Waterloo’s federal candidates proposed starkly different approaches to the environment when they spoke with Imprint.
“The parties on the left will say that it’s all about the environment, while the parties on the right will say it’s all about the economy” Bardish Chagger, Liberal candidate and incumbent MP for Waterloo Region.
Jerry Zhang, Conservative candidate for Waterloo, criticized the Liberals, saying that if Canada continues using resources at its current pace, there won’t be enough left for the future generations to come.
Zhang said Canada should focus on building a greener economy first.
“By 2030, Canada’s target is to reach a 30 per cent reduction from 2005’s greenhouse gas emission level of 730 mega tonnes.
However, as of today, we are producing about 700 mega tonnes,” Zhang said.
Meanwhile, the NDP’s Waterloo candidate Lori Campbell said her party promises to power Canada with net carbon-free electricity and move to 100 per cent non-emitting electricity by 2030.
She also said her party would ban single-use plastics.
Furthermore, the NDP promised to make big changes by scaling up on low-carbon transit projects, like zero emissions buses and electric trains, with the goal of electrifying transit by 2030.
Further down the road, Campbell said her party plans on setting a target for retrofitting all buildings with renewable technologies by 2050 through low-interest loans for renewable home upgrades.
Although the Green Party is taking a similar approach to climate change as the NDP, they plan to take it one step further.
Green candidate Kirsten Wright said her party would reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 60 per cent by 2030 and to zero per cent by 2050.
The Green Party, like the NDP, plans to retrofit all buildings with renewable technologies at an earlier deadline of 2030.
Wright also said her party would halt all new fossil fuel development projects.
Reiterating a promise made by Justin Trudeau, Chagger said that her party plans to ban single-use plastics by 2021 and phase out coal-fired electricity.
“Pollution should not be free and so we have put a price on pollution,” Chagger said.
People would be taxed on how much they contribute to pollution in the hopes that they will change their lifestyle and become greener, according to the Liberal platform.
Chagger said, because going green is also costly, everyone who pays this ‘carbon tax’ will be offered a rebate.
Zhang, criticized the carbon tax policy and pointed out that expecting people to change their lifestyle is not practical. So the Conservatives say their plan to tackle climate change would focus on building a greener economy by funding research on green technology.
“A ‘green rebate’ would be given to businesses or houses if they meet certain green standards,” Zhang said. “…The Conservatives would also introduce a green patent credit for entrepreneurs.”