Mike visited Topsy Farms on Amherst Island, a cooperative family farm that cares deeply for the environment, and which has also been featured on the Discovery Channel, making our community proud! Through low-till or no-till practices, good stewardship, Environmental Farm Plans, and more, farmers make great efforts to fight climate change, and unfortunately they are also one of the first to suffer from its effects through severe weather events like drought and flood. When farmers can’t grow food, we are all in trouble. To help, our federal backstop carbon price includes an exemption for on-farm fuel.
The fight against climate change is one of the most important fights of our generation, and future generations depend on us. I promise you that I will never stop fighting to protect our environment, as I have already been doing for years as a community activist fighting to protect our community’s water against the mega-dump expansion in Napanee.
Recently, scientists announced that Antarctica lost 3 trillion tonnes of ice between 1992 and 2017. This means that sea level rise may be even higher than previously projected. We can also think locally about the severe drought in our area (worst since records started in the 1880s) and severe floods of the last few years. These are 100 year events now happening regularly.
The evidence is clear, and protecting future generations and our planet should not be a partisan issue. Yet, the Conservatives seem perfectly fine with future generations paying the vastly higher—even existential—costs of climate change, and they have no plan. Meanwhile in the real world, the costs of doing nothing are far higher. For example, from 1983 to 2004, insurance claims in Canada from severe-weather events were almost $400 million a year. In the past decade, that amount tripled to $1.2 billion a year, and this cost continues to increase.
Telling future generations that we had good intentions but couldn’t do anything because the US chose to do nothing is not good enough. We need to take responsibility for the pollution we are creating, not just pass that burden to future generations.
Farmers want to pass their farms to the next generation, and we are doing everything we can to protect and innovate the farms of today. But, it will all be for naught if we don’t protect the land from the ravages of climate change. Not only is our federal government doing something about carbon pollution but we are investing in the future through investments in innovation, public transit, modern and efficient water and wastewater systems, and stronger emissions regulations. Strong action on climate change incentivizes innovation and thereby ensures that we stay ahead of the rest of the world and become industry leaders, which is important for job creation and economic growth.
Back in April, our government released a report on the cost of the federal carbon pricing plan. Key findings, which came as no surprise, were that pricing carbon reduces pollution at the lowest cost to businesses and consumers. British Columbia’s direct price on carbon pollution has been in place since 2008. Analyses suggest that the policy has reduced emissions by 5-15%. Meanwhile, provincial real GDP in BC grew more than 17% from 2007 to 2015, outpacing the rest of Canada, and per-capita gasoline demand dropped 15% between 2007 and 2014.
Did you know? As an avid fisherman and hunter ever since growing up in Madoc (pictured), Mike understands how much the outdoors community cares about good stewardship and passing traditions down to future generations. That’s why we need to protect the environment for our kids, grandkids, and future generations.
Our government has said all along that the environment and economy go together. This is why at the same time we are putting a price on carbon and making the transition to clean energy, we also approved the Trans Mountain pipeline as a crucial economic tool during that transition. Oil and gas exports are worth $75 billion to our economy, yet 97% of exports go to the USA. We have always been a large resource-rich nation with a small population, which means our prosperity depends on being able to export. Given the current trade dispute, there is no more crucial time to diversify our trading relationship than now, and it is our duty to act in the best interests of Canadians by getting our resources to new markets.
For more, I recommend Gary Mason’s article “The carbon-tax debate is filled with dishonesty” in the Globe and Mail, and Andrew Coyne’s article “We know how much a carbon tax would cost. If only we could say the same about the Tories’ alternative” in the National Post.