Is economic growth possible without environmental damage? Cowichan-Malahat-Langford candidates weigh in

Published on October 8, 2019
Vancouver Island, BC — 

How is it possible for Canada to continue to grow its economy – including the energy sector – while lessening damage to the environment?

Blair Herbert, Liberal:

The answer is transitioning to a green economy; Canada can be world leaders.  For example, Canadian car companies can manufacture electric cars or their components.  We can be leaders in manufacturing plant-based plastics.  And, yes, this transition must include the energy sector.  Manufacturers of fossil fuels can become leaders in clean energy.  At one time, everyone had film cameras; now we are digital.  Change is difficult.  Change is possible.  The Liberals are already on the path of green investments and, recently, announced their plan to cut corporate taxes in half for companies that develop technologies or products with zero emissions.

Alistair MacGregor, NDP:

It is absolutely possible for Canada to continue to grow its economy including the energy sector while lessening damage to the environment – if we make the transition to the clean-energy economy of the future.  If we fail to act now, the environmental and economic costs will be immense.

The NDP's New Deal for People will set tough, science-based targets in-line with limiting climate warming to 1.5 degrees, backed by legislation. We will immediately end subsidies to fossil fuel companies, instead investing them in clean-energy initiatives. Our plan creates more than 300,000 good jobs while protecting our air, land, and water.

Lydia Hwitsum, Green:

Mission: Possible, the Green Climate Emergency Action Plan sets out the approach to transition out of fossil fuel dependency and transition our economy and retool society to run on non-polluting renewable energy. This includes the retro-fit of buildings to address energy waste, creating new green opportunities for workers and investments in the development of a green transportation network that is sustainable.  A green economy respects nature’s limits and provides everyone with a dignified quality of life, embraces diversity and ensures responsible stewardship of public finances in that process. A just transition to a green economy will support and invest in workers and ensure justice in the workplace.

The Greens are the only party that has promised to meet the targets recommended by the UN Intergovernmental Panel for Climate Change. The Green plan leverages renewable industries as massive economic growth sectors. It will also invest in new training, retraining programs and social services to ensure a smooth and just transition from the old economy to the new.

Conservative candidate Alana Delong did not respond to Ha-Shilth-Sa's question on this issue.