Q&A - Making Calgary and Alberta more Sustainable
Question - What specifically are your plans for making Calgary and Alberta more sustainable and environmentally friendly?
Answer - To answer this question, one must use a systems thinking approach to even begin to deliver a feasible plan. What I mean by systems thinking is to think of all of the interconnected parts between the municipality of Calgary, the province of Alberta, and the government of Canada.
As MP I would be fully dedicated to working with the province and city to become more sustainable. Although a full plan of the intricate relationship that the Green Party of Canada would foster can be found in Vision Green, I can outline a couple of examples that would apply to the constituents of Calgary Signal Hill
Green Infrastructure for our Cities.
The blue line of Calgary transit provides one of the lifelines for Calgary. Constituents of Calgary Signal Hill will remember the constant cleaning of dust and waiting in traffic that had to be endured until 69th street station was complete. After all the dust settled and the construction crews drove off into the sunset, we haven't seen or heard of boots on the ground since. Worse yet is the plight of the constituents who have had to endure the construction traffic and dust on 16th avenue, and have seen no significant improvements in routes for transit.
Underfunded green infrastructure is developed sporadically, without objective, and only when politicians need further political gain. As soon as transit seems to develop in one part of the city, development halts dead in all other regions. Calgarians need better. Of course, the funds do have to come from somewhere. The Green Party of Canada has the resolutions to fund green infrastructure that won't ransack the working class.
- Giving municipal governments a seat at the policy-making table through the Council of Canadian Governments. This enables cities to direct funds appropriately for their needs thus raising efficiency for handling resources.
- Make changes to the Canada Infrastructure Bank to reduce interest rates to municipalities on loans for infrastructure projects.
- Institutionalize federal transfers to municipalities through the creation of a Municipal Fund, renaming the Gas Tax funds, which were delinked from gas tax revenue years ago. Ensure a doubling of current funding to ensure predictable and reliable funding to municipalities.
Fostering a proper funding mechanism between the federal jurisdiction and our municipalities is fundamental for ensuring that municipalities have the proper resources to pursue green infrastructure.
Sustainability comes with the Green Economy.
We have heard it a million times, Alberta is an oil province, but it can't be forever. Alberta can't be a sustainable province under its current composition.
For those that work in the fossil fuel industry who are still reading past the above line, this is for you, you will not be left behind in the transitioning green economy. Calgary signal Hill has one of the highest concentrations of oil and gas executives in the province. I sympathize with the concerns one might have should their entire livelihood and industry be challenged. However the Green Party of Canada has dedicated itself to outlining a just transition to a green economy. The just transition is dedicated to allow Canadians who are in oil and gas have a plethora of options and resources during transition so that their livelihood and quality of life is not threatened. Although it might be tempting for current oil and gas workers to stay course, Canadians know they deserve more than Boom and Bust.
If elected, Green MP's will be;
- Creating a detailed and publicly available inventory with labour market information pertaining to oil, coal and gas workers, such as skills profiles, demographics, locations, and current and potential employers.
- Creating a comprehensive funding program for workers staying in the labour market to address their needs across the stages of securing a new job, including income support, education and skills building, re-employment, and mobility.
- Investing in comprehensive retraining and apprenticeship programs for industrial trades workers for jobs in the transition to a zero-carbon economy, especially the renewable and energy efficiency sectors.
If we apply people first governance to making Alberta more sustainable, then we guarantee that Canadians' financial needs are being considered. If we support our workers into a green economy, then the environmental rewards that are to be gained from diversification will enable Calgary and Alberta to be more sustainable.
I hope I have outlined at least the philosophy and principle behind the plans of how greens will make Calgary and Alberta more sustainable. Again, to pursue sustainability is an intimidating task due to the need to consider all contingencies. However, I am confident that greens are up to the task and that I personally have unwavering goals to see that Calgary and Alberta will embrace their potentials to be sustainable.
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We can do this!