North Okanagan-Shuswap PPC candidate in hot water over climate change comments | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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North Okanagan-Shuswap PPC candidate in hot water over climate change comments

Climate strike protestors gathered at Kelowna city hall, Friday, Sept. 27, 2019.
October 04, 2019 - 12:20 PM

VERNON - Climate change is happening, but it’s not a crisis.

That’s the stance of People’s Party of Canada candidate Kyle Delfing who, at a North Okanagan-Shuswap all-candidates forum Sept. 26, drew the ire of climate science teachers and climate activists for his party’s platform on climate change.

A young Vernon Earth Strike protestor asked Delfing at the forum about a recent tweet in which he calls climate alarmism an act of terrorism. Delfing responded by saying that he doesn’t believe the students are terrorists but that they have been terrorized by governments and “climate alarmists.”

Image Credit: TWITTER / @DelfingKyle

Kelly Winston, an earth science and geography teacher at Kalamalka Secondary School in Coldstream, took issue with Delfing’s response.

“Being called a terrorist by a candidate for parliament in such a public forum is of course troubling. For one, in my discussions with Kyle and his supporters, their idea that teachers are terrorists seems to come from an anti-intellectual and anti-science conspiratorial belief system,” Winston said.

“It also shows how politics is no longer an exchange of competing ideas based in fact, but an us and them conflict where truth is relative, and teachers are feared as a threat and described as deliberately terrorizing children to forward some sort of political agenda.”

After the forum sponsored by the Sustainable Environment Network Society, Delfing said he felt his answer had been taken out of context.

"The terrorism aspect is done by those who teach 'climate alarmism,' politicians, pundits, activists like Greta Thunberg. I'm not sure I have heard of 'climate alarmism' in the curriculum of our schools, I sure hope it isn’t,” said Delfing. "Climate anxiety, eco grief, solastalgia, these terms are associated with mental health conditions created by ‘climate alarmism.' It is concerning that the mental health of some children is being affected negatively by 'climate alarmism' rhetoric.”

According to the official People’s Party of Canada website, the party believes the policy debate surrounding climate change is no longer based on scientific fact.

“It has been hijacked by proponents of big government who are using crude propaganda techniques to impose their views. They publicly ridicule and harass anyone who expresses doubt. They make exaggerated claims to scare people They even manipulate school children, getting them to pressure their parents and to demonstrate in the streets,” the party's website reads.

One of the party’s plans, if elected, is to withdraw from the Paris accord and “abandon unrealistic gas emission reduction targets.”

A Sustainable Environment Network Society member said the audience was polite although silent when comments denying the need for climate action were made.

"The audience, except perhaps the boisterous, understands the gravity of climate change and wanted to hear plans for its mitigation, not its denial,” said society member Russ Collins.

Winston said he has used the political debate surrounding climate change as a teaching tool in class.

“My students learned a great deal by examining the faulty logic and rhetoric posted by Kyle and his supporters on social media and in his responses to questions from the all-candidates forum. Although I don’t imagine Kyle would find comfort in the conclusions drawn by the students after they had examined all available information,” Winston said.

“We, as teachers, don’t deliver a particular message. We provide instruction in the scientific facts."

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