Election 2020: Columbia River Revelstoke

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Posted in:  Conservation

Climate

Our climate crisis needs immediate action. BC can be a leader in climate action with our vast renewable resources, but so far our actions haven’t reduced carbon emissions at all over nearly two decades.

Question: What concrete steps would you and your party take to reduce carbon emissions in British Columbia within your term in government?

Greens: Samson Boyer

We are in a climate crisis that will only become worse if we don’t act now to reshape our relationship to our environment. The Green Party of BC’s Green Recovery Plan takes meaningful action on climate change. Our plan meets climate commitments and goes beyond, while taking advantage of the economic opportunities of a green recovery, ensuring that nobody is left behind. 

Our first step in our climate action strategy is setting clear goals. The BC Green Party has committed to making our province carbon neutral by 2045. To reach this goal, we will set interim targets to ensure we remain on track, and we will set sectoral targets as well to ensure industry does the same. 

To meet these targets, we will immediately end the subsidies the BC NDP and BC Liberals have given the oil and gas industry and put a moratorium on fracking. We will redirect this money towards establishing a $1 billion strategic investment fund that supports business innovation that aligns with the province’s goals, with a particular emphasis on supporting tech that helps the shift to a zero carbon economy. 

Nobody will be left behind in our Green Recovery Plan. The BC Greens job plan invests $500 million to support and create sustainable jobs across all sectors. That would include investing in a cross province Property Assessed Clean Energy program focused on retrofit existing buildings. This will result in energy and emissions reductions, more resilient buildings, economic development, and job creation. Our plan will also implement a just transition program for workers in the oil and gas sector and other industries in transition, working with them on a pathway to a guaranteed job in the clean economy.

The science on the climate crisis is clear: we need to act now. We cannot support the dying oil and gas industry while tackling one of the biggest issues of our time. We have  watched our government ignore science for decades, and it took the collective action of youth for us to take this issue seriously. 

I can only hope that we don’t continue down the path of mutual destruction. Please, for the sake of our children, vote for a party that cares about our future.

NDP: Nicole Cherlet

CleanBC, launched in 2018, is our plan to move British Columbia towards a clean energy economy and future that drastically cuts the harmful emissions causing climate change. CleanBC was created by our BC NDP government in partnership with Dr. Andrew Weaver and is the leading climate action plan in North America. As part of – and adding to – CleanBC, John Horgan and the BC NDP will: 

Commit BC to achieving net-zero emissions by 2050: CleanBC currently sets a target of reducing emissions by 40 percent by 2030. To complete the task, we will pass legislation requiring BC to reach net-zero by 2050 – meaning there are either no harmful carbon emissions or they are offset by natural carbon sinks, carbon capture or other technologies. 

Our plan also doubles the annual enhanced climate action tax credit, putting more money in the pockets of 80% of BC families. 
Require greener buildings: We are already requiring new buildings and retrofits to be more energy efficient and cleaner – every new building constructed in BC must be net-zero ready by 2032. We will take the next step by empowering local governments to set their own carbon pollution performance standards for new buildings. And we will require realtors to provide energy efficiency information on listed homes to incent energy-saving upgrades and let purchasers know what energy bills they will face.

We will spur more energy-efficiency upgrades with programs and incentives for both residential and commercial buildings – including PACE (Property Assessed Clean Energy) financing that allows homeowners to take out loans for efficiency upgrades and pay them back over time through annual property taxes. 
With heavy vehicles being a large and growing source of harmful emissions, it’s essential we move now to green-up BC industrial transportation. We will expand CleanBC’s SUVI program to get more trucks, buses, ports, airports, and marine vessels off fossil fuels. And we will accelerate the move towards a provincial fleet powered by electrification, hydrogen fuel cell technologies, and other zero-emissions technologies.

Ramp up CleanBC’s industrial emissions strategy: We’ll provide additional funding for our CleanBC industrial emissions strategy so that more mines, pulp mills, and other industrial facilities can reduce harmful emissions and move to cleaner operations.

We will make electric vehicles more affordable for more people: We’ll provide a new income-tested rebate on new and used zero-emission vehicles to get more people into the electric vehicle rebate program – regardless of their income.

Increasing public vehicle charging availability: We will expand home and workplace charging through increased rebates and ‘right-to-charge’ legislation that gets charging infrastructure into more strata and apartment buildings.

Making e-bikes more affordable: To help more people make the switch to active transportation, we will remove the PST on e-bikes.

Employ best-in-the-world emission detection: To make sure our reduction goals are being met, we’ll employ world-leading regulations and technologies to detect and reduce harmful methane emissions.

Liberals: Doug Clovechok – no response provided

Forestry

Old growth forests in British Columbia are vital to maintaining healthy ecosystems and protecting threatened and endangered wildlife populations, including mountain caribou. After months of consultation with the public and professional foresters and biologists, the recent old growth report, A New Future for Old Forests, made 14 recommendations for recovering old growth forests across British Columbia.

A recent poll shows British Columbians are strongly in favour of stopping old growth logging, including setting aside old growth logging in forests where biological diversity is at high risk, strengthen laws and policies to protect old growth, and establish ecosystem health as the top priority in forestry planning. 

Question: According to the recently released independent report A New Future for Old Forests, old growth forests in British Columbia are disappearing at an alarming rate. How would you suggest that the Province take action to maintain and recover old growth forests?

Greens: Samson Boyer

For over a century BC’s forests have been mismanaged to the point of ecological and economic collapse. We have been over cutting our old growth forests for decades at an unsustainable rate of 500 soccer fields per day.This is destroying essential habitat of many of BC’s endangered species as well. The BC NDP are continuing the legacy of the BC Liberals by allowing this to happen. Just a week before the election was called, the BC NDP began the process of auctioning off another 300 hectares of old growth forest which biologists call “high-quality summer and early-winter habitat” for one of the few herds of southern mountain caribou left in the Kootenays.

We are not only losing our forests: we are losing our jobs too. Under the BC-Liberal’s government, we lost over 40,000 jobs in the forestry sector, half of which was in wood product manufactory. Pine beetles, climate change, and a century of unsustainable logging is collapsing BC’s forestry sector. We have been over-cutting our forests and failing both our workers and our environment. 

If elected, the BC Greens will work with Indgenous Nations and communities ensuring that those who are directly affected by forestry receive the benefit and can ensure their environment is protected. We can’t afford to have major corporations managing our forests any longer. I believe forestry can meet the needs of local communities, both economically and ecologically. The recommendations of the Old Growth review panel needs to be implemented immediately. The BC Greens are committed to protecting our old growth forests, while supporting local manufacturing by banning the export of raw logs.

NDP: Nicole Cherlet

In collaboration with Indigenous people, labour, industry, and environmental groups, we will implement the recommendations of the Old Growth Strategic Review to protect further old-growth stands – in addition to the 353,000 hectares our BC NDP government protected in September.

The Incommapleux Valley south of Revelstoke is home to trees more than 2,000 years old and 10 new species of lichen have been identified in the Valley. Recently the area was identified by the Old Growth Strategic Review as ecologically sensitive. We have set aside the Incommapleux Valley as an area to be an old growth reserve.

We would also work to protect up to 1,500 exceptionally large, individual trees under the Special Tree Protection Regulation. This builds on our government’s announcement in 2019 that it would develop a permanent approach to protecting big, iconic trees.

With nearly 300 million trees planted in 2020 – more than in any other year in BC’s history – we’ll continue to make significant investments in forest health, wildfire protection, silviculture, and revitalizing our forests.

Our BC NDP government also committed to beginning work to address information gaps, update inventory and improve public access to information, and bring management of old forests into compliance with existing provincial targets and guidelines.

We will involve industry, environmental groups, community-based organizations and local governments in discussions regarding the report recommendations and the future of old-growth forests in B.C., and the social, economic and environmental implications for communities.

Liberals: Doug Clovechok – no response provided

Wildlife

B.C. currently does not have legislation which protects fish, wildlife and habitat on a meaningful scale. While industry has some certainty on the landscape, fish, wildlife and habitat values remain at best a patchwork across British Columbia which has resulted in broad scale declines. BC needs legislated objectives to ensure equal footing for our mountains, rivers, lakes, forests, fish and wildlife. While species are going extinct across the world and we are in the midst of a biodiversity crisis, British Columbia is still without Endangered Species legislation. 

Question: In order to recover BC’s Wildlife populations, would you support new, dedicated legislation that will protect fish, wildlife, and habitat and provide funding for recovery for species in decline? Would you support Endangered Species legislation for British Columbia?

Greens: Samson Boyer

Yes, I support  Endangered Species legislation. BC has the highest number of at risk and endangered species in Canada, and we have seen a decline in fish and wildlife species especially, with many populations reaching record lows. Legal protection of endangered and at risk species and their habitat needs to be prioritized.

I grew up near the Columbia River headwaters. My childhood was spent watching the birds, playing in the mud, and swimming in clean clear water. I want nothing more than for our future generations to have the same privilege. We all have an intuitive sense of the importance of our part in nature; we are not separate from it, but part of it. 

To ensure future generations have the same opportunities, the Green Party will urgently match and exceed historic provincial funding levels for the fish and wildlife branch to meet the unprecedented challenges we now face.

An aspect of this problem that often goes unreported is the lack of enforcement of environmental regulations. In our region, we have too few conservation officers to properly enforce our current environmental regulations, let alone any new regulations. To face this challenge, I propose a radical repositioning of RCMP duties. Let’s expand police duties to overlap with the work being done by our conservation officers. Environmental crimes must be something we as a society treat seriously if we want a healthy environment. Legislation is vital to protecting at risk and endangered species, but without proper enforcement, these species will continue to suffer. 

NDP: Nicole Cherlet

Our government has also taken significant steps to protect the natural heritage British Columbians are so proud of. We responded to immediate priorities including the protection of grizzly bears, old-growth trees, and critical salmon populations. 

We are proud that BC is the most biologically diverse province in Canada. We are dedicated to protecting and recovering endangered species. The BC NDP government welcomed the announcement from Canada that they are evaluating the federal Species at Risk legislation. Prior to the election, the BC NDP government was working collaboratively with Canada to inform this review, and ensure it aligned with BC’s efforts to protect and recover species at risk and biodiversity. A re-elected BC NDP government will continue this important work. Our BC NDP government will also invest in new strategies to protect our shared wildlife and habitat corridors which are shared with other jurisdictions.

Columbia River-Revelstoke is home to some of the healthiest populations of resident and migratory bull trout in North America. Preserving the integrity of their spawning grounds, while preventing predation from invasive species, is critical to maintaining bull trout and the species they interact with.

We’ll work with the federal government to develop new strategies that protect BC salmon by:

Revitalizing BC’s salmon population by building on the successful Broughton process and supporting innovation in fish hatcheries. 
Step up protection of fish habitat through the BC NDP government’s biodiversity strategy.

Liberals: Doug Clovechok – same answer provided by BC Liberals on behalf of all four Liberal candidates in Kootenay East, Kootenay West, Nelson-Creston, and Columbia River-Revelstoke

British Columbia is home to an exceedingly diverse range of species and habitats – some of the most incredible in Canada and the world. BC Liberals understand that our wildlife and their natural environments must be protected for future generations – we owe it to our kids to make sure that we leave B.C. better than we found it. We must act to enhance fish and wildlife populations, for the benefit of our ecosystem and all British Columbians who love and depend on our great outdoors. 

Earlier this year John Horgan and the NDP cut the Ministry of Environment budget by $4.6 million. This comes at a time when we face significant challenges: invasive species, the protection of wetlands, conservation challenges, and more. These challenges can and will be met by the BC Liberals. 

That’s why our platform contains several priority measures to address these complex issues. If elected, our government will implement wetland protection, and expansion where feasible, to ensure no net loss of wetlands in B.C. and take more aggressive control of invasive species in B.C. lakes and habitat. We will also ensure hunting and other wildlife fees are used to fund enhancement of our wild spaces and wildlife populations. In addition, we will adopt robust salmon and steelhead conservation measures before it’s too late to save these iconic species and accelerate reforestation programs with priority to high-value fish-impact watershed  reclamation. 

Our approach involves working with federal, municipal and First Nations partners, as well as outdoor recreation and conservancy organizations, to ensure the ongoing restoration of wildlife populations.

Garth Lenz: ILCP

Mining

We believe that polluters should pay for their clean up.

Too many B.C. mines rely on perpetual water treatment to reduce water pollution. When mines use water treatment for long-term pollution problems, taxpayers can end up having to run expensive water treatment plants forever once mines close or our rivers and lakes can end up badly polluted.

B.C. also doesn’t require mines to provide financial bonds for the full cost of mine clean up and allows companies to estimate their own clean up costs with little oversight. Without full bonds for clean up, mines often go bankrupt or sell off old mines and taxpayers end up paying the cost of clean up, as we are seeing now with the Tulsequah Chief mine.

Question: Would you support legislation to prohibit new mines from relying on perpetual water treatment? Would you support legislation to make sure mines provide financial bonds for the full cost of mine clean up, with clean up cost estimates made fully public and independently evaluated?

Greens: Samson Boyer

The lack of comprehensive mining regulations has cost BC taxpayers over $1.2 billion in 2018, and billions more every year since. When a mine shuts down and is unable to afford the cost of clean up, it’s left to the taxpayers to foot the bill. We need to ensure that mines pay for the damage they cause. Pollutants from mines ultimately impact the health of the community. Mines need to provide full responsibility for the environmental damage caused including the future damage that will be caused by their contribution to climate change. 

Water is essential to life and with climate change the world’s supply of clean water is being put at risk. It is not the investors of the mines who are left with the polluted community it is the working people who live in the community. Action needs to be taken to ensure clean safe drinking water for everyone. That’s why I believe that new mines should be prohibited from relying on perpetual water treatment. 

Industry includes environmental fees in their budgets. It is clear that fees are not enough to stop pollution. Stronger regulations need to be put in place. 

NDP: Nicole Cherlet

We are committed to making polluters pay for clean-up of abandoned projects. We’ll make sure owners of large industrial projects are bonded moving forward, so that they – and not BC taxpayers – pay the full cost of environmental cleanup if their projects are abandoned. 

The BC NDP has also committed to creating a Mining Innovation Hub to identify and support innovation, offer training for workers in new technologies, regulatory excellence, environmental management, and low-carbon approaches. 

Liberals: Doug Clovechok – same answer provided by BC Liberals on behalf of all four Liberal candidates in Kootenay East, Kootenay West, Nelson-Creston, and Columbia River-Revelstoke

The BC Liberals are committed to world-leading environmental protection. Clean water is a vital to maintaining a healthy province and rebuilding B.C.’s economy. BC Liberals have a long and deep commitment to promoting healthy watersheds, sustainable ecosystems, and thriving communities supported by responsible resource development. As a cabinet minister, Andrew Wilkinson helped pass B.C.’s Water Sustainability Act and supported hundreds of millions of funding for initiatives to protect B.C.’s water. As well, in 2016, under our BC Liberal government we introduced amendments to the Environmental Management Act that enshrined the polluter pay principle into legislation. 

With the responsibility of environmental protection comes the opportunity to sustainably develop natural resources such as liquefied natural gas, mining and forestry. British Columbians across our province depend on our natural environment for not only their recreation, but also their jobs. In order to ensure B.C. continues to benefit from this industry, we are committed to continuing to ensuring regulations are efficient while maintaining high health, safety and environmental standards. 

Protected areas

Given the urgency to stem a global biodiversity crisis, the federal government has committed to protecting 25% of Canada’s lands and waters by 2025 and 30% by 2030. BC needs to increase its protected areas to help with threatened ecosystems and wildlife populations under threat of extirpation or even extinction. 

Question: Do you agree with the need for additional protected areas to maintain healthy ecosystems? Are there specific areas in your riding that you will work to protect to help meet nationally-set targets for the protection of nature?

Greens: Samson Boyer

Canadians and the many Indigenous nations that live on the land also live amongst 20 percent of the Earth’s wild forests, 24 percent of its wetlands and almost one third of its land-stored carbon. If we protect only 30% of the land and water the world would lose countless unique species. As species decline, the capacity for ecosystems to provide clean air, water, food, climate stabilization and other essential services declines as well. To me it’s important that we protect as much of the land and water as we can. The Green Party is committed to investing in sustainable forestry, mining, industry and energy, while setting aside the land needed for BC to retain its diverse ecology. The Green Party has a community based approach, meaning it prioritizes the people that live in the Kootenays live and work on the land, we know it better than any politician in Vitoria, we should be in charge of managing and protecting it.

I live and grew up in the Columbia Valley and I have always had an affinity towards the waters that feed us. Swimming, canoeing and fishing has create my love for our precious resource. Protecting our watersheds, streams and lakes is incredibly important to me. I have a great admiration towards the Columbia Lake Stewardship Society and the Windermere Lake Stewardship Society and would love to work with in the future.

NDP: Nicole Cherlet

Yes – and a re-elected BC NDP government will expand BC’s popular provincial parks by creating new campgrounds, trails, and protected areas while increasing funding to improve infrastructure and protect park ecosystems.

The BC NDP are proud to say we helped to Keep Jumbo Wild! By returning the expanse of glacier and forest to the Ktunaxa Nation, we’ve made good on an injustice perpetrated by the BC Liberals. Now an Indigenous Protected and Conserved Area, Qat’mak will protect grizzly bear populations and Indigenous peoples’ cultural heritage.

We will protect clean water in British Columbia by creating a watershed security strategy to plan, manage and protect local watersheds for the public good – while making sure BC gets fair rates for the bulk sale of water moving forward. As part of the strategy above, we will seek a partnership with the federal government to establish a Watershed Security Fund to fund Indigenous, local, and regionally led clean water initiatives – and create good, sustainable, local jobs for British Columbians in watershed restoration, monitoring, technology, training, and education.

The BC NDP would also develop a new provincial coastal strategy – in partnership with First Nations and federal and local governments – to better protect coastal habitat while growing coastal economies. A priority will be working with the federal government to address freighter traffic management and anchorage around southern Vancouver Island and the Gulf Islands. 

Liberals: Doug Clovechok – same answer provided by BC Liberals on behalf of all four Liberal candidates in Kootenay East, Kootenay West, Nelson-Creston, and Columbia River-Revelstoke

British Columbia is world renowned for its unique and diverse environmental features. An essential part of that is B.C.’s vast parks and protected areas system. As British Columbians learned this summer during the pandemic – our parks and protected areas are critically important as we navigate our new normal and stay close to home. 

Earlier this year John Horgan’s NDP Budget cut the funding of the Ministry of Environment and Climate Change Strategy by $4.6 million, including significant cuts to the Environmental Protection, Environmental Sustainability, BC Parks, and Conservative Officer Services. By comparison, Andrew Wilkinson supported millions of dollars of investment for campsite and park expansion. Under the BC Liberals, 84 new parks were established as well 156 new conservancies, two new ecological reserves, and 13 new protected areas. We also expanded more than 75 parks, six ecological reserves, and four protected areas. 

Parks, protected areas and public access to the backcountry will be prioritized under BC Liberal government. We are excited to share our commitments with you soon. 

Sustainable communities

With communities in crisis from the effects of climate change, we need to position British Columbia for a future facing greater ecological threats than ever before. We need to proactively plan for the impacts of climate change, while implementing sustainable practices within our province to lessen the harm we are doing to our planet, including an economic transition from unsustainable industry practices.

Question: What actions will you take to ensure our province is resilient moving forward, and enacts policies critical to the health of our ecosystems? How would you help our resource industry communities transition to find sustainable economic futures?

Greens: Samson Boyer

The Climate Emergency is here, and as our climate changes, so will our ecosystems.

We have to act now, and we have to act aggressively to prevent the worst possible outcomes of the climate crisis. Even in the best case scenario, however, we still need to make sure our communities are prepared.

The BC Green’s Just Transition plan includes 100 million to fund climate change adaptation at the community level, so that we can respond rapidly and effectively to natural disasters like forest fires, drought, and flood. We have a comprehensive plan to address the critical issue of food security as well. As supply chains are disrupted by climate change, BC and the Kootenays need to be more self reliant.  

We always need to put people first. We can’t have sustainable communities without people having sustainable incomes, food and health coverage. Transitioning to a sustainable economy will mean some changes to people’s lives, but it will be positive changes. Under our plan, industry will still be a part of our town, but in a way that is less harmful to the environment and health of people living there. It is about our communities coming together and deciding what is best for them and the provincial government can help them implement their plans. For too long people in the lower mainland have made decisions for the rural interior without understanding how our economies work and what our people need.

NDP: Nicole Cherlet

CleanBC is our road map to a sustainable future. The shift we’re making to an economy that puts the public good first will benefit all parts of the province. Working together with communities, resource industries, First Nations, and workers, we can revitalize resource communities, get more value from our resources, and create a path to a better future.

Working alongside CleanBC, our commitment to reconciliation, the Recovery Investment Fund, and other major initiatives will be this strategy – aimed at delivering smart, distributed industrial and manufacturing activity and growth to all parts of the province.

Maximizing government support for workers and communities: We will establish a new Worker Training & Job Opportunity Office to maximize the impact of our Economic Recovery Plan for workers and communities during COVID-19 and beyond – with a focus on retraining workers, supporting resource communities facing job loss, developing higher value goods, and accessing new global markets and opportunities for BC products.

Public projects should benefit local workers and their communities. So wherever possible, we will attach our Community Benefits Agreement (CBAs) to projects launched through the Recovery Investment Fund. Through CBAs, we’re providing good jobs, fair wages, and skills training to qualified local workers – particularly those who have traditionally been under-represented in the workforce.

Through the strategic investment fund announced as part of our recovery plan, we will make targeted investments in high-potential, innovative businesses based in BC.

Liberals: Doug Clovechok – same answer provided by BC Liberals on behalf of all four Liberal candidates in Kootenay East, Kootenay West, Nelson-Creston, and Columbia River-Revelstoke

Climate change represents an immense challenge to our planet. That is why the BC Liberals were the first party in Canada to introduce a price on carbon. Andrew and our party have long and deep commitments to fighting climate change and healthy ecosystems. A BC Liberal government led by Andrew Wilkinson will re-establish BC as a global climate leader as we work to revitalize the natural resource sector. 

On October 2, BC Liberal Leader Andrew Wilkinson announced our plan to bring jobs and confidence back to rural communities. Some of our key commitments include reviewing critical natural resource laws and policies to eliminate uncertainty, provide clarity on processes and decision-making criteria, and adopt outcome-based performance measures. We will also pursue resource benefit-sharing to support small and rural communities. Furthermore, we will ensure certainty on the land base for industries, municipalities, and Indigenous peoples by working with Indigenous communities and other key groups to review land use plans for gaps and conflict-points, with the intent to update, modernize, and create certainty for all in a sustainable resource management framework.

Header image: Pat Morrow