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An Open Letter To Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer About Their Climate Change Plan – Deidra Garyk


Climate change will be a central issue in the upcoming Canadian federal election. Some polls show the electorate considers it one of their top three issues of importance. Access to affordable, reliable, clean energy is also a concern to many Canadians. As a result, Deidra Garyk, a Canadian Energy Advocate based in Calgary working in the oil and gas sector, has reviewed each party’s plan, and has written an open letter to each leader. All responses received will be shared publicly to help you make a decision on Election Day.

andrew.scheer@parl.gc.ca

 

Dear Honourable Andrew Scheer,

I am writing today regarding the Conservative Party of Canada’s energy plan and Climate Plan, A Real Plan to Protect our Environment.   

As someone who works in oil and gas, I appreciate the Conservatives’ unwavering support for Canada’s oil and gas sector. Thank you for having the courage to stand up for our natural resources. I know that isn’t easy right now because it’s socially acceptable to bash these industries.

I would also like to thank you for voting against the use of the term “climate emergency”. This type of language perpetuates the hysteria. I do not think that we should do nothing, but to do something meaningful, cooler heads must prevail.

I like how holistic the Climate Plan is. However, I notice your Plan is missing a tally of costs — how much will it cost to implement? How much will be lost in tax revenue from roll backs to current taxation plans that have been implemented by the Liberal government?

I’d like to go through the three principles that the Climate Plan is built on to get more information:

  1. Green technology, not taxes
  2. A cleaner and greener natural environment
  3. Taking our fight against climate change global

Green technology, not taxes

I appreciate that the Climate Plan considers the global context when discussing emissions and how to manage emissions’ reductions as it introduces the “Canadian Clean” brand. This is unique to all the other parties’ plans, and I think it’s a big miss on their part. Canada is a country full of innovators who have been coming up with ground-breaking ideas for centuries that have solved all kinds of problems, from insulin to the Canadarm. If we see a problem, we try to solve it. These ideas can help solve the global emissions issue and bring in revenue for small businesses and governments. We should proudly tell the world about our accomplishments, especially when it comes to energy.

I don’t believe that we can solely place the blame on China for China’s emissions. Even though they have a very large population that is growing in numbers and prosperity, they emit a great deal to create products that many of us in Canada like to buy. This is why I’m supportive of exporting green technology and Canadian LNG around the globe to help reduce global emissions, and I’m pleased that your Climate Plan includes this element.

Canada’s oil and gas sector has a lot to offer the world in terms of emissions’ reductions. LNG is one of those ways, so thank you for supporting it. Building fueling facilities in Vancouver to allow ships to use LNG instead of dirtier fuels is good. Beyond support for these types of projects, how will your Party combat the misinformation campaigns by anti-fossil fuel development groups who are now trying to impede development of natural gas and LNG projects?

Under your Climate Plan, companies that emit more than their allowable amount will have to invest in green technologies. The Plan doesn’t set any expectations for performance. It appears that companies and industries will police themselves, and we all know how that works. Who will monitor compliance and what will be the consequences for not adhering to the rules?

To make Canada competitive again, what are you going to do about products that are imported from countries that don’t have stringent requirements, such as the USA? If the CUSMA/ USMCA (u-smack-a) gets ratified, we will continue to buy from the USA and Mexico who do not have the same emissions reduction requirements or associated costs as we do in Canada.

I worry that focusing too much on technology and innovation to solve our problems could mean it takes a long time to see results. Additionally, green technology is expensive and uncertain. Canada is known for its heavy regulatory and red tape burden, so it seems that you will have to cut some of the bureaucratic stonewalling in order to commercialize good ideas and products. Do you have a plan in place to address this issue and what is it?

Who will pay for things like making communities more resilient to the effects of extreme weather, and greening the grid, and the Green Innovators Hub, and the study to understand the contribution Canada’s landscape makes to global emissions? Taxpayers or private industry?

A cleaner and greener natural environment

While the Conservatives have given consideration to managing wetlands and minimizing their destruction, unfortunately, the Climate Plan is weak on specifics. These are important ecosystems, so words alone will not be enough to protect them from ever-increasing development due to continued population increases. Could you provide specifics on how you will protect these ecosystems?

Combating air pollution. I don’t ever want to have smog days, so I like the promise your Plan makes to deal with air pollution. Unfortunately, again, it doesn’t say how you’re going to do that. Please elaborate. This is important to me.

Plastics are a major problem for our oceans and waterways. Canadians don’t throw garbage onto the streets like they still do in many other countries, but the reality is that some of our garbage that has been shipped to other countries to recycle or dispose has not been handled properly and has ended up in the ocean. The World Economic Forum estimates there to be between 93,000 and 236,000 metric tons of plastic floating in the oceans. This is simply unacceptable; therefore, I support your desire to ban the export of plastic waste. I think there are commercial opportunities for Canada to manage this waste. Excessive plastic packaging is a major problem and needs to be addressed, too. This is in your Plan, but what is your timeline to begin dealing with this issue?

You pledge to put an end to municipalities dumping raw sewage into waterways. This is commendable. It should never have been allowed in the first place. It’s gross. If you form government, when will you force polluters to stop dumping and what will their alternatives be to handle the waste? As always, I have to ask — who will pay?

Taking the climate change fight global

This is very important to me, and I’m pleased to see this included in the Conservatives’ Climate Plan. A collaborative effort is required to win; however, it’s probably one of the most difficult to achieve. How do you get the entire world to agree to a plan? How do you propose to incentivize other countries to adopt Canada’s green technologies, particularly because it costs more to produce things in Canada than in many other parts of the world?

NASA’s website has some interesting graphs with CO2 measurements. In 2009, carbon dioxide in the atmosphere was between 386 and 388 parts per million. The last measurement they recorded on August 17, 2019 has it at 411.84 ppm. It’s been steadily increasing every year at small but compounding amounts. There is no doubt that we have to get serious about understanding the impact of rising CO2 levels as well as the root causes of the increase, and take necessary action. If you repeal the Liberals’ carbon tax, how will you incentivize, or disincentivize, as required, desired behaviour?

The Conservatives are the only party with a plan to fix our energy sector. You propose to address the assessment system to ensure that projects are assessed rigorously, fairly, quickly and with investor confidence. This will help Canada become competitive on the world stage again. I’m very pleased that, if you form government, your Party will repeal Bill C-69 and clarify roles involved in the consultation process while also limiting standing to those directly impacted or with expertise.

Similar to the Green Party, your Party plans to ween Canada off foreign oil by ending imports from countries with poor environmental records by 2030. I agree completely that Canadians should use Canadian oil and gas, and only import when absolutely necessary. It’s important for energy security, something we should not take for granted.

You propose creating a coast-to-coast energy and power corridor that will lower assessment costs, reduce timelines, and confine environmental impacts. This idea has been around for decades, but it hasn’t been achieved, so I would like to understand how you will make this happen, particularly because we can’t seem to get simple, basic projects built due to NIMBY-ism and division. I do worry that a national corridor leaves us vulnerable to attacks on our important infrastructure. How will you protect these assets?

Considering that no other party has a fulsome plan for responsible energy development and reasonable environmental care, I like what I have read in the Conservatives’ plans. Having read the plans of all the other parties, I think this just may be a real plan to help our environmental efforts without destroying our economy.

I look forward to hearing from you at your earliest convenience.

Please note that I will be publishing this as an open letter, so any responses I receive will be shared to help voters make an informed decision in the upcoming election.

Sincerely,

Deidra Garyk



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