FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE - Friday, Jan. 15, 2021
KJIPUKTUK (HALIFAX) – Earlier this month, Ecology Action Centre surveyed the three candidates running in the Nova Scotia Liberal Party leadership race, providing them with an opportunity to articulate their positions on critical environmental issues facing Nova Scotia.
EAC is disappointed by two of the three responses, which according to the organization lacks the clarity and decisiveness appropriate to the office and the subject. However, EAC does applaud the unanimous commitment by candidates to fully implementing the Lahey Forestry Report recommendations; all three candidates have pledged to fulfill the report's 45 recommendations, with Rankin pledging to do so by the end of 2021 and Kousoulis before calling a general election.
“The lack of robust commitments to the environment by two of the Liberal Party leadership candidates is not acceptable. The public expects and deserves specifics on critical issues affecting our province,” says Maggy Burns, Executive Director with EAC. “This was an open book exam. These are not new issues. Many of the answers are simply to follow through on existing environmental commitments made by the current Liberal government.”
Only one candidate, Iain Rankin, completed EAC’s survey and provided a thorough and specific overview of his positions and how he would implement them. EAC is impressed with his answers. Labi Kousoulis submitted a letter outlining his environmental policy positions on a variety of topics, which EAC describes as “a decidedly mixed bag with some good commitments for the environment and some that may be well intentioned but off the mark.” Randy Delorey also submitted a letter referencing his principles in broad strokes, a decision that EAC finds disappointing from a former Environment Minister.
The results (or lack of) to the 17 questions asked in the survey are summarized in a backgrounder on the EAC’s website along with candidates’ full submitted responses.
In addition to clear stances on implementing the Lahey Report, all three candidates expressed support for protecting nature, but only Rankin committed to designating all of the remaining sites in the Parks and Protected Areas Plan.
Rankin and Delorey committed to starting long overdue public consultations on the Sustainable Development Goals Act, with Rankin further committing to releasing a climate plan by the end of 2021. Kousloulis did not address the issue in his letter. The SDGA, passed in October 2019, committed to the strongest climate targets in the country, but without regulations and a plan for implementation, the Act remains an empty and ineffective shell.
“Just over a year ago more than 10,000 Nova Scotians marched through downtown Halifax calling for climate action and a livable planet. It is clear beyond doubt where the public stands on the environment,” says Burns. “Now we need that kind of clarity from our leaders.”
With the N.S. Liberal party convention scheduled for early February, candidates still have time to step up and make the commitments needed to show leadership on critical environmental and social issues facing our province.
Executive Director, Ecology Action Centre
Strategic Communications Manager, Ecology Action Centre