CHARLOTTETOWN, P.E.I. - If a government doesn’t do what they say, they should be “kicked the heck out”, said PC Leader Dennis King at a leaders’ forum Monday evening, repeating a phrase he’s used even about himself during the provincial election campaign.
The all-party leaders environmental forum filled a MacDougal Hall room at UPEI and raised a series of questions on environmental, conservation, watershed and many more issues, moderated by UPEI professor Carolyn Peach-Brown.
Leaders were asked about their three environmental priorities as the forum began. All leaders agreed tackling the issue of climate change and transitioning to clean energy are necessary.
Green Leader Peter Bevan-Baker said protecting the water, tackling climate change and providing support to farmers were his three priorities.
NDP Leader Joe Byrne said ensuring a healthy soil, clean water and public transit were his priorities.
King said his PCs are committed to improving soil quality, ensuring healthy air and clean water.
Liberal Leader Wade MacLauchlan said, if re-elected, his government would work towards providing information about the environment, working together and making investments in the environment.
MacLauchlan praised his P.E.I. government’s actions already taken in reducing emissions.
“We have the second lowest carbon footprint per capita. We’ve reduced by 40 per cent between 2003 and 2017.”
Byrne said P.E.I. also needs public investment along with government help to generate better technology.
“We have pension funds, where some of them have been invested offshore. Why don’t we negotiate to keep some of those funds in P.E.I.?”
King agreed, saying Islanders are the best resource to help create clean energy.
“Islanders are great innovators and the great motivator of innovation is necessity.”
King said as an island province, tackling climate change should be of huge concern.
“We have to be warier than most about the changing climate and the impact it will have in our future.”
Bevan-Baker disagreed with engaging people as a priority. He said the priority is to reduce carbon emissions.
“Despite what he (MacLauchlan) said, we have the highest household emissions of carbon in Canada, and Canada has three times the average global production of other countries.”