British Columbia

Jody Wilson-Raybould calls for non-partisan approach to climate change

The climate crisis is the biggest challenge of our time and should be a non-partisan issue, says Jody Wilson-Raybould, former Liberal cabinet minister and now independent federal candidate.

Five of 6 candidates for Vancouver Granville debate climate crisis and First Nation issues

Jody Wilson-Raybould, right, and Liberal candidate Taleeb Noormohamed, middle listens to Vancouver Granville NDP candidate Yvonne Hanson at an all-candidates forum in the riding on Sunday Sept. 29, 2019. (Jon Hernandez/CBC)

The climate crisis is the biggest challenge of our time and should be a non-partisan issue, says Jody Wilson-Raybould, former Liberal cabinet minister and now independent federal candidate.

At an all-candidates meeting in Vancouver, she urged politicians to work together to produce a bold climate action plan that meets the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change target of reaching net-zero emmisions by 2050.

"And the only way to do that, in my opinion, is to work outside of the party lines, taking all the best ideas from the individuals that find themselves in the House of Commons."

Wilson-Raybould, along with four of the other five candidates for the riding of Vancouver Granville, addressed questions about the climate crisis and First Nations issues.

Her opponents are Liberal Taleeb NoormohamedYvonne Hanson  of the NDP, Naomi Chocyk of the People's Party, Louise Boutin of the Greens and Conservative Zach Segal, who did not participate in the Sunday meeting.

Voters in the riding heard candidates talk about solutions to the climate crisis and how to address issues facing First Nations. (Jon Hernandez/CBC)

Vancouver City Councillor Christine Boyle and Victor Guerin, a member of the Musqueam Community, moderated the event and posed questions about how the candidates and their parties would meet the environmental crisis and understand and deal with the issues affecting Indigenous peoples.

Wilson-Raybould supporters called her a "fighter" and said that they support her as an independent.

'I'll probably vote for Jody'

Cheryl Parker says she could be swayed by the NDP and Greens, but is pro-pipeline. So, for now, she supports Wilson-Raybould.

"I'll probably vote for Jody," she said. "I supported her last time when she was a Liberal. I have reservations about how effective an independent MP can be."

Vancouver Granville voter Cheryl Parker said she voted for Jody Wilson-Raybould in 2015 and would most likely do so again in 2019. (Jon Hernandez/CBC)

Wilson-Raybould was at the heart of the SNC-Lavalin scandal as justice minister under Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. She said she was pressured by the Prime Minister's Office to spare the Quebec engineering firm from prosecution and was eventually expelled from the Liberal caucus.

In August, the ethics commissioner found that the prime minister had violated the Conflict of Interest Act by trying to influence Wilson-Raybould.

Chris Shelton, another voter at the meeting, said voting for Wilson-Raybould would send a message to Ottawa.

"If I vote for Jody Wilson-Raybould, it will be saying to the Liberal hierarchy that we want to enforce the rule of law in Canada and not have backyard, over-the-fence deals with major contributors."

Climate solutions

At the forum, Noormohamed talked about the targets on carbon emissions that the Liberal Party has promised during the campaign.

He criticized Conservative candidate Segal for not attending the forum, especially with its focus on the climate crisis.

"We need to make sure that we have a government that is committed to moving forward on this issue of climate change in a meaningful way and the Liberal Party that will do that," he said.

Yvonne Hanson, who joined the NDP as a candidate with a strong background in environmental advocacy, said she is part of the generation that climate change will affect the most. In 2050, she'll be 55.

'Darker and darker'

"So I'm really not looking forward to this future that we've been staring down the barrel of, it's getting darker and darker and darker," she said. "I spent my teen years growing up, watching the government fail to delivery the necessary action that we needed 10 years ago."

She says if the NDP forms government it is committed to ending reliance on fossil fuels for transportation, ending fossil fuel subsidies, building sustainable housing and providing job retraining.

"No one should be losing their livelihood in fighting climate change," she said.

Peoples Party of Canada Naomi Chocyk speaks at an all-candidates forum for the Vancouver Granville riding on Sept. 29, 2019. (Jon Hernandez/CBC)

Chocyk opened her remarks by describing herself as a settler in the riding and wanting to honour First Nations in their desire for self-determination. On the climate file, she said she was concerned about the climate emergency narrative and its desperate tone.

"We must not base our public policies on fears and panic and sentiment," she said. "It's not responsible."

She said climate change is going to happen and that Canada should focus on being less reliant on foreign nations for oil. She also suggested that to help reduce worldwide emissions, Canada could export more liquefied natural gas to China as a way to help reduce that country's reliance on coal.

Boutin followed Chocyk by emphatically saying the world is facing a climate crisis and the Green Party promises to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 60 per cent by 2030 and be carbon neutral by 2050.

"We have been idle for so many years, I'm ashamed, I'm embarrassed for my generation," she said.

Green Party candidate Louise Boutin for Vancouver Granville speaks at an all-candidates forum on Sunday Sept. 29, 2019. (Jon Hernandez/CBC)

Meeting MMIWG recommendations

On questions about First Nations, the candidates spoke about how they would address recommendations from the inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls.

Most talked about programs that would address poverty, violence, trauma, housing and substance abuse that Indigenous people in Canada face.

With files from Jon Hernandez and Dillon Hodgin

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