Election 2015: How will you ensure that Nanaimo’s environment is protected?

NANAIMO – The News Bulletin asked the four main party candidates a series of questions on election issues.

Mark MacDonald, Conservative Party

Having a balanced approach to the environment and the economy is extremely important. We must have a strong economy if we want to maintain Canada’s high standard of living and excellent social infrastructure.

While it might be politically expedient for some to suggest we inhibit or reduce shipping throughout the region, we must also recognize that those ships represent local jobs. Other communities on the Island are interested in attracting LNG facilities and the jobs that come with them. When communities say no to certain types of development or opportunities, they really shouldn’t complain about the absence of those well-paying jobs and resulting revenue ending up ‘there’ and not ‘here.’

To be clear: this government is committed to safe, spillage-free shipping and the protection of our coastlines, while it also protects important local jobs that grow the economy. It will continue to implement a responsible regulatory approach that is aligned with our major economic competitors – like the United States – to ensure Canada’s economic competitiveness is protected.

The government is proud of its record on the environment. It’s a balanced approach that works.

Sheila Malcolmson, New Democratic Party

I have been a vocal champion for protecting the Salish Sea from the extensive oil spill risks we now face and for strengthening our ecological safety net. In 2011, as Islands Trust chairwoman, I was among the first to ring the alarm bells on Kinder Morgan’s tanker traffic and the risk of spilling bitumen in the Salish Sea.

We have stated that the Enbridge and Kinder Morgan project applications are clearly unacceptable.

An NDP government will establish a strong, rigorous and independent assessment process that is science-based, includes consideration of climate change, and honours our legal obligations to First Nations. This process must consider the full environmental, social, and economic impacts of proposed projects.

An NDP government will also work with community  and indigenous leaders to implement a comprehensive, coast-wide spill prevention and cleanup strategy. I have travelled to Norway to study oil spill responses, and I know this is the worst possible time for drastic cuts to the coast guard, Department of Fisheries and Oceans, environmental reviews and scientific research. I will work with Tom Mulcair and an NDP government to reverse those cuts and make environmental protection a priority.

Paul Manly, Green Party

The Green Party is the only party committed to no expansion of raw bitumen pipelines from the oil sands. The economic and environmental risk of allowing increased oil tanker traffic through the Salish Sea far outweighs any benefit.

As a documentary filmmaker and community advocate, I have been fighting against increased oil tanker traffic off our shores for years. In 2010, I made the first video exposing Kinder Morgan’s raw bitumen exports through Burrard Inlet and helped alert the national media to their proposed pipeline expansion which will increase oil tanker traffic from 60 tankers per year to 400 tankers per year.

Our provincial government has placed its economic hopes on LNG plants in B.C. to export fracked gas, but the rosy economic forecast of that industry has completely unravelled due to a global oversupply of LNG and the accelerating shift to renewable energy. That’s good, because the proposed LNG terminals on the B.C. coast would result in another 500 tankers per year, with negative effects for shipping, sport fishing, ferries and tourism.

Saying yes to clean renewable energy is about more than defending our coast – it’s about defending our climate.

Tim Tessier, Liberal Party

Liberals commit to smarter co-management of our oceans by working with the province, indigenous peoples, and other stakeholders in Nanaimo-Ladysmith.

We will develop plans that not only make best use of our marine resources, but also give our communities more say in managing the resources around them. An important first step will be the formalization of the moratorium on crude oil tanker traffic on B.C.’s north coast, including the Dixon Entrance, Hecate Strait and Queen Charlotte Sound, to ensure that ecologically sensitive areas and local economies are protected from the potentially devastating impacts of a spill.

Canadians know that creating sustainable prosperity is the way forward, but new challenges like climate change and threats to our water and land have emerged that we must adapt to.

Liberals have a plan to invest in green infrastructure, create clean jobs, and protect our environment right across the country. A Trudeau-led government will boost investment in green infrastructure by nearly $6 billion over the next four years, and almost $20 billion over 10 years.

Liberals will make smart investments in the green tech sector.

Please click here for last week’s Q&A – How will your party’s economic plan benefit Nanaimo residents?

Please click here for the next Q&A – Is medical marijuana an industry you support?

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