Election Report Cards on Climate Action

Q&A reposted from

Sound the Alarm Owen Sound

Wednesday, 8 September 2021

Summary of interviews with Bruce-Grey-Owen Sound Federal candidates

Alex Ruff, Ann Marie Watson, Chris Neudorf, Michelle Lawrence

Q1. Where does addressing climate change rank among your personal political priorities?

Alex Ruff gives climate change a score of 70% in
importance. He thinks we cannot transition immediately from our
dependence on fossil fuels; our economy depends on it and renewable
energy sources alone cannot supply our needs. The hydrogen plant
initiative of Bruce County and Saugeen Ojibway Nation is a great example
of an emerging technology/industry that is local. Canada is a resource
country and therefore cannot be compared to jurisdictions like Europe.
Overall Canada is a very small contributor to greenhouse gas (GHG)
emissions world-wide. If elected, AR wants to continue working with
climate action groups, such as the Grey Bruce Climate Action

The environment is among Ann Marie
Watson’s top 3 priorities along with Agriculture and Health Care. She
has been a farmer for 35 years and sees that there is an opportunity to
link the interests of climate action with the agriculture sector.
Currently farmers have their hands tied to fossil fuels with their
equipment requirements, but the sector could be offered subsidies to go
electric or use other fuels for equipment. This is an area for green
innovation. Farmers are not recognized for their role in sequestering
carbon. If recognized there is the potential for an offset

“Personally number 1, right up there with
economic equality.” Christopher Neudorf compared climate change to the
apocalypse. He mentioned he would support the NDP party plan to reduce
GHG emissions by 50% by 2030.

Climate change ranks as Michelle
Lawrence’s top priority. She believes climate change is also related to
equity. The most vulnerable of our population are the most affected by
climate change.

Q2. If you are elected, how will you work to ensure that your/the governing party addresses our commitments to the Paris Agreement?

AR does not support a target of net zero by 2050.
His party has no zero GHG emissions target. Their plan focuses on
cutting emissions by 30% below 2005 levels by 2030.

AMW plans to hold the government
responsible, taking on a "squeaky wheel" mentality.

CN spoke of the NDP reducing emissions by
50% by 2030 and zero emissions by 2050. He noted the need for greater
efforts to support modernizing farming to cut emissions. “I’d like to
tell farmers we will give them the tools to cut emissions.” (rather than
exempting farming from the carbon tax). He also talked about reducing
food waste to make farming more efficient and lower its GHG

ML noted that the Green Party has the most
aggressive targets at 60% by 2030.

Q3. If you are elected, how will you work to ensure that your/the governing party stands up to the oil and gas lobby, and champion legislation to end fossil fuel subsidies and all new fossil fuel development permits?

AR does not disagree with lobbying, but he is not
in favour of subsidizing any industry. AR believes in the oil and gas
industry as it currently exists. “Market driven common sense” is what
ultimately should drive change. The focus should be on “transition” over
time, but market driven, not through legislation.

AMW noted that the Liberal government has
a plan to reduce (rather than halt) subsidies to fossil fuel companies.
She will focus on scaling down support for fossil fuel production and
sees some opportunities for our region, such as green hydrogen. She also
sees farming innovation, such as closed-loop hydroponics, as

CN said, “allowing corporate power to
influence government decisions undermines democracy.” He said the $18
billion in subsidies paid to the fossil fuel sector by the Liberals
should go to green energy. He is aware that these lobbying practices
will be hard to break but it will be essential.

ML would work to ensure an end to
subsidies. She feels we need to get the normal person on board through
education. Expand charging stations for electric vehicles. Fund green

Q4. If you are elected, how will you support Just Transition legislation that winds down the fossil fuel industry, supports affected workers, and leaves no one behind?

AR prioritizes the creation of job alternatives
to the fossil fuel industry so that those working in this industry are
not left behind. The hydrogen plant is an example of these kinds of

AMW would look for local opportunities,
like green Hydrogen tech, here in our riding. She supports a “think
locally" approach, a best-practice she learned with a "home biodiesel
project" near Chatsworth. Focusing on innovation in the agriculture
sector, will promote transition to green tech on farms. When asked about
development at the expense of natural spaces and development that comes
with risks to natural ecosystems, she said she prioritizes "protecting
the arable environment" and "protecting agricultural

CN said he would halt subsidies and use
the dollars saved to enhance green energy. He said the new renewable
energy sector would employ those displaced and companies would have
incentives to ensure that the workers transitioning to green energy jobs
receive equal or better pay and benefits. He is aware of some unions'
concerns that the ambitious federal NDP climate action strategies may
negatively impact workers in the energy sectors. However, he believes
that there are many jobs to be created in renewable energy sectors which
would easily offset lost jobs in the carbon industry.

ML noted that the oil and gas sector
provides 500,000 jobs. Agriculture far outweighs it. She would support
retraining and funding for workers who need it.

Q5. If you are elected, how will you support legislation that increases protection for our carbon-capturing forests, oceans, freshwater systems, and wetlands?

AR believes in a market driven economy rather
than one controlled by government regulation. He does not see his role
as having a great influence on the type of legislation developed by the
Federal Government.

AMW will support the federal liberal
practice of "working with provinces" to support protection of provincial
lands and Conservation Authority work. She supports a “work together

CN said the NDP’s promise to protect 30%
of federal lands is guaranteed but he would like to see that increased
to 40%. He feels we need housing reform and one way would be to look at
unused housing (vacation homes, etc.) and ensure they are filled. Chris
emphasized that he is firmly against the destruction of old growth
forests, as is happening in BC.

ML is especially interested in supporting
Land Trust legislation to increase protection and incentivize

Q6. If you are elected, how will you support legislation that strengthens sustainable agricultural practices?

AR: See Q5 above.

AMW says we need to have sustainable
practices. She would support/find incentives for farmers, such as paying
farmers cash for [bio]sequestration of carbon emissions, for example
with cover crops. She would suggest/support a credit bank for carbon and
encourage "Environmental Farm Plans".

CN said he would use the “whole
agriculture approach” providing tools for green production and investing
in research and development to support farmers to reduce/eliminate

ML has met with OFA. She would support
helping farmers with adaptation and new lower carbon technology.

Q7. How will you work to ensure that the governing party publishes, meets, & reports on annual targets for ALL above?

Question not asked of AR.

AMW points out that agencies report to
governments, and she promises to hold their feet to the fire on
outcomes, she spoke about a previous objective for an agricultural
caucus to better represent rural communities, and a hope to revitalize

CN said caucus needs to be responsible to
the people and that as the MP for Bruce Grey Owen Sound, he would work
towards accountability to all residents.

ML wants to see annual target

SoundTheAlarmOS demands our government:

  • exceed our Paris Agreement emissions target
  • commit to a fast & just transition to 100% renewable energy
  • halt fossil fuel subsidization
  • increase protection for our carbon-capturing forests, oceans, freshwater systems, and wetlands
  • strengthen our sustainable agricultural practices
  • publish, meet, & report annual targets for ALL above

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