READERS PLEASE NOTE: This article was published
Liberals plan to phase out coal power by 2030, Conservatives would focus on technology, NDP would keep a carbon tax and Greens would be more aggressive on a climate change plan
With less than a week to go before the 2019 federal election, the latest Ipsos poll shows that climate change has moved up as a major focal point for every three in 10 Canadians, besides the issues of health care and housing.
For Canada’s four major political parties, environmental policies have now become key platform subjects. Every party, however, is approaching the climate issue from a different angle.
The Liberal party plans to phase out coal power by 2030 and is centred on the main goal of achieving net-zero emissions nationwide by 2050.
“The Liberals are investing in post-secondary programs and instituting co-op programs to achieve the climate goals that young people can live in,” said Adam Vaughan, the party’s candidate for Spadina-Fort York. “We have put together a comprehensive plan.”
Meanwhile, the Conservative party platform would eliminate the carbon tax and focus on capping emissions for large-scale emitters, as well as creating incentives for public transit use and retrofitting homes with energy-saving improvements.
The Conservative candidate for Don Valley East, Michael Ma, also said he believes in eco-friendly technology and called on Ryerson and other researchers to help develop more of it.
“Canada is a low contributor to the global situation and what we want to do is to take that green technology and export it to countries where we can help overall globally lower those contributors to carbon and pollution,” said Ma.
According to Abacus Data, a research and strategy firm that specializes in data on voting trends and the millennial age group, there are more millennials now eligible to vote in the federal election than baby boomers. Additionally, Global News reported that the 2019 federal election will mark the first time millennial voters make up the largest voting bloc.
“The biggest thing I hear from university students is concern about the climate crisis,” said Dania Yoon, the NDP candidate for Spadina-Fort York. “They do want a livable future. That’s why the NDP is going to create 300,000 clean energy jobs and free electric transportation.”
The NDP platform will continue with the current carbon pricing regime with some tweaks, such as removing rebates for millionaires and lifting exemptions to some industries.
The Green party’s campaign platform includes a pledge to further reduce Canada’s greenhouse gas emissions by raising carbon taxes and banning the sale of internal combustion engine passenger vehicles by 2030, then phasing out traditional cars altogether by 2040.
“Climate change is the most important issue of this election and the most important issue of our time,” said Annamie Paul, the Green’s candidate for Toronto Centre. “Our plan is focused on reducing emissions, converting Canada into a green economy.”
A recent report by the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change said that the planet will reach the crucial threshold of 1.5 Celsius (2.7 Fahrenheit) above pre-industrial levels by 2030, precipitating the risk of extreme drought, floods, wildfires and food shortages for human beings, unless international political action is taken.