Federal election candidates for Cowichan-Malahat-Langford

ELECTION ISSUE: Candidates speak up on environmental issues

Cowichan-Malahat-Langford: Riding representation at stake on Oct. 19

Lexi Bainas

and Katherine Engqvist

Black Press

Environmental policy is a topic that could well influence voters in the federal election, and local candidates hoping to win the Cowichan-Malahat-Langford seat on Oct. 19 are staking out their territory on issues that range from renewable energy to pipelines.

NDP candidate and Duncan resident Alistair MacGregor calls climate change “the overarching issue of this century” and points to its effect in the riding.

“We have seen a pretty sharp drop in our river levels and extended drought periods. That is something our federal government will need to take a very serious look at and implement actions to combat.”

MacGregor said he’s been listening to stakeholder concern about the Cowichan River.

“There is a real consensus that we need to hold back more supply at the lake. That involves raising the weir. I’d like to see some action on that file,” he said.

Of the Malahat First Nation’s LNG plans, he said, “That announcement was a surprise for everyone. I have heard from the Tsartlip First Nation (on the Saanich Peninsula) and, in the background, from members of Cowichan Tribes, that there is a lot of uneasiness about this.”

The current push from higher levels of government towards oil and gas development could be seen “as the easy route to quick money” for impoverished First Nations communities, he said. “Bamberton is so beautiful; that specific tract of land could have a whole bunch of different uses outlined for it.”

The Green Party sees the environment in connection with employment, so jobs created must be sustainable and renewable, said Green hopeful Fran Hunt-Jinnouchi.

“We’d like not to have so much resource extraction, per se, but rather to create alternatives,” she said.

“The Cowichan Valley is uniquely poised in this regard because these discussions are far advanced in comparison to the overall riding. With the weather, our water security, our food security, dealing with drought – we need to take some bold stands and take some strong actions to protect the environment and to protect our coastline.”

While backing the Malahat Nation’s move towards economic development, Hunt-Jinnouchi sees the proposed LNG project as short-sighted.

“There hasn’t been collaboration with their neighbouring nations or communities,” she said, adding that pressure could well be brought to bear from both federal and provincial governments.

Conservative Martin Barker sees the Malahat Nation’s proposed LNG facility as a potentially positive step for the First Nation.

“Myself and the Conservative Party will always support the efforts of First Nation people in achieving prosperity and accountable self-governance,” he said. “The Malahat Nation has made prudent use of the First Nation Funding Authority to create opportunity for its people.”

The road to the potential LNG plant and underwater pipeline “will require considerable consultation and study, and then the meeting of very strict safety and environmental standards, as is the practice in Canada,” he added, but chose not to comment further until he has heard the arguments for and against.

That said, Barker said his party understands that tens of thousands of Canadian jobs depend on a thriving energy sector.

“The natural resource sector, directly and indirectly, employs 1.8 million Canadians, many in skilled, quality jobs. Resource development generates $30 billion annually in revenue and is the largest employer of First Nations people.”

While Conservatives try to boost Canada’s clean energy sector, strengthen Canada’s record on conservation and deliver good Canadian jobs, plans for the future must continues to address these concerns, he said.

– Editor’s note: Liberal candidate Luke Krayenhoff was announced Monday as the replacement for Maria Manna, who resigned her candidacy in this riding on Monday. We will endeavour to include him in subsequent issue-based election stories about Cowichan-Malahat-Langford.

editor@goldstreamgazette.com

Just Posted

Vancouver Island overdue for the big one, can also expect mega-thrust tsunami

The last big earthquake was 70 years ago in Courtenay

Volunteer needed to empty dog poop can in Saanich Park

Local volunteers do the work of irresponsible dog owners at Mount Doug

Sexual assault charge dropped against from CFB Esquimalt member

Navy Lt. Ronald Clancy was charged with two counts of sexual assault in August 2018

BC Ferries considers passenger only ferry between West Shore and Victoria

Royal Bay, Esquimalt and Ship Point considered as part of study into new route

Proposed terms for forum exploring amalgamation between Victoria and Saanich under fire

Amalgamation Yes questions size of assembly, while Saanich stands accused of changing mandate

VIDEO: RCMP ask kids to help name soon-to-be police dogs

13 German shepherd puppies will be born this year

No injuries, pollution in Vancouver Harbour ship collision: Transport Canada

Transportation Safety Board says it has deployed a team of investigators look into the incident

Budget 2019: Five things to watch for in the Liberals’ final fiscal blueprint

Finance Minister Bill Morneau will release the Trudeau government’s final budget on Tuesday

New concussion guidelines launched for Canada’s Olympians, Paralympians

The guidelines will be in effect at this summer’s Pan American, Parapan American Games in Lima, Peru

Alphonso Davies doubtful for Canada game against French Guiana in Vancouver

Canada will be without injured captain Scott Arfield and veteran Will Johnson

Watchdog called after man who yelled racial slurs at B.C. vigil hurt during arrest

BC RCMP say man was ‘acting suspiciously’ at prayer vigil for victims of New Zealand mosque shootings

NDP’s Jagmeet Singh steps into the House of Commons, making history

Burnaby South MP becomes first visible minority to lead a federal party in the House of Commons

Reeling Port Alice about to lose its only bank

Scotiabank branch closure follows latest mill setback, bad for business and the elderly

Most Read