“We need to work collectively and that’s the only way we’re going to solve climate change,” Nipissing-Temiskaming MP Anthony Rota said to a crowd of about 50 people last night. “My biggest challenge is often getting members of parliament from the bigger cities to realise Northern Ontario isn’t a wasteland.”
And working collectively on a solution was on the minds of many of the Town Hall attendees at Les Compangons who came to voice their concerns—especially the mind of Peter Ferris, who compared means of solving climate change to the driving force of the Manhattan Project during the Second World War.
Ferris said, like the U.S. development of the atomic bomb during the war, we would need to assemble the greatest minds—experts of the environment—and not be afraid to spend mass amounts of funding to find a solution.
“We are already so far gone,” he said, noting that like the Manhattan project, we would need to come up with something very big, very fast. Ferris’s biggest fear was his prediction of a global refugee crisis that would destabilise Europe and North America as populated areas near the equator in Africa and India become virtually uninhabitable from heat and drought.
“We need to stop worrying about where fossil fuels are being burned. We can’t say it doesn’t count if we aren’t burning it here,” he said, referring to our exports like the tar sands. “It’s a global issue so it does count.”
Throughout the night, easily the most talked-about issue was the possibility of the Energy East pipeline running through the area and the risks it would impose on North Bay’s water supply.
“There is a real threat to the city of North Bay’s drinking water with a pipeline that will go through the Trout Lake watershed,” Rota said. “A pipeline carrying oil going through that watershed is unacceptable. It is something the people of North Bay and surrounding areas shouldn’t have to put up with and the voice was very clear on this.”
When the crowd asked Rota how they could help, he encouraged a letter-writing campaign to the MPs from larger cities who might not realise the voice of the North. The last Town Hall hosted by Rota was on the topic of the Defence Policy, while next Wednesday it will be at the North Bay Elks Loge from 6:30 – 8 p.m. on the topic of the Canada Post Review.