Farnworth, Horgan fill environmental gap in leadership race


From TheTyee.ca – Feb 23, 2011

by Colleen Kimmett

NDP leadership hopeful Mike Farnworth became the second candidate to release an environmental platform yesterday.

Farnworth’s platform promises include:

  • Opening all existing IPP power purchasing agreements for public review, and a moratorium on all new IPPs.
  • A “no net-loss” policy for the Agricultural Land Reserve in each
    region and an enhance Buy BC program and BC Food First policy to
    support local food production.
  • The creation of a “blue belt” to protect wild salmon spawning and
    migration areas and a move to innovative closed containment
    aquaculture technology.
  • Repeal of the Significant Projects Streamlining Act that strips
    decision-making from local governments.
  • A shift of carbon tax revenue to transit and low-carbon green
    initiatives and inclusion of industrial emitters to pay the tax.

Last week NDP leadership candidate John Horgan released his environmental platform,
which touched on many of the same topics. He also promised to continue
lobbying for a federal moratorium on coastal tanker traffic and offshore
oil and gas drilling.

Today, Horgan issued a press release promising to revive Buy BC, a local food labelling and marketing program which was promised in the Liberal’s 2008 agriculture plan but has yet to be implemented. Liberal candidate George Abbott also promised to fund program if elected.

The Wilderness Committee supports the environmental
platforms of both Farnworth and Hogan. “I thought they compared very
favourably,” said its policy director Gwen Barlee. “They’re both
comprehensive, they’re talking about legislative changes, important
movement on energy, retaining the carbon tax and moving on climate
change in a significant way.

“They set a bar and we hope that other candidates will
meet that bar. Because two weeks ago, discussion of the environment was
missing in action, not only in the NDP leadership race but also
definitely with the Liberal leadership race.”

The NDP’s environmental support suffered in the 2009
provincial election when then-leader Carole James took an anti-carbon
tax position. That move alienated some environmental organizations that had traditionally been on side with NDP policies.

Barlee said she thinks these platforms will help heal
that rift. “I think people are sort of saying ‘show me the money’.
They’re looking for leadership on the environment, and I think the
environmental community will act accordingly.”

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About Damien Gillis

Damien Gillis is a Vancouver-based documentary filmmaker with a focus on environmental and social justice issues - especially relating to water, energy, and saving Canada's wild salmon - working with many environmental organizations in BC and around the world. He is the co-founder, along with Rafe Mair, of The Common Sense Canadian, and a board member of both the BC Environmental Network and the Haig-Brown Institute.