Penticton candidates speak on climate action and the environment

Candidates talk climate

Contributed First Things First Okanagan

First Things First Okanagan, a Penticton-based climate action group, held a virtual all-candidates climate forum for candidates running in the Penticton riding Thursday evening. Dan Ashton (Liberal), Toni Boot (NDP), Ted Shumaker (Green) and Keith MacIntyre (Libertarian) all attended via Zoom for the event streamed live over Facebook. 

The group posed questions on climate change, energy, BC Parks, biodiversity and economic recovery for the candidates. The one minute intro’s had all candidates introducing themselves and their platforms in relation to climate actions. 

“There’s nothing more important than taking care of this place we call home,” Boot said. 

“My knowledge is that of the average guy...I joined the green in this race because I believe we are in crisis, a climate crisis and a people crisis.” Shumaker said. 

“I'm really excited to be a part of this debate,” MacIntyre said, adding in that he had been at an innovation summit in Alaska before the COVID-19 pandemic hit discussing climate change and seeing the effects firsthand. 

“We each and all have a concern for where we live and the climate and the issues that are facing not only in our country and province but the world today,” Ashton said. 

One of the questions asked candidates about their thoughts on lowering emissions with fossil fuels and supporting redirecting the resources of LNG’s currently being used into wind, solar and geothermal energy production.

“The short answer is yes,” Shumaker said, pointing to renewable energy jobs growing in the industry that were still seen as small players, and eventually LNG jobs will be moved out by clean energy jobs. “What I don’t want to see is the tax payers being left holding the fossil fuels bag.”

“I am an advocate of clean energy but I’m also an advocate of the resources we have in British Columbia,” Ashton said, pointing to hydro as a good resource. “But LNG is a transitory fuel that I see...if we can help get China and other east asian countries off of coal burning with this transitory fuel and therefore increasing the opportunities that BC has for the future because gas will be sold at a profit.”

MacIntrye addressed that there’s issues with using wind and solar energy, but good potential with them and geothermal. “We have an opportunity that we can reduce dependence on things like coal and oil...The fact is we’re not going to overnight stop using these things.”

“What we can do is be innovative,” he said. “Someday, it’d be great if  we didn’t need to rely on that for our energy, but right now we do.

Boot talked about the BC NDP’s Clean BC plan along with the Green party and that future LNG projects are required to meet strict requirements.

“Well I know that LNG is not the first choice for energy for some people, the reality is this...we need to have transformation products that will help us during this transition.We’re moving in the right direction with the NDP but it’s just not going to happen overnight.”

Watch the full debate above.

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