Climate change tops Yukon candidates forum
From uranium mining to "green" businesses, the environment proved to be one of the hot topics Thursday night at a federal all-candidates forum in Whitehorse.
Appearing at the CBC North-hosted forum, all four of the Yukon's candidates agreed that action is needed on climate change, but they gave different views on how best to proceed.
Conservative candidate Darrell Pasloski said he wants to increase the Yukon's hydroelectric capacity by upgrading the Mayo hydro facility and extending power lines.
That's a view shared by Liberal incumbent Larry Bagnell, who said he's also calling for the establishment of an investment bank that would support environmentally friendly infrastructure and business.
"You can put money into that bank, and then you'll get interest back," Bagnell said. "It'll be like Canada savings bonds; it will be tax-free interest. You'll participate in greening Canada."
Both Bagnell and Pasloski also promised to spend more money on public transit.
Green candidate backs nuclear energy as option
Green party candidate John Streicker broke with party lines, supporting uranium mining and nuclear energy.
"I think we should go with efficiency, conservation, alternate energies," Streicker said. "But still, I think that nuclear may be part of that solution in the end."
Meanwhile, the Liberals' proposed carbon tax was criticized by both Pasloski and by New Democrat Ken Bolton, who said taxi drivers should not bear a financial burden in the name of reducing carbon emissions.
Pasloski accused Bagnell of being out of touch with Yukoners by backing the carbon tax, which is part of Liberal leader Stéphane Dion's Green Shift plan.
"I'm just wondering if he's standing up for Yukon on this item," Pasloski said. "We live in a riding that is absolutely dependent upon diesel for everything."
Bolton said his party would offer cash subsidies and interest-free loans for retrofitting homes. As well, he said money raised from the NDP's proposed cap-and-trade system would go into "greening" the Canadian economy.
"It would be put into manufacturing electric cars and other low-emission cars. It would be put into things like manufacturing photovoltaic cells," Bolton said.
"It would be put into expanding and completing our national parks system. All of these are green jobs."
Streicker said that if Canada moves immediately in developing "green" industries, Canadian businesses will remain competitive around the world.