Tom Hackney and fellow members of the Victoria chapter of the B.C. Sustainable Energy Association

Climate change, sustainability to be debated by Greater Victoria candidates

Candidates from South Island ridings to square off over next few weeks

The B.C. Sustainable Energy Association wants to hear what Greater Victoria federal election candidates have to say about topics relating to climate change and sustainability.

The organization’s Victoria chapter, which undertook a speakers series last fall entitled Energy and the Next Federal Election, begins a series of candidate debates this week under the theme Energy, Climate and Our Future.

Held in partnership with the Dogwood Initiative, the debates got underway last night (Sept. 16) at Edward Milne Community School in Sooke with candidates for the Esquimalt-Saanich-Sooke riding, which includes most of the West Shore except Langford.

“We had talks themed on various things, from behaviour change and transportation to carbon tax and building a viable economy,” said debates co-organizer Tom Hackney of the speakers series. “We all conceived this leading to a candidate’s debate. When we finished the planning, we figured we should spread the good news to all the ridings on the South Island.”

Among the pre-arranged topics to be discussed by Conservatives, Liberal, NDP and Green candidates are renewable energy, oil tankers and pipeline expansion, green jobs, greenhouse gas emission reduction and impacts on future generations.

“We spent a lot of time crafting questions that we feel cover the area fairly well, and we’ll be raising the questions neutrally,” Hackney said.

“Our thought is that these issues are just so important and their importance is becoming increasingly clear as we hear news of wildfires, and droughts and the progress that is being made in sustainable energy.”

Attendees will also be encouraged to ask their own questions during a Q&A section.

Subsequent debates will happen Sept. 21 at First Metropolitan United Church in Victoria (for the Victoria riding), Sept. 24 at Our Lady of the Rosary Church in Langford (Cowichan-Malahat-Langford), Sept. 29 at Esquimalt United Church (Esquimalt-Saanich-Sooke) and Oct. 2 at St. Paul’s United Church in Sidney (Saanich-Gulf Islands).

All of the debates are scheduled for 6:30 to 9 p.m. For people with children who might otherwise be unable to attend, child care will be provided on site. Registration for the service is required; visit bcsea.org/victoria to sign up or to find more debate information.

editor@goldstreamgazette.com