CCAN asked municipal candidates a number of questions about climate. We hope their answers can help you figure out who you want to vote for. For more information on why we asked these questions and why the municipal election matters, you can go to our original post here: http://climateyyc.org/2017/09/12/where-is-climate-in-the-municipal-election/. The most important thing is to get out and vote! This election is going to be close, and key climate issues like transit and bike lanes are on the line – for more information on candidate’s stances on these issues, especially mayoral candidates who didn’t respond to our survey, check out the Calgarians for BRT survey here: http://www.yyc4brt.ca/survey_mayor, and the Calgarians for Cycle Tracks facebook page with good news and info here: https://www.facebook.com/yycCycleTrack/. If you want to thank candidates for the things they’ve committed to, ask them more questions, or ask questions of any candidate who hasn’t responded, we’ve included all candidates emails.
Got questions on how and where to vote? Check out the city website here: http://www.calgary.ca/election/Pages/information-for-voters/how-to-vote.aspx
To find your ward, click here
To read candidate answers, click on the links in the table, or keep scrolling through the post.
For full list of candidates from the city, click here
The Four Questions:
- As the world economy transitions towards cleaner energy sources, what can our municipal government do to protect Calgary’s prosperity? How do we build a diverse and viable economy for all Calgarians, including the most vulnerable?
- The City’s 2017 report on climate says that “existing actions do not put Calgary in a position to meet its current GHG reduction targets in the near and long term foreseeable future.” Specifically, what would you do differently to achieve those targets?
- Given that the new green line, energy efficiency, and rooftop solar programs have substantial provincial funds provided from the carbon tax, what is your opinion on the provincial carbon tax? If you are not supportive of a carbon tax, what other policies would you like to see implemented to provide a similar level of emissions reductions and funding for public infrastructure and energy innovation?
- According to the Insurance Bureau of Canada and the City of Calgary, climate change will cause increased damage from floods, hail and fires, and stress from heat and droughts. What specific actions should Calgary be taking to adapt to these risks and protect the city we love?
Mayor’s Race –
- The so called cleaner sources of energy required extensive pollution of the environment of rare earth metals to produce the magnets and metal required for wind and solar equipment. The dangerous effects of wind generators upon farmland and birds and even insects is becoming more documented. The solar and wind industries are not at all viable without government subsidies draining the Treasury. There is more promise in geo-thermal sources and of course the best answer is nuclear power plants with the high standards we have developed in Canada. Diversity economies will for decades still be heavily connected to carbon based fuels and virtue signalling projects are just an illusion. The biggest vulnerability is over taxation on the people via false environment actions.
- The GHG projections of the City and the goals outlined in Imagine Calgary are a utopian crock of bad brew.
- I am totally in opposition to the Carbon Tax and all uses of the revenue for failing ‘green’ energy schemes. The LRT is clunky and outmoded as we approach the onset of the autonomous vehicle, we will completely bypass the strategy behind Transit Oriented Development (TOD)
- We have always had climate change of varied intensity. We should pay more attention to the moral climate that brings on the judgment of God on a nation, as so well documented in the Old Testament. Proper and judicious use of our emergency management and a renewal of civil defense which leaves a network of knowledgeable, local, and willing volunteers to serve as the Backbone with which fire and flood are counteracted. Total evacuation is a failed and destructive response, making remediation and prevention far less likely.
Coral Bliss Taylor
- I believe that economic diversification is the key to our future here in Calgary, and that starts at the ground level. More independent businesses are being started by our neighbours than ever before and North America is progressively looking to Calgary as an environment in which to invest. We see unprecedented local growth in areas like Tech and Manufacturing. A supportive municipal government is integral to maintaining this pace. As Councillor, I’ll ensure the City of Calgary supports the local economy with local sourcing, something it does not currently prioritize. I’ll also work with colleagues on council, as well as in the provincial and municipal governments, as all levels of government need to be involved for a comprehensive and lasting solution. Finally, although a diversified economy serves most Calgarians, we must acknowledge that the most vulnerable will require more than that. I am committed to poverty reduction and mental health support (an often related issue). I am committed to strategies that have been proven to be effective, such as the housing-first approach to ending homelessness. For more complete information on my strategies for the most vulnerable, please see https://votecoral.ca/platform/.
- There are many small changes that would make a big difference to GHG reduction, while at the same time enhancing the lives of people in our communities. Specifically, here are some examples: Enmax – The City-owned utility Enmax needs to encourage and enable reducing GHGs, e.g. by encouraging mini and community-level production of electricity from renewables. Allowing owners of these facilities to sell electricity they produce into the grid will encourage their proliferation. Public Transit – I have learned in my city planning work and in life generally to be a big fan and advocate of public transit. In fact, my professional experience includes work on the West LRT. Public investment in transit results in significant ROI in terms of private investment in development along routes. Transit is one of the more scalable transportation technologies, and is a very important element of reducing traffic congestion. Transit is also available to more people than private vehicles, which can be out of reach for those who are too young or old to drive, or who have restricted budgets, or whose abilities do not allow them to drive. The best way to improve our transit system is by ensuring the entire network serves riders better. Because transit only works well when the entire system is competitive with other modes – when it gets people where they want to go, and faster. We can achieve this with direct, connecting routes across the whole system. Modifying our largely radial LRT network with connecting bus rapid transit (BRT) lines can move many people very quickly. BRT is also cheaper and faster to construct than light rail. Being faster to construct, it can deployed sooner, and respond more readily to changing conditions. Complete communities – Complete communities, which provide public and commercial services, transportation options, and housing options within a reasonable distance of each other, reduce transportation needs. I favour fine-grained planning that features gradual transitions between different urbanization levels, and integrates housing options rather than using large blocks. I will advance planning and development that makes sense in each area, as each area is different and requires different urban form. What’s needed can be gleaned from a combination of the urban form and local public input. I have significant experience in public engagement, and know how to ensure we hear a balanced view, from affected stakeholders and locals, and the broader community. Retrofitting city properties – I will support efforts to bring city-owned facilities up to the best practice in energy conservation, thereby reducing the GHGs associated with heating and electricity consumption.
- I support the use of a carbon tax as has been put in place by the government of Alberta, but I recognize that this alone will not be sufficient to adequately curb GHG emissions.
- Here are some specific actions that should be taken: The City should not allow significant new building in likely to flood areas; Through bylaw changes, the City should reduce the use of non-absorptive materials and retrofit existing development to be as absorptive as possible, e.g. replacing the paving used in alleys with more absorptive materials; The City should ensure that development of all types, including all road design, adheres to best practices for minimizing runoff and maximizing absorption; The City should support efforts by all levels of government to rehabilitate riparian areas so they can absorb as much moisture as possible upstream from Calgary, thereby minimizing the scale of future flooding.
- The City of Calgary is currently developing a comprehensive plan to build Calgary’s climate resilience and implementation of this plan would be a priority for me. I have been reviewing and I support it. http://www.calgary.ca/UEP/ESM/Pages/Energy-Savings/Climate-Change.aspx
- First I could not find the 2017 report you are referring to, could you please provide a link it to so I may answer the question.
- My job would be to ensure the funds collected from the Carbon Tax are being spent on Calgary’s Climate Plan and not reallocated somewhere else. The Carbon Tax is a reality to date and whether that changes or not, we need to reduce our carbon foot print and become a more energy efficient city.
- Calgary was chosen by the Rockefeller Foundation to be one of four Canadian cities to join a global network called 100 Resilient Cities (100RC). It’s a program designed to help willing cities to address social, economic, and environmental resilience. We have an incredible team of specialists who are taking our city beyond talking about sustainability. They’re actively creating a resilience plan that forecasts the challenges we may face and methods to address those issues. In addition to the natural disaster recovery efforts that are top of mind for us all after the 2013 flood, 100RC also provides Calgary the opportunity to address our economic crisis and infrastructure issues. Given that Rockefeller is also a primary funder of the West Coast Infrastructure Exchange, an initiative designed to look at best practices in public-private partnerships in Canada and the US, Calgary is uniquely positioned to build a resilience strategy that captures the value of business and government innovation.
- I would ensure that communities like those in north central Calgary have access to proper public transit solutions, schools and health care facilities that will enable residents to cut down or eliminate vehicular commutes. Enabling our kids to walk to school and generating more jobs in our own communities will go a long way toward building a sustainable and resilient future for Ward 3.
- This question is designed to make the respondent look unappreciative of carbon tax benefits if you challenge its rollout. Specific to the Green Line, the residents of north central Calgary took up the challenge to leave their cars at home and take public transit. Our busses are filled to the brim. Additionally, many of the residents in our ward bought their homes because the LRT was promised long ago. Yet, our established communities in north central Calgary were left out of the first stage of the Green Line LRT route and not rewarded for their environmentally responsible behaviour. That demonstrates that intended benefits from a carbon tax are not playing out in real people’s lives. Further, the revenue neutral goals of the carbon tax are not playing out in taxpayers’ wallets. Rebates are based on 2015 tax records. Many Calgarians were laid off after that tax year. The time lag in income reporting is not considered, nor is the reality of unemployed/underemployed taxpayers who are charged full rate as consumers and not receiving a rebate. The time lag argument also applies to vulnerable populations who must pay out more than they earn, and are left waiting months for a rebate. While some Calgarians can wait for these rebates, others can’t. The province and the federal government must do a better job of working with municipalities while creating the policies that we must implement on our streets. Setting policy and then asking municipalities to comply creates major issues that were not considered by policymakers looking at high level goals. A good example is the budget impact of the carbon tax on bus fleets. As far as funding of infrastructure goes, perhaps the provincial and federal governments should look to transforming the way municipalities receive funding through more predictable and sustainable funding models. Local governments waste time and money writing grant applications for projects that have clearly been identified as necessary for residents which is a layer of unnecessary bureaucracy. A more sustainable model would, for instance, empower cities to retain a greater percentage of the property taxes we collect on their behalf to designate toward infrastructure and innovation.
- Once again, I trust the global expertise that is being tapped by the City of Calgary’s resilience team to generate practical solutions that not only allow us to prevent the impacts of social, economic and environmental stressors, but to also enables us to quickly recover when we’re impacted.
- Calgary has a lot of talent coming from our post-secondary institutions as well as immigrating from other parts of Canada and around the world, we should use that. We need to attract businesses based on the skills we are already building in our city. The responses I have provided to the following questions would help in bringing the cost of living down in Calgary, in turn addressing some of the issues which make some fellow Calgarians more vulnerable. This is an issue I am grateful to see non-profit and charitable organizations in Calgary working on and I will continue to support them however I am able.
- One of the major things the next City Council needs to take on day one, is securing funding for the next phase of the GreenLine. The sooner that project is completed, the sooner Calgarians have a choice to not take their vehicle to commute every day. Along those same lines, finding ways to promote public transit over the use of individual vehicles. We are very fortunate in Calgary to have a post-secondary institution with programs dedicated to training in alternative energies, such as solar. The more we emphasize the importance of these technologies and promote Provincial incentives for installing and utilizing these technologies, the better. Initial investment can sometimes be higher than desired but when the City does maintenance or improvements, there should always be consideration to cleaner energies and the cost savings and other benefits in the future.
- At this point I am supportive of the carbon tax. To my knowledge it has increased costs at a minimal rate for few people. The carbon tax has also not created an unfriendly environment to new businesses in Alberta’s oil and gas industry, there was no mass exodus and, in fact, new companies have been investing. This tax has required Albertans and the businesses here to consider their current behaviours and amend accordingly to address their impacts. So far, the carbon tax is having the intended effect and is providing Alberta a leg up on addressing our part in protecting our environment.
- I lived in Louisiana for several years, I lived there through hurricanes Katrina and Rita, and many tropical storms. I have seen the power of wind and water and know they are not to be taken lightly. In Alberta, in the last two years alone, we have experienced massive wild fires causing devastation to a near unimaginable degree. These are realities we need to consider and incorporate into our decision making, especially our development decisions. The City of Calgary is already undertaking a flood mitigation program, along with the Province addressing areas where mitigation can happen. To a large degree, the areas in Calgary where flooding is most likely are areas where infrastructure is in desperate need of maintenance and replacement, especially with the new and larger developments in those same areas. Part of the City’s preparation will be educating Calgarians on their own preparation. The City can not take on all of the responsibility or be 100 per cent prepared to address every possibility. Some responsibility will fall to us as individuals.
- From housing to transportation, energy efficiency is key in maintaining prosperity. The City of Calgary has and can continue to take a leading role in ensuring new technology, innovation is supported and incorporated in the planning process. We do need to make sure, that new policy initiatives, do not have the unintended consequences, of making it unaffordable for those that are vulnerable in our society.
- I do not have a solution as I am not well versed in this area.
- I am not supportive of new taxes unless there is a corresponding reduction in taxes. If the provincial or federal government supports a carbon tax, then these funds should be exclusively directed to environmental initiatives. In addition, working Canadians should be provided with income tax relief. Like a consumption tax, a pollution tax is only viable if Calgarians are given an offset.
- Calgary is in a historic drought area, and we need to manage our water resources as well as plan for major climatic events. Accordingly, we need to continue to manage and protect our riparian areas.
- We have to continue to be world leaders in our current energy development. The Municipal Government can go a long way in creating programs and incentives to encourage the deployment of renewable energy resources. For instance, we should be working with the Provincial and Federal Governments to ensure these programs can be implemented while not creating adverse effects to our taxes but that foster sustainability. I have an MBA in Global Energy Management and Sustainable Development and have worked with the Federal Government to develop programs and incentives that encouraged investment verses taxing our citizens. This was in the form of a waste heat recovery technology that encouraged capturing heat to generate power.
- The City should not only be working with other levels of government. The City should be working with our business community, educational institutions and our regional sustainability experts to foster and incentivize the acceleration of reducing GHGs. Specifically, I would assess our current budget and make sure that it aligns with the low-hanging fruit projects that can be rapidly deployed to save tax payers money, offer a quick return on investment while most importantly, fostering sustainability.
- The Carbon Tax should be fostering the rapid deployment of sustainable technologies. It appears businesses and/or governments are not rapidly doing this, as such, why are we taxing our citizens? If we are going to tax and create a punitive environment for our businesses and citizens, the intent of the tax, which is GHG reduction, should be accelerating. I would rather create a mechanism that rewards the deployment of technologies verses a tax that may or may not seem effective on what its intent is supposed to be. We can look to Ontario as a perfect example of this where their initiatives have created some of the highest forms of electricity costs which is forcing many business to leave at the expense of many and to the benefit of few.
- The city should be looking at flood mitigation in partnership with insurance companies. And, we should also look to reduce out GHG’s through sustainable transport (buses could be switched over to Natural Gas or Landfill Gas), as well certain roads could have electric vehicle or carpool lanes to encourage GHG reduction. Furthermore, if community groups want to create solar co-ops, they should be able to do so without interference from the utilities. In addition, the city should foster a quick and transparent permitting process for these types of projects that allows for net metering to easily occur.
- We need to grow Calgary’s prosperity by helping our unemployed get back to work. We have a highly educated workforce with a significant capability in energy development. Our municipal government must partner with provincial and federal governments of all political stripes to enable the conditions for export focused diversified businesses to bring clean energy production, energy efficiency, climate adaptation and climate change solutions to international markets. Calgary has great wealth and great energy development knowledge. An export focused clean energy sector means enabling those ideas in our home market first, focused upon those most vulnerable to climate change. Then twin with developing world cities to export this technology to reduce the human toll of climate change in the developing world, where there is much greater poverty.
- The City has failed to break the link between its population growth, and the greenhouse emissions of citizens. The most immediate way to achieve GHG reduction with citizen support is to help Calgarians in quickly lowering their energy and transport costs by improved home insulation schemes, improved development standards, and in increasing energy efficiency and flexibility in public transportation. To fund this, part or all of Enmax annual dividend to the City (approx $40M) should be used for these purposes. As well, we need to plan whole communities – including in the inner city. Right now we only plan on density and zoning – we must plan for the way people actually live – green space, library services, transit, community and rec facilities and renewal of basic infrastructure, to keep the inner city both viable and ensure we are not just housing more people, but that they are more likely to be able to live, play, work, study and be entertained close in and not have to travel to everything.
- The provincial carbon tax has been botched by the NDP. Provincial carbon tax raised should be revenue neutral and returned directly and in equal share to every household via a quarterly dividend cheque. Brent Alexander supports putting a price on carbon, for the simple reason that human carbon emissions are the root cause of climate change in modern times. Citizens should be free to choose how they spend that dividend. City should not be “picking winners” in what technology is used to reduce emissions. The City, as owner of the EnMax utility, is well positioned to enable that through re-directing its own EnMax dividend toward that goal. The City can be an enabler of low carbon choices of its citizens through acting to remove red tape regulation, barriers and vested interests that act to stifle innovation and choice. Public infrastructure investment by the city should focus upon reducing commute times, costs and giving citizens flexibility in their transport arrangements including to be able to walk, bike or take transit. Similarly, in household heating/electricity use, citizens should be enabled through having payment options that incent affordable investment in insulation and low carbon heating/lighting technologies.
- The City should continue to work with provincial government to build Calgary’s resilience to extreme weather events. Accommodating flood waters upstream, and building land capacity to absorb water is key. And given that droughts have been historically more prevalent to floods in Southern Alberta, we need to advocate for better utilization and storage of our water resources. Climate change has long term implications. Merely reacting to events is not going to provide long term sustainability. Immediate actions in Ward 7 include increasing the berm height between Centre and 10th Street, removing the gravel and sand bars that built up during the last flood that actually put some of our communities at greater risk for flooding right now than in 2013, and replacing the fixed causeway to Prince’s Island with one that can accommodate water flow during high water events, increasing water flow through natural water channels.
- Thank you for asking about this important topic. Calgary is well situated to become a leader in renewable energy. The transition to renewables has already begun as many energy companies recognize opportunity. Rather than rely on nostalgia as an economic strategy, Calgary can introduce enabling legislation to assist private industry to grow in the renewables market. Calgary also has adopted a food security policy to enable agribusiness and local growers within our boundaries.
- The City of Calgary was an early leader in GHG reductions, with the street light conversion projects, Ride the Wind, and leadership from its power company, Enmax. Unfortunately, with a change in leadership with City Administration, City Council, and Enmax, that commitment has fallen off. The City must play a key role in meeting and exceeding its GHG reduction targets, through the design of communities, providing incentives for efficient buildings, a move to a green fleet including public transit, a wind-driven Green Line LRT, and energy retrofits of municipal infrastructure. Council should direct Enmax to recommit to become an energy leader. Each department at The City should require a GHG reduction plan including targets.
- The Provincial Carbon Tax is helping the City retrofit many of its systems as well as fund significant transit investments like the Green Line LRT. If someone has a better way to accomplish City goals, I am interested in hearing it.
- The City of Calgary is in the process of hiring a Climate Engineer to help City adapt to severe weather events like floods, storms and drought. Calgary has also joined the 100 Resilient Cities Network, a global network working to prepare cities for a host of crisis events, either acute or chronic
I would like to point out I’m the first candidate in municipal history to do a paperless campaign. Everything is done electronically. Why? All candidates promise to; 1) reduce taxes 2) save money 3) save the environment 4) be different from other candidates.
When running, all candidates; 1) waste money on campaign paraphernalia 2) print said paraphernalia on paper, plastic, metal and wood 3) they all do it citing this as “the thing a politician in the running does” 4) inevitably raise taxes when voted in.
My team and I promise; 1) not to waste money 2) no paper product nor environmentally non friendly paints will be used 3) I am different 4) I may raise taxes depending on how bad the situation in city hall is when the mess becomes apparent that the next council has to clean up.
- Really a two part question. a) Municipal government has two responsibilities; be a leader in clean energy sources and ensure that people aren’t paying too much in taxes to keep that kind of sustainability (currently I might add, as technology changes and improves that cost does get reduced). Clean energy first. I’m a fan of how things are organized in Japan and Germany with respect to clean energy, subsidized solar panels that can feed back into the grid to provide home owners with cash or at least subsidized power usage to offset grid usage. That being said neither country faces 80℃, so some of our challenges simply exist around cash versus value. I’m not a fan of wind generation due to the large numbers of birds being killed (California alone actually exterminated and eradicated certain species corridors due to windmills) and I’m not a huge fan of dams since they do interrupt waterways and potentially harm fish (not sure if you do research on beaver dams, but those are efficient for water control and purification at a base level). Solar is the choice but even world class companies like Morgan Solar (run by a high school friend of mine John Paul Morgan) there are technical challenges with deployment in our environment. As Sean Chu pointed out, we don’t want an Ontario scenario where the monthly bill can exceed over $1000 to our most at risk communities, heck I wouldn’t want that bill either and I’ve got as efficient as possible home as I can. b) Building a diverse and sustainable economy for all Calgarians, including our most vulnerable is a difficult answer. One I’m putting a campaign promise that would ensure people are given median market value for their homes in any area, that’s to do with Midfield Trailer Park, where I feel, as a Calgarian, that treating those people in the way they are being treated is uncalled for. Calgary needs to invest more variety, much like larger cities (I’d point to Denver as a spectacular example) do in order to weather boom and bust natural resource cycles. What does that exactly mean? Colorado took on an interesting question that asked “What if we didn’t have to rely on oil and gas cycles for prosperity then hardship?” It plays havoc with peoples lives as well growth at the meteoric level we saw back in 2009 to 2014 isn’t sustainable. So Colorado, notably Denver embarked on a strategy that included four major sectors of business expanding each within reason as opposed to slavishly following oil and gas super sectors. Result, Denver and Colorado lead the US as the top state and city in growth. Our problem, as Calgarians, is that we seem to be stuck on the mentality that we are “good Ol’ Oil and Gas boys” (note deliberate emphasis on the sexism in the statement). Calgarians, notably Baby Boomers and Early Generation X’ers, are happy to weather boom or bust cycles. I know this hurts younger generations and businesses tremendously due to a lack of consumers at the business level, investors at every level of government and industry and kills innovation. So what can we do? Well I’m investing in the younger generation because I believe innovation will come from there. My role in municipal government is to prevent the free ride multi billion dollar companies get from our tax dollars and use that some of that tax money to invest in our communities by way of incubating startups, fostering arts programs and help encourage companies that are outside the oil and gas field. Look at my background on Linked In, I volunteer with at risk and disadvantaged communities, help non profits and mentor startups. Those are my strengths and I can play to them.
- Honestly without looking at what the problems are, I’m not sure what I would do differently. Probably not the political answer here, but I genuinely don’t know what the issues are, meaning I haven’t studied nor seen the reports for what constitutes current policy and what changes could be made to improve what they are doing. Giving a long winded meaningless answer is less useful than one that I guess at. I do know one thing; even council members are restricted from finding information; specifically Sean Chu tried to figure out the cost of solar, and the amount of solar energy that the CTrains use, and he was stone walled by city managers (Check out http://agendaminutes.calgary.ca/sirepub/meetresults.aspx, where Sean Chu makes the statements for September 11 2017)
- Here is an answer that is going to enrage Conservative supporters. I’m a fan of carbon taxes for one sole reason; they force business to become more efficient, something most businesses that make money aren’t inclined to do. Business leaders and arm chair politicians can cite millions of examples how extra taxes kill business, lay people off, and hurt our economy. I’ve never once been to shareholder meeting in the last 10 years (including the crash of 2008) where the executive said “Jeez, we will take a pay cut based on the economic conditions to show our solidarity with our workers” (Yes we can point to Meg Energy as an example but it’s an exception not a rule in the business world) most times I’ve seen C-Suite executives give themselves a pay bump after a round of layoffs, I suppose money assuages the feelings of lay offs. That being said, carbon tax forces industry to two things; get more efficient in what they are doing and fire people. Fired people get creative with how they find money in the world and become ruthlessly efficient at a few things, get involved politically and get creative in ways to make money. Carbon taxes were a necessary evil to reduction of immense waste in society; something that we, as North Americans, seem to take for granted. Instead of having a reactionary policy it’s nice to have a pro-active policy that forces social changes for good. If we can adopt high efficiency light bulbs, we can make changes in our personal habits as well for our next generation.
- Like Councillor Pootman asked (September 11 2017) “Is there anything the city can do to reduce smoke in our air?” is kind of like asking to count grains of sand on a beach. Climate change brings different weather, new challenges and new perspectives on what it means to live on Earth. We can’t build a bubble dome, and City of Calgary can’t protect everyone like Superman. City Council can mitigate damage, preventing building on the flood plain, providing hospital grade HEPA filters in all municipal buildings, early warning systems for flood warning, making a by law forcing developers to adopt HEPA standards on air circulation ( a pet peeve of mine as an asthmatic is going into buildings with gyms and needing an inhaler), 100% water purification to surgical grade to remove EDC (a very interesting problem responsible for a myriad of health issues in both men and women), opening municipal buildings in high heat days to the elderly and infirm (my store is open to the elderly from my neighborhood on high heat and smoke days because we have to keep the air cold for the wine and I need to keep the store air clean for my asthma) . Those would be easy starts for initiatives that wouldn’t take too much extra time and money to implement meaningful change. It’s tricky to balance budget and keep taxes fair so we aren’t living in a scenario where we use the tax payers as a piggy bank. Small easy steps are easier to implement than large imbalanced ones.
- It is the job of municipal government to facilitate an environment in which local business may succeed. To do so, we must Prioritize infrastructure projects that have the highest economic return on investment, including public transit projects and drive diversification of Calgary’s economy in the key sectors of financial services, logistics, agribusiness, creative industries and the emerging high tech and green energy sectors.
- I am proud of the work that I have done to support GHG reduction targets, especially when it comes to the development of transportation options for Calgarians. As a champion of Calgary Cycle Track network, I am proud to have seen increases in ridership throughout the Beltline and Downtown, meaning that there are fewer cars on the road. As well, both the South West BRT and Green Line projects not only support mobility for those who may not have access to other transportation, but we can expect, once built, they will result in further GHG reductions as commuters chose to leave their cars at home. By continuing to provide Calgarians with these lower-carbon options, we can encourage further GHG reductions.
- I am fully supportive of the provincial Climate Leadership Plan. Not only has the Plan resulted in provincial funding for the Green Line, but I am also excited to see how associated policies will permit the City to further reduce its carbon footprint by generating its solar power to meet the electricity requirements of our facilities. Not only will this result in predictable, lower-cost electricity, but will also provide job opportunities for those who install the technology.
- The City’s climate risk management prior should be the construction of the Springbank Flood Mitigation project. Downtown Calgary is the economic driver of this City, and every effort should be made to protect it in the event of a flood.
- I believe and would like to help in that task, that Municipal government should have the commitment to act creatively in allowing for the diversification of the economy to happen, whether it is allowing zoning bylaws to adapt to the increasing vacancy rate in the downtown core, or to work closely with small businesses that have the potential of attracting skilled workers from the city and elsewhere.
- It seems to me that the path the city is on in terms of reducing GHG is generally a good one. But I feel that they would need to have a stronger campaign in rallying the private and public sector towards making fundamental changes to the way they do things. It is about changing the culture of relying on fossil and carbon fuels, that takes time, so as a city I believe that we should make the targets more of a priority.
- I would like to see and help the implementation of the carbon tax become more effective among the general public, I’m in favor of the tax as long as there are results that are accompanying it. For it to be effective, more people should be taking advantage of the benefits that retrofitting a furnace or some other energy saving option. If not, the misinformation out there will end the progress that has been made so far. The education aspect to businesses and the general public about the big picture importance of the carbon tax should be more dynamic.
- We should be vigilant that we are not being part of the problem, in terms of how the city mitigates and prevents man-made developments that hinder the ability for ecosystems to function properly, being watershed management, or deforestation in the outskirts of the province. We have to be vigilant of the urbanization sprawl that still happens alongside riverbanks. Extreme climate events will happen and the more we are able to prevent them the less resources and loss of life and property will be incurred.
Gian-Carlo Carra (incumbent)
- My Great Neighbourhoods platform is a response to the need to amalgamate best-practices in sustainable city-building into a Calgary context. A central consideration for Calgary’s ability to survive and thrive long into the future is the strength, resilience, anti-fragility of our neighbourhoods and the sustainability of the infrastructure systems that network our neighbourhoods at the city-wide and regional scales. Great Neighbourhoods are mixed-use, mixed-income, complete, compact and walkable environments of human habitat that support people of all ages, stages and wages. Networked together with active mobility choices, while being powered by renewables and clean energy, Great Neighbourhoods is a blueprint for an even more economically powerful, culturally vibrant and socially inclusive Calgary that will be environmentally sustainable in much more meaningful way. I’m proud of the progress we’ve made towards this goal over the last seven years and I’m running for re-election to ensure that this historic transformation of Calgary continues to land and land successfully.On the social side of the equation we need to do two things. First, we must continue to seek diversification plays that build on our strengths (such as my unanimously supported Notice of Motion on Hyperloop Technology Development, our ongoing exploration of the prudence of an Olympic bid and our all-hands-on-deck pursuit of the Amazon request for proposals). Secondly, we need to double-down on the core values of our Canadian pluralism by way of our nation-leading pursuit of Reconciliation, our Cultural Plan, our Enough for All poverty reduction strategy and my unanimously supported Notice of Motion on Gender Equity and Diversity of which I am extremely proud.
- As one of North America’s most sprawling cities, it will be a long time before Calgary meets GHG reduction targets that really matter, let alone the targets it’s set for itself. Current research suggests that at minimum, 52% of emissions are directly related to how a City is physically laid out. I’m extremely proud of my work over the last seven years ending the sprawl subsidy and re-focusing the City of Calgary’s growth trajectory towards city-shaping investments in transit and our neighbourhoods’ main streets. One of the most significant conceptual leaps our City Council has made over the last seven years is the tacit acceptance of the reality that if the next million Calgarians drive as much as the current million, we’re in big trouble. While driven primarily by fiscal and mobility concerns, this has flipped the script on the “war on cars” and created a broad coalition of councillors committed to a much reduced GHG footprint for our City.
- Anyone serious about the reality of climate change understands that taxing carbon is the gold standard for altering behaviour. The serious debate is focused on the question of revenue neutral vs revenue generation (with revenues directed towards GHG-reducing infrastructures/technologies/incentives) and as a major proponent of the GreenLine, I’m very pleased that our provincial government has taken the latter approach.
- Most immediately, upstream/watershed-scaled flood and drought mitigation is essential to Calgary’s success long into the future and I’m a proponent of both the Springbank diversion reservoir project (which is funded and underway) and the need for a flood and drought mitigation dam upstream on the Bow (which has been conceptualized but needs to be designed and funded over the next four years). These major pieces of infrastructure in addition to localized best practices along our river banks and in our flood fringe areas will mitigate Calgary’s largest climate change threat. Secondarily, anticipated increases in hail and tornado events requires an even higher standard of building code which becomes more financially feasible in the higher density, as opposed to lower density environments, that Great Neighbourhoods accommodate.In a broader sense, one of the core reasons I’m an urbanist is that Great Neighbourhoods offer our most convenient solution to the inconvenient truth of climate change. However, in the New Urbanist professional circles from which I draw my expertise, the conversation is quickly evolving from mitigation to adaptation. In either event, I strongly believe that the most important element of true resilience is a love for one’s community, and Great Neighbourhoods offer us a path towards building on Calgarians’ already significant love for our city.
- Calgary is bursting at the seams with creative entrepreneurs, talented business men and women, and thoughtful, compassionate individuals. As a collective, I am highly confident we can develop creative solutions to address energy demands without compromising the environment. Our municipal government can, and in fact must, encourage and support the development of clean energy solutions through tax incentives, funding, and supportive bylaws. We need to build our identity as a leader in clean energy, so that we continue to attract talented, skilled individuals to our workforce. By moving in this direction, we will create jobs and an economy that has the resources to support and include even the most vulnerable Calgarians. We must tread on this path with both intention and cautiousness: we need to diversify our economic focus without destabilizing the jobs our citizens currently rely on. This requires patience, flexibility, strategic thinking and action.
- The City of Calgary has developed a number of strategies and plans aimed at reducing its Corporate greenhouse gas emissions and the city’s as a whole. The Community Greenhouse Gas Reduction Plan is focused on bringing citizens, organizations and government together to reduce GHG emissions. The Corporate Energy Strategy 2016 – 2026 is specifically focused on reducing the GHG emitted by The City as a Corporation. These plans have set out a number of initiatives that can help us to derail the impacts of climate change and ensure we have long-term quality of life. The City needs to be held accountable to achieve these goals. They are strong strategies that we do not need to reinvent. What I would do differently is ensure these plans are being appropriately resourced, monitored and implemented effectively so that we can ensure we are in fact meeting those targets.
- We need to be creative and flexible if we are going to be a leader in clean energy and reduce the potentially catastrophic impacts of climate change. The carbon tax is providing a source of funds that are necessary to resource sustainable energy initiatives. The carbon tax makes good economic sense: tax activities that we want to reduce, and use the revenue to incentivize activities we want to encourage.
- The City of Calgary’s business units are employing a number of adaptive measures to prepare and manage the impact of climate change. Flood mitigation, emergency management planning, watershed management, among other things. We need to ensure that The City’s system is pro-active and integrated across businesses, schools, non-profits and residents. A specific action would be to bring stakeholders representing all of these groups to develop coordinated, integrated strategies.
- Our near-exclusive reliance on the Oil and Gas sector over the last century has made the city incredibly vulnerable to market fluctuations. These are only going to become deeper and more frequent. The City has some interesting levers from a planning and development perspective that I would like to promote. The City needs to think ahead and plan for a time that we can’t rely only on cars and non-renewables. I want to move towards walkable communities and sustainable energy consumption. Now is the time to thoughtfully diversify and innovate. Parallel to the attraction of big businesses and diverse sectors, I want to promote Community Economic Development and social enterprise. These are great examples of market mechanisms that also generate a social return.
- Without a doubt, vehicles and residential/commercial buildings are the most significant sources of green house gases in our city. We remain a heavily car-oriented city. I’m not a war-on-cars candidate. That would be hypocritical of me. We are a two-vehicle home and with two children, we drive a lot. I support gentle densification in established communities, with built-up pedestrian-level amenities so that people have a choice, at least a little more often, to use an alternative mode of transportation. I think planning is the key. The City should provide more leadership related to passive cooling and heating, water conservation and energy-efficient design. Remaining economically competitive depends on our ability to adapt. There is no reason to not start thinking about building resilience and adaptability in the planning of our roadways, communities and infrastructure.
- The province led extensive consultation and struck an expert panel: the carbon tax is part of Alberta’s Climate Leadership Plan was determined the most cost-effective way to reduce GHGs emissions and the revenue generated is going back into Calgary and Alberta’s economy.
- Flood mitigation is a top priority. It should be for the province as much as it is for City Council. The Flood Mitigation Measures Assessment identifies a suite of solutions to protect Calgary in the next flood. This is something that cannot wait.
- I think we need to promote Manufacturing in Calgary; and I appreciate manufacturing typically gets painted with ecologically dirty brush, but if done properly as part of a bigger plan, I think we’d become more resilient economically.
- Better transportation mode options – it’s very difficult to have a job in Calgary without a car, but it’s also quite difficult to choose to do anything else. (this is more than just a GHG conversation…)
- The Carbon tax needs to have the areas it’s to benefit more clearly advertised, the potential spill over savings with Health spending for-instance also need to be better communicated.
- Most of those impacts are in our dwellings, clear premium deductions for choosing smart building materials needs to come into play – such that it’s attractive from a savings standpoint to pay more for better materials.
- Economic diversification is key to protecting Calgary’s prosperity as the country and the world transition towards cleaner energy sources. Calgary Economic Development has gotten a head-start on this, and has been doing great work to attract a diverse range of businesses to Calgary, including businesses that focus on cleaner energy sources. We already have a base of experts and professionals in low-carbon energy, particularly natural gas, in Calgary, meaning that we are well-positioned to attract companies who need to draw on that knowledge base in order to thrive in the clean energy sector. We can also take some valuable lessons from the Amazon HQ2 bid process, no matter whether Calgary ends up being the successful city. The details that Amazon has set out around what it is looking for in a new HQ city are very instructive as to the kinds of amenities and city characteristics that will be increasingly crucial to attracting businesses to Calgary as we move forward.
- The same report identifies that much, if not all, of the growth in GHG emissions in Calgary has been due to population growth, and energy used by that increased population. Beyond this, the City can also play a major role in reducing emissions through a number of strategies, including investing in and promoting alternative forms of transportation, and encouraging more sustainable forms of urban growth and choice in housing options. We can also look within our own departments to see what the City can do to improve our own GHG emissions (i.e the City Fleet and Calgary Transit).
- The carbon tax comes as a mandate from the provincial (and federal) governments, so there is little-to-no role for City Council in bringing in potential changes to or termination of the carbon tax. But as a City Council, we do need to make sure we can provide services to residents and factor in the carbon tax into our costing and budgeting. I also believe that if there are opportunities to improve Calgary’s transit infrastructure, by using available funding, we as a council should look into those opportunities to see if they can help fill a demand from the public.
- As we know, climate change is increasing the frequency and severity of extreme weather events. With regards to Ward 11, the most pressing weather-related risk of climate change is flooding. Flood mitigation is very important to many communities within Ward 11, and will be one of my top priorities as Councillor. Calgary has already taken a number of steps towards completing numerous flood mitigation and resilience projects, but we have not yet done enough to adequately protect ourselves in case of another flood. We need to ensure that funding for flood mitigation projects is protected and spent efficiently, because we cannot afford to sustain another flood like the one we had four years ago.
- As a city, we need to look at ways to diversify our economy, encourage new industry to come to Calgary and work with the various orders of government, business groups and residents to ensure we are positioning business to succeed in Calgary. I think as a councillor, it is important that I support the “Enough for All” poverty reduction strategy goals. In doing so, as a City we would be better positioned to create a vibrant, sustainable community where everyone has access to the resources they need.
- I think we need to focus on developing efficiencies in our transit system. By making it more reliable and increasing ridership, we can become less dependant on cars in this city. I think also working towards having more complete communities, where people at every stage of life can live, work, play and access amenities they need all in a relatively smaller geographical area would reduce both the spread of the city and our footprint. Improved building energy efficiency for city owned properties should also be a focus where possible. It will also be important to evaluate and improve (where necessary) programs like the Green Cart and recycling to ensure we are empowering residents to adopt new ways of handling waste and recycling, with the ultimate goal of less waste as a city. City Administration should lead by example and use only compostable products. Finally we need to ensure businesses in Calgary can transition successfully to composting and recycling.
- I support carbon tax as long as we are using the money to fund initiatives that have climate friendly aspects. I would like to see more funds set aside to improve transit, pedestrian and cycling infrastructure, as well as community initiatives that benefit the environment (solar powered community halls, rain gardens etc).
- We need to continue to make sure preventative measures are in place to protect us from annual flooding (such as the Springbank Dry Dam). we also need to ensure that new developments and redevelopments are built to a high standard of energy efficiency. We also need to look at our city infrastructure (roads, utilities, bridges, water systems) and how it can be adapted to better protect us from elemental concerns and risks.
Shane Keating (incumbent)
- We need to evaluate the kinds of investments that the next generation of industry will be looking for when they consider places to open up for business. This means building a city that is attractive for companies but also for the people who live there. One of the best ways we can make to build a diverse and viable economy is by investing in public transit. Public transit offers a transportation model for all types of Calgarians while unlocking economies of scale to improve the efficiency of our transportation networks.
- I would have us further ahead on the Green Line LRT than we currently are. Stage 1 alone will will reduce our annual GHG emissions by 30,000 tonnes of CO2 annually. Once the project is fully completed those emissions will be reduced by 55,000 tonnes of CO2 annually by 2048 growing to 67,000 tonnes by 2076.
- I’m not supportive of a punitive tax that would have a negative impact on Albertans without delivering real and tangible benefits to the environment. The province needs to find ways to provide incentives for greener carbon footprints. Under the current framework, the carbon tax is punitive to our Calgary Transit fleet. The provision of public transit is a massive environmental win for municipalities and there must be exemptions to keep those services affordable. From a capital investment standpoint an appropriate carbon tax structure would need to clearly show how revenues are being reinvested into green initiatives that contribute to a reduction in GHG emissions.
- We need to make investments in upstream flood and drought mitigation projects. We also need to encourage the provincial government to restore and protect our natural riparian habitats throughout the East Slopes that act as natural aquifers to protect downstream communities during times of flood and drought.
Diane Colley-Urquhart (incumbent)
- • Develop a Climate Change Adaptation Plan across City of Calgary business units and externally.
• Inform, educate and enable citizens and external partners to consider climate change adaptation as a step to building a climate-resilient City.
- Develop a plan to address all city-owned brownfield and contaminated sites – including fuel sites and creosote (West Village).
- Prevent or minimize the environmental impacts of construction activities.
• Develop and implement an Industrial, Commercial and Institutional Waste Diversion Strategy (unacceptable that our waste is being trucked to Coronation near my home town).
- • We must do better. We lag significantly. The strategic Climate “Program” was put together in 2011 and not much has changed since then as there were no well-defined objectives, deliverables and outcome measures.
• We need a neighborhood action plan approach that would incent greener lifestyles.
• Explore options for competitions between communities; continue with our land use approach of live, work play to reduce car dependency, higher density growth and green building, micro-generation, turbines, solar power through the Innovation Fund, issue grants for pilot projects that achieve low carbon outcomes to incent businesses (large and small) through licensing to demonstrate actions they are taking and register on the Climate Change Dashboard.
• Incent more community gardens, roof top gardens, vertical urban markets.
• Support community associations and cooperatives as a mechanism to expand neighborhood initiatives.
• Be more aggressive in replacing our urban canopy that was 50% destroyed by Snowtembero.
• As a Shareholder of ENMAX and the largest asset of the citizens of Calgary, we can maximize our capabilities and efficiencies around solar, electricity (line loss), gas, water and wastewater, metering etc.
• Incent through property tax mechanisms credits for reductions in water usage, electricity etc.
• Maximize our potential around hyperloop, cool technology and geothermal applications
• Be more aggressive on policies regarding the City of Calgary Fleet and leasing decisions.
• Heighten expectations around Calgary Transit policies and practices.
• Incorporate SOPs around tendering contracts to providers and what their Climate Change Plans are including awarding contracts on major capital projects.
• Develop and Awards and Recognitions Program that is comprised or various categories.
• Research the merits of PACE (Property Assessed Clean Energy).
- We need a redo of the City of Calgary’s Climate Program and develop a nimble Climate Action Plan and actively involve the community and leading experts in its development – to tactically chart a path to reduce carbon emissions. The primary goals and objectives need to be reflective of local climate action efforts. A Dashboard Platform needs to be hosted by the City where citizens and communities register their activities and be acknowledged. Climate change is not just about warming, it is about changing weather patterns that make up climate (temperature, wind, rainfall and storms etc) and the affects those changes create such as heat waves, drought, wildfires, flooding and landslides etc. The following pillars are critical to our City of Calgary Climate Action Plan with specific objectives and deliverables:
• BUILDINGS AND ENERGY
• URBAN FORM AND TRANSPORTATION
• CONSUMPTION AND SOLID WASTE
• FOOD AND AGRICULTURE
• URBAN FOREST, NATURAL SYSTEMS AND CARBON SEQUESTRATION
• CLIMATE CHANGE PREPARATION (CEMA)
• COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT, OUTREACH AND EDUCATION
• CITY OF CALGARY OPERATIONS
- As Chair of the Emergency Management Committee for three years following the flood, the role of the Calgary Emergency Management Agency (CEMA) has evolved and needs to continue to be adequately resources. That includes:
• Upgrading, replacing and expanding specialized equipment and training to enhance first responders safety and capabilities.
• We must enhance Business Continuity Coordination not only within the City of Calgary but with the external sector to minimize our vulnerability and impact on essential services.
• We need to better enhance our ability as a City to identify hazards and conduct risk assessments to the City and our citizens.
• We need to urgently develop community-based risk education and readiness through programming to inform citizens and engage them on what the risks are within their own community.
• We need to facilitate and coordinate and communicate a coordinated response and recovery to mass casualty events and threats.
• I initially advanced the City joining the 100 World Resilient Cities and we were accepted as Administration took this forward.