Is economic growth possible without environmental damage? North Island-Powell River candidates weigh in

Published on October 8, 2019

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

Rachel Blaney, NDP:

The economy needs to change to reflect the reality of the environmental challenges we’re facing. Currently Canadians are paying the price while big polluters profit and emissions rise. We'll end all fossil fuel subsidies and reinvest that money into good jobs, transitioning to carbon-free electricity, and making homes and work places more energy efficient. Our plan will create 300,000 good jobs, and cut emissions to what the science says is necessary to confront the climate emergency. We can make life more affordable for families, and bring reliable work to communities all across the country, but it will take courage.

Peter Shwarzhoff, Liberal:

As the world transitions to a clean economy we must ensure that our policies are designed to take advantage of opportunities. Canada stands be a global leader in clean tech and green jobs. A strong, innovative economy will allow a faster, smoother transition. This is why we say repeatedly “The economy and the environment are inextricably linked.”

A strong economy gives us the money to fix existing environmental problems. For example the $1.5 billion Ocean Protections Plan helps fund habitat restoration. If money is scarce, we must be less ambitious.

Mark de Bruijn, Green:

The "Green Economy" will feature dramatically and badly needed reductions in greenhouse gasses and all forms of pollution. Economic growth will be fuelled by new jobs: constructing, deploying and then operating renewable energy sources; retrofitting buildings for efficiency; expanding our national fleet of electric vehicles; reforestation, and efficiently recycling materials.

The objective is to "shift" economic activity, not reduce it. Businesses will adjust, then expand. The transition is a management challenge for all Canadians; hence "All hands on deck"!

We have the prerequisite science, proven technologies and an educated, flexible workforce. Now, we just need Leadership.

Shelley Downey, Conservative:

Canada has continually shown its care for the environment. Each resource sector has improved their operations and practises through investment and innovation. This is evident in forestry, mining, oil and gas, and fisheries. Not only are we adapting, we provide safe workplaces and good jobs that allow us to have the life we have in Canada that many nations envy and has immigrants wanting to live here.