Nickel Belt and Sudbury candidates debate environmental issues


Most of the candidates in the Sudbury and Nickel Belt ridings appear determined to preserve Laurentian University’s green space for the public.

“I am already working with the mayor and city councilors to see if there is anything we can do to try to bring the land to the city,” said Marc Serre, who is running to keep his Nickel Belt seat. for the liberals. the federal government could then provide support to the city, ”he said.

“Laurentian University cannot sell this. We have to find a way to make these lands protected. The fact that this is being considered is unacceptable. “

Federal candidates from both ridings took part in a climate change debate hosted by reThink Green and Citizens’ Climate Lobby Sudbury last week.

As part of GreenPAC’s 100 Debates on the Environment series, candidates were on hand to answer questions on environmental issues during the virtual event.

“Now is the time to focus on climate solutions again,” said Rebecca Danard, Executive Director of reThink Green. “The environmental challenges are there and our candidates must take measures to meet them. “

Each candidate was asked to answer three questions related to federal politics, in addition to questions from the public submitted via reThink Green’s social media channels. One of those questions was about protecting Laurentian’s green space, which is under threat due to the university’s insolvency proceedings.

Laurentian is insolvent, is restructuring and has cut hundreds of jobs and programs. He is also considering whether he could sell assets – including his green spaces – to improve his financial situation.

Sudbury Green Party candidate David Robinson said he was “so happy” that people are working on this issue, but he will not address it.

“Let’s be honest. I’m not going to be elected. My take on this is that it doesn’t really matter. I can only express a personal opinion, and I think it’s great that the people are fighting for it, ”Robinson said.

“My goal is elsewhere. I think there is a bigger problem. I think of my grandchildren.

Nadia Verreli, NDP candidate in Sudbury, said Laurentian’s green spaces are special.

“It weighs heavily on me that they are factored in – they shouldn’t be monetized. I would fight for that not only as a Member of Parliament, but also as a fellow citizen, ”she declared.

Andréane Chenier, NDP candidate in Nickel Belt, added that she would work to ensure that Laurentian’s green spaces are protected.

“We can prevent its sale to commercial developers by making it a protected space,” she said.

“I think we also need to take a close look at why green spaces are on the chopping block. Part of this comes from underfunding (Laurentian). We cannot simply continue to devastate the environment for economic growth.

Other topics discussed included Canada’s strategy to achieve the goal of net zero emissions, truth and reconciliation, and the national strategy to combat environmental racism.

The debate began with a review of the Canadian Net Emissions Accountability Act, which requires the establishment of national greenhouse gas emission reduction targets in order to achieve net zero emissions of by 2050.

Serre said Bill C-12 is the cornerstone of the Liberal plan.

“From 2015 to 2019, we spent $ 60 billion on climate action and clean growth, and in the fall we added a commitment of $ 53 billion to Canada’s green recovery, more than $ 100 billion, ”Serre said.

He added that the Liberal Party had fought for the carbon tax and launched other initiatives to tackle climate change, such as banning single-use plastic.

“We are also protecting 30% of our oceans and land, and we are planting two billion trees. These are some of the initiatives to achieve net zero emissions by 2050, ”Serre said.

Sudbury Liberal candidate Viviane Lapointe added that the Liberal government will phase out fossil fuel subsidies by 2030.

The Green Party candidate in Nickel Belt riding said Canada needs a coherent set of national goals to achieve net negative emissions by 2050.

“Without accountability, we won’t see significant reductions in greenhouse gas emissions. If elected, the Green Party of Canada will accelerate our efforts to reduce emissions by 60% from our 2005 levels by 2030, ”said Craig Gravelle.

“We would apply the targets and timelines from 2023. I would like the targets and timelines to be applied much sooner. “

Gravelle said providing Canadians with a guaranteed living income would go a long way in addressing the climate crisis.

“The climate crisis is a crisis that will take decades to resolve. To do this, we need to enable everyone to have a long-term mindset, ”he said.

“It’s a little hard to have a long-term mindset when everyone’s focused on paying the bills they have to pay this month. A guaranteed livelihood income will unleash the mental capacity of everyone to dream bigger and look to the future.

Chénier said the NDP is determined to act for the climate.

“I want to make sure that climate action is at the forefront of any bill that is considered. Putting an environmental perspective on budgets, infrastructure projects or any federal initiative will help us ensure that we are always moving forward towards our goals.

“It’s not a one-ministry issue. It is a pervasive problem that requires the full commitment of the government.

Federal candidates also addressed Bill C-15, which enshrined the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples into national law.

They discussed the right of indigenous peoples to conserve and protect the environment and their right to the productive capacity of their lands or territories and resources.

“The United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples should have been implemented a long time ago and we have worked to ensure that it is a government bill in this parliament,” said declared Serre.

Serre said passage of the bill advanced First Nations reconciliation efforts and self-government.

“Natural Resources Canada has a whole department of Indigenous employees and experts who work with proponents to ensure Indigenous communities are consulted and engaged,” he said.

Gravelle said there was no consensus on Bill C-15 within the Green Party of Canada, but more needed to be done in terms of reconciliation.

“I am a little cautious given the Liberal government’s record when it comes to meeting the needs of aboriginal people in a meaningful way,” he said.

“I would rather see an NDP or Green government come up with bills that will actually seek to address many of the issues facing aboriginal communities. Nonetheless, I think it is a small step in the right direction.

Robinson said he was not happy with Bill C-15.

“The whole definition of Aboriginal peoples in this document is fuzzy and difficult to apply in a population as mixed as that of Canada,” he said.

“It wasn’t really written for a situation like Canada, and I think it could have been improved considerably, but I approve of it being adopted as a statement of a very important principle.”

Verrelli said Bill C-15 is a redesign of Bill 232 sponsored by former NDP MP Romeo Saganash from northern Quebec.

“Romeo’s bill was approved by the House, but senators delayed voting on the bill for so long that it died at the end of the Liberals’ first term,” she said.

“We support the continuation of UNDRIP, and we will continue to support true reconciliation. The goal is to ensure that Canada’s laws, policies and practices are consistent with Canada’s human rights commitments.

The Local Journalism Initiative is made possible through funding from the federal government.

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Twitter: @SudburyStar

Colleen Romaniuk, reporter with the Local Journalism Initiative, The Sudbury Star


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