Wayne Stetski (right) and Peter Julian announced funding for climate-change disaster relief in Cranbrook last week. Trevor Crawley photo.

Wayne Stetski (right) and Peter Julian announced funding for climate-change disaster relief in Cranbrook last week. Trevor Crawley photo.

Stetski, NDP pledge funding for climate change disaster relief

The federal NDP campaign stopped in Cranbrook on Friday, as candidates pledged $3 billion over four years to assist people displaced by climate change-elated disasters, such as wildfires or floods.

Kootenay-Columbia NDP candidate Wayne Stetski made the announcement at Rotary Park on Friday, flanked by John Bergenske, a local environmentalist who spoke about local climate change impacts, and Peter Julian, an NDP candidate for Burnaby-New Westminster and a longtime MP.

“This particular fund is aimed at people who have been directly impacted through the very, very negative parts of climate change,” said Stetski. “People who have been affected through fires, people who have been affected by floods, so it’s specifically directed to help people impacted by climate change.”

Stetski pointed to the B.C. interior town of Lytton, which was largely destroyed by wildfire earlier this summer, noting that the fund would be available to those who remain displaced.

“It is targeted directly at people impacted through climate change,” Stetski said.

Bergenske said climate change is happening right in the Kootenays, evidenced by hot summers and smokey skies through massive wildfires, noting that the changing climate is paired with a biodiversity crisis.

“We’re living in a very, very different world and unless we make changes right away and we see politicial policy that makes those changes, we’re only all going to suffer for it,” he said, “and certainly future generations will not have anywhere near the quality of life that we’ve been enjoying here in the Kootenays.”

Julian, who endorsed Stetski’s candidacy and bid to return to the House of Commons, touted the NDP’s record in the previous minority parliament, noting that the party fought for COVID-19 benefits and sick-leave legislation, among other policy actions.

“In any event, it is almost certainly another minority parliament, which means the NDP will make a difference in pushing forward and insisting that we put in place the emergency supports necessary and actually start taking the important steps to combat the climate crisis,” Julian said.

Canadians will head to the polls on Sept. 20 for the general election.