Fredericton

The following questionnaire was submitted to all candidates running in New Brunswick’s 10 federal ridings. Candidates had two weeks to complete the questionnaire and submit their responses. Candidates were asked to limit their response to 200 words.

Climate

  1. Scientists say we need to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by at least 80 cent of 1990 levels by 2050 to avoid catastrophic climate change. What is your party’s 2050 GHG reduction target and how will you achieve it?

Conservative — Keith Ashfield: No response.

Liberal — Matt DeCourcey: No response.

NDP — Sharon Scott-Levesque:  New Democrats believe climate change is a clear and present danger to all Canadians. We have a multi-pronged approach to helping fight climate change and reducing greenhouse gas emissions. We will re-introduce Jack Layton’s Climate Change Accountability Act to ensure that Canada meets its long-term target of reducing our greenhouse gas emissions to a level 80% below that of 1990 by the year 2050, and 34% below 1990 for the 2025/30 period.

Green — Mary Lou Babineau: Climate change is the biggest challenge Canada has ever faced. The consequences of failing to address it will be catastrophic, yet the current government has obstructed domestic and international action at every turn. Canada fought against the original G7 pledge for a decarbonized economy by 2050 ­ the target is now 2100 ­ and our domestic targets are not only weak, sadly they are also unreachable under the Harper Conservatives’ current policies. Our plan is to move to the virtual elimination of fossil fuel use in Canada by mid­century. Our short­term target is 40 percent below 2005 levels by 2025, and we are calling for 80 percent reductions below 1990 levels by 2050. These are ambitious targets, yet the scale and urgency of this challenge demands nothing less. As Canadians, we will rise to this challenge and, in doing so, create a strong, stable, and prosperous economy today and for our children and grandchildren tomorrow.

 

  1. Many leading economists and policy institutions say putting a price on carbon is an effective way to reduce the pollution causing climate change. Will your party put a price on carbon?

Conservative — Keith Ashfield: No response.

Liberal — Matt DeCourcey: No response.

NDP — Sharon Scott-Levesque:  An NDP government will work with provinces and territories to put a price on carbon and reduce emissions. We will prepare a pan-Canadian cap-and-trade system, which will establish hard emissions limits for Canada’s biggest polluters to ensure companies pay their environmental bills and to create an incentive for reducing greenhouse gas emissions. We will ensure that provincial and territorial governments can opt out of the federal plan if they have carbon pricing plans that meet or exceed federal goals. We’ll help provinces and territories co-ordinate efforts and integrate within a harmonized pan-Canadian system, and we’ll advance an integrated continental cap-and-trade system that ensures a level economic playing field for North American businesses.

Green — Mary Lou Babineau: Yes. We must work together to put a national price on carbon. In the complete absence of federal leadership, the provinces have taken up the challenge of climate change on their own. Although some progress has been made, notably in British Columbia, Ontario, and Quebec, this patchwork of climate strategies is an inefficient way to tackle an issue that faces all Canadians. The Carbon Fee and Dividend Plan is the smartest, most efficient, and most effective way to shift away from burning fossil fuels. We will place a fee on carbon, and pay the funds it generates directly to every Canadian over age 18 in the form of an annual carbon dividend. This plan will defend our climate, diversify our energy mix, grow our economy, and ensure energy security for Canadians.

 

  1. This December, world governments will attend the United Nations’ international climate conference to establish a legally-binding and universal agreement on climate action. This is an opportunity for Canada to play an influential role in global environmental affairs. What commitments does your party propose we announce in Paris to move us quickly to a low-carbon economy?

Conservative — Keith Ashfield: No response.

Liberal — Matt DeCourcey: No response.

NDP — Sharon Scott-Levesque:  Tom Mulcair will restore Canada’s international environmental credibility – as one of his first duties as Prime Minister, Tom will attend COP21 with targets and a plan to meet them. We will support green climate finance, based on the outcomes of the negotiations. We will also facilitate Canadians’ participation in the COP, and we’ll include Opposition Critics and Civil Society Groups on the official delegation to COP21.

Green — Mary Lou Babineau: COP21 represents the last, best and only chance for humanity to avert an intensified climate crisis and to prevent runaway global warming. Only by electing Green MPs can we ensure Canada can lead in these critical negotiations. We are committed to serious action to avert a climate crisis. Canada has played a shameful and destructive role at climate negotiations during Stephen Harper’s time in power. With the old parties’ support for new pipelines, increased tanker traffic, and expanded oil sands production, only Green MPs will lead the way with realistic and pragmatic climate leadership. We will fight to restore Canada’s reputation as a nation that makes us proud at a pivotal time in human history. The federal government should convene a First Ministers Conference immediately after the election to prepare credible Canadian proposals to take to the international climate negotiations in December. We will present our ambitious emissions targets in Paris and the clear steps we intend to take to meet them. The Green Party also supports making our fair share of global contributions to the Green Climate Fund. Our goal should be an annual commitment of $500 million each year beginning in 2016.

 

  1. Burning coal to produce electricity is the single largest source of carbon pollution in N.B. Ontario recently phased out coal. Will your party support a phase-out of coal in N.B.?

Conservative — Keith Ashfield: No response.

Liberal — Matt DeCourcey: No response.

NDP — Sharon Scott-Levesque:  We will support all provincial and territorial efforts to transition to a fossil fuel free future.

Green — Mary Lou Babineau: We need to accelerate a rapid phase­out of coal. The Government of Ontario has taken the lead by shutting down its coal­fired power plants. We need to work collaboratively with those remaining provinces relying on coal­fired electricity to encourage them to do the same. We will explore all tools to help provinces phase out coal and will cancel the $1.3 billion dollar annual subsidy to fossil fuel companies that distort the market.

 

Energy

  1. Investment in renewable energy, energy efficiency and other green technologies will create jobs and reduce the pollution causing climate change. Will your party commit to increasing investments in energy efficiency programming and renewable energy generation?

Conservative — Keith Ashfield: No response.

Liberal — Matt DeCourcey: No response.

NDP — Sharon Scott-Levesque:  We will invest in targeted sustainable development priorities over the next four years to tackle climate change and adapt our communities in partnership with provinces, municipalities and Indigenous governments. And an NDP Government will make it easier for Canadians and businesses to invest in a cleaner future for Canada.

Green — Mary Lou Babineau: The Green Party will establish a Canadian Sustainable Generations Fund to secure Canada’s economic leadership over the coming decade by creating a fund to invest in skills­training, education, energy efficiency, renewables, and emerging technologies. We will help Canada transition swiftly to a clean­tech economy. Our transition to a green, sustainable economy will create good local jobs, shorter commutes, more livable cities, and cleaner air and water. We believe the economy of the future is built on clean­tech. We will put a national price on carbon and incentivize the development of green energy infrastructure. We need to invest in infrastructure that promotes renewable energy, including through an improved east­west electricity grid, while reducing the enormous waste in our energy systems. We will unleash an army of carpenters, electricians and contractors to take outdated public buildings – schools, universities and hospitals – and plug the energy leaks that increase greenhouse gases and costs. We will create thousands of jobs manufacturing, installing, operating, and maintaining wind turbines, solar panels, public transit vehicles and infrastructure, insulation, rail stock, and other elements of a clean and efficient economy.

 

  1. Many Canadians and organizations are concerned the National Energy Board has become a biased regulator that isn’t making decisions in the best interest of all Canadians. Will your party commit to reviewing and amending the NEB process to make it fair and easy for communities and members of the public to provide input?

Conservative — Keith Ashfield: No response.

Liberal — Matt DeCourcey: No response.

NDP — Sharon Scott-Levesque:  The changes the Harper Government made to the mandate of the NEB when it repealed the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act have removed Environment Canada from most project reviews, and have given Cabinet an override provision that allows them to make political decisions on energy projects – all behind closed doors, making the entire process meaningless.

Green — Mary Lou Babineau: We need to return democracy to review processes and let all concerned Canadians have their say. As the review process for the Kinder Morgan project has shown, the National Energy Board’s pipeline review process is broken. In Bill C­38, the disastrous omnibus budget bill, Stephen Harper repealed the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act and placed pipeline environmental assessment reviews in the hands of the NEB – an organization that has denied the public access and refused to include climate change as an issue of concern. And in so doing, as Elizabeth May has said, “The NEB is now basically a pipeline approval agency.” The citizens of Canada must have a definitive say about these risky pipeline projects. The Green Party is committed to immediately reviewing and reforming the NEB process to ensure that communities, members of the public and First Nations ­ who have long been at the forefront of stalling irresponsible resource development projects ­ are fully integrated into decision making.

 

  1. Many Canadians and organizations feel the National Energy Board’s project review process is flawed because it does not consider the upstream greenhouse gas impacts associated with energy projects. Will your party ensure upstream greenhouse gas emissions are considered in all project reviews undertaken by the National Energy Board?

Conservative — Keith Ashfield: No response.

Liberal — Matt DeCourcey: No response.

NDP — Sharon Scott-Levesque:  The Conservative government has systematically dismantled the federal environmental assessment process, and has seriously restricted public input into major project reviews. As a result, a rigorous and credible federal environmental assessment just isn’t possible. A New Democratic government will work with provinces, industry and with indigenous and other communities to revamp the federal environmental review process for the approval of major resource infrastructure such as pipelines. We will ensure that reviews are meaningful and account for a project’s impact on our climate, and that it will not conflict with our new international obligation to reduce Canada’s greenhouse gas emissions. We will also end the Conservatives’ arbitrary limits on public participation in decision making, which is one of the most important aspects of environmental assessment. We will increase the protection of communities and our environment by implementing strengthened safety standards. The federal government must also honour its legal duty to consult and accommodate First Nations. Only through a strong project review process – with sustainability at its core – can we ensure that proposals are safe for Canadians and our environment before moving forward.

Green — Mary Lou Babineau: Yes. The Green Party of Canada has long been an advocate for considering the upstream GHG emissions associated with energy projects in our environmental review processes. Climate change impact analyses must form a core component of reviewing any future energy projects. As an intervenor in the Kinder Morgan pipeline expansion review and a commenter in the Roberts Bank Terminal II review, Elizabeth May opposed the exclusion of upstream impacts in energy project reviews. The Green Party will continue to call for the NEB, and all our environmental review processes to recognize upstream GHG emissions in their evaluations.

 

  1. Both Ontario and Quebec have pursued independent provincial examinations of TransCanada’s proposed Energy East Pipeline. Will your party encourage the government of New Brunswick to conduct an independent Environmental Impact Assessment of the Energy East proposal in N.B.?

Conservative — Keith Ashfield: No response.

Liberal — Matt DeCourcey: No response.

NDP — Sharon Scott-Levesque:  We would encourage any province to conduct its own review, but there has also got to be a robust federal review, which is not possible under the current regime.

Green — Mary Lou Babineau: Yes. It is telling that the Ontario Energy Board ruled that Energy East poses more risks than benefits. While the old parties use complaints about process to avoid taking a stand, or even fast track and support these projects outright, the Green Party is the only party standing up for the people and communities threatened by these projects. The Green Party is supportive of New Brunswick conducting independent Environmental Impact Assessment of Energy East.

 

  1. TransCanada’s Energy East Pipeline is one of several port expansion or shipping projects currently being proposed that would bring significantly more supertankers into the Bay of Fundy. Will your party give a mandate to Fisheries and Oceans Canada to do an assessment of marine traffic noise in the Bay of Fundy in order to determine existing impacts on marine mammals and determine tipping points of noise that would increase impacts on marine mammals in the Bay of Fundy?

Conservative — Keith Ashfield: No response.

Liberal — Matt DeCourcey: No response.

NDP — Sharon Scott-Levesque:  This would be part of an environmental assessment that would have to be conducted before an NDP government allowed this project to proceed.

Green — Mary Lou Babineau: Yes. The Green Party unequivocally opposes the Energy East pipeline for a number of reasons, including the increased tanker traffic through the Bay of Fundy. Even without allowing this risky project, the Green Party will give a mandate to Fisheries and Oceans Canada to do an assessment of marine traffic noise in the Bay of Fundy.

 

Nature and the environment

 

  1. Recent years have seen many of Canada’s environmental laws weakened or repealed. Will your party restore or strengthen the Fisheries Act, the Navigable Waters Protection Act, the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act, and the Species At Risk Act?

Conservative — Keith Ashfield: No response.

Liberal — Matt DeCourcey: No response.

NDP — Sharon Scott-Levesque:   In the last ten years, the Conservatives have dismantled the laws protecting our air, land and water. They’ve hidden their attacks in budget bills, targeting the Navigable Waters Protection Action, the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act and the Fisheries Act. They’ve muzzled or fired scientists working on environmental research. And they’ve handed billions in subsidies to their friends in the fossil fuel industry. New democrats will protect our natural environment for future generations and reverse Stephen Harper’s damaging changes to environmental protection laws. We will update and strengthen environmental assessments. We will affirm Government’s strong role in environmental protection and assessment, ensure and support public participation in decision making, incorporate cumulative effects, regional assessments, and greenhouse gas impacts for all major projects and ensure that the Crown’s duty to consult Indigenous peoples in the environmental assessment process is upheld, and that their meaningful participation is facilitated. WE will undo damage to science and environmental protections, and restore protection to Canada’s lakes and rivers by reversing changes made to the Navigable Waters Protection Act in omnibus Budgets 2012, and we will restore habitat protection and other provisions of the Fisheries Act.

Green — Mary Lou Babineau: Yes. Green MPs will restore all the environmental protections that the Harper government has eliminated over the past ten years. We will move forward with a new environmental protection regime that truly protects the environment.

 

  1. The World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) recently classified glyphosate as a probable cancer-causing agent. In 2001, Quebec replaced the use of herbicides in its public forest with thinning crews of men and women working in the woods. Will your party require Health Canada to ban glyphosate for silvicultural treatments in Canada’s public forests?

Conservative — Keith Ashfield: No response.

Liberal — Matt DeCourcey: No response.

NDP — Sharon Scott-Levesque:  The Pest Management Regulatory Agency under Health Canada approves pesticides for use in Canada. All pesticides have inherent hazards, as well as benefits when used in prescribed circumstances. Science cannot say glyphosate, or any other pesticide designed to kill a biological organism, is safe. Scientific evidence is immensely broader than the toxicological (laboratory animal) risk assessment on which the PMRA primarily relies. The PMRA has not developed a systematic process to incorporate epidemiology, studying humans in the real world, in risk assessment. In fact, until recently the PMRA has actually not even had an epidemiologist on staff. The NDP would look at conducting a review of the approvals process, and of the approval of glyphosate, taking into consideration the epidemiological risks, evaluating the availability of alternatives, and operationalizing the precautionary principle.

Green — Mary Lou Babineau: Yes. As Green Deputy Leader Daniel Green has said: “In Quebec, glyphosate use has increased since 2000. From 350,000 hectares, it is now applied to over 1.175 million hectares of Quebec corn fields, and is regularly detected in streams and rivers thanks to run­off. “We must heed the precautionary principle and ban its use in Canada. Chemicals that are classified by the IARC as ‘probable carcinogens’ often turn out to be, over time, a recognized carcinogen.

 

  1. Business leaders, commercial and recreational fishing associations, scientists, lawyers and environmentalists called on the federal government to not pass the Aquaculture Activities Regulations, stressing they would reduce oversight of the aquaculture industry and increase access to highly toxic pesticides for use in the ocean. Would your party repeal or amend the Aquaculture Activities Regulations to increase enforcement and oversight and limit access to toxic pesticides?

Conservative — Keith Ashfield: No response.

Liberal — Matt DeCourcey: No response.

NDP — Sharon Scott-Levesque:  The changes to the Fisheries Act made by the Conservative government have stripped the key protections from the law – New Democrats will reverse these changes. And the deposit of deleterious substances in fish bearing waters was, and should be, illegal. We must take steps towards achieving a balanced approach to a sustainable industry in our rural and coastal communities. It is very important that we commit to protecting the environment and traditional fisheries as they further develop the aquaculture industry. That include strengthening the monitoring and enforcement mechanisms of the industry.

Green — Mary Lou Babineau: The Green Party opposes the recently passed Aquaculture Activity Regulations that changed how deposit of deleterious substances from aquaculture sites are classified under Canadian law as it gives the aquaculture industry special treatment under the Fisheries Act. We oppose the current approach that favours fish farms and presumes that aquaculture can make up for dwindling wild stocks. In order to undo the damage that Harper’s fisheries policy has done to our wild fisheries, the Green Party will amend the Fisheries Act to, among other things, require that the management and conservation of wild fisheries take precedence over aquaculture, wherever there are conflicts. Further, we would reinstate the authority for the ‘deleterious substances’ regulation to Environment Canada and eliminate any and all exemptions. We will work with provincial governments to eliminate aquaculture practices that damage the marine environment and threaten human health and seek: 1. A moratorium on new open­ocean net­pen salmon farms and a phase­out of existing farms within ten years? 2. In the meantime, the fallowing of sea pens during wild­hatch salmon runs. We are committed to implementing measures to quickly phase out open­ocean net­cage fish farms and ensure that this aquaculture industry does not continue to harm wild fisheries.

 

  1. In the past, Canada’s support for public science and science funding was the envy of many developed nations. Will your party commit to increasing support for public science and restoring science funding to Environment Canada and the Department of Fisheries and Oceans?

Conservative — Keith Ashfield: No response.

Liberal — Matt DerCourcey: No response.

NDP — Sharon Scott-Levesque:  Tom Mulcair and the NDP will restore the voice of scientists in Canada.  We will create a Scientific Advisory Council to the Prime Minister headed by a Chief Science Advisor to ensure that our government always has access to the best possible scientific advice from experts in all fields. We will immediately move to restore the mandatory long form census and provide the necessary funding to ensure it can be included in the 2016 census. We will put an end to the Conservatives’ policy of muzzling scientists and ensure that Canada’s leading experts are freely available to speak to the media and to publish their findings. We will implement the NDP’s comprehensive plan to promote the voice of scientist’s in Ottawa as laid out in M-453 to promote scientific integrity. We will work to re-establish scientific capacity in government departments, including Environment Canada and the Department of Fisheries and Oceans. We will establish the Office of the Parliamentary Science Officer as per Bill C-558 to ensure that parliamentarians have the best possible access to science-based analysis.

Green — Mary Lou Babineau: Yes. Scientific evidence should be the foundation of federal decision­making. Scientific research should not be influenced by partisan considerations, nor should it be subject to across­the­board austerity measures. We must restore and expand our scientific capacity. Scientific evidence will always serve as a non­partisan check on authority. Its integration into government activities must be assured. Our democracy depends on it. The Green Party will rebuild scientific capacity in the Government of Canada with particular attention to departments that have incurred the most devastating losses – Environment Canada, Fisheries and Oceans, Parks Canada, and Health Canada. Priority areas for immediate action include restoring the Ocean Contaminants & Marine Toxicology Program, renewing and increasing capacity in the Canadian Coast Guard (particularly in the areas of emergency response and spill prevention), and reversing cuts to climate adaptation programs. We will begin to rebuild the public scientific capacity lost during the past decade by providing $75­million annually to add critical science capacity to Environment Canada, Health Canada, Parks Canada, and Fisheries and Oceans.

 

  1. Water is a special resource in that it crosses provincial and federal boundaries, presenting unique challenges for those responsible for the health of our rivers and waterways.  Does your party support the development of a national water strategy?

Conservative — Keith Ashfield: No response.

Liberal — Matt DeCourcey: No response.

NDP — Sharon Scott-Levesque:  In the last ten years, the Conservatives have dismantled the laws protecting our air, land and especially our water. They’ve hidden their attacks in budget bills, targeting the Navigable Waters Protection Act, the Environmental Assessment Act, the Species at Risk Act, and the Fisheries Act. Under their changes, Canada went from protecting over 2.5 million lakes and rivers to only parts of 159. And they have failed to address contaminated sites, protect fish stocks, and introduce legislation to protect water from bulk exports, or enact drinking water standards. The NDP believe this is unacceptable. We will introduce a federal Safe Drinking Water Act to support provinces and municipalities in their efforts to keep the drinking water of all Canadians safe. We will introduce legislation banning the bulk export of water across international boundaries. We will establish and implement a Pan-Canadian Plan for Water, in collaboration with the provinces, territories and Indigenous governments, and in consultation with the public to address water quality and quantity across jurisdictions, and which considers the impacts of climate change on current and future water resources, and we will restore legal protections for water that were stripped away by the Conservatives.

Green — Mary Lou Babineau: Yes. As Elizabeth May has said: “Drinking water advisories have touched far too many communities in a nation with 7% of the world’s renewable fresh water … Canada is in the midst of a drinking water crisis. The Green Party has long called for a National Water Policy.”

 

  1. Health Impact Assessments (HIAs) are an important tool for evaluating proposed policies, programs or projects with an eye toward minimizing the negative health impacts and maximizing the positive health impacts. Will your party include an HIA as a requirement of all Environmental Impact Assessments?

Conservative — Keith Ashfield: No response.

Liberal — Matt DeCourcey: No response.

NDP — Sharon Scott-Levesque:  We would review Environmental Impact Assessments in line with modernizing them and ensuring that all relevant impacts are considered. Currently, Regulatory Impact Assessment Statements include, on occasion, health effects in consideration, but this should be made consistent across the board.

Green — Mary Lou Babineau: Yes. Environmental Impact Assessment processes need to recognize the potential health consequences of major energy projects. Further, we will develop a federal Health Impact Assessment Board to incorporate health impact assessment as part of all federal government policy reviews, similar to the current Environmental Assessment Board.

 

  1. Families and food service industries are becoming more concerned about where and how their food is grown and processed. Will your party increase investments in the Department of Agriculture and Agri-Food’s buy local and local food initiatives?

Conservative — Keith Ashfield: No response.

Liberal — Matt DeCourcey: No response.

NDP — Sharon Scott-Levesque: Everybody eats. New Democrats understand that food matters, from farm to factory to fork. Working with the provinces and territories, we need to improve access to healthy food for every Canadian, ensure sustainable agricultural communities and resources, and promote Canadian food here at home and around the world. Canada is without a comprehensive food policy—lagging behind other industrial countries in the OECD, like England and Australia. The United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food has raised serious concerns about food security in Aboriginal communities and the lack of a coordinated food strategy in Canada. More than 2 million Canadians are at risk of going hungry, compromising our families, our health care system and our children’s potential. New Democrats have a vision for our food system–one that connects Canadians from farm to fork. We need to look at the whole picture and bring an integrated approach to federal policy that connects agriculture, rural development, health and income security. It can be done. We want to see a thriving agricultural sector. Agriculture and food are major drivers of the Canadian economy, nourishing our population and providing one out of eight jobs. Today’s farmers are modern farmers, and they need to be linked to cutting-edge research and market information. Our rural communities need investment and infrastructure, and to be linked to growing urban markets. We also need to make sure that agricultural development is sustainable and protects critical watersheds and natural environments. Ensuring that Canadians have healthy, affordable food is a national priority. Focusing on healthy food now means a healthier population down the road. Our vision of a pan-Canadian food strategy ensures that everyone eats well, that our agricultural communities are sustainable for generations to come, and that Canadian products find growing markets at home and abroad.

Green — Mary Lou Babineau: Yes. The Green Party approach to Canadian agriculture policies is clear: reduce the dependence on chemical inputs, rebuild and protect natural soil fertility, value quality produce and support local economies, reduce waste and increase the number of farm families. We will increase investments in the Department of Agriculture and AgriFood’s buy local and local food initiatives