Election 2020: Kootenay West

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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?

Conservative: Glen Byle

This is a passion for me and is the one of the main reasons that I am running. I believe that making effective, deliberate, and well thought out changes to the day to day routine that we are accustomed to is the most effective action we can take against climate change. How often do we see a vehicle weighing 4000 pounds and burning fossil fuel transporting one person weighing maybe 200 pounds? Many of our trips can be completed just as well by a 50 pound e-bike or other modern electric low power vehicle; Our current method of transportation is a massive waste of resources. As someone who uses a bike as my primary method of getting around I know that bicycle safety is a large reason why other people do not also bike more frequently. We must question every part of our day to day lives and be willing to take steps toward reducing our consumption of resources. Helmet hair doesn’t seem like such a big deal when the health of our environment is at stake. 

NDP: Katrine Conroy

This is a great question because I’m always happy to remind people about CleanBC, an award-winning plan that was introduced in 2018. It will move British Columbia towards a clean-energy economy and drastically cuts the harmful emissions causing climate change. The plan was developed in partnership with Dr. Andrew Weaver, who was the Green Party leader at the time and it has been recognized as the leading climate action plan in North America.

Part of this plan involves committing to achieving net-zero emissions in BC by 2050 – meaning there are either no harmful carbon emissions or they are offset by natural carbon sinks, carbon capture or other technologies.

Decreased carbon emissions also means 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.

Meanwhile there are still a lot of older, inefficient buildings out there, so we will spur more energy-efficiency upgrades with programs and incentives for both residential and commercial buildings. PACE (Property Assessed Clean Energy) financing is a good example of that. It allows homeowners to take out loans for efficiency upgrades and pay them back over time through annual property taxes.

Here in rural BC we rely on a lot of heavy vehicles, which are also a large and growing source of harmful emissions, so 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. We already have plans underway to replace our local Kootenay ferries with clean-energy vessels.

We also have additional funding in our CleanBC industrial emissions strategy so that more mines, pulp mills, oil and gas processing plants, and other industrial facilities can reduce harmful emissions and move to cleaner operations.

As we are seeing already, we’ll also make electric vehicles more affordable for more people: We’ll provide a new income-tested incentive on new and used zero-emission vehicles to get more people into the electric vehicle rebate program, regardless of their income.

Getting more electric vehicles on the road also means increasing public vehicle charging availability: We will expand home and workplace charging through increased incentives and ‘right-to-charge’ legislation that gets charging infrastructure into more strata and apartment buildings.

And we know cars aren’t the only way to get around. To help more people make the switch to active transportation, we will remove the PST on e-bikes.

To make sure our reduction goals are being met, we’ll employ world-leading regulations and technologies to detect and reduce harmful methane emissions 

Greens: Andrew Duncan

Who remembers the Premier of British Columbia in 1985? What about in 1998? 2004? Our elected leaders are only remembered for a generation and then forgotten about, but their legacies live on. We are stuck with the inactions of pervious governments to address climate change.

I would like the BC Green Party to enact legislation following Denmark’s recently passed law making inaction on climate change illegal. I want government accountability and I want the people of British Columbia to remember past politicians and hold them to account regarding their promises to reduce carbon emission. No more passing the buck and saying “we weren’t in power’ or ‘it wasn’t us…’, these false promise would be crimes.

The BC green party wants to make British Columbia carbon neutral by 2045, five years before the Federal Government’s set date. This would make British Columbians leaders in Canada developing and implementing new carbon offset technologies, new sustainable clear energy and bioremediation of our natural environment to off set atmospheric carbon.

I want British Columbia to lead the way for Canada and the world in terms of reducing our carbon footprint. I want my children to know that we are trying to give them a future.

Liberals: Corbin Kelley – no response provided

Independent: Fletcher Quince 

As an Independent representing Kootenay West I would focus on local initiatives and investments as an opportunity to develop models of sustainable practice that are capable of informing provincial policy. Given Columbia Basin Trust’s potential to significantly advance carbon reduction strategies I would work alongside this organization to ensure Climate Change remains a high priority for theTrust. Specifically, I would work towards increased protection and preservation of regional ecosystems that provide for natural carbon sequestration and storage, including Old Growth Forests.

Independent: Ed Varney

Industry, if legislated to do so, can clean-up their emissions. There are two other major contributors: tourism and rush hour traffic. The one good thing about Covid-19, it has shown the world the horrendous pollution created by tourism. How necessary is tourism? As for rush hour traffic, the answer lies in medieval Europe. You live upstairs and go downstairs to go to work. High rises are bottom half business, top half residential. Plan cities so that people are all within walking distance of their workplace.

A Curiosity: The news talks about electric cars, boats and planes. The people of BC maintain roads, docks and airports. What about electric trains? BC Rail should have been connected to BC Hydro to create electric rail in BC. Once glaciated, BC has hanging valleys ideal for hydroelectric power generation. With dynamic braking the trains going down hill would put more power into the lines to provide power for the trains going uphill. We could develop a network of electric rails to service BC. This could eliminate just about all truck traffic on our highways and their pollution. This would reduce the damage to our highways and the need to frequently rebuild them. Basically eliminating a huge carbon footprint.

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?

Conservative: Glen Byle

These are all complex issues which I would look forward to investigating further if I had more time. What I do know is that if we were consuming less resources these issues would be much easier to solve. If we focus on making effective changes to our current habits of overconsumption we will need less resources to fuel our lifestyles and it will be easier to protect the vulnerable areas of our beautiful province.

NDP: Katrine Conroy

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

In our own region, 40,000 hectares have been protected in the Incomappleux Valley right here in Kootenay West, in the Selkirk range north of Trout Lake.

And 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.

Greens: Andrew Duncan

Forestry is a massive industry within the province of British Columbia and I have many great friends whom are loggers. A tool Forestry practitioners created was a concept termed the ‘Visual quality Index’ (VQO). The intent of the VQO was to produce clear-cuts that where out of sight and therefore out of mind, a worthy idea given province of British Columbia is 944,700km2  (Bigger than the United Kingdom and Japan combined). So I ask the reader is the VQO working? Have they ever seen a clear-cut? Or are we, as British Columbians, running out of forests to harvest… If you have seen a clear cut the answer is then yes we are running out of sustainable forests.

The BC Green Party and myself feel that protecting our old growth forests are important. We can protect them by simply putting an end to old growth logging in the province and promoting healthy replanting practices to sustainable harvest second growth forest in British Columbia. Replant deciduous trees along with conifers so that the deciduous trees retain water to reduce the effects of wildfire and lose their leaves in the Fall to regenerate the soil health thus promoting a healthier forest.

We need a government that will enhance FLNRO and other governmental oversights so that these individuals are not being told to do more with less, but rather told that they have support to do better and do what’s right for British Columbians. This can better occur with the implementation of a Chief Scientist to work as a counter-part to the Chief Forester of British Columbia, to more adequately incorporate timber sales, supply and analysis for a sustainable and health forestry sector.

Liberals: Corbin Kelley – no response provided

Independent: Fletcher Quince 

As the report suggests we are undergoing a paradigm shift; increasingly perceiving Old Growth forests as a valuable, and irreplaceable form of embodied capital. The complexity of Old Growth Forest systems means the management of this resource must coincide with an evolution in our societal appreciation of Old growth forest as Gestaltian, where the whole is different from the sum of its parts, and cannot be reconstructed once lost.

One potential mechanism of action for protecting Old Growth Forests is through establishment of a model economy that provides qualitative values such as biodiversity, water storage and purification, and carbon sequestration with quantitative values that can be included in models of ecological value. Working alongside educators to ensure the lessons of Vaillant’s Golden Spruce are taught to future generations, and engagement with Indigenous leadership and community stakeholders rather than corporate interests offer additional mechanism of maintaining and expanding areas dedicated to Old Growth protection, and a hedge against the risk of uncertainty associated with Climate Change.

Independent: Ed Varney

To protect our old growth, you would have to get rid of the power-hungry, greedy people whose sole purpose in life is to destroy it.And the people we elect to office let them do it. Having worked in logging in BC, to put forth blanket policies is not the answer. We need site specific plans and, believe me, there are loggers out there who, if left on their own, would leave our forests in far better condition than they are now. They log what they are told to and how they are told to do it. Yes, we need to protect old growth forests and all forest land in BC. It belongs to us the people. Our forests: if they cannot be destroyed fast enough, they log it to export it or burn it. Any tree cut in BC must be milled to completion in BC. Old growth forest is not just trees reaching hundreds of feet into the sky. In a small basin in a pass between the Fording River and Henretta Creek there is a stand of spruce. These trees are 4-feet or more on the base. You are surprised when you look up and expect to see trees reaching the sky and there is the top maybe 30 or 40 feet off the ground. These trees look like upside-down ice cream cones with little short stuffy branches. These trees are probably older than time itself, maybe even leftover from the last ice age.

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?

Conservative: Glen Byle

These are all complex issues which I would look forward to investigating further if I had more time. What I do know is that if we were consuming less resources these issues would be much easier to solve. If we focus on making effective changes to our current habits of overconsumption we will need less resources to fuel our lifestyles and it will be easier to protect the vulnerable areas of our beautiful province.

NDP: Katrine Conroy

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. 

John Horgan and the BC NDP is 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. 

Greens: Andrew Duncan

Your last question was in regards to best forest practices. Isn’t it amazing that British Columbia’s wildlife population effects the forest and the soil health of our forests. A long time ago, I remember reading a paper discussing the transport of Nitrogen15, a common element in Salmon and marine algae, but rare on land. The paper talked about how this signature element, Nitrogen15, could be could as far away as the Rocky Mountains. From ocean to salmon, to bears, into scat and then taken up into flies spiders and the soil for trees and shrubs. That is for lack of a better word magic…

What is not magic… is telling my children that the Maligne Caribou herd is extinct. So yes I would support Endangered Species Legislation for British Columbians and YES I would support funding for species in decline. As per Fisheries, I am not a marine ecologist, I could not say if the article before would be effect or possible, but there is hope if we capitalize on it. The BBC news article suggested that the world’s oceans can fully recover in our lifetime by 2050, if just given a chance. The BC Green party has laid out in its 2020 platform that party would follow recommendations made by Salmon Advisory Council recommendations and Cohen Commission recommendations.  So again yes, to simple doing the right thing and protecting, fish, wildfire and habitat.

Liberals: Corbin Kelley – 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.

Independent: Fletcher Quince 

The provision of a provincial Species at Risk Act offers a valuable first step towards establishing legislative protection for at risk species. Moreover, the establishment of clear and enforceable habitat maintenance plans for areas of critical habitat for fish and wildlife species is a must to ensuring the protection of these species.

I strongly support legislation for the protection of endanger species and the extension of protected habitat through legislative initiatives.

Independent: Ed Varney

The greatest challenge our wildlife is facing is helicopters. Everywhere, no escape, no safe haven. Watch how animals react when a helicopter flies over. What happens to pregnant animals — miscarry, abort? Fuel caches are scattered throughout the wilderness. These are 50,000 litre tanks of helicopter fuel. Many of these tanks are accessible only by helicopter. If this fuel does not spill into waterways, it comes out of the exhaust pipe of a helicopter to be deposited all over the ground, the snowpack and into the water. I said to a person in the Ministry of the Environment in Nelson, “If you want to know where the caribou went, draw a graph with increase in helicopter fuel sales and decrease in caribou numbers.” His response, “You are preaching to the choir but I am not allowed to say anything”. We pay his wages and to advise the government, not only is he ignored, he is silenced. Caribou are disappearing in Banff and Jasper National Parks. The only industry is tourism and they have not introduced heli-hiking, heli-skiing and heli-tours.

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?

Conservative: Glen Byle

These are all complex issues which I would look forward to investigating further if I had more time. What I do know is that if we were consuming less resources these issues would be much easier to solve. If we focus on making effective changes to our current habits of overconsumption we will need less resources to fuel our lifestyles and it will be easier to protect the vulnerable areas of our beautiful province.

NDP: Katrine Conroy

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. 

Greens: Andrew Duncan – no response provided

Liberals: Corbin Kelley – 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.

Independent: Fletcher Quince 

As a fundamental change in our identification of water as a high value resource continues to occur, it will become increasingly necessary for governments to ensure long term commitments of this resource to specific industries reflect both current and future requirements. Legislative management of this industry therefore should no longer include perpetual water rights.

 While reasonable estimates of development costs may be possible, clean-up costs stemming from the extraction of a resource cannot be predicted prior to completion of a project. Inline with environmental stewardship therefore, the most important factor to consider is mitigation of environmental impact prior to undertaking projects, and a conscientiousness of ongoing protection throughout the project. That said, I believe increased accountability and more accurate costing would be enhanced through public, and independently evaluated projections. Something crucial for ensuring taxpayers are not left on the hook for remediation work on underfunded mine projects.

Independent: Ed Varney

My experience with mining has been in the mines around Elkford and Sparwood, mostly Fording River Operations. With what they do for water, I have seen the Elk River running mud and the Fording River below the mine crystal clear. What Fording has in place when the mine closes, together with resloping, reseeding and replanting, it would take little to keep the water clean. And yes, they should be bonded to do just that. Also, Fording has virtually created a wildlife sanctuary in its no shooting zone. Hunters attempted to chase elk out of this zone and almost got trampled when the animals reached the boundary, turned around and ran back. If Fording can do it, any mine should be able to do it for the good of wildlife and the environment.

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?

Conservative: Glen Byle – no response provided

NDP: Katrine Conroy

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.

We already recognize that the Incomappleux Valley needs protection, but any area areas that experience high usage for recreation, tourism, industry and development must continue to be carefully considered.

Greens: Andrew Duncan – no response provided

Liberals: Corbin Kelley – 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. 

Independent: Fletcher Quince 

Additional protection of land and water resources is central to the standard of environmental stewardship many constituents in Kootenay West strive to achieve, and expect to be reflected in their representative.

I would work to support the hard work undertaken to date by organizations such as the Valhalla Wilderness Society and the Friends of the Rossland Range. Additionally, I am excited by the forthcoming conversion of the Old Mill site in Slocan City, and would be honoured to play a role in ensuring any development on this site is done inline with the desire of residents, and in a sustainable, and environmentally conscious manner. 

Independent: Ed Varney

Yes, we need protected areas set aside but that does not only mean no industry, it means no people. Years ago I heard about a huge spruce tree (16-foot diameter) that drew tourists from all over. People walking on the ground around the tree were packing the ground and killing it. The high alpine needs especially to be protected as it is the equivalent of the high arctic. For damage to recover here is not measured in years, it is measured in decades and centuries.

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?

Conservative: Glen Byle

How do we continue to grow the economy of BC without stripping the earth of resources and negatively impacting the environment? The answer is to transition from a society that consumes goods to a society that consumes services. What does this look like? So if someone wants to start weightlifting, most people will chose from a) buying the equipment for a home gym or b) buying a membership at a local gym. Let’s say a local gym can support 100 people with the same amount of equipment as 10 home gyms. That’s a 10x reduction in our consumption of goods if people choose to go to a local gym. But what choice do people normally make? Often we will choose the home gym because in the long run it is more cost effective. We need to make policy changes to promote the consumption of services. We need to reduce the cost for a small business to open and provide a service. We need to reduce the amount of red tape that a business needs to go through to open, because that red tape is expensive. We need to reduce the tax load on small businesses. We need to lower the tax on services and move that tax load onto goods. And if you combine service economy with environmentally friendly active transportation, suddenly we have a fundamental transformation of how much environmental impact we have. This is effective environmental action the small government conservative way. 

NDP: Katrine Conroy

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. Some measures we are taking to transition communities include: 

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.

Greens: Andrew Duncan

The Chinese symbol for crisis is two images side-by-side, the two separate images represent ‘danger’ and ‘opportunity’.  COVID 19 has shown British Columbian what can be done when the government puts citizen health and well being first, instead of a tertiary concern.  As British Columbian we have an opportunity coming out of this pandemic crisis and rebuild British Columbia better, stronger and cleaner. The BC Green party wants to put British Columbian first.

To do these we must address the elephant in the room, Gross Domestic Product or GDP. The idea of GDP was created in 1930 as an accounting tool, a way to track the size of the American economy; somewhere along the way it became a synonym for the health of our economy and human wellbeing. The GDP was never meant for this purpose, and as Robert Kennedy famously said: “(GDP) does not allow for the health of our children, the quality of their education or the joy of their play. It does not include the beauty of our poetry or the strength of our marriages, the intelligence of our public debate or the integrity of our public officials….it measures everything, in short, except that which makes life worthwhile.”

To move away from GDP is the initial step in creating sustainable and healthy communities. It creates a framework to measure community health, wellbeing, the arts, education and the health and wellbeing of our children and seniors citizens to whom we owe much too.  

Another major step needed, is how to found these sustainable communities.  So how do we make our communities more suitable? By investing in our citizen and our communities and not gifting the fossil fuel industry billions of British Columbian’s taxpayers dollars annually. Whether you are conservative, liberal or NDP we can all respect Peter Lougheed for not allowing industry to take away resource from the people without the people gaining, in the form of a tax, form the sale of their resource…  The BC Green part will stop gifting and propping up the LNG industry of British Columbia. This act alone will save British Columbian billions of dollars that can then be reinvested into out economy, into our communities and into a sustainable future for the people of British Columbia. 

Liberals: Corbin Kelley – 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. 

Independent: Fletcher Quince 

Notionally, a sustainable economy must operate on a principle that the products in the marketplace are generating more value than they extract. While the current resource extraction paradigm encourages only monetary considerations, for future policies to adequately address environmental considerations they must include accurate valuations of qualitative externalities. As an Independent I will advocate for the establishment of these values, and their inclusion in models that adequately reflect the true costs of resource extraction.

By encouraging value added resource processing within local communities the evolution of resource industry communities, into sustainable economies will become possible. Additionally, local manufacturing and the preservation of Old Growth forests will decrease our carbon footprint, while increasing the retention of value at the local level. Through the encouragement of protection of high value, environmentally sensitive habitat and a movement away from the exportation of raw resources local communities can be supported to find sustainable economic alternatives through tourism, craft, and environmental education.

Independent: Ed Varney

For the last century, it has been “bigger is better”. It is time to go small, downsize. We open every road ever built and keep them open. Create salvage operations for all wood fibre and remove fuels from the forest that fuel forest fires. Every tree salvaged due to snow down, blow down, etc. is one less tree that needs to be cut down. The wood removed could be used for everything from firewood to providing wood for wood alcohol plants. Maintaining these roads would give access in event of a forest fire. Water could be hauled by truck at $200/hour as close to the fire as possible instead of thousands of dollars per hour by helicopter. Getting water to the fire faster, putting out the fire faster effectively greatly reducing the cost of fire fighting and the number of hectares burned. In 2018, $615 million spent, 1.3 million hectares burned. The Ministry of Forests say they cannot afford to keep these roads open but they can spend thousands of dollars per hour flying over deactivated roads with helicopters to the tune of hundreds of millions of dollars.