Federal candidates in Saanich Gulf-Islands clashed over environmental policies, but agreed on other issues including the cost of ferry service and the plight of farmers, during a virtual forum Aug. 30.
Perhaps the most vigorous part of the MicCHEK podcast, hosted on Zoom by Joe Perkins and Rob Shaw, saw Green Party incumbent Elizabeth May and Liberal Sherri Moore-Arbour clash over the rationale of the Trans-Mountain Pipeline.
“If you are serious about a climate emergency, you are not buying a pipeline and spending $18 billion to build the Trans-Mountain Pipeline,” May said.
When asked about the pipeline, Moore-Arbour said Canada needs to quickly transition away from fossil fuels. “The pipeline is akin to a harm-reduction strategy,” she said. Safely transporting fossil fuels, and using any profit from doing so to actively support the transition, is key to that strategy, she added.
“It is greatly unfair to suggest that this pipeline purchase is pro-fossil fuel. It’s absolutely not.”
May disagreed, noting the pipeline cannot make money if Canada is serious about meeting its climate change goals under the Paris Treaty. “It’s an abomination,” she said, having earlier clashed with Singh over the issue of fracking.
If May, Moore-Arbour and Singh broadly competed for environmental voters, Busch sought to expand the playing field by noting the election is not just about the environment, but about COVID-19, health and the local cost of living.
“While (climate change) is really important, it fails to acknowledge the myriad of issues that are facing Saanich-Gulf Islands families, including putting food on the table and not being able to afford a house to live in this area,” he said.
All four later criticized the high cost of using B.C. Ferries and broadly promised to lobby the federal government for additional support comparable to that provided for ferry service in Atlantic Canada. Each also promised support for local farmers facing drought conditions.
The forum offered insights into the respective approaches of the candidates – David Hilderman of the People’s Party of Canada was not present for the podcast.
May stressed the environment and her local connections within the riding.
Busch used the occasion to hammer away at the federal Liberals in presenting the Tories and himself as a governing alternative, constantly linking local issues with proposed policies in his party’s platform. He drew attention to his completion of several Ironman triathlons in arguing he has the mental strength to meet the demands of the position.
If Busch is an Ironman, she is the bionic woman, joked May, pointing to her two hip replacements and recent knee surgery.
Moore-Arbour warned that a vote for May would make a Conservative government more likely, while Singh stressed her progressive ideas and ability to learn quickly by way of her academic credentials.
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