Making sense of environmental issues in the B.C. election

Vancouver, May 6 – With the election less than a week away, voters are still struggling to understand the parties’ environmental platforms. What is the difference between cap and trade and the carbon tax? Do party promises constitute real solutions?

West Coast Environmental Law and the Pembina Institute have teamed up to offer voters an accessible guide to the three major parties’ positions on a range of key environmental issues; from fish farms to carbon pricing, from energy to forestry, from environmental assessment to transportation.

View the West Coast Environmental Law 2009 environmental platform analysis here.

View the Pembina Institute 2009 climate and energy platform analysis here.

“There has been too much heat and not enough light on the issues in this campaign,” said Jessica Clogg, senior counsel with West Coast Environmental Law. “British Columbians are concerned about their rivers, their lands and their communities, and need information about what each party would do when they vote on May 12th”, she added.

The groups reviewed the climate, energy and environmental platforms of the B.C. Liberal Party, the B.C. NDP, and the B.C. Green Party. Condensed into 14 categories, parties were ranked on a scale of 1 to 5 stars for each area identified. In addition to comparing their commitments on issues, the organizations have indicated preferred best practices based upon their years of expertise and research. “We wanted to be able to clearly evaluate the platforms of all parties so that we can hold the next government accountable, and encourage all parties to look for the best solutions for the climate and environmental challenges we face in B.C.”, said Karen Campbell, staff counsel with the Pembina Institute.

“While we are pleased that policies like B.C.’s carbon tax have helped the province make significant progress on climate change, we know much more needs to be done in the next four years,” said Matt Horne, Director of B.C. Energy Solutions with the Pembina Institute. “Given that no party has put forward all of the answers, we hope they will borrow each others’ best ideas in their efforts to tackle climate change.”

“More than ever, British Columbians are understanding that a strong economy relies on a healthy sustainable environment”, said Patricia Chew. Executive Director of West Coast Environmental Law. “We offer these guides in the belief that an informed public is the environment’s best defence.”

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