You don’t need to look far to find evidence of climate change and the environmental damage that the human race is inflicting on the planet.
After all, according to Environment and Climate Change Canada, transportation is one of the largest sources of carbon pollution in Canada. Automobiles and light trucks account for about 11 per cent of Canada’s total greenhouse gas emissions.
And except for a few imbecilic leaders here and abroad, most politicians are supporters of green initiatives designed to stop and even reverse the environmental damage.
So, how “green” are our local politicians? The Sooke News Mirror asked them about their transportation habits.
On the most part, the answers demonstrated our elected officials do their best to model their environmental talk.
Mayor Maja Tait drives a four-cylinder Chevy Cruz but is also an avid cyclist. She carpools or uses public transportation when possible.
Coun. Jeff Bateman also drives a smaller vehicle, a Mazda 3, cycles whenever possible for trips in Sooke. Bateman also emphasizes green involves more than one’s ride.
“We recycle ruthlessly, and follow a life of voluntary simplicity (to reduce our carbon footprint),” Bateman said.
At the McMath household, Coun. Megan McMath drives a four-cylinder Mitsubishi Outlander. Her partner owns a Tacoma pickup that they use for trips to Victoria, particularly in inclement weather.
“We’re in the market for an electric vehicle, though, and hope to get one in the near future,” McMath said.
“We also have an electric bike, which is great.”
Coun. Al Beddows drives a four-cylinder Mazda 5, while his wife wheels around in a Ford Escape. He also cycles occasionally, primarily on Sooke’s trail system.
Despite his use of a wheelchair, Coun. Dana Lajeunesse has managed to get around in either his 2.0-litre, four-cylinder Mazda CX5 or his 2.0-litre, four-cylinder Audi A5.
“Whenever I’m in a major city, I actually like to take advantage of their subway system,” Lajeunesse said.
The greenest of Sooke’s councillors seems to be Tony St. Pierre who drives an electric vehicle that’s part of a car-sharing co-op. He uses the transit system to attend Capital Regional District meetings.
But the situation is nuanced.
“I still operate a farm, and we have a truck there since that’s what’s needed to get that work done,” St. Pierre said.
Sooke Coun. Ebony Logins didn’t respond to our request for information.
Juan de Fuca Electoral Area Regional director Mike Hicks drives a four-cylinder Outback and said that, although he’d consider an electric vehicle, it might be problematic as Port Renfrew does not have an electric vehicle charger. It’s something he’d like to see change.
“Unfortunately, my job also takes me to areas where transit and cycling are not options,” Hicks said.
School board chair Ravi Parma uses carpools when possible and drives a four-cylinder Nissan.
Randall Garrison drives an electric vehicle and buys carbon offsets to reconcile his need to commute to Ottawa by air.
Finally, MLA and Premier John Horgan owns a Toyota Prius, but rarely gets to drive it these days.
It seems that security rules for the premier require that he be driven by his security detail in one of a variety of government vehicles.
The protocols do not, we’re told, allow for everyone to cram into a government issue Chevy Spark or similar vehicle.