Where do the parties stand?

https://creativeaction.network/collections/vote-the-environment/products/vote-up-the-environment-by-arlene

Find out what the parties have – and haven’t – committed to on environmental issues before you go out to vote. Make sure to ask questions about these issues at debates,and on your doorstep, and in emails to candidates! Only when all parties understand that British Columbians care deeply about environmental issues – and will consider them when making voting choices – will they start to make the environment a priority in how they govern.

The BC Green Party Platform can be found here. It covers climate action starting on page 61; assessments of these commitment are covered by several groups in the Climate Action section, below. Other environment-related commitments are spread throughout the section on “Toward a sustainable economy” starting on page 42 and cover:

  • A whole section on building a green economy, with several measures set out (p. 42-44)
  • Climate adaptation, including risk planning and emergency preparedness (p. 48)
  • Implement “resilience planning” for natural resource sectors affected by climate change (p. 50)
  • Reform compliance & enforcement (including eliminating conflict of interest for qualified professionals), establish a Natural Resources Board and Commissioner to establish sustainable resource extraction levels and conduct cumulative impacts assessments (p. 50)
  • Forests/forestry (p. 53) – see forests entry (below)
  • Water – review water allocation and licensing provisions to protect water quality and quantity, initiate province-wide, comprehensive watershed planning, improve water data gathering (p. 58)

The BC Liberal Platform can be found here. It covers climate action on page 39 (and a section on carbon tax rebates on page 17); assessments of these commitment are covered by several groups in the Climate Action section, below. Other environment-related commitments include:

  • Clean energy (p. 35) – restore transmission tie to Alberta (who is phasing out coal-fired electricity), add capacity to existing hydro facility, encourage biomass for energy generation, build Site C (see Site C entry, below)
  • Transit commitments (p. 68 & 69) – match federal investment for Metro Vancouver, work constructively with those mayors on the 10-year transportation vision (TransLink); match federal investment for BC Transit, assess E&N rail corridor, increase transit in Sea-to-Sky corridor
  • Invest in BC Parks Future Strategy (campsites, more park rangers); undertake Cathedral Grove master plan (p. 118)
  • $$ for compliance and enforcement of the (existing) Environmental Management Act, enhanced reforestation (p.118)
  • Include Great Bear Rainforest history in BC’s education curriculum (p. 118)
  • Protect BC from invasive species, in particular quagga and zebra mussels (p. 121)
  • Wildlife: enhanced caribou recovery program, direct hunting license feeds to “manage and grow habitat”, develop a plan to protect Steelhead Trout (p. 122)
  • Eliminate grizzly hunting in the Great Bear Rainforest (p. 122); see Grizzly entry (below) for comparison
  • Provide $$ for research into closed containment fish farming (p. 22)
  • Ban the use of neonicotinoid pesticides to protect honeybees (p. 22)

The BC NDP Platform can be found here. It covers climate action on page 55 (and a section on carbon tax rebates on page 17); assessments of these commitment are covered by several groups in the Climate Action section, below. Other environment-related commitments are on pages 58-65 and cover:

  • Grizzly bear trophy hunt – banning (p. 58) [see Grizzly entry (below)]
  • Species at risk – will bring in an endangered species law (p. 59)
  • Parks & camping – restoring funding, adding rangers & conservation officers, new campsites and booking prioritization for BC residents
  • Wildlife management – dedicated funding for wildlife and habitat, including all funds from hunting licenses and tags (p. 59)
  • Aquaculture & fishing – implementing Cohen Commission recommendations, siting considerations for fish farms, incentives to transition to closed containment (p. 60)
  • Environmental assessment – update EA legislation to respect First Nations legal rights, improve transparency, provide greater certainty, modernize land use planning including using the ecosystem-based management approach of the Great Bear Rainforest as a model (p. 61)
  • Fracking – appoint scientific panel to review practices and assess impacts, including on water and seismic activity (p.62) [see LNG & Fracking entry (below)]
  • Kinder Morgan – “will use every tool in toolbox to stop project from going ahead” (p. 62)
  • Water – will recognize the right to clean drinking water (via EA process), ensure high-volume water users pay fairly for that use, protect drinking water sources (p. 63)
  • Cosmetic pesticides – will ban (p. 63)
  • Power BC – a plan to “reduce electricity demand, generate new energy responsibly and sustainably, and create lasting good jobs in energy efficiency and generation.” [For position specific to Site C, see Site C entry (below).]
  • Transit investment commitments (p. 54)
  • LNG: NDP has set four conditions that LNG must meet to be approved (p. 78) [see LNG & fracking entry (below)]

This issue arose suddenly, mid-election, in response to the US’s decision to slap a 24% tariff on Canadian softwood. Acting as Premier, Clark wrote Prime Minister Trudeau asking that the federal government ban the transshipment of all (not just US) coal through BC  for export to Asia; if not, BC would use whatever powers it has to ban or limit those exports (which is an OFC policy priority). Her position has been getting stronger since. Where the parties appear to be on the issue right now:

  • BC Liberals – calling for the feds to ban all thermal coal exports through BC; if that doesn’t happen, a commitment to levy a fee equivalent to BC’s carbon tax on the extraction, processing, transporting and burning of all thermal coal that passes through BC (see latest BC Liberal Party statement on their intentions).
  • BC Greens – have long called for a stop to the expansion of thermal coal exports, applaud Clark for doing so now but say it’s overdue. Weaver’s statement is here.
  • BC NDP – Horgan’s response to Clark’s call for a ban was kept in the context of the softwood lumber negotiations: “I will consider every tool at our disposal, including raw logs, energy and U.S. thermal coal in these negotiations,” he said.

Recent articles on the issue and the parties’ positions:

Vaughn Palmer: Christy Clark takes firm stand on U.S. thermal coal, Vancouver Sun, May 2nd

Christy Clark just changed the debate over coal and climate change, opinion piece by Kevin Washbrook, National Observer, April 28th

BC NDP Platform commitments (p. 71-72):

  • expand markets for BC wood products domestically and internationally, including maximizing use of BC wood products in public building projects, expand domestic wood manufacturing capacity, ensure BC building materials meet global standards, and invest in innovation
  • work with forest industry to find ways to keep more logs in BC for processing
  • invest in reforestation
  • fight hard in the softwood lumber negotiations with the US
  • modernize land use planning including using the ecosystem-based management approach of the Great Bear Rainforest as a model (p. 61)

BC Lib Platform commitments (p. 23-25) :

  • fight hard in the softwood lumber negotiations with the US
  • expand trade in wood products with Asia
  • expand use of wood in tall buildings, diversify product range to non-traditional wood and wood-fibre uses
  • increase reforestation to help meet GHG reduction targets

BC Green Platform (p. 53-55) – there are several more specific points under the following headings:

  • Sustainably manage forests & rangeland legislation – including enacting a BC Forest And Range Ecology Act
  • Protect old growth forests from further logging – move to second growth, better forest inventory that accounts for climate change
  • Several commitments re curbing export of raw logs, enhancing value added manufacturing, investing in innovation around non-traditional wood and wood-fibre uses
  • Maintain & expand markets for BC forest products – international
  • Modernize forest tenures
  • Resilient forestry supporting First Nations & rural communities

Other more detailed comparisons can be found at:

Watershed Sentinel – Forestry

Ancient Forest Alliance – scroll down for a great infographic

A good summary of the parties’ positions is in this Vancouver Sun article.  As well, Justice for BC Grizzlies has asked all BC candidates for their perspective on the grizzly hunt. A quick overview:

  • BC Liberals: ban grizzly hunt in Great Bear Rainforest; maintain science-based approach elsewhere in the province; platform commitment page 122
  • BC NDP: ban the grizzly bear trophy hunt province-wide, while leaving open the possibility of a hunt where the meat is consumed; platform commitment page 58
  • BC Greens: end the trophy hunting of grizzly bears; anyone that hunts a grizzly must carry it out to their home (intended to be a “crippling logistical barrier” to foreign hunters); not in platform, addressed in response to question.

BC Liberal Party: has approved the twinning of the Kinder Morgan pipeline, based on their assessment that it met their five conditions

BC NDP: “We will use every tool in our toolbox to stop the project from going ahead.” [platform, p. 62]

BC Green Party: Green leader has been “unwavering in his opposition” to Kinder Morgan expansion, though it is not addressed in the platform

Watershed Sentinel has a more detailed comparison in Kinder Morgan, Pipelines, and Tankers

Much more information can be found at the following links: