Andrew Weaver: I joined the Green Party because I am a scientist

IT WAS A bit rich for the NDP Environment Critic Megan Leslie to claim that the  NDP is greener than the Green Party -- especially as her springboard for this claim was a so-called climate motion brought forward by the NDP that forgot to include a call for reduced greenhouse gases.

In fact, the NDP motion was so badly worded and misconceived that Elizabeth May, leader of the federal greens and Member of Parliament for Saanich-Gulf Islands, could not vote for it. I couldn't have voted for it either. I guess, despite being a climate scientist whose work is recognized around the world, according to Megan Leslie, that means I am not concerned about climate action.

The reason I joined the Green Party of BC was not because I was yearning for power, or willing to parse the truth and join in the hyper-partisan spin of the major parties. I joined the Green Party because it is the only party to consistently support climate action -- carbon pricing, an end to fossil fuel subsidies, aggressive efforts in energy efficiency and demand-side management and the steady expansion of renewable and green energy. These steps would improve our economic performance, create tens of thousands of new jobs across Canada, while preserving a sustainable world for our children.

The only time a major party was willing to call for a tax shift, to reduce income taxes and increase pollution taxes, was in 2008 under Stephane Dion's Liberal leadership. And what party was first out the gate to slam him? The federal New Democrats. Then, when the BC Liberals announced a provincial carbon tax, one now widely supported across British Columbia, the BC NDP launched their "Axe the Tax" campaign. Now, in the 2013 provincial election, we have the NDP taking a better position, by broadening the scope of the carbon tax, with, ironically, the provincial Liberals calling for a freeze.

What Canadian politics needs is a party that is more interested in respectful debate and dialogue, in pressing for climate action as a daily commitment, than parties that swing with the winds of political expediency.

I never imagined I would be a candidate for any party. As a scientist, I am way outside my comfort zone. But when I look at my children and imagine what their future will be if we continue with politics as usual, I realized I could no longer sit on the sidelines.

The decisions being made in Victoria and Ottawa are too important to be left to the politicians. Here in British Columbia, the two major parties are willing to bet our province's future on fracking and natural gas exports. Green leader Jane Sterk was able to obtain a confession from Premier Clark in the debates that the energy from the Site C dam is intended for that LNG production. Meanwhile, renewable energy opportunities for BC are being ignored and critical infrastructure improvements, for efficient mass transit, are ignored.

Greens understand we will not be forming government any time soon. But we equally believe it is critical to have representatives in our legislatures who will support other parties when they have a good idea, criticize those who twist the truth, condemn those who block action, and work to promote cooperative, positive decisions to reduce greenhouse gases. Let's stop pointing fingers and work together to get the action we need.

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