Editor’s Note: Many of the lines in this article contain hyperlinks to some of the sources used to write this article, specifically some of the articles used to build the conclusions reached here. Clicking on them will open a new tab that will take you to that article. Again, we want to be helpful, but also truthful – this sort of thing is important to us.
The environment is playing a larger role in world politics than ever before. The corporate interests that have done their best to silence climate scientists, combined with the dedication to neutrality instead of objectivity found on sources like CNN News or NBC News – or the outright lies on Fox – have led to this catastrophic topic being placed on the back burner in a country that used to be respected for being environmentally conscious.
Climate scientists the world over have been begging governments around the globe for decades to start looking at energy alternatives, but the same oil and coal magnates that have done their best to bribe politicians and cripple science so that they can continue to line their own pockets have done a good job of making the issue a political one. They’ve even done this in Canada, and the Harper Government has been happy to help them. They’ve been wildly successfully at this and we’re beginning to see the effects of unchecked short-thinking greed.
The fracking in Alberta has seen a disturbing rise in ecological harm and has been tied to earthquakes that are happening as far as Mission, BC. The Mount Polly Mine and Burrard Inlet disasters happened while the federal government passed laws to criminalize those that were protesting an environmentally devastating pipeline, all while federal oversight to keep such disasters in check has been shrinking. And that’s only some of the disasters that have happened in British Columbia, nevermind the rest of Canada.
All the money in the world means nothing if there’s no world in which to spend it.
It’s not as if there isn’t money to be made in green forms of energy: solar and wind are both ready to go, and there’s some exciting things to be noted when it comes to tidal harvesting. There’s even personal devices meant to allow for the creation of green energy, but several conservative governments have been happy to destroy businesses that would be environmentally sound in the past. Hell, conservative governments tried to do that same thing to Tesla Motors, all while quoting Ayn Rand and Atlas Shrugged.
So, with all that in mind, what do our political candidates have in mind…?
If you want a more long-winded explanation of what each party is claiming to want, click the name of that party.
Leader Justin Trudeau has promised to restore the gutted environmental protection wing of the government, stop the Keystone Oil Pipeline, and start phasing out fossil fuels in favor of green energy immediately, which all sounds pretty great. He also wants to legislate a price for carbon pollution and increase the amount of protected coastal and marine areas by 10% by 2020. It’s a pretty good start, but the problem is that Justin already caved on C-51, and that’s left a bad taste in everyone’s mouth. We’re not sure if we can trust Justin, and we’ve been mucked around with so much by the Harper Government that we’re a little leery of electing anyone that seems untrustworthy. It’s a shame, too, because Justin talks a good game.
The Harper Government would like to remind us that it is not the Canadian Government, and care nothing for Canada, the world, or anyone other than the Harper Government. To that end, they promise to look at phasing out fossil fuels sometime in the next hundred years, and to consider lowering carbon pollution by 2050. No, I’m serious. The Harper Government has their heads so far in the tar sands that they can’t help but frack the rest of us. They’d also like to start buying carbon credits from other countries, so that they can use them here. Again, I’m serious. This is what they want to do. Lastly, they want to give the ministry of the environment $200 million to clean up the messes they’ve made, which sounds good until you realize that the Burrard Inlet mess alone is going to cost somewhere in the $2.1 Billion mark to clean up. Also, that picture on their site where they talk about the environment? That’s from another country. Well done, guys.
Much like the Liberals, the NDP likes the idea of putting a price on carbon to give people an incentive not to go above a certain level of carbon usage. That could either work really well or fall apart, depending upon the implementation. There are some details about how Tom Muclair would like to proceed on the NDP site, though your mileage may very – literally, in some cases. His plan to cut subsidies to fossil fuel companies and invest that money in green energy research is probably the best use it could go to. By the by, in case you’re wondering what that means, the NDP plans to stop having to pay the fossil fuel companies to sell us our own oil. So, you know, that’s a thing. Even better than that, the NDP would like to put the right to a clean environment into law, making it legal for people to sue companies and even governments for damaging the environment. This is the sort of thing that gives Harper nightmares, and might be the best thing for our species’ long term viability.
Here’s where things get weird in the best possible way. See, we tend to think that punishment and penalization are the best way to get people to behave, when studies show that people are more engaged when there’s something beneficial in the process for them. To that end, the Greens are big on the idea of not only introducing a carbon tax (like the Liberals and the NDP), but also rewarding people for going green. There’s a plan in place for encouraging corporations to go green and grow green industries, a concrete, step-by-step plan that would see most of Canada’s energies met via sustainable means by 2025. They also want to ease access to anyone looking to grow a green business or apprentice to a green trade, ensuring that sector of the economy grows and is supported. Hell, they’re even looking at infrastructure, and over-hauling long forgotten rail lines and retro-fitting them with green means of transportation, all while working within a reasonable budget and growing the economy. This is what the future should look like.
Oy. Okay. So, right off the bat, they want a high speed train that would connect Quebec City with Montreal. Both of those places are within Quebec, the province. See, because they only care about Quebec. There’s talk of extending them to New York, but let’s be realistic – New York isn’t in Quebec. Interestingly, they’ve budgeted $750 million towards the development of green energy technologies, so that’s a step in the right direction and much less villainous and self-centered than we’re used to seeing. They also want to push a more widespread infrastructure to support the electric car, possibly to spite Harper. Lastly, they’re interested in looking at some of the homes in their own province, and retrofitting them to make them more compliant with the Kyoto Protocol, which is a thing that should probably happen regardless.
This one guy would like to set up tax incentives to keep carbon pollution down, which seems like a favored strategy with everyone except the Harper Government. He’d also like to encourage and invest in Canadian scientists and engineers to develop new and better ways to create green energy and technology, and implement environmentally friendly practices while expanding on new technologies. What those practices are or what those technologies look like are not known at this time, so that’s frustrating. We know he’s pro-environment and anti-robot, which should be enough, but he did kill a dragon. Those’re endangered, last I checked.
And that’s where our candidates stand on the environment. We’ll be back next week to talk about what these people plan to do about other issues, all leading up to the Federal Election that the Harper Government would like us not to talk about. That election is on October 19, 2015, which is a Monday. Make sure you’re registered to vote and find the places you can vote by clicking here. And, hey, looks like you can even vote online. Awesome.