NDP rolls out environmental promises on Earth Day
Green Party leader slams Liberal LNG proposal as a "pipe dream"
B.C. NDP Leader Adrian Dix rolled out his environmental platform on Earth Day in Kamloops this morning by reaffirming his opposition to the Northern Gateway Pipeline and offshore oil exploration.
"The B.C. Liberals failed this province when they handed over decision-making power in the Enbridge decision to Ottawa in 2010," said Dix.
"We would withdraw from the Equivalency Agreement and set up a rigorous, made-in-B.C. environmental assessment process."
Dix also promised to axe the controversial Pacific Carbon Trust, which was recently slammed by B.C.'s auditor general for failing to meet its own guidelines.
"Since 2008, our public institutions have been paying tens of millions of dollars in levies to the Pacific Carbon Trust," said Dix.
"Instead of using those funds to invest in energy-efficiency initiatives in schools and hospitals, the bulk of the money has been gifted to profitable corporations."
Dix said under an NDP government, levies paid by hospitals, Crown corporations and post-secondary schools would be directed back to those public sector institutions to fund energy-efficiency upgrades.
NDP would ban cosmetic pesticides
Dix also said the NDP would pass a province-wide ban on the use of pesticides on private lawns and gardens, while B.C. Liberal Leader Christy Clark says an outright ban on so-called cosmetic pesticides goes too far.
On Monday afternoon, Clark referred to a bi-partisan standing committee that concluded last year that there was not enough evidence to warrant an outright ban.
"I guess Mr. Dix's plan would be to ignore... what bi-partisan committees have to say, but that's not the way I want to run government," Clark said.
Dix announced his environmental policies in a park in Liberal Environment Minister Terry Lake's Kamloops-North Thompson riding. Making policy statements in ridings held by Liberal cabinet ministers has been a Dix tactic during the first week of the election campaign.
He has already made announcements in the ridings of Finance Minister Mike de Jong, Education Minister Don McRae, Social Development Minister Moira Stilwell and Agriculture Minister Norm Letnick.
The only ministry left for him to hit after today will be Health Minister Margaret MacDiarmid's Vancouver-Fairview riding.
At a Sunday evening rally in Vernon, Dix faced questions about the safety of so-called smart meters — which allow residents to track and measure hydro consumption rates — installed by the Liberal government.
Dix did not comment on safety concerns, but he said if he's elected premier on May 14, he will submit the smart meter program to a review by the independent regulatory body, the B.C. Utilities Commission.
Green leader slams Liberals LNG plan
Meanwhile in the riding of Victoria-Beacon Hill, Green Party Leader Jane Sterk used Earth Day to push her plan for green jobs.
Sterk says Christy Clark's idea that B.C.'s prosperity will come from major LNG development is ill-conceived.
"LNG is a pipe dream. B.C. is way too late in the game to think that we're actually going to make money off this. It's never going to happen. We'd better invest in renewables," she said.
Sterk says two Russian natural gas pipelines being developed to ship LNG to China will make it hard for B.C. to get a good price there. Sterk is also calling for a moratorium on new natural gas exploration and drilling in northeastern B.C.
Sterk wants to see development in geothermal, wind, solar, tidal energy sources.
The Green leader said winning four seats in the legislature would give the Greens official party status, but getting a single seat would be a victory.
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