On Thursday, there will be an all candidates forum at the Schubert Centre. However, it is very disappointing that Mel Arnold, from the Conservative Party, will not be attending.
The Sustainable Environment Network Society has put on many all candidate forums for a number of years before elections and they are usually very well attended by both the public and all of the candidates.
Many people rely on the forums to be informed about the issues and views of all of the politicians. It is a good advantage for the candidates to be at the forums to express their views.
The forum Thursday is also different from the other forums because the candidates were sent the questions in advance. Anyone from the public can view the questions and answers and three of the four candidates have already sent in their answers to the excellent questions. The candidates who spent a lot of time and energy answering these questions were from the Green Party, the Liberal Party and the NDP. Mel Arnold, so far, has not sent in any answers.
In this year’s federal election, the environment is rated as the second most important issue. The number one issue, the economy, is actually in some ways related to the environment. Solutions to reduce greenhouse gases, such as alternative energy, pure electric vehicles and organic food production, will create more jobs than the oil and gas sector.
The Globe and Mail Sept. 3 reported a study that 47 per cent of the oil patch jobs will be automated soon. A presentation made at the Vernon library by the B.C. Sustainable Energy Association mentioned that in the U.S., the solar industry is producing 10 times more new jobs than any other industry. On the cost side, we need to reduce damage by extreme weather events caused by global warming. The Canadian National Roundtable on the Environment and the Economy states that we will pay $5 billion per year for climate change damages with taxpayers’ money by 2020 if we do not reverse climate change.
Our health care system will also have high costs from poor air quality. Greening of economies is not a burden on growth but rather a new engine for growth and employment.