Lytton refugees, we send our love and condolences out to you as you face the loss of everything you held dear. Your heart-wrenching grief and shock are almost beyond imagining. You are the anguished face of the future.
As we struggle with scorching temperatures, early forest fires and hundreds of deaths in BC due to the heat, it is clear that climate change is an environmental, cultural, and human health emergency.
We need to put the same kind of effort into fighting climate change that we put into fighting Covid 19. For more than two decades I’ve been tackling the impacts of a changing climate through my work in BC Environment and Parks, as Mayor of Cranbrook, and as Member of Parliament.
If elected as MP for Kootenay-Columbia you can count on me to address climate change every day, not just when it is politically expedient.
The Kootenay-Columbia region of BC is an area that has been widely described as breath-taking. However, in recent years the term “breath-taking” has not always been a good thing. Since the turn of the millennium, there have been at least five smoky, fiery summers where Kootenay communities have been on evacuation alert and our whole region has been blanketed by thick, choking smoke. Smoke from fires in Alberta, the Okanagan, and Washington State has funnelled into the Kootenays in years when we don’t have our own fires to contend with. And the experience of losing Lytton this past week reminds us anew of the awesome power of a landscape ablaze. Breath-taking indeed!
Scientists have been warning us for fifty years now. The climate emergency is no longer something we can ignore. While British Columbia has its own particular concerns with heat wave record temperatures currently cracking thermometers, climate change has already disrupted life on earth. It has destabilized weather patterns, watersheds, sea ice, and wildfire cycles. It has put our forests under threat from disease and insect invasions. It has charred whole swaths of landscape.
A federal NDP government will set new policy directions to:
Move our economy to carbon-free renewable energy,
Create science-based sustainable jobs in all regions of Canada,
Retrofit public buildings for energy efficiency,
Develop affordable public transportation networks,
Enforce strict emission standards that protect our essentials of life: our land, water, and air.
Conservatives may continue to deny this climate emergency. Liberals may continue to invest in the last gasps of carbon producing industries. The NDP will lead the way, standing up for climate action through stronger laws and regulations, and investments in new clean technology rather than yesterday's ideas.
Understanding and addressing climate change isn’t a matter of political expediency for me; it is about the survival of our planet. We can not afford to wait for someone else to fix the problem.
NDP candidate Kootenay-Columbia riding
Photo Credit: Pat Morrow
Donate to one of the verified GoFund me pages to help the people of Lytton: https://ca.gofundme.com/c/act/bc-wildfire