Friday, July 12, 2024

BGOS Liberal Candidate Responds to Thoughts on Climate Plans

Letter to the Editor

Dear Editor:

I read David McLaren’s letter on climate policy in your publication with great interest, and some disappointment. (Reader Calls BS on Climate Plans, Sept. 20)

Mr. McLaren is, of course, not just another disinterested reader: he was the New Democratic Party’s candidate in Bruce-Grey-Owen Sound in the 2015 federal election. You might have mentioned this at the tail end of his letter. But, never mind that.

He asserts that the Liberal government’s price on pollution is “not yet” working – ignoring, possibly due to an oversight, that our federal system of carbon pricing took effect for most consumers just a few months ago, on April 1 of this year.

Carbon pricing is a proven market mechanism for reducing emissions. It has been endorsed by economists across the political spectrum and around the world. And it is just one element of the environmental plan the Liberal government has put in place.

If Mr. McLaren has a better idea for reducing carbon emissions, he should propose it. I would welcome his input.

Our plan, already in place, includes:

  • $2 billion for the Low Carbon Economy Fund to combat climate change, including funds to make buildings more energy efficient, help industries innovate to reduce emissions, and help the forestry and agriculture sectors increase stored carbon in forests and soils.

  • $1.5 billion for the national Oceans Protection Plan to improve marine safety and responsible shipping, protect Canada’s marine environment, and offer new possibilities for Indigenous and coastal communities.

  • $1.3 billion over five years for nature conservation.

  • Implementing a Clean Fuel Standard that will reduce carbon pollution by 30 million tonnes.

  • New investments of $150 million in Budget 2019 to help phase out coal power and diversify coal economies.

  • A Canada-wide Strategy on Zero Plastic Waste to keep plastics in our economy and out of landfills and the environment.

In addition, a re-elected Liberal government would set five-year legislated plans to achieve net zero emissions on a national level by 2050. Our ambition continues to increase, in keeping with the obvious, pressing need for urgent action on climate.

Meanwhile, independent analyses of the Conservative plan show that it would cost taxpayers more while cutting emissions less, by making carbon pollution free again. The Conservative plan is yet another paper tiger: long on rhetoric, short on specifics.

While I appreciate the impatience of critics who say Canada must move faster in the face of the climate crisis we all face, I reject cynical attempts to lump all climate plans together – especially views such as those expressed in Mr. McLaren’s letter, which lays on the rhetoric while offering no constructive solutions or alternatives.

The fact is, we have a working climate plan in place right now. It remains in its early stages. This election will determine whether it continues to evolve and improve, or dies, setting us back another decade.

Cynicism and partisan rhetoric are not what we need now. We don’t have ten years to waste.

Michael Den Tandt, Liberal candidate for Bruce-Grey-Owen Sound

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