Map of Waterloo federal riding

Five Questions on Sustainability: Waterloo

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

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

In this Riding
Jonathan Cassels (NDP)
Jonathan Cassels 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?
First and foremost, I will keep my promise when it comes to tackling the climate crisis. Justin Trudeau has missed every single climate target that has been set, has presided over the worst GHG reduction effort in the G7, and has failed to reduce emissions. I believe that public funds are best spent supporting the transition to renewable energy, rather than on profitable oil and gas companies. The NDP will fulfill Canada’s G-20 commitment to eliminate fossil fuel subsidies and redirect these funds to building a more sustainable future. And we will eliminate loopholes that let big polluters off the hook. Canadians have been doing their part to fight an urgent public health emergency, but the need to tackle climate change has not gone away. We need a government that approaches the climate emergency with that same sense of urgency. A New Democrat government will declare a climate emergency and unlike the Liberals, we will back that declaration up with urgent action.

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?

If elected, I commit to working with leaders across our region to ensure that we are meeting our GHG emission targets. Here are a few policies we have which would support municipal efforts:

1. Taking climate leadership and getting to net zero

We will expand upon Canada’s new net-zero law, and set an ambitious target of reducing emissions by at least 50% from our 2005 levels by 2020. To achieve this, we will eliminate fossil fuel subsidies; put in place carbon budgets; continue carbon pricing; align federal corporations and the Bank of Canada to focus on climate priorities like meeting net-zero targets; and implement a framework of corporate accountability. We will also establish independent federal oversight by creating a Climate Accountability Office as well as adopt a whole-of-government approach to the climate emergency.

2. Creating good jobs in all regions

We will create over a million new good jobs by investing in clean energy, building green infrastructure, and requiring the use of Canadian-made steel, aluminum, wood products for infrastructure projects. We will ensure that no workers or communities are left behind.

3. Changing how we get around

We will help Canadians have access to greener transportation options. New Democrats will invest and expand public transit, support regional commuting options by developing a public inter-city bus system and rail services. We will scale up low carbon transit projects like zero-emission vehicles and aim to electrify transit and other municipal fleets by 2030. We will also expand active transportation to help Canadians who want to walk or bike in their communities.

4. Powering our communities carbon-free

In order to meet our ambitious climate targets, New Democrats will establish a new Canadian Climate Bank that will invest in renewable energy, low carbon technology, and made-in-Canada manufacturing for green technology. We will support community driven clean energy projects.

5. Protecting our land and water

We will table a Canadian Environmental Bill of Rights that enshrines the right to a healthy environment. We will expand upon existing environmental protections to manage toxic substances, ban single use plastics, and force big oil companies to clean inactive wells. We will pursue a Nature agenda that reverses species loss, safeguards biodiversity, and protects 30% of Canada’s land, freshwater, and oceans by 2030. We will also launch a national food waste strategy.

6. Working together

New Democrats will build reconciliation into the heart of our plan to address the climate crisis and work with Indigenous governments and communities to be full and equal partners. We will ensure our climate investments reduce inequality, honour Indigenous rights, and support marginalized communities by creating an Office of Environmental Justice.

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 will set a target to retrofit all buildings by 2050 and provide supports to help families and communities meet this goal. We will create a National Crisis Strategy plan to help communities prepare for extreme weather and mobilize young people to lead the way by creating a Civilian Climate Corps. We will help Canadians make better choices by ensuring everyone has access to affordable, reliable high-speed broadband so people can choose to work remote and reduce GHG emissions from daily commutes.

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?

As mentioned above, if elected the NDP will create a National Crisis Strategy plan to help communities prepare for extreme weather and mobilize young people to lead the way by creating a Civilian Climate Corps.

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

New Democrats know that life has become less affordable for countless Canadians, and that the impacts of the climate crisis will not be equally felt. First, we will build reconciliation into the heart of our plan to address the climate crisis and work with Indigenous governments and communities to be full and equal partners. Second, we will ensure our climate investments reduce inequality, honour Indigenous rights, and support marginalized communities by creating an Office of Environmental Justice

 

Bardish Chagger (Liberal)
Bardish Chagger 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?

Since we were elected in 2015, our Liberal government has invested more than $100 billion toward climate action and clean growth. Because of our government, polluting isn’t free anywhere in Canada, we have banned single use plastics, and committed to net-zero emissions by 2050. 

We are building on this progress by making Canada a leader in clean technology, requiring that all new vehicles sold by 2035 are zero-emission, and building a net-zero electricity grid by 2035. In addition to banning single use plastic, we will require all plastic packaging to be 50% recyclable by 2030. Our priority remains protecting our natural environment, as we recognize that climate change is one of the most crucial challenges of our lifetime.

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 create cleaner communities with cleaner air, by providing $5,000 toward zero-emission vehicle purchases for over half a million Canadians, building 50,000 more zero-emission vehicle chargers, requiring half of all passenger vehicles sold in Canada to be zero-emission by 2030, and all to be zero-emission by 2035, and by charting a path toward net-zero buildings across the country which will help Canadians save on their energy costs.

We will build a net-zero electricity grid by 2035, ensure we drive down emissions from oil and gas to meet our shared goal of net-zero emissions by 2050, and continue to phase-out coal by ending thermal coal exports 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?

We have committed to helping Canadians improve the energy efficiency of their homes and reduce their energy bills by providing homeowners with up to $5,000 in grants to retrofit their homes. We also invested $4.4 billion to help homeowners and landlords complete deep home energy retrofits by providing interest-free loans worth up to $40,000. All Canadians, whether renters or homeowners, should be able to benefit from new technology to make their homes energy efficient and reduce harmful emissions.

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 will continue the work we already started to support provinces and municipalities. We have already provided $1.4 billion for the Disaster Mitigation Fund to rehabilitate storm water systems, support wildfire mitigation activities, and restore wetlands. We launched the $1.5 billion Green and Inclusive Building Programs to help retrofit or upgrade buildings to reduce their carbon footprint and make them accessible to all Canadians. We will continue to invest in zero-emission transit so school and public buses can run on a clean electric grid, and new transit systems, like the ION here in Waterloo, are fully electric and produce zero emissions.

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

We ensured polluting isn’t free anywhere in the country while putting more money in the pockets of hardworking families through the Climate Action Incentive.  We announced a requirement that all vehicles sold in Canada be zero-emission by 2035, and helped automakers re-tool so they can produce zero-emission vehicles right here in Canada.  

We introduced the $8 billion Net-Zero Accelerator Fund that will reduce emissions from sectors like steel, cement, and aluminum. Along with reducing emissions, this fund helps create green jobs so that Canadians companies can create green jobs right here in Canada. We know green technology and green jobs are our future.   

As the innovative hub of our country, I have seen firsthand the contributions made by tech leaders in Waterloo to help move our climate action strategy in the right direction. A re-elected Liberal government will build on our progress over the past few years to not only protect our environment against climate change, but to ensure Canada comes roaring back from this pandemic, as we build back an even better, stronger and greener society.

Meghan Shannon (Conservative)
Meghan Shannon 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?

Canada’s Conservatives will meet our Paris climate commitment and reduce emissions by 2030, but without the government taxing working Canadians and driving jobs and investment out of the country.  We recognize that the most efficient way to reduce our emissions is to use pricing mechanisms.  Carbon pricing should not result in Canadians sending billions of dollars of new tax revenue to the government.  Our plan starts with four key policies: Low Carbon Savings Accounts, Zero Emissions Vehicle Mandates, Lower Industrial Emissions and a Carbon Border Tariff.

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? 

A few of the policies we would pursue that would help municipalities reach their goals are our promise to Invest in Public Transit and intensification efforts in areas around transit as well as our Clean Buildings Plan.

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?

Our Low Carbon savings account will ensure that individuals are able to make investments in retrofitting their homes to be more energy efficient.  Instead of the ineffective carbon tax, we will create a system where individuals pay for the carbon they produce, but bank that money for carbon reduction projects such as replacing old windows, furnaces, or appliances with more energy efficient options.

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 conservative government will address the impacts of climate change on Canadian communities in several ways:

  • Appointing a national disaster resilience advisor to the Privy Council Office.
  • Implementing a national action plan on floods, including establishing a residential high risk flood insurance program.
  • Devising and implementing a national climate adaptation strategy that is:
    • Based on measurable targets
    • Addresses existing provincial concerns on flood readiness while leveraging private sector solutions to reduce government exposure and spending
    • Addresses wildfire and drought exposure in collaboration with farmers, ranchers, and foresters.
  • Incorporating a mitigation and adaptation lens to the government’s infrastructure investments.
  • Working with provinces and territories to develop a natural infrastructure plan that includes:
    • The development of a national standard to assess the value of natural infrastructure
    • A requirement that public sector accounting practices be updated to include a proper valuation of existing natural infrastructure

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

The Low Carbon Savings Account is the main way that we will help low-income Canadians move towards a low carbon future.  The account will not just allow people to make larger investments to make their home more energy efficient.  Canadians will also be able to use the funds for smaller expenses like transit passes.  We will also make major investments in low cost energy generation projects in order to ensure that we keep electricity affordable.

Karla Villagomez Fajardo (Green)
Karla Villagomez Fajardo 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 recent IPCC report on the Environment shows that we’re already in the climate crisis. Unprecedented heat waves, wildfires, drought and global warming are only the most recent symptoms afflicting Canadians. Unlike the other parties, the Green Party has a comprehensive list of actions to transition Canada off the oil economy and onto a sustainable base of renewable resources, improved infrastructure and revenue-neutral tax reform that places the burden where it belongs, not on the backs of Canadians. Increased education, research and development funding will create new methods of eradicating existing pollutants and developing better renewable energy generation and storage. Any job losses in the oil fields will be more than offset by gains in new, green industries that already exist and will continue to evolve.

Some of the specific initiatives include financial support for expanding cooperatives and local farmers, incentives for waste reduction and green transportation, protecting our forests to allow them to store more carbon, and holding polluters accountable for the costs and execution of clean-ups. To pay for these incentives and new programs, we will create additional tax brackets for the ultra-wealthy and eliminate tax havens, ensuring that the richest in Canada pay their fair share. We will also introduce a tax on high frequency stock transactions, international banking transactions and currency exchange. In addition, we will eliminate the huge subsidies that the nuclear, oil and gas industries now receive.

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 intend to achieve all international targets on schedule with clear actions, not just empty promises. To naturally remove and store more carbon, forests will be protected and expanded to ensure a viable carbon sink, with support to the forestry industry promoting additional carbon isolation.

Canada must move our economic base away from damaging energy sources to more renewable and sustainable technology:

  • We support the transition away from cars to more sustainable transportation, and the reform of transport for heavy industry, including economic incentives for purchasing electric vehicles
  • The Green Party plans for public transit that is free to all, the creation of an integrated high-speed passenger rail system that links Canada’s major population centers
  • Reducing the need for travel with comprehensive, coordinated broadband to enable high speed internet access for every Canadian

Generating electricity is another significant source of GHG:

  • We will support funding for programs at all levels to replace carbon-intense generation with solar and wind powered electricity and other sustainable sources; and the creation of a nationally integrated electrical grid, capable of supporting diverse sources of renewable electricity
  • Create a program to issue government-backed Green Bonds, designed to engage the public by raising capital to accelerate renewable energy production

The Green Party supports a price on carbon that is equitable and promotes emission reductions, if and when necessary, to ensure that Canada reaches emission reduction benchmarks. We intend that any profit from carbon taxes be returned to taxpayers in the form of a refundable tax credit.

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 Party will develop a new national building code that will decrease the energy usage of new buildings. We will create incentives to building owners and individual homeowners to retrofit their existing buildings to be more energy efficient and self-reliant for electricity, heating, cooling and water; and the installation of EV charging and renewable energy systems, such as solar panels and geo-thermal heating. We also support requiring an energy audit of each property when it is placed for sale which outlines the property’s current and future energy use, and retrofits needed to eliminate the property’s use of fossil fuel.

Increased funding for post-secondary education and research into sustainable materials will improve the construction and energy usage of all structures. Further, sometimes developers move forward with construction and sales before municipal infrastructure is available or even planned. The Green Party supports private sector decision-making that considers all of the environmental impacts and possible unintended consequences. We will support the diligent, honest developer who works with municipalities to ensure all services are in place and penalize deceptive practices.

We also need to address planning and reviewing buildings. We will:

  • Support funding for local building inspectors to transition to performance-based codes that prioritize renovations that will save the most energy
  • Engage with developers and others to identify, reduce, and overcome barriers that prohibit widespread adoption of green building practices
  • Mandate energy efficiency labelling for all residential units at time of sale or leasing, mirroring the model already in place for commercial 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?

The Green Party will prioritize the needs of the most vulnerable through the development of a federal strategy, in partnership with communities and other governments, for adaptation to climate change where priority is given to communities most vulnerable to the impacts of climate change.

The GPC supports investments in education for farmers to facilitate a shift to sustainable agriculture, and funding research for agricultural climate adaptation strategies and ecological solutions to combat plant diseases, weeds and insect pests in agriculture. A shift to more sustainable agricultural practices, such as localized organic agriculture, urban agriculture, regenerative agriculture and biodynamic agriculture will help mitigate climate change. Eventually, there will be a complete transition to organic agriculture with financial incentives to aid farmers in the transition.

Support will also go to help the rest of the world, by increasing Canada’s foreign aid each year with an ultimate contribution goal of 1% of GDP. The GPC supports Canadian Embassies and Consulates to develop effective early disaster reconnaissance and assessment capabilities to speed up Canadian response times. Helping others reduce their contribution to climate change will in turn reduce the impacts to Canada.

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

The Green Party affirms that every Canadian is entitled to safe and affordable housing. We support evidence-based housing policy, using open data to empower those concerned with housing and homelessness to create responses rooted in empirical evidence. Therefore, we support a continuous national affordable housing plan that creates and maintains sufficient levels of affordable housing for every Canadian. This includes active investment in cooperative housing with local investment decisions made by credit unions or other cooperative-based financial institutions, underwritten by federal government agencies.

Additional necessary social measures include:

  • Introducing stable, long-term financial support for all people by means of a Guaranteed Livable Income
  • Legislation that would make child care affordable for all Canadians, allowing caregivers more accessibility to employment
  • Protection of our seniors, through the creation and implementation of a UN Convention on the Rights of Older Persons
  • Restructuring post-secondary education funding in Canada to reduce the financial burden so all Canadians who wish to attend a post-secondary institution are able to do so, restoring post-secondary education funding to a level of 0.35% of GDP
  • Providing incentives for creating long-term, sustainable Green Economy jobs