Map of Kitchener South-Hespeler federal riding

Five Questions on Sustainability: Kitchener South—Hespeler

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

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

In this Riding
Suresh Arangath (NDP)
Suresh Arangath 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?

New Democrats are committed to helping stabilize the global temperature rise to 1.5 degrees Celsius.

  • To that end we will set a target of reducing Canada’s emissions by at least 50% from 2005 levels by 2030, reaching further levels before 2050 to account for Canada’s fair share.
  • Create and fund a Climate Accountability Office, for independent oversight of federal climate progress.
  • Procure from Canadian companies producing clean technology.
  • Protect Canadian businesses who are taking action to transition to a low-carbon future.
  • Prevent big companies from using the purchase of offsets to escape their net-zero obligations.
  • Our plan will make communities healthier, safer, more affordable, and more sustainable, with things like investments to retrofit all buildings in Canada by 2050, requirements that new buildings be net-zero, and a new Civilian Climate Corps.
  • We’re ready to change, modernize and expand public transit, making it easier to buy and drive Canadian-made zero-emission vehicles, and promoting active transportation like walking and cycling.
  • We will eliminate the Fossil Fuel Subsidies and use that fund for creating new plans for protecting the environment including the new green jobs and retrofitting the existing houses.

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?

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. 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. Above all we must move away from the fossil fuel economy by creating a green economy by creating more jobs opportunities for people who are already in the gas sector by providing training and retraining for existing workers and new workers who can move into the new workplace. 

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? 

New Democrats know that public funds are best spent supporting the transition to renewable energy, rather than on profitable oil and gas companies. Using the funds from elimination of the fossil fuel subsidies and by redirecting these funds, we will help the people to make their houses more sustainable by retrofitting existing homes and enforcing environmentally supportive building standards for future homes by coordinating with provinces and municipalities. These include monitoring systems, low energy lighting, and the installation of solar and energy storage technologies.

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?

Federal Government must provide more funding to the provinces and municipalities for more charging stations for electric cars, new infrastructure like environmentally supported retrofitted homes including solar energy and more urban canopies to reduce the risk of extreme heat situations. Wherever we can shift to hydro or wind power federal government and provincial governments should work together to move away from the fossil fuels. We should have better understanding about the condition of our nuclear power stations to make sure that it is well managed to avoid any disasters due to negligence. Above all creating awareness and providing incentives to individuals and organizations to reduce the environmental impact should be apart of the strategies enforced by the federal and provincial governments.

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

The clean energy sector in Canada already employs over 430,000 people and is projected to grow by almost 50% within the next 10 years. We will have to provide more training and retraining to get more low-income people get into this green sector jobs. The new economy will provide quality jobs with a living wage or more to improve the lives of low-income Canadians. Federal government should have schemes to support these training and retraining programs by diverting funds from the subsidies we provide to the fossil fuel sector or reprioritization of funds for this purpose.

Valerie Bradford (Liberal)
Valerie Bradford 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?

Climate change is undeniably one of the most important issues facing our country. A re-elected Liberal government will continue to take strong action and continue progress made, including putting a price on carbon, phasing out coal, investing in Made-In-Canada technologies and clean solutions, electrifying public transit across the country, and building and retrofitting community infrastructure to reduce energy consumption as we chart a path to net-zero emissions in 2050. I am committed to being a strong voice for these policies locally and in Ottawa if elected.

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? 

Municipalities are a key part of the solution to reducing our GHG emissions across the country. Over the last 5 years the Liberal government has worked closely with our towns and cities to build more  public transit, retrofit community buildings to become more energy efficient, build more electric vehicle charging stations and make zero emission vehicles more affordable for Canadians. These ambitious actions have set us on a strong path to reach our targets and If elected, I will work closely with our municipal partners to continue this progress and make the right investments in our community to help us get there.

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?

A Liberal government will help reduce home energy usage while also helping families save on their energy bills by helping nearly a million Canadians upgrade their homes and save on energy costs, with retrofit grants of up to $5,000, interest-free loans of up to $40,000 for deeper retrofits, and additional supports for Canadians to transition off home heating oil.

Ensuring that homes are more sustainable is something that not only benefits the environment in the long-term, but also homeowners in the short-term. If elected I would vote in favour of programs that incentivise homeowners to retrofit their homes to be more energy efficient, and help Canadians save money.

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?

Extreme weather events caused by climate change are becoming more frequent, with many communities already significantly impacted in 2021. The Liberal Government has made significant investments to support communities in their mitigation efforts through the Disaster, Mitigation and Adaptation Fund. For example, in 2019 nearly $50 million was invested in the City of Kitchener for the construction of a flood-water emergency management system. These investments are critical when it comes to making our communities more resilient and a Liberal government will continue this important work with provinces and municipalities.

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

A Liberal Government will continue to help Canadians transition to lower emissions through measures that save money and make greener, more sustainable options affordable for families.

This includes the Climate Action Incentive, a rebate to families that was made possible by putting a price on pollution; extending consumer rebates of up to $5,000 to Canadians who choose to purchase an electric vehicle and building more public transit to make it a more accessible option. If elected I will fight to build on this progress, to help build a Canada that is greener and more affordable for everyone.

Tyler Calver (Conservative)
Tyler Calver 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?

I will push our federal government to explore practical solutions in reducing greenhouse emissions. This includes calling on industries to abandon cheap plastic containers and quickly move to reusable or biodegradable packaging. I would incentivize recycling and composting as well as encourage those living in older homes to perform home energy audits. I will also recognize that Canada is a small player in combatting this global issue. In addition to our domestic action, we need to call out major polluters like China and push them to do their part to reduce their emissions. We can’t risk our future by letting the actions of others diminish our efforts here at home.

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?

I will immediately drive to widely implement practical solutions to this pressing issue and not political platitudes or extra taxes. Over the course of my career, I have encountered many innovative sustainability champions. One that comes to mind is Waterloo-based Sutera, which is using technology to address greenhouse gases by collecting dog waste and turning it into energy. Dog populations are increasing, especially in urban areas. “In 2018, Canada’s 8.2 million dogs generated over a million tons of waste, 400,000 tons became direct land or marine pollution. This waste has become a huge problem for municipalities.”

If Waterloo Region disposed of just 60 per cent of dog waste using this in ground collection system, we could save 24 million cubic feet of unburned methane (equivalent to 2,400 passenger car emissions) from escaping into the atmosphere.

Better yet for every 1,000 tons of dog waste diverted, we’d create seven full-time jobs. Rather than taxing and punishing innovations in sustainability, I will foster, incentivize and encourage it.

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?

Last year I completed a home energy audit of my home in Cambridge. I found several areas where I was losing energy – one of the biggest culprits were my windows. I will advocate for the return of the home improvement tax credit where people were incentivized when replacing their old windows and doors, air conditioners and furnaces. These are practical solutions that don’t punish but encourage sustainability.

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 need practical solutions. As mentioned earlier, Waterloo-based Sutera is currently running a pilot program with the City of Mississauga to see just how much waste they can divert out of landfills through their collection system. There are also other local companies that are recycling plastic converting it into fuels. I would recommend and explore how the federal government can help advance companies like which are offering real carbon reducing ideas, instead of just offering political platitudes. I would also explore federal funding to help municipalities prepare for these climate change events with additional infrastructure funding. We need to explore and enact policies that are employing local people in our common fight against climate change.

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

Low-income families are the hardest hit with the increased taxes on energy use. I would fight for immediate carbon tax breaks to low-income families and offer additional incentives to those who would like to make their homes more sustainable. Let’s incentivize immediate action, rather than punishing and taxing it.

Gabe Rose (Green)

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 climate crisis must be urgently addressed and the Green Party of Canada is the only party with a meaningful plan to reverse and prevent future global warming. As a Member of Parliament, I would advocate for the creation of a Chief Climate Science Officer to lead Canada’s climate crisis response, a moratorium on all new oil and gas extraction projects (including fracking and liquid natural gas), legislation to achieve net-zero carbon by 2050, and transitioning the country from fossil fuels to clean, renewable energy while protecting the livelihoods of oil and gas workers by giving them equivalent employment in the clean energy sector. Only a Green government would cancel the Trans Mountain pipeline and enact a moratorium on all new pipeline projects. We must also ensure that 100% of electricity is from renewable sources by 2030 and invest in a national energy corridor (the Canadian Grid Strategy)

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? 

I would support the following Green policies as a MP to ensure we are reducing greenhouse gas emissions:

  • Set legal emissions limits for industries that decline over time, with penalties for exceeding those limits.
  • Maintain a broad-based, revenue neutral carbon fee on all sources of carbon dioxide pollution. Revenues from the carbon fee would be returned to Canadians as a dividend.
  • No new pipelines, or coal, oil or gas drilling or mining, including offshore wells, will be approved. Existing oil and gas operations will continue on a declining basis, with bitumen production phased out between 2030 and 2035. Hydraulic fracturing (fracking) operations will be banned outright due to impacts on groundwater quality, methane release and seismic activity.
  • Cancel the Trans Mountain pipeline (and its $10-13 billion cost) as well as other subsidies to fossil fuel industries, totaling an additional several billion dollars a year. This money will be redirected to the Canadian Grid Strategy and renewable energy transition.
  • Work with provincial governments to determine which orphaned oil and gas wells are geologically suited to produce geothermal energy. This will turn provincial liabilities into potential income-generating renewable energy, ideally in partnership with First Nations. Those with weaker geothermal energy potential may be used in district energy, including for greenhouses
  • Launch a massive energy efficiency retrofit of residential, commercial and institutional buildings. To make a renewable energy transition possible, we have to eliminate energy waste.
  • Ban the sale of internal combustion engine passenger vehicles by 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?

As an MP, I would advocate for the creation of grants and tax-credits to financially support homeowners and landlords/tenants who retrofit their homes to become more sustainable. I would also advocate for a program that would connect people with clean retrofit experts to provide advice and support in creating a sustainable home. Additionally, I would advocate for a change in the building codes so that all future residential units are sustainable, carbon neutral, and climate friendly.

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?

I would advocate for federally funded projects to protect communities from the effects of natural disasters and heat waves caused by climate change. For example, flood protection infrastructure, wildfire prevention, mitigation, and response, and investments in community cooling shelters.

Additionally, I would support the following Green Party policies:

  • Direct the Canada Infrastructure Bank, revamped to exclude private profit in infrastructure, to invest in climate-proofing essential infrastructure, prioritizing upgrades to drinking water and waste water systems to protect against flooding, droughts and contamination.
  • Using the existing Green Infrastructure Fund, launch a national program to restore natural buffer zones along waterways, and carbon sinks through ecologically sound tree-planting and soil re-building.
  • Invoke federal powers for peace, order and good government to develop non-commercial aspects of forest management, such as massive tree planting, creating fire breaks and fire suppression, for climate change adaptation.
  • Renew the abandoned process of a National Forest Strategy, with the focus on restoring ecologically sound and climate resilient forests, and restoring forests as carbon sinks, in partnership with Indigenous Peoples. Orient federal forest science towards this goal.
  • Increase forest fire preparedness, including buying water bombers and ensuring they can be deployed rapidly in high-risk zones.

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

  • Establish a universal Guaranteed Livable Income (GLI) program to replace the current array of income supports, such as disability payments, social assistance and income supplements for seniors. Payment would be set at a “livable” level for different regions of the country. The negotiation to implement a livable income across the country would take place through the Council of Canadian Governments. Unlike existing income support programs, additional income would not be clawed back. Those earning above a certain total income would pay the GLI back in taxes.
  • Establish the federal minimum wage of $15 per hour. Canada once had a national wage standard but it was removed by a previous Liberal government and in that time regressive wage policies – like training wages well below minimum wage – have been introduced in various provinces. Reinstating a federal minimum wage will create a wages floor for every Canadian no matter where they live or work.
  • Work with the Council of Canadian Governments and Statistics Canada to set municipal minimum wages in accordance with the differential costs of living across the country.