Candidates on Climate

Climate policy is one of the main topics of discussion as the October 19 federal election day approaches.

On Tuesday, a group of students, faculty and community members met at UBC to hear a panel of politicians and environmental experts speak, including three of the candidates currently running for Vancouver-Quadra in the federal election.

The topic under discussion was the importance of climate-informed voting.

George Hoberg, professor in the faculty of Forestry, spoke of the current global community’s environmental trajectory which “puts us in a very alarming future.”

Hoberg said if we don’t work hard to decrease carbon emissions, “many of the systems that we see on the plant earth that support human civilization in a way that we’re accustomed to will be radically altered.”

According to Kathryn Harrison, UBC political scientist and chemical engineer who also participated at the event, Canada’s greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions are divided into two groups, the first being big industrial polluters, a quarter of which is the oil and gas industry. The second group is made up of “millions and millions of small sources” such as farms, buildings and personal vehicles.

 “We need to actually take our target seriously,” said Harrison, noting that the Canadian government has had seven different GHG emissions targets since 1990 — all of which have failed.

Cooperation between parties to achieve climate targets was clearly a goal of all three federal candidates participating in the debate that featured Joyce Murray of the Liberal Party, Scott Andrews of the New Democrats and Kris Constable of the Green Party.

Blair Lockhart of the Conservative Party declined her offer to attend the debate.

Murray and her party see the ability to collaborate on every bill as the main issue the Canadian government needs to deal with.  

“We have a very consensus-oriented party,” she said. “We have weekly legislative meetings where we talk it through …. We actually reach consensus as a group. I am very proud of the approach that we take.”

Constable said that he is “the only candidate that is standing ... that can say authentically that [he] will vote for you” in Ottawa. Party discipline in his point of view is undemocratic.

The event led students and community members to further develop their opinions as they go to vote.

Kimberley Wong, a second-year geography student, said that she attended last night’s lectures and debate because she was divided on if she wanted to vote strategically or on her fundamental beliefs. She said that last night’s debate was “the deciding factor” in how she is going to vote on October 19.

UBCC350 hopes that whoever gets elected into office will effectively represent the concerns of residents in the Vancouver-Quadra riding.

This article has been updated to correct George Hoberg's title. The Ubyssey regrets this error.