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Harper mum on environment, climate change

Stephen Harper was the only federal candidate who refused to answer six questions on climate change and the environment posed by eleven of the largest environmental organizations in Canada.

The Pembina Institute, David Suzuki Foundation and Greenpeace were among the groups that today launched a website featuring video responses from four of the five federal leaders; Gilles Duceppe, Elizabeth May, Stephane Dion and Jack Layton.

All candidates were given five days to respond to questions about their parties’ strategies on carbon emissions, wildlife conservation, water, renewable energy and the Kyoto protocol.

The final question veered away from policy, instead asking federal party leaders how each personally came to understand the seriousness and urgency of global warming.

Pembina's executive director Marlo Raynolds said there were no real surprises from any of the candidates on their climate change plans.

"Each of the parties basically laid out what they have announced through the election," said Raynolds.

Both May and Dion stressed the importance of Canada leading the international community by example with a carbon tax to reduce emissions.

Layton said his party would put a price on carbon of $35 per tonne that would apply to energy-intensive industries and be administered through a cap-and-trade program.

Raynolds said he was disappointed that Harper -- who is reportedly releasing the Conservative platform tomorrow -- did not respond.

"The electorate really does need to know where each party stands on these key questions," said Raynolds.

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