Climate change a leading election issue for Canadians

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How the federal government plans to address a changing environment has become a leading concern for many Canadians, especially those in the Kamloops-Thompson-Cariboo riding.

It’s a common theme Liberal candidate Terry Lake has been hearing as he goes door-knocking in the region ahead of the Oct. 21 federal election.

“Climate change here has always been a concern for people, although it didn’t seem to be something that affected them on a day-to-day basis,” Lake says.

But devastating forest fire seasons in the region during the last few years have sharpened peoples’ focus as an election issue.

Lake, a former Kamloops mayor and provincial health and environment minister, says he decided to re-enter politics because he couldn’t remain on the sidelines and allow a possible return to a Conservative government that doesn’t appear to have the environment as a primary concern.

“They have no targets or actions and don’t put a price on carbon the way the Liberal plan does,” Lake says. “The attitude among the Conservatives is that Canada has a small carbon footprint, so we really shouldn’t bother because we can’t affect change on a global scale.”

The reality, Lake says, is that Canada is among the globe’s top 10 carbon emitters and top two to three in greenhouse gas emissions per person.

“We have a personal responsibility, as Canadians and global citizens, to reduce our greenhouse gases and play a leadership role in climate action around the world,” Lake says.

He added the NDP and Green Party’s plans to virtually shut down fossil fuel industries are admirable, in theory, but are unattainable.

“The Liberal plan is pragmatic and comprehensive and takes us from today’s fossil fuel-based economy to a low-carbon economy of the future,” Lake says. “And that includes support for the Trans Mountain Pipeline extension because it takes a resource and gets the optimum value for it in the safest and cleanest way possible.”

Where that hits home, Lake says, is the situation in Kamloops where rail lines through the community are currently choked with rail cars moving oil in a far more dangerous fashion than a pipeline.

“Those rail lines run right along the Thompson River, which is the source of our water supply,” he says. “And a large accident here would put that and the environment at serious risk.”

A pipeline is a proven, safe method of transporting oil. Plus, all of the profits from the now Crown Corporation-owned and run pipeline have been dedicated to clean energy transformation.

The link will also play a role in limiting oil sands emissions, establishing a national price on carbon emissions, and providing a $1.5 billion, ocean protection plan - a key responsibility for safeguarding the environment.

“The pipeline is a way of transporting a resource, that is needed today, in a safe manner, while extracting the greatest value for it, then using that money to take us into a low-carbon economy,” Lake says.

This Content is made possible by the Sponsor; it is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of the editorial staff.

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