Wednesday July 21, 2021 | VANCOUVER ISLAND, BC
OPINION-EDITORIAL: by Randall Garrison, MP (Esquimalt-Saanich-Sooke) | As first issued July 7, 2021
Editor’s Note: This commentary is perhaps something more readily related to now by more British Columbians, now that we’ve all experienced an extreme heat event (the properly forecasted heat dome during June 25 to 29, 2021).
“The climate crisis is here. We have had decades of warnings that if we cannot drastically reduce our GHG emissions, our climate will become increasingly unstable and incompatible with life as we know it, yet Conservative and Liberal Governments have made no serious effort to meet their climate commitments from Kyoto to Paris. Every day we delay real climate action puts us closer to climate catastrophe.
Last fall, I put forward a proposal that would see the federal government divert fossil fuel subsidies, $1.9 billion in 2020 alone, to a new crown corporation called Renewable Canada which would use these funds to drive our economy and jobs through government investments in renewable energy such as geothermal, solar, and wind. Many of the skills from oil and gas are transferable to renewable energy, and by leveraging the funds through a crown corporation, the federal government would be able to ensure that our transition to renewables is not only as swift as we know it must now be, but that workers are also provided meaningful employment in the regions they call home.
Oil and gas workers in Alberta, Northern BC, Saskatchewan and Newfoundland and Labrador are ready to get to work on renewables. These workers are highly skilled at drilling, exploration, geology and welding, all vital assets to renewable industries such as geothermal and wind. The willingness for a transition is also present, with a 2016 survey finding 91% of oil workers supported creating more jobs in renewable energy. Opportunities to create good jobs in renewable energy exist in nearly every community across the country.
My proposal, Motion M-50, is that a Crown Corporation called Renewable Canada be established so the federal government can strengthen our economy and get workers back to work, this time in renewable energy. We must ensure that our federal investments drive a rapid and just transition to renewable energy, not investment returns for oil and gas profiteers. The time for federal leadership on GHG reduction is now.”
===== Aiming for a fourth term:
Randall Garrison is currently in his third term as the Member of Parliament for Esquimalt-Saanich-Sooke on South Vancouver Island, BC. He has announced his intention to run again, whenever the next federal election is called. He lives in Colwood within his riding that spans parts of Saanich, View Royal, Esquimalt, Colwood, Metchosin, Sooke and west of Sooke to Jordan River.
Garrison is the NDP LGBTQ2+ spokesperson and is the previous NDP Critic on National Defence.