The previous leader of the Green party in British Columbia has endorsed the federal Liberals’ plan for combating climate change.
Andrew Weaver says the Liberal plan is “each daring and thoughtful” and is the one credible plan recommend by any federal party.
The endorsement is one other blow for federal Green Leader Annamie Paul, who has struggled with internal feuding and a scarcity of economic resources to run a national campaign.
Paul admitted earlier this week that the party won’t field a full slate of 338 candidates across the country.
She’s not commenting directly on Weaver’s endorsement but insists the Liberal climate plan is “smoke and mirrors.”
Weaver posted his video endorsement of the Liberal climate plan on social media Thursday; it was eagerly circulated by Liberals, including Leader Justin Trudeau, who made much of the undeniable fact that Weaver is a climate scientist.
Within the video, Weaver lauds the Liberal plan for including, amongst other measures, “a world-leading price on carbon pollution” and rapid zero-emissions vehicle deployment “which is even a stronger policy than one we developed here in B.C.”
“This can be a plan that reflects the urgency and scale of the crisis,” he says.
“I’m extremely impressed at how ambitious the Liberal Party of Canada’s plan is and I’m confident that that is the suitable path for Canada.”
Trudeau retweeted Weaver’s video, saying it “means so much” given all he’s completed as a climate scientist and former Green leader in B.C.
Before joining the B.C. legislature in 2013, Weaver was the Canada Research Chair in climate modelling and evaluation on the University of Victoria and a lead creator on several United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change scientific assessments. He didn’t run for re-election last 12 months.
At a news conference Thursday within the Toronto Centre riding where she’s trying for the third time to win a seat for herself within the House of Commons, Paul said she hadn’t seen Weaver’s video and couldn’t comment on it.
But she argued that even when the Liberals were to implement every measure of their climate plan, Canada wouldn’t meet the Liberals’ original goal to cut back carbon emissions by 30 per cent below 2005 levels by 2030, much less their recent, more ambitious goal of 40 to 45 per cent.
“The actual fact of the matter is that you just cannot proceed to construct recent pipelines like TMX, support other pipeline projects like Coastal GasLink, greenlight project after project for brand new oil and gas exploration, proceed to support fracking of gas on this country and proceed to support the fossil fuel industry to the tune of billions of dollars and hope to cut back greenhouse gas emissions,” she said.
Paul muddled her message, nonetheless, misspeaking as she declared: “Should you need a real plan, the one option on this election for you is the Liberals.”
Weaver stressed in an interview that he’s not endorsing the Liberal party per se, he’s endorsing the Liberal climate plan which he called “first rate” and “absolutely exceptional.”
“I’ve all the time been focused on policy, not partisanship,” he said.
Weaver said he hopes Paul wins a seat and believes she’s “the perfect thing to occur” to the federal Green party. But he said he doesn’t consider her party grasps the seriousness of the climate crisis.
“The federal Greens wouldn’t have a climate plan, to be perfectly blunt,” Weaver said.
“If the federal Greens truly consider that climate change was the defining issue of our time, then they wouldn’t be imploding over infighting over views of a Mideast crisis for which no person really cares what the views of 1 or two MPs in a Canadian Parliament are,” he added.
In June, Fredericton Green MP Jenica Atwin crossed the ground to the Liberals after criticizing Paul’s stance on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. That triggered weeks of infighting and attempts by the party’s executive to place Paul’s leadership to a confidence vote by grassroots members.