkley Valley federal candidates talk about climate change in Prince Rupert
Skeena-Bulkley Valley 2019 federal election candidates (left to right, top to bottom): Taylor Bachrach (NDP), Danny Nunes (Independent), Rod Taylor (Christian Heritage), Dave Birdi (Liberal), Merv Ritchie (Independent), Michael Sawyer (Green), Claire Rat√©e (Conservative) and Jody Craven (People’s Party).

The Northern View reached out to each Skeena-Bulkley Valley candidate running in the 2019 Canadian federal elections. Based on a web poll we ran online asking our readers what the most important election issue is to them, we crafted three questions to ask the candidates.

Based on our top answer from the web poll, this week’s question is about climate change.

“What issues would you address in Prince Rupert specifically to tackle climate change and how would you push the parties to address those issues in parliament?”

Each candidate was given the same amount of time and words to answer. The answers are unedited and presented in order of receipt.

Christian Heritage Party candidate Rod Taylor

Like many Canadians and thousands of scientists, I am not convinced that CO2 is the cause of climate change. The climate has always been changing over thousands of years of human history. The current frantic efforts to dismantle Canada’s oil and gas industry and the bogus claims that the planet will be destroyed in a few years unless we convert all our vehicles to electricity are nothing but false flags, distracting Canadians from the very real and urgent challenges we all face. Carbon taxes are nothing more than another tax grab—an excuse to pick your pockets to make up for our current government’s inability to curb its wild spending. Carbon taxes will do nothing for the environment and certainly will harm the economy.

That doesn’t mean I am unconcerned about the environment. I totally believe we should reduce wasteful consumption, re-use and recycle where practical. I would like to see a glass recycling plant in Northern BC where old bottles and broken glass could be reconstituted into useful products. Plastic in the oceans and landfills is a real problem that must be addressed. There are technologies being researched for converting plastic waste into usable fuel and they should be pursued. Perhaps Northern BC could lead the way. Local food production should be encouraged and value-added wood products should be promoted. Sewage treatment is always a concern and we must stop allowing raw sewage to enter the watershed and ocean.

READ MORE: CHP chooses Skeena-Bulkley Valley candidate

Independent candidate Danny Nunes, also known as ‘Dan the Bear' on the campaign trail

Climate change is an issue which has the population divided. Half believe it is a real and serious concern while the other half seems to think it is nonsense.

If we want to be serious about climate change, then we need to set the example. Otherwise our critics will forever see us as hypocrites. We need to evaluate how and what we spend our money on, how we consume and how we can lead a simpler and more efficient lifestyle.

You need a voice in Ottawa who will ask why we are not seeing infrastructure spending and subsidies to modernize our communities and cities with green technology including: solar panels on municipal buildings and homes, electrical charging stations for our vehicles, subsidized curb side recycling and assurance our efforts don’t end up in a dump a continent away.

If we cannot look at ourselves and what we can improve in our own lives, we are never going to convince everyone on a global scale, where it matters.

In my campaign, I’m doing a “Low carbon challenge.” This means I only attend events which I can either walk to or take public transit. To make up for missed opportunities, I live stream to my Facebook page and answer serious questions from viewers.

I wanted to address the criticism faced by celebrities who travel long distances to discuss climate change, be the example using existing technology to get my message out.

READ MORE: ‘Bear with me’: Kitimat comedian dressed in bear costume running as independent for Skeena-Bulkley Valley

Conservative Party candidate Claire Rattée

The Conservative Party has introduced the most comprehensive environmental platform with the most actionable items ever put forward by a political party in Canada. We believe that environmental protection and affordability should go together. Our focus is incentivizing environmental stewardship, investing in green technology, and working to lower global emissions by bringing our cleaner resources and technologies to the world’s heaviest emitters.

LNG is an excellent investment in Canada’s economy that will make significant progress in the global fight against climate change by transitioning Asian markets off of coal. The potential to see a project built in Prince Rupert is something I would fight for. Our Green Homes Tax Credit is a 20% refundable credit for home improvements that reduce emissions which could be especially useful here with many aging homes in need of significant updates. It will allow Canadians to save up to $3,800 on green renovations each year and incentivize transitions to environmentally conscious homes while reducing energy costs. As an oceanfront community Prince Rupert could also benefit from our commitments to addressing plastic waste and Canada’s failing recycling system. We will work with the provinces and plastic producers to develop a national standard for plastic recycling and reduce plastic packaging, and with international partners to combat ocean plastic and increase the recovery of clean energy from existing waste.

As your representative I will always stand up for the priorities of our community, including the environment; and ensure your voices are heard in Ottawa.

READ MORE: Kitimat resident is Conservative choice for fall election

Liberal Party candidate Dave Birdi

As your MP, this is my three part commitment:

First, I will work with my Party to lower carbon dioxide emissions in Prince Rupert through targeted initiatives. Second, I believe lower carbon dioxide emissions can be achieved hand in hand with lowering the cost of transportation, lower government subsidies, and increased disposable income for residents in Prince Rupert. Third, climate change related activities will also focus on mitigation of negative effects of sea level rising near Prince Rupert. This needs immediate attention.

As MP, my first two commitments are actionable using two strategies: primarily by increasing bus frequency and bus route coverage in Prince Rupert. This will increase transit ridership and lower government subsidies. Secondly, I will encourage on-line shopping and subsidized domestic package delivery via increased broadband access. Strategic on-line shopping will lower costs and increase families’ disposable income. The reduction in daily shopping trips means vehicles taken off the road and immediate reduction in carbon dioxide emissions.

Both these initiatives require federal government funding through gas tax rebates and carbon tax re-investment.

My third commitment will involve extensive consultation with residents living on ocean and tidal water shoreline to get their “buy-in” on efficient mitigation measures. These measures are urgently required. The known problems are usable land – docks, residential, agricultural- wash out and saline water invasion. To secure funding from federal government, Prince Rupert residents’ need tireless advocacy and championship. As your MP, I will be honoured to fill that role.

READ MORE: Liberals acclaim former Fort St. James councillor as Skeena-Bulkley Valley candidate

NDP candidate Taylor Bachrach

Across the Northwest I’ve been hearing about the pressure communities are under due to climate change. We’re on the frontline here and it’s having a real impact on people’s livelihoods.

That’s certainly the case in Prince Rupert. Another summer of poor salmon returns have made things tough for fisheries workers. Closures have left many workers in Rupert on the line; unable to use their boats and licences.

Prince Rupert is a strong, resilient community, but it’s climate change and the resulting warming of oceans and destruction of habitat that is behind much of the collapse in stocks. The challenges facing fishermen in Rupert won’t be resolved until we start getting real about tackling climate change.

That starts with urgent federal disaster relief to fishermen affected by the closures. We need support covering the cost of licences that are going unused and EI extensions to fishers without work.

We also need substantial investment from the federal government to rebuild stocks and return them to abundance. That includes habitat restoration and better funding for stock monitoring to give us a clearer picture of the health of wild salmon.

Finally, we need real action to cut emissions and reach our climate change targets nationally. The NDP’s plan commits to ending fossil fuel subsidies and investing in a clean transition that creates new green jobs and hits those targets.

I’m ready to fight the climate crisis in Ottawa and ensure that everyday folks on the ground in the Northwest are not left behind.

READ MORE: Bachrach nominated by NDP for federal election

Independent candidate Merv Ritchie

Prince Rupert has a relatively unspoiled natural environment. The region contributes little to the global climate crises being discussed.

I would encourage the development of food production facilities, such as green houses, and use the harbour and port to promote international changes to shipping.

The recent shipment of dry, undiluted bitumen by container is exactly as I addressed in a letter to Harper, Redford and Clark on March 8, 2012. This demonstrates the fantastic growth potential in container shipping. Presently a significant portion of the “Coal” stored at Ridley Island is actually “Petcoke”, the remnants of the primary refining of bitumen. This, and other products, should be brought directly in sealed containers as the dust is a known carcinogen.

As all fuel oils spill during a vessel sinking or breakup; such as the MV Rena in New Zealand or even the Nathan Stewart off of Bella Bella, I would start a program to ensure all vessels have their fuel oils containerized in sealed removable modules. In this manner, during an emergency, all valves could be spring sealed and the modules recovered when possible, preventing any further environmental degradation.

The shortage of power generation to meet the needs of an “electrified container terminal” could be met by SE Alaska. We have identified 10,000 MW (10 Site C’s) worth of “Clean Green” electrical power from Geothermal and high head hydroelectric facilities. I have personally spoken with the AEC and would encourage their desire for an inter connection, to meet the needs of Prince Rupert and the Port.

READ MORE: Independent Merv Ritchie on why he is running as independent candidate for Skeena-Bulkley Valley

Peoples' Party of Canada candidate Jody Craven.

The People’s Party of Canada holds the view that the climate change urgency is primarily a political or social issue, not a scientific one. Climate is a very complex process and it is not at all clear elevated CO2 levels (of which only some is the result of human activity) could be driving it. Recall CO2 is not a pollutant, it is a natural gas that is necessary for plants to survive, and so all life on earth. In fact, due in part because of the higher levels there is a greening effect of the planet occurring, especially in the northern hemisphere.

Consequently, the People’s Party of Canada will scrap the burdensome Carbon Tax and its feeble goal of reducing carbon emissions, putting more money in people’s pockets. The Peoples Party of Canada will also pull out of the misguided and economically crippling Paris Accord. Instead, we will focus on practical solutions to ensure Canadian citizens have clean air, soil, and water for generations to come (especially neglected First Nations communities who still can’t drink their own water).

(Check out some new and exciting ways we can eliminate consumer waste: &

READ MORE: PPC announces candidate for Skeena-Bulkley Valley

Green Party candidate Mike Sawyer

Climate Crisis is the greatest threat we have ever faced. It’s been 27 years since Canada ratified its first climate change commitment and it’s made four commitments since then, all which we’ve failed to meet. And we will miss our current commitment as well. At current rate of reduction in greenhouse gas emissions it will take 215 years to meet our 2030 target. And the science says we have less than 10 years to turn this ship around before risking uncontrollable climate change!

In spite of this the Government is still approving LNG export licences out to 2070, buying tar sands pipelines and cynically declaring a Climate Emergency. Somewhere there is a disconnect.

The Green Party believes Canada must do better. We need to stop subsidizing fossil fuels and fund public investment required to support a wide variety of measures such as energy efficiency retrofits, energy-efficient agriculture, investments in public transit, and spurring innovation in the production of renewable energy.

The Green Party believes Canada should commit to cut greenhouse gas emissions by at least 40% below 2005 levels by 2025. Our long-term target should be to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050, with further cuts to greenhouse gas emissions of at least 80% to 90%.

In this election vote as if your life and the lives of your children and grandchildren depend on it. Because they do. Vote Green. Vote Mike Sawyer.

READ MORE: Mike Sawyer announced as Green candidate for Skeena-Bulkley Valley

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