This is an ongoing series which began this summer in the Osoyoos Times. (Originally ran July 14).
This week’s question:
The discussion around pipelines, oil and gas and renewable energy sources can be a divisive one; how do you plan to move the country’s energy future forward without further dividing Canadians?
Richard Cannings, New Democratic Party
The conversation around pipelines in Canada has been so heated it’s difficult to sort hype from fact.
Do we need an expanded pipeline to tidewater to get a better price for our oil? No. The Trans Mountain pipeline has carried oil to the Pacific for over a half century and almost none of it has gone to Asia, because the big demand and best prices for our bitumen is—and will continue to be—in the United States.
The push for more pipelines is not about better prices for our oil—it’s about expanding production in the oil sands. So the question facing Canadians is: “Should we invest $15 billion of taxpayers’ money to build a pipeline and lock ourselves into expanded production of expensive oil, in a world where oil demand is predicted to decline over the next 30 years?”
The NDP believe the answer to that question is no.
So what will guide us out of this polarized debate? Recent polls show that the environment is the number one issue for Canadians. We can spend that $15 billion on efficiency and clean energy programs that will create hundreds of thousands of good long-term jobs. For more information, search online for the NDP plan “Power to Change”.
Connie Denesiuk, Liberal Party of Canada
Like many Canadians, I strongly favour a responsible transition to renewable energy while we simultaneously take action to mitigate the undeniable effects of climate change. Most Canadians and our economy are currently dependent on oil for transportation and the products we use every day. Nonetheless, there is no question that we must take urgent action to mitigate the effects of climate change.
With both of these things in mind, a planned, pragmatic approach makes the most sense. This involves using our non-renewable resources efficiently and responsibly while we continue to invest in research, innovation and a shift to renewable energy.
When we sell oil to our US neighbours, revenues are significantly lower than revenue from sales to foreign markets. I favour the TMX pipeline based in part on the compelling economic argument. It is a means of broadening our markets while we transition away from fossil fuels. However, the business case without a bold long term environmental plan would be insufficient.
The Liberal government policy decision to direct revenues generated from the Trans Mountain pipeline to green energy and clean technology strikes the right short and long term balance. Governments must set targets and legislation aimed at reducing emissions. Our decision to put a price on pollution has been effective in B.C. for a decade. Phasing out coal and incenting businesses to adopt energy efficiencies is essential. There has been a spike in electric vehicle sales due to a provincial and federal rebates.
In addition, I think it is important that individual Canadians also take action. My husband Bob and I are proud to have recently joined the growing numbers of solar-powered households.
Helena Konanz, Conservative Party of Canada
Canada is a vast country, rich in natural resources. These resources have enriched Canadians from coast to coast for over 150 years, and we have to make sure that we all work together to keep our country united and prosperous. Justin Trudeau and his Liberal government would rather divide Canadians, pitting East against West, Albertans against British Columbians, for their own political gain. And unlike the Conservative plan, The Liberals believe the best way to help the environment is to tax hard working Canadians and exempt large polluters. And our current NDP Member of Parliament has a complete disregard for the businesses and jobs right here in our region that depend on the oil & gas sector.
The Conservative plan will help people to lower their own emissions through tax credits, not punish them with more taxes. The key to a lower carbon future is through development of new technologies. One great example of this kind of innovation is a Penticton company working on a power project in Indonesia that resulted in the reduction of 104,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide a year. That is the emissions equivalent of taking 22,000 vehicles, or every vehicle in Penticton, off the road.
Canada is stronger when we are all united, and a Conservative government under Andrew Scheer will make that happen.
Tara Howse, Green Party of Canada
Concerns will differ locally and across the country. I view this diversity as our strength.
Innovation occurs when new ideas are brought together but the first step to productive conversations is seeking common ground. Fundamentally we all want the same things for ourselves and families: safety, security, health, and happiness.
Many of the opposing concerns are related to jobs and economy. It’s key to remember there is no “invisible hand” – the Canadian government is directly involved in subsidizing the fossil fuel industry to the tune of $3.3 billion per year and, despite promises to end them, they are continuing. Eliminating these subsidies will reveal the true cost of fossil fuels.
Renewables is the fastest growing sector in the Canadian economy. Solar alone generates 9 times the jobs that the oil and gas industry does combined. Because renewable energy projects are more locally based, the jobs stay local and the money is circulated within the community.
Whether you’re drilling for oil or geothermal; you’ll have a job.
Whether you’re driving a truck run on diesel or electricity; you’ll have a job.
Whether you’re selling widgets for a pipeline or for a solar project; you’ll have a job.
Send your questions to email@example.com as we continue to curate and ask our candidates the questions that matter.