Despite COVID-19, climate is still top election issue on Vancouver Island
VICTORIA -- About two dozen activists took to downtown Victoria on Wednesday, protesting the B.C. NDP government's environmental policies and trying to draw attention to climate change.
The rally was organized by Extinction Rebellion Vancouver Island.
Don Goodeve said the group wanted to hear more discussion about climate change from the parties during the election campaign.
“The climate crisis is real, it’s happening,” said Goodeve.
The Extinction Rebellion group was the same one that blocked NDP Leader John Horgan’s driveway in February, resulting in three arrests.
“Well, that group laid down in my driveway and traumatized my spouse, so I don’t have a lot to say to them, quite frankly,” Horgan said of the protesters Wednesday.
The NDP leader did weigh in on his government’s record on climate change, however.
“We worked with the Green caucus and Dr. [Andrew] Weaver to have the most forward-looking action plan in North America,” said Horgan.
Liberal Leader Andrew Wilkinson, who previously condemned the actions of the group at Horgan’s home, on Wednesday voiced his disapproval of a recent Extinction Rebellion protest on the Lower Mainland.
“Extinction Rebellion were also blocking the railroad tracks in East Vancouver about 10 days ago,” he said. “That’s unacceptable. It’s dangerous, it blocks traffic and accomplishes nothing.”
Despite the words of condemnation, the issues of climate change and the environment remain front-of-mind for most Vancouver Islanders.
A poll by the Angus Reid Institute released Tuesday, shows that climate change and the environment are the most important issue to voters on Vancouver Island.
Thirty-seven per cent of those polled say it ranks ahead of any other issue, beating out the response to COVID-19, health care and affordable housing.
Dave Korzinski with Angus Reid said the issue remains important to voters across the province, but no region so much as Vancouver Island.
“It’s the one area in the province where climate change and the environment still resonate as the top concern,” said Korzinski.
The NDP have promised to bring in a plan to reduce carbon emissions to net zero by 2050, if re-elected.
The Liberals and Greens haven’t released their climate plans yet but Green Leader Sonia Furstenau is expected to revel the party's plan Thursday at 2 p.m.
“There is only one party in this province that did not support a $6-billion giveaway to the fracking and LNG industry,” said Furstenau on Wednesday.