Federal Election 2015 Responses to Questions #10 & #11 by the North Okanagan – Shuswap Candidates …

Question #10

The Constitutional body of the Senate is currently under debate whether it should be abolished or reformed.  If in favour of reform what in your view are the most pressing issues requiring redress and why?  If in favour or against abolishment what are your major justifications for that course of action?

Question #11

Do you believe that Climate Change trends over the past century are mainly due to human emissions of greenhouse gases and that the evidence of climate change is unequivocal?  How could Canada be more effective in tackling climate change and being a world leader with real measurable goals that withstand International scrutiny? 

question markCandidates are sent the questions a week in advance.   The next set of responses to upcoming Q’s 12 & 13 will be posted on Thursday Oct. 8th and the last set (Q’s 14 & 15)  the next day –  Friday Oct 9th.

There’s no more room for reader-submitted questions due to the many already sent in. Questions were geared for all of the candidates and not just for one of them. Click here for the criteria.

Candidate Responses are  posted in the order received: Cindy Derkaz, Chris George, Jacqui Gingras, Mel Arnold :

Here’s the very helpful  link – for those doing their research – to the Index of previous Q&A’s  and please pass this on to friends and family throughout our riding.

For the candidates’ responses:

Cindy Derkaz (Liberal Party):

Question #10

The Constitutional body of the Senate is currently under debate whether it should be abolished or reformed.  If in favour of reform what in your view are the most pressing issues requiring redress and why?  If in favour or against abolishment what are your major justifications for that course of action?

The Senate needs to change. The status quo is not an option.

In fact, shortly after becoming Leader of the Liberal Party, Mr. Trudeau took an important step towards Senate reform by removing all Senators from the Liberal Caucus. Now only elected Members of Parliament participate in the Liberal Caucus.

Stephen Harper was elected on a promise to reform the Senate and made a solemn commitment not to appoint a single Senator. Once in office he appointed 57 Conservative Senators, some of whom have brought the Senate and whole political process into disrepute with spending investigations and criminal charges. Senators continue to sit in the Conservative Caucus and as the trial of Senator Mike Duffy revealed, those Senators see their role as supporting, and taking instructions from, the Prime Minister’s office and acting as senior fundraisers.

Stephen Harper has appointed 35 per cent of the total Senate, and combined with the 20 Senate seats left vacant, he has assumed total control of the Upper Chamber. This led to the Senate killing a climate change action bill duly passed by the elected Members of Parliament. To add insult to injury, they did so without debate, the first time that has happened in Canadian history.

The present day Senate is a far cry from the chamber of sober second thought envisioned by Canada’s Founders.

How should the Senate be reformed?

The Supreme Court of Canada has ruled that abolishing the Senate would require unanimous agreement of the Provinces – two have already said they would not support abolition.

Liberals do not want to bog the country down in years of divisive constitutional negotiations with the Provinces. There are more pressing issues for the Federal and Provincial governments to negotiate: e.g. healthcare, national childcare strategy, infrastructure investment, seniors issues etc. We will not make cynical promises to enact reforms that everyone knows are impossible. That is what Stephen Harper did 10 years ago and Tom Mulcair and the NDP are promising to do now.

Liberals have a practical attainable plan to end the partisan nature of the Senate, so that it can return to its core function of legislative review and in-depth study. We will create a new non-partisan, merit-based, broad, and diverse process to advise the Prime Minister on Senate appointments. We will also work to implement the recent recommendations of the Auditor General regarding Parliamentarians’ expenses including with legislative measures where necessary.

Question #11

Do you believe that Climate Change trends over the past century are mainly due to human emissions of greenhouse gases and that the evidence of climate change is unequivocal?  How could Canada be more effective in tackling climate change and being a world leader with real measurable goals that withstand International scrutiny? 

I do believe that the accelerated climate change we are now experiencing is caused by human emissions of greenhouse gases and that the evidence is unequivocal. The Liberal Party of Canada has a practical, solid and doable plan to address climate change. 

As Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau will attend the December 2015 United Nations Climate Change Conference in Paris, and will invite all Premiers to join him. Within 90 days of the conference, a First Ministers meeting will be held to work together on a framework to combat climate change. Central to this will be the creation of national emissions-reduction targets, informed by the best economic and scientific analysis, from scientists who are no longer muzzled. These targets must recognize the economic cost and catastrophic impact that a greater-than two-degree increase in average global temperatures would represent, as well as the necessity for Canada to do its part to prevent that from happening. We believe that Harper’s  targets are inadequate and meaningless without a plan to achieve them.

We will ensure that the provinces and territories have adequate tools to design their own policies to meet these commitments, including their own carbon pricing policies. As part of the comprehensive emissions reduction agreement with provinces and territories, we will provide targeted federal funding to help them achieve these goals.

 A portfolio of actions appropriate for the diverse economies of each jurisdiction is the only way to significantly reduce Canada’s emissions; there is no one-size-fits-all solution. But the cost of inaction is too high and the federal government has a responsibility to lead, create the conditions and provide the support required for Canada to meet its climate targets.

We will fulfill Canada’s G-20 commitment to phase out subsidies for the fossil fuel industry. The next step will be to allow for the use of the Canadian Exploration Expenses tax deduction only in cases of unsuccessful exploration. The savings will be re- directed to investments in new and clean technologies.

We will work with the United States and Mexico to develop an ambitious North American clean energy and environment agreement. North America can and should be the world’s most efficient and responsible energy producer. Key goals of this agreement should include the continental coordination of climate mitigation and resilience policies, as well as the appropriate alignment of international negotiation positions.

There is significant work required in the years ahead on climate change adaptation, so we will incorporate climate resilience as a key pillar in federal infrastructure programs, and climate impact analysis into federal government contracting. As a first step, we will work with provinces, territories, Aboriginal governments, and municipalities to develop a comprehensive action plan that allows Canada to better predict, prepare for, and respond to weather related emergencies. The Prairie Farm Rehabilitation Administration (PFRA), which supported Western Canada as it grappled with previous challenges to precious soil and water resources, is a model of what can work. We will also provide training and the necessary resources to establish the Canadian Armed Forces as world-class leaders in responding to weather related emergencies.

Chris George (Green Party):

Question #10

The Constitutional body of the Senate is currently under debate whether it should be abolished or reformed.  If in favour of reform what in your view are the most pressing issues requiring redress and why?  If in favour or against abolishment what are your major justifications for that course of action?

The Green Party position is that the senate should be reformed and that the people of Canada should be listened to on what those reforms should be. This recognizes the challenges around opening the constitution and also recognizes the fact the we do need a body to provide oversight on an increasingly partisan parliament. The best idea that I have heard so far is to turn the appointment process into a job application. An all party committee would make a hiring decision from a pool of applicants that would be put forward by the provinces. Hire for skills, and assign senators to form committees that would mirror the cabinet. For example you would hire a pool of 10-12 senators to work with the minister of finance. Relevent experience and education would form the basis for qualification. The best person for the job is then selected.

Abolition would concentrate even more power in the PMO. Removing the Prime Minister’s ability to appoint senators and removing partisanship, as much as possible, from that body leave in place an important check on the power of the Prime Minister. We have allowed too much power to be concentrated their already. If you want to see who has influence over our party leaders, I encourage you to examine the lists of names who supported the various leadership campaigns. We need to recognize that the concentration of power in the PMO works hand in hand with the concentration of power in political parties. One way of addressing this is to reduce or eliminate party discipline. Another is to cut the PMO’s budget. Both are likely going to be required if we want to see a more democratic government any time soon.

Question #11

Do you believe that Climate Change trends over the past century are mainly due to human emissions of greenhouse gases and that the evidence of climate change is unequivocal?  How could Canada be more effective in tackling climate change and being a world leader with real measurable goals that withstand International scrutiny? 

The evidence that climate change is real and that humans are causing it is unequivocal. It only takes a couple of days of reading for anyone to come to that conclusion. I encourage people who aren’t sure to investigate further.

We need carbon emission reduction goals and a way to achieve them that doesn’t cost the world. Ignoring the problem may look good in the short term, but our children won’t be thanking us for much of anything if we do not at least get started on mitigation. Fee and dividend is the best way to reduce emissions without unfairly burdening any one sector of the economy. It prevents bureaucracy and political interference from influencing the money as it flows from the well head into the pockets of Canadians. By targeting carbon at its source and allowing people to make the decisions about which products to buy, we will spur innovation in the low carbon economy. Businesses that innovate to remove carbon from their supply chain will benefit, consumers who purchase their products will as well.

The goal is a zero carbon economy.

Greens want to prevent the tar sands from expanding any further. Allowing them to continue to increase would place a disproportionate burden on the rest of the economy if we are to still meet our obligations. We do not want to shut them down. These are Canadian jobs and Canadian investments.

Our opposition to pipelines includes a carbon emission component. Greens would like to see the bitumen upgraded and refined in Edmonton, with finished product used in the Canadian market. It is a Canadian resource that is being developed with primarily Canadian investments, providing Canadian jobs and benefits to Canadian governments. We want to keep it that way. We also want to protect the environment by having that upgrading and refining done in facilities that are subject Canadian emissions standards and pollution controls and that also uphold Canadian labour standards.

Allowing high carbon products to be exported is morally wrong. It would be different if we did not have the workforce or the technical capability to deal with wood, potash and hydrocarbons. But we do. Greens would like to see as much value added as possible to our resources before they are exported. This makes good economic, social and environmental sense.

The fee and dividend proposal is the idea of James Hansen. I encourage you to read his take on it.

http://www.columbia.edu/~jeh1/mailings/20080604_TaxAndDividend.pdf

Jacqui Gingras (New Democratic Party):

Question #10

The Constitutional body of the Senate is currently under debate whether it should be abolished or reformed.  If in favour of reform what in your view are the most pressing issues requiring redress and why?  If in favour or against abolishment what are your major justifications for that course of action?

Stephan Harper promised he would reform the Senate. It was a decade ago the Supreme Court laid out a clear process for abolishing the senate. Now the Conservatives say they won’t even try to fix this institution currently under criminal investigation for a spending scandal. The Senate is costing taxpayers over $90 million each year. The Conservative bill to reform the senate introduced almost two years ago hasn’t even been called for debate in over a year, despite loud negative feedback from citizens. Stephen Harper has appointed more senators than any other Prime Minister after promising he would not.

Tom Mulcair and the NDP have a clear and principled plan to abolish the Senate. We believe that this unelected and unaccountable body should not be making laws for Canadians. Of note, it was Jack Layton’s Climate Change Accountability Act that passed through the House of Commons only to be killed in the Senate. This was the first time this happened in 75 years. Citizens are demanding action on this disruptive institution. Under Trudeau’s senate plan to appoint ‘better and independent senators’ unelected people will continue to make laws.

In addition to abolishing the Senate, the NDP plans to facilitate overall democratic reform. Tom Mulcair is committed to making 2015 the last unfair election. During the first term in office the NDP will introduce a system of proportional representation.

Justin Trudeau is opposed to proportional representation. Last year he voted with the Conservatives against an NDP motion on proportional representation. His plan is to set up a committee to study all electoral reform potentials. There are eleven pan-Canadian studies already. The evidence for proportional representation is clear. Many countries like Belgium, Denmark, Finland, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Luxembourg, Norway, Spain, Sweden, and Switzerland already use proportional representation.

The NDP is ready to act. Only Tom Mulcair is committed to introducing proportional representation. This is a commitment to ensure that no eligible voter is unfairly blocked from casting a vote. Voters must be brought back into the democratic political process.My Sites Currently our low voter turnout puts us in the bottom fifth of democracies, according to the OECD.

Very quickly the NDP will repeal Harper’s unfair elections Act. Only Tom Mulcair is committed to fully implementing proportional representation, and taking action on senate scandals.

Question #11

Do you believe that Climate Change trends over the past century are mainly due to human emissions of greenhouse gases and that the evidence of climate change is unequivocal?  How could Canada be more effective in tackling climate change and being a world leader with real measurable goals that withstand International scrutiny? 

I have the privilege of residing in a pristine rural region within an area of the county yet to be heavily impacted by many of the air water and related pollution. Yet, changes are on my horizon, unless drastic action and planning is undertaken. I have both a personal and a human nature interest in this subject affecting all human living on this planet. Action, not just planning, needs to be undertaken quickly.

And, yes, the evidence generated by the International Panel on Climate Change has established that climate change is real. The effects of climate change are vast. According to the Insurance Bureau of Canada, extreme weather events are taking a heavy toll on public and private infrastructure. The high cost of claims as a result of floods in Calgary and Toronto are only two examples. Total insurance claims in Canada have surpassed $1-billion dollars every year since 2009. The insurance claims in Calgary and Toronto alone contributed $3.2-billion in insurance claims by Canadian property owners. Local governments simply do not have the budgets needed to rebuild from catastrophic events like Johnston’s Landing of Sicamous.

To put things in perspective, the Liberals supported five consecutive budgets that increased fossil fuel subsidies and while in power their emissions record was amongst the worst of the industrialized world. Canada’s emissions grew 34% above their promised target.

This poor record has been made even worse by ten years of Conservatives who have handed billions of dollars to the fossil fuel industry. Neither the Conservatives, nor the Liberals have clear plans or commitments. Attending the UN meeting in Paris is important, but the NDP understands that we must go with clear plans to right the wrongs so that finally we can begin to live up to our international commitments.

Tom Mulcair aims to ensure Canada is a global leader in the fight against climate change, and create a national system to limit greenhouse gases. The NDP has already promised it will establish a national cap-and-trade system to make big polluters reduce their greenhouse gas emissions. It aims to reduce emissions by 80 per cent by 2050, compared to 1990 levels. An NDP government won’t impose that national plan on provinces like Alberta, B.C., Ontario and Quebec that have developed their own systems to control emissions, each of which meet or exceed NDP directions.

Tom Mulcair, on his recent trip to Nunavut, stated clearly an NDP government ‘will listen to scientists and elders as we work to confront climate change.’  Listening is only the first step. As your elected representative, I commit to working with local industries including the forest sector to find local solutions. Innovations such as capturing methane gas from the dairy industry to heat communities much like is now being done throughout Germany or installing a clean energy system to use wood waste in a distributed energy system like the one now operating in Enderby. We must learn from, rather than replace existing valuable programs, such as those in BC and Quebec.

We will not muzzle scientists rather we intend to work closely with the vast network of Canadian scientists who having been contributing expertise to the climate and environmental manage conversation fro years. We must resource the institutions like Experimental Lake and rebuild our reputation on the world stage. I believe the NDP’s commitments are shared by many Canadians:

  • Rise to meet our international climate change obligations through a transition to clean economy
  • Reduce Canada’s reliance on fossil fuels and support energy efficiency and conservation
  • Implement a cap-and-trade system that puts a price on carbon
  • Initiate a clean energy sector to make Canada a global market leader
  • Eliminate billion dollar subsidies to the fossil fuel industry
  • Restore Canada’s previous high-level reputation and respect in the international arena. Canada previously enjoyed a privileged high level leadership role among countries
  • Provide stable predictable investment in public transit systems contributing to cities reduction of emissions

These actions are revenue neutral. Revenues gained from putting a price on carbon will be made available to the provinces to provide further incentive to reduce greenhouse gases. NDP has the leadership to accomplish these expectations. As Environment Minister in Quebec, Tom Mulcair lowered emissions each and every year. NDP does not just talk about reduction of emissions – they will accomplish those reductions.

Mel Arnold (Conservative Party):

Question #10

The Constitutional body of the Senate is currently under debate whether it should be abolished or reformed.  If in favour of reform what in your view are the most pressing issues requiring redress and why?  If in favour or against abolishment what are your major justifications for that course of action?

Our Conservative Government has consistently said that the Senate must be reformed. If it cannot be reformed, it should be abolished. We will continue our moratorium on further Senate appointments. It is up to the Provinces to bring forward proposals for reform or get on board with abolition.

Question #11

Do you believe that Climate Change trends over the past century are mainly due to human emissions of greenhouse gases and that the evidence of climate change is unequivocal?  How could Canada be more effective in tackling climate change and being a world leader with real measurable goals that withstand International scrutiny? 

There is certainly some different camps of belief concerning climate change or it’s predecessor, global warming.  Until science can prove conclusively and empirically that humans are the  main cause of climate change, I will withhold my personal opinion.

We are the first government in Canadian history to reduce GHG emission. We did so while protecting Canadian jobs. Between 2005 and 2013 – GHG emissions fell 3.1%. The economy grew 12.9%.

In 2012, Canada was the first major coal user to ban the construction of traditional coal-fired electricity generation.

·Canada represents less than 2% of global carbon emissions. The U.S. coal sector produces more GHG emissions than all of Canada.

Canada has one of the world’s cleanest electricity supplies – nearly 80% emitting no GHG emissions.

We also know that charging a cap and trade tax does not magically remove carbon from the air – but it does line a government’s pockets while costing you more.  We will not bring in a carbon tax.

Author: Tim Lavery

Aim High Salmon Arm It matters

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