B.C. provincial election candidates discuss climate change positions

Climate Change
Liquid natural gas, emissions targets and fracking were the main points of discussion during last night’s talk at the Rio Theatre. Photo: Ben Bulmer

Shouts of green-wash came from the audience when BC Liberal candidate Gabby Kalaw justified his party’s stance on Liquid Natural Gas at last night’s Bring Your Boomers Election Forum held at the Rio Theatre.

Over 400 people attended the talk on climate change, organised by The Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives and Gen Why Media. A panel of five candidates in the upcoming B.C. Provincial Election answered questions from three prominent young environmentalists as well as questions from the audience.

Liquid natural gas, emissions targets and fracking the main points of contention

Liquefied nature gas (LNG) was one of the main topics of discussion, as well as B.C.’s 2020 emissions targets and fracking.

Fracking involves injecting a slurry of chemicals into rocks. The reaction breaks the stones open and releases petroleum, other natural gases and other resources.

“To me natural gas looks like hundreds of trucks full of sand, chemicals and water,” said Caleb Behn who added that it was his native territory in the North-East of B.C. which generated large amounts of B.C.’s income but bears the price of environmental destruction.

The documentary film maker continued to say that 95 per cent of Fort Nelson First Nations Territory has been sold for LNG production in the last five years.

Candidates’ stances on climate change questioned

Kalaw wouldn’t give a straight yes or no answer to his party’s stance on the Enbridge pipeline nor the Kinder Morgan pipeline expansion, referring several times to the B.C. Liberals policy of five environmental checks the party have proposed.

BC NDP environmental critic Rob Fleming was criticized by the panel for not giving a definite answer on his party’s stance on the Kinder Morgan pipeline expansion. The Victoria-Swan Lake MLA did add that if the energy industry couldn’t guarantee that water wouldn’t be contaminated and that human health put at risk, then the industry wouldn’t be given a social licence to do business.

Sixteen-year-old Sam Harrison from Kids for Climate Change received large amounts of support from the audience for his knowledgeable and direct questioning of the candidate’s. Harrison questioned the BC Liberals stance on LNG and accused the party of neglecting renewable energy development in favour of LNG.

The Green Party’s Jane Sterk said her party are committed to the 2020 emission’s target as well as opposing the Kinder Morgan expansion. Sterk also announced that if her party are successful it would increase the carbon tax from $10 to $50 a ton.

BC Conservative candidate Duane Nickull distanced his party several times from the federal conservatives and proposed investment into geothermal energy. The IT entrepreneur, standing against the premier Christy Clark in the Point Grey riding talked at length about B.C.’s geothermal possibilities and said that if he was successful he would change the Geothermal Resources Act. Nickull accused the current government to making it impossible for companies to invest in geothermal energy in B.C.

Independent MLA for Cariboo North Bob Simpson criticized the BC Liberals environmental record adding that economies can be created in different ways whereas the environment cannot.

“Bill Clinton ran an election on ‘It’s the economy stupid,’ we need an election run on ‘It’s the ecology stupid,’” said Simpson.

Reported by Ben Bulmer

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