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Green Party’s anti-science stance would hurt the environment

By Sean Willett, September 10, 2015 —

With a federal election coming up in October, green-minded Canadians are looking forward to a chance to cast their ballot for a party that will make protecting our environment a priority. The Green Party, with their heavy-handed name and record of speaking out on environmental issues, seem to be the obvious choice. But despite their public image of being eco-friendly, the Green Party would likely do the environment more harm than good if they had their way.

Tom Mulcair may have said it best during the federal leaders debate in August, when speaking to the other parties’ positions on bitumen pipelines in Canada.

“Ms. May takes the position that you can say no to them, all of them, in advance,” Mulcair stated, when pressed by Elizabeth May. “Mr. Harper is taking the position that you can say yes to all of them in advance.”

While Mulcair correctly criticized Stephen Harper for his willingness to approve potentially dangerous pipeline projects, he also made a point to call out the Green Party’s willingness to put gut reactions over hard evidence.

This tendency for the Green Party to mistrust scientific research has been apparent throughout the recent pipeline debates. May has declared that all pipelines are harmful, without any exceptions, instead of waiting for research to be conducted on their potential environmental impact.

She’s right that in many cases pipelines do have the potential to be immensely damaging to the land they are built upon. But her flat-out refusal is still as wrong-headed as Harper’s tendency to blindly say yes.

The Green Party hasn’t stopped at pipelines in their aversion to science. They claim all genetically modified foods are dangerous, support bans on water fluoridation and have even made claims about the supposed danger of wifi signals in the past. None of these views have any basis in science, and science is what is needed to protect our environment.

In real world environmental crises, we can’t just do what feels right. Situations like the oilsands and drilling in the Arctic are proof of this. Science and research need to be relied upon to provide real evidence, and we need a party leading our country that can be trusted to use that evidence to make the right decisions.

Canada is going to need more than an eco-friendly name and emerald-coloured branding to fix the damage that has been done to our environment. And if their position on pipelines, GMOs and fluoride are any indication, the Green Party just isn’t going to cut it.

Sean Willett is a third-year natural sciences student. He writes a bimonthly column about environmental issues called Parks and Conservation

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