05/09/2013 01:08 EDT | Updated 07/08/2013 05:12 EDT

Why My NDP Vote Is A Green Vote


In the last election, I wrote a letter to Carol James, then BC NDP leader, telling her how disappointed I was with her inadequate climate policies and posturing over the carbon tax.

I wrote that letter because as an environmentalist with over twenty years experience working on the issues with some of the world's leading scientists and economists, and as a mother, I believe that addressing climate change is one of the most important challenges of our age. I am committed to supporting leaders who will rise to that challenge and who have the capacity to ensure that we reduce pollution, protect our wild coasts in B.C. and create clean, safe communities for our children.

I have been extremely disappointed with how the Liberal government under the leadership of Christy Clark has mismanaged the climate file. It is now clear that they have broken their promise to British Columbia and will not meet their own pollution reduction targets. To add insult to injury they are planning massive natural gas expansion without addressing the loophole in the carbon tax that allows natural gas venting to not be taxed and they have recently announced that they will freeze their own carbon tax.

In the past the BC NDP condemned the Liberal carbon tax policy without doing the hard work to address how an NDP government would address these challenges.

Under the leadership of Adrian Dix it is now clear that an NDP government would take these issues very seriously and they have taken the time to carefully consider how the carbon tax needs to cover more greenhouse gas emissions to ensure that we not only reduce pollution but also build a stronger and more equitable economy for B.C. I'm impressed. Adrian Dix's decision to expand the carbon tax to address the loophole of venting will reduce pollution, and stimulate innovation in the industry. By committing to take the revenue from the carbon tax and put it back in solutions that benefit all of us like public transit and conservation initiatives we are on track to start building the infrastructure we need to reduce our dependence on fossil fuels.

These are great steps. Several studies this year have shown that the carbon tax is working. We are reducing our consumption of fossil fuels faster than the rest of Canada and becoming more efficient.

The BC NDP have also taken a strong stand against increased oil tanker traffic on our coast and the Enbridge Northern Gateway and Kinder Morgan pipeline proposals. Adrian Dix has committed to immediately end the equivalency agreement that Christy Clark signed that gave away our power to review these projects to the Harper government. Increasing tarsands oil tanker traffic on our coast poses enormous risks to our tourism and fisheries industries and threatens ecosystem health and what many of us value most about our home -- our lush and stunning wild coastline.

I know that there are challenges ahead and I am concerned about both parties' excitement over LNG expansion in the province. That will make meeting our climate targets extremely difficult and lets be clear, in the climate era we should not be expanding fossil fuel infrastructure. Advocates will claim gas is a transition fuel but that is only true if there is a transition plan. The LNG plans in B.C. look a lot more like a gold rush than part of a plan to transition away from a high carbon energy system.

That said, the next four years are critical and if B.C. is going to stand strong against these pipelines that the Harper government and oil industry are trying to shove down our throats and become a leader once again in addressing climate change we need a change in government.

That's why I have made the decision to support the BC NDP and am happy to have the opportunity to work for two very strong environmental candidates George Heyman (Vancouver Fairview) and David Eby (Vancouver-Point Grey). I've known both for quite some time and I have no doubt that they will work tirelessly to protect our coast and fight climate change.