October 2019 – Making Waves

With a mission to inform, empower, celebrate and advocate for British Columbia's current and aspiring business leaders, BCBusiness go behind the headlines and bring readers face to face with the key issues and people driving business in B.C.

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GHG and global climate change issue, he sug- gests, we should engage on a bigger scale, like getting LNG Canada, the $40-billion liq- uefied natural gas project in Kitimat, online and exporting to Asian markets to replace other fuels. The bottom line Is the Green Party's plan actually possible? Yes, says Mark Jaccard, a professor of sus- tainable energy at SFU's School of Resource and Environmental Management. "I think any modeller who has a technology-rich model like I do would confirm that." Jaccard sees three issues: what does it cost, what policies will government intro- duce, and what happens to workers in fos- sil fuel industries? "The cost gets higher the faster you try to decarbonize or transform your energy system," he says. "Going that fast, 60 percent in basically a decade, will be more expensive, because the faster you go, the more you have to get rid of equip- ment that still had some life ahead of it." On the other hand, he observes, replacing, say, a furnace with a heat pump could reduce operating costs. Policies could involve carbon pric- ing, regulations and/or subsidies. Jac- card expects a government that wanted to move this fast would probably use a combination of all three. As for what hap- pens to workers, it's critical that those in fossil fuel industries and fossil fuel– dependent communities not fear for their future, May emphasizes. "We are not at war with fossil fuel workers," she says. "We are not at all willing to leave any part of Canada or any community behind." To avoid the sort of fallout from Atlantic Canada's 1992 cod fishing moratorium and the closure of Quebec's asbestos mines in 2012, May emphasizes that there would be a "just transition" of workers to new jobs that will support their current lifestyle. They may need to go back to school, she says, but for the most part, people have transferrable skills. As examples, she mentions that con- struction workers can retrofit buildings and expand the electrical grid, or that those who lay pipeline can also put up windmills. One of her favourite possibilities is conversion of abandoned oil wells into geothermal plants by the workers who drilled them. Jaccard envisions more-intensive work in agriculture, and in building and operat- ing biofuel plants. And although running a wind turbine park doesn't produce a lot of jobs, the construction and development of that industry would. "Some of this whole process has to be government money for help with retraining," he notes. May says her concern isn't lack of jobs but of workers: "We'll need to fill every col- lege that trains up carpenters, plumbers, electricians, experts in installation of heat pumps and geothermal and so on." She envisions tapping organizations like Rotary Clubs and Habitat for Humanity to help ret- rofit buildings and calling for volunteers to plant trees. "The Green Party is a strong supporter of small business," according to John Kidder, a founder of the Green Party of B.C. and a federal Green Party candidate for Mission- Matsqui–Fraser Canyon. In 2015, May tabled a private member's bill, the Creation of Small Business Impact Assessment Act, to require a mandatory review of the poten- tial effect that any proposed government bill or regulation would have on small businesses. Kidder, a former tech entrepreneur– turned–Ashcroft farmer who married Elizabeth May on Earth Day this year, claims the party is the only one that under- stands the nature of disruptive businesses, whereas what he calls traditional old- line industrial parties not only fail to grasp disruption but fear it. "And we don't," he says. "Bring it on. Let's get these changes happening as fast as we can: great opportunities for entrepreneurs, great new kinds of jobs, and make the new businesses of the 21st century." Green MP Paul Manly points to B.C. com- panies like Corvus Energy, which is already electrifying ferries in Norway, and Harbour Air Seaplanes, doing the same with its fleet. "There's technology that's being developed in this country, and we need to ramp up our manufacturing and industries toward a clean energy economy," he says. Where will the money come from? May expects to save a couple of billion dollars by ending subsidies to fossil fuels. She says her entire Canadian grid strategy is roughly equivalent to the $10-$13 billion required to build the Trans Mountain pipeline expan- sion, which would not proceed. For revenue, she's looking at opportuni- ties like higher taxation of larger multina- tional corporations (the small business tax would remain at 9 percent), e-commerce and social media platforms. She also expects the renewable energy sector to take off and stimulate the economy. "What I've found over decades of working with busi- ness big and small is that once there is politi- cal and regulatory certainty, business can adapt and adjust." May contends that there's an almost par- alytic fear of doing the right thing because it will be hard. "We call this Mission: Possible. We didn't call it Mission: Easy. But it needs to be done." n OCTOBER 2019 BCBUSINESS 59 Rules of Engagement You can call an election, but can you get people to vote? A Victoria company has an app for that. Led by Lawrence Lewis of the We Wai Kai Nation from central Vancouver Island, OneFeather started out four years ago as an electoral services consultancy. First Nations have to ratify treaties and land use agreements, a process that usually takes place by mail because many members live off reserve, says One- Feather spokesperson Nevin Thompson. Voting by mail is inef- ficient and the response rate low, so Lewis and co-founder Matthew Lehner created an app. Accessible over the Internet, it's easy to use and explain, Thompson says. "You can also track and see who's voted, so you can target people you need to target as well. It allows for more under- standing of engagement and also making sure that more people vote." OneFeather recently launched SmartBallot, an online voting platform for membership organizations like unions or clubs, and it plans to launch a product for status card renewals. –F.S.

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