Calgary

UCP candidate who called climate change 'good thing' for some says quote was out of context

A United Conservative Party candidate who called climate change "a good thing" for some people says her comment was taken out of context.

'Climate change for some is a really bad thing. For others, it's a pretty good thing,' said Whitney Issik

UCP Calgary-Glenmore candidate Whitney Issik said her comments on climate change at a town hall this week were taken out of context. (Facebook)

A United Conservative Party candidate who called climate change "a good thing" for some people says her comment was taken out of context.

"Climate change for some is a really bad thing. For others, it's a pretty good thing," said Calgary-Glenmore candidate Whitney Issik during a Tuesday town hall held in advance of the upcoming spring provincial election.

"There's actually a couple of really interesting documentaries out there about some folks in northern Russia that think climate change is absolutely wonderful, they've never been so warm in their life and they're happy about it."

I referenced a documentary where it was explained that some people … were excited with the prospect of an ice-free, navigable ocean … but I did not suggest nor do I believe that that's a net benefit for the entire planet.- UCP candidate Whitney Issik

A segment of the audio from the event was posted online by Issik's opponent, NDP candidate Jordan Stein.

"I don't think it's appropriate even to be joking about climate change at this point, when the overwhelming consensus from scientists across the world is that climate change presents a very real and present danger to the planet, to Canadians and to Albertans," Stein told CBC News.

"So I just don't think it's appropriate, even if it's taken out of context or a joke, I think it's something that should be taken very seriously."

Issik did not respond to interview requests from CBC News, instead providing an emailed statement in which she said the quotes were taken out of context.

"Of course I support the scientific consensus on anthropogenic climate change, and that we must take action to address it," Issik wrote.

"But we also cannot unnecessarily hinder Alberta's comparatively small economy when other much bigger actors are not taking similar action. We know the jobs will just go south of the border, which is exactly what we've seen in recent years. In the end, we need to find solutions with technology, which I support."

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CBC News asked Issik if she could provide context for her remarks, and she sent the following additional statement: 

"I said that the climate is changing and that of course there are anthropogenic causes. There are eight billion people living on the planet. I referenced a documentary where it was explained that some people in northern Russia were excited with the prospect of an ice-free, navigable ocean in their region.

"But I did not suggest nor do I believe that that's a net benefit for the entire planet. Quite the contrary."

Human-caused global warming will have a number of serious negative impacts, according to the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

The Nobel Prize-winning organization predicted there will be deadly heat waves and risks to human health, food security and water supplies in the coming decades unless drastic action is taken, according to a recently released report from more than 90 scientists.

"Whitney's confused climate change for weather," said Allie Tulick, the Green Party of Alberta's candidate for Calgary-Glenmore.

"We can't underestimate the impact of climate change on our environment, and protecting it and taking climate action is our economic future."

The UCP's platform has policies on environment and conservation, but no mention of climate change.

Kenney has said he would scrap Alberta's carbon tax and hinted at cancelling its energy efficiency program if elected, but has also pitched other eco-friendly policies like a $30 trail permit that would fund conservation measures.

About the Author

Sarah Rieger

Reporter

Sarah Rieger joined CBC Calgary as an online journalist in 2017. You can reach her by email at sarah.rieger@cbc.ca.

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