Victoria federal election candidates discuss approaches to climate crisis
So far, one issue has washed up as the biggest for many voters in the federal election campaign: climate change. And, the parties seem to be listening.
Against the backdrop of sea waves and wild birds, Conservative party candidate for Victoria, Richard Caron, held a press conference Wednesday to pledge his party's support for the cause of protecting the environment and taking action against climate change.
Caron acknowledged he wasn’t announcing any new policy. "It's just a reiteration of making sure Canadians know that conservatives are committed to protecting all environmental projects we have in this country, especially beautiful places like her on Clover Point."
In the wake of global climate strikes, including in Victoria, most candidates are quick to boast of their climate credentials, and many of the Victoria riding candidates were at Camosun College's Lansdown Campus Wednesday.
The NDP candidate, Laurel Collins, noted, "climate crisis and environmental protection is the reason I got into politics."
Nikki Macdonald with the Liberals said, "I've spent the past decade working in the area of ocean and climate research and its one of the reasons I've put my name on the ballot."
The Greens' Racelle Kooy pointed out environmental issues are a bedrock of her party's platform. "It is absolutely central to the Green Party of Canada platform. We have always been advocating for a healthy environment."
Likewise, Jordan Reichert with Animal Protection Party of Canada trumpeted his party's green bona fides. "We're the only party in Canada that's actually addressing animal agriculture, which is the leading cause of greenhouse gases."
An exception to the trend was Alyson Culbert with the People's Party of Canada who said the economy tops the environment as a priority for her party. "It's lower than economic realities. Homelessness and economic realities, those are much bigger issues for us right now."
Party's prioritizing the environment as a campaign issue should come as no surprise, says UVic political scientist, Michael Prince, who points out the issue topped the polls as the most important one for Canadians — even before last week's massive protests.
Prince says it's clearly no longer just the Green Party that is trying to own the issue in the eyes of voters.
"All the other parties are really making an effort to stake out a claim to what's clearly the number one issue in the minds of voters."