Editor’s Note: For the 2019 federal election, TimminsToday teamed up with a journalism student to provide extra coverage on important issues.
The interviews conducted during this Q and A series were done by Dana Simpson from Algonquin College in Ottawa. The issues and topics of discussion focused mainly on youth and young adults in Canada and the Timmins-James Bay riding. The answers have been edited for length and clarity.
Youth, like all Ontarians, care about the environment. In your community what do you intend to do to support your local ecosystem?
NDP Charlie Angus
The climate crisis is here. We need to establish a climate bank for federal money to be invested in environmental programs nationwide. Three hundred thousand people are to be hired in environmental fields across the country over the next four years. In previous years, promises were made but the greenhouse gas emissions continue to rise. We should be looking to Alberta energy workers for ideas and the federal government needs to take the lead on an alternate energy infrastructure. We need to abandon 20th Century way thinking and start embracing a 21st Century reality.
Liberal Michelle Boileau
We live in a riding where we can actually see the effects of climate change. The freeze-up on the coast happens later in the year, the thaw happens much earlier. It’s changing wildlife behaviours and human behaviours as well. We want to put a ban on single-use plastics and to plant two billion trees to help de-carbonize our country. Our party wants to conserve 25 per cent of our land mass here and that could be very important for Timmins-James Bay because we have the Mushkegowuk territory which is essentially acting as an air conditioner for the planet. I’d like to see the Mushkegowuk territory fall under that conservation.
Conservative Kraymr Grenke
Here we have lots of mining, forestry, and agriculture and we have to ensure that the viability pre, during, and after those projects are being sustained. We as the Conservatives have a plan to ensure we can reduce our emissions. Not overnight and not by carbon tax but by reinvesting in our homes. Twelve to 15 per cent of greenhouse emissions come from home use and we want to reduce those emissions without raising the cost of living in general.
Green Max KennedyOne of the first things that we’re going to do is to rebuild and improve the rail system. We’re going to improve mass transit: within our cities, between our cities and keep an alternative to having to drive everywhere. We will also implement a massive energy retrofit program that will reduce energy costs. We’re looking at forestry management because we’ve got hunters and fishermen, and all the people that use the trails. If we don’t have a vibrant, healthy forest ecosystem, we’re going to lose a lot of that. We need to get pesticides out of our use and aim to reduce our carbon footprint by 60 per cent by 2030. We’re the only party proposing to do what science says we actually have to do to avoid setting off the methane bombs that are in our arctic.
PPC Renaud Roy
We want to look at the reasons why some First Nations in our riding still have no access to clean drinking water, $21 billion dollars a year is given from Canadian tax dollars to programs for First Nations. Both tax-payers and First Nations deserve to have someone give an account for this. I was also informed about the spraying of our northern Ontario forests that affects natural wildlife, fisheries, lakes, rivers and drinking water. Since our environmental policy proposal is to leave it up to the provinces to tackle fighting climate change if their people desire to do so, we will turn our attention to making sure that we have clean air, clean lakes and rivers, and clean soil.
Other topics in the Q&A series are: access to healthy food, youth homelessness, better support for mental health and substance abuse issues, how to make students feel safer, and support for LGBTQ+ youth.The federal election is Oct. 21. More local coverage is available here.