New Democratic Party MP and environment critic Megan Leslie

New Democratic Party MP and environment critic Megan Leslie

Federal NDP touts its enviro plan

Halifax MP and NDP environment critic Megan Leslie visits Parksville Qualicum Beach

With a federal election only months away, the New Democratic Party of Canada is hot on the campaign trail.

Halifax MP Megan Leslie, the NDP’s environment critic, said the party is in “platform development mode” and she wants to hear from all corners of the country, including Parksville Qualicum Beach.

Leslie was at The Bayside Tuesday morning with local NDP candidate Gord Johns, who called climate change “the biggest challenge of our time.” A crowd of about 20 people showed up to rally support in the early days of an election year.

Johns alleges the Conservative government has “stripped environmental laws in Canada,” something he vowed to reverse, if elected.

He voiced concern over the looming Raven Coal mine application, depleting salmon stocks, tanker traffic and the state of the shellfish industry.

“I have a lot of concerns (about Raven Coal mine),” said Johns. “It’s unfair to the community to have to go through this process again … it’s threatening real jobs in the shellfish industry.”

Asked if he was against the Raven Coal mine project, Johns said “it wouldn’t pass the NDP’s environmental review process without social licence and I don’t think it has that.”

He said the coal mine threatens more jobs than it offers and it’s an industry that belongs in the past.

Leslie said the NDP is leading the way for environmental protection in Canada.

“We are the only party with a bill that would legislate our greenhouse gas targets,” she said. “We’re the only party recognized in the House of Commons that actually wants to put a price on carbon and sees that as part of the solution.”

In contrast, Leslie said “the Conservatives have demonized a price on carbon and the Liberals just announced that they have no plan, they would just sit down and have a chat but there’s no mandate there.”

The 42nd Canadian federal election is slated for Oct. 19. Johns will be vying for a seat in office representing the Courtenay-Alberni riding against Conservative candidate John Duncan, Liberal candidate Carrie Powell-Davidson and Green Party candidate Glen Sollitt.