MP Cannings to host town hall on climate change

MP Richard Cannings is holding another town hall meeting, but this time there is a specific topic: climate change.

MP Richard Cannings is holding another town hall meeting, but this time there is a specific topic: climate change.

Cannings said the federal government has asked MPs, back in their constituencies over the summer, to consult with Canadians on two issues: action on climate change and electoral reform.

“We are developing this climate action plan — in my opinion, they are taking a little longer than they need to,” said Cannings. “They want some input by early September.

“What we’re asking is what do you think the government or Canadians should be doing? How should we tackle climate change?”

Cannings said he’s already had a successful town hall on the topic in Rossland.

“The federal government has to get involved, show some leadership, devise policy to really drive this. Policy in terms of incentives to encourage people to do the right things and policies around the price on carbon.”

Cannings, who is vice-chair of the natural resources committee, said everyone he has talked to agrees there needs to be a price on carbon, including CEOs of oil and gas companies interviewed by the committee during a six-month study.

Cannings said reducing carbon emissions is central to taking action on climate change, that it is “the number one and really the only issue.” The question is how to do it. He said the question of whether climate change exists has long been settled.

“I think we are beyond that. These aren’t meetings debating climate change. To me and almost every politician in Ottawa, that debate is over. The debate now is how do we deal with it,” said Cannings. “These are town halls saying what should we be doing to tackle climate change. We have wasted too much time debating this when there shouldn’t have been a debate in the first place.”

Two targets came out of the Paris Agreement, which Canada signed on to in Dec. 2015. One was the carbon target set in the agreement, and the other was what Canadian government officials talked about.

“If everybody that signed on to the Paris agreement kept to the targets they pledged, we would see global temperatures rise three to four degrees and we are supposed to be keeping them under two,”  said Cannings. “We had two messages from the Canadian government come out of Paris. One is we are pledging to let the global temperatures rise four degrees, and on the other hand, we said we really have to keep it to 1.5.

“I definitely think the targets we have now are achievable, I just think they are too weak. We should have much harder targets and I think those would be achievable.”

Cannings’ climate change town hall meeting takes place Aug. 15 from 7 to 9 p.m. in the Penticton library auditorium. Another town hall, on electoral reform, is planned for September.