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Candidate Q & A 2021 Federal Election

St. Catharines Riding

Chris Bittle Liberal Party of Canada

How important is climate change to you personally, and where would you rank it in importance with respect to other issues?

Climate change is an existential threat facing humanity, and an absolute priority for me and the Liberal government. When I look at my children, I think about the planet and the environment they will inherit. I know that we need to act now to fight the climate crisis and create a clean environment for future generations. As we rebuild from the COVID-19 pandemic, we know we need to do so in a green and sustainable way. It not only makes environmental sense, but being a leader in climate change makes economic sense too. 

What actions do you and your party plan on implementing to protect our local environment, and what are the timelines for implementing these actions?

Since being elected, our government has invested more than $100 billion to fight climate change and ensure a green recovery for Canada from the COVID-19 pandemic and because of our policies, it is no longer free to pollute in Canada. 

We were the first government in Canadian history that will meet and exceed our climate goals. We have also implemented landmark climate accountability legislation to hold future governments to account on taking action toward a carbon neutral economy by 2050. 

In August, our government pledged to invest more than $1 billion over the next decade to protect and restore Canada’s big lakes and river systems. This commitment includes establishing a new Canada Water Agency to coordinate freshwater initiatives.

When it comes to land and ocean conservation, we are well on track to meeting our goal of protecting 30% of Canada’s lands and oceans by 2030.

Whether it be investments in clean jobs, or projects to protect local green space and wildlife, our government will build a cleaner future for everyone.

The World Health Organization, United Nations, Federal and Provincial Governments and the City of St. Catharines have declared a Climate Change Emergency. Given the significance of this situation, how do you plan on disseminating climate change information to the citizens of St. Catharines?

We know there is a lot of disinformation out there on climate change and I will continue to use my public platforms and position as Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Environment and Climate Change to ensure residents of St. Catharines are informed and aware of how our government is responding to this crisis. It is crucial that our government is transparent about our targets and timelines. We are on track to exceed our Paris climate targets, and to meet our goal of net zero by 2050. Canadians expect their government to step up, and that is exactly what we have done and we will continue to do so. 

Will you support legislation that transitions the economy away from fossil fuels, and how do you propose to support workers in the energy, transportation, food and housing sectors?

Yes. To help reach our government’s goal of net zero by 2050, we have committed to ending inefficient fossil fuel subsidies by 2023.

We know that Canada cannot continue to rely on fossil fuels. That is why we invested $1.5 billion in the Clean Fuels Fund to support the production and distribution of low carbon and zero-emission fuels, including hydrogen and biomass, which will speed up the transition to biofuels.

Our price on pollution is also specifically designed to increase over time so that it not only makes environmental sense to reduce Canada’s reliance on fossil fuels, it makes economic sense too.

Krystina Waler Conservative Party of Canada

How important is climate change to you personally, and where would you rank it in importance with respect to other issues?

I am worried about climate change and I want to work to find solutions that will make a difference and protect our economy at the same time.

Canada’s Conservatives have a serious plan to combat climate change that allows us to meet our targets and reduce emissions by 2030.

Independent analysis, conducted by Navius Research, found that our plan would effectively achieve the same emissions reductions as the Liberal’s current plan in 2030, while resulting in a boost to jobs and the economy.

We recognize that the most efficient way to reduce our emissions is to use pricing mechanisms – but not one where the government pockets your money.

What actions do you and your party plan on implementing to protect our localenvironment, and what are the timelines for implementing these actions?

We will work with the provinces to implement an innovative and national Personal Low Carbon Savings Account. LCSA’s will incentivize Canadians to make greener lifestyle choices that reduce their emissions while also allowing them to decide what works best for them and their family.

This approach to carbon pricing leverages the fact that Canadians want to do the right thing and are better positioned than governments to decide how and where they can personally invest in reducing their carbon footprints.

Not one penny of the price on hydrocarbon fuels for Canadians and small businesses will go to the government. The LCSA program will be completely transparent and engage Canadians in the process of building a lower carbon future, with the ability to purchase items like locally grown fruits and vegetables, meats and dairy products, transit passes, bicycles, or home energy efficiency improvement projects.

Canada’s Conservatives will also create a powerful incentive for agriculture and forestry sectors to protect the environment and sequester carbon by allowing for greater creation of land-based offset credits.

We will invest an additional $3 billion between now and 2030 in natural climate solutions focused on management of forest, crop and grazing lands and restoration of grasslands, wetlands, and forests.

These solutions can have multiple benefits: not only will they help sequester carbon, but they can also provide protection for communities and additional benefits for wildlife.

Conservatives will increase the ability of the agricultural and forestry sectors to create land-based offset credits by improving the carbon sequestration of agricultural lands and managed forests, and incenting environmental protection in those sectors. This will generate emissions reductions at lower cost, and protect Canadian jobs

The World Health Organization, United Nations, Federal and ProvincialGovernments and the City of St. Catharines have declared a Climate ChangeEmergency. Given the significance of this situation, how do you plan on disseminating climate change information to the citizens of St. Catharines?

I think communication between MPs and their constituents is essential for a MP to do their job effectively.

As the MP, you are the voice of your constituents in Ottawa, so that necessitates a constant and effective dialog.

I will always be accessible to our community – over phone, email, social media accounts etc. But I will also engage stakeholder and community interest groups directly and on a set schedule, so there’s no daylight between the voice of our community and what is being shared back at Parliament Hill.

Will you support legislation that transitions the economy away from fossil fuels, and how do you propose to support workers in the energy, transportation,food and housing sectors?

We will introduce a tax credit to rapidly accelerate the deployment of Carbon Capture, Utilization and Storage technology in the energy sector and in important industries that have few alternatives to burning fossil fuels, like fertilizer and chemical production.

The Liberals believe that we can only reduce our emissions by “phasing out” entire industries and the jobs that provide a secure living for hundreds of thousands of Canadian families.

Conservatives appreciate that we can’t build a greener future if Canadians don’t have jobs.

We will also invest in Direct Air Capture, a promising technology that captures carbon dioxide from the air. Canada is a technology leader in this area.

By partnering with Canadian innovators to secure Canadian leadership in this important area, we will reduce emissions in Canada and advance technology that Canada could soon be exporting to the world.

Catharine Rhodes Green Party of Canada

How important is climate change to you personally,and where would you rank it in importance with respect to other issues?

 Climate change is a current global crisis. If we are unable to reduce emissions and global warming below 1.5c it could lead to a superheating event. It’s not science fiction, it’s science fact. 

What actions do you and your party plan on implementing to protect our local environment, and what are the timelines for implementing these actions.

 There is no reason to ignore climate change. Switching to the use of a hybrid energy grid that incorporates clean energies like wind and solar power, incentivizing companies to switch their production to clean energy, and cutting all subsidies to oil and fuel producers are just three of the many ways we plan to keep emissions low and the air clean. We also acknowledge the importance of indigenous leadership as they are the historical stewards of the land and our diverse animal life. 

We would also contribute to projects that reduce urban sprawl, promote neighbourhood based shopping and direct farm-to-table food consumption, and increase funding to emergency and humanitarian efforts, BEFORE we end up in a food crisis.

“Let’s build more buildings and subsidize more fuel companies” is absolutely not the correct response to a global food, energy, and humanitarian crisis. 

The World Health Organization, United Nations, Federal and Provincial Governments and the City of St. Catharines have declared a Climate Change Emergency. Given the significance of this situation, how do you plan on disseminating climate change information to the citizens of St. Catharines?

 If elected I will launch a climate change campaign, utilizing sign posts and media spaces that are well viewed by residents. I will push for and support companies and individuals starting and sustaining green businesses. I will push for funding to re-vamp downtown and the farmers market, making them more appealing to St Catharines residents. I will stand for our green spaces and against the development of oversized buildings that only serve the rich and do nothing to reduce homelessness. 

Will you support legislation that transitions the economy away from fossil fuels, and how do you propose to support workers in the energy, transportation, food and housing sectors?

There is a false assumption that if we switch to clean energy, people will lose their jobs. Skills and workers are easily transferable. We cannot continue to use job loss as an excuse for refusing to transition from bailing out American companies like Ford, to building our own clean energy grid and welcoming green businesses into our country. We have seen how quickly American companies close up shop and leave Canada the second they find cheaper workers, land, or a better deal. The old, stuck in our heads ideal of supporting and continuing to support US based companies rather than building our own industries is out dated and a bit ridiculous, given the current economy. 

Trecia McLennon New Democratic Party

How important is climate change to you personally, and where would you rank it in importance with respect to other issues?

 We need to fight the climate crisis like we want to win, which means we need to recognize that this crisis puts everything we value at risk.  This crisis is interconnected with the transportation, food and housing sectors of the economy.  There probably is not a single issue that touches everything like the impacts of the climate crisis and the environment.  My personal goal is to be a good ancestor and leave this earth better than I found it..

What actions do you and your party plan on implementing to protect our local environment, and what are the timelines for implementing these actions?

I think it’s important to have solid policies that work with people to co-create the future we all deserve, which means access to nature and green spaces as part of our health and humanity. The NDP is committed to strengthening the Environmental Protection Act. This means increased protection from toxic substances in everyday products, strengthening the federal impact assessment and taking action at the intersection of climate and health. It’s time to undo the Liberals’ decision to let big polluters off the hook and expect more from our government.. 

The NDP plan is also proposing a cut in emissions by more than half and meet the 1.5 degree target that scientists say is required to prevent a catastrophe.  As part of a commitment to expanding urban national parks and restoring urban biodiversity, I would work with other levels of government in this riding and other stakeholders to determine how best to prioritize and support nature protection and increasing green space and right here in St. Catharines in the Niagara Region

The World Health Organization, United Nations, Federal and Provincial Governments and the City of St. Catharines have declared a Climate Change Emergency. Given the significance of this situation, how do you plan on disseminating climate change information to the citizens of St. Catharines?

 Communicating priorities and raising awareness of the climate crisis is vital to creating real action – not action when it is only popular and convenient. 

The Conservatives think the climate crisis isn’t real – the Liberals just act like it isn’t.  That’s why the NDP proposal of environmental bill of rights is vital to tackle the many interconnected issues in a way that leads to a future where every community,every City and Region, in the country will enjoy clean land, water an air while creating policy to ensure these steps are taken one-hundred percent of the time, not half the time or three-quarters of the time.  

Finally, language and our goals matter when it comes to talking about the environment.  Canada is one of the richest nations in the world and we have the second largest land mass on earth.  The Liberal government commitment to its 2 billion tree pledge is woefully inadequate, especially in light of the fact that much poorer nations with much smaller land masses are doing much more.  Canada and our communities can do much better than that.  The Liberals call it creating the “green economy”, but I’d call it “green washing” and we need to do much better than that.

Will you support legislation that transitions the economy away from fossil fuels, and how do you propose to support workers in the energy, transportation, food and housing sectors?

The NDP plan proposes to eliminate fossil fuel subsidies once and for all.  The importance of supporting good jobs and the ancillary energy sectors is by putting forth a plan that creates hundreds of thousands of good paying jobs by investing in clean energy, energy efficient affordable homes, electric transit and zero emission vehicles. 

Niagara Centre

Melissa McGlashan New Democratic Party

How important is climate change to you personally, and where would you rank it in importance with respect to other issues?

I consider climate change to be the most important challenge of our lifetimes. So many people talk about this in terms of their children, but the fact is the climate crisis affects us here and now. We don’t have four years to waste on a government that still thinks this is ‘future government’s’ problem. I have yet to see a government that takes this as a present-day issue.

The IPCC gave us until 2030. This is a problem for us right now, and we need to handle it like the crisis it is.

What actions do you and your party plan on implementing to protect our local environment, and what are the timelines for implementing these actions?

We will take climate leadership, building on Canada’s new net-zero law by reducing our emissions by at least 50% from 2005 levels by 2030, and achieve net-zero by 2050.

The NDP will fulfill Canada’s G-20 commitment to eliminate these fossil fuel subsidies and redirect these funds to low carbon initiatives, and make sure that future governments can’t reverse this by putting in place legislation to ban any future oil, gas and pipeline subsidies. We will also continue with carbon pricing while making it fairer and rolling back loopholes this government has given to big polluters.

I didn’t get a science degree and put my name on the ballot to not take on the climate crisis with the severity it requires. The NDP has a plan to tackle this crisis, and I’ve outlined just a few of our measures above. Should any members of the St.Catharines Environmental Alliance like to read the plan, you can find it at ndp.ca/commitments

The World Health Organization, United Nations, Federal and Provincial Governments and the City of St. Catharines have declared a Climate Change Emergency. Given the significance of this situation, how do you plan on disseminating climate change information to the citizens of St. Catharines?

We believe climate change is an emergency, and when you have an emergency, you have to address it like one. We cannot afford to wait.

There are many opportunities to discuss and disseminate climate change information. Town halls, round tables, and social media offer us new tools to contact constituents without creating waste.

The climate crisis remains an urgent priority and an existential threat. It calls on all of us to be courageous, act decisively, and be accountable

Will you support legislation that transitions the economy away from fossil fuels, and how do you propose to support workers in the energy, transportation, food and housing sectors?

The NDP want a clean energy revolution to power Canada into the future. We’ve set a target of net carbon-free electricity by 2030, and move to 100% non-emitting electricity by 2040.

We will protect Canadian businesses who are taking action to transition to a low carbon future with a border carbon adjustment that will level the playing field on imports from areas without a carbon price. And we will appoint a Climate Emergency Committee of Cabinet and establish strong Climate Emergency Secretariat in the PMO to ensure a whole-of-government approach to responding to the climate emergency.

However, we know that Canadian workers are worried about their place in the changing global economy. Our plan will cut greenhouse gas emissions at the same time as it will create, good family sustaining jobs in every part of the country.

Our investments will create more than a million good jobs in a first mandate. These jobs in energy efficiency retrofits, affordable housing, renewable energy, infrastructure, transit, childcare, and more will lift up every part of the country and give families hope for the future.

In addition, we will provide dedicated employment support combining access to expanded EI benefits, re-training and job placement services, ensuring companies retain and redeploy their workers when in transition, and ensuring that workers nearing retirement have the retirement security they have worked for their whole lives, without penalties to their pensions if they retire early.

The climate crisis remains an urgent priority and an existential threat. It calls on all of us to be courageous, act decisively, and be accountable. Future generations are counting on us. We can show that we are equal to the challenge.

Kurtis McCartney Green Party of Canada

How important is climate change to you personally, and where would you rank it in importance with respect to other issues?

The climate crisis is impacting our homes, workplaces, leisure activities and it has largely been a negative impact. It is front of mind personally as I cannot imagine a life in Niagara like my grandfather’s in my generation or generations to come. The lakefront isn’t cool enough for leisure, the businesses that relied on leisure or manufacturing do not have the advantage to update, and it’s leaving many folks my age scrambling across the country and across the world. For those of us adapting there is a struggle. That’s why housing and climate are connected as we cannot locally decarbonize quickly enough when families have no direct freedom to do so.

What actions do you and your party plan on implementing to protect our local environment, and what are the timelines for implementing these actions?

First order of business is to address the housing crisis and get existing supply back onto market at responsible prices by removing the investment incentive for properties. From there we need to support the families transitioning to a green economy in both retrofit and what few new builds by establishing national standards requiring and accelerating the adoption of zero carbon solutions in home heating, public transportation, and any other local point of pollution. This will build a market for clean energy that I have received confirmation can be met by the existing OPG plans.

Unlike other parties we’re calling for this action much sooner. Including the required action to reduce emissions 60% by 2030. We don’t get there without making the changes immediately. If one of my family members was sick and I arrived at the hospital to have someone say that they have a 20-year plan to offer essential Healthcare services that that family member needs today I would experience grief. It’s time we pledge to our current generation and future generations that we take action today and not in 20 years, 30 years, or 40 years. 

This is not the popular choice, I just hope that people recognize that it is the necessary choice.

The World Health Organization, United Nations, Federal and Provincial Governments and the City of St. Catharines have declared a Climate Change Emergency. Given the significance of this situation, how do you plan on disseminating climate change information to the citizens of St. Catharines?

A part of why I’m answering this question at all is because I’ve been trusted by the members of our Green Party of Canada electoral district association to be as knowledgable as I am passionate about addressing the climate emergency. I don’t just talk to talk I walked the walk of decarbonization and I’m years in with reliable mass market technologies that produce zero emissions in our community. There have been fewer in person meetings to share this information due to our national health emergency so I have continued online including some of my live streams and advocacy in the Electrify Everything groups. 

I’ve spoken with city and regional counselors about decarbonization opportunities at these facilities. And I’ve spoken in public about the things that limit access on existing energy rebates. Increasing efficiency on burning fossil fuels is still burning fossil fuels and we cannot continue in this direction.

I’ve been informed that our 2024 building code in Ontario does not allow for new natural gas installations for water heaters in new homes. We are at a point where heat pump technology can offer over 300% efficiency with zero local emissions.

It will be up to us in provincial and federal government to make the change when it comes to grid emissions.

Will you support legislation that transitions the economy away from fossil fuels, and how do you propose to support workers in the energy, transportation, food and housing sectors?

At the moment I’ve joined in the call to immediately stop any new fossil fuel developments as required to address the climate emergency in the IPCC report. And being one of the only candidates with relatives that were working in oil and gas in western Canada I can say the current government has failed in the unplanned transition and we need to act now in order to keep families together and to support people in their communities. 

The full social safety net including Guaranteed Livable Income, unlike regular UBI plans requires a more holistic approach which is why housing policy, finance, health including pharmacare, and key investments in education can all work together so that the necessary change is not a burden for the current generation that will be paid for into the next. 

I’d like to address the criticisms from folks that have not gotten an education in economics, as I have, when we are not subsidizing oil and gas industries, and we are supporting our Canadian businesses there’s so much of your money that is already going to their shareholders instead of operating a truly free economy. This is how we can afford to build a safety net for workers and for families instead of waiting for the falsehood of trickle-down economics fueling the never-ending drain on our national coffers.

Vance Badawey Liberal Party of Canada

No Response

Graham Speck Conservative Party of Canada

No Response