Climate concerns raised at Stayner Q&A
The Stayner arena hall was packed Tuesday evening during an all-candidates meeting for Simcoe-Grey, hosted by the Stayner Chamber of Commerce.
With the exception of opening and closing remarks from each of the five candidates on the panel, the format was a Q&A from the audience. People lined up to ask questions on a wide range of topics, with climate change being a major theme.
Similar to the Oct. 3 Debate on the Environment in Collingwood, Liberal candidate Lorne Kenney, Green candidate Sherri Jackson and NDP candidate Ilona Matthews all agreed their parties would work to meet and exceed the Paris Accord’s carbon emission reduction targets.
People’s Party of Canada representative Richard Sommer reiterated his party’s position that climate change is not necessarily caused by human activity and therefore no action is required. Leader Maxime Bernier says he would withdraw from the Paris Accord.
The Conservatives have committed to meeting the Paris Accord targets but would scrap the carbon tax.
One resident asked candidates to respond to Greta Thunberg’s call for climate action.
Sommer said although it’s good to see young people engaged, “there is a certain amount of fear mongering.” Conservative candidate Terry Dowdall agreed saying, “I don’t think ‘the sky is falling’ is the right message for kids.”
Another resident asked Dowdall how he could be trusted to focus on climate change when he didn’t even attend the local 100 Debates on the Environment. He defended himself saying he had a prior commitment to attend the County of Simcoe Warden’s Gala, where $55,000 was raised for the United Way of Simcoe Muskoka.
He said he has been out knocking on doors and he is hearing that the number one issue for people is lower taxes.
He said people are struggling and they can’t afford any more tax increases.
“I want money in my pocket,” agreed one woman who came to the microphone.
During the Q&A, which lasted almost two hours, people took turns asking questions on everything from affordable housing, economics, education, veterans’ pensions, the opioid crisis, the regulation of vitamins, Quebec’s law banning public servants from wearing religious symbols, farming and more.
The line of questioning often circled back to climate change, and the youth action surrounding Thunberg.
Toward the end of the evening, one speaker said he had attended the climate strike and he heard their demands that politicians should not only work to meet the Paris Accord obligations but that they should stop attacking each other and work together.
Voting Day is Monday, Oct. 21.
Trina Berlo photo: At an all-candidates meeting hosted by the Stayner Chamber of Commerce Tuesday, Oct. 15, a veteran asks candidates, would their parties stop the claw back on military pensions?