Cambridge candidates agree climate is changing, but disagree on how to address it

Five candidates in Cambridge were asked for their views on climate change and how it should be addressed. All agreed the climate is changing, but at least one disagreed on how much it was changing and they all had different views on how to address the issue.

Candidates outline their party's views on how climate change should be addressed

The candidates for Cambridge are (from left), Liberal Bryan May, Conservative Sunny Attwal, Green Party Michele Braniff, NDP Scott Hamilton and People's Party of Canada David Haskell. (Kate Bueckert/CBC)

Five of the candidates running in Cambridge in this fall's federal election agree climate is changing, but they disagree on exactly what the government should do to address it.

Monday CBC Kitchener-Waterloo hosted a radio panel discussion on CBC Kitchener-Waterloo's The Morning Edition with host Craig Norris. As a web extra, each of the candidates was asked about their views on climate change and what they think needs to be done to address the issue.

Liberal candidate Bryan May, who is the incumbent, reiterated his party's election platform to address climate change.

"Climate change is real, the science is very clear," he said.

He noted the party is promising to achieve net zero emissions by 2050, work with a group of scientists to help them develop the best path forward and set five-year milestones to meet those goals, they want to exceed the 2030 emissions goal (which would see Canada lower emissions to about 511 megatonnes of carbon dioxide-equivalent), and ensure energy workers can "shape their futures" with help to transition in their jobs. May also repeated a party promise to plant two billion trees over 10 years.

"We are looking for not just complex solutions to these problems, but also simple ones as well," May said.

For Sunny Attwal, the Conservative candidate, he said Canada is doing a good job of meeting its climate goals right now.

"We are doing our part," he said, adding the federal government needs to now put pressure on other countries that are not, such as India and China.

"We need a global solution," Attwal said.

He added the Conservatives would invest in green technology and said the carbon tax introduced by the Liberal government "isn't going to help anyone." 

You can watch their answers in the Facebook video below:

Is it a crisis?

David Haskell is the candidate for the People's Party of Canada and he said his party's outlook on the issue is often misconstrued. 

"We think that the climate is changing, the science is very clear," he said. "What we're against is the climate alarmism that says that the world is on fire."

Haskell said there's evidence from scientists around the world that contradicts reports that the current state of the environment is a crisis.

But he says the party does want to make a difference. That includes looking at how to lower air pollution and ensure clean water is available in Indigenous communities and to all Canadians.

"We want to take a look at the larger picture … with clean water, clean air and improving the lives of Indigenous communities," he said.

NDP candidate Scott Hamilton says there is a crisis and it needs to be addressed.

The problem is people are getting frustrated with politicians who acknowledge there's a problem, but don't do enough to address it, he said.

"If we really want to take climate change seriously, we need drastic immediate action right now," he said.

The NDP is proposing a large scale systemic transformation of society, he said, from how energy is produced and consumed to transportation options to get people to where they need to go.

He said his party would also stop subsidies to companies that profit from fossil fuels.

'You deal with a crisis'

Michele Braniff of the Green party also disagreed with Haskell.

"I'm not going to try to debate the science — the science is pretty clear," she said.

"If your house is on fire, you don't just keep on watching the TV or finish what you're doing on your laptop. You deal with a crisis."

She said the Green party has an action planned, called Mission Possible in the party's platform. It details a purposeful transition away from fossil fuels and ramps up production of renewable energy, she said.

She said the plan also advocates for bringing people together to talk about the issue, including provinces and territories, municipalities and Indigenous leaders.

"It can be done," she said, but added there's a small window where the work can be done. "We've got to make up for lost time in an orderly way that has accountable goals."

The five candidates are also facing Manuel Couto of the Marxist-Leninist Party and George McMorrow of the Veterans Coalition Party of Canada in this fall's federal election. Canadians go to the polls on Oct. 21.


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