Leading as much as Canada’s 2021 federal election, the Conservative, Liberal and NDP candidates in Barrie—Springwater—Oro-Medonte debated the environment and related issues.
Here’s what their answers were to among the most pertinent questions in Wednesday’s conversation:
Moderator: Will you develop a latest and credible plan to halt and reverse nature loss, protect species-at-risk and meet Canada’s commitment to guard a minimum of 30 per cent of land, freshwater and ocean by 2030? Will you commit to require all sectors to scale back carbon emissions by 60 per cent by 2030 and make it law? Will you push your party’s leadership to finish all government subsidies for and investments in fossil fuel infrastructures, comparable to pipelines and latest highways?
Liberal Barrie—Springwater—Oro-Medonte candidate Tanya Saari:
She said a Liberal government would — and already has — developed a plan to satisfy Canada’s goal to conserve a minimum of 30 per cent of land and water by 2030.
“Our government has actually already committed to and is working toward protecting 30 per cent of our lands and waters by 2030,” Saari said.
“We are going to implement the recently passed Net-Zero (Emissions) Accountability Act and advance latest measures to realize a 40 to 45 per cent reduction in emissions by 2030.”
The local candidate also said her party has committed to eliminating fossil fuel subsidies by 2023, which she said is 2 years ahead of Canada’s G20 partners.
Conservative Barrie—Springwater—Oro-Medonte candidate Doug Shipley:
Shipley said the Conservatives are committed to reaching the targets set by the previous Conservative government in 2010 — to conserve 17 per cent of terrestrial lands through protected areas and other local conservation measures — though he said the party will increase its goal to 25 per cent.
He also said the Conservatives will fight climate change and protect the environment, though he insisted that his party “won’t do it on the backs of hard-working Canadians.”
“To achieve our goal, we are going to work with provinces to make Canada a pacesetter in climate motion, recognize that essentially the most efficient approach to reduce our emissions is to make use of pricing mechanisms and never ignoring the undeniable fact that the U.S. doesn’t yet have a national carbon pricing system,” Shipley said.
He acknowledged that greater than 40,000 jobs have disappeared in Alberta over the past seven years and said the federal government can’t leave behind staff in any sector or region across Canada.
“It’s not so simple as turning off the oil and gas sector,” he added. “I actually imagine we must support people across the country in all regions and sectors.”
Shipley said the Conservative Party will support youth who try to get into the workforce and supply funding to women-led small businesses.
NDP Barrie—Springwater—Oro-Medonte candidate Sarah Lochhead:
Lochhead said the NDP will protect 30 per cent of Canada’s land and water by 2030.
“Part of those plans include enshrining in law an Environment Bill of Rights, and we plan to also be sure that the Species at Risk Act is enforced and launch a 10-year nature plan to reverse species loss, in addition to working with farmers in communities to watch biodiversity and protect pollinator health,” she said.
“We also need to implement a national freshwater strategy.”
The local candidate said an NDP government will do “what the science requires” and that the party has a plan to chop emissions by greater than half to satisfy 1.5-degree targets.
“We also plan to create a climate accountability office, which can provide independent oversight of the federal climate progress to have interaction the general public and to make recommendations on how one can best achieve those goals,” she said, adding that her party is committed to eliminating fossil fuel subsidies and redirecting funds to low carbon and green energy initiatives.
Moderator: Will you implement the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and calls to motion within the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC)? Will you put money into Indigenous-led land-use planning and the establishment of Indigenous protected and conserved areas?
Shipley said the TRC and the National Inquiry of Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls identified significant gaps in opportunities for Indigenous people in Canada.
“Conservatives have a comprehensive plan to implement TRC calls to motion 71 through 76,” he said. (Calls to motion 71 through 76 address missing children and burial information. They might be viewed on this Truth and Reconciliation document online.)
Shipley also said Conservatives will address the continuing mental health crisis that’s been exacerbated by COVID-19 by providing $1 billion to spice up funding for Indigenous mental health and drug treatment programs.
“A Conservative government will recognize Indigenous and treaty rights and work along with Indigenous peoples as partners to resolve longstanding challenges,” he added.
NDP (Lochhead): Lochhead said an NDP government would implement the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and the entire TRC’s 94 calls to motion.
“The Latest Democrats will work with Indigenous people to co-develop a national motion plan for reconciliation, drawing on the calls to motion to be sure that Canada’s laws, policies (and) practices are consistent with our human rights commitments,” she said.
“We wish to ascertain a national council for reconciliation to supply oversight and accountability for this process and reporting often to each Parliament and Canadians.”
As a substitute of merely consulting with Indigenous peoples, Lochhead said an NDP government would arrange a typical of free, prior and informed consent for Indigenous communities which might be affected by government policies.
She also said an NDP government desires to transition distant communities to incorporating clean energy alternatives.
“We imagine that the Crown’s relationship to Indigenous people should be based and acknowledged on our country’s colonial history of genocide and stolen lands and include legally binding commitments to fair and equitable redress,” Lochhead said.
Liberal (Saari): Saari said she fully supports the implementation of the TRC calls to motion.
“With regard to Indigenous-protected areas, Indigenous peoples have been strong allies in working to guard land and waters often within the face of provincial resistance,” she said, adding Liberals have began work on Indigenous conserved and guarded areas.
“(We) have launched Indigenous programs across the country to realize the 30 per cent protection goal.”
Saari also said the Liberals have committed $340 million in additional funding to support Indigenous leadership in nature conservation.
Moderator: What measures would you are taking to make sure housing for granted?
NDP (Lochhead): Lochhead said the NDP has a plan to create 500,000 units of inexpensive housing across Canada, which she insists will create jobs, construct rental co-ops and social housing.
“We’re going to establish a direct, faster fund to streamline applications to assist communities get the expertise and assistance they should get projects off the bottom now,” she said.
“A Latest Democratic government can even spur construction of inexpensive homes by waiving the federal portion of the GST, HST on the development of inexpensive rental units. This straightforward change will help get latest units built faster.”
Lochhead said the federal government must be certain that that families who’re suffering get immediate relief in order that they’re not struggling to afford their rent.
“To assist with the housing market, we’re trying to levy 20 per cent on home purchases from foreign investors to assist cool the housing market,” she added.
“A core component of our approach is fully implementing the correct to housing and dealing toward the goal of ending homelessness in Canada inside a decade.”
Liberal (Saari): Saari said the federal government must proceed its work on housing.
“I used to be really pleased with the policy platform that got here out with us that we’re going to construct more cost-effective houses (1.4 million inexpensive houses across the country),” she said.
Saari said the Liberals can even introduce a Home Buyer’s Bill of Rights, a rent-to-own program for individuals who try to get into the housing market and a latest multi-generational home renovation tax credit to assist families expand their homes.
The Liberal candidate also said her party will put money into Indigenous housing and work with Indigenous partners to co-develop an Indigenous housing strategy.
“I can promise we are going to proceed to work to finish chronic homelessness,” she added.
Conservative: Shipley said inexpensive housing should be a top priority for the subsequent federal government.
“There may be a major problem with supply and demand, and Conservatives will swiftly increase housing supply across the country by effectively funding infrastructure projects,” he said.
“Which means constructing public transit infrastructure and requiring cities and towns receiving those federal infrastructure funds to extend density near transit.”
Shipley said the federal government is the most important property owner in Canada with over 37,000 buildings.
“A Conservative government will release a minimum of 15 per cent of those properties for housing redevelopment,” he added.
“Conservatives will ban foreign investors not living in Canada from buying homes here for a minimum of two years. As a substitute, we are going to encourage foreign investment in purpose-built rental housing that’s inexpensive.”
Shipley said a Conservative government would ensure Canada’s real estate market serves the interests of Canadians first.
Moderator: Will you support designating the Bradford Bypass, a four-lane freeway that cuts through the headwaters of Lake Simcoe and the Greenbelt, for a federal impact assessment? Will you support a cost-sharing agreement with Ontario to get the Holland River Reclamation Plant online ASAP?
Liberal (Saari): Saari said she’d work with all levels of presidency to be certain that the Bradford Bypass undergoes an environmental assessment.
“I’m committed to seeing that project through,” she said.
“Our government will make a historic investment of $1 billion to the Freshwater Motion Plan, and this can be a plan that may provide essential funding to guard and restore lakes and river systems, which incorporates our precious Lake Simcoe.”
Conservative (Shipley): Shipley said a Conservative government would reinstate the Lake Simcoe Cleanup Fund.
“Through the last election campaign in 2019, I stood on the shores of Lake Simcoe and announced our plan to reinstate the cleanup fund of $30 million,” he said.
“That spurred the Liberal government to return to Barrie with their very own $40-million commitment, of which none has been allocated to the project. I actually have advocated for the reinstatement of the Lake Simcoe Cleanup Fund to be fulfilled for the reason that last election, and we’ve got heard nothing from the present Liberal government.”
NDP (Lochhead): With respect to the region’s growth, Lochhead said she sees a have to support green solutions for getting around.
“An NDP government will concentrate on green infrastructure, comparable to public transit, in addition to our communities and helping minimize urban sprawl by creating good jobs where we live,” she said.
“There have been preliminary conversations between NDP candidates whose ridings are connected to Lake Simcoe regarding the potential for a Lake Simcoe NDP Coalition.”
She said the seven ridings represent a bit of greater than two per cent of the House of Commons and that they’ll have more power in the event that they can vote as a block on issues pertaining to Lake Simcoe.
Moderator: Given the urgency of the climate emergency, are you ready to spend what it takes to contribute to the worldwide effort to avoid the worst of the climate crisis and its social and economic impacts?
Liberal (Saari): Since 2015, Saari said the Liberals have made “record” investments within the environment, have had renewed relationships with Indigenous peoples, increased taxes on the rich and made investments in green infrastructure.
“We have now a climate plan that has been recognized as ‘marvelous’ by Tom Mulcair, the previous leader of Canada’s NDP, in addition to ‘daring and thoughtful’ by Andrew Weaver, the previous leader of the B.C. Green Party, and ‘effective and economically efficient policies,’ and that’s from Mark Jaccard, the climate expert,” she said.
“Our government has one of the best climate plan.”
Conservative (Shipley): Shipley said Conservatives are committed to protecting the environment and can achieve this by investing in programs that support that commitment, including constructing public transit and other major infrastructure projects across Canada.
“We’re also focused on cleansing up our waters and protecting water quality, including Lake Simcoe,” he said
“Which means ending raw sewage dumping into our lakes, rivers and oceans, and protecting our waterways from pollution.”
Shipley also said a Conservative government would ban the export of plastic waste.
NDP (Lochhead): Lochhead said a Canadian government must tackle climate change with a way of urgency.
“We’re committed to avoiding the worst-case scenario and doing what it takes and what the science requires to avoid the worst of the climate crisis and the social (and) economic impacts,” she said.
“Our approach to raising revenues in an effort to fund such commitments will put people first and tackle the inequality crisis facing our country, strengthen the integrity of our tax system and be sure that large, profitable corporations and the very richest pay more to assist us get there.”
Wednesday’s all-candidates meeting in Barrie—Springwater—Oro-Medonte was a part of 100 Debates on the Environment. The upcoming federal election will happen on Sept. 20.
A few of the moderator questions have been edited for length and clarity.