Stewardship should always be the core of environmental policy. Over the past decades, while people have become more attuned to environmental issues, ordinary citizens have not engaged significantly more in stewardship and conservation efforts.
Instead, a large majority of efforts, funding and political action has been dedicated to the issue of global warming or climate change. This shift in focus, I argue, has had a detrimental effect on our local environment. We believe more resources should be directed toward what we can definitively accomplish.
A PPC government will focus environmental policy on 3 key areas:
- Clean Water. Our local waters are often contaminated to an unacceptable level. We need to immediately convert our sewage treatment plants to the “tertiary” standard that disinfects water so it can be safely released back into the environment. Storm drain systems should also be upgraded to remove common pollutants collected from our streets and soils before they damage delicate river systems.
- Abundant Water. Regardless of human’s impact on the climate, we are guaranteed to have wet years and dry years. More resources should be directed toward watershed maintenance and reservoir expansion (such as the Seymour reservoir) to ensure we can last through dry periods and growing populations. Abundant fresh water will also allow us to manage the flow in our salmon-bearing streams
- Clean Air. By global standards, we have clean air. But it can still be improved. We can do this by planting more trees and improving our forest management practices.
Canadians cannot vote to change environmental practices in countries like China, the US, India or Brazil. And we cannot measurably affect the climate by our own action or coordinated action with dozens of other countries (e.g. Paris Accord). What we can do is invest in the infrastructure that will make climate changes, regardless of the degree to which humans contribute, less impactful to the lives and livelihoods of Canadians.