Liberal Candidate Survey 2021 | Ecology Action Centre

Liberal Candidate Survey 2021

 

Earlier this month EAC sent a survey to each of the three candidates running for the Nova Scotia Liberal Party leadership. The survey aimed to provide an opportunity for candidates to pledge their support for some of the major environmental issues affecting our province.  

Only Iain Rankin filled out the survey and provided a thorough and specific overview of his positions and how he would implement them, which EAC was impressed with overall. Labi Kousoulis and Randy Delorey declined filling out the survey and instead sent letters. Kousoulis’ offered his Environment & Agriculture Vision. Delorey’s outlined his stances in broad strokes. Shortly after the release of EAC’s initial analysis, Delorey released his environmental platform.   

We've reviewed the candidates’ responses to the survey along with their available environmental platforms to provide a picture of where each candidate stands on a variety of critical environmental issues. This analysis is not an endorsement of any of the candidates and not a reflection of their previous work on the environment.

Summary

 

Highlights 

  • Forestry: All three candidates commit to implementing the recommendations in the Lahey report on forestry reform. 
  • Electric vehicles: All three commit to increasing electric vehicle charging stations. Rankin and Kousoulis also commit to incentives. Rankin wants to electrify public transit and Delorey wants to start electrify the government fleet. 
  • Energy: All three commit to supporting renewables. Only Rankin commits to a target. Rankin and Delorey commit to increasing energy efficiency. Again, only Rankin commits to targets. 

 

Missed Opportunities 

  • The following are commitments made by the current Liberal government that could be easily moved forward. 
  • Sustainable Development Goals Act consultations. Only Rankin gave a commitment with a date. Kousoulis didn’t address. Delorey committed, but without a date.  
  • Designating all the remaining sites in the Parks and Protected Areas Plan (2013). Only Rankin made a detailed commitment. 
  • Passing an improved Biodiversity Act. Only Rankin committed to a specific timeline.  

 

Lowlights 

  • There’s minimal mention of the “just” side of just and green recovery. Rankin includes equity and inclusion in his answer to the first survey question. Delorey commits to establishing an environmental protection advisory team that includes Indigenous peoples and Black communities. Kousoulis didn’t address engagement and supports for Mi’kmaw, African NS, and newcomer communities. 
  • Open net pen aquaculture, Northern Pulp, Biomass: None of the three candidates adequately address these .  
  • School Food: Delorey and Kousoulis did not address school food. Rankin commits to increasing local food and deepening partnership, but no commitment of funding. 
  • Kousoulis’ commitment to twinning highways, though not mentioned in his survey response, is expensive and entrenches carbon-intensive travel. There are other effective ways to achieve highway safety. 

 

Problematic Positions 

  • Kousoulis’ green fund idea doesn’t seem well thought out. A) Nova Scotia does not make a lot from royalties; we mostly subsidize these resource extraction industries; B) it has the potential to set up perverse incentives to keep environmentally damaging industries going in the name of funding; C) it has been shown in the past that a similar federal fund did not work as intended.  
  • Delorey mentions not being solely reliant on the Atlantic Loop. The Atlantic Loop is a key part of the energy agenda. Without NS leadership pushing for regional cooperation, achieving this integration may be delayed significantly. Leaders must include this under their focus. Delorey mentions dependence on federal funding as being a hurdle – while in fact, it is an opportunity for NS and the Atlantic provinces to come together and pick this low hanging fruit. The Atlantic Loop was mentioned in the Throne speech, which means it is an important item in the federal climate plan. 
  • Both Kousoulis and Delorey note their support for battery storage. Battery storage is important, but it is key to also have a target for renewables, which neither do. Targets will help in assessing how much storage will actually be required, instead of estimating it as a stand-alone. 

You can read the candidates' full environmental platforms here:

You can read the candidates' full survey responses here:

 

Summary of Survey Responses

From the responses given and the candidates' released environmental platforms, we’ve put together a summary below of where each candidate stands on a variety of environmental issues. You can read the full list of survey questions here

 Question

Randy Delorey

Labi Kousoulis

Iain Rankin

As premier, what would you bring forward to advance a just and green recovery and transition workers in Nova Scotia to green jobs? 

 

 

Commitment to make progress on climate targets and environmental protection 

Commitment to create scholarships for clean technology and trades jobs to meet the increased need from retrofit program and retraining opportunities, including for Nova Scotians who currently work in non-renewable energy jobs. 

 

 

Positive statements about becoming more environmentally friendly and moving toward decarbonization. Commitment to establish a green fund from resource extraction royalties. Commitment to establish a Farmland Trust and a Land Improvement fund for agriculture of $10 million over 5 years.   

 

 

Commitment to clean infrastructure investments. Build on success to efficiency and retrofit industries. Commitment to get NS off coal to 80% renewables by 2030. Increased renewables, in particular wind. Commitment to equity and inclusion in energy transition.

 

African Nova Scotian, Mi'kmaw and newcomer communities have historically been left out of decision-making processes and disproportionately impacted by environmental harms. How will you make sure that the voices and environmental concerns of these communities are heard and prioritized? 

 

 

Commitment to actively engage and consult with Mi’kmaq and African Nova Scotian communities, stakeholders and all Nova Scotians to inform the Biodiversity Act and the Sustainable Development Goals Act. 

Commitment to establish an environmental protection advisory team to make recommendations for action in consultation with Indigenous peoples, Black communities and all Nova Scotians.

 

 

 

Does not address. 

 

Commitment to work with a variety of Mi’kmaw, African Nova Scotian, newcomer, and women’s organizations. Commitment to implement an equity recruitment strategy. 

 

Commitments at a glance 

 

   

1. Sustainable Development Goals Act: starting public consultations and releasing a climate plan 

 

Committed to consultation. Generally positive about making progress toward meeting climate targets. 

 

Does not address. 

 

Committed to consultation and releasing plan by end of 2021. 

 

2. Transition from Open Net Pen Aquaculture 

Does not address. 

Does not address. 

 

No specific commitments, other than to consult with communities and approval based on science from government departments.  

 

3. School Food Program 

Does not address. 

 

Commitment to food security; no details on school food program. 

 

 

Committed to deepening partnership with Nourish NS and increasing focus on local food. 

 

4. Designating remaining areas in Parks and Protected Area Plan 

 

Generally positive statement about protection. No specific details re: amounts, timelines, etc.  

 

 

Generally positive statement about protection. No specific details re: amounts, timelines, etc.  

 

 

Committed to designating remaining sites (150+ sites, 55,000 hectares), as well as identifying new sites and incorporating Indigenous Protected and Conserved Areas. 

 

5. Implementation of Lahey Report recommendations on forestry 

 

Committed to implementation. No details provided. 

 

 

Committed to full implementation prior to provincial election. 

 

 

Committed to full implementation in 2021. 

 

6. Designating core habitat for endangered and threatened species  

 

Does not address. Instead commits to earmark additional revenue for a new Habitat Restoration and Education Fund. 

 

 

Commitment to protection of mainland moose. Generally positive statement about protection; no details. 

 

 

Commitment to designate by end of 2021. 

 

7. Biodiversity Act 

 

Commitment to finishing consultation on Biodiversity Act and passing it. (Note: Extensive stakeholder consultations were already done two years ago. Commits to implement harsher penalties and fines for introducing invasive species to Nova Scotia.  

 

 

Does not address. 

 

 

Commitment to pass improved Act during next legislative session. 

 

8. Stop export of biomass 

 

Does not address. 

 

 

Does not address. 

 

 

No direct commitment. Policy focus for biomass to more efficient domestic space heating projects. 

 

9. Northern Pulp 

 

Does not address. 

 

 

No commitment. 

 

 

Outlined environmental assessment process under which an effluent treatment plant would be considered. 

 

10.  Allowing municipalities to reduce speed limits 

 

Does not address. 

 

 

Does not address. 

 

 

Supports change to HRM charter. Would consider other requests on case by case basis. 

 

11. Electric Vehicle Mandate and incentives 

 

Commitment to charging stations, beginning to transition government fleet.  

 

 

Commitment to incentives and charging stations. 

 

 

Commitment to incentives, as well as beginning electrification of public transit and commitment to charging stations.

 

12.  Province wide active transportation network 

 

Does not address active transportation; commitment to help municipal gov’t expand public transportation.  

 

Does not address. 

 

Commitment to increase co-funded active transportation projects with other levels of government. 

 

13.  Deep energy retrofits for affordable housing 

 

Deep energy retrofits for affordable housing not specifically addressed; commitments to zero interest loans and grants for retrofits; reviewing building codes to encompass low carbon materials; upgrades to provincially owned buildings and funding for community centres to retrofit. 

 

Does not address. 

 

Commitment to deep energy retrofits for affordable housing, as well as commitment to deep energy retrofits for all publicly owned buildings and increasing efficiency programming. 

 

14.  Increased renewable electricity to 60% by 2022 

 

No specific target or deadline; commits to support for renewables, battery storage and transmission grid upgrades. 

 

 

Commitment to electricity storage to increase opportunity for renewables. No details on increasing renewables.  

 

 

Commitment to exceed target.  

 

15. Decommissioning coal units and the building of replacement capacity from renewables 

 

Commitment to renewables battery storage and transmission upgrades. No commitment on decommissioning coal fired power plants. 

 

 

Commitment to electricity storage to increase opportunity for renewables. No commitment on decommissioning coal fired power plants. 

 

 

Commitment to decommissioning Trenton 5 by 2023 and support for renewables, with target of 80% renewable energy by 2030. 

 

 

Relevant media regarding candidates’ environmental platforms/vision: 

 

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