David Hilderman is in many ways the very opposite of incumbent Elizabeth May, as he tries to replace her as MP for Saanich Gulf-Islands under the banner of the People’s Party of Canada.
An engineer by training, Hilderman believes that the climate is changing, but does not think human-caused emissions of greenhouses gases (GHGs) are primarily responsible for that change in spite of overwhelming evidence. He says nobody, including the combined scientific community, really knows why the climate is changing.
“It could be sunspots, it could even be tectonic stuff, like volcanic stuff underneath the ocean,” he said. “Like I said, it’s a very complex system.”
While Hilderman calls for measures to mitigate the effects of this changing climate like forest fires through larger water reservoirs and better forest management, he opposes efforts to de-carbonize the economy because they would place Canada at a competitive economic disadvantage relative to its economic competitors, impoverish Canadians and ultimately make no difference.
“We are getting a spin that it (climate change) is catastrophic,” he said. So who is spinning it? “I don’t know,” he said. “All I am doing is looking at the facts,” he said.
Hilderman said earlier that he was trying to live his life in a way that would reduce GHGs, only to come across evidence that shows that Victoria’s rate of sea-level rise has not changed in 110 years, citing sea level trend data as recorded by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).
“You can go to any place in the world and sea-level rise rates are not changing,” he said. “They are the same as they have been for 110 years.”
(What Hilderman fails to acknowledge is that sea levels are rising and that NOAA draws an important distinction between local and global sea levels while pointing to date from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change that warns of rising sea levels on a global scale).
Hilderman also laments that the public never hears about the fact that carbon-dioxide is increasing plant growth rates. “So we never think, ‘OK, we are putting carbon-dioxide in the atmosphere, it’s warming the planet, but is there anything good about it?’” (While experts have found evidence to the described effect and research raises the prospect of improved agriculture in certain regions, any gains would have to be balanced against the loss of existing eco-systems and already productive agricultural areas).
Hilderman said this evidence shocked him and motivated him to run for the People’s Party of Canada.
“We can’t save the world by destroying ourselves,” he said. “All it is is virtue-signalling.”
Efforts to switch Canada’s economy toward renewable energy sources like wind-turbines and solar panels will actually damage the environment and make no difference, he said.
Hilderman’s arguably selective reading of the available evidence, dismissal of the scientific community and its findings and ruminations about unseen forces pushing some catastrophic narrative raises the obvious question: is Hilderman a conspiracy theorist?
“I have no idea if there is a conspiracy,” he said. “The amounts (of money spent on climate research in the world) is going up. Universities want to get their funding.”
Turning to the local race, Hilderman knows that he is up against one of the most familiar voices of Canadian environmentalism with a message directly opposed to hers. “That is actually another reason why I am running,” he said. “I think other people have to be looking at this data.”
Hilderman is the second candidate that the People’s Party of Canada fielded in as many elections. In the fall 2019 election, Ron Broda gathered 929 votes.
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