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Q&A - Marc Reinarz

(click on question number to see all candidates' answers)
Everyone in Canada should have the right to clean air and a safe, healthy environment. In early May, SENS asked all candidates to sign a pledge to uphold this right.

a) Explain why you signed the pledge.

I  signed the pledge because it illustrates to others that I will first consider the human right to a healthy environment for my fellow humans. This environment encompasses the water, the air and soil with everything natural in it, under it and on it.

This pledge further acknowledges that in my capacity as Member of Parliament I will uphold this human right with everything I propose or agree to in the form of policy making.

b) Should you NOT be elected, what will you do locally to support everyone’s right to clean air and a safe, healthy environment?

Should I not be elected, this pledge means that I will uphold the commitments I signed up for in my other public functions as trustee of the two Improvement Districts I am board member of. I will continue the climate stewardship I upheld in the aforementioned functions up until now.

It will also reflect on my daily life and the actions I take privately, to ensure I do consider the pledge with every action I take and lead by example.

2. Jobs:

a) Multinational industries have a major influence on Canadian health, jobs, and laws. They can, through NAFTA, receive ‘damage’ costs AND pollute our air, soil and waters with impunity if they can show that our environmental laws impact their ability to make money. What will you do about this?

Multinational industries have a major influence on Canadian health, jobs, and laws. They can, through NAFTA, receive ‘damage’ costs AND pollute our air, soil and waters with impunity if they can show that our environmental laws impact their ability to make money. What will you do about this?

As a long-time international trade professional, I have intimate knowledge of the arguments corporations use to threaten to pull out of Canada, or pose other conditions, should laws become too restrictive, whether environmental, employment or health related. 

By standing up to their threats they can be pressured into complying as Canada is a market they won’t just drop to let another corporation in.

Corporations that wish to settle in Canada have to abide by laws that, at least, meet the environmental laws we will have at the time. They will need to prove they are aware that they have to adapt to changes in the regulations that may increase mitigation matter at a later stage. No grand-fathering rights.

The same will apply to Canadian companies.

Any provision to a corporation in Canada to receive compensation for a change in regulation must be negotiated out of any existing agreement, whether NAFTA or any other trade agreement. I do believe that the WTO is working to prohibit such provisions, or will be soon.

b) There are cases (e.g. Lavington Glass Plant and Nanaimo logging company) where a multinational company buys a Canadian company, then later (possibly having run it into the ground) closes it down to conserve jobs in another country. We lose well-paying jobs. How would you act to prevent this happening in the first place?

“Strategic purchases” of corporations is a hard topic to deal with. Laws must stipulate that a corporation has to fulfil its obligations, and yet cannot bind the corporation to an unlimited timespan to commit to these obligations.  Markets do change and a company may indeed have purchased another in good faith and the conditions change or are not as presented. 
One means to limit this practice is to cover all basis to limit the risk of this type of exploitation with clever conditions. Another means to protect Canadian jobs is to have a minimum Canadian content in a selected number of manufactured goods, if applicable.

c) For similar dollar investments, when 2 jobs are generated in the oil/gas industry, 15 jobs are generated in alternative energy (ref: Solar Living Sourcebook). According to the International Monetary Fund, our current governments pay subsidies of about $34 billion PER YEAR to the oil and gas industry (Tyee, May 15/14). Given the job benefits coming from alternative energy, what are you prepared to do to encourage jobs in alternative energy and to deal with oil and gas industry subsidies?

Subsidies to an industry that claims of itself to be profitable, cannot stop soon enough. 

The statistics given for transition to renewable energy sources related to job creation are based on economies that are not necessarily fossil fuel producers, except for Norway.

Canada’s oil sand bitumen, which we export to the US, and which is mostly used in the petro-chemical industry to produce asphalt, roofing, solvents and, most important of all, carbon fiber used in wind turbines, solar panels and tidal generators. Those very products, manufactured in the US with the Canadian raw material, are what we buy back, facing tariff on top of tariff.

Bringing the manufacturing of those products to the oil sand basin and elsewhere in Canada will create large numbers of jobs, reduces the amount of oil required to be extracted, and gives Canada the expertise in the production of the related technologies.  This prevents us from acquiring the technology from China, the US or Norway in the future.

Climate Change is real and happening around us all the time now. According to the UN, we only have 12 years to act before positive feedback loops create ever increasing wild and unexpected weather and global warming. It has already impacted locals due to health and business loss last year during the fires. 

a) What are you doing now, and what will you do to mitigate this disaster to reduce suffering of locals and other Canadians?

As candidate I lead by example.

As MP I will do all I can to have government meet the IPCC determination that, with monumental effort, we can hold to 1.5 degrees, IF WE START NOW! The plan to get there is as laid out in the Green Party platform. Nothing prevents humanity from achieving that goal – other than the lack of political will. 

Only the Green Party of Canada, supported by science, has for a long time called for the action required: reduce greenhouse gases (GHG) to 40% of 2005 figures (or 60% lower than 2005 measurements)

Government must run education programs to show Canadians that not acting now will cost exponentially more and will cost many lives, than mitigating urgently.

b) What will you do to ensure that carbon polluters (of air, water, land) will pay? B.C. did better than the rest of the provinces despite introduction of a carbon tax. What are your thoughts?

It has been proven that carbon tax works in BC, and works in varying forms elsewhere. The tax must be applied gently to the low polluters (small vehicles) and large vehicles should be taxed heavily. We also need to discourage sales of vehicles with large displacement combustion engines and reward the ones that convert those vehicles to electric operation. Look at experience in jurisdictions acting ahead of us.

Carbon tax can be kept revenue neutral, but I will push for it to be implemented as subsidies in various clean energy initiatives.

c) Many (companies/people) choose not to rethink, refuse, reduce or reuse because action will cost billions…but the cost of NOT dealing with climate change will cost trillions.  What will you do about it?

This is an issue that goes deeper than often is recognized. The goal must be to eliminate single use and non-biodegradable plastics, allowing for a short but workable implementation period. We need to learn from jurisdictions that have started sooner than Canada has.

Where plastics are used in a controlled circuit, where reuse and recycle is possible we can apply the above.

I will ensure attention paid includes all the long-term use plastics in use as lawn furniture, decorations, plastic fabrics, plastic wrapping, etc that enter the environment with storms and floods.

The Canada Health Agency has allowed use of Chlorpyrifos pesticide (on many fruits and vegetables) despite scientific evidence showing it can irreversibly impact children’s brain development and hormonal systems. They also still allow use of Roundup. Roundup’s active ingredient glyphosate “may rather be the most important factor in the development of multiple chronic diseases and conditions that have become prevalent in Westernized societies” (Peer Reviewed Scientific Journal “Entropy”). Other supposedly inert ingredients in Roundup have now been proven to be deadly to human cells, particularly embryonic, placental and umbilical cord cells (Scientific American). Forestry in BC uses it heavily to kill all deciduous trees (shown to deter forest fires when part of a mixed pine/fir/cedar forest). Roundup is now in our underground and surface water and our soil.

If elected would you ban Chlorpyrifos and also follow the example of the Netherlands and other countries which have banned Roundup? Explain.

NOTE: I can add to the above that often Roundup is used by farmers as spray on hay before baling, grass sprayed with Roundup before cattle grazing on it, etc… without the farmer being aware of the harm it does to the animal, and later the consumer of the milk or meat.

Use of herbicides and pesticides only persists because of the political influence of “big business” and the spread of false information by the manufacturers around the supposed benefits, ignoring the harm at the cost of human health and lives. The same position we see held by many a denier of climate change. Only a total ban on these products has my support.

A United Nations report called “Wake up before it's too late” calls for the transformation of agriculture saying we need “a rapid and significant shift from conventional, monoculture-based and high-external-input-dependent industrial production toward mosaics of sustainable, regenerative production systems that also considerably improve the productivity of small-scale farmers”.

If elected would you work to make this change happen in our region and if so, how would you go about transforming our agriculture?

Yes, I would ensure this change happens. 
What I will push for is to distinguish ordinary agriculture from high density industrial farms. Elsewhere this is defined by a set number of animals per hectare. I am not aware of how this is applied to crops. Once a distinction is made, industrial farms can be identified and precautions can be made to the facilities for their nitrates not to enter the ground and harm the water table or aquifer.

This change needs to happen. The only means by which I, as MP, or a delegate can accomplish any change is by engaging experts who work with the the farming community to provide the input on the means by which to accomplish the changes. The farmer is the expert. Yet they must be knowledgeable of the needs, and sign up to participate in implementation of the transformation as described in “Wake up before it’s too late”.

I tend to always hold the position, that if a change needs to take effect related to the environment or the overall improvement of an involved process, you start with the experts in the field. As leader in a political function I have to respect that the farmer is best at steering the process, with time-lines set by the environmental community: the science.
The process must consider identifying the problem areas, for as far as they are not known yet.

Is there a ready solution known, or available? If not locally, it is likely that a process exists elsewhere to avoid us re-inventing the wheel.

How will your party strike a balance between RESTORING (not just protecting) the ecological integrity of Canada’s forests (especially the massive boreal forest region) and the need for an economically and environmentally sustainable forestry sector?

Old growth forest is to be kept untouched.

Restore forests where clear cutting was applied and re-seeding / re-planting did not (sufficiently) occur.

“Export of raw logs” must be turned into “export of the valuable finished product”: dimensional lumber.

Many studies have taken place regarding the methods used in logging. Clear-cutting is not sustainable. Not only for the forest, but also for everything in it: bio-diversity, wild-life, watersheds…
We must apply the recommendations that exist on forest stewardship!

Transportation is one of Canada’s largest greenhouse gas emitters. 

a) Would you do as Norway did (well over $1 trillion US collected so far) and use carbon taxes for social and environmental initiatives (green spending and compensation for those who are disproportionally affected by a CO2 levy)?  Explain.

Would I do as Norway did? …and still does. Yes!

This will be a debate for soon after I’d take office if elected. Norway is a country, Alberta a province of Canada. Once this discussion comes up, a can of worms is opened as to who gets to claim how much. A form of the Alberta Heritage Fund will need to be implemented / regenerated. By transitioning to renewables, the increased value of the sector will provide the means. By sticking to the fossil fuel sector as it is now, there will be no reserves to be built up.

Building a pipeline will, upon completion, turn the oil sand sector into a drain on Alberta’s / Canada’s economy.

b) How would you approach the ‘elephant in the room’  - people who travel a lot by air, which greatly increases carbon emissions?

Severe discouragement and reduction is essential! 

We have to re-think tourism and business travel. No topic on the environment should be the “proverbial” elephant in the room. As true politicians, everything must be above board.

The only item not debatable is the change in climate, and the threat to our health now, and our life later, as a result.

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