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Climate heats up as election issue

Four former prime ministers are trying to make climate change an issue in the federal election.

Paul Martin, Joe Clark, Kim Campbell and John Turner released a statement today calling for dramatic cuts in carbon emissions.

“I am very concerned by the lack of decisive action by Ottawa on climate change,” said former Progressive Conservative leader Clark. “We are falling further behind other comparable nations, and simply cannot afford another round of posturing and denial in this next election – more than ever, we need a clear and honest commitment by all parties for strong, simple and effective climate laws.”

Added Campbell, another former P.C. leader: “When it comes to tackling climate change, there has been a persistent void at the highest political levels in this country. Canadians deserve and want more, which is why we need to work together to make strong laws and policies that will get the job done.”

The four belong to a group known as Canadians for Climate Leadership, which plans to promote the issue of climate change before the Oct. 14 election.

Notably absent from the group is another former prime minister, Liberal Jean Chrétien, who committed Canada to dramatic emissions cuts under the Kyoto accord, but left office with the country 30 per cent above its Kyoto targets. (Emissions continued to rise during the brief term of his successor, Liberal Paul Martin, and his environment minister, Stéphane Dion.)

Meanwhile, a grassroots group led by several B.C. activists is also trying to make climate change a key part of the election.

“Another Harper government is not a healthy option for the planet,” argues Vote for Climate, which says that “we need to elect an alternative to our current government if we want real action on climate change in Canada.”

The group’s leaders include Kevin Washbrook, of the Vancouver group Voters Taking Action on Climate Change.

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