Map of Cambridge federal riding

Five Questions on Sustainability: Cambridge

Reep posed five questions on sustainability to each of the candidates in Waterloo Region. The responses for the candidates in the Cambridge riding are below.

Please see the original post Five Questions on Sustainability for information on the other ridings.

In this Riding
Michele Braniff (Green)
Michele Braniff headshot

We are at the beginning of a crucial decade for climate action. If elected, what meaningful actions will you take to combat the climate crisis?

The Green Party of Canada has a green recovery plan.  Most Canadian voters and politicians agree and expect an economic recovery plan after the pandemic.  Now is the time to transition away from fossil fuels to a green economy and one which offers environmental justice and social justice.  Some of our policy reforms are: cancelling the Trans Mountain Pipeline; creation of an all-party Climate Cabinet; a Canadian Grid Project for a national electricity corridor with fully renewable energy sources by 2030.  Greens advocate a Just Transition Act to support worker re-training and for new jobs and to end fossil fuel subsidies and invest in the green economy.  The Green Party would invest in affordable green transit.  The GPC advocates reform in public investment to ensure it is directed to projects for public benefit with greater funding for public transit, high-speed national rail and money for municipalities for wastewater infrastructure.  The Greens would restore the Bank of Canada as lender to all levels of government.

Achieving our community’s interim GHG reduction target of a 50% reduction by 2030 (based on 2010 levels), will require bold and immediate actions from the federal government. What specific federal policies/actions would you work to implement, to enable greenhouse gas emission reductions and help municipalities reach that target? 

The Green Party advocates legislation committing to 0 emissions by 2050 with targets to reflect Canada’s fair share of global carbon reduction.  The GPC perspective is that Canada needs a 60% reduction of 2005 carbon levels by 2030.    Canadians have seen the important leadership role of Public Health officials during the pandemic; Greens advocate a Chief Climate Science Officer to have a similar role and authority for the climate crisis.  All policy decisions would be based on evidence and science and aligned with the paramount responsibility to reduce emissions.  An integral aspect of the green recovery plan is restoring the natural world with protection and restoration of nature and increased public access to parks and green spaces through support of municipalities and expansion of national parks.

We know that home energy usage, especially heating, is a significant source of greenhouse gas emissions. If elected, how will you help people make their homes more sustainable?

The Green Energy Economy will include building retrofits for residential, commercial, and institutional buildings, featuring grants and interest free loans with repayments based on energy savings.  Government support would be available to finance retrofits and installation of renewable energy technology such as solar and heat pumps and improvements based on energy efficiency audits.  In addition, in collaboration with the provinces, a National Building Code would require new construction to meet net-zero efficiency by 2030.    Government leadership and support of innovation are key.  For example, imagine a Canadian Grid Project for a national electricity corridor with fully renewable energy sources by 2030.

Tackling climate change is going to require both preventing further change and adapting to the effects we are already feeling. If elected, how will you help provinces and municipalities prepare for the increased storms and heat waves of climate change?

A key aspect of the GPC green recovery plan is a strong federal government commitment to action on climate adaptation.   For example, Greens would prioritize protection of water sources and mitigate flood and fire risk.  We would plant billions of ecologically appropriate and fire-resistant trees, in urban settings, on steep hills after fires and as fire breaks around communities at risk from forest fires.  We would ensure protection of old growth forests.  Old growth forests offer biodiversity, healthy ecosystems, and carbon sequestration.  Currently, I am following the social media posts of the Fairy Creek Blockade in which Indigenous elders and their allies are engaged in peaceful resistance against logging of 1000 year old trees while the RCMP (in full combat gear) is protecting logging companies rather than the old growth forests.

 The new green economy would support, stimulate, and accelerate innovation for transition to low waste goals, reduction or ban of plastic (except for public health).  Projects to reduce the impact and protect shorelines may include enhanced docks, wharfs and dikes and creative design such as amphibious architecture.  Faculty at University of Waterloo School of Architecture are leaders in the field of building design such as the Buoyant Foundation Project.    Government support and leadership will accelerate the innovations of progressive and creative businesses, non-profit organizations and university research and projects.

How will you help low-income Canadians move towards a low-impact, carbon neutral future?

The Green Recovery Plan is not about bouncing back but about moving forward and re-building better.  Greens would re-negotiate the social contract with a Guaranteed Living Income.  We would also support projects for supporting local business because resilience is local.  This would include support for local food, public transit, green spaces, food security and energy security.  Safe and affordable housing is a human right and federal government funding, and leadership is essential.  Greens support increased investment in affordable housing and innovation through housing co-ops and evidence-based projects like Housing First.  The Green Party would partner with municipalities for relief funding for food distribution, increased investment in community health and mental health resources.  The Green Party is in support of adoption of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals as a shared blueprint for peace and prosperity for people and poverty and this includes alleviating poverty, hunger and improving health, well-being, equity and sustainability.   National Pharmacare and universal, federally funded childcare with early childhood education is a crucial step to ensure wellness and health for our families, communities and for future generations.

 

Thanks for this opportunity!

Lorne Bruce (NDP)

We are at the beginning of a crucial decade for climate action. If elected, what meaningful actions will you take to combat the climate crisis?

We will work with partners to establish multi-year national and sectoral carbon budgets as a key guiding framework to develop Canada’s path to 2030 and beyond. And we will create and fund a Climate Accountability Office, to provide independent oversight of federal climate progress, to engage the public, and to make recommendations on how to achieve our goals.

We will support Canada’s net-zero target by reviewing financial legislation, such as the Bank of Canada Act, the Export Development Canada Act, and the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board Act, to ensure federal financial levers and Crown corporations are aligned with the goal of net-zero. We will work with provinces to put in place a framework for corporate climate accountability to ensure mandatory transparency on carbon risk from publicly traded companies. And we will ensure that strict rules are in place to prevent big companies from using the purchase of offsets as a way to escape their net-zero obligations.

One thing we won’t do is continue down the path that Liberal and Conservative governments have chosen when it comes to spending public money on oil and gas subsidies. Under Prime Minister Trudeau, the federal government spent $18 billion to support oil and gas exploration, production, refining, transportation and more in 2020 alone – and that’s on top of purchasing the Kinder-Morgan oil pipeline.

New Democrats know that public funds are best spent supporting the transition to renewable energy, rather than on profitable oil and gas companies. We will fulfill Canada’s G-20 commitment to eliminate these fossil fuel subsidies and redirect these funds to low carbon initiatives, and make sure that future governments can’t reverse this by putting in place legislation to ban any future oil, gas and pipeline subsidies.

We’ll work with the provinces and territories to make Canada an innovation leader on methane reduction in such areas as real-time monitoring and leakage detection, ensuring that provincial methane regulations are genuinely equivalent with the federal regulations, and increasing the ambition of those targets in the 2025-30 period.

The federal government can also model change, by becoming a trail-blazer in energy efficiency, clean technologies and renewable energy use. We will lead by example and procure from Canadian companies producing clean technology, ensure that federal buildings use renewable energy, and move the vehicle fleets of the federal government to electric by 2025, choosing made-in-Canada wherever possible. We will protect Canadian businesses who are taking action to transition to a low- carbon future with a border carbon adjustment that will level the playing field on imports from areas without a carbon price. And we will appoint a Climate Emergency Committee of Cabinet and establish a strong Climate Emergency Secretariat in the PMO to ensure a whole-of-government approach to responding to the climate emergency.

Achieving our community’s interim GHG reduction target of a 50% reduction by 2030 (based on 2010 levels), will require bold and immediate actions from the federal government. What specific federal policies/actions would you work to implement, to enable greenhouse gas emission reductions and help municipalities reach that target?

Please see answer above

We know that home energy usage, especially heating, is a significant source of greenhouse gas emissions. If elected, how will you help people make their homes more sustainable?

We will make major investments to build half a million social and affordable housing units in communities across Canada.

Build new energy, transportation infrastructure, and make our homes and buildings more energy efficient is key to fighting the climate crisis.

We will enact large-scale building retrofits in all sectors, including funding retrofits for homes of low-income Canadians, social housing units and government buildings.

Tackling climate change is going to require both preventing further change and adapting to the effects we are already feeling. If elected, how will you help provinces and municipalities prepare for the increased storms and heat waves of climate change?

We would create a National Crisis Strategy to help communities reduce and respond to climate risks, complimented by a new Climate Corps of young workers to respond to climate impacts and build an equitable clean-energy economy.

How will you help low-income Canadians move towards a low-impact, carbon neutral future?

Canada can’t truly recover from the COVID-19 pandemic until hope, prosperity and security are within reach of everyone.

That means ensuring that the economic recovery also sets us up to succeed in a low-carbon future. New Democrats are ready to position Canada for the next boom – making sure that bold public investments are directed to clean energy, climate resilience, social infrastructure, and energy efficiency in communities across the country. Our plan will put people to work building up our communities with energy-efficient retrofits and affordable homes, because building housing and infrastructure will lead to more jobs and stronger communities in every region

We will create good jobs in all regions, with green infrastructure investments that will ensure that working people are not left behind as the world moves to a zero-carbon economy. Our plan to create one million new good jobs will help rebuild local economies while helping vulnerable workers and those impacted by the shifting economy.

We know that helping Canadian workers make more products here at home will boost our manufacturing sector and better position us to fight the climate crisis and build the economy of the future.

We also know that investing in care work means creating good quality, dignified jobs for those who care for our loved ones. Good wages, benefits and stable, full-time work are the basics that these workers deserve.

We will also create an Office of Environmental Justice to address the disproportionate impacts of pollution and loss of biodiversity on low-income, racialized and other marginalized communities.

Bryan May (Liberal)

We are at the beginning of a crucial decade for climate action. If elected, what meaningful actions will you take to combat the climate crisis?

Canadians continue to see the existential effects of climate change. A Liberal government will continue our strong environmental work . We will continue the price on pollution, expand plastic reduction by banning many single-use plastic items, and add further incentives for Canadians to live more sustainably.

Every year, Canadians throw away more than 3 million tonnes of plastic. Only about 9% gets recycled. We are already working to end plastic pollution and require all plastic to be 50% recyclable by 2030.

Additionally, we will continue to work – mitigating damages caused by emissions, protecting our nation’s waterways, and supporting the growth of Canadian ecosystems. We are working to protect 25% of our ocean habitats by 2025, moving our emissions targets from 30% below 2005 levels to 40-45% below 2005 levels by 2030, and conducting various investments for environmental restoration such as $1.72 billion into cleaning up old and orphaned oil wells.

A great example of this is here in Cambridge – Veriform – a heavy industrial manufacturing business – has been able to substantially increase productivity and at the same time significantly reduce energy consumption through innovation and government incentives and funding. They have since drastically increased their workforce. These changes have cut their greenhouse gas emissions by 77% in about 11 years (from 261 tonnes down to 60 tonnes).

Our climate agenda is the practical solution that’s already working and can actually achieve the substantial changes needed to address the climate crisis.

Achieving our community’s interim GHG reduction target of a 50% reduction by 2030 (based on 2010 levels), will require bold and immediate actions from the federal government. What specific federal policies/actions would you work to implement, to enable greenhouse gas emission reductions and help municipalities reach that target? 

Canada has committed to net-zero emissions by 2050. Our national plan to reduce emission by 40-45% by 2030 keeps us on a strong course to achieve this goal. In the past few years, we committed $3 billion to establish a Net-Zero Accelerator Fund to help large emitters reduce their emissions. In December 2020, we introduced the Canadian Net-Zero Emissions Accountability Act, which includes a $15-billion plan with 64 measures intended to achieve our 2030 target. This includes $1.5 billion over three years for green and inclusive community buildings, $2.6 billion over seven years to help homeowners make their homes more energy efficient, and $2 billion to finance commercial and large-scale building retrofits, which will be repaid by energy savings costs.

We’re also planting 2 billion trees to act as a carbon sink. We will repopulate tree populations by investing $3.16 billion over 10 years, to partner with provinces, territories, non government organizations, indigenous communities, and municipalities.

Consumer pollution needs to be addressed, but our industry is responsible for the greatest carbon footprint and environmental impact in Canada – and this is a major focus of our plan. Positioning our country to produce more low-emission power sources will reduce the carbon in our air so our government will invest in energies such as hydro-electricity, nuclear, renewables, and other innovative clean energy solutions. This includes ending thermal coal exports from and through Canada no later than 2030.

We know that home energy usage, especially heating, is a significant source of greenhouse gas emissions. If elected, how will you help people make their homes more sustainable?

The process of retrofitting homes to make them more sustainable needs to be affordable for all Canadians and easy to participate in. The Liberal platform starts by extending our plan already in motion to work with the building materials sector and stakeholders to develop a robust, low-emission building materials supply chain.

This will ensure locally-sourced Canadian products are available, including negative-carbon concrete, and energy-efficient windows and insulation. We will continue building on successful provincial and territorial low-income retrofit programs to increase the number of low-income households that benefit from energy retrofits, and to develop a new model ’retrofit‘ code for existing buildings with the goal of having this code in place by 2025. We will also provide $2.6 billion over seven years to help a million homeowners make their homes more energy efficient with $5,000, interest-free loans of up to $40,000 for deeper retrofits, and additional supports for Canadians to transition off traditional heating.The idea here is to develop a simple, low-cost loan program that integrates and builds on energy audits and grants to finance deeper home energy retrofits for homeowners.

Tackling climate change is going to require both preventing further change and adapting to the effects we are already feeling. If elected, how will you help provinces and municipalities prepare for the increased storms and heat waves of climate change?

Our plan to combat climate change has to address the resulting damage it has caused, which can exacerbate strained ecosystems and inflict a toll on our population. These damaging phenomena most often take the form of fires, floods, droughts, and inclimate weather. It is clear that the federal government must work with all orders of government to address this issue.

In this respect, we have been hard at work and will continue to expand our scope to meet the emerging needs. As an example, in 2019 we provided about $50 million to Kitchener for the construction of a flood-water emergency management system. This funding came through the Disaster Mitigation and Adaptation Fund – a $2 billion, decade-long federal program that will fortify communities with more infrastructure to better withstand natural hazards such as floods, wildfires, earthquakes and droughts.

Forest fires are also becoming an increasing concern due to climate change. We’re going to train 1,000 new community-based firefighters and help provide them the equipment they need to keep themselves and their communities safe. We’ll partner with the private sector to innovate climate adaptation, including by lowering insurance premiums that would save Canadians money.

How will you help low-income Canadians move towards a low-impact, carbon neutral future?

 To help Canadians transition to lower emissions we are offering rebates, tax credits, and many incentives for actions that promote a more sustainable Canada.

These include the Climate Action Incentive, which provides a rebate for families to address any increase in prices that may be the result of the price on pollution rewarding citizens who choose lower-carbon options in their products and services.

We are also making zero emission vehicles more affordable and accessible for Canadians by extending consumer rebates of up to $5,000 to half a million Canadians and building 50,000 more charging stations across the country.

Since 2015, we’ve been supporting over 1,300 public transit projects across the country to better help Canadians get around, create jobs, and cut pollution and we will continue to invest in these municipal infrastructure and public transit projects in the coming years.

We’re also helping Canadians access clean, affordable transportation and power everywhere by building on historic investments in public transit in the Investing in Canada Infrastructure Program to develop the next steps for public transit, including the government’s plan to help electrify public transit systems and provide permanent transit funding. To make clean, affordable electricity options more available, the government will invest an additional $964 million over four years to advance smart renewable grid modernization projects and work with provinces to connect parts of Canada that have abundant clean hydroelectricity with parts that are more dependent on fossil fuels.

Note: Connie Cody (Conservative) did not respond to Reep’s email survey.