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Have your say on climate change at town hall meeting tonight in Kitchener

Climate change and our role in it generates a range of opinion. The federal government wants to know yours.

There is a consensus in the scientific community, and the government wants to talk about it tonight, Aug. 18, in Kitchener.

Kitchener-Conestoga MP Harold Albrecht will be there and he says that it is an conversation the country needs to have.

“I think it is important that all of us address the issues that are out there relating not only to climate change, but pollution and the management of our planet in general,” he said ahead of the Federal Climate Action Consultation town hall event. “In my past involvement, I have always supported initiatives to promote energy efficiency, whether that is through conservation or the Silver Leaf program or energy research and to find alternative energy sources.”

With four Liberal Party MPs attending as well, Albrecht says he hopes to offer an alternative viewpoint to the conversation.

“I think we can all agree that we need to do our part, but what I think we disagree on, is that at this point, I am not a supporter of a carbon tax,” he said. “There are so many factors that none of us can presume to have all the answers. Whenever I go to these round table discussions, or town hall meetings, I am there to learn. I also want to bring to the table some things that are often missed.”

As the federal representative representing a mixed rural/urban riding, farmers are an important part of fighting climate change for Albrecht.

“I have tons of farmers and agricultural people in the area and I don’t think they are recognized for the great contribution they make to preserve the environment,” he said. “For example, preserving a woodlot or wetland, or even planting trees on marginal land. These are things that help our environment by improving our carbon emissions. I don’t think the farmers are recognized. They are not recognized in an endorsement way, let alone a financial.”

He wants to see a partnership between economy and environmentalism.

“You can’t have one without the other. We could decrease the amount of greenhouse gas emissions in Canada, decrease it drastically, but it would mean taking half the cars off the road and shutting down half the industry and putting people out of jobs. That is one of my concerns about the carbon tax,” he said. “If we implement a significant carbon tax, will that help the overall carbon issue, or will it just shift jobs offshore where jurisdictions are not implementing the rigorous guides that we have in place. Environmental stewardship and economic growth, they need to go hand in hand, not be on opposite sides of the spectrum.”

The town hall is open to the public, and Albrecht encourages the Kitchener-Conestoga constituents to make their vices heard.

“If this is important to you, let your views be known. Don’t limit yourself to just the town hall. We know people are busy and they can’t get to everything they want to go to, so if you can’t be there, write me a note. Follow up with a note to my office. We want that input,” he said.

The Federal Climate Action Consultation starts at 7 p.m. on Aug. 18 in the Kitchener City Hall rotunda.

It isn’t mandatory for attendance, but guests are asked to register at www.reepgreen.ca.

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