With climate change affecting people more and more each year, the fossil fuel industry has been under scrutiny by politicians. At Tuesday’s all-candidates debate, the Leeds-Grenville-Thousand Islands and Rideau Lakes candidates in the federal election were asked their stance on ending fossil fuel subsidies, and if they would push their parties’ leadership to do so.

Liberal candidate Roberta Abbott was in full support of the government’s existing plans. “Our government has committed to eliminating fossil fuel subsidies by 2023,” Abbot said, “which is actually two years ahead of schedule.” 

“I wholeheartedly agree and support ending fossil fuel subsidies, which includes subsidies to Crown Corporations. And, if necessary, I would absolutely push to make this a reality.”

The NDP’s Michelle Taylor was also in full support of ending the subsidies, and spoke about the risks of not phasing out fossil fuels. “The consequences of continuing with fossil fuels are incredibly damaging to our environment, to our health,” Taylor said. “Plus, we know that they’re going to come to an end at some point anyway, and to continue to kick the can down the road, to continue to provide subsidies to fossil fuels when we should be putting money into investments in renewable resources just doesn’t make sense. We need to start doing that sooner rather than later.”

Lorraine Rekmans of the Green Party referenced some recent controversies surrounding fossil fuels in her response. “We believe that we can build a greener future and create green jobs for people,” Rekmans said. “We agree that we have to get off fossil fuels, and we have to stop investing in fossil fuel production.” 

“So, we’re opposed to the Trans Mountain Pipeline, and we certainly don’t want to see the Northern Gateway Pipeline reopen, considering that it didn’t pass an environmental assessment, and it may be an infringement upon Indigenous rights. We have to have a just approach, where workers are transitioned to green jobs.

Incumbent Conservative candidate Michael Barrett said that he didn’t want to see fossil fuels fully phased out. “Canada’s conservatives are going to introduce a tax credit,” Barrett says, “to rapidly accelerate the deployment of carbon capture utilization and storage technology in the energy sector. This is important in the energy sector, and in important industries that have few alternatives to burning fossil fuels, like fertilizer and chemical production.” 

“We don’t believe that Canada can only reduce our emissions by phasing out industries, and the jobs that provide a secure living for hundreds of thousands of Canadian workers and their families. Conservatives appreciate that we can’t build a greener future if Canadians don’t have jobs.”

Alex Cassell, the People’s Party candidate, wasn’t at the debate. Election Day is September 20th.