MURRAY RANKIN: We can all help to build a green economy

Victoria MP calls for reduction of federal oil industry subsidies and more investment in green technologies

We have an abundance of innovative and eco-conscious businesses, organizations and consumers in Victoria.

Our community is at the forefront of the environmental movement in many ways and we are already well on our way to building the local green economy here. But there is so much more to be done.

On June 15, I hosted a forum for green businesses, eco-friendly organizations and eco-savvy consumers called Building the Green Economy. More than 200 people attended to participate in a lively and informative panel discussion, followed by an eco-friendly expo featuring some of the remarkable green businesses and organizations that are part of the green economy here in Victoria.

Coherent economic management must recognize the value of a diversified, decentralized economy, as well as the reality of climate change. Yet every year Canada subsidizes the fossil fuel industry by $1.3 billion, a subsidy that only serves to discourage investment in renewable energy, clean technology and energy-efficiency.

Unfortunately, on a national level, under the Conservative government, we have witnessed unbalanced economic management, the massive overdevelopment of the oil sands and the underdevelopment of other clean energy sectors. We have also seen a complete neglect of initiatives to support a greener economy at the local level. Small- and medium-sized businesses are driving green innovation. Good economic management means knowing how to best support that innovation and when to get out the way.

How can we best support the green economy? How can we provide the most effective incentives for businesses and consumers? These are important questions that warrant thoughtful consultation, particularly in Victoria, which is a true centre for ingenuity. New Democrats are proposing solutions to make sure our children will inherit a fairer, greener and more prosperous Canada, and we are seeking your input to develop the best possible solutions.

Last week’s event was part of that consultation and the response was overwhelming.

My NDP colleague, Peter Julian, MP for Burnaby-New Westminster and Energy and Natural Resources critic, opened with an analysis of the destructive subsidies that the Conservatives are providing to the fossil fuel sector as well as their failure to support green energy.

Jill Doucette of Synergy, which helps small businesses in our region to green their operations, described the opportunities that will come from greening the economy. Teri Hustins, a downtown Victoria retailer for more than 25 years and vice-president of ShopLocal Victoria, spoke passionately about the benefits of a greener economy for a vibrant downtown core.

Nathalie Chambers, a restoration ecologist and advocate for sustainable farmland conservation models, argued convincingly for the benefits of local food sustainability and security, using the examples of her Chef Survival Challenge and the Big Dream Farm Fund.

Eric Denhoff, president and CEO of the Canadian Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Association and board member of the Energy Council of Canada, identified the potential for hydrogen fuel, as well as reinforcing the connection between energy, economics and social justice, an insight he has gained as a board member of Fair Trade Canada. Guy Dauncey, the celebrated author and sustainability advocate, provided 16 specific measures to help undergird the green economy in Victoria.

The choice is clear. We could go on pumping a billion dollars into fossil fuels each year – money this profitable industry doesn’t need. Or we could use that same money to create thousands of green jobs and jumpstart a transition toward lower-emission energies for the future.

Building the green economy is possible and we must learn about the practical steps we can take right away to make it happen.

If you were unable to attend the event, I would very much like to hear any input you wish to provide. Please email me at murray.rankin@parl.gc.ca.

Murray Rankin is Member of Parliament for Victoria.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Friends have identified the man killed in Friday’s shooting in Metchosin as Shane Wilson. (Shane Wilson/Facebook)
West Shore RCMP continue to investigate shooting death in Metchosin

Man killed on Sooke Road Friday night identified by friends

Fire Chief Darren Hughes, right, pulls the old Firemans Park sign off ahead of the parks name change. The new sign for Firefighters Park is coming. (Oak Bay Fire Department Twitter)
Oak Bay changes the name of Fireman’s Park

New sign for Firefighter’s Park on the way

The WHL’s Victoria Royals will compete in a 24-game season starting March 26, <strong></strong>based out of a Kamloops and Kelowna B.C. division bubble (Kevin Light/Courtesy Victoria Royals)
‘Important to cherish every moment’: Victoria Royals not taking bubble season for granted

The Victoria WHL team’s coach and GM calls the season a ‘privilege,’ expects fierce rivalries

The Victoria Fire Department was able to contain a fire to one room after a bed placed directly against a heater ignited. (Black Press Media file photo)
Early morning Victoria balcony fire causes $20,000 in damages

Victoria Fire Department said nobody was injured in the fire on View Street

Postmark Group, an Edmonton-based development firm, bought two properties at 6641 and 6643 Sooke Rd. last year, and is reaching out to the community and local groups for feedback before they begin planning the designs for the development. (Photo contributed/Postmark Group)
Waterfront village development eyed for Sooke

Postmark Group development firm bought two properties at 6641 and 6643 Sooke Rd. last year

Const. Nancy Saggar, who has 11 years in policing, offers advice for other women who may pursue both policing and family. (Black Press Media file photo)
Pregnancy prompts sage advice from RCMP officer for women thinking about policing

West Shore constable with 11 years experience heads off on maternity leave

Montreal Canadiens right wing Paul Byron (41) fights for control of the puck with Vancouver Canucks defenceman Quinn Hughes (43) during first period NHL action in Vancouver, Monday, March 8, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Captain Clutch: Horvat nets shootout winner as Canucks edge Habs 2-1

Vancouver, Montreal tangle again on Wednesday

(BC SPCA)
Is it safe to give your dog some peanut butter? Not always, BC SPCA warns

Some commercial peanut butter ingredients can be harmful to dogs

Anyone with information is asked to call Nanaimo RCMP at 250-754-2345 or contact Crime Stoppers by calling 1-800-222-8477 or submitting a tip online at www.nanaimocrimestoppers.com.
21-year-old motorbike rider dies after crash with ATV on Nanaimo back road

Incident happened Sunday afternoon near Boomerang Lake

Rising accident rates and payout costs have contributed to billion-dollar deficits at ICBC. (Comox Valley Record)
B.C. appealing decision keeping ICBC injury cases in court

David Eby vows to ‘clip wings’ of personal injury lawyers

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry and Health Minister Adrian Dix provide a regular update on the COVID-19 situation, B.C. legislature, March 2, 2020. (B.C. government)
B.C.’s COVID-19 cases: 545 Saturday, 532 Sunday, 385 Monday

Focus on Prince Rupert, Lower Mainland large workplaces

A special committee has been appointed to look at reforming B.C.’s police act and is inviting the public to make submissions until April 30, 2021. (Black Press media file)
Have thoughts on B.C.’s review of the provincial Police Act?

Submissions will be accepted until April 30

Cottonwoods Care Home in Kelowna. (Google Maps)
New COVID-19 outbreak at Kelowna care home includes fully vaccinated seniors: Henry

Two staff and 10 residents tested positive at Cottonwoods Care Centre

Most Read