Environmental research would ensure that these areas last.
Paul Baker/the Gauntlet

Green research and development a common goal

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Green election promises are reaching a new high this year, with all parties tackling the environmental issue in their own way.

Calgary-West Liberal candidate Jennifer Pollock hopes to create an incentive for companies to buy green technology and for Canadians to retrofit their homes.

"The whole platform in this election is designed to include the environment and the impact on the environment in every decision that's made," she said. "That starts first with, in a sense, the carbon tax itself which is an attempt to reduce carbon in the atmosphere, but also an attempt to change our economy and our society to being one that consumes less."

Green Party candidate Randy Weeks argued the focus on carbon ignored other emissions dangerous to the environment. He said the Liberals watered down the original Green environment policy until it was no longer effective.

"It's un-tax what we want and tax what we don't want," said Weeks. "That's the basis of it. We want people to have jobs, why tax them?"

New Democratic Party candidate Teale Phelps Bondaroff also mentioned the important economic effects environmental policy will have. He hopes to target major polluters like "big oil" and "big cement" and not individuals for new taxes. Phelps Bondaoff explained the weakness in the Liberal Green Shift policy was a result of it being revenue neutral.

"Every single dollar they raise in the carbon tax will be going into other offset taxes," he said. "The problem with that is the goal of the tax is to reduce carbon, so you're essentially reducing your carbon tax base if you're actually successful."

He explained the NDP plans to set a firm limit on carbon emissions to create a market for carbon shares.

"I want to see much more research and development money put towards green technologies," said independent candidate Kirk Schmidt. "There's a lot of problems that we can fix by taking the time in Canada to put money into research and coming up with solutions that are homegrown and that we can sell to other countries later on when we do develop them."

Schmidt also called for more thorough use of technologies already available, such as replacing incandescent light- bulbs with fluorescent ones.

"Global climate change needs to be a multinational solution," he said. "Canada needs to do its part, but Canada alone cannot fix the worlds problems alone."

Marxist-Leninist candidate Andre Vachon disagreed and said all people have a responsibility to mother nature and future generations.

"We're a communist party and so we place the interest of the working class and people first," he said. "That is not taking place anywhere where pollution is rampant and where violence is committed against nature."

All candidates agreed that reducing consumption would have a positive affect on both the environment and the economy.

"While some people don't agree with Alberta's energy climate, if the whole world uses less energy and less hydrocarbons then Alberta's economy will be stable for a longer period of time," said Pollock. "Consuming less is better for Alberta."