Christian Cowley, executive director of the CEED Centre Society in Maple Ridge, will be moderating the upcoming federal environmental debate for the riding of Pitt Meadows-Maple Ridge. (The News files)

Not all federal candidates to participate at upcoming environmental debate

Event for Pitt Meadows-Maple Ridge riding scheduled for Sept. 8

Federal election candidates in the Pitt Meadows-Maple Ridge riding are gearing up for their first debate which will be on the environment.

However not all local candidates will be taking part. So far NDP candidate Phil Klapwyk, Liberal candidate Ahmed Yousef, and Independent Steve Ranta have accepted the debate invitation. People’s Party of Canada candidate Juliuss Hoffmann has declined and Conservative incumbent Marc Dalton has not yet responded.

Dalton did not attend the last debate on the environment during the 2019 federal election campaign.

The debate is part of the project 100 Debates on the Environment that is taking place across the country on Sept. 8 and 9, bringing the topic of the environment to the forefront of the election.

Started for the 2019 federal election, the first year of the 100 Debates project saw 104 debates where election candidates brought forth their ideas regarding climate change and possible environment policies. About 16,500 voters took part in the event and 411 federal candidates.

he campaign is coordinated by GreenPAC, a Canadian non-partisan, non-profit group working to build environmental leadership and government action on the environment.

“Climate change is one of the top concerns of Canadians in this election, and voters want to hear how each party plans to respond,” said Kirk Grayson, organizer of the local debate.

Grayson noted a recent report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change said that immediate, rapid and large-scale reductions in greenhouse gas emissions are needed to avoid even more frequent, intense and catastrophic weather – like events similar to the heat, fires and floods the world has experienced this summer.

READ MORE: Close to 150 turned out for enviro debate at first all-candidates forum in 2019

“This year’s debate will give candidates the chance to explain their best policy ideas to combat climate change and protect the environment,” said Grayson.

The debate will be moderated by Christian Cowley, executive director of the CEED Centre Society for the past 17 years and Maple Ridge Climate Hub member. Cowley has a degree in International Relations and Japanese from UBC and an MBA. He has worked in Japan in investor relations supporting major banks and corporations. In Canada his first company provided translation and trade mission support services and his second served as a purchasing agency for Japanese architects and builders.

RELATED: Trudeau, Scheer navigate climate marches that dominate federal campaign in 2019

Cowley first became interested in politics during high school when he served as a parliamentary page in the BC Legislature. He was a candidate in the 2008 and 2011 municipal elections. Currently Cowley lives on a hobby farm in Maple Ridge with his wife Elaine Yamamoto, an elected school trustee, and his three adult children.

GreenPAC executive director Sarah Van Exan said candidates will have to show voters that they got the memo on the environment.

“Good environmental policy is good health policy and good economic policy. But more than that, they need to share how they plan to protect, rebuild and restore by putting the environment first,” she said.

The environment debate will take place on the Zoom platform from 7-9 p.m. on Wednesday, Sept. 8.

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Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows News