Sean Taylor, the Peoples Party of Canada candidate in the South Okanagan–West Kootenay riding, maintained his position that Canada is already doing great work in terms of reacting to climate change and preserving the environment at the First Things First Okanagan all-candidates debate Oct. 15. All candidates were present for this debate except for Conservative candidate Helena Konanz. (Jordyn Thomson - Black Press)

South Okanagan-West Kootenay candidates talk climate change and environment at recent forum

Forum on Tuesday grilled candidates about plan to bring about low carbon emission economy

It was all about the environment Tuesday night at the First Things First all-candidates forum for the South Okanagan-West Kootenay candidates.

All the candidates attended the forum held at the Penticton Lakeside Resort, except Conservative candidate Helena Konanz.

The night kicked off with a roundtable discussion for residents to talk about their environmental concerns, followed by a forum debate with the candidates answering five pre-determined questions and one question from the previous discussion.

The first topic had candidates consider their party’s stance on climate change and what key elements are needed in an action plan to bring Canada to a low carbon emission economy.

Next, they were asked about the federal government’s responsibility to protect the quantity and quality of Canadian waters.

They were also questioned about sustaining and restoring Canada’s biodiversity, as well as protecting Canadians and the environment from the impact of toxic substances.

Each candidate stuck to their party platform in terms of reacting to climate change through legislation, with Tara Howse, the Green Party candidate, highlighting that the party’s plan has been independently verified as “the only platform that meets Paris targets.”

Connie Denesiuk, the Liberal candidate, mentioned Dr. Rose Murphy, a researcher from Simon Fraser University, said the Justin Trudeau Liberals are the first “climate-sincere” federal government Canada has had.

For NDP candidate Richard Cannings, the answer is to “walk the walk” through adopting science-based emission plans and reconciling with the Indigenous peoples of Canada.

He added Canada needs to “put our money where our mouth is” by investing in resources to allow for a quick transition away from oil and gas dependencies.

Independent candidate Carolina Hopkins said tackling climate change is about crossing party lines to come up with the best practices and solutions while setting up benchmarks and auditing our progress towards a low carbon emission economy.

Sean Taylor, the People’s Party of Canada candidate, said instead of transitioning quickly, we need to transition “intelligently” and noted the country is doing well on most fronts when it comes to conservation, adjusting to toxic substance impacts and developing energy technologies through industry.

The debate was reasonably civil, with each candidate getting the opportunity to rebut any of the other responses. Cannings and Denesiuk took Taylor to task for his stance on electric vehicles, with the NDP and Liberal candidates stating it’s necessary to subsidize those types of vehicles becuase of their low carbon impact. Taylor said his party would not support subsidizing those vehicles, which he claimed have a high carbon impact. It was clarified that while they emit carbon in production, they do not add any more carbon emissions through their use.

Government interference in industry was a sticking point for Taylor, who said the way of the future is nuclear technology and solar and wind energy have gaps that are insurmountable.

Hopkins drew on personal experience in restoring a wetland to explain that water conservation, reactions from toxic substances and biodiversification all go hand-in-hand.

Cannings also used personal experience from his past career as a biologist to discuss the importance of species preservation and what can be determined through research and data collection of protected species.

Howse took aim at the current federal subsidy for electric vehicles and described how she’d like to see the program adjusted into three tiers to better address the price and engineering of the vehicles.

To report a typo, email: editor@pentictonwesternnews.com.

Jordyn Thomson | Reporter
JordynThomson 
Send Jordyn Thomson an email.
Like the Western News on Facebook.
Follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Nelson Leafs lose to Dynamiters 4-3 in overtime

The game got off to a bizarre start early in the first period

On the job hunt with Nelson’s Make A Change Canada

The employment charity is organizing next week’s Kootenay Patricks, Montreal Canadiens game

FedEx distribution centre coming to Castlegar

Development permit for ground facility before council next week.

Heart, minds, and 100 years of the Nelson library

Past and future collide this year at the Nelson library, and it all kicks off this weekend

Crows, pirates and Segways: L.V. Rogers students make projects out of passions

The Grade 12 students presented their capstone projects Wednesday

Kids across Canada more at risk of hospitalization from flu this season: doctor

Dr. Theresa Tam said influenza B does not usually peak until February or later

Closed mills, housing surge support a positive forecast for lumber industries

B.C. lumber producers have closed mills accounting for 18% of province’s capacity, RBC report says

Good Samaritan pays part of rent for B.C. woman facing eviction in can-collecting dispute

Zora Hlevnjak, 76, supplements her pension by collecting cans and receiving public donations

Kelowna’s ‘Baby Mary’ finds biological parents after more than 30 years

Geneologist and DNA test helped her connect with her biological parents

Kelowna hotel to award couples for baby-making with Nooner deal

The deal includes a free stay every Valentine’s Day for the next 18 years

‘Scariest boat ride of my life’: Passengers trapped by ice on rocky B.C. ferry sailing

The Nimpkish docked in Bella Coola on Jan.12 coated in a thick layer of ice

B.C. pair ordered to pay $55,000 for oil tank discovered four years after selling home

Judge says defendants breached contract, despite being unaware of tank until basement flooded

Canada to give $25,000 to families of each Canadian who died in Iran plane crash

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau also made it clear that Canada still expects Iran to compensate victims

Oil and gas industry applauds top court’s dismissal of B.C.’s Trans Mountain case

The high court’s ruling Thursday removes one of the remaining obstacles for the project

Most Read