Kootenay-Columbia MP Wayne Stetski addresses a crowd at the Nelson United Church. Climate change policy is a major part of the NDP’s platform ahead of this fall’s federal election. Photo: Tyler Harper

NDP bring Green New Deal to the Kootenays

MPs Wayne Stetski and Peter Julian held climate change talks in Nelson, Cranbrook and Revelstoke

Peter Julian thinks about the year 2030 every day.

That’s the deadline international scientists have given the planet to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and keep global warming from climbing more than 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial era temperatures in order to avoid cataclysmic disaster brought about by climate change.

Julian said reminders of climate change, whether it is the recent wildfires in the Amazon, flooding in Turkey or rising temperatures in Canada, are too pervasive now to ignore.

“I think because every day there’s another example of what we’re sliding into — we’re sliding into the abyss,” he said.

Julian is the New Democratic Party’s federal house leader, an MP for New Westminster-Burnaby and one of the proponents of the party’s version of Green New Deal, which he pitched to a crowd in Nelson on Wednesday.

The Green New Deal is an American proposal released in February by Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Senator Ed Markey makes climate change the driving priority behind extensive societal changes including not just environmental law but also overhauls to sectors such as education, employment and transportation.

It’s also a template for the NDP’s made-in-Canada version.

In April, Julian put forward a motion in the House of Commons that called for Canada to create its own Green New Deal. That agreement would set out to achieve net-zero greenhouse gas emissions, create millions of green economy jobs, make investments in infrastructure and industry, guarantee access to clean water, air, healthy food and nature, and address historic and present inequalities suffered by First Nations, Metis, Inuit peoples as well as vulnerable communities.

The motion is also the backbone of the NDP’s election plan ahead of the federal election expected to be called for October 21.

Julian and Kootenay-Columbia MP Wayne Stetski held public consultation meetings in Cranbrook, Revelstoke and Nelson this week to hear feedback on the plan. Stetski, who is running for re-election, said he thought the tour was educational.

“One of the reasons this kind of an evening is so important is because I learn, and we get additional ideas. …,” said Stetski. “The Green New Deal is great, it’s an aspirational plan and we have to continue to add the details on how we’re going to get there.”

There were party faithful present at the meeting, but also plenty of skeptics.

Julian and Stetski took questions on a wide variety of topics including job transitioning for oil and gas workers, forestry and mining reform, single-use plastics, food security, water rights and animal agriculture. The pair also faced criticism for past NDP positions on Alberta’s tar sands, the party’s reluctance to work with the Green Party on strategic voting

Julian described the NDP’s plan as a working document that would be informed by meetings such as the one in the Nelson United Church.

“My experience has been from meetings that people are bringing their deepest thoughts, their experience, their professional experience and credentials, their activism, the work they do on the ground,” said Julian.

“People are really concerned. So tonight was a group of highly mobilized people.”

Julian said his eyes were opened to the climate change crisis in 2005. He was one year into his first term of office when he toured New Orleans shortly after the city was devastated by Hurricane Katrina.

In retrospect, he says, Katrina was the start of climate change being connected in mainstream media to environmental disasters.

“It comes up every day now and I think for more and more people it’s part of the daily conversation. I can’t tell you the number of times people just raise it casually, often worried, often concerned, wanting action to be taken. That’s why we’ve put together our approach to the climate emergency.”

Related:

Canada’s failure to fight climate change ‘disturbing,’ environment watchdog says

Hotter, larger fires turning Canada’s boreal forest into carbon source: research

Environment groups warned saying climate change is real could be seen as partisan



tyler.harper@nelsonstar.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

 

NDP federal house leader Peter Julian speaks to a crowd Wednesday in Nelson about the Green New Deal. Photo: Tyler Harper

Just Posted

Kootenay-Columbia MP urges end to ‘illegal roadblocks’ in solidarity with pipeline dispute

Rob Morrison says protestors across Canada need to remove roadblocks on roads, rail lines

New ‘hub’ model takes regional approach to doctor recruitment in West Kootenay

Kootenay-Boundary a provincial leader in effectively attracting doctors to work here

The Musical Life of Marlene Nash

Pictured above: Marlene Nash re-enacts one of her winning numbers from the… Continue reading

Town of Creston gets grant to ‘undevelop’ reservoir site

By Lorne Eckersley A last minute grant application earlier in the winter… Continue reading

Organic waste pick-up expected by 2022 in RDCK

But there are many unanswered questions in Nelson about cost and details

VIDEO: B.C. senior recalls ‘crazy’ wartime decision to grab bear cub from den

Henry Martens – now 96 – says he was lucky to be alive after youthful decision to enter a bear’s den

Cheapest in B.C.: Penticton gas prices dip below $1 per litre

Two stores in Penticton have gas below a dollar.

Loans or gifts? Judge rules woman must pay B.C. man back $7K

B.C. judge rules that woman must pay back more than $7,000 in advanced funds to man

VIDEO: Outpouring of worldwide support for bullied Australian boy

Australian actor Hugh Jackman said ‘you are stronger than you know, mate’

‘A horror show:’ Ex-employee shares experience at problematic Chilliwack seniors’ home

Workers are paid below industry standard at all Retirement Concepts facilities

Forest industry protests northern B.C. caribou protection deal

B.C. Mining Association supports federal-Indigenous plan

Youth-led report calls on B.C. government to create plan to end youth homelessness

There are no dedicated programs for youth homelessness at federal, provincial level, report says

Trudeau: Time for blockades to end and Indigenous leaders to work with government

Prime minister says situation in Coastal GasLink pipeline dispute is ‘unacceptable and untenable’

RCMP clarifies stance on removing officers from Wet’suwet’en territory in northern B.C.

Police say will remove officers only if hereditary chiefs keep road open to pipeline workers

Most Read