rowing up in a rural town in Kent County, I was always aware of the
great natural resources our province has to offer. Whether hiking in the
woods or floating down the Richibucto River, I was keenly aware of the
importance of clean air and water. And growing up in a region that
depends on the forests, the fields and the sea for its livelihood, I
learned the importance of balancing our resource industries with
conservation efforts. That's why I have long been involved in
organizations such as the Atlantic Salmon Federation and Ducks Unlimited
in order to promote protection and conservation.
(photo: André Gallant)
While each of us has a responsibility to be environmentally
responsible in our choices and our behaviour, there is a role for
government to play in promoting and encouraging greater environmental
stewardship. I believe New Brunswick can do more than sustain our
environment; we can become leaders in promoting environmentally friendly
choices and new technologies.
When it comes to new technologies, I see many opportunities to be
forward thinking in the energy sector.
As we expand our electrical generation capacity, we need to look at
alternatives to fossil fuels in order to keep CO2 emissions down and
meet our Kyoto targets.
One area for innovation is hydrogen fuel cell technology. This
innovative technology combines current power generation capabilities
with that of new and more efficient methods. The problem with today's
"carbon" economy is that it depends almost entirely on fossil
fuels for energy. These fuels, such as oil, coal and natural gas, are
non-renewable resources - when they are gone they're gone.
Hydrogen, on the other hand, is the only common fuel that is
"carbon free." It also doesn't occur free in nature. It can
only be produced using energy from an existing source. So by developing
hydrogen fuel technologies, we can work toward cleaner and more
efficient energy production and that's good news for all of us.
Leader of the Liberal Party of NB
(photo: Gordon Johnson)
The idea of tidal power has been explored in this region repeatedly over
the past century. But today's technology offers us a better chance at
capitalizing on having the world's highest tides. It's there if we dare
to pursue it.
And if we can harness the power of our tides, we can also harness the
power of the wind. NB Power has made some steps by promising to purchase
power from Eastern Wind Power Ltd.'s 20 Mw wind farm on Grand Manan. And
EOS-Eco-Energy is developing wind farms not far from here--from
Memramcook to Cape Tormentine. These are initiatives worth supporting.
We can't be afraid of new ways of doing things. We have to see
challenges as an avenue to opportunity and hope.
should work to reduce energy use by offering incentives to change
consumer behaviour. This won't happen overnight but there are measures
government could take to encourage more efficient energy consumption.
Since the release of the provincial energy policy in January 2001,
the Liberal party has supported the idea of time-of-use rates. We are
glad that government finally seems to be moving in that direction. If
the phone company can offer better rates at non-peak hours, why can't
the power company?
Time-of-use rates have been used in Japan and other jurisdictions and
were introduced in Ontario two weeks ago. This action would see lower
rates available for energy use during off-peak times. Time-of-use rates
give consumers a real indication of the cost of energy consumption and
offer incentives for consumers to be mindful of how and when they use
We also need to look at incentives for new homebuilders who choose
energy-efficient technology, as well as encouraging commercial users to
be smart about energy consumption. The provincial government should be
the model user and ensure that their buildings and operations are as
energy efficient as possible.
Any future progress we enjoy as a province will be hollow if we fail
to provide New Brunswickers with clean air and water; if we fail to
protect our environment. Together we can make better choices that will
ensure that we care for our environmental riches for years to come.