Late last week we had the pleasure of meeting Ken Melamed, Green Party Candidate for West-Vancouver-Sea to Sky-Sunshine Coast. Ken was at ease sharing his thoughts on the proposed Woodfibre LNG plant, though he certainly took note when we passed him our Declaration with over 2100 signatures! Add your name, if you haven't already.
This was our first meeting with a federal election candidate on this issue. The format for our discussion was simple. First we asked Ken four standardized questions that we'll ask every candidate as part of this initiative. After we meet with candidates from all four parties, we'll produce a short summary of their answers and report out to you.
Until then, we'll hold off sharing Ken's answers to our four standardized questions until we hear from all the candidates, to keep things fair. We don't want any candidate to have an unfair advantage over another, by seeing these questions in advance. So, these four questions and Ken's answers are a bit of a secret, at least for now.
Part two of our chat with Ken was more spontaneous. We selected a few questions from the submissions you made through our survey and put them to Ken. It's not too late to get your candidate questions in. Tell us what you'd like to ask the candidates!
These citizen questions, along with Ken's answers aren't a secret. They're summarized below.
An important point to mention, we received hundreds of incredibly informed questions from folks. Howe Sound and beyond know this issue, inside and out. Make no mistake. Ok, so here we go.
Citizen Question 1: Have you read the Woodfibre LNG Environmental Assessment and the Working Group comments? And if so, what was your big take away message?
Ken: I haven't read it in detail. What I did, was I asked a supporter--Julian Taylor--who has a history in the industry to provide me with a backgrounder so we could make a submission to the Assessment Office. So I co-authored this submission. So my experience with environmental monitoring reports is less than satisfactory. My experience is that they're incredibly detailed and if you focus on the details, often you lose sight. Industry will invariably one-off your comments. So I prefer to take a bigger, more holistic view.
Citizen Question 2: Who's pulling your strings?
Ken: Who's pulling my strings? Honestly, it's my future grandchildren. I continually put myself in this position, where I'm having a hypothetical conversation with them, and they're asking me, "Grand Dad, what did you do?"
Citizen Question 3: Assuming you won the election, how will you keep Howe Sound pristine with heavy industry activities being proposed?
Ken: It's a challenging question because of the multi-jurisdictional way our government is set up. I think our first thing is to bring the Department of Fisheries and Oceans and Environment Canada back to their former roles. Wild salmon used to be one of the over-riding directives--the protection of salmon. We've kind of lost that. That's one of the first things that's achievable that can happen. I really believe the best way forward is to decentralize control and bring greater control to local governments. So get Ottawa out of the affairs, and give funding back to local governments.
A huge thanks to Ken for chatting with us. Stay tuned for more candidate updates and don't forget to sign and share our Declaration to Protect Howe Sound. We'll present the growing list to every candidate.